Development and Succession Planning: Solving Tomorrow’s Talent Issues Today

Development and Succession Planning: Solving Tomorrow’s Talent Issues Today

exterior building with whitewashed brick and colorful door“Our Recruiters are going to have to move faster. If they have to go over budget, that is fine. We need talent.” I have seen this scenario many times…words coming directly from the mouths of senior executives. We need talent. We have gaps. Get recruiting on it immediately. In theory, it makes sense. We need talent, so let’s ensure our talent acquisition team is on it and has the tools and spend necessary to bring talent in the door. But that’s just it…they are bringing it in the front door. As an HR Executive, I often then asked “What are we doing to make sure the back door is closed?”

It’s a simple analogy. If you work hard to attract talent to your organization, then you will need to work ten times harder to keep them there. So, close the back door. Perhaps you’ve read this previously in terms of a fishing net. Why put in a ton of time and effort in catching a fish if there is just a hole in the net anyway? So what organizations end up doing is spending lavish amounts of money on third party recruiting fees, job boards, referral fees, and extra talent acquisition staff plus overhead. We think we are burning through hard earned profits quickly in the talent management process. In actuality, we are burning through hard earned profits in the “lack of” talent management process.

What happens when good talent leaves? In addition to all of the aforementioned talent acquisition costs, money is spent on legal fees fighting non-competes or violated NDAs. Institutional knowledge is lost when a key player who is thoroughly trained on how your business and customers operate chooses to leave. The employees who stay with you are tasked with picking up the slack, causing confusion, burnout and dissatisfaction. Customers leave and follow your former employees, or simply become disgruntled for having to deal with someone new or less experienced. There goes revenue, morale and pieces of your culture. The immediate reaction is to “get recruiting on it immediately.” That is not the answer we need. 

It’s certainly easier said than done, but there are three very simple ways that your organization can shift the money it is spending on unnecessary talent acquisition to employee retention.

 Career paths – Creating a career path for an employee gives him/her a sense of direction. It ensures the employee knows the organization has long-term plans for him/her, and s/he is highly valued. It provides the basis for identifying skill gaps and growth objectives for an employee that clearly define a development plan for the future. Development Plans – Give an employee a chance to lead a project or initiative. Invest in learning opportunities. Have them shadow employees in other operational areas that add to their skill set. Do these things in alignment with a path you and the employee are creating together to achieve their career goals and fulfill a career path of growth. Mentoring – But mentoring done correctly. Try assigning multiple mentors for a variety of perspectives, or assigning multiple SME mentors so your employees are always dealing with an expert on each of their development needs. If you have an employee who doesn’t aspire to move up, have him/her become a mentor to others.

When you make this shift, you will substantially reduce the additional spend on those legal fees, customer churn/revenue loss, and institutional knowledge attrition. Simultaneously, you will be boosting morale of those employees who are much happier that their co-worker and friend is sticking around for years to come.

Contact us to help you build your 2018 talent strategy, and to see how Deltek Talent Management can help you with both your recruiting and your retention initiatives.

Using Onboarding to Set the Stage for a Positive New Hire Experience

Using Onboarding to Set the Stage for a Positive New Hire Experience

Why does the new hire experience matter? If you are asking yourself this, think back to the last time you started at a company and how it set your expectations for what working there would be like. Were you made aware of your expectations? Did you understand what you needed to do, both from a paperwork and also to get up to speed in the new position? And how did your interactions with your team affect your success in the early days of the new job?

And, even if you had a good experience, there is a good chance you’ve also had a bad one, so don’t forget to think about that, too, and how it may have set the stage quite early for your decision to move on.

Some of the common frustrations of new hires when they come into the work space stem around a few areas: too much paperwork, nothing is ready, and everyone is too busy to help them.  There are solutions you can put in place in both cases to alleviate these concerns and make the experience positive for everyone.

Too much paperwork

There are so many forms a new hire has to complete, it is not uncommon to spend a significant amount of time with HR or alone at their desk on their first day filling them out – and this isn’t fun for anyone. Where ever possible, you should make these forms available for the new hire to complete before their first day on the job – an online onboarding portal is the perfect place to capture this information. Definitely make sure to include government forms, employee manual, and code of conduct, but also make sure that this new hire portal is welcoming to new employees by sharing a written message or welcome video.

Nothing is ready

Part of making the new hire feel welcome is having things ready for them when they get there.  Having a desk is great (especially if that desk is already assembled for them), but there are many other things – such as laptop, phone, email, and office supplies – that should be ready for them day one.  This can be done quite easily by letting others know ahead of time that the new hire is joining. Once you’ve had that offer accepted and are ready to move forward it is time to let others know that your new hire is coming so there is no delay and no sitting twiddling thumbs on their first day.

Everyone is too busy to help

While it can be hard to have everyone stop what they are doing and help the new hire get adjusted, you should have at least a few people in their corner to help them succeed.  At a minimum, HR and their manager need to make an effort to meet with them their first few days – HR to wrap up any outstanding paperwork and answer questions, and their manager to introduce them to their new team and make sure they know and have what they need to perform their job duties.  But you should consider adding a third person to this mix – a buddy or mentor is a great way to build a relationship between employees and make sure they have a good example to follow.  This buddy can be involved earlier than the first day, too, by including them in interviews and welcome aboard messaging. They will also be a great resource for the new hire (especially if the manager is busy as is often the case) as a helper, keeper of knowledge, and coach in special skills needed for the job.

New hires and their experience matter, so make sure you take the above into account to plan for success.  Engage the team and mentors in a new hire’s success and work together to win for both the new hire and the team. To get more insights watch our webinar: Enhancing Onboarding for Shorter Time to Productivity

Tracking Hiring Milestones and Recruiting KPIs – Part 2

Tracking Hiring Milestones and Recruiting KPIs – Part 2

 In last month’s blog post on Part 1 about KPI’s, we covered five crucial recruiting metrics that will help take your HR team to the next level. In addition to those five, however, we’ve compiled a few more that will allow you to be smarter about where you are focusing your recruiting efforts and judge the effectiveness of those efforts.

Qualified Applicants per Requisition

Qualified applicants per requisition is a good indicator of the effectiveness of your sourcing channels. It takes into account not simply the total number of applicants for a position, but, more specifically, the number of qualified applicants. One source may produce hundreds of applications, but perhaps only ten of the applicants actually made it beyond the screening questions or the minimum requirements, while a different source may produce only a few applicants, but a higher percentage of them become qualified candidates.

Once you know which sources provide the greater percentage of qualified applicants, you can focus your energy and resources on these channels. This saves companies from wasting time or money on expensive job boards when perhaps they receive their best candidates from employee referrals or social media sites.

The way that you determine what a qualified applicant means will vary based on the specific requirements that you establish for each requisition, but it is important to establish an average over all requisitions for a specific time period. The metrics to pay attention to are the number of total applicants, the number screened in, the number hired, the ratio of screened in to applied, and finally the percentage of the total hires from each source. Ultimately, qualified applicants are the only ones that matter and the ones that you will want to keep in contact with for future opportunities.

Recruiter Efficiency

Today, with technology changing and systems being put in place to help with Big Data, and the ability to monitor every aspect of the recruiting process, companies now have the ability to monitor and measure recruiter efficiency.

Recruiter efficiency takes into account several metrics, but really comes down to how effective a recruiter is at finding the most qualified candidate in the shortest amount of time, and ensuring that they are someone who will not only accept the company’s offer, but will become a valuable asset to that company.

This metric is very obviously tied to the bottom line, and thus becomes a highly scrutinized metric all the way up to the executive level. The level of recruiter efficiency can be directly tied to the cost of hire for any given position, and thus to the overall performance of a company’s recruiting strategy.

The following factors should be considered to determine one recruiter’s efficiency versus another’s:

  • Open requisitions assigned to them
  • Pending requisitions
  • Requisitions on hold
  • Requisitions in approval
  • Requisitions filled
  • Average days to fill

A successful recruiter will know the best sources for each requisition, will be able to realistically portray the company’s needs, and provide the organization with employees that will become top performers and contribute to a high retention rate.

Cost per Hire

For most companies, everything still comes down to the bottom line, which is why “Cost of Hire” remains one of the most important metrics to track in HR’s recruiting efforts. It is crucial to know exactly how much it is costing your organization to hire each position, and where you may be losing money. HR needs to be able to show executives cost-effectiveness when it comes to a recruiting strategy.

It is not uncommon to hear that the cost of hiring someone is more expensive than a full year’s salary for that position, and there are many articles that back up this claim (How much does it cost companies to lose employees?, The Cost Of Hiring A New Employee, You make $70k but cost your boss $88k, etc.). While not all of the costs are related directly to recruiting a new hire, there are many recruiting decisions that impact the overall cost. That is why it is crucial to know exactly how much it is costing your organization to hire each position, and where you may be losing money.

Cost of hire takes into account factors, which of course will vary based on the position being hired for.

The most common ones are the following:

  • Advertising and job board subscription costs
  • Relocation assistance
  • Referral bonuses
  • Travel expenses
  • Agency fees
  • Recruiter time and labor
  • Additional staffing expenses
Should I Use an Agency to Find Candidates?

Should I Use an Agency to Find Candidates?

For some companies and for some types of jobs, it is not uncommon that as soon as a job is posted online, applications come flooding in.  But what about the times when that isn’t the case?  Or when you need a highly specialized hire that may not be looking for a job at this time?  This is a perfect opportunity to take a look at other options, and one great resource to pursue is working with external recruiters or recruiting agencies.

LinkedIn has a great list of how staffing firms can help you excel and some of the advantages of working with them.  Some of the biggest reasons that companies start working with recruitment agencies include:

  • When the types of applicants they want are in high-demand and probably already in a job (and possibly not looking at this time).
  • When they have a hard to fill job that is not getting enough qualified applicants through their normal channels.
  • When they have already looked on job boards and not located resumes that fit their requirements.
  • When their company has grown significantly and the current team is overwhelmed with the number of job openings and the time required to fill them.

When you make the move to work with recruiting agencies, there are some considerations you will need to keep in mind in regards to the terms of your agreement as well as the responsibilities and expectations of the external recruiter.

  • What payments terms does the recruiting agency have?  In most cases, this will be based on the hires annual salary and paid after the employee is on the job for a certain number of days.  For example, you might end up paying out 20% of the employee’s annual salary to the recruiter after the new hire has been with the company 90 days.
  • What is the recruiter’s warranty period?  Many will offer you a timeframe during which, if the hire doesn’t work out of leaves, they will find you a replacement hire at no cost.
  • What additional services will the vendor complete for you?  Make sure that you work with an agency who, at a minimum, will pre-screen and meet every candidate that they send your way and that they will verify the qualifications before sending to you.  Also, depending on the recruiter’s field and specialty, some may offer additional services such as skills testing, background checking, drug screening, etc.

Keep in mind that these things can be negotiated – especially if you are making multiple hires through the same agency.  Make sure you discuss and come to agreement on the terms and price.  Also, make sure you shop around and thoroughly review each recruiting agency you use.  You may end up sending out to multiple agencies, but sometimes you can get competitive pricing if you work exclusively with a single vendor.

Additionally, there are some terms and scenarios you might want to review with a recruiting agency that may or may not be a part of their original agreement.

  • Do they offer a lock-out period?  This would be a time during which the recruiter cannot place your candidate in another position at a different company, necessitating you filling the position again.
  • At what point do you have to pay for the resume?  For example, what if the recruiter sends you a resume for someone that already applied through your website?  Or what if the same resume is submitted by multiple recruiters?  Make sure this is clearly defined and easy to document.
  • What happens if the recruiter sends unqualified candidates?  This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but it can happen, so make sure you have open lines of communication to address this situation quickly.

With all of this in mind, our last piece of advice is to make sure that everything about the relationship and the resumes you receive and hire is well documented.  Take steps to ensure you are able to find and report on the information about the resumes that have been sent your way.  Utilizing tools such as applicant tracking solutions and vendor management systems can help ease some of the burden of tracking this manually.  Also, having this as a part of your ATS makes it easier to track the resumes sent from recruiting agencies and house them in the same place as external or internal candidates which will help ensure consistency in your own hiring practices.

You got a guy? I got a gift card… Tips for leveraging an employee referral program

You got a guy? I got a gift card… Tips for leveraging an employee referral program

Employee: Hey, are we still looking for a project manager for Karen’s team?

Me Recruiter: Yes, we still are.  A certified PM that is willing to commute to FAR OFF TOWN has been hard to find.

Employee: Well I know a guy that fits that bill!

Me Recruiter: We are also doing gift cards if they get to interview, and a cash bonus if they get hired.  So send them to me!

Employee: Great!  I won’t forget to send that resume. 

Me Recruiter: Great!  I won’t forget to add you to the spreadsheet that’s sitting on my desk.

There are a number of benefits to hiring an employee referral.  Including a higher quality of hire, faster application to hire time, lower cost per hire, and a new team member that will work well with your current employees.  But often a new, impromptu, or not often used employee referral program can fall through the cracks.  Making sure that the employee, their referral, and their appreciation don’t fall through the crack is a combination of preparation and automation. 

Getting ready

A successful program requires some simple prior preparation to make sure it’s a clear process. 

What are we giving and when?

This conversation can start by defining which positions are most in need of referrals.  They may be your hard to staff for positions.  They may be positions that benefit most from team members bringing in former team mates that can get up to speed quickly.  As you move from defining the positions to that can most benefit from employee referrals, you can define out the rewards. 

Typically, rewards are the easiest to convey.  Are you giving gift cards, cash, or PTO days?  How far in the process does the referral have to get for each reward?  A gift card for an interview, cash for 2nd interview, or PTO days for a new hire.  As well as do the employees need to submit the resume directly to HR or refer the resume through the Applicant Tracking System. 

Next steps

Defining the different rewards and candidate steps will help you define what the process should be for employees and all participants of the hiring team.  For this, remember to keep it simple and clear.  Make sure the steps for the employee to submit an employee are clear and simple.  Make sure the steps for the hiring managers, interviewers, and anyone else who may touch the process are also clear and well documented.  For both of these, a short checklist that’s easily distributed, accessible, and redistributed often make sure the new processes will stick. 

Tracking referrals

Modern applicant tracking systems will help you track which employees refer a resume in.  They can help track when that candidate hits different activities like interview, second interview, offer, and hired.  The end result can be consolidated reports on who is owed what level of payout. 

If your solution doesn’t support this level of automation, then build these checks into the process.  Every time someone is hired, make sure that information is logged to a central point of contact. For the various other candidate activities such as interview or second interview, add that central point of contact to the standard interview forms as an activity.  By adding the logging to the process, you can help insure that the information gets to the correct place. 


Set the schedule of sending out awards.  This may be governed by payroll, or by quarterly reviews.  Whatever the schedule is, make sure it’s clearly communicated to your employees.  Also make sure these schedules include reviews on the quality of hires brought in.  Do employees know about the program and the incentives?  Are they excited about the incentives?  Also, are awards being properly tracked and distributed?  Checking these items periodically will help make sure you’ve got a successful program.  

The Different Stereotypes when Hiring a Millennial

The Different Stereotypes when Hiring a Millennial


The subject of millennials is similar to the subject of technology, they both have changed the workforce in the last decade. As a millennial myself with mostly millennial peers, when I thought about hiring my generation and what we bring to the workforce, I thought about our goals and what motivates us. I can think of a clear difference in motivation compared to other generations. Everything from conversing and how we interact and socialize with our coworkers to our expectations about work was shaped by our upbringing. The millennial mindset is heavily influenced by the growth of technology as well as stress levels from finances and the pressure to compete with your neighbor.

With the growth and expansion of mobile technology, we can see that millennials are a lot more public via social media. Millennials hear about jobs via social media (like Facebook) and also through interactions on Twitter/LinkedIn. Once it is out, millennials search and find it. The next step for most of them is getting hired. Employers assessing the value of the applicant and also the pros and cons they hear in rumor mill about hiring millennials can be quite the challenge.  

What are the pros and cons about hiring millennials?


  • New blood
  • Bring energy and excitement to their role
  • Flexible working remote or in the office
  • Create or want to be a part of an active company culture
  • Hardworking


  • They are harder to retain because they job hop more frequently
  • More demanding on flexibility on job
  • More demanding for work/life balance
  • Want more recognition from higher ups
  • They get bored easily and need to be kept stimulated
  • Sometimes carry a sense of entitlement and aren’t willing to work hard and “pay their dues”

So with all of that, how do companies maintain millennials if they are constantly hopping from one venture to the next? Or getting bored easily and carrying a sense of entitlement since they aren’t willing to “pay their dues?”

First, we need to understand their frustration. A majority of millennials attend college and come out of it with no work experience in order for them to start using their degree. Or are competing for entry level positions with people who have been out of school for far longer than them. Most entry level jobs that they see postings on LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. have a minimum requirement of 3 years or less. But realistically, the employer prefers the applicant with at least a couple years under their belt, which already is creating a disadvantage for them. Anthony Carnevale, a director and research professor for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce says, “the bar is higher today. They’re (Millennials are) the first generation that needs to have a college degree and experience to compete, before they even enter the workforce.” (Newsweek) Compare this to previous generations making enough to support a family off a high school/GRE diploma.

Most millennials are viewed as hopping from one job to the next and demanding too much on salary when realistically a good amount of them are being laid off for company purposes or are not being paid enough to pay off their student loans or debt and living expenses, both which create this need to search for a new job elsewhere. People shouldn’t assume it is the norm, according to Business Week’s Richard Florida, “the average for the under 30 group is 1.5 years between job changes,” and I’ve been in my job a little over two years and have several friends who have been in their jobs even longer. People cannot always trust the stereotype.

Besides the stereotype of job hopping there is the stereotype of being lazy, but Millennials do want to pay their dues but they want to see the value coming from what they are doing. They want to see an end goal. And having performance or learning programs once they are hired excite them and encourage them to keep working harder. They see a light at the end of the tunnel to keep working harder. That’s the messaging companies should give as well when hiring, to be realistic in what the work day includes but also certain potential positive outcomes for working the lower pay job.

Millennials can be a powerful resource for companies who take the time to get to know them, share opportunities, and value their excited and energetic attitudes about work.  They have new ideas and are eager to prove their worth to the organization – not to just be another piece of the corporate framework, but to be valued for who they are and the ideas they bring.  Be prepared to offer them the salary, support, and culture they need and they can be among your hardest working employees.  And if you don’t, you become a large part of a millennial’ need to job hop.