Mentorship and the Future of Work

I am the product of baby boomer parents who survived an arguably sheltered millennial upbringing in Southern California. My parents’ generation boasts of having worked at the same company for 20+ years, and some will easily double that number before their retirement. Company loyalty is something that baby boomers value immensely, and as these things often go, they’ve raised a bunch of restless, challenge-crazed and adventure-seeking millennials. The generational differences not only change how employees work alongside each other in today’s age-diverse workforce, but it also impacts how leaders should structure the succession plans and mentoring programs at work to ensure that there is learning and development, rather than resistance and conflict occurring as we seek to build workplace relationships to strengthen our teams and the future of the company. Read more

Trends: Employee Tenure, a Two-Way Street with Employer or Fast Lane to a Better Job?

Long-held notions that longer tenure benefits both employee and employer continue to erode as the reported median length of employment spirals downward. In January of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years.  Down from 4.6 in 2014. Way down for select demographics and industries.

Not unexpected, among 16 to 19 years-old’s who were still exploring skills and careers, 74 percent reported having had a tenure of 12 months or less with their current employer. On the opposite end of the demographics, 55 to 64-year-olds reported a median of 10.1 years. Read more

What Millennials Want: Strong Leadership Goes a Long Way

“According to a new and comprehensive Gallup study, employees 20 to 36 years old are the least engaged generation in the workplace by far. On top of that, 21 percent quit their jobs last year, and 60 percent say they’re floating their resumes right now!”

Mark C. Crowley

So should we all just write the millennials off as “needy” or “entitled” and hope that the next generation will be more loyal, dedicated, and ambitious? Or is this a case of not understanding what the needs and wants of the millennials truly are, and instead catering to what we think they want? Employers have changed workplace dress codes to include hoodies and jeans as the standard attire. They’ve adopted “dog at work” policies, set up break rooms with energy drinks in addition to the traditional coffee makers and water coolers, and even instituted benefits such as student loan assistance to get those debts paid down while the millennials are hard at work. But maybe that’s not what the millennials are looking for after all. Read more

Peoplescape’s Take on Talent Management Trends from California HR Conference


When Human Resource professionals gathered in Long Beach for the PIHRA California HR Conference on August 30th, discussions — both formal and informal — focused on emerging and future trends that significantly impact employers and their HR leaders and managers. One of the strongest trends discussed this year concerned the demographic shifts and the skill gap for key talent.  Belinda Morris, Principal at Peoplescape, comments on this trend.

Q Shari. What was the conference “take-away” from the Peoplescape team in attendance with regard to Talent Acquisition?

A Belinda. A tighter labor market and greater competition for quality employees resonates with our clientele, especially in Los Angeles. We have certainly seen increased interest from companies for retained recruitment assistance. They are turning to an outside consultant to find that special person faster and to screen potential candidates at a more stringent level using our trained techniques and assessment tools. Untrained interviewers, using gut feel selection methods are just not cutting it these days and it shows – the costs outweigh the ‘apparent’ benefits.

Q Shari. Many of the speakers used the word “urgency” in describing the companies they encounter that are stalemated from achieving a vital goal without that key executive in place. Are companies doing enough proactively to develop key employees with potential already working in their companies?

A Belinda. What we have seen in the past is that career development and employee “soft-skill” training was often placed on the back burner while more pressing needs were handled. The conversation at the conference indicates a shift toward making this a higher priority. The dialogue revolved around a culture of investment in people and creation of a sense of belonging, in order for them to stay. Companies are less willing to invest dollars in career development if they feel that employees will participate only to leap to their next career step somewhere else. Employees often tell HR that their workloads and schedules don’t really allow enough time to engage in cross-training or leadership training so there may be a disconnect as to the training subject matter. The take-away for our team at the conference is that engagement surveys are one solution that can align these competing interests to achieve more effective outcomes when employee development initiatives are undertaken. These discussions kept reminding me of Richard Branson’s quote “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

Q Shari. Speaker Vlad Vaiman, of Cal Lutheran, reported in his Global Talent Management presentation that in 2014, for the first time, workers over 40 years of age exceeded workers under 40. Further with the 55+ age group increasing to 25% of the workforce, and in about 5 years’ millennials filling almost the other 75%, this demographic shift can result for many companies in a clash of culture and styles. What do you see from clients in terms of issues that arise directly from this broader dynamic and what practical steps can they take knowing the intergenerational nature of workforces is with us to stay?

A Belinda. Managing intergenerational employees is a mega-trend for HR across all businesses and heavily talked about at business conferences. Diverse and multi-generational is the NEW workforce paradigm. The impact shows up in a variety of “clashes and disconnects” and at Peoplescape we receive many calls requesting behind-the-scenes advice on ways to improve these dynamics. The Workforce Emerging Workforce Study 2015 Spherion was mentioned repeatedly at the Conference and brings attention to the need for companies to become more inclusive and creative in bringing out the best, distilling the value from each generation, in order to stay competitive or, better yet, to become an Employer of Choice.

Q Shari. As HR consultants, you stay on top of tools, resources and professional concerns that are voiced at regional conferences like the California HR Conference. What might your team focus differently on going forward to better address the most important people issues small to mid-size employers are reporting?

A Belinda. Our team is always looking for cutting edge tools that support HR so we spent time at the Expo to discuss with vendors their latest products to enhance and improve Human Resource management. If we are the experts, we have to have our ear to the ground on best sources and be ready to access them to elevate our clients and the projects we implement for them, to the next level.


10 Ways to Spot Your Top Performers

Although top performers are not always easy to attract and retain, there are several things you can do to find and keep them! Top performers usually have a few things in common, such as: flexible, engaged, in tune with your company culture, and eager to improve. Here are some tips for you to spot those top performers and keep them around

  • Don’t Rule Anyone Out

Top performers aren’t necessarily your long-term or management employees. They can be in any department, with any length of tenure at the company. Don’t discredit anyone for superficial reasons. Be fair in your assessment of all employees.

  • Gauge Employee Engagement

Your top performers WILL BE engaged with your culture, your company, your goals and your future. Who’s there solely for a paycheck and who wants to see big things happen for the company as a whole, as well as for him or herself within the organization?

  • Day One of Employment is the Start Line

Begin tracking employee performance as of day one. Clean slate for everyone starts when they accept that offer letter and walk through your doors for the first time!

  • Leverage Your Existing People Data

What do you know about your people? Job history, payroll, benefits – all of this matters. Take a mental note.

  • Create Incentive-Based Goal Programs

Reward performance and your top performers are bound to shine!

  • Keep Your Flight Risks Grounded

Offer new challenges, training programs, promotions, and compensation/bonus increases to retain those top performers looking to constantly boost their career

  • Check The Attitudes

Every day at work isn’t going to be sunshine and roses for every employee. But how do these top performers handle stress? How do they interact with employees when under pressure?

  • Create Reports à Take Action

Reports and numbers and data really don’t mean a whole lot if you can’t take that information and do something with it.

  • Use Tools

Determine what projects require what skills, do personality and job fit assessments, and utilize tools at your disposal to recognize employee strengths.

  • Predict Employee Potential

Organizations with a successful feel as to who their top performers are will always be able to pinpoint the FUTURE top performers. Be aware of the characteristics and quality that can target potential within your employee groups!

How Do You Show Your Appreciation For Stellar Employees?

Employee appreciation day is officially sometime back in April….but we here at Peoplescape think that everyday should be a day that you are grateful for something. Granted, not every employer-employee relationship elicits unbridled gratitude every single day. But, there are many simple ways that you can show your appreciation for your employees all throughout the year, when the mood strikes!

1. Dump the dumb rules – What??? Are we calling all of your rules dumb? No, absolutely not. But…there are probably some silly ones in the office that you know and I know and your employees know are unnecessary. A note for every sick day? Tracking exempt employees’ hours even though their hours aren’t billed to clients? Business casual every day of the week? Whatever the rule may be, I know you have one in mind. Check it out with your HR department and legal counsel, and if it’s not needed, dump it! Your employees will love you…at least for a day or two!
2. Fire the horrible employee – As soon as you read this, a face popped into your mind. If he or she isn’t bringing anything beneficial to the table and you have documentation for years to back up your termination, just do it (again, double check with HR and/or legal to make sure you’re covered). Someone (or many someones) in your office are sure to be grateful for making the office a more enjoyable and productive place.
3. Acknowledge extra efforts – A simple thank you or 10-second recognition at the next staff meeting will go a long way.
4. Don’t play favorites – They all know who your favorites are when you have them. So don’t add fuel to the employee fire, and keep it fair across the board.
5. Listen to an idea – Open your ears, encourage innovation, and implement away!
6. Don’t hover – If an employee hasn’t given you a reason to micromanage, then don’t do it. Give them the breathing room to succeed.
7. Take responsibility – We are all human. We all make mistakes. Take responsibility for yours, and you will see a trend of employees following suit. Be the change you want to see in the world. #Gandhi
8. Support your employees – If the mistakes made are honest ones, then have your employee’s back. Support them through the tough times and see the good times come to life.
9. Give deserved raises and bonuses – Where the levels of success and productivity calls for it, reward your employees.
10. Be honest – There are a few things you can’t share with your employees. But the things that you can share, do. Transparency and honesty will go a long way in earning your employees’ loyalty and honesty in return.

Traditional Performance Review Alternatives

You’ve probably seen the blogs lately on why traditional performance reviews are on the way out. If you didn’t, check this one out so you know what we are talking about here today: Or look at the trends we predicted for 2016 here:

Now that you’re caught up on your reading, here’s our take on the upcoming alternatives that will be available to replace the traditional, numbers-based, check-the-box performance reviews.

  1. There’s an app for that – performance management (like all facets of human resources in 2016 as discussed in our trends blog linked above) is moving in the direction of apps and mobile technology. There are already performance management and HRIS systems that allow for performance reviews to be conducted and tracked online. Some allow for the employee to provide feedback as well. Check out @BambooHR and @CornerstoneOnDemand for more details on this possibility or contact us today to find out what might be best for your company moving forward.
  2. Frequent and feedback will be the key to performance management in the coming years. Employees (especially the younger generation of workers flooding your hallways at the office) want more frequent feedback from their supervisors, not just an annual review and a raise. Along with the feedback may come more frequent wage increases, or it may be an incentive based performance management system. Either way, increasing the frequency will be a bonus for your employees.
  3. Employee involvement is also going to be critical to the new process. Out with the old “self-evaluation form” and in with a two-way conversation that occurs during performance evaluation meetings.
  4. Focus on the “Big 5” – what are the five accomplishments you’ve had since our last meeting and what are your five goals for the next period before we meet again?
  5. Use progress reports as documentation of these frequent check-ins with employees (something in writing is still going to be beneficial to the company and the manager should anything litigious arise or claims of any sort).

These tips will not only help make sure the company is protected, but managers and employees will be more satisfied with the performance management process as a whole. Check out other blogs on this #hottopic at or follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter @PeoplescapeHC.

Welcome to the Team: The Dos & Don’ts of Onboarding

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the grueling recruitment process, which can undoubtedly be as exhausting for the employer as it is for the new hire. Now what do you do? It’s time to welcome your new employee to the team via a process your human resources team will refer to as onboarding. But what exactly does this mean? And how can you avoid the statistics shared by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Foundation that 50% of new hires fail within their first four months, and 50% of senior management new hires fail within their first eighteen months? Here are a few tips and tricks for making the process seamless for all parties involved.

  1. Do have a written plan for onboarding.
  2. Do have team meetings for those involved in the onboarding process.
  3. Don’t drown your new hire in data. Piecemeal it in order of priority.
  4. Do start the process right away – don’t wait for the new hire to get it all handled without explicit directions on where, when, how, and why.
  5. Do provide clarity on the new hire’s direct supervisor, chain of communication, point person for HR, etc.
  6. Do offer and point out training opportunities – your Millennials will especially love this!
  7. Don’t be vague on your expectations. Be clear, be concise, be communicative.
  8. Don’t forget to ask for feedback, and do it often and consistently!

Onboarding is a bit like the honeymoon stage of a relationship. You want your new hire to have a full picture of the good pieces that your company has to offer, and have enough information to feel comfortable and capable of making it work. Honesty and communication are key to the onboarding process, and will go a long way to make those statistics come drastically down so that you are not spending time and energy on new hires that won’t stick around as long as you hope.



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!

Effective & Inexpensive Ways to Motivate Your Staff

After the holidays, there seems to be a dull roar in the office, a sense of apathy and melancholy can sometimes prevail as the weather gets colder, and the holiday cheer has been blown out of everyone’s sails. Motivating your staff is a yearlong predicament, and one that can be approached from different strategies. Do you offer performance bonuses? Commission for your sales team? Incentives for high-achieving employees each month? #motivate #employees #bonus

While all of these are great ways to motivate your staff, we’d like to offer a few simple solutions as well. These will be easy on your bank account and effective when implemented correctly. Employees are appreciative of recognition and acknowledgement of a job well done, so as long as you keep that at the front of your mind, you will be an effective and motivating leader with these helpful hints.

According to a Gallup poll, almost 70% of Americans are actively disengaged with their work. How depressing! Let’s turn those numbers around with a few simple strategies.

1. E-Learning: online webinars, training, and cost effective strategies for employee engagement.

2. Employee Acknowledgement Programs: reward employees for a job well done with a simple certificate or a low-cost gift card to Starbucks. Have monthly team meetings to recognize high-achieving employees that month!

3. Sunshine Programs: Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries, and to make sure you don’t forget, create a “Sunshine Team” each year who runs the program.

4. Empower your employees to come up with innovative ideas (i.e. like that one employee at 3M who came up with Post-It Notes!)

5. Challenge your employees each time they reach a new goal. Set the bar higher each time, and see how it affects your team’s potential and growth!

There are millions of other ways that you can motivate employees to succeed, get creative and have team leadership meetings once a month to collaborate with your managers as well. The more ideas that are out on the drawing board, the more successful your efforts will be.