Don’t Let a Bad Tech Stack Hurt Employee Retention

A bad tech stack can make it difficult for companies to succeed against competitors in everything from customer engagement and sales to production and innovation. But, outdated, annoying or confusing technology can also harm your organization’s ability to attract and retain top talent, which will be increasingly difficult and important as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and the labor market tightens.

To be sure, it will be several years before the U.S. and global economies return to pre-COVID levels. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. won’t hit pre-pandemic employment levels until 2024. But given that major enterprise IT shifts can also take years, now is the time to evaluate your tech stack and ensure your organization has the right tools for a digital workforce that’s geographically dispersed, discerning when it comes to technology and willing to walk if an employer’s technology hinders their success.

Don’t believe me?

According the State of Software Happiness Report 2019 from G2:

  • 52% of workers said they have “become dissatisfied at work due to missing or mismatched software”
  • 24% of respondents said they have “considered looking for a new job” because they “didn’t have the right software”
  • 13% of employees said they have actually left a job because of the software their employer required them to use
  • 95% of workers said they would be “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with better software tools
  • 86% of respondents said they would be “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with more software tools

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to close offices and most office workers to become telecommuters, technology became and even more important factor in employee job satisfaction. According to Adobe Workfront’s State of Work 2021 report, released last week:

  • 32% of workers said they had left a job because the employer’s technology “was a barrier to their ability to do good work.” This was up from 22% pre-COVID.
  • 49% of U.S. workers said they are “likely to leave their current job if they’re unhappy or frustrated with the technology they use at work.”
  • 12 point increase in the number of people “who report turning down a job because the tech was out of date or hard to use” between February and March 2020 to November and December 2020
  •  7 point increase in the number of people “who reported applying for a job because they heard a company’s employees use great technology” between February and March 2020 to November and December 2020

Check out Dallon Adams’ article on ZDNet sibling site TechRepublic for more insights from the Workfront report on how Gen Xers are thriving in the world of remote work with millennials are struggling.

5 ways companies can improve employee IT satisfaction

So, as companies race to accelerate their digital transformation efforts to meet the needs of their customers in the new normal, they should also re-examine the hardware and software their employees are using. Here are few tips for building a tech stack that can help promote employee success, boost productivity, and build good will for IT.

  1. Make sure existing tools meet user needs and work as expected: Before you roll out new hardware and software, start with what you already have. Conduct a user satisfaction survey to find out if your current tech stack is meeting employee needs. A TechRepublic 2014 enterprise application software report found that only 26% of respondents were “very satisfied” with their software. IT can also use service desk call logs or reporting tools within their IT service management solution to detect applications and hardware that create regular pain points for end users.
  2. Give employees access to “new” technology: According to the Workfront report, employees are more interested in having access to “new” technology now compared to before the pandemic. The report showed a 5 point increase in the number of respondents who said that “old technology is making it harder to take on more work.” I know budget is always a consideration with any IT purchase, but if your staff is still using 7-year-old computers, it’s time to rethink your IT budget.
  3. Offer employees choice as a rule not an exception: Another data point from the Workfront report was that employees “expect their employers to trust and empower them to know how to achieve the right outcomes.” When I first started my IT career, there were Windows shops and then there was everything else. But today, and honestly for the last decade, modern device management tools and cloud services make it easier than ever to manage multiple operating systems, applications, and hardware platforms. With few exceptions, IT shouldn’t lock employees into (or more importantly out of) tools they believe will help them achieve company goals. I’m not suggesting you should run 5 different finance or CRM systems, but, there’s no reason not to support multiple productivity suites. If accounting needs Excel, sales wants PowerPoint, and everyone else wants Google Docs…fine. Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace can coexist. And if you’re thinking, “But Bill, we’ll get a price break if we use a single software platform.” Those initial low-price deals often expire in a few years (like an introductory interest rate on a credit card) and then you’re back to paying market rates. The same goes for hardware. If Legal wants Windows laptops, the Sales staff wants MacBooks, and your devs want Windows workstations make it happen. Sure, you can have a “standard” machine and drive image that you give to 80% of staff, but don’t just be the department of “no” when someone makes a legitimate business request.
  4. Support flexible/remote working environments: Even as COVID vaccines reach more workers, employees return to offices and public venues reopen, the nature of work has been forever changed by the pandemic. More people will work remotely than before COVID, and IT will need to switch from reactively supporting telecommuters to proactively empowering them. This means giving people have access to the hardware (monitors, keyboards, mice, trackpads, cables, external storage devices, etc.), software, and cloud services they need to work effectively from their home.
  5. Balance security with ease of use: If you make a security measure too onerous for people, they’ll find a way around it. This fact holds true for physical and cybersecurity. There’s no doubt in today’s world of constant cyberattacks everyone organization and individual needs to use strong security tools and follow best practices, there’s a fine line between doing security and overdoing security. For example, IBM released research in 2020 that shows simply deploying lots and lots os security tools doesn’t lead to stronger security. “The enterprise is slowly improving its response to cybersecurity incidents, but in the same breath, it is still investing in too many tools that can actually reduce the effectiveness of defense,” wrote Charlie Osborne for ZDNet’s Zero Day in her article on the report. For practical tips on balancing security and user accessibility, check out Scott Matteson’s list of cybersecurity do’s and don’ts.

When done together, these steps can go a long way to build a tech stack that fosters employee satisfaction with IT and the company as a whole, which as research shows is important for hiring and keeping top talent.

By:

Source: Don’t let a bad tech stack hurt employee retention, use these tips to improve worker IT satisfaction | ZDNet

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Financial Targets Don’t Motivate Employees

Would you be excited if your boss started a meeting saying: “I want to remind you that you’re a cog in a machine whose primary purpose is to hit our financial targets”?

It’s hard to imagine that you would feel much joy or pride of ownership in your work if your contribution was reduced to your financial output. While this specific wording may be a bit exaggerated, it’s not a far departure from the message that many employees hear on a daily basis.

As we move into what (we hope) will be a growth period, it’s natural for leaders to emphasize the importance of hitting financial targets. Financial performance is crucial, of course. But making numbers the centerpiece of your leadership narrative is a costly mistake.

Financial results are an outcome, not a root driver for employee performance. A growing body of evidence tells us that overemphasizing financial targets erodes morale and undermines long-term strategy. When a leader spends the majority of their airtime on a “make the numbers” narrative, it creates a transactional relationship with their employees, making them more likely to create transactional relationships with their teammates and customers.

The events of 2020 remind us: Employee engagement is the lifeblood of an organization. What your team thinks, feels, and believes about your organization, and their own work, drives their behavior — and their behavior is what determines your success or failure.

Leaders seeking to ignite creativity and drive exponential effort must go upstream, using their time with their teams to build belief in the organizational purpose, the intrinsic value of the employees’ work, and the impact the teams have on customers, and each other. Here are three ways to do that:

1. Evaluate your leadership “airtime.”

When Mike Gianoni took over as the CEO of SaaS firm Blackbaud, he flipped the way they conduct town halls. Previous leaders spent the majority of their airtime sharing financial results. Gianoni took a different approach. He began using his time to discuss the impact Blackbaud was having on customers, and he directed his leaders to do the same.

“Shifting our airtime from internal metrics to customer outcomes jump-started the next level of customer empathy and value,” explains Blackbaud President and GM Patrick Hodges. “Over time, your attrition goes down. When people feel good about what they do and they’re more successful, they’re not going to look for another job.”

We recommend leaders aim for a 50/50 split, spending at least half their leadership airtime building belief in the meaning and external impact of the work, and half on internal metrics and deliverables. It’s not without coincidence that six months after Blackbaud adjusted their leadership airtime, they had an innovation breakthrough, employee engagement rose dramatically, market share increased, and revenue grew exponentially.

2. Discuss individual customers with emotion and specificity.

The more clearly an employee understands their direct impact, the more likely they are to go the extra mile; they also experience greater fulfillment in doing so.

Consider this research from organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who studied paid employees at a public university call center who were hired to solicit donations to the school from alumni. He divided the team into two groups. One group went about their day as usual, phoning potential donors. The other group, before jumping on the phones, had a short conversation with a scholarship student, someone who was able to get an education because of donations that the call center produced. After a month, callers who had spoken with the scholarship recipient spent more than two times as many minutes on the phone, and brought in vastly more money: a weekly average of $503.22, up from $185.94.

The same findings have been echoed in studies of lifeguards, hospital workers, and sales teams. When we know our work matters to an individual person, we rise to the occasion. Discussing customers in the aggregate does not create the same emotional pull. Instead, when you speak about customers, even if your team does not interact with them directly, use their real names, talk about the businesses they have, and show your team that real people are counting on them.

3. Resist the pull of the “FYI.” 

In our consulting practice we routinely observe well-intended leaders who in an effort “to keep their team informed” pass along everything that pertains to financial performance. It’s natural, because the gravitational pull of most organizations leans towards the numbers; it’s what gets reported and thus it’s routinely forwarded down.

But when a leader send their team decks filled with financial targets employees are often left to their own devices to figure out how to translate broader financial goals into their daily behavior. It’s confusing at best, dispiriting at worst.

Emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman says, “A primary task of leadership is to direct attention. To do so, leaders must learn to focus their own attention.” Instead of routinely hitting forward on every financial report, think about where you want to direct the attention of your team.

You can decide what to share and what not to share by asking yourself questions like: What does my team need to be thinking about on a daily basis to accomplish these goals? How do I want them to behave with customers and each other? Filter out the noise coming from other places in the organization and focus your language on the two things that are 100% within the control of your team: their mindset and their behavior.

The research is telling us what we already knew in our hearts to be true: You cannot spreadsheet your way to passion. With ambitious goals on the horizon, it’s tempting to double-down on financial metrics. But hitting financial targets requires employees who are excited and care about their work.

As we face a future of potential uncertainty and unrest, it’s crucial for leaders to help their teams stay engaged. You can improve your team’s performance (and their emotional well-being) by making sure your airtime, your metrics, and your language communicate one simple message: Your work matters.

6 Recruiter Tips To Getting Your Resume Seen And Landing An Interview

According to the career website, Ladders, recruiters spend only 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume. Meaning, you as a job seeker have less than 8 seconds to make an impression on them. Most job seekers want to share everything about themselves in their resume, therefore, their resume becomes cluttered and overwhelming for the recruiter. Moreover, the resume lacks a clear purpose making the recruiter confused about how a candidate’s skills will translate to the role in which they’re applying.

The career site discovered the resumes where recruiters spent the most time and focus had

  • an overview or mission statement at the top of the first page
  • a clear flow with title headers and marked sections supported by bulleted lists of accomplishments
  • relevant keywords presented in context throughout the resume

Here are six recruiter tips you can implement right away to get your resume seen and land a job.

Keep It Stupid Simple (K.I.S.S.) Recommended For You

Most of the time, the people hiring for the role have never worked in that position. For this reason, keep your resume simple and make sure it’s easily understood since they’ll be the ones reading it. To get noticed at a glance, Ben Lamarche, general manager of Lock Search Group, emphasized, “be sure to bullet point your most marketable skills and relevant management experiences. Don’t go into so much detail that a reader can’t form a quick mental picture of you as a candidate.”

Deepak Shukla, founder of Pearl Lemon, an SEO agency, said “cut out any fluff or experiences that are not relevant to the position. This puts greater emphasis on the information that actually matters to the recruiter.” Also, try to keep your resume to one page, but no more than two pages. David Reitman, Esq., owner of DLR Associates Recruiting, recommended to “focus on the past 5-10 years.” He said, “anything further in the past should simply be mentioned with no more than one line describing job duties.” Avoid repeating information. If your last job was similar to your current job, don’t restate everything you did; instead say, “duties substantially similar to..”

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Utilize The Words In The Job Description

Job seekers often complain about not getting their resume past the applicant tracking system (ATS). The reason being is because the ATS looks for specific keywords that are already in the job description. As a job seeker, it’s important to tailor your resume to include those keywords that are relevant to your experience.

Yaffa Grace, founder of The Essential Resume, advises her clients to take a yellow highlighter and highlight words that come up multiple times in the job description. She said, make sure you only use those keywords if you have the experience reflected in that keyword. You can do this by supporting those keywords with professional experiences that demonstrate you’re knowledgable. The worst thing you could do is lie about or exaggerate your experience. The interview will uncover those lies. If the interview doesn’t, your performance on the job surely will.

Lastly, if you’re going to claim you are detail oriented, make sure to review your resume for mistakes and have someone else look it over too. The quickest way to land in the rejected pile is by contradicting what you claim.

Tailor Your Resume To The Position

Most job seekers have multiple resumes. Each resume is tailored specifically for the role in which they’re applying by using the keywords in that job description. If you have a broad background and are applying for various types of positions, it’s important you tailor your resume to speak to the skills of those positions. For example, if you’re applying to a developer position, you would want to move non-relevant positions to “Additional Experience”, personalize your summary and skills section as well as the bullet points from your current and previous positions.

Chris Waltenbaugh, payment processing expert at Payment Depot, explained “for me, the resumes that stand out are the ones that show the person has taken time to think about the position in which they’re applying and carefully crafted a document that demonstrates their understanding and what’s unique about them that will bring value to the job.”

Focus On Specific Accomplishments Rather Than Vague Responsibilities

Rather than listing out generic bullet points from the job description, use specific examples that demonstrates what you’ve accomplished not just what you did. For example, using a statement such as “Increased employee retention rate by 45%” is a stronger statement than “Improved the employee experience.” It not only hones in on a specific outcome but it demonstrates your success that can benefit the company in which you’re applying.

Petra Odak, chief marketing officer at Better Proposals, shared “one thing that is guaranteed to get my attention when I’m hiring, is samples. We hired for a lot of marketing positions recently and the candidates that stood out are those that supplied a sample of their work. Be it writing, design, marketing copy or something else. Those that went the extra mile and showed us what they can do are the ones that got an interview.” She added, “everyone can write a good resume and cover letter, but a sample shows that you can actually do the work.”

Take It To The Next Level

Grabbing a recruiters attention requires additional effort. Christy Noel, career expert, marketing executive and author of Your Personal Career Coach, expressed, “it’s not enough to solely rely on the job board or portal to submit your application. You should network to find someone who knows a person within the company that can be sent your resume to forward to the recruiter or hiring manager.” She explained “referrals have a 50% likelihood of getting an interview, non-referrals only have a 3% likelihood, so getting that person to submit your resume is critical to your job search.” LinkedIn is invaluable when it comes to networking with people at the company. Websites such as Rocket Reach and hunter.io help to find the email of specific people within the organization so you can send your resume and cover letter directly to them.

Another way to stand out is by being original in your approach. Andrew Taylor, director of Net Lawman, said “you can make your resume stand out by creating an infographic and including a video for your cover letter.”

Craft A Personalized Cover Letter

A personalized cover letter shows the employer you’re serious about the position in which you’re applying. Lawrence Calman-Grimsdale, marketing intelligence assistant at Jump, asserted, “it’s infinitely better to apply to three jobs with tailored cover letters than 100 without.” A cover letter should be well organized, concise and explain specific points from your resume that are relevant to the position. Furthermore, if you have gaps on your resume, make sure to give a brief explanation (health concerns, caring for a sick parent, etc…) so the recruiter isn’t left wondering.

To start, make sure to address the cover letter to the hiring manager in the organization. From there, each paragraph should be broken down into how you found the role and what made you want to apply, expanding on specific parts of your background that are relevant to the role and finally, a wrap up stating your excitement for the role, how they can contact you and thanking them for their time. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter

I’m a Leadership Coach & Workplace Culture Consultant at Heidi Lynne Consulting helping individuals and organizations gain the confidence to become better leaders for themselves and their teams. As a consultant, I deliver and implement strategies to develop current talent and create impactful and engaging employee experiences. Companies hire me to to speak, coach, consult and train their teams and organizations of all sizes. I’ve gained a breadth of knowledge working internationally in Europe, America and Asia. I use my global expertise to provide virtual and in-person consulting and leadership coaching to the students at Babson College, Ivy League students and my global network. I’m a black belt in Six Sigma, former Society of Human Resources (SHRM) President and domestic violence mentor. Learn more at http://www.heidilynneco.com or get in touch at Heidi@heidilynneco.com.

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There has never been a more challenging time to be a recruiter than right now. The talent market is struggling and the misunderstanding between candidates and employers is getting worse and worse. There are many new skills that you need as a recruiter to ensure that you are doing your job correctly and excelling within your own career. Join Anne, Recruiter’s Marketing Whiz, as she points out the 5 skills all recruiters must have today. These pointers will not only help recruiters better themselves within their industry, but it will also show employers what they should be looking for in recruiters. Check out our website and Twitter for more career tips and tricks from Recruiter: https://www.recruiter.com/https://twitter.com/RecruiterDotCom

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