Thought Leaders Series #4: Social Recruiting & Local Talent

As discussed in the previous few posts, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) issued a special edition of their HR Magazine earlier this year, featuring the world’s top experts on a variety of human resources topics. Today, we are going to take a look at the ways in which social media are changing recruitment across the world and how this phenomenon affects local talent and ultimately, your business. So, let’s jump in and take a look at what Danielle Monaghan, head of talent acquisition at @Amazon in Seattle, has to say about the coming trends.

  • Global recruitment takes on a mobile element – As more companies shift to using application platforms that utilize mobile technology, global recruitment will take place on a larger scale since it is now easier to reach candidates around the world.
  • According to data from Jobsite and other leading survey groups, roughly 75% of job seekers now utilize smartphones and other mobile devices to research companies, apply for jobs, and network with professionals in the industry.
  • Mobile job application capabilities (aka companies having the technology and utilizing these options will snatch up the star talent before anyone else can!) will no longer be nice to have. They’ll be necessary for success!
  • A widening skills gap will call for global talent acquisition strategies. In other words, because the skills gap will continue to grow in the U.S., companies will be looking overseas to find star talent with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed with little hand-holding.
  • Social professional networks will become a critical source for finding top talent. Think LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Makerbase to name a few. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Now’s the time to set it up because by the end of 2016, this is predicted to be a huge source of networking for your organization!

Although we’ve seen it in other articles and blogs for the past several years, it seems 2016 is undeniably the year of mobile and social technology. Now’s the time to get connected and check into those mobile job application services. Position yourself and your company for success rather than trying to play catch-up too late in the game.

Thought Leaders Series #3: Three Priorities for New OT Rules

The Department of Labor (DOL) decided to shake things up a bit by issuing proposed overtime law changes for 2016. Back in June 2015 when the news hit, many human resources departments struggled with how this would change their current process and procedures for exempt vs. nonexempt employees. As many of us know, incorrectly classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt can lead to costly litigation and fines for employers. With the changing overtime rules, HR departments and upper management should all be aware and knowledgeable of this particular area of employment law.

Basically, the DOL plans to more than double the minimum annual salary for executive, administrative and professional overtime exemptions from $23,660 to $50,440 yearly. The starting point for highly compensated employees would rise to $122,148 from $100,000. These increases will mean that some employees who were previously classified as exempt will now be made non-exempt employees. What does this look like on the day to day level? Employers will have to change work schedules or pass out overtime pay, simply put! So make sure that you are reviewing your employee classifications and follow these guidelines as soon as the ruling becomes final on these proposed changes so that you do not face litigation or employee misclassification fines. Here are a few simple tips to help!

  1. Assess the scope of the issue for your particular organization – what does the impact for your company look like? How many employees will be affected? Do the leg work ahead of time so that you know what you are facing once everything is finalized.
  2. Develop a strategy for managing and implementing the changes – how will you relate this information to your employees? What is your game plan? Again, do the prep work so that you are well ahead of the curve on this one!
  3. Communicate with your employees! As always, communication is key to effective interpersonal relationships in the workplace. An open door policy when it comes to questions pertaining to pay, hours, and duties will go a long way to employee satisfaction.

As a former administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, Mr. Paul DeCamp has several years of experience with the DOL as well as with the other side of the court room as a shareholder in the Washington D.C. law firm, Jackson Lewis PC. This information was presented by Mr. DeCamp in a special edition of Society for Human Resources Management’s HR Magazine for 2015/2016.

Thought Leaders Series #2: Relationship Management

Job hopping has become the norm, and loyalty to one company for the entirety of your career is rare. So how do CEO’s stay on top of the game and maintain strong relationships with their employees throughout the dynamics of employees coming and going? Ellen Galinsky, co-founder of the Families and Work Institute (FWI) in New York City, contributed to the January 2016 edition of HR Magazine to weigh in on this heavy topic. Here are her four suggestions for how leaders can stay in control of relationship management in the workplace.

  1. Flexibility is no longer a perk, it’s something today’s workers need. According to data from a survey conducted by FWI in New York City, 88% of employees rate flexibility as extremely or very important when considering a job offer. That’s huge! Companies are listening, as we saw with Netflix’s announcement in 2015 that they would now offer one year of paid parental leave (the most generous parental leave policy in the U.S.) Companies such as mobile telecom company Vodafone report increased engagement amongst employees and higher quality of applicants interested in the company.
  2. Flexibility is not just a “check the box” situation, it requires an entire culture shift within the organization in order to be effective and attractive to employees and potential candidates. Managers and HR leaders must actively support flexible solutions in order for employees to respond accordingly.
  3. Flexibility is just one piece of the puzzle. To create a truly effective workplace, there are several other factors such as independence, opportunities for learning, and a culture of trust to name a few. Leaders need to work to provide the entire picture rather than just pieces of the puzzle.
  4. All employees need real choices. The opportunity to decide how long to take for parental leave, rather than being forced to return too soon, is a huge issue. Another is the flexible work options, opportunity for continued learning. There are so many factors that play into employee engagement, employee success, and employee satisfaction. Leaders are in place in order to determine what works for their organization and what will attract the star employees to work for them.

Thought leaders such as Ms. Galinsky force leaders to take a hard look at the landscape of their organizational development, leadership training tools, and strategic plans for employee retention and talent solutions. By looking at the workplace dynamics as a whole first and then analyzing the success of each piece, effective and efficient changes can be made for the benefit of the organization as well as the employees.

Thought Leaders Series #1: Leadership & Navigation

In order to build high-functioning, efficient, successful teams in the workplace, we must first identify examples of what this looks like and then, to put it simply, copy and paste! According to leadership thought leader @MarcusBuckingham, “HR professionals are in a prime position to assess what the most productive and engaged teams are doing – and to build a culture around them.” Following the lead of those who have already successfully implemented the type of culture and successful team approach that you are seeking is much easier than reinventing the wheel entirely. So, here are four steps to help you make it happen in 2016 from one of the top leadership experts.

  1. Serve the organization by serving the team leader. What does this mean? HR and CEO’s must develop strong relationships with team leaders in order to see what changes can be made, to get the most accurate data on the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and to build a successful team from the top down.
  2. Adopt the right tools to help you keep up with dynamic teams. As more employees view jobs as short-term and we see less of the baby boomers’ sense of loyalty to one company for their entire career, CEO’s and HR leaders must be equipped to deal with changing teams. Structure your game plan with room for changes to be made along the way, because in 2016, it’s almost inevitable that you will see employees come and go throughout the year.
  3. Gather real-time and reliable metrics. What is really in the numbers? We’ve discussed HR analytics on our blog before, and although it can get very complicated quickly, the bottom line is that metrics and analytics do provide us with a tangible place to work from when building teams and learning to navigate the tools for leadership. One way to gather useful information is to regularly check in with team leaders about their employees’ performance. Ask questions such as, “Who needs more training? Who deserves a promotion? Who has leadership potential? Who is passionate about this project/team/cause/etc.?”
  4. Employ machine-learning algorithms. What does this mean? Once we have the right methods in place, we can then utilize tools that provide the data and training specific to each individual based on a complex rating system. Companies such as Facebook have already adopted this practice, and the system can take out the inescapable biases that people bring to the table, because the people factor is removed from the equation – allowing for more objective ratings and data to be in place.

If we want the top leaders heading up our successful teams, changes need to be made to the way that we train our leaders, the manner in which we assess the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and the tools we utilize to make it all happen.

GINA & Wellness Plans in the Workplace


The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information, which covers a broad spectrum of variables from participation in genetic testing to a disease or disorder in an individual’s family to the results of genetic testing. Because some employers have introduced wellness plans as part of a larger effort to promote healthy lifestyles among employees, GINA comes into play because of the protected information that may be asked of employees or spouses of employees upon enrolling in a wellness program. So what does this all mean for you as an employer?


First, wellness programs offer a slew of potential issues for employers, because of the privacy of information. Be careful when incorporating a wellness program into your company’s health benefits program, and make sure to consult legal advice or professional HR expertise when implementing such programs.


Second, require employees to sign written authorization forms to obtain protected information of any kind. This written authorization protects you as the employer from claims of discrimination that violate GINA guidelines.


Third, employers should consider offering incentives to employees for spousal participation only if the information required for participation does not prohibit GINA guidelines as noted above.


According to an article from The Modern Workplace @TMWorkBlog, “The EEOC’s proposed new regulations clarify that GINA does not strictly prohibit employers from offering incentives to an employee for spousal participation and does not strictly prohibit incentives offered directly to the spouse, so long as all other requirements for wellness plans are met.”


Clearly, in 2016, we should all be aware that health and wellness programs are a positive thing for organizations to offer to their employees and employees’ spouses/dependents. However, as with most good things, employers must be careful to abide by the legal guidelines set forth, and keep an eye out for new legal updates that might conflict with their current wellness programs.


For legal updates sent straight to your email, you can subscribe to Peoplescape’s Intelligence Newsletter, PINPoint here: “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” on the right hand toolbar or email us at for more details!

Strengthening Your Soft Skills in Business


Empathy is defined as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” (@Dictionarycom) When we think of our workplace colleagues at crunch time when the deadlines are looming over our heads, empathy is probably not the first characteristic that comes to mind. However, studies show that soft skills are in fact a critical piece of the leadership puzzle. According to @Entrepreneur, empathy is especially important to an entrepreneur’s success in business. Peoplescape has had the honor of working with several start-ups and entrepreneurs across industry lines. The one thing these leaders have in common is a combination of intelligence and empathy, IQ and EQ. The balance between these two is sometimes hard to maintain, but displaying aptitude in both is clearly a benefit to today’s leaders.


According to the Development Dimensions International study in 2016, which focused on high-resolution leadership, a larger percentage of leadership failures can be attributed to insensitivity than stupidity. Leading teams and building networks, two skills necessary to be a great leader, requires a strong grasp of soft skills and empathy towards your employees, colleagues, clients, and other contacts. Of course, intelligence and brain power are also crucial for developing the business side of things, and making sure your business is something that can and will flourish.


Entrepreneur contributing writer @JoeyPomerenke points out that, “Entrepreneurs are surrounded by people who they need to understand, from shareholders to investors, to employees and customers. When an entrepreneur is in tune with the perspectives and needs of these parties, the business will be strengthened.” Here are a few easy ways for you to strengthen your soft skills in business, proving yourself to be a strong leader in more ways than one!


  1. Talk to your customers – show that you are invested in them and they are more likely to return the favor and support your business.
  2. Talk to your employees – understand their point of view, as they are in the front lines and can help provide a perspective you won’t find yourself.
  3. Investors and shareholders have vested interests in your business – you need to make sure that their needs are met as well. Do they have questions? Answer them. Do they have concerns? Put their minds at ease. Offer as much or as little information as each investor is comfortable with, cater to their specific needs and it will be met with a respect for your business and your leadership skills.
  4. Encourage leaders within your company to display both EQ (soft skills such as empathy) and IQ (brain power) in their daily dealings with employees and customers. Set an example and encourage your managers to follow suit.
  5. Utilize personality and job suitability assessment tools to determine a candidate’s aptitude for EQ and IQ in the selection process. The sooner you know who you are working with, the easier it will be to build a solid business relationship.
  6. Devote learning and practice opportunities for your leaders in soft skills. Provide online training and leadership development options as well as hands-on practice in their day-to-day duties.
  7. Have a vision for the future – businesses that look to the days ahead rather than only the bottom line profit of the present will have successful partnerships with those around them, and a stronger sense of who they are and where they want to be in the years to come.

Key Predictions in HR for 2016: People, Leaders, and Apps

Recently, we discussed the Bersin by Deloitte predictions for human resources trends in 2016 in our PINPOINT Newsletter at To check out the complete list of predictions, make sure you visit that newsletter archive. At Peoplescape, we thrive on challenges, and are looking forward to how people, leaders, and apps will impact human resources functions across the board. Here, let’s take a closer look at these three areas for the future of HR in 2016.

People Management

  • Performance management has been a topic of contention for the past year, as companies look to move away from the standard numbers rating systems on performance reviews, and head in a different direction. People management, and the next generation of tools for assisting companies with performance management (formerly performance reviews), talent management (applicant tracking information), and people management (leadership and coaching) are a huge topic for the coming year because companies are looking to make big changes in the way they manage and hold employees accountable.
  • Further, training will be moving to an online system of learning and encouraging employees to strengthen their own knowledge within the field by taking advantage of company sponsored learning and training and development tools online.

Leadership Development

  • A shift in management and the way managers think about supervising and coaching their employees will lead to changes in the system of performance management. In fact, when Bersin issued their report in January 2015, more than 60% of companies were changing their performance management system, moving from a numbered rating to a more subjective and comprehensive approach.
  • Bersin points out that in 2015, 86% of companies across the globe cite “gaps in leadership” as one of the top three issues within their organization. Clearly, leadership development and training of managers to be effective, efficient, and instrumental in company success have to be bigger priorities in 2016 in order for substantial change to take place in this area.
  • The age of our leaders is also something to consider. As more millennials move into leadership roles, the way that leaders learn and will be capable of training their subordinate employees is going to shift as well. Understanding this gap in the leadership of today’s companies is crucial to a company’s success.
  • Coaching and mentoring will be huge areas of growth in 2016, as companies seek to make changes in the way their leaders lead and the manner in which employees are growing within the company.

Digital HR

  • There’s an app for that.
  • The digitalization of human resources, and the cloud-based recruiting systems and apps for career seekers and job applications are growing exponentially in 2016. Companies must stay on top of these trends in order to remain competitive for the quality job seekers they want to recruit and retain.
  • According to Bersin’s report, we need to start thinking like the App Store…apps are updated weekly and new apps appear as often. How can HR professionals and organizations stay relevant in today’s digital world? Be part of the solution, and you will stay on top of the curve!

For more on this topic, check out @Bersin on Twitter or click here.

Flowers, Chocolates, Cards, Oh My (Valentine’s Day in the Office)

In December, we blogged about the holidays and religion in the workplace and what holiday decorations and events were acceptable and could be enjoyed by all of your employees. Now what about that infamous holiday coming up on February 14? How do workplaces handle a Hallmark holiday celebrating love, when celebrating can become an unspoken competition amongst employees as to who is receiving the best deliveries that day? And what about those pesky office romances? Here are a few tips from our HR pros @Peoplescape on how to walk the fine line on Love Day this year!

1. Keep it professional.
2. Organize a potluck – everyone loves an opportunity to share their favorite dish and snack on a variety of treats throughout the day.
3. Send friendly cards to your co-workers, recognizing that not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day or has the same lovey dovey feeling about the holiday that you might.
4. Don’t be a showoff! I’m sure your co-workers are thrilled that your new boyfriend sent three dozen roses to your office. But don’t make them hate you for it. Be humble and people will be gracious in return.
5. Don’t be a Debbie Downer ~ on the flip side of the showoff is the office DD. Don’t be that person. Let everyone enjoy their moment in the sun, even if you have your own less than cheery opinions on this Hallmark holiday.
6. Bring in sweets for your co-workers, just make sure you have enough for the whole team and don’t exclude anyone that you know has certain dietary restrictions.
7. Plan your own Valentine’s Day with your loved one at home, not at work. Seeing you book a hotel or romantic dinner while on the clock will irritate your less-than-thrilled-with-love co-workers.
8. Keep your office romance OUT of the office – PDA is not something that belongs in the workplace, ever.
9. Don’t ask the lady across the cubicle why her husband didn’t send flowers this year when he sent that huge bouquet last year. Just don’t do it.
10. Organize a fun dinner for the singles in your office to give everyone a reason to smile this February 14th!

Bottom line: Keep it classy, and keep it fun! Days like Valentine’s are hard to ignore from the grocery store to the guy on the corner selling roses to the giant chocolate-covered fruit on display that was delivered to the new receptionist.  Making one wrong step in the office on February 14th will make your eight hours there feel like an eternity. So stay away from the drama, smile, and make plans that you can look forward to so that the day doesn’t take away from your work or make you the sour apple in your workplace. #valentinesday2016 #workplaceromance

Tips from the Top Places to Work

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to!” – Richard Branson

Every year, @Glassdoor comes out with a few lists of the best places to work, based on employee feedback. This year, they took those results a step farther to find out what exactly makes these top companies the best. Here are some tips on how to find your company at the top of the list for 2016 (or at least copy the tips from the top places to work!).

1. Provide challenging work.
2. Provide employees with fulfilling rewards and opportunities for advancement.
3. Give employees access to the leadership team.
4. Trust and empower your team to excel.
5. Create a company culture that fosters collaboration, career growth and flexibility.
6. Focus on people – put yourself in their shoes before making changes that will effect employees.
7. Put employees first. Create an atmosphere where employees can grow, develop, and have fun.
8. Be open and transparent in communications with employees on company matters.
9. Listen to employee feedback, concerns, and questions.
10. Be clear about the company’s mission, and take note of employees’ opinions and suggestions for improvement to that mission.
11.  Focus on building a community amongst your employees, with a shared mission, goals, and vision.
12. Make sure your employees feel respected and inspired by the work you do!

Learn more about the Glassdoor Employee’s Choice Awards.

Are Performance Reviews On the Way Out?

Performance reviews…the dreaded checkup that causes nerves and cringing everywhere! The antiquated practice of scoring and ranking employees has mostly passed to the wayside, as new tips and tricks for effective performance reviews have come to light. Some of these new techniques and tactics for performance reviews include self-evaluations, performance ratings and goals based on actual projects and past performance rather than an objective number rating system. However, some companies are choosing to do away with the standard process altogether, and in lieu of performance reviews, managers are conducting “performance conversations” and apps to provide feedback to employees on a consistent and constant basis.

Even Jack Welch of GE has done away with standard performance reviews and stacking ranks, made popular by GE in the 1980’s and 1990’s, in which the top 10 employees on the rankings would be promoted while the bottom 10 employees would be terminated. Seems pretty cut and dry, right? But what were these rankings and numbers based on? When it comes to performance reviews, can the manager really be 100% objective? When dealing with people in general, objectivity is not always possible. People are subjective, people have opinions, and people cannot be 100% unbiased, it’s just not in our genetic makeup. So with that in mind, performance reviews will never be completely objective. Which leads to the point of this blog…why are companies making the move to performance feedback apps and performance conversations? Because it’s time for the tide to turn and for managers to rely less on objective ratings and more on honest, comprehensive, accessible feedback. And for employees to have access to that feedback year-round, not just in a 1-hour meeting for their annual performance review.

One obvious reason for this change is the rise of mobile technology, and the creation of a generation completely dependent on mobile technology, instantaneous response, and information at their fingertips. Another reason is that managers nationwide are averaging seven employees under their leadership, as opposed to the four employees of the ‘90s. This leaves less time for individual coaching, something that technology and feedback apps can assist with because of the sheer volume of management duties required for the increased number of employees to be reviewed/managed. Third, the modern world now operates on a fast-paced system that just doesn’t jive well with an annual goals system. The immediacy of life in the 21st century calls for faster response, more frequent feedback, and quicker access – something that mobile technology and feedback apps can bring to the table.

People management is possibly on the way out as news way of thinking about leadership and managerial skills are surfacing…and personal and professional growth within the workplace has become a strong presence in workplace news. So changing up the way that we manage people in the workplace makes sense. As we have now survived the challenge of the first month of a new calendar year, maybe it’s time to put a review of your company’s performance management tools on your to do list for February!