Employment Life Cycle: The Retention Factor #EWS2014

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I’ve been partnering with my friends at Spherion to share some information from their 2014 Emerging Workforce Study; see below for full disclosure details.

One thing we all strive for is to create a linkage between our talent programs and strategies and key organizational outcomes.

But sometimes, even as we scramble about tracking data and rolling out new initiatives, we don’t pay sufficient attention to the ‘voice’ of our own employees. Crazy isn’t it?

That’s why I found the data released in the study to be interesting in what was uncovered regarding the advocacy, retention and leadership phases of the employment life cycle. (Check out the full infographic for some very interesting information.)

The thing is that even as we dash about talking about our employees as ‘brand advocates’ and ‘ambassadors for organizational culture’ we are often lacking a true connection of understanding between employers and employees.

Sometimes, or so it appears, we just drop the ball!

When reading through the study some of the findings around the issue of retention were particularly interesting to me:

  • Employers believe the most important aspects for worker retention include the management climate (89%), an employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor (85%) and the culture and work environment (81%).
  • However, workers feel financial compensation (78%), benefits (76%) and growth and earnings potential (71%) will influence whether they continue to work at a company.

There’s kind of a glaring disconnect there! The question needs to be asked “are you – HR leader/practitioner/C-suite executive – focusing on the right things in your particular organization?” It seems that we discuss retention and turnover and the need to ‘hire the right talent’ all the time – yet – according to study results only 23% of employers say turnover/retention is their top HR concern.

Are we tossing out our hard-earned and tenured employees by failing to just talk to them? Listen to them? Do we then throw our hands up in the air and move onto the topic of “oh well, I guess we need to open some reqs and recruit the right people!”

Maybe…just maybe…the right people are directly under your our noses, all along… Hmmm…?

The question to ask – and this is how it all wraps together – is “are we treating our current staff members in the right way?”  Here’s a telling piece of information from the study:

“workers rate the level of customer service their employer provides to external customers higher than the way the company treats them.”  (the employees!)

Somewhat sobering.

It’s wooing and chasing the popular girl/guy. it’s landing the first date. It’s entering a relationship. And then neglecting the fact that romance needs to continue; even for the couples that hit their Silver Anniversary.

Time to take a look at the entire Employee Life Cycle. Am I right HR?


Disclosure Language:

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Salute to Volunteers – #SHRMLead

winning-trophyThis week, close to 900 volunteer leaders will gather in Washington D.C. for the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Volunteer Leaders’ Summit. With a theme this year of “Prepare. Change. Lead.” the event is designed to prepare chapter and state council leaders to guide their organizations in alignment with SHRM’s goals and initiatives. No easy feat; 2015 promises to be a year of continued complexity for the largest HR professional organization as we get the full roll out of the new SHRM certifications.

I myself was a SHRM volunteer leader for well over a decade, serving as chapter president back in the day and holding various roles on chapter boards and with the Louisiana SHRM State Council. I feel like I’ve been a member forever and yet, for all the drama and hits-or-misses that may occur, I always promote membership – especially for new professionals and/or those who wish to network, learn and build relationships with their professional peers.

In 2002 I moved cross-country, relocating from Milwaukee, WI to Baton Rouge, LA. Within a few weeks of arriving in town I attended my first local SHRM chapter meeting and one of the very first people I met was Rebecca Briley who, at the time, was serving on the GBR SHRM board of directors. She quickly became a close and dear friend and we’ve spent countless fun times together whether strolling on Bourbon Street, laughing over dinner and cocktails, or just hanging out and working hard. She’s been a tireless champion for the human resources profession and SHRM and I was so incredibly happy for her when she was elected to serve as a member of SHRM’s Membership Advisory Council a few years ago.

The MAC Representatives are elected by their respective Regional Councils and serve either a 1 or 2 year term. As we wrap up 2014, four of the five MACs are ending their terms and I would like to give them a shout out this week for all they do to connect volunteer leaders with the SHRM Board of Directors. Closing out their terms of service are:

Steve Browne, SPHR – North Central Region – will continue on as MAC Rep for 2015, joined by 4 new volunteer leaders from the other regions.

So thanks to the MAC Reps, the state council volunteers, the chapter volunteers and all the members who work so hard to connect HR professionals to business and community.

I salute you. You DO make a difference.

Information Exchange – #KronosWorks

Welcome_to_fabulous_las_vegas_signI recently got back from KronosWorks 2014, the annual conference for Kronos users which Kronos defines as ‘the world’s largest management information exchange.’ And yes – I can attest having attended for two years now – there is a vast exchange of information.

This past weekend before I headed off to Vegas for the conference, I mentioned to some other HR/Recruiting friends that I was attending the event. The general consensus was “user conferences are just a way for the vendors to get more money from their existing customers.” I disagreed. Big time. And here’s why…every single attendee I speak to at user conferences says the same thing –“the biggest value in attending is learning from other users.”

And to reinforce the point I heard this sentiment expressed multiple times earlier this week. I sat at breakfast with a customer who was at the event with her colleagues from around the world; her team is responsible for running 70 weekly payrolls and they’ve been using Kronos for years. Obviously she’s surrounded, daily, by experienced Kronos users with whom she can confer. Yet she expressed her delight in attending the event each year to learn from other users. “We may do things a certain way and they work for us,” she pointed out, “but I always find that people from other industries and companies have different – and sometimes better – ways of accomplishing the same objectives we do. Every year I learn something new that leads me to make adjustments when I get back to the office.”


One of the sessions I attended was “Modern Problems Require Mobile Solutions” in which we discussed the Kronos Workforce Mobile solutions. While a handful of attendees in the session indicated they are already using Workforce Mobile Solutions when the speaker asked who in the room was considering going mobile, the vast majority of hands in the room raised high. We discussed smartphones and tablets; we explored the interplay between BYOD or Mobile Device Management programs. And these weren’t just large enterprise customers; attendees using Kronos Workforce Ready (for small and midsize business) mobile solutions shared their stories and asked questions of their peers. Learning from each other means scaling up or scaling down….right?

Is this sexy HR? Maybe not. It is, however, necessary HR – controlling labor costs, minimizing compliance risk, and improving workforce productivity. All the stuff that we, as HR professionals need to get right the first time. Every time.

So thanks to the team at Kronos for bringing me to this event for a second year. While they provided compensation, the thoughts and opinions I’ve expressed either here on the blog or via other social channels are mine alone and they had no expectations other than I tell it like I see it.

And one thing I’ve seen the last two years is a willingness to listen to customers. Aron Ain (Kronos CEO) and the rest of his team are visible and accessible at every turn as they wander throughout the conference having conversations. I attended two separate events where Aron and his team were open, forthright and willing to answer any and all questions: this occurred both at Monday’s Executive Roundtable for Analysts, Bloggers & Press and at Tuesday’s Customer Spotlight Breakfast.

So if you, like my friends, consider user conferences to be merely a money grab I want to let you know that nothing is further from the truth.

These conferences are, indeed, a needed and valuable information exchange.


Check out the Workforce Management blogging team at Kronos and follow them for great content all throughout the year. And no – you don’t have to be a Kronos customer/user to get great relevant information from these fantastic writers.

Exploring Art AND Science #KronosWorks

testtubeI’m in Las Vegas attending KronosWorks 2014 which is the user conference for Kronos customers. There are about 2,500 global attendees here (including IT, HR, and Payroll professionals) making it to the top of all-time attendance numbers for the event.

Yesterday’s opening general session featured Adam Savage, co-host of the TV series “MythBusters” speaking on the topic “Art vs. Science: Not a Contest.”

His talk took us through a discussion about how we often view art and science to be opposites; one is liberating and warm, while the other is methodical, rigid and cold. His assessment however is that art and science are not opposites and in fact they are dependent upon each other.

I thought this was a fascinating conversation starter for attendees at a technology focused human resources conference. Prior to heading off to sessions about configuring workforce absence alerts or mobile solutions (a bit methodical, no?) we in the audience thought about inspiration and talent and the formation of ideas.

I liked it.

After all, an HR professional, in my estimation, will be successful when she allows imagination and creativity to co-exist with pragmatism and analysis. And I’m not sure if we, collectively as human resources professionals, do that very well. We compartmentalize what we view as conflicting personal skill sets: “I’m a numbers person so I work in comp” or “I’m creative so choose to work in recruitment marketing.” 

This has taken us to a point where HR practitioners and leaders often believe that creativity is only allowed – or valuable – for certain activities: employee recognition or, occasionally, recruiting initiatives. The approach to other HR/people activities – the foundational, functional areas of HR – is often in lockstep with the past as we end up maintaining the status quo: rigid, unchanging, disciplined and structured.

But new discoveries await. Yes…even in HR. Adam Savage put it this way:

  • Start with an idea.
  • Develop a hypothesis.
  • Test it.
  • Learn from it.

Thinking further about this, what it means to me is:

  • Begin with your knowledge.
  • Expand what you know.
  • Question it.
  • Explore it.
  • Don’t limit yourself to art OR science.
  • Let your mind wander.
  • Be curious.
  • Question everything.
  • Ask “what if we do……?”
  • Ask “what if we don’t……?”

It’s neither art nor science exclusively.

They’re complimentary. And they’re both necessary.

“Culture is a conversation and art and science are the mechanisms by which we have those conversations.” Adam Savage