10 Best Cities For Young Professionals Seeking Work-Life Balance

Written by Megan Wells. First appeared at InvestmentZen. Reprinted with the special commentary for The HR Tech Weekly® ▸ 

Des Moines, Iowa, Skyline by Michael Tompsett

Good Job, Good Life

When career progression is the priority, choosing where to work often overshadows where to live for many young professionals. Yet, work-life balance remains important to this generation. A vibrant nightlife and great food scene, or good schools and activities for families top the list of desirable attributes in a location. Promoting other aspects of an area to candidates helps attract top talent.

Rent

Knowing your city’s housing costs makes the take-home pay real for a potential new hire. Few want their monthly income eaten up by rent to live in a cool neighborhood. With an average rent of less than $1,000 per month, Des Moines, Iowa, starts to look pretty good when coupled with a mean salary near the $50,000 mark. For a candidate considering a job offer in this city, the lure of generous disposable income could close the deal.

Walkability

Sharing with a candidate how “walkable” a city is reduces the negative impact of other factors like cost of living. Many dream of living in a diverse and exciting city environment where they complete daily errands on foot rather than in the car. San Francisco and Oakland, California, rate high in walkability.

Unemployment

Emphasizing an area’s strong local economy offers a sense of security in both the company and the area. Three cities currently have a low unemployment rate of 2.1%, Aurora and Denver, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin. While a potential employee needs to keep the car in these locales, a thriving city outweighs the time spent behind the wheel.

When looking to achieve a balance between a great job and a great life, help candidates to see the bigger picture. Smaller cities offer much in the way of generous salaries and affordability when compared to their big, coastal counterparts, leaving more time and income for the important things in life.

10 Best Cities For Young Professionals Seeking Work Life Balance

Many young professionals are eager to begin a financially independent lifestyle. With a new paycheck, saving, spending and lifestyle habits are likely to evolve. For most people starting off a new career, it’s important to have discretionary income for enjoying life outside of work. Living in a city large enough to offer activities and entertainment, with minimal use of a car can also be an added benefit.

By understanding these characteristics, we observed these national averages:

  • United States unemployment rate for metropolitan areas, according to BLS, is 4.1%
  • United States average rent index, according to Zillow, is $1,426
  • United States annual mean wage, according to BLS, is $49,630
  • According to WalkScore data, the average WalkScore in the U.S. is 41.3.

Then we asked ourselves, which cities can beat the averages and provide extra incentive for young professionals?

InvestmentZen was able to gather and analyze data from a number of sources to determine which 10 cities have the best stats for a strong work-life balance.

Methodology:

We used a weighted average to compared unemployment rate, walkability score, Zillow Rent Index, the annual mean wage for all occupations, and population for over 500 U.S. cities to determine which had the best balance of work life balance. These indicators prove to be the making for some of the best cities in the U.S. for young professionals.

These cities turned out to be great for young professionals who are looking to enhance their quality of life.

10. Aurora, CO

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
  • Walkability Score: 43
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,788
  • Annual Mean Wage: $55,910

The second city in Colorado to make the list (and the third most populous city in Colorado)  Aurora is home to many niche industries. While there are still more traditional business service suppliers, aerospace industries and bioscience firms are a major part of the economy in Aurora.

9. Oakland, CA

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Walkability Score: 72
  • Zillow Rent Index: $2,999
  • Annual Mean Wage: $69,110

With lower rent than sister city, San Francisco, residents of Oakland have the opportunity to work in San Francisco and commute back home to a less expensive apartment in Oakland (though the wages and unemployment rates are similar in both cities).

8. Milwaukee, WI

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
  • Walkability Score: 62
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,136
  • Annual Mean Wage: $49,350

Milwaukee is the second city in Wisconsin to make this list. The primary occupation groups in Milwaukee, according to BLS, are production jobs like machine operators and metal and plastic workers. Other heavily staffed industries are office and administration staff. The higher than average walkability score and relatively low rent are two contributing factors that bring Milwaukee to the list.

7. Detroit, MI

  • Unemployment Rate: 4%
  • Walkability Score: 55
  • Zillow Rent Index: $627
  • Annual Mean Wage: $50, 960

Though the unemployment rate in Detroit is still high, the city is coming back from its collapse. Detroit is becoming a hub for artists, architects, and engineer. Billions of dollars of construction projects have been spent to rebuild infrastructure, including transportation which is making the city more accessible and attractive to many young professionals.

6. San Francisco, CA

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Walkability Score: 86
  • Zillow Rent Index: $4,207
  • Annual Mean Wage: $69,110

Even with the sky-high rent index, the wages, walkability and unemployment rate are enough to boost San Francisco to the 6th spot on the list. It’s no secret that the tech industry is booming in San Francisco. The economy in the bay area has outpaced the rest of the state, and the country, in economic growth for the last five years.

5. St. Paul, MN

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
  • Walkability Score: 59
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,232.50
  • Annual Mean Wage: $55,010

Just across the river from the larger city of Minneapolis, St. Paul has grown in size over the last couple of years. New music venues, restaurants and night spots are popping up making the city an affordable but fun option for young professionals. The nicely balanced mean wage to rent index allows young professionals to life affordably and enjoy a nice work-life balance.

4. Tacoma, WA

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
  • Walkability Score: 53
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,155
  • Annual Mean Wage: $61,170

Tacoma has the second highest annual mean wage on this list, and with a zero percent income tax in the state of Washington, stretching a paycheck can also help pad discretionary income for young professionals.

3. Denver, CO

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
  • Walkability Score: 61
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,582
  • Annual Mean Wage: $55,910

Denver’s population has grown since 2010 by more than 93,000 (15.5%), largely due to a rise of newcomers headed to the mile-high city. One of the continually growing industries in Denver is its microbrew and craft beer scene, which can be a nice career path or fun extracurricular in this city.

2. Madison, WI

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
  • Walkability Score: 49
  • Zillow Rent Index: $1,075
  • Annual Mean Wage: $50,830

Madison is a rapidly growing city. Between 2015 and 2016 Madison grew more than any other city in Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Madison surpassed a quarter million residents in the last year. According to the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, they accredit the growth to economic opportunity, livability factors and accessibility to amenities. It’s also notable that 55.1% of adults aged 25 and older have at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

1. Des Moines, IA

  • Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
  • Walkability Score: 45
  • Zillow Rent Index: $814.50
  • Annual Mean Wage: $49,420

The number one city on this list has exceptionally low unemployment and moderate wages. Another influential marker for Des Moines is the low rent – of the ten cities to rank on this list, Des Moines has the lowest rent.

Click here for a full, ranked list of data (including metros under a population of 200,000).

About the Author:

Megan Wells, San Francisco, CA

Megan Wells is a data journalist and content strategist based in San Francisco, California. Wells currently focuses on personal finance, mortgage, and fintech content. Wells’ work has appeared on Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, Motley Fool, and more. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women In Publishing conference.


Source: 10 Best Cities For Young Professionals Seeking Work-Life Balance – InvestmentZen

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College Students Should Hedge Their Bets Smartly in the Gig Economy

What’s Your Major?

As folks file back into college classrooms, at record paces at many universities this fall, it’s important that everyone has their eyes wide open about the correlation between the college degree and getting a good job post-graduation. All people who have attended college (whether they graduated or not) have been asked a hundred times, if they’ve been asked once, “What’s your major?” This is the proverbial question that everyone asks, at Thanksgiving, when college students come home for the holidays. Of course the reason the question is asked is the family member of friend wants to try and predict the odds that your education will lead to a “good job” (whatever the heck that is). They want to know whether to be ‘concerned’ about your choice or be ‘super-excited’ about your job prospects post-graduation. Usually these questions have good intentions, but choosing a major can be nerve racking and cause stress.

What Do You Want to Do for the Rest of Your Life?

When I was an undergraduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri in the mid-1990’s I, too, was asked this question many times by friends and family. For me, when I answered “Sociology and Criminal Justice” I was usually greeted with a “Oh, that sounds interesting”, which of course, is code for “What the heck are you going to do with that degree?” The thinking, in the 1990’s, was that one’s major was directly connected to the job they would do for the duration of their working career. So, therefore, if you had a major/minor in Sociology and Criminal Justice you were likely going to be a probation or parole officer, social worker, or maybe work at a prison. The trend in higher education for decades had been educating people for more ‘specialization’ given their concentrations/degrees. Most people wanted to be able to draw a straight line between a person’s college degree and their career path.

The answer to the, “What’s your major?” question has a much different meaning in 2017. The market has changed in gargantuan ways and college students should pay attention and ‘hedge their bets’ accordingly. It is no longer wise to go to college and get a degree without having thought long and hard about what you want to do with the degree and the likelihood that your studies will lead to a great job. The idea that “if you have a degree you’ll get a good job” is long gone and college students should take heed. I will argue that choosing a major in college is akin to making bets on the roulette wheel in Vegas and there is strategy involved–if you are savvy. To start, there are several questions that students need to ask themselves when they are early in their college experiences.

Pivotal questions that all college students should be asking themselves: 

  • Is there demand in the economy for what I’m learning in college – for what I’m majoring in? Does my major ‘translate’ to wide variety of in-demand jobs?
  • What are the prospects for the next few decades for my choice of study? What are economists forecasting? Are experts saying there is a shortage or surplus of those people with my background, skills, and abilities?
  • Am I wired to be a risk-taker and able to live with the reality that what I studied in college may NOT translate to a ‘good job’? Am I comfortable adapting to constant change?
  • Would I be happier if I chose a ‘safer’ major (and career path) where high demand has been proven and I will have a higher probability of getting a full-time job upon graduation?
  • Have I done research on how much money people in my career choice make? Have I done the math to figure out if this amount of money is enough to live on and be ‘relatively happy’ with?

Know Your Numbers

Get the Odds in Your Favor

When in college and trying to figure out a major/minor and where you envision your career going it’s critical to be informed with up-to-date information on key statistics regarding the job market, student loan debt, and the potential value of your major in the marketplace. For starters, it is critical to have a general understanding of current trends in the economy.

Specifically, it’s most helpful to know what types of jobs are in high demand and if economists are forecasting continued demand in the foreseeable future. A recent article titled, “America’s 10 toughest jobs to fill in 2017” is a great place to start. The list for 2017 includes: data scientist, financial adviser, general and operations manager, home health aide, information security analyst, medical services manager, physical therapist, registered nurse, software engineer, and truck driver. If I were in college today I would be thinking about how my studies in college were going to prepare me for a job that is high demand. This is the type of strategic thinking that can increase your odds of success. The math is easy. Would you rather be competing with 400 people for one open position or 40? The answer is obvious.

On the other hand, it’s also good to know what jobs are incredibly competitive and may lead to frustration post-graduation. Kiplinger put together an interesting list that is worth checking out. They determined this based on starting salarymid-career salary, annual online job postings, and projected 10-year job growth. The “10 Worst College Majors for your Career” included: exercise science, animal science, religion, radio, television and film production, graphic design, anthropology, paralegal studies, art, photography, culinary arts.

I know what you are likely saying at this point, “But Jason, my passion is in graphic design and the arts…I don’t want to study data science”! This is totally fine and I understand the balance between doing what one is passionate about vs. doing what will pay the bills. But, the point is college grads need to have an accurate picture of what they are up against and then decide what matters to them most. From my experience I think the “passionate aspect” is highly over-rated. I’ve found that a job is what you make it and so something that may not immediately strike you as ‘your passion’ can in the long-run be a great fit.

Along with knowing what majors are hot and not, it’s also critical to understand how the gig economy is impacting jobs and work in America. It may be that what you’ve trained for and studied to be is no longer possible as a full-time job with a pension, health insurance, and the rest. This is a reality that should be researched while you are in college.

The New Rules of the Gig Economy

The U.S. and global economy is constantly changing and requiring different skill sets from folks who want to be successful in the workforce. In a nutshell the days of working for the same company for 30+ years and retiring with a generous pension are few and far between. The “new” model is the trend toward the “Gig Economy”. What is the gig economy you ask? One definition: the trend toward project-based, temporary contracts that is permeating many (almost all) professions. The gig model is also known as: sharing economy, the on-demand, peer, or platform economy. Based on ratings-based marketplaces and in-app payment systems.

Rise of the Gig Economy

There are several companies that are good examples of the gig economy including: UberLyftJunoTaskRabbitPostmatesHandyDogvacay, and Airbnb. The trend for workers is they aren’t needed on a full-time 40+ hour/week basis. Rather work is needed on a ‘demand-only’ basis. This is, causing disruption in the work place.

There are many factors that have contributed to this shift, but understanding it could be the key for college students to find happiness in their careers. Estimates are that by 2020 up to 50% of the U.S. workforce could be involved in ‘freelance work’ – yes 50%! There are several pros and cons to the rise of the gig economy of course. For an interesting take on whether the Gig economy is working check out Nathan Heller’s piece in the New YorkerIs the the Gig Economy Working? The pros are that there is flexibility and freedom for workers and for customers they get things done in a quicker (and often cheaper) way. The cons are a lack of stability and being able to accurately predict income. One recent article cited that “85% of side-gig workers make less than $500 a month.” It will be interesting to see if the gig economy results in higher incomes in the next couple of decades as more and more ‘traditional’ businesses embrace the ‘gig way.’ Again, having an accurate picture of the ‘raw numbers’ can be super-helpful.

Before you pick a major in college you should know where there is demand in the job market and be aware of trends in the economy like the rise of the contingent workforce. In other words, you should hedge your bets accordingly. The casino game of roulette provides the perfect analogy.

Roulette Game Explained

The casino game roulette may look complicated and intimidating for those that have never played it. In reality the rules are pretty simple. The game revolves around luck, of course, and the player’s threshold for risk and reward. Roulette is all about odds and hoping that the ball drops on numbers/bets that the player is on.

There are several bets you can make and some have long odds and some are shorter. People place their bets with chips on the board and then the ball is thrown and the wheel is spun. After several times around the wheel the ball lands on a number and if players are playing that number they are paid.

Roulette is Akin to Choosing a Major

Make no mistake, regardless of what Vegas insiders might say, the game is dumb-luck, period. However, it can be a whole lot of fun and is often a social event where people make the same bets and everyone is happy (if they win). The house has the edge, of course, but the player can determine different levels of risk based on their betting style and bank roll.

Here are the basic payouts and the odds from the most to least risky:

  • Playing a number straight up is 35:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $350 if that number hits
  • Playing 2, 3, or 4 numbers by placing chips on corners or in-between can be 18:112:19:1 – $10 bet earns the player $180, $120, and $90 respectively
  • Playing 0 or 00 is 35:1 odds (like all the other numbers) – But if Green/Zero or Double-zero hits all of the outside bets lose –  of course this is one way the house gets an edge on the player
  • Playing 1st 12, 2nd 12 or 3rd 12 – Player is playing numbers in that section – 2:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $20 return if number in that area hits
  • Playing the columns – Player is playing all the numbers in that particular column – 2:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $20 return if number in that column hits
  • Playing Red / Black (there are 18 red and 18 black numbers) – 1:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $10 if red hits and they played red (vice versa with black)
  • Playing Odd / Even (there are 18 odd and 18 even numbers) – 1:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $10 if odd number hits and they played odd (vice versa with even)
  • Playing 1-18 / 19-36 (betting that any number between 1-18 or 19-36 to hit) – 1:1 odds – $10 bet earns the player $10 if number between 1- 18 or 19-36 hits and they placed that bet

So, roulette provides players a plethora of betting options and ways to manage their risk and reward with every spin. I’ve played roulette for years and witnessed people win and lose a lot of money on the game. It turns out this is similar to making a decision on your major and career choice. Do you want to try and enter a field with long odds or shorter (more friendly) odds? This is a key questions college students need to ask. Given the shifts in the economy there are careers and college majors that have a much higher (and lower) chance of success for college graduates.

Picking a Major Is Like Playing Roulette – Odds Matter

Picking a major in college and trying to lay out one’s potential career path is very important. Having a firm grasp on the competitiveness and ‘odds’ of being successful is also essential. We should never underestimate the power of ‘expectation setting’ for our careers. If students decide to major in things that have a high probability of leading to jobs in high-demand areas like data science, financial advising, nursing, or physical therapy that is akin to betting Red/Black or betting the 1st 12 on the roulette wheel. This is a safer bet and the odds of being successful are higher than normal. On the contrary, if a student decides to major in anthropology or photography that is similar to playing a few numbers straight up on the roulette wheel and ‘hoping for the best.’ The payoff is great, but the odds of that student “hitting” (or landing a job) are much lower. Odds matter and shouldn’t be overlooked when important decisions about majors and careers are on the line.

Let It Ride?

Before I made a career change to content marketing I applied to several ‘assistant professor in sociology’ jobs in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Having achieved a Ph.d. and taught for 14 years, at several institutions of higher learning, I figured I’d be a good fit for many schools (whether 4-year institutions–public or private or community colleges). From the dozens and dozens of applications I filled out I ended up getting very few interviews and no job offers. One community college HR person told me that there were over 400 applicants for the ‘Assistant Professor of Sociology’ position I applied for. The odds were not in my favor–aka Hunger Games.

These are incredibly difficult odds and something I should have been more aware of when I was an undergraduate (picking a major) and in graduate school too. Clearly, I speak from learning some very hard lessons. I followed my passions and it didn’t work out as planned. The other structural change in academia that I should have seen coming was the shift from 70% of professors being full-time (with benefits and decent wages) and 30% being part-time (with no benefits and low pay) to the reverse in the last ten to fifteen years. Now, only 30% of professors are full-time with benefits and 70% are part-time. This is a shift in the work force that is crucial. I followed my passion and ignored the economic reality that was staring me in the face. Blindly ‘following your passions’ can be a recipe for disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, following your passions should also factor into these decisions. However, students need to have a firm grasp on the odds-game given their major and career choice. What’s more it may be that students find they are most happy by being involved in the gig economy (for the benefits I’ve outlined in this article). The number of people working ‘side hustles‘ in the U.S. economy is clearly growing and can help bridge the gaps when full-time jobs aren’t as plentiful (or as satisfying) as they used to be. When I was between jobs I had football and basketball officiating to help keep money coming in and keep me busy. Side-hustles truly can be a life-line if things get tight. They might also lead to creative business opportunities that you didn’t know were possible.

In conclusion, the days of picking a major and career-choice based solely on your passions and what you ‘dream about doing’ are long gone for 95% of college graduates. The smarter way to go is to research heavily the job market and figure out how much risk you are willing to live with and calculate the odds that you can achieve the career-path you wish to pursue. And, of course, even if you do everything I’ve said you still may end up doing or being something different than you envisioned, but at least you will do it with your eyes wide open.


Source: College Students Should Hedge their Bets Smartly in the Gig Economy – Crelate

Remote Work Is Changing the Way We Lead

Remote Work Is Changing the Way We Lead

Written by Georgiana Beech, specially for The HR Tech Weekly®

Vintage Workplace

It goes without saying that businesses must adapt to changing employment trends or risk becoming obsolete. In order to recruit top talent and build an innovative, valuable workforce, companies must offer environments and perks that are attractive — that is, they must be modern and malleable.

With technology becoming entrenched in all aspects of the modern office, opportunities for remote work are abundant. According to the University of Alabama, 20 to 25 percent of American workers currently telecommute in some way, though up to 90 percent would like to. Slowly, the traditional office is fading.

Employees can now be scattered not only across the county, but across continents. With a multitude of business applications available, managing projects at a distance has never been easier. Communication between multiple departments (or even cooperating companies) streamlines the workflow and ups efficiency.

However, management across teams comes with a new set of challenges. Leaders need to switch up their style as much as employees do. Previously, American attitudes toward business have endorsed an every-person-for-themselves school of thought, encouraging workers to worry only about their personal progress.

Now, distance has forced a more group-minded approach. Employee development must be focused on critical thinking and problem solving. When working remotely, even though technology provides abundant connection, there is less immediate support available. Therefore, employees must be capable of higher-level assessment and problem management.

Managing employees equipped with more abstract skill sets may be challenging for some leaders. Your team may become noticeably self-sufficient, solving more problems on their own. This can be challenging to cope with if you’re used to leading with a very assignment-driven agenda.

You may also see your team diversify as you take on members from other companies or countries. Working with employees from different cultural backgrounds can create barriers to effective communication. You may have to contend with factors such as power distance, communication expectations, and conflict management styles.

Even if you feel comfortable navigating intercultural communication, your employees may not. With communication being a fundamental tenet of successful telecommuting, it is important to make sure that your employees feel prepared and empowered to tackle these challenges.

It can seem overwhelming to adopt a management style that’s appropriate to remote workers. It may even seem overwhelming to implement the technology necessary to make remote work possible. Based on the economic trade-off, though, the learning curve is worth it. Employees are happier and often more productive, in-office business costs lower, and you keep your business on the forefront of trends.

The infographic below, provided by the University of Alabama, details the current attitude towards remote work, as well as some of the implications for leaders as their offices make the switch.

Virtual Team Leadership: The Highs & Lows of Leading a Team Remotely
Source: Virtual Team Leadership: The Highs & Lows of Leading a Team Remotely | UAB Online Degrees
How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

Author: Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

I once worked for organization where most employees exiting said their reason for leaving was because it was just too difficult to be an employee there. Wow! Too difficult to be an employee? As HR professionals, we hear concerns about managers, pay, or even leadership as reasons people leave. Those are big challenges most organizations face at one time or another, and they are not easy to solve. But when an employee says it’s too hard to be an employee, that should get your attention quickly.

Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow
Jen Stroud, ServiceNow

An HR leader told me that making work life easier for their employees is vitally important. This leader works for a company that is in the business of saving lives every day. They want their employees focused on this critical mission rather than on who can answer their benefits question or what process they need to follow to be reimbursed for a course they’ve taken. And they’re not alone. All executives want their employees focused on their mission, whether it’s creating innovative products, building a sales pipeline, or servicing customers. Organizations hire employees to perform a role that is vital to a company’s growth and stability. Any obstacle that gets in the way of that mission should be removed. Yet, the challenges often remain because some people view change as difficult and too disruptive or we have bought into the belief that one system can solve all our HR technology needs. It’s also possible that no one is asking employees what they think or ignoring the signs of frustration until it’s too late.

The good news is that with the technology solutions available today, HR leaders can dramatically impact the employee service experience in a positive way. But you have to be willing to look at your employee service experience and your HR technology landscape in a new way. You have to be willing to imagine the art of the possible and be ready to disrupt the status quo. I have met with several HR execs over the past few years who cannot acknowledge the need to disrupt their HR service landscape. Instead they trust that the investments they’ve made in the past will pay off one day. HR has been a laggard department when it comes to innovation and change. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality.

Your Employee Service Experience

First, ask the simple question, “Is it easy for employees to take care of their basic HR needs and be productive in their jobs?” Are you providing your employees with a service experience at work that resembles their service experiences outside of work? Employees bring expectations to work every day. If they use an app in their personal lives that makes it easy to get something done, that is the type of experience they expect at work. And while no two organizations are alike and employee expectations vary, it is safe to say that most organizations face the same challenge—the majority of employees have high expectations for their employee service experience. Consider the following when assessing your current state:

  • Do you provide a one-stop shop for all HR questions and requests?
  • Are employees able to view their submitted requests at any time?
  • Are you keeping employees notified on the status of their requests in the manner they most desire (via text for example)?
  • Can employees easily find information pertinent to them and quickly submit requests to HR?
  • Can employees do all of this from their mobile device?

Your HR Technology Landscape

Digital Employee Experience

In most organizations, HR teams spend more than 30 percent of their days repeating the same information to employees over and over again and doing other repetitive work. Unfortunately, the information is not always consistent and correct. Often, response times are long leading to frustrated employees. In addition to preventing HR teams from focusing on more strategic initiatives, old school work environments that rely heavily on email communication and lack automated workflows are encouraging attrition as employees make the decision to move on to other organizations where they feel more valued… where it’s easier to be an employee. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time is your HR team spending on the daily administrative minutia of answering the same questions over and over again whether by email, phone or in person?
  • Are they still manually updating systems and processing paperwork?
  • Are employee needs being anticipated? Are their expectations being managed?

Are the HR systems in use at your company fit for purpose or are there gaps that prevent you from providing a service experience to your employees that will make them feel valued and prepared to fully contribute to your mission? Most companies have invested in technology designed to manage employee information and transactions. The missing link is often the “interaction” component. Consider the following questions:

  • How is email used in your company to manage employee questions and requests?
  • Can you easily determine how many and what type of requests are coming into HR or your employee information needs?
  • Do employees have access 24/7 to a knowledge base that will inform their decisions about benefits?
  • Can your HR team easily and independently make modifications to workflows and forms without having to engage with IT or professional services?

There are great HCM solutions available in the market today though I have yet to see one that alone can truly accomplish all of these. Email continues to be used in most organizations to manage interactions with employees even though it provides no visibility into request status and no structure or metrics for HR. The good news is that service management technology exists that integrates with existing HR technology to fill in these gaps allowing organizations to streamline and modernize the entire employee life cycle.

If employees are not giving you direct feedback as they leave your company, they may be posting their thoughts on sites such as Glassdoor or otherwise letting potential applicants know about their experience. Don’t wait for disaster to strike or be overwhelmed by the challenges in front of you. All great journeys begin with one bold step. The first step in your transformation journey could be a matter of adding structure and visibility to your employee request and information processes. Seize the opportunity to make a difference—a difference that will have a long term impact on the viability of your company. Invest in your employee service experience and you may reap the rewards of higher employee engagement and longer employee tenure. At the very least, you will have far fewer complaints about the ease of working in your organization.

On the streets. An image from SplitShire.com

Finding the Right Job in the Right Field (Infographic)

Millennials – those who are born between 1977 to 1995 – is the generation that is widely discussed and written about these days. Characterized as tech-savvy, updated, and forward-thinking individuals, the millennial generation cannot be simply ignored nowadays, as many experts see them as the future that will revolutionize the way we conduct business and the way we think about the workplace.

But surprisingly, a significant number of Millennials across the world are still struggling to find the right job that matches well with their skills and knowledge. In the latest report from the International Labor Organization, it was reported that the global youth unemployment rate was expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 and remain at that level through to 2017 (up from 12.9 per cent in 2015).

With the increasing saturation of the labor market, Millennials need to gain legitimate experience, hone their skills and knowledge by being involved in industry-related projects, and acquire the ability to be efficient in an environment relevant to their degree. These play a crucial role in finding the job that matches their education and qualification as prospective professionals.

However, the problem not only lies in the competition in the labor market but also on the way people view what a “job” is. For most Millennials, a 9-5 job is a set-up that will inhibit their personal growth, though also sees it as the only way to gain legitimate work experience. The Millennials have to change their outlook towards what job is and should start leveraging the potential of freelancing as a type of employment.

To learn more about freelancing and how it can help millennials find the right job for them, check out the infographic below from BrainBoxol.


Source: Finding the Right Job in the Right Field (Infographic) | Brain Boxol Blog

Is Video Screening the Next Big Thing in HR Tech?

Is Video Screening the Next Big Thing in HR Tech?

The guest blog post by Optimize.
Video Screening
An image from Dean Drobot’s portfolio on Shutterstock

As many companies know, it’s costly to bring candidates to interview, costly in time, and for the candidates themselves to travel to your location; as a result, all efforts should be made to reduce those costs for all involved. If your recruiters or HR managers have to spend hours on the phone conducting phone screening interviews, or worse, have to chase phone calls and emails, that costs money too. There has to be a better way right?

Video Screening is a relatively new process and has been used to successful effect by several companies. 50% of companies who have implemented it have said it has improved their cost to hire significantly.

Screening process through the ages

Gone are the days of walking in an office door, chatting with the manager, and landing the job. In the past, there wasn’t a great deal of need to “screen” candidates as there weren’t such a high volume of applicants per role. There wasn’t as much social mobility so jobs were much more predetermined, and competitiveness – to a small degree – was decreased. Besides, roles themselves were different, so if someone had an accounting degree and you were hiring an accountant, and their references checked out, you were good to go. It was very likely if you had a degree in a certain subject you’d get a job in that area. Now it’s not so simple.

Presently, the job market is much more open and changes of career are commonplace. With a higher volume of (on paper) qualified applicants with secondary and tertiary skills, it means most graduates can quickly train in a wide range of surface level roles rather than an immediate specialism – and their initial skills are less important than how they can learn, think, and grow with a company.

This now dynamic workforce has increased applications to city centre roles and larger corporations. The modern candidate has a wider range of skills on offer and the ability to apply online at many different companies with ease. To deal with higher volumes, and simply to narrow down the candidate pool, an effective screening process becomes necessary. Companies may have dozens, even hundreds of qualified applicants to a role, so how does each candidate distinguish him- or herself from another?

To keep up with demand, companies implemented processes such as phone screening interviews, email exchanges, and informal face to face chats. But these techniques are limited in their effectiveness to see the ‘real’ person – and they are very time consuming. These past processes – chats, phone calls, and so forth – certainly have the benefit of being personable, but when your company hires in large volumes, it no longer has the time. It’s also impossible for larger businesses (high street retailers, for example) or someone like the Post Office to hire for busy, seasonal work – like at Christmas – where they can typically expect to receive thousands of applications, and need to turn the process around in weeks (if they even have that long). Centralisation of the recruitment process – having a set process, quality control, and set standards predetermined for each role – allows a head office to have visibility in the managing of high-volume applications.

In the past, a warehouse manager might have been the one to hire with vastly differing results, which can cause efficiency and staff turnover problems down the line, whilst also limiting head office’s ability to control the quality of their workforce.

The growing need to screen candidates

Hiring has changed drastically over the years because – in the past – people stayed put. It wasn’t uncommon for people to mark their 20th, 30th, or even 40th anniversary with a company, but as the job market has changed with the need for say more tech jobs than ever, hiring processes have needed to evolve to keep up with demand and time constraints. Today’s worker currently stays in a role for between one and two years. This shorter timeline means your company – through no fault of its own – will inevitably see staff turnover as a part of everyday life, and it will subsequently need to hire more people, more often. Processes, thus, need to keep up.

Video Interview
An image by Optimize

The current landscape of video screening

Video screening is still in its infancy – not in the sense that the technology is primitive, but in that it’s relatively new to the scene and many people might not know about it as an option. Many HR managers and recruitment companies do realise that the way they hire now isn’t efficient enough, but they may not know how to remedy that lack of efficiency.

A Monster study revealed that most recruiters spend over 70,000 minutes on the phone each year. With faster turnovers, does your company really have that time? Think of what you pay your HR manager or recruiter per hour and multiply that number by the number of candidates you usually have to screen for each position. That’s the figure it will cost you only to reach the interview stage, which costs more time and money.

Companies who implement video screening find that it reduces time to discover who they want to bring to interview. They can collaborate as a team on which candidates are most suitable to interview. Candidates are no longer simply reduced to the black and white of their CV paper; they can come alive on screen. Their personalities can shine through, and they can take the time to impress you and your hiring team. It’s like those old days of people walking in your offices for a job, but better – because you can decide in front of them without actually being in front of them (you know, because it’s a video)!

The advantages to screening

Once you’ve combed through CVs and shortlisted you candidates – or narrowed them down through them using software, whichever – then you’ll send them the pre-screening questions. You set the questions, set time limits for the answers, and set a deadline, and send them to your shortlist. Candidates will feel like they’re moving forward in the process from the moment they submit their application, but this step is virtually hands free for your company. Questions can be sent out immediately – or after you’ve verified their CV. Video screening is perfect for high volume, decentralised industries such as seasonal warehouse jobs – but also works especially well for customer facing roles as you’ll quickly determine how a candidate’s personality matches your company’s core values or personal preferences.

If hiring for customer service roles, you’ll want to see how well candidates can handle potentially tricky questions on the spot, and video screening is a perfect opportunity for candidates to showcase their ability to think on their feet. You can ask the applicant a troublesome question like how they’d deal with a customer that would like to return an item without a receipt or how they’d handle logging a complaint about a fellow colleague (who is currently off shift)? Keeping the problems agnostic of your company vertical will test the quick thinking and experience of the application. It’s often more about how the candidate delivers an answer than the answer itself.

The big sell with Video Screening is that you will see candidates before they come in – in animation – not in the social stalk kinda way where you have to check out their LinkedIn or Facebook profile pictures before you phone them! Seeing someone in person and viewing how they hold themselves and interact with the questions you set – even if it’s not physically – can help you gauge their suitability. Some could argue that human bias could sway results based on attractiveness alone, but, again, if you need a front-facing position, and you need someone confident and bubbly you can see that on a video interview, looks aside. Besides, companies will do themselves a disservice only hiring those deemed “attractive,” because – at the end of the day – you want people who are good at what they do and are the most qualified for the job outside of attractiveness level.

That sounds great – but is Video Screening really the future?

As mentioned before, processes are clearly not good enough. Just ask anyone who hires large volumes of staff – it’s tough. Many companies turn to some sort of tech whether it’s computer tests or computerised CV combing, but those processes are imperfect and still fail to show you the ‘real’ person behind the CV. You may have someone who can pass computer tests, or put in keywords in white font on their CV, but they aren’t very good in person; they don’t fit with your office culture, or they aren’t confident enough for a front-of-house role. That’s where video screening helps the process along in an innovative way. Sure, for some roles, you may just need that shy guy or girl who can code really well, and maybe for those applications video screening seems less appropriate, but, either way, if your candidate will be in the office, you need to make sure he or she fits in and works well with others (and has a modicum of confidence).

And, let’s face it, videos are everywhere these days! Video is the fastest way to get people’s attention – that’s why YouTube and those Facebook videos are so popular!

Okay, but what about those people who feel uncomfortable with video screening? Will it put applicants off? Is it too edgy and too new to try out? The truth is it may put some applicants off, sure. It may not appeal to older generations, but most candidates are willing to go through the hiring process no matter what it is. Most people have been to group interviews where you spend time building something out of paper with bits of blue tac and string (or some such exercise that is measuring a metric that has nothing to do with what you can build out of paper with ten strangers). Those people may not love that group activity, but if it’s part of your interview process – and they want the job with your company – they’ll endure the task – not that we’re trying to liken video screening to group interviews. Candidates who apply to large retailers often have to undergo computer testing, and they do that too. The point is that the most motivated candidates will be willing to go through the process of video screening even if it’s a little unusual or different for them. Therefore Video Screening works well as a deterrent to those not wholly invested in the role, again improving the efficiency of your process.

Furthermore, younger candidates will especially love this method because they are far more comfortable using a smartphone, taking a selfie, seeing themselves on screen. Enabling the next generation of skilled workers to apply in a way that suits them is going to put your company one step ahead of the competition in 2017 and beyond. Video screening is here to stay. It’s making processes better, faster, and cost-effective, so it’s best to jump on the video bandwagon before you get left behind.


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Etiquette

Professional Etiquette For Jobseekers And Recruiters (Infographic)

Professional Etiquette for Jobseekers and Recruiters | Main Image

To be on your best behavior is always important, but good professional etiquette is more essential and more critical when one is looking for a job or a new talent for a company.

For job seekers, failing to create a positive and lasting impression during the initial assessment can hinder their chances of moving forward in the hiring process.

For recruiters, even the slightest mistake during the hiring process could cause them to potentially lose a valuable candidate.

Keeping up to date with the overwhelming amount of job search trends, hiring protocols and interview practices can be very stressful. Also, these trends may quickly change. In this infographic, we listed down the rules that will forever matter.  Rules that job seekers and recruiters have to keep in mind during the whole hiring process.

So, good professional etiquette is important during hiring process. Learn some rules that jobseekers and recruiters have to keep in mind with this infographic by Phil. Exeq Search Solutions.

Professional Etiquette for Jobseekers and Recruiters | Infographic by Phil. Exeq Search Solutions


Source: Professional Etiquette For Jobseekers And Recruiters (Infographic)

Future of Work Trends, Part 4: Future of Training in HR | Featured Image

Future of Work Trends, Part 4: Future of Training in HR

hard-work-with-a-book-picjumbo-com

With the introduction of video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc. the employee training has transformed forever. Online video sites have enabled many companies to upload their training videos and making it available to their employees. Companies which previously have to schedule personal training sessions by matching a time as per the availability of trainer and employees which were a tedious task and even time-consuming at times are now switching to online training. Online training & career development facilitates employees to take up the training as per their schedules and from their comfort zones.

Recently many companies are re-configuring learning and development to become less campus-based classes and more of on-demand online training. This way it becomes easier for both the trainers and trainees. Trainers record their training videos once and do not have to take training sessions again and again. Trainees can choose a topic for training as per their requirement and interest, saving them both time and efforts. This makes employees more independent as they can choose a topic to develop a particular skill of their choice rather than what management thinks is best for them, although most time the curriculum is set and is also best especially for early stage careers.

Constant technological up-gradations have made the online video sites to become more user-friendly. These sites often remind users about an unfinished video so the person doesn’t miss out on something he left midway. They also suggest similar videos to enhance user’s skills and increase their understanding on the topic through different video perspectives. Online training videos are also setting up a benchmark in the employee assessment program. Nowadays many companies are evaluating employees by undergoing a specific training and assessment program. Employees are trained on a specific process by taking up online workshops and then are made to give tests based upon which they are promoted to specific positions.

Online Training

This way a fair evaluation procedure is followed giving only the deserving ones the much-needed promotion. Even employees find themselves in a win-win situation as they get to upgrade their skills. With tremendous growth in the online employee training and workshops which is slowly transforming how we learn & evaluate, it is not wrong to say that in a few year will see a more advanced and efficient ways into learning & assessments, and maybe this is a job within HR that can be taken away by machines that may be able to assess faster and smarter without the human error and provide more accurate assessments.

Just like online video sites are setting up a new trend in the workplace, similar growth can be seen in the online human resources functions in particular with training/learning and development. We shall continue with the next trend in the fifth and final part of the series where we will focus on how human resources functions are rapidly moving online, and that is a fascinating thought but also slightly scary as we ought to maintain the human and machine balance in what is needs to be a personnel function.

To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhumika Zhaveri and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Social Media Icons Logo Wallpaper

Future of Work Trends, Part 3: Social Media, Decisions & Jobs

Cute Wall-E Wallpaper

Human Beings are social animals and we love to socialise, that was never a surprise! Social networking is making use of Internet-based social media platforms to connect with friends, family and other people. Social Networking is done mainly for the sole purpose of socialising or for business. Various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. are popular these days among people. It’s become our alternative lives, and as scary it sounds it is as much real too. Apart from socialising, these social networking sites are rapidly growing for various other purposes like commerce, knowledge sharing, marketing, relationship building, employment, etc.

Social Networking is playing an important role nowadays in the recruitment process. Both employers and employees are making use of the social networking sites to achieve their job goals.

Apart from job search engines & company career portals, social networking sites are helping employers find the right candidate for the positions. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn help in establishing connections between the employer and employee where they get to know each other.

Depending upon the job requirement, a selected group of people are filtered through the interview process and although mainly for perm jobs this has been one of the most successful platforms, until recently. Other social networking sites like Facebook & Twitter help in evaluating the social lives of candidates. The social life reflects candidate’s extracurricular activities which is increasingly becoming an important deciding factor in the selection process. Now although I do not support this mechanism of shortlisting or decision making there are organisations that heavily advocate and implement this.

Social networking helps employees in building connections with people in their online & real-life circle. This helps them in finding a job at a company they want to work with. People now built their resumes including all the keywords which best describe their skill sets, which in turn helps employers to find them on the job portals or networking sites like LinkedIn. This way it has become easier for both employers to search candidates and job-seeker to find the right job.

Social media hiring is also greatly increasing in temporary and contract or project based workforce as it mainly works on referral and recommendations, which is another great aspect and so in order to reflect the change in attitudes even these forms of job providers and holders need to improvise on how they can create their brand fan following on relevant platforms, like ours to start moving towards a more real-time candidate and data flow, getting rid of the old systems and processes that are both manual and complex for no real reason.

But like we know, with good comes the bad too. Social networking at times can be disadvantageous too for a company as due to networking, hiring committee does favouritism towards people they know, or like based on their personal biases. This kills the overall objective of the company to be culturally more diverse & of giving equal opportunities for all irrespective of background, culture, religion, age or gender. Hence many companies are coming up with new laws to counter favouritism, gender biases and racism but these are so qualitative that it needs serious thinking and implementing.

Social Media Influence

One quick advice to all organisations is that regardless of how much social media influence you may think you have or not, ensure you have a policy in place that protects your business but also allows an individual to have an opinion on a certain culture and/or process etc. It is fair to promote freedom of speech internally and externally, without really naming and shaming brand as it can be a great part of feedback learning and loop.

Finally, with every employee recruited, it’s important to train them as per the company policies and business demands. This involves a lot of on-job training and assessments at regular intervals in order to achieve company’s organisational objective, perm as well as interim colleagues. As per the recent trend, employee training & assessment is increasingly becoming online, facilitating affectivity saving time & efforts. In the next part, we will try to elaborate more about the increasing trend of online employee training & workshops.

To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhumika Zhaveri and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

4 Degrees That Take You Far in HR (featured image)

4 Degrees That Take You Far in HR

4 Degrees That Take You Far in HR (image 1)

You have to be smart to work in human resources. You won’t hear this from anyone outside of HR, but it’s the truth. HR professionals balance all sorts of responsibilities, from administering compensation and benefits to settling disputes between employees to organizing weekly, monthly, and annual events. It’s a tough gig, and it takes diligence and intelligence to pull off.

Therefore, to advance in HR, you need to be even more diligent and intelligent than your HR peers – which means you need to be better educated than they are. Advanced degrees are known to help the ambitious speed up the corporate ladder, and that’s true in HR, too. The following four degrees are incredibly different from one another, but that’s exactly why they are perfect for those interested in being better at HR.

1. Master in Human Resources Management

It shouldn’t be surprising that studying human resources is good for those seeking jobs in human resources. A master’s degree in Human Resources Management targets the field of HR, imbuing students with highly focused knowledge and skills that are exceedingly useful to HR careers. Professionals equipped with the MHRM can typically skip the years of entry-level employment and begin as HR managers, opening up access to better career prospects in the near future.

The only potential downside to an MHRM is the restriction of its material. Students who acquire this advanced degree should be committed to working within HR for their lifetimes, as the information and abilities gained therein hardly apply to other business departments. Fortunately, every business sector requires HR professionals, so graduates with this degree do have some ability to move in their HR careers – though perhaps not as much as grads from the following advanced programs.

2. Master in Business Administration

Arguably the three most familiar letters in business, the MBA is a highly contentious degree program. On one hand, it provides students with essential business leadership skills as well as a foundation in several business fields, including HR. On the other hand, so many schools are producing MBAs every year that employers are beginning to wonder whether that extra education is worthwhile to the workforce.

The truth is MBAs continue to be valuable to businesses – especially in the HR department. The necessity for HR professionals to boast a bevy of skills makes the broad scope of the MBA useful; HR workers can learn the details of all business functions, from accounting to marketing, improving their ability to hire specialized workers and communicate with those teams. Plus, acquiring an AACSB online MBA will give you more flexibility in your career, so you can leave HR for nearly any other business field, if you so desire.

4 Degrees That Take You Far in HR (image 2)

3. Master in Computer Science

Human resources professionals work primarily with people, and secondarily with numbers – so it seems odd that a degree in computer science might be useful to HR. However, like nearly every other business field, HR processes have begun relying heavily on tech, so being proficient in computer science is actually a significant boon to HR workers. With an MS in Computer Science, HR professionals can design and maintain useful programs for HR and other business departments, which can speed up processes, relieve overburdened teams, and help the business become more productive overall. Additionally, it’s conceivable that a tech-savvy HR manager would be promoted into positions like Chief Technology Officer. Thus, computer science isn’t a totally wild advanced degree for HR professionals to obtain.

4. Master in Social Work

Then again, if you entered the HR field for its promise of human contact, you might be drawn to an advanced degree in social work. A Master of Social Work is mandatory for any social work positions, but it is also exceedingly beneficial for professionals looking to become proficient in working with people. Courses on psychology and sociology as well as administrative training provide an unbeatable foundation for assisting people work through issues and reestablish stability. Even better, social work programs teach students about important laws and regulations, which will improve your ability to maintain standards for your employer. Because social work and the HR field overlap in so many ways, this degree program can be just as beneficial as an MHRM.

Whether you would be content with a management position or you want access to the C-suite, you should probably earn an advanced degree to move up in HR. The above programs offer the most applicable knowledge and skills, but you can explore other options by contacting business schools or speaking with a qualified HR mentor.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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