Author Archives: zabekhanblog

About zabekhanblog

Global Human Capital Strategist ♦ Striving to put the ‘human’ back into HR ♦ Employee Experience Advocate ♦ Critical Thinker ♦ Well Being & Self Care Advocate

Brexit – Unchartered Waters: Quotes devoted to peace, harmony, respect and a progressive future

Our country is currently in the grip of the worst crisis since the Second World War. After deciding to leave the European Union, an institution that the UK joined in 1975 designed to bring countries in Europe closer to foster greater cooperation, enable free trade and unite behind a common identity, the aftermath has revealed deep and some would argue insidious divisions that have shaken the political, social and economic equilibrium of this country.

As we enter unchartered waters ahead, I hope the country can find a way forward with peace, harmony and respect for the betterment of all. Here are some quotes devoted to just that:

“One of the things I learnt when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself I could not change others. – Nelson Mandela, Former South African President (1918 to 2013)

“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch — what make you go beyond the norm.” – Cicely Tyson, American actress

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy, Writer (1828 – 1910)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, 1st chairwoman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, Former South African President (1918 to 2013)

It”s our duty to look after ourselves and, then, also to look after our neighbours.” – Margaret Thatcher, Former British Prime Minister (1925 to 2013)

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller, author, political activist, and lecture (1880 – 1968)

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. civil rights leader, (1929 – 1968)

“Moral responsibility is not just a matter of avoiding harm to others; it also means helping people in need.” – Michael Nedelsky, American educator

“When you’re frightened don’t sit still, keep on doing something. The act of doing will give you back your courage.” –  Grace Ogot, author, nurse, journalist, politician and diplomat (1930 – 2015)

Image Credit: Freeimages.com/ColinCochrane

Candidate Experience – The Final Frontier of Effective Recruiting!

The increasing automated nature of corporate recruiting should improve the candidate experience but as numerous commentators in the human resources space have noted, the process is not great and more work needs to be done to make it better. There are many key players in the entire process but most importantly, it is the hiring managers that really drive everything as they ultimately make the hire. The essence of this fractured relationship between corporate recruiting and candidate experience is candidly summarised by a post by editor and consultant Deborah Branscum who remarks that “if hiring managers were doctors, half of new patients would be dead in 18 months.” This is a stark assessment considering we are in fiercely competitive labour market with companies fishing in the same talent pool as every other competitor. Here are some (not all) of the common pains of the candidate experience:

  • Despite ATS’s, candidates are still falling through cracks, and it is taking longer to fill positions
  • Despite the commonly held belief that candidates are flexible on location, they actually want to work somewhere that is within commuting distance of the office
  • Assumptions are made regarding a candidates salary expectations
  • Candidates are passed between pillar and post by different hiring managers – and that is just at the CV review stage!
  • Candidates are not being properly updated on their candidacy
  • Candidates aren’t interviewed in a timely manner
  • Candidates don’t get the feedback they are looking for – responses are not constructive but general
  • Candidate experience doesn’t rank highly on a hiring managers agenda, and is increasingly misunderstood altogether
  • The on boarding experience is falling by the wayside with an increasing number of candidates rejecting offers after they have accepted
  • The automated nature of recruiting results mostly in communication with the candidate via email
  • The employer brand is suffering

The reality is that as technology and trends have changed overtime, behaviours have not. Recruiting is evolving, so should behaviours and with that policies and procedures to reflect the changing nature of the labour market. To get it right, companies need to develop a service orientated mind-set rather than being transactional. Hiring Managers and other key players need to become brand ambassadors for their company and become totally invested in improving candidate experience as they are invested in their day jobs.

Be the Hiring Manager that sets an example

The role of the Hiring Manager is absolutely central to getting the entire process to work properly so the following improvements should be put in place for Hiring Managers:

Holiday handover – When going on holiday, put a handover plan together updating the rest of the team on candidates, delegating responsibility for interviews and offer approvals. Don’t put things on hold when you go on holiday. Recruiting is important business!

Don’t set false expectations – If a candidate was interviewed and you promised to get back to them with feedback within two weeks, do get back to them and don’t forget about them! Treat others as you would like to be treated. Failure to do so is a recipe for disaster, and you run the risk of bringing the employer brand into disrepute.

Interview feedback – When you do get back to the candidate with feedback, be constructive rather than general – give them the good, the bad and the ugly. Regardless if they are successful or not, candidates will really value your insight as it might help them improve their interview performance next time they go for an interview, or might even help them address a weakness that was not apparent to them before. If they are a good candidate for future roles, welcome them to reapply, and keep in touch with them.

Work in partnership – Keep your recruitment department fully updated on candidates in the interview process, work with them on resourcing needs, and be fully aligned with them so they can go to market to deliver the key marketing message(s) of why candidates should join your team.

Interview team – Have an interview tag team in place that can pick up the baton from you if you are going to be out of the office or tied up on a project. Delegate responsibility to them to continue the interview process in your absence, and have pre-agreed interview dates in the diary so that candidates can be interviewed without delay.

Get everybody on the same page – Make sure resourcing needs are filtered down to all levels. Avoid scenarios where conflicts between workload and resourcing needs occur. If you have a hire to make, ask yourself – is there physical desk space available for them, which office will they be based in, what work will they actually be doing, do you actually need to hire in the first place? Addressing these questions will eliminate inefficiency and help to increase speed of hire.

Time management – As Hiring Managers, you do have a day job but you also have responsibility to grow the team and contribute towards profitability so set aside ample time for reviewing candidate applications, providing feedback to candidate, conducting interviews etc.

Improved processes and procedures

A periodic review of the effectiveness of current recruiting processes and procedures will help highlight any deficiencies but to create a recruiting model fit for purpose, the following elements should be considered:

Return to traditional communication – To counter the behaviours triggered by ATS’s, less email more phone should be the order of the day. A personal touch goes a long way to improving the candidate experience.

Be social – An increasing number of candidates are on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook so a dedicated social media strategy is a must for companies if they want to properly engage with the talent pool and effectively deliver the EVP.  The employer brand will be rendered irrelevant if there is there is a lack of social media presence.

Careers site – Have a dedicated career site candidates can visit to obtain information on the interview process – i.e. what is involved and how long it takes, the work the company does, interactive employee testimonials, FAQs.  A careers site will also play an important part in communicating the EVP to the external market.

Recruitment model – As companies grow, resource needs will increase too, so a fundamental discussion around the recruitment model should take place – is the recruitment model geared up for a growing business, is it set up for volume recruiting, are there enough recruiters, do processes need to change to reflect growth? Honest discussions on the recruitment model will help create an effective in – house team.

Final thoughts

Despite improvements in technology and the rise of social media, companies still strive to create a positive candidate experience. Persistent issues exist which need to be addressed but the focus needs to be on being proactive and hiring at a faster pace. Companies simply can’t operate at an ordinary pace but need to react faster on candidates as competition for candidates intensifies. At the Hiring Manager level, more management training should be put in place to help clearly define their roles, responsibilities and their understanding of the interview and selection process. A negative experience will turn off candidates but a positive candidate experience will serve as a formidable recruiting sergeant.

Photo by Max McKinnon on Unsplash

Seven things companies need to start doing if they want to win the war on talent

As skills in key industries become scarcer, here are seven things companies need to do to ensure in order to maximise their efforts in recruiting and retaining their human capital:

Website: Have a detailed, easy on the eye, uncomplicated mobile friendly website.

Candidates: Improving the candidate experience by minimising the length of time it takes to screen and review applications, speedily interviewing candidates and processing offers and taking time to acknowledge  candidates and providing appropriate and meaningful post interview feedback.

Compensation and benefits: Regularly reviewing the salary structure and benefits package by benchmarking with competitors in the same industry. Consider add – ons to offers such as issuing bonuses on early acceptance of offers, relocation allowances, support towards education.

Succession planning: The working population of the world is getting older which means that the talent pool needs to be replenished. Quality talent is spread thin, particularly in engineering so companies need to start hiring for cultural fit with a view to the long term. So when screening and interviewing, you need to be assessing whether or not the individual has growth potential.

Skills transfer: Quality candidates are finite (in engineering) so more emphasis needs to be given to considering people from other sectors where their skills can be transferable. Moreover, to hire quality people you should also consider toning down the experience requirements and consider training up those individuals to the required levels.

Employer branding: The global downturn has resulted in reduced budgets for HR and marketing in particular so that has meant less money being spent on promoting the company to the outside world. However, as economies recover and companies become cash rich again, they must invest in reinforcing the employer brand as failing to do so will have a negative impact on attracting talent. Resting on past laurels and reputation would be very naïve, and a sure fire recipe for failure.

Policies and procedures: Cut red tape, clearly define your policies and procedures and commit to following through on them if you want to hire quality hires. Anything less than this, then you will be spending a lot more time fighting fires.

Five trends that will shape talent acquisition in the years ahead

Recruiting is going to get increasingly social and mobile – with increased uptake of Smartphones and tablets, more and more candidates are going to be accessing job opportunities on the fly. This will potentially open up a new talent pool of passive job seeker.

Turnarounds are going to be the key: Hiring Managers will have to work double time to ensure that offers for potential candidates go out quickly as the escalating talent war will put pressure on hiring needs.

Quality corporate recruiters are going to be spread thin: As companies build their own dedicated in – house recruitment teams, they don’t just want individuals who are glorified salespeople but sourcing experts in their respective field who understand recruitment from a strategic perspective. According to the words of Josh Bersin, Principle and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, “today’s recruiter must be a marketer, sales person, career coach and psychologist all in one.”

Economies rebound: As key economies such as the United States, China, India and the UK bounce back, a flood of job seekers can be expected to change jobs. This will really test the capabilities and resources of internal recruitment departments so your recruitment really needs to be geared up to deal with increased activity.

Branding: This was one of the key areas to really suffer in the global economic downturn. Companies were cutting back on advertising and fewer employees were leaving of their own accord. However, as economic fortunes improve globally, companies run the risk of being left behind and disappearing into the abyss. Resting on your laurels is not going to cut it so companies need to develop a view on employer branding.

 

 

Six reasons why you need to undertake an expat assignment in the GCC

 

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates and has witnessed modernisation on a grand scale since the 1990s. It has weathered the financial storms during the height of the financial crisis to re-establish itself as a prime destination for multinationals looking to establish a presence in the region and beyond. The United Arab Emirates is part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and can be best defined as a regional intergovernmental political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Having lived and worked in Dubai for nearly four years, since coming back to the UK I have benefited both culturally and career wise. My time there was interesting, enjoyable, challenging and enriching. Having also had the opportunity to travel to other countries within the GCC, I have found that there are several common themes that are prevalent throughout the six countries. These are:

The GGC leads the way in job creation: As the economies and populations of the GCC grow, so does demand on civil infrastructure, education, healthcare, housing so this results in job opportunities across multiple sectors.

Fewer decision makers: This is especially the case with regional companies/family conglomerates where it is often the CEO and/or Chairman who is the sole decision maker so decisions are reached faster rather than going through multiple layers of approval.

Faster business cycles: Due to faster decision making, projects can take shape much faster so a company’s hiring needs can be established quicker, creating job opportunities and transactions are completed faster.

Career development: Economies in the GCC are still developing so this means better prospects to move both laterally and vertically in your career. If you are somebody with between 5 and 10 years’ experience with a good educational background, you are going to be in demand so expect calls from recruiters.

Personal and professional development: Even if you decide to spend only a few years in the GCC or commit to a longer duration, you should expect to enhance your skills set as you gain exposure to prestigious projects and working alongside a multinational workforce means a more culturally diverse experience. Many expats who have worked in the GCC go on to work in other regions such as Asia Pacific and North America as their GCC experience is considered very valuable and transferable so if you choose to go to the GCC region, you will certainly be adding value to both your life and career.

Weather: Although it is stifling hot during summer months (mainly May to October), when it does cool down there are ample opportunities to pursue outdoor pursuits. Plus, it’s really nice waking up to a sunny bright blue clear skies.

Six tweaks to make to enhance your career development trajectory

There is no golden formula that one can apply to be successful in their career but one can certainly make certain adjustments in their day to day attitude that can prove worthwhile in enhancing your skills set and worth in your career. Here are six tweaks that could help propel you forward in your career:

  1. Take pre – emptive action: Prevent things from happening before the wheels fall off. Put in place methods and procedures that will prevent a situation reaching crisis stage.
  2. Adopt a proactive mind – set: Stop reacting to things that are coming to you. Instead focus on taking positive steps to completing the task (s) at hand.
  3. Look at the bigger picture: Have the end goal in mind whenever you set out to do something. Ask yourself if the action you are about to take will generate the required results.
  4. Become solution focused: Always operate with a continuous improvement agenda. Even a minor change to a policy or process may trigger an improvement.
  5. Disconnect: When things go wrong, don’t panic and take it personally. Instead, take a step back to assess what went wrong and why and execute your solution orientated mind – set.

5 things I learnt from the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the lessons they have for business

The 2014 FIFA World Cup recently concluded and despite on and off the pitch controversies, and much public anger at the cost of the Brazilian Government’s spending on infrastructure, the tournament was one of the most successful and memorable in living memory. Here are five things I learnt from watching the tournament and the resonance they have in business:

ONE – There is no substitute for team work and attitude:

Teams such as Costa Rica and USA were a prime example of team work and attitude. They didn’t have the household names and match winning players of other teams but they proved that getting basics right, having a nothing to lose mentality and punching above their weight together with helping other team members out when they were out of position made them a force. This propelled them to the highest level of performance any team can desire at a major tournament.

Business Lesson: Go beyond your job description and keep things simple. Believing in yourself and your team members will create a positive team environment. More importantly, understand what the common goal is and be realistic in your expectations.

TWO – Don’t be afraid to take a risk:

Netherlands coach Louie Van Gall embodied this in abundance. During the Quarter Final match against Costa Rica, Van Gaal substituted his first choice goalkeeper Cillisen and replaced him with Krul when the match went to penalties. The outcome of this was that Krul saved two penalties and this put the Netherlands through to the semi finals. His greater height and reach were sighted by Van Gaal as the rationale behind the substitution.

Business Lesson: Don’t be afraid to experiment. As a Manager, next time you have a project – put an untested team member on the project. Know your teams’ individual strengths and skills to get the best out of the team.

THREE – Have a plan B:

In each of the games Netherlands played, the team adapted their style and tactics to their opponents and that proved valuable as Netherlands progressed through the tournament. Van Gaal was a thinking coach who constantly studied the oppositions every move before executing his strategy.

Business Lesson: In business, it’s important to know what you will do in a clutch situation. Something might not work as you would expect. Have something prepared that you can revert to in times of need – a toolkit etc.

FOUR – Stick with the norm and you run the risk of failure:

By the time we got the Semi Finals when Brazil played Columbia, signs were evident that Brazil was not up to the standard of other teams. When Brazil played Germany, their weaknesses were laid bare and they imploded before the eyes of their country. In the aftermath of Brazil’s disastrous exit, it was apparent that coach Scolari was heavily reliant on Neymar and Tiago Silva who were the spine of the team. Scolari kept faith with the same team as he picked in the first match to deliver but as that turned out that was blind faith. Brazil were predictable, relied on the same tactics and never had a plan B.

Business Lessons: Don’t be afraid of mixing things up and when it comes to recruiting a team; do not be averse to individuals of unconventional backgrounds whose CVs may not read great on paper. Resist having similar styles of people in the same team and instead select individuals who would complement each other and a particular function and/or department. Above all, give indivuals time and autonomy and let them flourish.

FIVE – Feeling valued elevated a player:

Suarez, Neymar, Neuer, Messi, Robben, Rodriguez were all talisman to their team. Their talent is undeniable but what was even more important was that they had the support of their team, coaching staff, and when these players performed they had a domino effect on the rest of their team.

Business Lesson: Feedback and engagement are two of the most critical elements in business. Get either wrong, and you end up with a disenfranchised and de – motived workforce. To get it right, work out what truly drives your workforce and what puts them off. Move forward then by making a commitment to driving out the practices that create unhappiness in the workplace.