Research conducted by AIHR in 2018, showed that HR metrics & analytics is the least effective area of human capital management. This trend has remained largely unchanged over the past five years. The lack of progress in this area is certainly not reflective of need or desire. Most HR professionals we talk to are hungry for data and metrics that help them measure the success of their recruiting and employee engagement efforts. Why the struggle? In short, outdated or non-existent technology is a major factor. The vast majority of firms surveyed as part of Deltek’s Clarity research pointed to the fact that HR solutions have not seen significant investment in the last 5-10 years. If you are evaluating solutions to help you win, manage, and deliver successful projects, human capital management absolutely should be part of the equation and investment. It’s the people behind the project delivery that truly drive growth and success.
Are you asking yourself how to become more data-driven in your human capital initiatives? Maybe you’ve started to invest in learning and development for your employees or to renew your focus on your employer brand to attract fantastic project leaders. Wouldn’t you like a way to measure the success of those initiatives? With access to the right data, analytics, and reports HR leaders can champion strategic goals that align with the big-picture direction of the firm and have a real impact on both employees and firm-wide growth. Your ability to answer some of these key questions has a direct impact on your company’s profitability and overall success.
Are you able to determine the most effective recruiting channels for different positions?
Can you assess the quality of your new hires?
How good is your organization at identifying and assessing top performing employees?
Do you really know how your employer brand is perceived by employees and candidates?
The main dashboard gives users access to key pieces of information important to their role. Depending on a user’s role within the solution, they will see information relevant to the recruiting process, managing direct reports, or administering the solution.
For example, our recruiting user will see information that will help them manage the recruiting cycle. Alerts for actions pending, such as approvals, onboarding sessions, or requisition creation, are presented. This is followed by dashboard widgets specific to recruiting. Here, we can see how many candidates are in each cycle, with the option to drill down and easily access all new resumes. We can track where our requisitions are, and again, drill down to see which requisitions are still in the approval process. We can also track current onboarding sessions and drill down to view details of existing sessions, or initiate onboarding for new hires.
Users can configure the information they’d like to see here. If a user wants to change the layout of this screen, they can drag and drop widgets to a new location. They can remove widgets that they don’t use and add widgets to take their place. There are several widgets to select from, such as a resume search or new resume listing.
If a different user logs in, who primarily uses the solution to track information related to their direct reports, information relevant to that user’s role will be presented. The manager will see alerts related to certifications, appraisals, and other items related to their employees. This user can easily view and create continuous feedback sessions, view team competency fit, track employee goals, and view performance appraisals.
There are many standard reports included in the solution that can be consumed in two different ways. First, users with permission can access built-in reports through the solution’s navigation. The second way is through the reporting tool designed , to provide custom report writing capabilities, but that also includes additional standard reports. This time we’ll focus on the built-in standard reports.
BUILT-IN STANDARD REPORTS
Users with the appropriate access will see the built-in standard reports on their navigation pane. The categories of reports available will vary based on the Deltek Talent Management modules that you have implemented, so this example may look different if you aren’t yet live with the complete Talent Management solution.
In each module, you’ll receive a listing of standard built-in reports, further broken down into related categories. You can hover on a report title to see what the report is designed for. For example, the Quality of Hire report lists hired individuals within a specified time frame and includes their referral source, original type, requisition hired against, assigned recruiter & hiring manager, date of hire, latest performance score (pulled from Performance) and overall potential (pulled from Career Development).
When you run the Quality of Hire report, your first step is to select filters, then you can see the results of the report. Many of these items come from Talent Acquisition, but in addition to just seeing where hires are coming from, you can also see which channels produced top performers and high potential hires. This information will then help you to determine which source produced the most applicants in addition to the greatest number of hires who are performing well.
Standard built-in reports can be exported to CSV, PDF, and Excel formats.
Why Your Firm Needs to Implement Continuous Feedback Now
Continuous feedback and goal-based performance management strategies can help to more quickly and easily drive consistency in employee development and engagement in your organization. This modern approach is a key strategy for businesses that have employees constantly rotating on and off projects. Continuous feedback discussions can drive productive performance management conversations between employees and managers that in turn, can help to drive employee engagement, productivity, and even profitability.
We like to talk about continuous feedback at Deltek, the performance management method our teams use. If you’re new to the continuous feedback method, it includes ongoing feedback between two or more parties. These active discussions provide opportunities to check-in, build relationships between employees and managers, foster innovation and creativity, and address action items or issues. Sessions can focus on various aspects of performance; such as initial feedback when a new hire joins the company, general check-ins throughout the year, project-based feedback around an employee’s involvement in a project, growth opportunities for the employee, progress tracking toward goals, salary discussions, and performance review discussions.
One of the top challenges facing firms cited in Deltek’s Clarity surveys year after year is “Employee Retention.” Poor retention results in the constant need for firms to recruit new employees, especially in fast-growing organizations. When organizations are stuck in recruitment mode, it can be nearly impossible to advance strategic initiatives that would actually have a positive impact on employee engagement and retention. It can be a vicious cycle if you get caught in it.
According to Gallup, only 30% of employees strongly agree that in the last six months, someone at work has talked to them about their progress
Additional research shows that people aren’t motivated by outdated annual performance reviews. Only 21% of employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work
Only 19% of millennials say they receive routine feedback. An even smaller percentage of millennials (17%) say the feedback they do receive is meaningful
As managers and leaders, one of our top priorities is to maximize the output, productivity, and efficiency of our people. We know the key to achieving this is retaining, engaged employees who know what to do and how to do it. So why are we not talking to our employees more regularly? Often times, even when feedback is being provided, there are issues with the quality of that feedback. Managers may be biased, causing their feedback to come across as being tinted with favoritism or inconsistent in terms of timing and delivery. Feedback can be perceived as untimely, irrelevant, or lacking in specificity if it isn’t given at the right point in time (such as at the end of an employee’s engagement in a project).
Many managers and employees experience fear and discomfort around feedback discussions. Often there is uncertainty around how to broach topics that need to be covered or what type of reaction it will trigger when you do. Some managers fear the effect of the discussion on their popularity and may feel uncomfortable with being direct and/or critical. These types of discussions are MUCH easier and more comfortable when the exchange is relevant, timely, and objective. This also helps to alleviate concerns around being too critical. Regular and consistent interactions can go a long way to help employees and managers develop a good rapport for making even difficult conversations less scary and intense.
My colleagues and I have benefited immensely from the continuous feedback model that we use. I know your employees will, too.
We get a lot of questions about engaging and retaining talent and in particular, millennial talent. Taking a good look at your performance management process can be a great place to gain some ground with your younger workers. A renewed focus on meaningful and timely feedback can go a long way toward improving your firm’s appeal to this generation. Keep in mind, however, that the desire for impactful feedback does not exclusively belong to a particular generation. All of your employees will benefit from continuous feedback cycles.
Getting started with continuous feedback can be overwhelming, especially since it is often a big departure from more traditional methods of managing performance. That being said, it’s also a very worthwhile investment whether you pair continuous feedback with existing appraisal cycles or switch to an entirely different methodology for managing performance.
Your organization, like many, may use one-to-one sessions informally, but you could be missing the opportunity to realize the results and outcomes typically associated with continuous feedback cycles. Detailed records and notes can help both managers and employees stay accountable to one another and drive even greater goal achievement. The ability to easily recall and refer to previous conversations can make a huge difference to employees and managers in the middle of an appraisal cycle. When you utilize the continuous feedback capabilities in Deltek Talent Management, you will have this information at your fingertips.
Continuous Feedback Records in Brilliant Talent Management allow you to refer to previous discussions.
Managers and employees can both view details and notes from prior sessions.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some best practices to help you take your first big steps forward. An initial focus on training will set your organization up for success by ensuring that both managers and employees understand the short- and long-term purpose of feedback sessions. Since most of the work will happen between individual employees and their managers, it is especially important to create some excitement and buzz around this new methodology.
Here are 5 key points to emphasize when you begin training your workforce to implement Continuous Feedback:
There should be clear reasons why the meetings are being held
Create an agenda and set goals for the meeting
Never meet just for the sake of meeting or to check a box
Keep employees engaged by asking them to drive
Give employees some control over their goals, development, and outcomes
Deltek Talent Management can enable both the preparatory steps and the effective execution of continuous feedback sessions. Managers will be able to schedule and add notes or files with the solution to allow the employee to prepare for the upcoming session.
Sessions can be scheduled, accepted, or declined within the solution. Add notes when the session is created to help both parties prepare for the meeting.
When a session is taking place, start by reviewing the purpose of the meeting, along with prior meeting notes, keys wins and noteworthy challenges since the previous meeting. Spend some time on progress toward development and goals that have been previously established. Part of this discussion may focus on past concerns, issues and lessons learned, but the larger focus should be around how to move forward, and what future goals should be.
Look to new project assignments for opportunities to create future goals that stretch performance to a new level. Also, take the time to understand where the employee wants to go in the organization. Are there ways that current or future projects can help prepare the employee for a new direction or even a new role in the organization? At the end of the session, make sure to review the topics that have been discussed, along with action items, takeaways, and expectations of progress before the next meeting.
Conducting these meetings face-to-face, as much as possible, will help your managers and employees build the solid and trusting relationships necessary to be truly effective during these discussions. And, make sure that you do this for all employees, including those that work remotely. Making use of video conferencing solutions can help you make certain that all employees receive the same treatment regardless of where in the world they work.
Here are an additional 5 tips to share with your managers to help ensure that their sessions are as impactful as possible
Be on the receiving end more than the giving end
Be ready only to steer, like assisting from the front passenger seat, rather than doing everything for the employee
Practice active listening with the intent to understand, not just waiting for your turn to talk
Use the time to build and strengthen relationships
Energize and motivate employees by making sure each session is personalized to the employee – know your employees and make sure they get what they need from the sessions.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep track of open requisitions, or the candidates you have in the interviewing process? Not to mention the candidates with unanswered offer letters or those that have accepted or declined an offer. There are a lot of moving pieces in the acquisition process, now add to that the expectations of the candidates themselves and you could end up spending more time writing emails and making phone calls than actually recruiting anyone!
In their book “The War for Talent,” Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod tell us more about the new reality created by the war for talent. Within the old reality, people needed companies; machines, capital, and geography were the competitive advantage; better talent made some different; jobs were scarce; employees were loyal and jobs were secure; and people accepted the standard package they were offered. However, within today’s new reality, there is a shift more towards focusing on and keeping employees because companies need people; talented people are the competitive advantage and better talent makes a huge difference; talented people are scarce; people are mobile and their commitment is short term; and people are demanding much more.
While the employee/employer relationship of today impacts every type of business, it has an even more profound impact on project based organizations. You rely on your people to deliver world class projects every day. Without them, your projects suffer, your customers suffer, and ultimately, your bottom line shows the negative consequences. BUT, there are better ways to cope with the challenges of talent acquisition.
With this new reality in mind, let’s cover what you can do to stay ahead of the curve and secure the strongest candidates in the marketplace. Firstly, you need to expedite the talent acquisition process, secondly, understand how talent pools can help you keep track of those highly specialized roles, and finally, how optimizing employee branding and the candidate experience can make a huge difference for your organization.
Expediting Talent Acquisition
The days of candidates flocking to your website to apply for positions is over. Remember, if they are a great employee, you can bet you are not the only one trying to convince them that your organization is the best place for them. Mindsets have shifted. The dialogue is no longer “why should we give you a job”, instead it’s “why our organization will be a great place for you to build your career.” This means we need to rethink our hiring process completely to understand how to present a strong value proposition to prospects. People want to work where the culture is strong and the projects are interesting. How are you communicating that to prospective employees?
All this change gets a whole lot easier when you leverage technology to track and adjust your processes.
To get a clearer picture of your talent acquisition process, take a look at it and break it down into intervals of time between each of the steps between the job posting and the first day on the job – from when a candidate was sourced, to when they were screened, to when they were interviewed, etc.
Considering you have this information available – both the steps and time to fill – a part of the equation you might be missing is how long it takes you to complete each step. This piece of information lets you know right away if there are any steps that are consistently taking longer than others, and gives you a chance to evaluate your processes to make them more efficient. According to Dr. John Sullivan, the steps that tend to hold up the process the most are:
Approving new job postings
Each of these steps can be tracked in an ATS, a great tool to aid you in the reporting of this information. Reporting on the average amount of time in each step can help to identify blockages and where to focus to improve processes and efficiency for future hires. At the end of the day, it’s all about having the right people available at the right time to keep your projects staffed and running smoothly.
For example, through reporting you can identify if you are indeed struggling with approvals of job postings, where to make improvements to the process and if the changes you are making are improving the timing.
How Brilliant HR’s Talent Acquisition solution can help:
When creating a requisition, approvers for that requisition can be established. These approvers then receive email notifications to accept or reject the requisition, with reminders if they do not take action.
You application process can include screening questions that score applicants as they apply to the requisition. These can be used to auto-screen candidates, or you can review these responses as a part of your initial review.
When it is time to interview a candidate, the Brilliant HR ATS gives you the ability to select dates and times to send to the candidate, which they can then accept or reject online.
You can also report on how long each of these steps takes, and evaluate if there are areas you can improve.
Another area an ATS can assist with is in building and maintaining talent pools. Deltek’s Clarity research shows that finding qualified talent is a top challenge for project based firms and establishing talent pools can really help to flag candidates that you want to stay in touch with for future opportunities.
As resumes are added to your ATS, you can review and then flag those that would be a good fit for future openings.
Maintaining talent pools by continuously accepting and flagging resumes from strong applicants can help you move faster when you win a new project, or when someone leaves unexpectedly and a succession plan for that individual is not in place. In his post The Smart Move for Growing Companies Is to Always Be Recruiting Talent, David Ciccarelli further expands on how having a pipeline in place can help, and some techniques for expanding the pipeline.
In the example of where someone leaves unexpectedly, this is where having a pipeline of candidates can be critical, filling that gap sooner rather than later. There is nothing worse than having to delay a project start date because you lack the appropriate resources!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
When you review a resume, you can add that resume to a pool so that you can easily find them in the future.
Pools enable you to keep lists of candidates with specific requirements, helping you stay in touch with those job seekers with email communication. These lists can be generated manually or through the use of search agents that automatically add to the list. They can also be shared for easy access to information. Inviting job seekers in these pools to apply to job openings they are a good fit for and have the appropriate skill set. Again, potentially filling a position quicker by already having the talent defined by using Talent Pools.
Employee Branding and Candidate Experience
It is very important that you are attractive to candidates as an employer; their experience moving through your online application and hiring process can have a huge impact on this perception. An ATS can help you identify areas where applicants drop from the process and make it easier to keep in touch so that your organization avoids giving candidates the “black hole” experience.
A recent Forbes article gives some insight into some of the things that job seekers found negative in the process.
60% of employers “never bothered letting me know the decision after the interview”
43% of candidates found out during the interview “the job didn’t match what was written in the job ad”
34% of the candidates said the company representative “didn’t present a positive work experience”
This is where a focus on your branding and candidate experience aided by an ATS help to ensure that your offer is the one that gets accepted!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
You are able to create your own email templates for notifications, and then tie those to different steps in your recruiting workflow to make sure that you are keeping candidates informed.
You can access your listing of job descriptions when starting a requisition, and use those descriptions to fill in your job description and requirements within the requisition form.
Talent Acquisition can assist you with your career center – the Brilliant HR and Deltek teams work with you for a branding experience that matches your company’s needs, while providing you with the ability for applicants to find and view jobs online (including on their mobile device). This also includes an application process, where you drive the steps and information collected from your applicants.
Recently, I heard a commercial from Indeed.com. The ad was aimed at candidates, not employers, and focused on the ways Indeed can help candidates find the best employer. Candidates now have more choices than ever before. A growing abundance of remote and freelance work in many professions means that geography is no longer a restriction and workers have more flexibility when choosing work.
The way we search for jobs has changed. Websites like Indeed.com, Salary.com, and Glassdoor.com all help candidates research the culture, salaries, benefits, and reputation of companies they are considering before filling out an application. Candidates (and often, your existing employees) are armed with more information and are using it to be selective.
In this new employment landscape, what can firms do to adapt to this changing employer-employee relationship? Start by assessing your existing Human Capital Management Strategy and begin thinking about how to integrate technology.
Here are three key places you can integrate technology to have a big impact on your firm’s talent:
Acquisition & Onboarding
When treated as a strategic function, talent acquisition can have a profound effect on your ability to influence company culture, establish an employer brand, and ultimately make your firm more attractive to prospective candidates.
Organizations typically just don’t have the bandwidth to achieve this without the support of an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS can free your organization from the repetitive, administrative tasks associated with recruiting, which can make it difficult to provide a top-notch applicant experience.
An applicant’s experience during the interview process can be the difference between a great candidate accepting your offer or going to the competition. But even after an offer letter is signed, much more needs to happen to reaffirm that choosing your company was a wise decision.
Onboarding is a critical first step in the employee lifecycle, but few organizations have a thorough strategy in place to integrate new hires into the company in a way that supports retention and engagement. When you create an onboarding strategy that includes your new hires’ needs and integrates collaborative planning for development, you’ll set your employees on a path toward long-term engagement and success within the company.
Post-Hire Professional Development
Talent acquisition is one of the most expensive business processes in any organization. It’s time to start talking about how to reduce acquisition costs by investing in post-hire human capital management initiatives that develop and retain existing employees.
Your employees want opportunities to develop and tend to stay with an organization longer when this investment is made. Unlike throwing additional funds at the acquisition process, spending on learning initiatives for your workforce is mutually beneficial for employers and employees. Increasing employee engagement is shown to have very positive effects on business performance. For example, according to recent Gallup research, the behaviors of highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability. It’s worth noting that not every resource problem in your organization is an acquisition problem. Sometimes the problem may be repetitively hiring for the same role or a failure to identify the next great leader. Most of the time, due to manual processes, businesses can struggle to predict future needs and end up scrambling.
According to multiple bodies of research, including Deltek’s own Clarity surveys, many organizations have a partial succession plan in place, but the majority are not prepared for expected or unexpected turnover. Whether the role is a leadership position or an important individual contributor, thorough succession plans are a must to help businesses weather the churn created by employee turnover.
It’s not enough for succession plans to live inside the brain of a single individual. By using the latest succession planning tools available through your talent management software, you can develop, maintain, and test succession plans to ensure that future leaders are ready to advance when you need them most.
Tracking Key Performance Indicators
Even less data-driven companies are beginning to track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to talent management–but the problem is that many are not tracking the right metrics.
Some metrics, like voluntary and involuntary turnover rates, are really just numbers. They fail to provide companies with the information needed to craft, implement and measure a more effective human capital management strategy.
Using a talent management solution to track metrics like Time to Start, Lead Time to Billable, and Talent Acquisition Sourcing Channel, your company will generate more sophisticated and actionable insights. Here is a closer look:
Time to Start: the amount of time it takes to bring a new hire on board from the moment the position is first publicized. This KPI determines the overall success of your acquisition strategy.
Lead Time to Billable: use this metric to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the onboarding process. The more quickly a new hire is assigned to billable project work, the sooner that employee is contributing to revenue.
Talent Acquisition Sourcing Channel: how effective are the job boards and social media sites on which you advertised open positions? By monitoring this metric, you will be able to determine which sources are the most effective for specific job categories and for your organization more generally.
Using technology to help you track, benchmark, and eventually predict metrics will help HR professionals to position human capital management as a strategic cornerstone for their organization.
For most organizations, a lack of integrated technology bogs down HR with administrative work and limits time for value-added activities such as strategic talent acquisition, retention and development. It prevents HR from being seen as a key contributor to strategic planning by limiting the analytics and insights they can provide at the executive level.
HR needs to partner with other functions within the organization, such as IT and Finance, to develop and then implement an HR technology roadmap. Human capital management solutions are the most powerful when they are integrated with the existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions used by your organization. All of the above challenges can be addressed and improved by the effective use of digital human capital management solutions.