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Please welcome back Rusty Rueff to our HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Rueff operates as a freelance social curator; learning, writing, speaking, coaching, consulting and volunteering at an exciting intersection of technology, arts & entertainment, talent management, and faith. Previously Rueff was the CEO of SNOCAP and prior to that was Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Electronic Arts (EA) and Vice President, International Human Resources at PepsiCo. Full Bio
Employee Satisfaction Rises: Is it Real?
by Rusty Rueff
In the recent Glassdoor Quarterly Employment Confidence Survey, job satisfaction was ironically up while pessimism about the employment market was also increasing. After three years of the job market ‘music’ being stopped, talent holding onto the chair they have, compensation cuts not fully restored and fears of more cost-cutting, job satisfaction being up is quizzical.
How do we explain this rise and what does it mean to today’s HR Leaders?
Some of the reasons job satisfaction may be on the rise include:
- Recent company success. As companies have recovered and benefited from record productivity numbers and strong earnings, it could be that the success of the company bleeds into job satisfaction. The aligned belief that company outlook is improving just makes it better. Having something to celebrate is, in itself, a good thing.
- Reinvestment in employees. Whether forced to do so or not, some companies have begun to provide compensation increases and have reinvested in employee benefits. The past few years, specifically 2008-2010, will be remembered as the “lost years” because of the loss of jobs and compensation. The rise in employee satisfaction may be a reaction to employers committing to getting salaries back to where they were.
- Increase in hiring: Companies are beginning to hire back a few positions, and that must feel good to the worker who has been carrying the load of two or three of their lost co-workers. While we all adapt, the elasticity of employee productivity is not infinite and there is a breaking point. Just recognizing this along with a few strategic add-backs can go a long way with morale and job satisfaction.
While these could all be contributing factors, I fear that there is another reason and the time-bomb continues to tick. Could it be that we are just tired of waiting for something to improve that isn’t likely to happen? Rather than go crazy waiting for Godot, are we now just settling into a new reality and accepting that this is the way it is going to be? Instead of letting frustration and defeatism become the drivers of our psyche, are we instead lowering our expectations and finding a lower gear to be satisfied with?
While this seems like a reasonable coping mechanism, can it be sustained or are we just masking the impossible to keep masked? I call it the “talking in the shower” question. What are we saying to ourselves in the shower? Are we really satisfied? Or are we still asking, “why?” and “what can I do to get out of this mess?”
If you are an HR leader, you have to ask these questions and do the best you can to put yourself into the minds and hearts of your employees. Don’t try and fool yourself that everything is okay and that your employees really are more satisfied. The study of geo-politics shows that many times what seemed okay on the surface was an unrest and dissatisfaction that could not be kept under wraps indefinitely.
From one HR practitioner to another, let’s be sure that we are doing our jobs and digging for the underlying truth behind employee satisfaction and the real solutions to keeping and retaining top talent. We’ve got a lot of people counting on us to do so.
The news hit the streets this morning. Though insiders have been chattering about it for months, the public discovered LinkedIn’s new apply button today. For the simple addition of 8 lines of code, any employer can facilitate the use of a single, universal application. LinkedIn has built the right relationships with ATS vendors and more are coming online.
From the job-seeker’s side, the “Apply With LinkedIn” feature appears as a button placed alongside a job description on a company’s jobs webpage. When a user clicks on the “Apply With LinkedIn” button, a pop-up lightbox appears over the page with a prompt to sign into LinkedIn. The user is then given the option to edit parts of his or her LinkedIn profile and contact information and may be asked to answer additional questions. The user finalizes the application by clicking a “Submit Application” button. Finally, the lightbox displays an application confirmation, and displays either additional job openings at that company or a list of the user’s LinkedIn contacts who are affiliated with the company to which he or she has just applied. (GigaOm)
Talk about a slam dunk.
With the bulk of people who use resumes to apply for work already in their database, LinkedIn’s move sets them up as the alternative resume. Once the kinks are out of the ATS integrations, the world will have changed. LinkedIn will own the point of application for professional job seekers.
That’s about 30% of the North American workforce and 10% of the global base.
The linkedIn move is brilliant in its simplicity and its reach. But, it is anything but social. By cementing itself at the heart of the transactional parts of recruiting, LinkedIn is threatening its own long term growth.
The internal team at LinkedIn must be doing a happy dance. Each company that uses the new one stop apply program has immediately volunteered to be a part of the LinkedIn sales team’s lead flow. In a single move, the company has saved themselvers Billions of dollars in market development.
But, it isn’t social, it’s transactional. What LinkedIn has done is to change the locus of the battle. What was once a question of timing and data is about to become a question of investment in relationships. The new LinkedIn apply button will force the competition out from the point of application and into the talent pipeline.
It’s really good news for the market even if it’s bad news for Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice and only moderately good news for LinkedIn. (I say moderate becasue the gains, though handsome, are pretty short term.)
I wonder which job board will be the first to embace the new era? There will be a stampede, to be sure.
So, hang on to your hats. Now that the point of application problem is solved, watch for the innovation that this sparks as vendors and candidates adapt to the new reality.
The most interesting thing about Google+ so far (let me know if you need an invite) is the light it casts on the entire spectrum of social media. I’ve found that my attention is drifting away from the cluttered marketplaces on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to the more conversational environment on G+.
That may have more to do with my approach to the existing tools than it as to do with G+.
I’ve always envisioned the big three social sites as traffic developmenyt platforms for the HRExaminer. By posting a combination of interesting cintent and pointers to material on the Examiner, I hoped to create traffic to the website. I needed to build large groups of followers in order to generate traffic. While I treated this process with a great deal of care, there was nothing particularly social about the way I used social media.
You might describe that as a transactional approach to social media.
Recently, I’ve been learning alot from my elders.
Bill Kutik, whose carefully curated HRTech LinkedIn group is an amazing exercise in community development. devotes a focused hour per day to his work on LinkedIn. Along the way, he’s mastered the art of gracefully running a forum. If you want to see community in action, visit Bill’s stomping grounds.
Howard Rheingold, who I had the pleasure of working with for a couple of years, has turned his attention to the transformation of education. I’ve been taking classes in his experimental pop-up university on Social Media Literacy and Cooperation.
I’m in the process of liberating the best ideas from both of these pioneers and embedding them in my work.
Google+ happened along just as I began to realize the potential of collaborative conversation. It turns out that having good questions trumps having good answers every day of the week. So, I’m trying to figure out a new way of thinking and communicating. Google plus is the excuse.
In the classes at RheingoldU, each co-learner is expected to keep up a blog and an active role in the forums associated with the class. It’s taxing and one learns alot. It’s an environment in which the idea that learning requires discomfort has a home.
While I’ve always tried to provoke thought in my work, it’s often been a one sided barrage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to keep doing that. This summer, I learned that collaboration can also be thought provoking.
I had no idea.
If you’d like, look me up on G+. I think it’s an interesting place to start a dialog about how social media works in HR and Recruiting. I’m imagining a series of conversations that build and evolve rather than the more argumentative stuff that you see on the web and hear in the media.
At the heart of good recruiting, retention based on personal desire, great customer relationships, solid team work, clear delivery of results and, increasingly, any business success, is the mastery of relationship management. Relationships are hard to develop in volume and many people take statistical shortcuts in processes that develop relationships based on the luck of the draw. The reason that Direct Marketing techniques generally have a bad name is that they tend to treat people like objects as a precursor to a deeper form of relationship. The message in this approach is “if I can figure out what value you bring to me, I will invest in a deeper relationship.”
No good relationship begins with the proposition that it will depend on my understanding of the value I’ll get. They begin with the question “What value can I give?” They start with the notion that the “objects of our desire” are people first. When they are “objects” first, the very beginning of the relationship is sowed with the seeds of its ultimate failure.
In situations that require people to sift through volumes of potential relationships, the tendency to objectify feels like a quick shortcut to successful completion of the task. Reviewing hundreds of resumes to arrive at a “shortlist” of ten which will then be sifted to an interview pool of three or four is a task that demands sensitivity to data and the nuances of personal PR. Remembering that each resume represents the desires, hopes and aspirations (and sometimes desperation) of a person is a nearly superhuman task that requires the constant availability of forgiveness, a sense of humor and a willingness to see beyond the data. It is tremendously hard to keep this perspective fresh and foremost, particularly in a reactive environment.
Rather than focusing on being “x-kind of Relationship Manager” most ATS systems (or CRM systems for that matter) might be better called Potential Relationship Databases. Like the personals section of the local newspaper, they give a lonely recruiter or salesperson the opportunity to initiate a relationship. It is the process of evolving and maturing relationships, however, that characterizes real sales or recruiting effectiveness. It’s a process that can be supported but never automated because it involves the feelings of the person doing the recruiting or selling.
While there are tons of sales training programs that do it, we’ve looked and looked for either a managerial training program or a recruiter’s training program that focuses on a simple truth: Your effectiveness depends on how you feel about yourself and others. All of the sourcing and record keeping programs in the world won’t begin to compensate for a recruiting process that treats potential candidates as objects. To the extent that current systems perpetuate the myth that data constitutes a relationship, they are major contributors to the problem.
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