Recruiting Employees for Keeps

The importance of employee engagement and satisfaction is getting a lot of recognition. And it should be! Happier, more satisfied employees lead to lower turnover rates and increased loyalty and productivity—all things that are good for business! What’s good for your employees is good for you. 

With all the talk about how to encourage a culture of employee engagement within your business, it’s important not to overlook the first step: hiring the right employees for the right positions. You can have all the benefits, growth opportunities, and employee recognition you can muster, but if you’ve been hiring the wrong candidates, you’re bound to fail.  

 When hiring for your next position, here are three key ideas to keep in mind.  

Think about your candidates 

Who are you trying to attract to fill the position? Think about what their needs are and create a job offer that draws those candidates in. When writing your description, take the time to think about that ideal candidate and ask: what benefits and perks would stand out to them the most? What salary range is applicable to the role and the location?  

If you’re hiring for a remote work position, you want to make sure you’re attracting people with an independent disposition, who’re tech savvy, and able to work without direct supervision. If you’re hiring for an in-office position, you want to look for people who are okay with structure and like to work in a social environment.  

The hiring process is an opportunity for you to showcase your company culture and emphasize the traits you value most. Make the description clear and keep it honest. If you do this well, chances are they’ll be able to tell if it’s the right job for them.  Much in the same way you’d think about how you can create a positive experience tailored to your ideal customer, you want to attract the right candidates to the right positions. 

Don’t shy away from a challenge  

When you challenge your candidates in your interview process, you are giving them a chance to demonstrate their strengths and show you what they’re bringing to the table. Higher employee satisfaction rates have been found to correlate with a more challenging interview process. This is also a chance to set clear expectations for your candidates which, when they match up with the reality of the position, promotes trust long term. 

Make it easy 

In a study cited by The Society for Human Resources, it was found that conversion rates increase by 365% when a job application process takes five minutes or less to complete. Make your application process concise, straight forward, and easy to access. Show that you value their time by responding promptly, allowing them to respond back to you in a reasonable amount of time, and being on time to your meeting.  

Taking the time to invest in your hiring process and your candidates’ experience can increase the quality of hires by 70%. Remember, you are asking someone to give their time and energy to your team. Make sure you are giving them time and energy in return—it’ll pay off, we promise.   


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Encouraging Remote Employees: Why Shouting Down the Hall Won’t Work

So you’ve heard how remote work can promote job satisfaction, productivity, and save you real money. Your company has decided to offer remote working positions and you can’t wait to get started. But have you prepared for the challenges of having a remote workforce? Have you thought about how you’re going to show employee recognition when you can no longer walk down the hall and tell them facetoface or throw them an office party?  

Here are three great ways to make your remote employees feel valued and recognized. 

Stay Connected 

If you’ve got a remote workforce, chances are you have an online chat system to keep them easily connected. (If you don’t, you’re missing out on a vital resource). Online chat forums are a great place to recognize individuals and teams both in group conversations and oneononeThis is a great space to offer more informal and consistent encouragement and recognition for smaller, more frequent accomplishments. 

Going beyond “good job” 

Close the distance between you and your employees by being specific when you thank them for their work. What did they explicitly do to deserve positive recognition? Highlighting key moments and challenges they overcame shows them you are paying attention to their work.  Feeling seen for specific accomplishments promotes a sense of closeness and connection that is easily lost when you don’t have a shared office space.  

Support their space (and their backs) 

Make sure they’re comfortable. A great way to show you value your remote workers is to offer them a budget for upgrading their inhome workspaces. Help them build a comfortable, functional workspace by providing a budget for key office supplies such as a good chair, wrist supports for their mouse pad and keyboard and supporting tech that optimizes their space.  

There are many, many ways to encourage an atmosphere of recognition and community in your remote workforce. Make sure you do your research and put time into figuring out what works best for your team’s particular needs and location. If they are based close enough to each other, you could encourage employee outings, or monthly meetings where you can have the chance to thank and encourage your team face to face.  

Whatever ways you chose to thank them, make sure you have a way of gauging what works best and be open to improving the systems you put in place. Remember, employees who feel valued, value their position. 


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How to be an Employer of Choice

Is there a magical way to become an employer of choice and attract top talent? Nope. But there are a couple of quick and easy tricks to recruiting and retaining great employees.

  1. Find out what they care about.
  2. Provide it.

Just what do employees care about?

Lots of things! That said, every employee is different, and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. Employee motivations are wide-ranging and can change over time. The more diverse your group is, the more diversity you’ll want to build into your employee benefits. This doesn’t mean your company has to start offering everything under the sun. It just means you‘ll want to think about the kinds of people you want on your team and the kinds of perks and benefits that will be most attractive to them.

If you don’t know where to start, here’s a very simple idea: Ask your current employees what they love most about working for you. If the answer is “The Paycheck!” this could mean that your employees care most about financial security. It could also mean they aren’t super excited about your culture— or anything else you’re currently offering.

If you want a more well-rounded answer, follow up by asking your employees for one thing they wish they could change. This will provide additional insight into what motivates them and what they feel is missing from the current environment. If the top answer here is “More vacation days!” it could mean they need more time to rest and recharge. Reading between the lines, it could also mean they value flexibility, or that workloads have gotten out of control, and it’s time to hire additional team members.

As an employer, you have the power to dig as deep as you want on these topics. There is one caveat here: If you love your current business model, aren’t ready to make major changes, or don’t want to stir up a bunch of negative feedback, a survey may not be your best course of action. If this is the case, you can simply look to the research that’s already out there to get an idea of what employees want and how you can deliver on those things.

Top employee desires

While it’s true that each person, company, and work group is different, it’s also true that the majority of employees are looking for a few key things. Today’s employees want to work for organizations that provide the following:

Financial security

While many things matter to employees, money is still the top deciding factor for the majority of job seekers when taking or leaving positions. Employees aren’t just looking for financial stability, they also want the hope of a secure future.

Things employees value: competitive compensation, tuition assistance, student loan repayment programs, retirement plans

Health benefits

Having great healthcare doesn’t just keep employees well physically. It also helps with financial  and mental health. Many employees can’t afford healthcare on their own, and they value the security and wellness this benefit brings to their lives. (According to one survey, 88% of respondents said they would give this benefit “some consideration” or “heavy consideration” when choosing a job.)

Things employees value: low cost medical, dental and vision plans, HSAs, telemedicine

Work/Life balance

All work and no play makes for an unhappy team. Both work and life can get incredibly complex and busy, and employees are looking for ways to artfully manage it all. At the end of the day, even the “Rise and grind” types want to be able to work when, where, and how they want to. The good news here is that flexible hours and remote work often cost nothing for employers to provide. These things can actually make employees happy AND save companies money at the same time.

Things employees value: flexible schedules, remote work options, unlimited vacation policies, paid time off, parental leave

A sense of belonging and purpose

The lines between work and personal lives are blurring. More and more employees want to feel like they can bring their whole selves to work. They want to be accepted as individuals and they want to feel like they are making a difference in the world. For today’s workers and job seekers, culture has become nearly as important as compensation.

Things employees value: company culture, workplace diversity, paid volunteer time, defined career paths, professional development

The bottom line

Talented employees have options. They aren’t afraid to leave bad bosses or bad companies. More importantly, they will be inspired to seek out organizations who have solid values, do great work, and treat employees well. Investing in your people and your benefits program is a great way to increase employee retention and make sure you stay on the nice list.


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Why Hiring for Soft Skills Might be Your Best Recruitment Strategy

There are certain types of people you just want to have on your team. People with lots of enthusiasm, positive energy, and a willingness to try new things. Unfortunately, these aren’t the kinds of things you can necessarily train for.

You may be good at bringing out the best in your employees, but at the end of the day, some of these qualities are more likely to be innate personality traits than teachable skills. So how do you go about finding new hires who are wired this way?

Appreciate the softer side

Soft skills are personal attributes and behaviors that enable people to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. And they can make all the difference in the world.

Let’s face it. You can be the smartest, most qualified employee or boss on the planet, but without soft skills, you could be rendered ineffective.

Soft skills include things like:

  • Attitude
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Self confidence
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity

These are the kinds of things that make for good leadership, positive work environments, better employee engagement, and high levels of productivity, teamwork, and collaboration.

It’s true that employees may be able to do their jobs without these attributes, but when they’re missing, your team will feel the effects. Organizations lacking in soft skills will experience more internal conflict, increased levels of frustration, decreased morale and engagement, and more frequent turnover. All of which adds up to unstable workplaces, lost revenue, and poor results.

Hiring should be hard. And soft.

Finding great employees isn’t easy. It takes the right processes to find the right people.

  • If you focus too much on speed and time to hire, you may not get it right the first time. Or the second. Or the third.
  • If you’re too meticulous, slow, and careful during the hiring process, your best candidates could get snatched up by other employers.
  • If you’re committed to finding an exact replica of the person who just left, you’re going to be constantly disappointed.

More importantly, if you focus purely on hard skills, you could easily end up with a group of talented employees who aren’t particularly good managers, communicators, or problem solvers. And nobody wants that.

How to hire for soft skills

Yes, hard skills are important, but soft skills are what allow people to successfully work together to get the job done— and have fun while doing it. Here’s how to make sure your new hires have what you need:

1. Identify the soft skills that are most critical

Depending on an employee’s given role, there may be particular soft skills that are more important than others. Project managers need good time management and communication skills. Marketing people need to be creative and adaptable. Supervisors need conflict resolution skills and a healthy dose of empathy. To maximize your hiring success, you’ll want to match the right skills to the right positions.

2. Incorporate them into your values and culture

Talking about soft skills and making them an integral part of your organization are two different things. If you commit to making certain attributes a critical part of who you hire and how you do business, individuals with those qualities will naturally be drawn to your company.

3. Pay attention

You can tell a lot about a person before a job interview even takes place. Does your candidate have good phone skills? Are they accommodating? Do they show up on time? Make eye contact? How did they treat the person who greeted them? With respect and gratitude or with a dismissive attitude? These things can be good indicators of the kind of person you’re hiring.

4. Use behavioral interview techniques

Storytelling is an effective way for candidates to demonstrate past behavior and soft skills. Asking questions like these can be a good way to assess a candidate’s typical behaviors and responses:

  • Tell me about a time when you solved a tough problem.
  • Give me an example of a conflict you experienced at work and how you resolved it.
  • Have you ever had to give someone negative feedback? How did you handle it?

5. Check those references

This may be a tempting step to skip, especially if you’re convinced you’ve found THE ONE. But don’t do it. The one time you neglect to call could be the one time you get a key piece of information that influences your decision.

Soft can be strong

Delicately nuanced soft skills may seem less valuable than clearly defined hard skills, but the most successful companies and hiring managers know better.

Soft skills make for strong teams. And strong teams make for healthy businesses, engaged employees, and very happy business owners. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get soft on hiring! 


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Want to Save Money on Healthcare? Five Things Not to Do.

No matter which team you cheer for, what your political party is, or whether or not you think pineapple is an appropriate pizza topping, there is still one thing we can all agree on: Healthcare costs are ridiculous.

There are lots of reasons this is the case, many of which we have no control over. As individuals, we can’t change the structure of our hospitals, the way our prescription drugs are priced, or the fee-for-service model our doctors operate under. We can’t reduce administration costs, and we can’t change the fact we love our expensive screenings and diagnostics.

The good news is that there are some things we can do to keep our individual and family healthcare costs down. They may not be big, exciting, life-altering changes, but in our own little ways, we can take steps to reduce health expenses and improve health results.

And yet so often we don’t actually do them.

Instead, we fall into patterns and habits that make our ridiculous healthcare expenses even more ridiculous.

Here’s how to be your own worst healthcare enemy:

1. Consult with Dr. Google

Have a symptom? Or two? Or seven? Just Google it! Chances are you’ll come up with sixteen different conditions, at least three of which are fatal. In no time, you’ll be at your primary care doctor, begging for referrals and testing. And because your physician knows the stress of self-diagnosis can be dangerous, she will go ahead and order those tests.

Dangers: Your blood pressure and anxiety will rise. You will think you’re dying. Fearing for your life, you may try to reunite with your long-lost neighbor or cousins.

Cost savings: How much is a CT scan? An MRI? An EKG? We’ll never know. Until the bill comes, that is.

2. Avoid establishing a primary care physician

Why would you call a doctor when you’re not even sick? So dumb, right? I mean, why spend precious minutes getting set up with a physician who can actually help you when something does go wrong? This would take away all the fun of frantically trying to get an appointment with random doctors all over town while you have a 103-degree fever. Seeing the same doctor regularly allows them to become familiar with you and your medical history instead of always starting fresh. So boring!

Dangers: You may not be able to get care when you need it. If you do get seen, your diagnosis could be less accurate. You may avoid going to the doctor entirely— or head to the ER instead. You might let your drunk uncle diagnose you with Small Pox on Thanksgiving.

Cost savings: Did you see that part about going to the ER? Have you ever been to the ER? Have you ever gotten an ER bill? What about a misdiagnosis? Treating someone for the wrong thing isn’t cost effective. Neither is avoiding the doctor until a small problem becomes a big one.   

3. Don’t get a second opinion

Did a doctor say you need an expensive test, medication, or procedure? Did you simply take their word for it? Even though you had a nagging feeling it wasn’t necessary or appropriate? If you’re feeling unsure, it’s okay to get a second opinion. Yes, it means an additional office visit, which will cost you in the short run. But if it helps you better evaluate your diagnosis and treatment options, it can also do wonders for your wallet— and your peace of mind.

Dangers: You may get treatments you don’t need. You could forget how to ask questions and/or advocate for yourself. Your doctor will start seeing dollar signs when you walk in the door. You could become a medical zombie.

Cost savings: The right diagnosis and treatment is important for your health— and your bank account. High expense does not equal high value. And here’s a not so fun fact: Some medical providers may have referral relationships with other providers, which means they could be benefitting from suggesting procedures, treatments, equipment, and drugs you don’t need.

4. Ignore telemedicine

Easy, quick, and inexpensive medical consults from the comfort of your couch? That’s the stuff of fairy tales! You should definitely be suspicious of this new technology. Plus, who would want to give up those time-and-money-sucking trips to the urgent care clinic? If it doesn’t take three hours and include a co-pay, it must not be real medicine.

Dangers: Wasting time and money on germ-spreading trips to the doctor. Having to drag your sick, cranky toddler to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy.

Cost Savings: Spend less money on gas, parking, and co-pays. Eliminate mandatory bribes for sick, cranky toddlers.

5. Stick with your unhealthy habits

  • Are you still smoking cigarettes and paying for that gym membership you never use?
  • Do you think Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are a major food group?
  • Are you into street racing and base jumping?
  • Did you give up sunscreen back in ’96?
  • Do you hate seatbelts, helmets, and anything else that might keep you safe and healthy?

Yes, life is short. And you should enjoy it. But you probably aren’t going to enjoy the medical bills that accompany these unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Dangers: Chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and COPD. High risk factors for cancer and other diseases. Perpetual orange fingertips from those dang hot Cheetos.

Cost Savings: Do you know how much those cigarettes cost? Fewer speeding tickets, car repairs, and expensive emergency surgeries. Oh, and you might fit into your old jeans again.

Do yourself a favor

The healthier you are, the easier it is to prevent expensive treatments and avoid getting constantly dragged back into the healthcare system.

A few small choices can make a big difference. Ditching bad habits can save you money— and maybe even your life.


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