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February 21, 2017 / Molly Moseley

Look to email to help gauge cultural alignment

Hiring managers know that finding the best talent is one part science, one part art and one part gut instinct. While it’s easy to check for quantifiable skills (10 years in the health care industry, advanced educational degrees, specific certifications), it’s not as easy to verify personality traits that ensure a good cultural fit.

This is incredibly important because it’s often cultural fit and ability to adapt that really makes a hire successful. Plenty of people might be able to do a job based on required skills. Not as many are able to fit into the organization and be a positive part of the cultural fabric that makes up the company.

Determining cultural alignment during the hiring process is difficult. You may only meet with a candidate a handful of times before a decision must be made. How someone looks, acts and communicates all influence your opinion about if they’ll fit. While your intuition may often be right, we’re all human, and it will at some point be wrong — a costly HR mistake.

Because it’s such a gamble, many companies are trying new strategies for verifying cultural alignment. Email, for example, can reveal a surprisingly large amount of information about cultural fit. Studies show email can even predict the likelihood that a candidate will stick around and advance up the ranks.

Researchers from Stanford and The University of California, Berkeley published an extensive report based on analysis of 10.24 million emails exchanged over five years among 601 full-time employees of a mid-sized U.S. for-profit technology firm. One of the most compelling findings included:

“Rank-and-file employees with high cultural fit have a cumulative probability of 48 percent of being promoted to a managerial position by the end of their third year at the firm, which is 1.5 and 2.7 times greater than their counterparts who exhibit median or low cultural fit, respectively.”

What’s more, emails that demonstrated poor cultural fit were from candidates much more likely to get fired:

“The implications of low cultural fit for involuntary exit are particularly dramatic: at 46 percent, the cumulative probability of involuntary exit after three years is four times greater for an employee with low cultural fit than it is for one with median cultural fit.”

Company emails are a treasure trove of linguistic information that can tell a whole lot about an employee’s potential. When hiring managers take a closer look at candidate emails noting similar linguistic cues, they can gain important insight into cultural fit, and ultimately, insight into whether this person is worth onboarding.

Considering the rapid growth of companies with telecommuting options, email has never been more important. Just one example is technology company Buffer. Their hiring page notes the main way they gauge cultural alignment is by analyzing email wording. Because the company is made of remote teams worldwide, this helps them ensure anyone they hire is a good fit.

What role does email analysis currently serve in your hiring process? Do you believe it’s the key to better understanding an employee’s ability to culturally align at an organization?

 

February 9, 2017 / Molly Moseley

Diversity fuels innovation and without it, we all suffer

President Trump’s executive order on immigration continues to make headlines. With so much uncertainty about the future, many businesses are starting to have new discussions about diversity in the workplace and how it affects culture and the bottom line.

Racial and gender inequality have obvious social impacts on any business, but it’s so much more than that. Without a diverse and inclusive workforce, we all suffer. Innovation flounders, brand reputations bomb and profits plateau.

McKinsey & Company analysis found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to be over those medians.

This diversity has a snowball effect that in turn has a massive impact on the global economy. Let’s look at gender equality, for example. A McKinsey Global Institute report found that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. That’s a whopping 11 percent increase!

But you can’t simply will workplace diversity to happen. One common pitfall for companies exploring diversity initiatives is to focus too heavily on the numbers. If you hit certain numbers, you have a proportionately diverse workplace, right? It’s not that easy.

Diversity and inclusion are two different things, and both are required for a company to see true success. Diversity numbers may indicate representation of different groups across departments, but without inclusiveness, you won’t get the value you’re seeking, and in fact, there may be backlash.

Workplace diversity advocate Verna Myers says it best: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

So what can you do to transform your company into a diverse, inclusive workplace that benefits employees and the bottom line?

Admit there is a problem: The first step to solving any problem is to admit there is a problem. It’s a sensitive topic, and one some people are bound to get defensive about. However, without honesty you can’t make any changes that have lasting impact.

Start at the top: In order for diversity and inclusion to be part of a company’s culture, it must happen from the top down. Company leaders need to send a clear and consistent message to employees, plus show they embrace these values by taking action in their own position.

Remove hiring bias: Hiring biases are prevalent at many companies. It’s difficult to pinpoint because many are unintentional and happen subconsciously. That’s why it’s important to take an in-depth look at hiring from start to finish. A specialty consultant can help with this.

Compensate equally: There are countless studies that have found women and minorities often make less than their white male counterparts. Is this true at your organization? There are many influential factors that go into determining someone’s wage, but make sure race, gender, religion and sexual orientation aren’t one of them.

Provide career opportunities: To boost inclusiveness, it’s essential to provide clear career paths so employees can be empowered. This can include internal career development documents, educational classes to boost skills, mentorship programs and the willingness to promote from within.

Go beyond numbers: Understand what people think and how it’s affecting their job. Quantifying emotion and analyzing inclusion can be difficult, but the more insight you have, the more likely you are to make a lasting impact.

 

February 3, 2017 / Toby Dayton

January Job Gains Beat Consensus Estimates (Just As LinkUp Predicted)

Nice way to start off another year of NFP forecasting…

NFP_2017.02.03

February 2, 2017 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Forecasting Solid Job Gains In January and Continued Strength In February

Just two weeks in, and yet, already…

 

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Based on gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp in December, we are forecasting a net gain of 215,000 jobs for January.

 

Jobs By State December 2016

 

Sustained strength in U.S. labor demand, combined with the fact that we’ve been in a full employment environment for nearly a year (since at least Q2 of last year), resulted in continued growth in LinkUp’s Job Duration metric as employers find it increasingly hard to find applicants for open positions. In January, LinkUp’s Job Duration rose from 47 days in December to 49 days, a pretty clear signal indicating continued growth in wages.

 

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And based on job listing growth in January, we expect to see continued strength in job gains and wage increases throughout the entire labor market in February and perhaps even through at least the first quarter.

 

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Of course, our bullish forecast for the U.S. labor market in the coming months assumes that the world doesn’t continue cratering at the rate it appears to be at the moment…

 

 

January 23, 2017 / Stephanie Anderson

Bouncing back after a troublesome 2016

We’re a few weeks into 2017, but the sting of 2016 remains. For a lot of people, it was a tough year. Many big companies like Wells Fargo, Twitter and Samsung didn’t do so hot. We lost some really awesome celebrities like Prince, Muhammad Ali and Carrie Fisher. The election seemed dirtier than ever and scandal rumors continue into the new year.

So how do you shake off the shadow of last year so you can fully bounce back? The key is to focus on yourself and what you can control. Here are five ways to refresh your attitude and life approach so you can take 2017 by storm.

Remain optimistic: Now more than ever, it’s important to focus on the positive. It’s easy to get down given the steady stream of negative headlines, but right now there are positive things happening too. The economy is great and job markets are rocking. There’s always a silver lining, and when you look at the glass as half full, you’ll be amazed by how your perspective can change your perception.

Focus on gratitude: Americans often focus on what they want, not what they have. Try a simple daily exercise: Before you get out of bed, think of three things you’re grateful for. It could be your health, your house, soft new sheets, coffee — anything that makes your day brighter. By doing this each morning you set the tone for the entire day. Try it with your kids over breakfast and everyone will stay more grounded and focused.

Inspire change locally: If you’re upset about the election results, it’s going to be tough as the new administration takes over. When big changes are happening, it can feel like so much is out of your control. That’s why you should focus on the impact you can make at a local level. Look into volunteering. Get involved in community improvement programs. Communicate with your local government officials about important issues.

Make a plan: You can’t will something to happen. If you want something to change, you need to make a plan. To advance your career, write down steps to get you to your goal: take a class, volunteer for a new project, step outside your comfort zone, meet with your boss. Same goes with personal goals. Whether it’s visiting the gym twice each week or reading a new book every month, you need to write it down and make it happen.

Create a 2017 bucket list: A bucket list usually focuses on big things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” In 2017, focus more on the present by creating a bucket list you want to complete before the year’s end. It could involve travel, exploring local parks, trying a new hobby, etc. Add things that you tend to put off. Working through the list will bring you a lot of joy and could make 2017 your most productive and happy year yet.

January 19, 2017 / Molly Moseley

Managing Change: How to foster positive transitions at work

Old way, new waySitting on the cusp of Inauguration Day, Americans are paying close attention in order to prepare for what is sure to be sweeping, dynamic change. Whether you’re happy or discontent about the new administration, you know the next four years will be a wild ride.

Change is difficult. As humans, we like what we know. We feel comfortable with the status quo. When what we come to expect shifts, it can be alarming. There’s no better example of this than when change unfolds in the business landscape.

When leadership changes and other major transitions transpire at work, it can make everyone nervous. These are the moments that can make or break a company. With so much on the line, you’d think leaders would be savvy in change management best practices, but studies show they aren’t.

Organizational Change: Motivation, Communication, and Leadership Effectiveness” by Performance Improvement Quarterly features a study that found approximately 80 percent of respondents feel their leaders never, rarely or only sometimes effectively implement change.

The leaders themselves aren’t any more confident in their abilities to manage change. A 2013 Strategy& survey on culture and change management found major change initiatives by global senior executives are only 54 percent successful.

So how can you beat the odds to better manage change at the organizational level? The following six ideas can boost your success. President-elect Trump should take note.

Communication: Frequent communication before, during and after change implementation is critical to eliminate transition pitfalls. Transparency should be at the heart of all communication strategies. Honesty will build your reputation for integrity, even during rocky times.

Open-door approach: When those who are affected by change feel like they have an outlet in which to voice their concerns, a transition can happen much more seamlessly. Maintain an open-door policy and listen with genuine interest. Accept feedback even from the biggest critics. Engagement is key.

Start at the top: How is change being embraced by the leaders of the organization? During transition periods employees will look to leadership for cues about the future. By embracing change and keeping a positive, enthusiastic attitude, leadership will influence others to do the same.

Cultural assessments: Assess the cultural landscape and address how the change will impact culture, if at all. Cultural dynamics can mean the difference between a smooth transition and one that is utterly dismissed by employees. Be straightforward about any cultural changes that are expected to facilitate change.

Ongoing reviews: When a major change takes place, it’s essential to monitor the positive and negative impacts. Furthermore, this analysis should be ongoing. Looking at progress and remembering that plans evolve will help ensure you make the necessary corrections along the way to reach the ultimate goal.

Expect the unexpected: You can have the most detailed plan about how a major change will unfold, but you will always experience the unexpected. From muddied processes, negative reactions and even resignations, you need to be resilient and adapt as necessary.

 

January 7, 2017 / Toby Dayton

Not A Bad Way To End The ‘Garbage Dumpster’ Year

It was a year of mixed results for our NFP forecasts, but at least we ended on a strong note with our prediction of a below-consensus NFP for December in spite of what remains a very strong, ‘Full Employment’ labor market marked by rising wages, solid monthly job gains, and rising job duration.

 

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We’ll post a more detailed self-assessment when the BLS issues its final revisions for November and December, but our preliminary grade for 2016 isn’t as bad as the overall dumpster-fire of a year.

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January 5, 2017 / Molly Moseley

Passive-Aggressiveness Is Killing Workplace Productivity

If you live in Minnesota, you know most of us are pretty hardcore when it comes to weather. The current forecast says the daily highs will barely graze the single digits until next week. Surviving frigid winters is a badge of honor, and many of us find ways to embrace it through sports and other fun outdoor activities.

Our fierce attitude toward Old Man Winter is in stark contrast to our reputation for being “Minnesota Nice.” Even in the workplace, being passive-aggressive is too often the go-to strategy when dealing with clients and coworkers.

Over the holidays I realized this can really affect us in a negative way. While celebrating with my brother, he said one of the reasons he would never move back to Minnesota is because of how passive-aggressive people are and how utterly unproductive that tendency is. No, it isn’t the cold winters that topped his list of reasons to stay away; it’s our behaviors!

Women in general can easily fall into the passive-aggressive trap. We say “sorry” too often, we worry about hurting people’s feelings, and we struggle with being direct. Some of this might be inherent, but much of it is because of societal expectations and dated social mores.

Check out “9 hilariously non-threatening leadership strategies for women,” a tongue-in-cheek article published by everydayfeminism.com. Each meme presents a threatening and non-threatening alternative. For example, if you’re setting a deadline for an employee, rather than saying “This is due on Monday,” ask the question “What do you think of getting this done by Monday?”

While it’s easy to laugh at articles like these, it’s not funny that this is the reality for so many women. We feel we must act a certain way as to not come off as bossy (and, you know, that other B word). It’s become so ingrained that some of us communicate like this without even realizing it. As my brother pointed out, it wastes time, causes confusion and certainly doesn’t move the needle forward for workplace equality.

So my mini New Year’s resolution is to be aware of how I’m communicating with my colleagues and work on being more direct. When something can be said in an eight-word email, it doesn’t require a whole paragraph. Being clear and concise is essential to avoid miscommunication and keep things buzzing forward. It may not be the stereotypical Minnesota way, but it’s going to be my way from now on.

I encourage other women and men to do the same. Research shows it’s beneficial in your personal life as well as your professional one. I can certainly think of a few times I told my spouse something and the conversation became so convoluted that the one point I wanted to make didn’t get through. Same goes with kids, too.

What’s your take? Are you seeing passive aggressive behavior in your office? How do you deal with it?

January 4, 2017 / Toby Dayton

Merry Christmas Donald: Despite Disappointing December Job Gains, You’re Inheriting a Very Strong Job Market

Based on new and total job openings data generated from LinkUp’s job search engine, which includes more than 3 million job openings indexed exclusively each day from approximately 30,000 company websites, we are forecasting a net gain of 125,000 for Friday’s jobs report for December.

 

LinkUp NFP Forecast DEC2016

 

Our forecast, quite a bit below consensus estimates, stems from the rather sharp decline in new and total job openings we saw in November which would indicate more muted job gains in December. Further evidence of a somewhat disappointing NFP number on Friday is contained in LinkUp’s jobs duration data which shows a continued decline since its peak in August in the number of jobs filled in less than 30 days.

 

Job Duration Detail 2 DEC2016

 

Those declines pushed overall job duration up to 47 days in December.

 

Job Duration DEC2016

 

But as we’ve highlighted in the past, a rising duration number can be indicative of a labor market that is cooling off and/or an environment in which employers are finding it harder and harder to find applicants to fill job openings. In this case, we suspect that both are true. Hiring does tend to slow down in December (non-farm payrolls in December have declined an average of 30% from November for the past 3 years), and we have been in a Full-Employment environment since early Q2 which means that filling positions is getting harder and harder for companies.

And while we expect a below-consensus NFP report Friday, there is no mistaking the fact that we remain in a very, very strong labor market. New and total job listings in LinkUp’s search engine rose 6% and 1% respectively in December which should result in strong job gains in January and perhaps the entire first quarter.

 

Jobs By State December 2016

 

So Merry Christmas, Donald. You will be inheriting an incredibly strong, robust labor market that shows no sign whatsoever of slowing down. I can’t wait to read your tweets in the next few months taking all the credit for what should be a series of strong jobs reports in your nascent administration.

 

December 28, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Greatest hits: LinkUp’s hottest blog posts of the year

TheLinkUpBlog_imageThe year 2016 had its peaks and pits, but no matter what, it’s one to remember. The LinkUp blog continued to grow in readership and served as a platform for us to speak our minds and tackle sometimes tough topics. It’s more than just what we have to say; it’s what you — the readers — commented regarding these myriad topics. It’s this ongoing conversation that fuels thought leadership and innovation in our industry, so let’s keep our voices strong in the new year.

With that being said, here are the top 5 “greatest hits” from the 2016 blog:

5. Having a baby is no vacation

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. The novel “Meternity” is about a fictional character who covets her coworker’s maternity leave so much that she fakes a pregnancy to experience the break herself. This story didn’t sit well with many mothers who know those first handful of months can be really tough. What’s more, with the poor parental leave policies in the U.S. for most workers, new moms must often choose between taking unpaid leave or rushing back to work to make ends meet. Having a baby certainly is no picnic for the majority of working women.

4. Removing salary disclosures helps job seekers win equality

It’s the same whether you’re buying bananas or hiring an employee: When you know how little you can pay for something you need, it’s human nature to seek out the best price. Whether on purpose or subconsciously, many companies are able to wage-gouge employees by asking on the application how much professionals have made at their current and previous positions. This blog analyzes the Massachusetts law that makes it illegal to ask about past compensation on an application, and why this could be a real move in the right direction for equal pay for all workers.

3. Employee resignations: counter offer or say good bye?

For managers and those in HR, deciding whether to make a counteroffer to an employee who has given notice can be incredibly difficult. That decision must emerge after numerous considerations. The problem is likely more than just salary; it could be the company isn’t a good match for the employee’s work style or there aren’t enough advancement opportunities. Unless you’re willing to look deeply into the problem and fix it, it’s best to let the employee go and part ways amicably.

2. Employees working while ill? Maybe it’s the PTO policy

As temperatures dip, the coughs, sniffles and sneezes seem to spread like wildfire across the office. People become ill; some will call in sick while others will try to power through and work despite having the flu. Of course it’s best for sick employees to stay home to avoid spreading their illnesses, but that’s not always what happens. This blog looks at the pros and cons of several approaches to PTO that can encourage sick employees to stay away.

1. Drum roll for … How Uber’s labor model is changing talent-acquisition

What really caught readers’ attention was our blog about Uber’s unique labor model and how it’s shifting the hiring landscape. For recruiters, the trend of businesses offering on-demand services means tackling unique hurdles. Thinking strategically, broadening outreach and offering sign-on extras can all speak volumes when attracting new talent. Retention is another beast that must be tamed. This blog offers nuggets of insight to help modern recruiters with these new challenges.

What’s next for 2017? That’s up to you! Please share your thoughts on what you want to hear more about in the new year.