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on December 20, 2013
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on October 30, 2013
Growing as a Servant Leader
As a typical high school student, I went through the college selection process weighing all options that would contribute to professional success and personal fulfillment. I thought long and hard about the factors that would optimize my potential: price, academia, athletics, brand recognition, demographics, community fellowship, leadership opportunities, and any affiliated costs … Now, looking back six years later, the deciding factor was that Seton Hall genuinely fostered a community centered on servant leadership. My service-oriented character was able to transition well from high school to college because of this, and I naturally found my groove as an up-and-coming leader. Although I can go on and on about how this was the crucial contributing factor to reaching certain collegiate milestones, my end goal in publishing this post is to share how employees, managers, and recruiters who practice servant leadership can directly impact long-term business success and employee retention.
Servant Leadership in Management & Marketing
Servant leadership, often hidden in various sectors of society, is centered on developing a “living for the sake of others” mindset along with making and keeping accountable goals. As an emerging marketing professional, my first reference point for consistent leadership is my direct manager at iCIMS. She has shown me firsthand that employee empowerment, paired with accountability, can directly result in greater productivity, higher performance levels, and better professional relationships. Not only does this help form a positive corporate culture for recruitment advertising, but naturally results in a higher degree of organizational loyalty and lower employee turnover.
In the realm of marketing, this tenant of servant leadership can be employed when applying advertising tactics, increasing prospect engagement, and creating a content strategy. Regardless of an organization’s industry, sales and marketing efforts that reflect “why” a company does what it does will naturally attract prospects that believe in its core values- and will feel called to purchase a product (or suite) not only as a want but as a need. These potential customers become more engaged in what the company stands for and are thus more likely to perceive this organization as an industry disruptor and educational leader.
Long-term Impacts of Servant Leadership in Organizational Development
Whether your organization is an innovative industry trailblazer or in a constant battle with competitors, according to Simon Sinek, great organizations think, act, and communicate in the same way: the complete opposite way of everybody else. In his TED talk viewed over 14 million times, Sinek shares how organizations disrupt industry norms by hammering the following point home: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. iCIMS does business based on a “why” with core values of drive, passion, innovation, customer orientation, communication and adaptability at the center of how and what we do (reference the golden circle for better context). Whether we are selling talent acquisition products or plush Ikes (fictional example), iCIMS stands on foundation of integrity and service- and the industry can feel that. This orientation results in positive and long-term impacts on all aspects of the organization- customer training, product development, C-level decision-making, sales strategy, top talent attraction, employee retention, etc … Even if it can’t be seen or felt initially, servant leadership changes the direction of an organization. It’s long-term and short-term results can be seen and even motivate an entry-level Marketer to write about an intrinsic value that can only be known firsthand by working in a culture of true success based on the “why”.
on October 23, 2013
Reid Klion is Chief Science Officer of pan. Involved with pan since its founding in 2000, he provides psychometric and science-based oversight in the development of technology-based personnel assessment systems and is involved in internal and external consultation on assessment system design, psychometric issues, test content, and test implementation. He is active in industry, scientific, and regulatory affairs and plays a leadership role in a number of professional organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of both the Association of Test Publishers and the International Personnel Assessment Council. A member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Reid is a graduate of Hobart College and received his doctorate from Miami University.
In the aftermath of the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s, there are signs of improvement including companies holding higher levels of cash, unemployment rates trending downward, and consumer spending increases. This means organizations will eventually be faced with the need to increase staffing levels to meet rising demand.
Many employers have avoided hiring thus far, both to manage costs and avoid prematurely adding to the workforce. However, when hiring resumes, the need for increased staffing could be substantial. It is critical for human capital leaders to invest in the resources required to wisely expand their workforces in an increasingly competitive job market.
Strategic Workforce Planning
The process of strategic workforce planning in its simplest form involves two important steps: clarifying vision and self-study.
As organizations grow, it is beneficial for human capital leaders to help the company clarify its vision and direction. They must facilitate discussions to help reach important decisions about future employee roles and competencies that will be required to realize longer-term initiatives. Unless recruitment, selection, and development processes are aligned with the overall vision, the organization will have little chance of success in achieving its goals.
Leaders must also engage in self-study by examining the strengths and weaknesses of current human capital using metrics such as turnover rates, sales, employee engagement and customer satisfaction data. If the answer to questions about these metrics is “we don’t know” or “we can’t get the data,” this is a warning sign. Not knowing where you are means there is little chance you’ll be able to reach your destination or even know if you’ve arrived. Organizations must be educated on the importance of collecting and using accurate workforce performance metrics.
Even if wide-scale change in the workforce is not envisioned, it may be time to look at current hiring processes. This could include completing job analyses, using validated pre-hire assessments and providing great candidate experiences.
It is important from both a hiring and compensation perspective to review information about various job roles to ensure it is consistent with work tasks. Job analyses define the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required for successful performance in a position. This information must be up-to-date and comprehensive so human capital leaders will have a road map in determining if a particular applicant is well-suited for a specific position.
With a good grasp of the key competencies required for success in a job role, the next step is identifying best-fit individuals and one of the most effective ways is the use of psychometric assessments.
There are two basic types of assessments: those that measure what an individual can-do and those that measure what an individual will- do. Assessments that measure can-do, or someone’s best possible performance, are tests of cognitive abilities and job skills while will-do assessments typically measure attitudes and work preferences. Unlike clinical tests used by psychologists and social workers, the assessments used by human capital leaders look at factors that are directly related to the skills and competencies required for a specific job position. Used in this way, organizations can be sure the people they bring on are well-suited for their roles.
A common concern when using assessments is exposure to increased legal liability. However, any method used to make hiring decisions—résumé reviews, interviews, background checks, etc.—is considered to be a test and held to the same legal standard as the use of assessments. Avoiding assessments to protect the organization from legal issues not only creates a false sense of security but also rules out one of the better methods for identifying qualified candidates.
Finally, selling the organization as a place candidates will want to work is extremely important in the recruitment and selection process. The most attractive candidates will likely have multiple employment offers, and human capital leaders need to ensure that their organization stands out with a seamless hiring process. Candidates also have the potential to become future customers or influence buying decisions, so a good experience during the recruitment and selection process is vital.
Human capital leaders need to face the reality of increasing staffing levels head on. Therefore, it is time to help organizations determine how they want to function in the future. Will the organization simply do more of the same or implement a systematic, research-driven approach to identifying individuals who have the greatest potential for success?
Human capital leaders have an opportunity to prove that implementing best-practice talent acquisition processes can help improve their organization’s bottom line.
on October 2, 2013
Starting an internship at any organization is often intimidating. Interns step into a foreign company culture, with policies and norms that are not taught in the college classroom. Preparation for full time employment happens in the workplace through well-rounded and mutually beneficial internship programs. It is the responsibility of the organization to create an enriching onboarding experience that provides interns with expectations and goals that prepare them for the months ahead.
Throughout the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to hold a variety of internship positions. I’ve interned at a nonprofit organization, an innovative start-up, a marketing agency, and now at iCIMS. For me, these experiences were largely categorized by the way I was onboarded into the organization. Each onboarding process, or lack of, was a reflection on the quality of the internship. I found that if the organization was willing to actively invest their time and resources into getting me up to speed on company policies, I left the internship feeling fulfilled. Formal training made me feel like an actual employee of the company, instead of a disposable college student.
You may think an informal process is the best way to get an intern immersed in your organization because it forces them to jump right it on their first day. Some may call this the sink or swim approach. Personally, I call this lazy. Interns look to an organization to learn things. They don’t necessarily have the skills to swim right away. I have found that a formal onboarding process was the easiest and most rewarding way to begin an internship.
I was interested in iCIMS long before I was even hired as a Customer Marketing Intern. Once I was connected with the organization, I received numerous personalized emails from the human resources department informing me about open positions at the company and upcoming events. These interactions kept me engaged and eager to learn more about the organization. Even the interview process was unique. I had the opportunity to meet with a variety of employees in the marketing department. It seemed like they were willing to work hard to find the best candidate for the position. These initial interactions laid the groundwork for the month to follow.
As I prepared for my first day at ICIMS I did not feel as if I was going in blindly. I had no idea what to expect at my previous internships. But here I was directed to a New Hire Onboarding Portal upon accepting my new position. Through the Portal I was able to complete my W4 and I-9 forms from the comfort of home. I had a chance to read through the company handbook, which answered questions that I had about the dress code and parking. The fully branded content got me acclimated to Ike and to the iCIMS culture that I was soon going to be a part of.
It was so refreshing to walk in to iCIMS the morning of my first day and have a computer and desk set up, just for me. I’ve had experiences where the IT department was scrambling to set up my laptop or create my email address as I waited patiently. This is a sign of poor communication and also a breakdown in task management which could have been avoided by an automated onboarding process.
My first few weeks at iCIMS were jam packed with meetings, power points, and trainings. It was exciting to learn about the different areas of the organization. These weeks were facilitated by a detailed schedule that described what I’d be doing and when and where I would be doing it. Each session was necessary to catching me up to speed on all things iCIMS. Quickly I began taking on my own responsibilities and became a contributing member of the Customer Marketing team. In my pervious internships I rarely got to a point where I felt like I was an asset. I believe this is because other organizations neglect to take the time to prepare an onboarding process for their interns. By cutting corners in the initial stages of an internship they ultimately miss out on a chance to reap the benefits of a productive and happy intern.
By no means am I an expert on internships. I simply wanted to share my various onboarding experiences with you. If you’re considering creating an internship program at your organization remember to spend time establishing your onboarding process. Interns may not be full time employees, but the impressions you make on them will last long after the internship is over.