The Benefits of Quarterly Vs. Annual Performance Evaluations


image_015Quarterly and annual performance evaluations are an important component of employee assessment, productivity and continued employment. Some organizations conduct a quarterly review of employees while others do an annual review. There are benefits to each type of evaluation, and the choice that your human resources department makes may depend on several factors.

Benefits of Quarterly Employee Performance Evaluations

Quarterly employee evaluations are helpful to employees who are new to the industry or the workforce. These employees may be unsure of how well they’re doing, and they’ll appreciate the feedback that they receive from their supervisors. A quarterly evaluation makes it easier for supervisors to augment a staff member’s job duties or to make suggestions about improving performance. Problems such as tardy work or low efficiency can be addressed at a faster pace with quarterly evaluations.

Benefits of Annual Employee Performance Evaluations

At large organizations, there may not be enough staffing to conduct a quarterly evaluation of every employee. This is especially true when a supervisor has a large number of employees working for them. An annual evaluation is ideal for an employee who is experienced in the line of work. This method of evaluation is also a good choice for employees who have been at your organization for a long time. Annual evaluations are typically used as the basis for employee raises and bonuses.

Using a Mix of Quarterly and Annual Evaluations

The subject of employee performance evaluations is not a one-size-fits-all for every human resources department. At your organization, you might wish to use a combination of quarterly and annual evaluations of your staff. For example, employees with less than two years of seniority in their current job might benefit from quarterly evaluations as they get used to the organization. After a worker has been performing well at their job for a few years, the human resources department could shift to annual evaluations of that employee. This sort of mixed evaluation method would be most useful for organizations that do not have a high rate of turnover in their workforce.


How to Keep Quality Employees Working for Your Company


image_07Hiring your dream employee is only half of the battle for any organization. Major companies are making a habit of poaching top talent, and to keep your best workers on your side, your work environment needs to remain a comfortable spot for your employees to be. Given that it costs an average of 150% of a mid-level employee’s salary to replace them – it’s important to retain your top talent [1], as it can cost your company a lot of money.

Opportunities for Growth

Feelings of stagnation are a common complaint across every industry and pay grade. Keep frustrated talent from jumping ship by creating an environment that nurtures optimism and personal pride. Give every employee access to career building, advancement and personal growth opportunities. Help them learn new skills and be open about what they need to earn the promotion or pay raise they desire.

Tailored Benefits

A bigger salary is tempting, but an after-hours car service, a better health care package or help with daycare costs can be worth more than cash. Find ways to let your employees customize their benefits or speak with each to find out what their goals are. An employee who is thinking about leaving to spend more time with their family could be persuaded to stay if they can telecommute two days a week. These seemingly small perks add up to every employee feeling valued.

Productive Communication

Open up a feedback line that goes both ways. Give detailed performance reviews, and match all criticisms with possible solutions and offers to help. Make sure your staff feels comfortable providing feedback, and seriously consider implementing changes based on that feedback. Employees are in a unique position to spot inefficiencies in company workings. Those inefficiencies will cost you money and employees, especially if the people trying to draw attention to problems get frustrated with being ignored.

It may seem obvious, but remember to think of your employees as people. They have goals, wants and needs, and if you take the time to understand them, you can build a work environment that no one will want to leave.




Ways to Boost Morale in the Workplace and Promote Productivity


image_29Unhappy employees make for unproductive employees, which is why it is so important to work hard to boost morale in the workplace. Businesses of any size can benefit from these tips to create a more positive, efficient and enjoyable work environment for all personnel.

Recognize Personal Moments

According to Forbes, one of the key ways to boost morale is to show employees that they are recognized and appreciated as individuals, even outside of the workplace [1]. That means remembering key dates like birthdays or anniversaries as well as commemorating special moments like weddings or the birth of a child. Gifts and cards need not be expensive, but they can show employees just how valued they are.

Invest in More Affordable Fringe Benefits

Mark Shields writing for CNN highlights the value of fringe benefits for employees. Says Shields, “Good hearted and tough minded are not mutually exclusive in labor-management relations [2].” Paying for things like employee health insurance premiums, employee parking, coffee in the break room or staff transportation is tax deductible for most businesses, but these benefits do more than just make employees happy. Boosting morale in these fringe ways can be more affordable than increasing salaries, and it can go a long way in terms of productivity and reducing turnover.

Let Managers Serve the Rest of the Staff

A great tactic for improving morale is to reverse the hierarchy in the office for a few hours. Corp! Magazine suggests having upper-level management host a pancake breakfast for staff [3]. Donning an apron and cooking pancakes in the office takes just a morning, but it can be a fun reprieve from everyday tasks and an affordable way to create a more positive environment for staff.

Incorporate Philanthropic Activities

Stepping away from corporate obligations and doing something positive for the community is a wonderful way to boost morale. As a bonus, this also improves your company’s brand image. Entrepreneur suggests employees a few free hours each month to volunteer while on the clock or leaving the office as a group to volunteer locally [4].










Why Recruiters Should Be Hiring People They Wouldn’t Be Friends With


image_018According to Joel Peterson, the Chairman of JetBlue Airways, the first mistake in recruitment is hiring someone just like you [1]. When making friends, it might be natural to gravitate toward people who look like you, went to the same school as you or are the same gender. In the workplace, however, recruiters should be hiring people from diverse backgrounds, even if they might not be friends in a different setting.

Diverse Groups Can Solve Tougher Problems

A study put forth through the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that diverse groups are better at solving complex problems than homogeneous but high-performing groups [2]. Hiring qualified candidates is key, but so is hiring a diverse team with a range of backgrounds and experiences that can add value to problem solving.

Diversity is a Key Driver of Innovation

A recent Forbes study showed how a diverse workforce can greatly increase innovative ideas [3]. Thinking outside of the box is easier if every member of the team has a unique worldview. The same study revealed that feelings of inclusion may encourage team members to work harder and prove their worth through innovative ideas and an increased drive to perform at the highest level.

A Diverse Group Can Attract a Larger Consumer Demographic

The Center for American Progress believes that a diverse workplace can bring about a number of economic benefits, just one of which is appealing to a larger consumer demographic [4]. A team with varied and diverse upbringings, cultures, ethnicities, genders and life experiences will be able to utilize these differences to create advertising campaigns that reach a bigger percentage of the total population. This, in turn, can increase consumers, users and profits for any given company.

Diverse Hiring Practices Means a Wider Hiring Pool

When recruiters expand their scope to include candidates they wouldn’t normally be friends with, they are widening the hiring pool significantly. At the same time, Glassdoor reveals that recruiters may have an easier time attracting top talent if they have a diverse workforce, which is a plus for many candidates at the highest level [5].






Determining Whether an Applicant Tracking System is a Necessity for HR Professionals


image_05Before you make a decision about whether or not to use an applicant tracking system, consider what has happened to give rise to their use.

Gone are the days when job applicants typed their resumes, wrote a cover letter, mailed it and went through the same process for the next job. Now, applicants can post their resume online, and in just a short session at their computer, they can submit their resume to 10, 20 or more jobs without even considering if they meet the job requirements. The result? Recruiters are buried in online submissions.

To counter the enormous influx of resumes, many from clearly unqualified candidates, companies have resorted to applicant tracking systems to cull the number of resumes by identifying keywords that must appear in the resume before an actual recruiter sees it.

Often, a company will receive 250 or more resumes for an open position. Their applicant tracking system will only allow about 25 percent of those to move forward, but are they the right 25 percent? While the numbers support the success of using these systems, when you dig a little deeper, there’s often a gap between the use of keywords and the actual skills required for the job. Just because an applicant’s resume is worded to “beat the system” doesn’t mean he or she is qualified.

Applicant tracking systems are increasing in use, and they serve a real purpose, but there are some characteristics that should be considered before purchasing and installing one:

  • Make sure the system you purchase is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, you could be losing qualified candidates who move on to a more mobile-friendly application process at another company.
  • Ensure that your system allows qualified candidates who aren’t hired to go into a recruiting pipeline.
  • The filters in your system should not be too restrictive. For example, while an MBA may be preferred, a master’s degree in another area might be acceptable as well.

Many HR professionals see more value in a well-trained recruiter who can scan a large stack of resumes and sort them quickly into “unqualified,” “maybe” and “call for phone screen.” As job seekers become more familiar with the system, they’ll get better at presenting themselves as someone who uses the right words instead of someone who can do the job.

Eight Roadblocks in the Search to Finding Qualified Candidates for Any Job


image_13An open job position means that it’s only a matter of time before the resumes start flooding in. Sorting through and eliminating the candidates who aren’t the best fit can be quite the undertaking.

Here are eight roadblocks that hinder employers from finding qualified job candidates.

  1. Technology: Many big brand employers rely on tracking systems to lend a hand in the job search. Resumes are scanned for keywords, and in turn, the employer is able to quickly find candidates who meet the specifications. However, this process allows many qualified candidates to fall through the cracks.
  2. Poor Branding: The strength of your employer brand can directly link to recruiting top talent. A poor employer brand can significantly cut your talent pool in half because many people won’t want to work for a company with negative perceptions.
  3. Cultural Fit: While hiring people that fit in the company culture is great, it should not be the deciding factor. Attitude and aptitude are not synonymous. Employers should assess the candidate’s ability to do the job first, and later analyze whether they would be a good cultural fit in the company.
  4. Vague Job Description: It is important to be as detailed as possible when writing a job description. If a candidate is unsure of what the job entails, he may not apply for the position. On the other end of the spectrum, you may get resumes from a number of under-qualified people.
  5. Years of Experience: Employers often jump the gun and hire people with the most years of experience. Years of experience does not always equate the most qualified candidate.
  6. Passive Candidates: These candidates are sometimes difficult to reach because they are already employed and are not actively looking for employment. However, if the right opportunity presents itself, it is very possible to recruit a passive candidate.
  7. Recruitment Competition: With the job market continuously growing, employers may have to compete with other companies in order to recruit top talent. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to offer a higher compensation or benefits package, but if you want the best, you may have to work for it.
  8. Overly Specific Keyword Searches: Don’t make it difficult on yourself to find potential job candidates. Being too specific for keyword searches may lessen your talent pool.

The truth is qualified candidates are out there actively searching in the job market. It is your responsibility to evaluate your recruiting process and revamp it or make the necessary changes if needed.


When to Introduce Recruits to the Company Handbook


image_28According to Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journal, the hiring process is one of elimination, getting rid of unsuitable candidates to end up with the best choices [1]. Along the way, there are screenings of cover letters, application reviews, personal interviews and even studies of past employment. Many hiring managers wait until after a candidate has been hired before showing them the company handbook, but that might be a mistake.

Benefits of a Company Handbook

A company handbook, which in today’s digital world need not always be printed and bound, does the following:

• Shows employees where to go for HR help
• Introduces the dress code or behavior policies
• Explains management and leadership techniques
• Showcases benefits for employees

However, a company handbook can do a lot more than serve as a map for new recruits. In some cases, like the investment firm The Motley Fool, the company handbook was made public and served as a recruitment tool [2]. By outlining perks of employment as well as an irreverent, appealing company culture, the handbook actually brought in more candidates for future positions.

Introducing the Company Handbook Before the Interview Phase

Because a company handbook can reinforce the brand of a company, introducing the handbook to top talent can encourage a desire to want to belong to an organization that leads the industry or is simply a fun place to work. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a company or employee handbook can also include details like any standards of conduct, compensation protocol and vacation leave policies [3]. Recruiters will notice that these are often key questions and issues brought up at interviews. Streamline the interview by offering candidates access to the company handbook in the days or weeks prior to a face-to-face or video meeting.

Reintroduction on Day One in the Office

When new recruits show up for their first day of work in a new position, having a physical copy of the company handbook is often a smart idea. Include a page or document, typically called an employee acknowledgement page that can be signed by the employee verifying that it has been read and agreed to [4]. It’s a good idea to offer to meet one on one to discuss any aspects of the company handbook that are confusing or unclear to the new hires.







How Annual Performance Reviews Can Help or Hurt Employee Retention Rates


image_06The findings of a survey from the Harvard Business Review show that 65 percent of employees feel more engaged with their company when their performance reviews are aligned with corporate goals [1]. Achieving employee engagement is key when it comes to employee retention, so unlocking the potential of the performance review is important. However, it turns out that an annual performance review can both hurt and help employee retention rates in a variety of ways.

Annual Reviews Might Not Be Enough

Annual reviews, in and of themselves, can be a positive thing and a great way to engage employees, offer credit where it is due and ensure that both employee and manager are on the same page. Margaret Jacoby, writing for the Huffington Post, believes that relevant feedback needs to be offered throughout the year [2]. More opportunities for open communication can ensure employees are satisfied and willing to stay on in the company.

Winging an Annual Performance Review

Whether an employee performance review is an annual event or something that takes place quarterly, it is perhaps the only chance for a mid- or entry-level employee to have a frank discussion about pay, job title and expected duties. When the reviewer goes into the meeting without adequate preparation, it can be a slap in the face to employees who have worked hard for recognition. Worst of all, according to Forbes, is simply offering the same advice or review as the year before [3].

Providing Detailed Feedback

When offered in a timely fashion and combined with quarterly appraisals to keep employees on the right track, an annual performance review can go a long way in promoting staff satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher retention rates for a business [4]. One way to provide a satisfactory annual performance review is to offer detailed feedback. The manager providing the review should do their homework, offer praise in the areas required and speak candidly with employees.

A thoughtful quarterly or annual review can be a tremendous tool for managers interested in increasing employee retention rates. However, reviews that are poorly done, delayed or not accompanied by year-round feedback could actually reduce employee engagement and satisfaction.


The Importance of Entertaining New Recruits before Selling the Job Opportunity


image_24Every successful C-Level executive understands the importance of recruiting and maintaining the best possible talent. It is the continual influx of new and competent individuals that allows a company to grow and expand. However, the very best talent always has multiple opportunities, and you have to show why yours is the most desirable.

In fact, today’s prospective employees are more discriminating and demanding than any generation before them. Numerous personnel and hiring experts have written about the ever-expanding expectations of this generation of job-seekers. In the world of social media, every company’s culture is under the microscope and sites such as Glassdoor ensure there are very few secrets about what life in your company is like.

On top of this factor, media discussions of the work environments at such companies as Twitter, REI, and HubSpot raise the bar for acceptable cultures. In light of these realities, it is important to show your prospective hire that the job you are offering is not the time clock-oriented and boring situation they fear.

While not everyone is expecting a playroom at work, it is possible to address the basic concerns about your company. Among other things you should include in the interviewing process, adding a little entertainment can be a win-win situation for both parties.

When you schedule a time to relax in the hiring process, you get to see another side of your best recruits. Likewise, they have the opportunity to see that their prospective fellow workers are not the dreaded corporate drones. Of course, the form of entertainment is an open choice. Certainly, the traditional formal dinner at a restaurant is not the only or best way to entertain your recruits. That may be a part of the hiring cycle, but it is seldom regarded as a form of entertainment.

Consider taking a group of recruits to a ball game, or adding recruits to a company picnic. Some companies even have special boxes they periodically use for sports, theater, or other out-of-the-office recruiting. Ensure those who participate in this part of the hiring process understand their role is not only to entertain the recruits but also to observe and evaluate their interactions and reactions.

You’ll find that the right form of entertainment is an effective addition to attracting the right recruits in today’s increasingly tight market for top talent.


Hiring Techniques for Balancing Short and Long-Term Corporate Goals


image_21Finding, vetting and hiring a new employee is an expensive proposition. For example, it is estimated that the costs for even a high-turnover, low-paying job is at least 16 percent of the annual salary for the position [1]. For more significant positions, the total costs can easily exceed $40,000 to $50,000. Moreover, the costs of terminating an employee can be multiple times this number.

Hiring Processes that Fit the Task

Because of these realities, it is important to develop hiring processes that deal with both short and long-term needs for your organization. If a specific position is identified to fill a seasonal or limited time period, there are ways to save on the costs of adding that employee without compromising the process.

For example, many companies incorporate expensive tests in their hiring cycle to evaluate an individual’s long-term capabilities. This is especially the case where there is an expectation of growth and promotion. If that is not a practical consideration for a more temporary position, those types of investment are easily eliminated. On the other hand, certain proven techniques, such as drug testing, should not be taken out of the hiring equation for even short-term assignments.

Another effective way to deal with limited staffing needs is to consider the temporary employee market. An increasing number of qualified individuals now place themselves at the disposal of temporary agencies and corporations. There are many reasons highly qualified talent might pursue temporary opportunities, and you can find employees for everything from assembly work to C-Level executives who will work on short-term projects.

Protecting the Culture

Of course, looking at temporary employees does not mean accepting a compromise in quality or expectations. This is especially the case is the need extends beyond a few months. It is important to only bring in shorter-term hires that fit the corporate culture and are willing to show the same commitment and performance during their tenure as expected from established staff.

Taking the time to streamline hiring processes that fit the need will help you meet corporate goals while saving on the costs involved.