Every spring thousands of novice and experienced teachers take time away from their student teaching or professional duties to travel to an education job fair sponsored by a local university or large school district. In attendance are recruiters from schools all across the nation, both public and private. These recruiters spend big bucks purchasing fancy presentation booth displays, banners, table skirts, glossy brochures and tons of swag. For some districts, the goal is simply to find trained teachers to fill the many vacancies they expect for the upcoming school year. School districts like DeKalb County (GA) Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, El Paso Independent School District, and Detroit Public Schools advertised the need to hire over 300 teachers for the 2017-2018 school year! Yet, the bulk of the recruiters who attend teacher job fairs are from in-state school districts and are looking to fill a handful of positions or they’re searching to find candidates for hard-to-fill positions. At the end of the day, some districts are more successful than others, if you judge success based on the long lines of candidates waiting for their three minute “meet and greet” interview at the recruiter’s table.
The Ultimate Swag
Very few teaching candidates attend a job fair expecting to be offered a contract without ever visiting a school or meeting the building principal; however, the goal of all teaching candidates is to land an interview with one or more school districts. In order to achieve that goal, job fair candidates must often stand in long lines waiting to speak with recruiters for a brief time before moving on to another school district’s table. As they proceed through the day, candidates grow their collection of promotional swag eagerly being distributed by recruiters. Imprinted with the district’s logo and website address, swag items such as pens, buttons, magnets, calculators, mints, lip balm and hand sanitizer start to fill the job seekers’ backpacks. The purpose of such items is to remind the teachers to complete a job application and to help create a favorable candidate experience. Unfortunately, that swag can also serve as a reminder of a poor candidate experience and prompt that candidate to communicate negative things about that district to their friends or on social media. For example, a candidate who did not get contacted for an interview after spending time completing an application in response to the positive and encouraging comments he/she received from a recruiter is more likely to be reminded of that negative experience when coming across those swag items in his/her backpack. A 2016 study conducted by CareerArc showed that nearly 60% of all job seekers have encountered a poor candidate experience with a prospective employer and 72% of those job seekers said they have posted comments about that negative experience on social media and shared those negative feelings with others. Those “other” people could very well have been the standout teaching candidates you were looking for, but never got to meet because they chose not to apply to your school district based on their friend’s experience.
Imagine if your school district had the capability to grant an authentic and comprehensive teaching interview to all job fair attendees. Imagine further the positive impressions those teaching candidates would have about your district if they knew their interview question responses would be shared with every building principal and/or subject matter department chair in your district. Better yet, imagine the magnitude of positive candidate experiences you would create if you informed the candidates that their interview responses would remain accessible to district hiring officials for the next twelve months and that you would share those interviews with other school districts who expressed a need to fill a position that your district did not have open. Now that’s the ultimate swag a candidate could receive from a school district when attending a job fair!
The New NCLB
One might question how a school district could follow through with their promise to conduct a comprehensive interview with every candidate who stops by their table at a job fair. The answer is that this can be accomplished fairly easily using the power of video interviewing technology.
Greg Dietz, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in Maine Township High School District 207, has reinvented the job fair experience for teaching candidates. The “swag” he promises, in exchange for a candidate’s name, email address, and subject area, is a guaranteed interview consisting of several comprehensive questions that candidates can answer at any point over a 7-day period and from the comfort of their own homes using their smartphone or webcam-equipped device. Dietz harnesses the power of the RIVS Digital Interviews software to invite job fair candidates to participate in a pre-recorded, asynchronous video interview. “I like to think of RIVS as an acronym for Record, Invite, View and Share because that’s essentially how easy it is to use. It’s kind of like the old Ronco infomercial tagline….just ‘set it and forget it’, until the completed interviews start rolling in,” he noted. “I need for our building principals and department chairs to hear the responses that candidates give to scripted interview questions. I also need them to get a sense of each candidate’s persona, level of enthusiasm and whether or not they have an engaging personality,” Dietz stated. “We recruit teachers who not only have a strong command of their subject area, but also who can connect with kids and are engaging enough to encourage students to reach the high expectations that we set for them,” he added.
Instead of bringing a cavalry of administrators to a job fair, the recruiting table for Maine D207 consists of just Dietz and a few laptop computers. He is often seen speaking to a chorus of teaching candidates as he explains the district’s unique process, while other candidates are seated at his table entering their information into spreadsheets on his laptops. “We invite them all to interview for a job because we can,” said Dietz, noting that video interviewing technology has allowed him to dramatically increase the number of candidates who apply for open positions in his school district. In fact, last spring D207 received no less than 86 completed interviews from candidates seeking an assistant principal position. Dietz refers to this recruiting strategy as “The New NCLB: No Candidates Left Behind,” he jokes. “Wouldn’t you be more likely to apply for a job knowing you would be granted an interview?” Dietz quipped. This strategy helps D207 administrators select the best educators from a deeper pool of applicants.
To follow through on his promise, during the lunch break and again immediately following the job fair, Dietz uploads the file of candidate information into the RIVS Digital Interviews software and within seconds several dozen job fair attendees receive an email inviting them to complete a teacher job interview for Maine Township High School District 207. “I’ve had candidates stop by my table for a second time to let me know they received the interview invitation on their phone and that they planned to record their responses over the weekend,” said Dietz. That’s just one way D207 attempts to create a positive candidate experience for those who attend a job fair.
Since he works for a high school district in Illinois, Dietz does not recruit elementary teachers, but will invite them to interview if they inquire. “I once had an elementary teacher ask me if she could be emailed a video interview invitation just so she could practice her interviewing skills, and of course I agreed,” said Dietz. “It does not cost me anything extra, except a few seconds to email her the completed interview, but just maybe she knows a rockstar physics teacher or speech therapist out there that I desperately need and they will now apply to my district because of the goodwill I generated,” he added. Whether a candidate ends up getting a job in his district or not, Dietz wants them to be sharing positive comments about D207 regarding their experience during the selection process. Providing every job fair candidate with an opportunity to interview for a teaching position is just part of the brand the Maine D207 wants to promote.
More Bang for Your Buck
Instead of paying for the travel, lodging, meal, and registration costs associated with sending multiple recruiters to a job fair, using the approach Maine D207 implements, school districts can get a bigger bang for their recruiting budget buck. Plus, Dietz gets to keep his principals and other administrators in their schools working with students and staff. “It’s a win-win-win in reality,” said Dietz.
In addition to the obvious advantages of time and cost efficiencies, Dietz uses the video interviewing software to promote his district’s brand and to provide candidates with a visual glimpse into the district’s climate and culture. Before candidates begin responding to the interview questions, they are shown a promotional video that is embedded within the video interview. Called a “welcome message” the promotional video allows candidates the opportunity to learn more about the district’s three campuses, the mentoring and professional development programs, and most importantly, the students and staff. As Greg mentioned, “You just cannot replicate that with a telephone screening interview or through a brief chat at a job fair.”
Using the Flipped HR Office Approach at Job Fairs
Traditionally, school districts send recruiters to job fairs, both locally and out-of-state, in hopes of persuading teaching candidates to apply for one or more of their openings. At that point, district administrators spend time reviewing the information contained in the online application and the supporting documents that candidates upload to their profiles like resumes, letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc. Unfortunately, the research published by CareerArc shows that 72% of employers spend less than 15 minutes reviewing a candidate’s application information. As a result, many school districts end up bringing in candidates to interview in person only to quickly realize the candidates do not have the “it” factor necessary to consistently engage a classroom of students in the learning process. They may know their content area really well, but their ability to convey that knowledge to a diverse classroom of students is suspect, at best. Unfortunately, that district must carry on with the interview and wait for the next scheduled candidate to arrive.
If a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, it stands to reason that a video is worth a thousand pictures. The “flipped HR office” approach relies on providing authentic and comprehensive screening interviews to all job fair candidates and spending administrative time reviewing candidates’ responses. Only after being intrigued by a candidate’s interview responses is any administrative time spent reviewing the credentials contained within the online application. Using traditional methods, even with several administrators working the job fair, it is impossible to thoroughly interview every candidate who expresses interest in a school district. Combining video interviewing software and D207’s approach, not only can every candidate be provided the opportunity to interview for a position, but every building principal and hiring official in your school district will then have access to a library of candidate interviews for them to review after the job fair. It’s essentially the interview that keeps on giving and job fair candidates love that benefit of video interviewing technology.
By implementing video interviewing technology, employers like Maine D207 spend more time ensuring candidates have the required persona and student engagement skills first, then they do a deeper dive into the credentials contained within their online applications. Unlike what often happens during an in-person or telephone screening interview, D207 administrators can quickly move on to the next candidate’s video responses without appearing rude or disinterested to the candidate. Simply put, video interviewing allows school districts to increase the depth of their talent pool by encouraging and attracting more candidates to apply for their open positions.
Critics of video interviewing say candidates prefer face-to-face interviews. Greg does not disagree with that position. “I wish I had the time, money and human power to provide a face-to-face interview for everyone who applies for a job in my district, but that’s not a reality,” Dietz retorted. “The most frustrating part of the job search process is spending several hours completing applications and never getting called in for an interview,” explained Dietz. He added, “My experience with video interviewing tells me that people would rather be invited to participate in a video interview versus not getting a chance to interview at all.”
Hiring summer interns is popular for various reasons. They bring fresh, enthusiastic energy to your business, and they’re hungry for experience in your industry. It can also be a way to source a valuable employee, later down the line. On the other hand, they’re inexperienced, so they’ll require time and guidance from you. They won’t have much time with you, so you’ll need to find ways to make the most of that time.
Employing a summer intern can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. You’re doing your bit for the intern’s personal and career growth, and hopefully benefiting your business at the same time. You’re probably doing your industry a favour too, if the intern develops good skills while with you.
However, for this to be the case, hiring the right intern requires careful planning. Following these important steps ahead of hiring will guarantee a smooth process:
Decide on the kind of person you need ahead of your interviews. Academic achievements are one thing to consider, although the interns may not have many due to their age. It’s important to look for enthusiastic characters who will ask the right questions and listen carefully to what you’re saying.
Creative thinkers with the ability to use their own initiative will be assets, given the short time available. How adaptable are they? As they’ll be integrating quickly with your team, an outgoing character is helpful too.
Create a clear job description
In order for the intern to feel comfortable, it’s important that they fully understand their role within the company. Ensure that you create a job description compatible with their skills. It should also include aspects that will aid in their development.
The fewer grey areas there are, the less confusion there will be when the intern starts work. It is a good idea to have a meeting with them to go over the job description, so that they can give feedback on what they’d like to add, if anything. They may have questions about the duties listed, so it’s good to iron these out ahead of the first day.
When expectations are clarified on both sides, there will be fewer bumps in the road. It’s great to get these down in writing as a reference point for the intern; this is also useful when doing assessments at the end of the summer.
Plan to integrate them
An intern, however outgoing, may feel a little shy or nervous about being the new recruit within an established team. Their lack of experience will make it an unpredictable situation for them. When they get a chance to see how your team functions together, they’ll understand how they can fit into it.
It helps to make sure that your entire team is expecting them and fully briefed on what they’ll be doing. The intern should be officially introduced to your team; ideally with some kind of welcome meeting or lunch, so that they can get to know who they’ll be working with.
If there is someone in your team they could learn a lot from, consider having that person mentor the intern. This is a great way to give the intern the most value possible, while increasing the chances of them doing an excellent job for you. It also means the intern has someone handy to answer any questions that arise over the course of their days with you.
Set a realistic schedule
The chances are you’ll be busy with your own activities over the summer. If this is likely, you may not have much time to give to your intern. It makes sense to plan carefully before their arrival so that they won’t be stuck twiddling their thumbs… or constantly asking questions.
Decide on the tasks they’ll be undertaking, well in advance. Have extra tasks planned in case they’re so efficient that they whizz through them. Meet with your team to find out what the intern could do for them.
Ensure that these activities will also benefit the intern in terms of skills and experience. It is fairest to make sure the assignments will offer some kind of mental challenge that contributes to the intern’s growth.
Give constructive feedback
Your intern is likely to welcome some constructive feedback at the end of the internship. It makes sense to conduct an assessment of their overall performance. You can set KPIs (key performance indicators) to make things more clear. This way, the intern will know what is expected of them and what they’ll be assessed on later.
It is also helpful to give regular feedback throughout the program. The intern will then know how they’re doing and be in a position to make improvements on the go, rather than trying to adjust after the fact. Keep in mind that the intern will be eager to please and therefore quite sensitive to your delivery.
It’s possible that they will make a few mistakes along the way, so make it clear that this is normal, while helping them to understand how they can improve. Congratulate them on what they’ve done well, and highlight their strengths too. Thank them with a social occasion or gift, if deserved.
By taking some time to plan carefully ahead of hiring, you’ll have the best possible chance of getting the right type of interns. By determining the kind of people you need, making their roles clear, integrating them thoroughly and assessing them carefully, everyone gets the most from the program. You should aim to send out confident, skilled young workers into the world, and who knows… it may even be your company they come back to with these newfound skills and abilities.
Author Bio: Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler.com — a scheduling and payroll software platform founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.
Leading Video Interview Provider RIVS Integrates with TalentEd
RIVS, a top video interviewing software provider today announced a partnership with TalentEd by PeopleAdmin, a leading provider in cloud-based talent management solutions for K-12 education.
“We’re excited about this strategic partnership because it delivers key functionality our customers need to efficiently screen and hire top candidates,” said Jack Blaha, CEO of PeopleAdmin, TalentEd’s parent company. “We’re always looking for new ways to help education leaders hire, develop and manage top talent, so they can maximize time and resources spent empowering student achievement.”
With the partnership, thousands of schools and districts using TalentEd’s Hire applicant tracking solution will have the ability to screen candidates with pre-recorded video, voice and written interviews, and live video interviews. Additionally, the RIVS Scheduling Tool will allow candidates to self-schedule interviews. “Digital interviews help organizations hire qualified talent faster and we are proud to partner with TalentEd to offer such service to their clients,” said Phil Leslie, CEO of RIVS Digital Interviews.
Digital interviews are available to TalentEd customers effective immediately. Customers interested in learning more can request a personalized demo at http://www.rivs.com/demo.
RIVS connects recruitment teams to quality candidates through digital interviews. Video, voice, and written interviews reveal key candidate communication and personality skills earlier on in the selection process, helping organizations discover top talent, while reducing time to hire and costs associated with interviewing. For more information, visit https://www.rivs.comor follow us on twitter @rivscom.
Powered by actionable analytics and insights gained from a team of education research experts, TalentEd by PeopleAdmin delivers solutions that streamline K-12 education recruitment, assessment, hiring, onboarding, records and contract management, absence management, evaluations and professional development management.
TalentEd partners with thousands of schools in the U.S. and Canada to deliver data-driven talent management solutions that improve efficiency and effectiveness, so customers may focus on what they do best — empowering employees, advancing student achievement and inspiring a brighter future.
Thanksgiving turkey has been turned into leftovers, soups, stews, sandwiches, and a wide assortment of casserole dishes. Holiday decorations and Christmas music abound. And the season of thanks and giving is upon us.
For an HR department, what does this mean? Is there a meaningful way to incorporate the spirit of the holiday season into the work environment without sacrificing productivity or risking lawsuits? Other than the fact that many employees enjoyed the day off, is there something significant about the season that should in fact be brought into and celebrated in the office environment?
The answer, in short, is of course there are things that can be done and that indeed can help make the season a little brighter for all. Some suggestions from HRResolutions.com and HRCSuite.com include variations on the following “big picture” themes:
Employees Like Having Their Efforts Recognized and Rewarded.
This may, on its face, seem overly simple. Everyone of course likes the warm fuzzies they get when someone notices their efforts and hard work. Positive feedback works. But in the season of the holidays, as you begin to wind down the year, you may want to investigate questions of how to make your employees feel valued and appreciated in ways that go beyond bonuses:
Simply publicly recognizing the extra efforts of hard-working employees may make them feel their contributions have been noticed. Simply publicly thanking those who went above and beyond may encourage others as well as reward those who worked hard.
Sometimes a reward can be as simple as an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with a management team leader outside of the office environment, to earn privileges or products, or simply to be given a small token of appreciation.
At the end of the day, what employees (really, what we all want) is to be treated with respect. This is true between peers, peers and managers, employees and customers, and the executive team.
2. A Culture Of Appreciation Breeds Appreciation.
Against the common tides of using emojis and text messaging instead of hand-written notes, the notion that thanking the people you work with should be common is, unfortunately, uncommon. All too often the people who work take each other, their bosses, their customers, and even their companies for granted. Imagine instead a world in which employees know their value, support the organization with dedication and drive, and where customers come to feel like family. What’s the secret? It’s simple. Showing appreciation to all for their contributions. Saying thanks.
When you realize and recognize that everyone has a choice- whether it is the employees who come in to work in a pinch or the staff who go the extra mile or the customers who continue to choose you… you can address and brainstorm ways to thank them. And when you thank them and they feel valued, it carries over into every aspect of the work environment.
By now, the candy has all been sorted and parents have claimed their favorites while their youngsters sleep soundly. But the sad truth is that for HR professionals, horrors abound. Halloween is not the scariest thing they have to face. Nor are screaming angry toddlers. No, for many HR pros, there are horrors no one should ever have to face.
The folks at SHRM as well as those at Business.com put together a compilation of HR nightmares to share with you including:
The story of the power imbalance between previously besotted employees, one of whom was responsible for managing and evaluating the performance of the other. Needless to say, the solution to this particular love story was a relocation of one of the parties out of the other’s chain of command.
The first-day jitters were far greater for new employees of a company who was forced to hold a lockdown due to the unreasonable actions of a client- during the orientation of many.
The employee who not only couldn’t take the answer “no” but who insisted on showing up for work after having been let go.
Stories of employees who were penalized or negatively treated after discovering and fixing potential leaks and problems.
Hotel employees who used rooms in the employment to nap.
Inappropriate material being accessed and/or stored on company computers.
In addition to these gaffes and inappropriate behaviors, there are new troubling trends in HR that many attribute to the new work ethics being eroded. At no time is it ever appropriate for a new employee’s parent (unless the new employee is a minor) to participate in any way in the interview or hiring process. This may come as a surprise to many former helicopter parents. And, for new interviewees, putting your mobile device away during your interview is, indeed, essential.
We hope you had a happy, safe, and productive Halloween.
Anyone with a social media account has probably seen postings in the last few days stating, simply “Me Too.” What does this movement refer to and why is it out there?
According to Recode, the movement which launched originally on Twitter refers to the statement by victims of sexual harassment and assault of their existence. It is truly a chilling reminder of the power of the powerful and powerlessness of those who are left feeling helpless.
While the “Me Too” movement was indeed launched by a woman, its impact is not limited by gender, age, race, religion, or orientation. What was started as a simple Twitter conversation quickly launched over to facebook and other media operations. Celebrities, athletes, professionals, and young and old victims opened up about their experiences and as of late Monday there were over 8.7 million social media users talking about it.
What does this concept have to do with HR? Sadly, everything. Much of the unreported and unrecognized sexual harassment happens at work. And whether it is because the HR team is the first line of defense, or because workers who are traumatized eventually have to explain to that team why they are leaving or why they need time off, the fact is that HR professionals are the ones who are going to hear about it.
WYFF reported on the impact of the “Me Too” movement and how essential it is for victims of workplace aggression have a safe and impactful venue to voice their concerns and share their experiences. While some view this as a negative because it is drawing attention to the very real and very painful experiences the victims have lived through, others see it as empowering and respecting women.
The “Me Too” movement is shining the light of integrity on the shadows of sexual harassment and violence that have been allowed to breed for far too long. If you see someone’s post that says “Me Too”, take a moment to realize they have already been a victim. This is the time for reaching out a hand and saying an empathetic “I’m sorry for what you have gone through” instead of buttoning it up and hiding the truth. HR operations all around the country need to take a serious look at what is happening on the ground and nip abusive behavior in the bud.
Questions seek and often obtain answers. Asking the right questions at the right stage of your employment relationship can make the difference whether it is in the recruitment process, in employee development and retention or even after termination.
Recruitment: The secret to a strong interview process really is in the questions. It’s ALL about the questions. So how can you improve your hiring process, increase employee engagement, and find meaningful ways to recruit and retain employees? By asking the right questions at the right times. According to Better Team, asking standard versions of traditional interview questions continues to hold a value because the answers the candidates give may in fact reveal far more than was intended. How? Because the candidate’s body language, level of comfort in answering the questions, or simply the depth and breadth of their answers can be revealing. Even the general “strength/weakness” questions can be seen as evoking significant information about the candidate.
Retention: Questions in the retention/development arena are designed to identify growth opportunities, evaluate job satisfaction, and elicit information that can clearly show whether the right people have been put into the right roles. Inc. has identified and explored the importance of asking not only questions but of finding and exploring meaningful and purposeful ones. How are these different? Well many employers may use a standardized “rate your satisfaction” scale to measure employees on their progress and goals, those measures are far too rigid to actually demonstrate any enlightening information. If you want to know what employees really think, you need to ask open-ended questions that challenge them. Simple fact-based questions on progress, status, achievements, and such will only reflect the underlying facts. But creating a questioning process that delves into the mindset and feelings of the people working for you is a wholly different creature.
Post-employment: The exit interview may in fact be the most important opportunity to learn, grow, and change as an organization to achieve employee satisfaction and increase the likelihood of actual change. What do you want to ask someone who has made the decision to leave? From your HR perspective, now is the time to find out about what they wanted and how the organization did not achieve those goals for them. Think of it as a break up with closure. Use the opportunity to investigate why and whether anything might have made them change their minds.
Simply the asking of questions can make a difference in every stage of your HR operation. Learning not only when to ask them but how to ask ones that are interactive and meaningful may be the best investment you and your HR team can make.
In a Human Resources operation, there is no doubt, a human touch is required. Many people believe, erroneously, that some technology is designed to replace or reduce the amount of human interaction in the hiring process. Entrepreneur.com recently published an article suggesting that perhaps if hiring processes are not finding the right people it may be due to the hiring technology being used. However, even in that article, it was acknowledged that technology serves an invaluable role in the recruiting process.
Where do you draw the line in using technology? Here are a few thoughts to consider:
Technology such as digital interviewing software is designed to supplement the HR operation of your business, not replace it. You need real live human beings to evaluate the nonverbal responses of the candidates. Body language simply cannot be read by some neutral computer.
If you use technology to sift through oceans of resumes, in truth, you may risk missing a resume from someone who didn’t use the right keyword. But in the end as a company, is the cost of missing a resume worth having a literal human resource spending hours upon hours doing what could be done in a relatively short period of time worth more than missing potential candidates? Remember that digital hiring support is there as a support, not a replacement for your HR team.
Technology won’t give you the questions that you need to ask. That is where your HR team uses their human touch to find and figure out the right interrogatories for your culture. If your research team, for example, always listens to heavy metal when conducting their experiments, and you have a candidate who only listens to classical music, that may not be a great fit.
So, if technology isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, why use it at all?
Well, according to the folks at Sterling Talent Solutions, what employees complain about the most is the amount of time the hiring process takes, followed closely by the lack of communication. Using the right digital tools can avoid both of these stumbling blocks and instead can allow your HR team to focus on what they are best at doing which is managing the process using their very human touch.
While it may well be true that a root canal is uncomfortable for many, as are job searching and the entirety of the hiring process, it seems as though this is often understood as a negative. In fact, in a recent Evil HR Lady article, it is purported to be the case that the process of finding new employees may be worse than getting a root canal. With due respect to that perspective, and given the similar one shared by US News, there is another side to the coin.
To understand this perspective, you have to start with a solid understanding of what a root canal actually is and why they are performed. A root canal is necessary when there is significant damage or decay to a tooth such that it causes pain (often excruciating pain) in the tooth and surrounding gum area as well as inflammation. More simply, a root canal is performed to remove dangerously decaying material from the tooth so that the tooth can hopefully be saved.
What causes the decay in the first place? These are several possibilities:
An untreated cavity
A tooth injury such as a chip, or crack
Multiple repeated procedures on the tooth
Interestingly, it is only after the problem becomes severe that the patient notices the pain and actually seeks treatment. And, it is in fact the root canal that solves the problem. So why is HR relegated to being compared to the uncomfortable process of the very act that saves the tooth, and this is then viewed as a negative? The answer is surprisingly simple. It is not nor should it be.
Viewing job and candidate searching as the last-ditch efforts to save an already rotted tooth ignores the fact that with proper care and attention on a regular basis, it may never have rotted. Sure, there may be jobs that are tough to hire or get hired for. But if the organization stays focused on ensuring its own smooth operations (as they say), maintains an active role in the communications channel, focuses on employee retention and recruitment strategies before they are needed, there may never be the need for that last minute painful surgical excision.
Instead of comparing HR operations to the drastic root canal operation, consider the possibility of instead thinking of it as a preventative treatment. More like an annual physical or dental checkup, where problems are proactively approached and treated before they become pervasive. By keeping regular tabs on employee satisfaction, organizational changes and needs, and retention efforts, HR can serve the role as the friendly medical provider who is alert for changes that can indicate problems long before a crisis erupts and who provides the necessary care.
The news coming out of Houston’s Hurricane Harvey is nothing short of devastating. Lives lost, property destroyed, homes and families devastated. Given the magnitude of the storm’s impact, according to Benefit News, employers will be playing a critical role in the days and weeks ahead. Whether you are in the path of Hurricane Harvey or safe from its wrath, if you are involved in HR, you need to be taking stock of your company’s emergency preparedness.
Now may not be the best time to start preparing if you don’t already have a plan in place and are already dealing with Hurricane Harvey’s messes. But there are some policies, procedures, and resources that can and should be prepared for the next time Mother Nature vents her fury. The primary issues for employers facing a natural disaster of any sort include:
Employee Health & Safety: Obviously this is the primary and main concern for any employer. Keeping their employees safe, engaging in constant and supportive communications, and finding a way to identify known locations of possibly missing employees are all things an HR department should evaluate and consider. There may be times when the danger is significant enough that employees should be left home until or unless the danger passes (or, if their role is essential enough that they must stay, they are provided with sufficient necessities to get through the event).
Crisis Management Team: There must be a clearly defined group of individuals responsible for making the decisions and engaging the protocol for dealing with a crisis, whether manmade or natureally caused. And that team needs to have a plan in place for dealing with employee absences, identifying mission -critical roles that still have to be filled, and ensuring that the emergency provisions discussed above are available for those who have to be at work.
Communications: In any crisis, the key to recovery and success will be communication. First for the employees to know that business will go on (if that is feasible) and what support resources may be available for them. Next, to the customers and partners of the organization, it is critical that communication reassure them that while the operations may be paused, they will resume. And finally, for the general public to keep them informed. Having a communication plan, a channel, and a series of methods is essential.
Finally, once a crisis has happened, whether it be happening in your area or something like Harvey that has affected many, offer your employees the opportunity to do some good. Whether you host a donation or rescue effort, send people or money, or simply try to do some good for those folks hardest hit, it never hurts a company’s reputation to be seen as one of the “good” ones. Take for example, the relief effort made by a well-known beer manufacturer reported in Fortune. Anheiser Busch has suspended its beer-making operations and instead is currently canning water for emergency supplies.
While all the planning in the world cannot necessarily prevent a crisis from occurring, having a crisis plan in place can help all through the experience make the best recovery possible.