How to Hire More Effectively in a Tight Labor Market

National unemployment remains at record lows, especially in the executive, managerial and professional labor market. In fact, unemployment in this sector has been hovering around 3.3% most recently, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. As a result, many businesses are struggling to find the best talent, with the necessary skills for their open roles.

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If your organization is struggling to find top talent in this tight labor market, here are some strategies you can follow:

Consider expanding your criteria for the ideal employee. Cast a wider net of candidates. Instead of looking for only people with a very specific background or special training, it’s important to widen your search when hiring during a difficult labor market with low unemployment.

“In a tight job market like this one, it’s important to be flexible with the required background and expertise you’d like candidates to have,” says Simone Mazzeo, program manager of talent attraction for MRINetwork. “Instead, also consider people who may have the skills from another sector that can apply well to the job at hand. You’d be surprised at just how effective these employees can be.”

For instance, someone can have an exceptional educational and work background in your precise industry sector, but still fail at your organization if they aren't a good cultural fit, or if they don't share your core values. Therefore, you need to factor in the type of person who will fit in among your employees with the mentality they need to thrive, and the interpersonal skills, perhaps not listed on their resume, that will help them become part of the team.

Notably, many employers feel that hiring a candidate with transferrable skills is a strong way to hire. According to the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, nearly 80 percent of the employers surveyed, somewhat agree or strongly agree that finding quality, industry-experienced talent is more difficult than ever, and that their companies are more likely to hire people who have transferrable skills, but lack industry experience.

By considering those with transferrable skills, you can significantly expand the number of applicants and focus on harder to define skills, such as cultural fit, ability to work with teams and communication ability, which might be just as important for the role, but are much harder to learn than specific, technical skills. As a result, you’ll find yourself interviewing candidates who may not fit a traditional hiring profile, but who instead can thrive at your firm with some industry-specific training.

To cast a wider net, you should focus on the job descriptions you post for every open role. After you draft them, revisit the requirements to determine if they’re all absolutely needed. For example, you may realize that some of the technical skills or professional requirements are simply nice to haves, but not truly essential to the worker’s success at your company. If that’s the case, don’t make them absolutes and you’ll find yourself with more candidates for your open roles.

Increase the types of perks and benefits you offer candidates to entice them to accept your job offer (once you get to that stage in the hiring process). When you’re facing an especially tight labor market, any little edge over your competition such as sign-on bonuses or benefits can impress and get a candidate to choose your company over a competitor.

“Ensuring your company has benefits that fit the needs of the next generation workforce is one of the most important things you can do to set your organization up for success,” according to Forbes.

Some perks you may want to consider adding to your organization include:

  • Relocation assistance: If a candidate is looking to move to join your firm, you can offer to help pay some of the costs, including flights, moving expenses, and even rent.

  • A monetary sign-on bonus: This can be an attractive way to get strong talent to you firm as it’ll show that your company truly respects a person’s experience - and is willing to put money down to prove it.

  • Helping employees pay off student loans: With student loan debt the highest it’s ever been, employees can truly benefit from this perk. This will illustrate a desire by your organization to support workers’ lifestyle needs and their education.

  • Paid days off (PDO): Potential candidates want to ask about PDO, but don’t want to appear overly interested in time off, in comparison to the responsibilities of the job. However, they do want to know their hard work is recognized with the ability to take time off. They especially appreciate their birthday as an additional day off. Take the awkwardness out of these conversations by proactively discussing your vacation and paid time off policies with applicants.

  • Gym membership and other health benefits: Work-life balance is an important part of any job. Candidates will appreciate a company that wants to take care of them not only financially, but physically as well.

“By presenting these types of perks, you’ll provide candidates with even more reasons to accept an offer with your organization,” says Mazzeo. “Candidates will see that the company culture focuses on the well-being and happiness of its employees, and this can be a great attribute that both attracts new hires and retains people for years to come.”

Plus, as Forbes notes, these types of benefits will be especially attractive to millennial employees. “Companies that offer these benefits will attract and retain the best talent - and prevent significant turnover costs as well,” according to the publication.

In sum, applicants have numerous options in a tight job market, so it is imperative that the way your organization approaches them and the advantages that are offered give candidates every reason to want to join your company.

 The Trevi Group | Executive Search for Technology Professionals | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Video: Here's what you can learn when a top candidate rejects your offer

You think you’ve found the perfect candidate to fill an open role at your organization. After reviewing their resume, conducting rounds of interviews with your recruiter, hiring manager and company leadership, you’ve made an offer. You’ve even checked the candidate’s references and completed salary negotiations. Everything looks like it’s going well and that the candidate is about to accept the offer ... That is, until they don’t.

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You’re surprised and disappointed by the rejection. While the candidate gives a valid reason as to why he/she can’t accept the role at your company, you’re still upset. But instead of letting it get to you and your human resources organization, you must bounce back and learn from the experience so that you can grow as a business.

“Making an offer to a candidate, only to have it rejected, is always difficult.” says Simone Mazzeo, program manager of talent attraction for MRINetwork. “This is especially the case if you don’t have a second applicant who can fill the role. Instead of placing all the blame on the candidate that rejected your offer, use the experience as a powerful learning tool. You and your firm need to carefully analyze what happened so you can avoid a similar situation in the future.”

Here are some tips to help you move forward after a top candidate rejects your offer:

Revisit your interviewing process as a firm. If a candidate rejects your offer, it might be because they did not have a good experience during the interview process. Maybe one or more of the interviewers failed to impress or didn’t adequately answer the candidate’s concerns. Or it could be that the interview process was extremely drawn-out and grueling and left a bad taste in the person’s mouth. Then, when it came time to think through the offer, they simply didn’t feel comfortable with their perception of your firm’s culture reflected in that process.

To help, you and your organization should look carefully at how the entire interview process is structured and implemented. That way you, recruiters and hiring managers are on the same page when it comes to language you use when meeting candidates, the types of questions you ask, and, maybe most importantly, the way you describe the company in order to accurately (and enticingly) market the position and the opportunity.

“Get together with key stakeholders during your interview process,” says Mazzeo. “This is absolutely critical if you want to make offers to top talent in a competitive job market and have them accept. You need to come across as a united front and inspire people to want to join your firm. That means you must hold their interest. Are you asking them what their interest level is in each step of the process? Otherwise, you’ll lose out on people who will help your business succeed.”

Determine if you have an employer branding issue. A lack of compelling employer branding or a sense of the brand experience is another reason a top candidate might reject your offer. For instance, a candidate may not feel excited about what your organization has to offer them. Maybe during the interview process, they didn’t see the potential for career growth. Or the company felt antiquated and not a good fit for their personality. If your organization feels stale, unappealing or otherwise not exciting, then it’s likely a candidate will simply reject your offer without a second thought.

To address this, you need to ensure the company has a solid social media presence, a consistent media voice, and the company website and marketing materials are updated. This will provide the “wow factor” for prospective candidates from the very beginning, enabling the organization to inspire interviewees with specific examples of a strong company culture, growth opportunities, and a highly professional interview process.

Here are some topics to cover in the interview to help prevent rejected offers:

  1. Company History. Know your company’s history and be able to articulate your value proposition during the first call or meeting.

  2. Company Culture. Find out what type of culture the candidate wants and go into depth on your culture. What did they like about their current company culture? What didn’t they like? Is that why they are leaving?

  3. Compensation. Be prepared to discuss the compensation range and benefits. While you may have already screened candidates around desired salary, it’s important to talk about other benefits and perks that are available to applicants. This is another opportunity to promote the advantages of working at the company.

“You want to make the right offer to the best candidate,” says Mazzeo. “To ensure you’re interviewing top talent that will be engaged in the process, strongly consider partnering with a recruiter to find A players that will move your organization forward. He or she can represent your brand effectively and present candidates to you that are thoroughly screened and informed. Not only will this weed out weaker candidates, it’ll also help you experience fewer rejections from seemingly strong contenders.”

In sum, while a rejected job offer can throw a damper on a critical position you need to fill, there are several actions you and other on the hiring team can take to lessen the chances of this happening. By partnering with a recruiter, bolstering your interviewing process and employer branding initiatives, as well as simply looking out for red flags, you’ll make offers to stronger candidates who won’t leave you scrambling to fill open roles at your organization.

 The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

Video: How to confidently conduct your next candidate interview

When it comes to interviewing, there is often the assumption that hiring managers know how to interview candidates in a meaningful way that provides clarity around applicants’ expertise and overall fit with open roles. However, depending on their experience interviewing, managers can be just as nervous as candidates. After all, hiring managers are human too. That’s why it’s important for new or inexperienced managers to be very well prepared to avoid any possible jitters.

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“If you’re a manager who’s new to hiring or someone who may be unsure of how to get the most out of the candidate interview, there are measure you can take to feel more at ease,” says Simone Mazzeo, program manager of talent attraction for MRINetwork. “By leveraging measures such as coaching from your preferred talent partner, making sure you’re highly prepared by reading through each candidate’s resume and cover letter, and simply putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes, there’s much you can do to feel more confident.”

Here are some tips managers new to interviewing can follow:

  1. Preparation is key. It’s not surprising that doing your homework can pay off when you’re in a high-pressure situation. That’s definitely true for an interview that you’re conducting. One key way to prepare for the interview you’re about to conduct is to gain a deep understanding of the person’s job experience by reading and re-reading the person’s resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter.

Also, try drafting some questions you want to ask before the interview so that you have an idea about what you want to ask. You can even jot down notes on a copy of the person’s resume to help.

  1. Get coaching from your preferred talent partner. If you want to really ensure you’re never nervous for a job interview again, simply ask for help from an expert. Recruiters and other members of your company’s HR team are well-versed when it comes to interviewing potential candidates. Therefore, simply tap them for advice before the interview date. They can coach you on ways to perform best under pressure by doing mock interviews with you, reviewing the types of questions you ask, and answering any questions you may have about the process.

“When in doubt, it never hurts to ask the recruiter who is connecting you to top candidates, for a little assistance,” says Mazzeo. “Their jobs are dedicated to finding and hiring the best talent for the company, so they’ll be more than happy to assist you as a hiring manager trying to fill an open role.”

  1. Enjoy your time with the candidate. Instead of having the interviews seem like a stuffy, extremely formal experience, you can make them more of a conversation. While it is, of course, very serious business to hire a strong candidate for your team, you’re both only human at the end of the day. You also want to make candidates (and yourself) feel at ease so you get a stronger assessment of each person’s unique skills and abilities during your time together.

In sum, you can ease the pressure and stress of conducting candidate interviews by preparing yourself through research, working with your talent partner and HR team to learn more about interviewing and by keeping the interview itself as conversational and light as possible. By following these tips, you’ll find all-star employees in no time (and be less nervous)!

 The Trevi Group | Executive Search for Technology Professionals | www.TheTreviGroup.com



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Video: How a great employee referral program can help you promote your employer brand

It’s no secret: Employee referral programs can greatly help your organization find and hire top talent. After all, where best to find potential new employees than by tapping into current workers, who share your firm’s values and who are already helping you run a successful business? “Employee referral programs can be an effective way to hire talented people, and they can also be invaluable in the current talent acquisition environment, in which open jobs outnumber qualified candidates,” according to SHRM. However, securing talent through a strong employee referral program doesn’t just help you hire strong new employees. It can also be a powerful tool to help you promote your employer brand.

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"These types of initiatives are extremely powerful tools that can help you promote your employer brand and attract strong talent into the recruiting process," says Kathryn Budd, director of human resources for MRINetwork. "When applied consistently, employee referral programs can also be a great retention tool that translates into huge costs savings on recruitment and investment in employees over time."

What does an effective employee program entail and how can you start one at your company? SHRM notes there are a number of things you can do, including:

1. Give employees the tools they need to refer: This can mean putting together a positive culture around employee referrals and being able to track these efficiently in an HR portal so that you can effectively review the entire referral workflow.

2. Set expectations and guidelines: Additionally, SHRM recommends that you should “make sure employees understand the referral program's guidelines and expectations, including who is eligible to participate in the program and receive rewards for referrals.” Also be sure to include EEOC language to make it clear that the referral program is not discriminatory in any way.

3. Provide incentives: To help boost employee support in referring all-star talent, you should ideally put into place monetary inducements (if someone gets hired and stays for a set period of time). Make sure these incentives are paid in a predictable, timely and public manner and. To facilitate this, HR staff should set up automated payments in their HR information system.

Other guidelines to follow include holding leaders accountable and being transparent throughout the process with employees, providing feedback, and, importantly, marketing the program far and wide. This last guideline means investing in the marketing and communication plans to boost how many employees at your organization actually participate.

This is extremely important when trying to promote your employer brand. But, how is the term defined? According to SHRM, employer branding “is an important part of the employee value proposition and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees.”

Moreover, it includes many things about the company, including the “organization’s mission, values, culture and personality,” according to SHRM. “A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work.” Notably, the article also states that an employer brand greatly affects the “recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.”

So, what are the specific ways referral programs can help?

First, a strong referral program, as noted above, includes clear expectations, guidelines and a powerful marketing plan of action. As a result of this communications push, employees will know in-depth how to speak with former co-workers and friends who they want to refer. This strong professionalism instantly makes your company look like a worthy organization and one that many will want to join because of this, leading to increased interest.

Second, your company should be investing heavily in communications and online content in order to promote your employer brand on your website, social media platforms, public relations and through other promotional materials. As a result, people will covet the chance to be referred and interviewed because they’ll know even more about the company.

“An employee referral program is a win-win situation for you and your organization,” says Budd. “You’ll create both a powerful commitment to hiring the best people as well as an employer brand that truly shines.” This will also signal to your firm’s clients and other external stakeholders that your organization has robust systems for attracting the talent that will drive performance, further establishing confidence in your products and services, and ultimately a more successful business.

 The Trevi Group
www.TheTreviGroup.com
Executive Search for Technology Professionals

Career Pathing: Key to Attracting the Best Talent

When a candidate applies to a job at your organization, chances are they’re unhappy at their current company for a number of reasons, including a poor manager or a need for higher earning potential. However, a desire for upward mobility is the top motivation for a job search, according to 30% of candidates in the 2019 MRINetwork Recruitment Trends Study.


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Some additional drivers include:

  1. Seeking more compensation: 25%

  2. Didn’t like their boss: 19%

  3. Contract assignment ended: 15%

  4. Switched to a different industry or sector: 13%

It’s essential to anticipate this top job change motivator and to have prepared strategies in your interviewing and hiring processes that respond to this driver.

“With nearly one-third of prospective applicants trying to advance their careers through a job change, it’s imperative that discussions around career pathing become a central part of the interview process,” says Nysha King, public relations and employer branding lead for MRINetwork. “From your website to the interview and post-interview steps, emphasize just how important career growth is at your organization.”

The following are strategies you can follow to illustrate the ways you, as the employer, can ensure a potential employee succeeds at your business:

Demonstrate that your company prioritizes career growth. Illustrate that commitment on your company’s website, career site and any external marketing and PR channels, as part of a deliberate employer branding strategy. For example, you can show that employees at your firm have fulfilling careers by highlighting stories of individuals who have advanced through a series of promotions within a culture that fosters recognition of excellent performance.

More specifically, you can post videos and publish blog posts on your site that showcase stories of advancement. These, in turn, will be read or viewed by prospective candidates.

“Telling powerful stories of workers who have really advanced and grown at your company is key to finding candidates who will feel confident in accepting an offer,” says King. “Whether through videos, social media or PR, tell these stories and make sure applicants can easily relate to these experiences.”

Proactively communicate during interviews your company’s commitment to providing career advancement opportunities. Don’t wait for candidates to ask about advancement opportunities; clearly promote it during interviews. Have interviewers highlight your organization’s track record of giving raises, promoting and consistently supporting talented employees. Additionally, ensure interviewers provide personal accounts of advancement, and highlight data or statistics around promotions or annual raises. If your organization is struggling in this area, be honest and discuss the steps being taken to address this.

“Train your employees so that they can eloquently answer questions about job advancement,” says King. “It will pay off by keeping star candidates interested and excited about your company.”

Ultimately, candidates want to know they’ll grow in their position at a new company or at least have the opportunity to tackle new challenges. Demonstrating evidence of this through employer branding can leave a lasting impression with potential new hires that makes them want to join a team that celebrates success.

 The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | "Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

The No. 1 recruitment metric employers track when assessing a new hire's effectiveness

After completing multiple rounds of interviews and presenting a job offer to a promising candidate, the work has in many ways just begun. Now that the new employee is starting at your organization, it's crucial that you help ensure their success.

Before that process begins, you’ll also want to determine whether you can effectively track the productivity of that new associate. “Making the right hire is crucial for your business’ future,” says Kathryn Budd, director of human resources for MRINetwork. “That’s why tracking a new hire’s effectiveness is imperative - and something you should weave into your human resources process from day one.”

In fact, according to the 2019 MRINetwork Recruitment Trends Study, there’s one recruitment metric that stands out among the rest when trying to gauge a new hire’s effectiveness: performance tracking. Nearly half (48 percent) of employers said it was their top benchmark for assessing a new hire’s effectiveness.

Meanwhile, other factors include:

  • Tracking the source of successful candidate hires (35%)

  • Source and quantity of candidates who were offered a position (33%)

  • Time to hire (32%)

  • Interview-to-hire ratio (31%)

  • Fall-off rates: new hires who accept offers, but don’t show up for the first day of work (27%)

What does performance tracking of a new hire mean? It’s the process of evaluating how well an employee is doing at your organization through a variety of strategies, tools and resources.

However, this isn’t always clear-cut. For example, according to a Forbes article written by CEO Robert Glazer, the definition of success can be murky. “Fit and performance remain gray areas for many business leaders,” he writes. “Situations arise where it’s clear that something has gone wrong, but no one is sure if the problem is with the employee or with management.”

That should never be the case at your business. “It’s extremely important to clarify your company’s definition of success for new employees,” says Budd. “That way, you can find and implement strategies to efficiently track performance.”

For instance, one study cited by Forbes found that “the process matters.” It continues that the performance review process “can be viewed as uncomfortable, unfair and uninspiring.” To help improve it and, “make sure employees accept the feedback, managers must acknowledge the individual identities of their workers and their specific contributions to the organization over time.”

Here are strategies to consider when tracking a new hire’s effectiveness:

1. Conduct performance reviews that are holistic and well-documented

The first way is through the performance review. According to a Chron.com article, written by financial writer Joseph DeBenedetti about the methods of tracking performance, “Standardized performance review sheets allow managers to track employees’ fulfillment of, and progression toward, operating objectives over time.” These can take into consideration both technical skills as well as information about a person’s interpersonal abilities.

However, you should also create a culture where employees, especially new hires, receive ongoing feedback and check-ins. This is especially important for younger talent. As one Forbes article on the transformation of worker feedback notes, “Ongoing reviews have been a better way ... to stay on top of professional development and opportunities for improvement rather than talking about it once a year.”

Therefore, offer continuous reviews alongside the more standardized annual review to give employees the more regular feedback they need to succeed.

2. Take peer reviews into consideration to see how an employee works with others

Conducting peer reviews and appraisals is a second strategy to follow. You can conduct these by speaking with multiple employees and managers about the new hire’s work, reporting trend data from these conversations to “identify favorable and unfavorable patterns of behavior,” according to the Chron piece.

“Conducting 360-degree review procedures are important because they help give your talent the opportunities needed to truly thrive,” concludes Budd. “By setting these up, employees will have the tools they need to succeed from day one with your company, which will help your bottom line as well.”

Through these strategies, you’ll have a strong grasp on how your new hire is doing at work. This will greatly boost your organization’s efficiency as well as keep your company culture strong for years to come.

 The Trevi Group | Executive Search for Technology Professionals | www.TheTreviGroup.com

BLS Employment Situation Report -- for April 2019

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For the first third of 2019, the American economy has continued its winning streak. Job growth kept momentum in April that was in sync with the surge seen during March, after a decline in February that, by now, seems more like an anomaly than anything else. According to the latest edition of the Employment Situation Survey issued by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll organizations in the U.S. added 263,000 new positions during April. This is over 70,000 greater than March's addition of 189,000 jobs - a figure revised by the BLS from an initial 196,000 - and ahead of the economists' polls conducted by Bloomberg and Reuters.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, a low not seen since 1969. As noted by The Washington Post, conditions like these constitute what economic experts refer to as "full employment," since businesses in the U.S. ultimately have more open jobs than there are unemployed people to take them. Joe Stagnaro, president of Pennsylvania operations for the trucking and warehouse firm McLane Company, commented on this in an interview with the Post.

"The economy is good, but that's ... difficult for employers," Stagnaro told the news provider. "The people you want to hire are employed by someone else."

He also said that his company was developing an on-site training program so that interested workers who weren't yet qualified for trucking jobs could learn the necessary skills at no cost and eventually take open positions at McLane. The Post reported this and other internal talent development strategies are growing more common.

There was a slight month-to-month drop in the labor force participation rate from March to April, with this indicator falling to 62.8 percent, but since that number is identical to its total from April 2018, it isn't considered alarming by the BLS.

Professional and business services beat out all other American industries in terms of hiring by a sizable margin last month, with a whopping 76,000 jobs added to its payrolls. Administrative and support was the biggest category within professional services jobs to see gains. The next-closest sector - construction - added 33,000 new roles. Healthcare also continued its steady trend of considerable growth in April, with organizations in the field bringing on 27,000 new personnel for open positions. Also noteworthy is the sizable jump seen in social assistance services, which grew by 26,000 last month after not showing any statistically significant growth or decline for at least the past 12 months. Lastly, the federal government added 12,500 workers, and the upcoming U.S. Census is likely to drive that total up.

Although manufacturing saw only minor growth (4,000 jobs) and retail trade lost 12,000 workers in April, these negative shifts were not nearly significant enough to derail the overall trend of growth.

Average hourly earnings rose 6 cents to $27.77 in April. Wages increased 3.2 percent on a year-over-year basis last month, unchanged from the year-on-year pace seen in March. However, when examined in conjunction with other economic indicators, it makes for a favorable assessment of current conditions. Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, elaborated on this in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

"[The report is] clearly telling you this economy is still chugging along very nicely. It is inflationary in the sense that wages did go up but they didn't go up as much as we had expected. Goldilocks is the best description of this," Slok said to the business news provider's television channel, effectively calling the American economic status "just right."

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

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Ensure Your Job Application Process Isn't Eliminating Top Talent

Take a look around, almost everywhere you go it seems everyone is on a mobile device. These mechanisms provide us with 24/7 access and the ability to instantly connect to work, and almost every aspect of our personal lives. It should be no surprise then that candidates expect this same convenience when applying for a job. However, this is one task that many employers haven’t adapted for ease on a mobile apparatus, according to the results of the 2019 MRINetwork Recruitment Trends Study.

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In fact, 76 percent of candidates say they expect the ability to submit applications and receive feedback via a mobile device. However, just 30 percent of employers offer a mobile-friendly application process. While that's up from 10 percent who did so in 2015, according to separate analysis from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), employers aren't transitioning to these on-the-go options as quickly as today’s workers expect.

Josh Ostrega, chief operating officer and co-founder of the software company WorkJam, told SHRM that it's in employers' best interest to invest in the digital era.

"These companies may be missing out on the most qualified prospects," Ostrega explained. "Highly skilled workers don't stay unemployed for long. Enforcing a sluggish application process encourages strong candidates to look elsewhere."

Here are some strategies that you as an employer may want to consider implementing to optimize candidates' experience:

Partner with an industry-specialized recruiting firm

By working in concert with an industry-specialized recruiting firm, you can give your candidates more on-the-go options for applying to jobs, while also gaining access to a larger pool of potential candidates. “The odds of you finding a perfect candidate who is also looking for you is miniscule,” said Chris Hesson, manager of technology training for MRINetwork. “Increase your odds by working with a recruiter who is the expert in your arena and knows the players. A savvy, niched, focused recruiting firm can also help ensure top talent are applying for your jobs via platforms that are on the cutting edge of technology,” This can be especially critical if your company isn’t able to invest in a mobile-friendly process.”

Draw on other tech capabilities

If your organization is able to make some technology investments, consider offering quick-apply options on job boards and social networking sites like LinkedIn. Here, candidates can simply provide their profile link for consideration. If you’re directing applicants to apply through a career site, make sure downloaded resumes can be parsed so that candidates don’t have to make manual entries.

Harnessing the power of mobile technology is a win-win, both for candidates and your company's ability to attract top talent on an ongoing basis. Ensure your organization isn’t losing out on the best in the industry because of a clunky, outdated process.

 The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

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Employment Summary for March 2019

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After a wild divergence in U.S. job growth during the first two months of 2019 - more than 300,000 in January and a mere 20,000 in February - March seemed much more in line with America's average pace of labor-force expansion. According to the latest edition of the Employment Situation Survey issued by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll organizations in the U.S. across all industries added 196,000 jobs in March. This figure reasonably outperformed the expectations of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who had expected the addition of 177,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the country's unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent, in line with previous months during this latest period of American expansion.

Bloomberg stated that a number like this could be a solid indicator of what economic experts around the world have debated for at least the past year - namely, just how sustainable the pace of U.S. job growth really is. According to the financial news provider, job gains throughout the near future will likely be more in line with March's number than with the massive swells seen numerous times during 2018 (multiple instances of 250,000 or more jobs added), but still strong enough to help fuel broader economic growth.

The healthcare industry greatly outpaced all other American sectors in terms of roles created during March, with 49,000 new jobs coming onto the payrolls of hospital systems, ambulatory healthcare services and other organizations in the field. Professional and business services came in second with a total of 34,000 new positions, while food service and drinking establishments added 27,000 jobs. Computer systems design and services, a sector that has seen little major expansion or contraction during these past years of American growth, saw a notable uptick of 12,000 jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, construction added 16,000 jobs this month - not nearly enough to recover from its loss of more than 30,000 workers during February. Additionally, while BLS considered both the manufacturing sector's loss of 6,000 jobs in March and its gain of 1,000 roles in February as equivalent to having "changed little," some may find these figures worth noting due to the major role that manufacturing's growth played in America's economic expansion over the past two years. Any major positive or negative fluctuations in the months to come will likely draw considerable attention.

Average hourly earnings grew 3.2 percent year-over-year in March, slightly below the market's expectations and also down from February's gain of 3.4 percent. However, the overall strength of the labor market should still fuel healthy consumer spending and keep inflation low. The latter is undoubtedly unfavorable to some, but directly in line with the goals of the Federal Reserve, which seeks to monitor the efficacy and substance of American economic strength in the midst of trade tensions and difficulties in numerous global markets.

Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale SA, elaborated on this during a live interview with Bloomberg Television.

"This a perfect report for the Fed because it actually corroborates what they've been saying all along, which is there are no wage pressures," Rajappa told the news service. "There's very little risk of wage inflation."

Rajappa and many economists in similar positions (both domestically and around the globe) expect the Fed to reduce federal benchmark interest rates in the near future, moderating the rapid pace of rate hikes seen during 2018. Global trade tensions are considered a likely cause of this.

In fact, the relationship between the U.S. under President Donald Trump and various major economies continues to represent the biggest potential hurdle for the American market, which is otherwise strong, in the coming months. After threatening to close the country's border with Mexico in late March due to his concerns about illegal drugs and immigration, Trump changed his mind April 4, according to The Washington Post: Instead, he said he'd impose major economic sanctions on the U.S.'s third-largest trading partner in exactly one year if the Mexican government doesn't address border-security issues to his satisfaction. The president's intensity regarding these matters has created bipartisan concern about a border closing or restriction's effects on trade.

On the other hand, the South China Morning Post reported that negotiations between China and the U.S. to end their trade war are improving. President Trump met Vice-Premier Liu He, China's leading trade negotiator, at the White House April 4 and said a deal that relaxed tariffs on both sides could be finalized within the next four weeks.

The Trevi Group | Executive Search for Technology Professionals | www.TheTreviGroup.com

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Video: How to Craft a Strong Change Narrative for Your Company

When your company is undergoing major change, it can be a tough transition for everyone, especially your organization's employees. After all, they may be wondering how the company's transformations will affect them, their roles, responsibilities, co-workers, leadership and other aspects of their lives in the coming months.

Click to watch the video.

To help dispel any rumors and to ensure everyone is on the same page about your company’s upcoming progress, it’s crucial that you craft a compelling and honest narrative with your leadership team. As a result, you’ll be in a strong position to address any employee issues or disagreements, while at the same time heightening your company’s success for the upcoming months.

Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork, says it’s important to always consider your employees first. “Change is never easy. Make sure you’re making staff a top priority as you put together your change narrative,” he says. “It’s very likely their day-to-day work will be directly impacted by the business transformation, so you want to do everything possible to make the process as painless as possible.”

What does a strong strategic narrative entail? According to Forbes contributor Chris Cancialosi, it involves several things. “A strategic narrative centers on a leader’s ability to articulate a clear and compelling vision and strategy for the future of the organization,” he writes. One can also be useful because it:

  1. Illustrates the change in a positive fashion

  2. Creates an environment for employees to give feedback

  3. Shows that a company values its key stakeholders

Here are three tips to guide you in crafting your own successful strategic narrative:

1. Gather input from the most important individuals at your company

To successfully craft a compelling and trustworthy change narrative for your company, the first thing you want to do is to collect as much information as possible, including input from “key stakeholders,” according to Cancialosi. Patti Sanchez, who wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review and is the Chief Strategy Officer of Duarte, agrees. “A transformation won’t succeed without broad involvement,” she writes.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to tap your trusted advisors and members of your company’s leadership team, to discuss and weigh the story in a truthful and supportive manner. “Try and get as much feedback as you can during this pivotal step in the process,” says Parker. “It will help you craft an even stronger transformation narrative.”

The result of brainstorming the narrative with the individuals who know your business best is that you will be able to present something that will ultimately benefit the transformation you’re aiming to enact over the coming year.

2. Work closely with your team to draft a narrative that exudes empathy

After gathering this crucial input from stakeholders, it’s time to craft a narrative that speaks to the transformation your company is about to undergo and also illustrates empathy. In her HBR article, for example, Sanchez showcases just how important this quality is when presenting organizational change. “If you want to lead a successful transformation, communicating empathetically is critical,” she writes.

However, this won’t be easy. In fact, it’s likely to be a time-intensive process because it also requires a strong vision of the different avenues though which you want to share your transformation. Some options include sending emails to employees, holding meetings to fill people in on the upcoming changes, working with public relations and media teams to share the information publicly, and other strategies.

Once you’ve figured out how to strategically share your change narrative in an empathetic way, you can meet with your leadership team (1) to discuss what must be included in the outline and (2) to ultimately agree upon what channels will serve as the foundation of your transformation communications.

3. Share the narrative with your employees in a confident, composed manner

You’ve spent weeks brainstorming and building out your strategic plan of action for sharing this change narrative, and now it’s time to put the final touches on the communication plan. Once it’s been edited and approved by key members of your team internally, it’s finally time to share this information with your employees as well as any external partners.

During this period, it important that those on your leadership team act confidently when discussing information with others. For instance, a recently published article on Fast Company’s websites states, “Change can breed unexpected developments, and leaders need to show composure to the team looking to them for guidance.” As a result, you’ll help others feel more comfortable about the upcoming transformations.

Another key part of the process: make sure that you allow those affected by these changes and transformations to share their feedback at this juncture (whether it’s positive or negative). Parker agrees that you should keep open lines of communication with employees. “Always be accessible to your workers during these uncertain times,” he says. “They’ll thank you for your honesty and will value transparency from the organization.” You’ll help keep your employees motivated, happy and excited to continue working for you, while also investing in the continued success of your company.

Ultimately, gathering input, crafting a narrative that illustrates continued commitment to employees and sharing information in a thoughtful manner will help your transformation process attain its goals.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

MRINetwork Ranked Among Top Executive Recruiting Firms by Forbes in 2019

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For the third consecutive year, Forbes.com, a leading source of reliable business news and analysis, enlisted the services of research firm Statista to identify America's most well-respected recruiting firms. Statista compiled two lists of search firms: "Executive Recruiting," those firms focused on roles with at least $100,000 in annual pay; and "Professional Recruiting," firms specializing almost exclusively in positions of under $100,000 in annual pay.

To determine the best recruiting firms, Statista surveyed 25,000 recruiters and 5,000 job candidates and human resources managers who had worked with recruitment agencies over the last three years. Respondents were asked to nominate up to 10 recruiting firms in the executive and professional search categories. Firms could not nominate themselves; last year's findings were considered. More than 17,000 nominations were collected, and firms with the most recommendations ranked highest.

The results are in. Again this year, MRINetwork (identified as Management Recruiters International, Inc.) was ranked as one of the top 20 firms out of 250 in the Executive Recruiting categoryClick here to read the Forbes.com article and see the full rankings list.

This prestigious ranking recognizes the caliber of the talent and the value of relationships that MRINetwork professionals deliver throughout the year. 

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Setting up the Change Management Process for Success

Imagine this scenario: your company is preparing for organizational change now or in the coming months. Maybe you need to restructure in order to drive greater productivity and revenue. Or perhaps change management is necessary at your firm to complete a large merger or acquisition, smoothly and effectively. Regardless of the reason(s) for business transformation, it's rarely an easy process.

Click to watch the video.

In fact, the Harvard Business Review reports that there’s still a relatively low success rate for these types of programs. “Corporate transformations still have a miserable success rate, even though scholars and consultants have significantly improved our understanding of how they work,” the source states. “Studies consistently report that about three-quarters of change efforts flop - either they fail to deliver the anticipated benefits, or they are abandoned entirely.”

This of course can lead to a large waste of time for your organization and deeply impact the company’s bottom line. Therefore, it’s crucial to put a strong change management process in place, so your company and its employees complete the change efficiently and with little difficulty.

Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork, adds that an organization needs to always put employees first during any transformation processes to ensure the best results. “If you want to see the changes at your organization occur smoothly and without fault, it’s important that you always consider how your decisions will affect your employees, the heartbeat of your company,” he says.

To help, here are three strategies your business can use to change effectively and achieve your goal easily this year and beyond:

1. Design the change management program for your company’s needs.

The first step in successfully setting up a change management program for your company is to execute a process based on your business’s unique needs. For example, don’t strive for “quick wins” or make other hasty choices that may end up facilitating a faulty plan of attack. Instead, take the time to think through your process, only after having a strong case for change.

You also need to understand three crucial elements of your change management strategy, according to the Harvard Business Review:

  1. The catalyst for transformation

  2. The organization’s underlying quest

  3. The leadership capabilities needed to see it through

Take a step back and ensure that you have a solid understanding of why your organization needs change, which problem(s) change is attempting to solve, and whether you have the leadership resources to be effective. Doing so will greatly enhance your company’s ability to manage a large strategy shift without failing.

2. Communicate with key stakeholders.

As part of any strong, well-organized change management process, you should feel empowered to communicate effectively with your company’s key stakeholders. This is defined as speaking with and proactively alerting leadership, employees, shareholders and others who have a profound impact on your business and who may be affected by these decisions.

In order to communicate with these key stakeholders, you shouldn’t only discuss important change processes with senior staff, according to one Forbes Magazine article about communicating change.

“If you think your company’s strategy conversations should only take place at the most senior level, you could unknowingly be crippling your company’s bottom line,” the source states.

Instead, you need to craft what’s called a strategic narrative. This will serve three purposes: it communicates the upcoming changes, shares the reason behind those changes and discusses the future process for the organization and its key stakeholders.

So, what are strategic narratives? According to Forbes, they are a “form of storytelling, and like all good stories, they need a compelling plot, characters, a climax, and a conclusion. By telling this story, employees and other stakeholders will understand their place in the larger narrative and how they can take an active role in shaping the future of your organization.”

As a result, communicating in this manner will greatly increase the chances of your change management process being a success. It will also position the changes in a clear and concise way, make company leadership appear more humane and create an environment of inclusivity.

“Make sure that you put together a thoughtfully executed communication plan so that key stakeholders feel knowledgeable about the upcoming and already completed transformations at your company,” says Parker. “Let them ask questions too. After all, the last thing you want is someone to feel left out because of a lack of foresight or planning during such a crucial period for your organization.”

3. Identify the resources to lead change effectively.

Along with designing a powerful change process and communicating those changes clearly, you also need to define the resources necessary for success. While this isn’t always easy, it is crucial for the organization’s future.

For example, you need to recognize whether or not you have the human resources function in place to proactively and efficiently implement the decided-upon change management plan, according to Forbes.

“If you do not have the right understanding or team to manage the plan, then you may want to consider an experienced change management consultant, because having the wrong person in this leading role can mean the difference between success and failure in a merger,” the article states.

You should “share financial information, customer feedback, employee satisfaction survey results, industry projections and challenges, and data from processes you measure” to service whether or not any other resources are to implement change, according to an article on thebalancecareers.com.

Once this data has been tabulated and you have a measure of what’s likely to occur as a result, you’ll have a greater understanding of necessary resources. “Spend extra time and energy working with your frontline leader staff and line managers to ensure that they understand, can communicate about, and support the changes,” according to the article. “Their action and communication are critical in molding the opinion of the rest of your workforce.”

By using the above strategies, your company will be ready to manage organizational change in a structured, cohesive and efficient way. “You’ll be thankful that you took the time to brainstorm and draft a comprehensive plan of action, based on these strategies, before enacting any changes,” says Parker. “Your company will be stronger for it.”

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

BLS Employment Situation Report: January 2019

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The first month of 2019 picked up where 2018 left off in terms of job growth in the U.S., with the number of nonfarm payroll jobs added by American businesses surpassing the strong figure seen last December: Per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest Employment Situation Summary, U.S. organizations brought on 304,000 new workers in January. CNBC reported that a Dow Jones survey of economic experts initially expected about 170,000 jobs added.

While this is slightly below the total of 312,000 originally reported for December 2018, the newest report revised that month's gains down to 222,000 and brought November's comparatively modest figure of 170,000 up to 190,000. Although the unemployment rate rose marginally between December and January - from 3.9 to 4 percent - this was attributed to a surge in the number of Americans actively looking for work, rather than any troublesome trend.

Additionally, the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government turned out to not affect overall employment to any statistically significant degree - beyond an 11 percent jump in the number of underemployed persons (those working part-time out of economic necessity). With that said, it's worth noting that the BLS considered those who worked without pay or had been furloughed during the shutdown to have been fully employed, because their last paycheck came January 12, 2019, which was within the survey week for the report. As such, any full accounting of the shutdown's economic effects (or lack thereof) on the economy remains unknown, and there is still the potential for another shutdown in a few weeks, considering that the bill to reopen the government only included appropriations lasting until February 15.

The leisure and hospitality industry led all other U.S. employment sectors in jobs added during January by a significant margin. Its massive gain of 74,000 positions was fueled not only by food and drink services but also by new opportunities in amusements, gambling and recreation. Construction came in second place with 52,000 new jobs created across all of its employment subcategories, and healthcare was not too far behind with an addition of 42,000 positions.

Several other sectors also experienced notable surges in job creation, such as the dependably strong professional and business services industry, which added 30,000 new positions to its payrolls across the U.S.

Transportation and warehousing increased almost as much with the creation of 27,000 new roles. Rounding out sectors with noteworthy professional additions were retail trade, manufacturing and mining, which brought on 21,000, 13,000 and 7,000 new workers, respectively. No other industries saw their labor forces rise or fall by any empirically significant level.

There were a few less positive indicators found within the latest BLS report. Wage growth, for example, was somewhat slower than expected, with a 3 cent increase in the average American hourly wage representing growth of just 0.1 percent - under the 0.3 percent predicted by various economists. On a year-over-year basis, earnings have grown 3.2 percent between January 2018 and 2019.

Some business leaders may also find themselves perturbed by the sudden switch to a cautious stance by the Federal Reserve, characterized by Fed Chair Jerome Powell's January 31 statement that the central bank would not raise its key interest rate to start the year. According to NPR, Powell cited factors including the impending upheaval of Brexit and various trade disputes around the globe - including the arguments between the U.S. and China - as motivations for the Fed's decision. Regardless of the Fed’s position, the economic picture for the U.S. at the start of the new year is undoubtedly positive.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

(Video) How leveraging training programs can attract and retain star employees of all ages

While many employees may be comfortable in their current roles, it's probably safe to say that most top talent want to continually advance in their career. Regardless of whether the goal is to be promoted within a company, or simply stay up-to-date on new skills or technologies - high performers of all generational groups want to improve themselves, so they're better tomorrow than they are today.

Click to watch the video.

This reality is great news for businesses, which are increasingly focusing their operations on training. However, it's equally important to make these training opportunities apparent to candidates, as this can encourage them to join your company's ranks should they be extended a job offer.

Training to become a top priority in 2019

Companies have a lot of priorities throughout the year, and at the top of the list is strengthening employee training programs. In fact, 58 percent of employers in the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study said training programs, as well as attracting and retaining top talent are major issues they intend to tackle in the new year.

“Training really isn’t about achieving a quick hit or magical answer,” said Sherry Engel, vice president of learning & talent development for MRINetwork. “It should be part of a strategy to ensure skillsets are aligned with the needs of the business. By strategically focusing development on individuals that contribute to the company’s goals, employers will see improvement in their business outcomes. Not only does this benefit organizations through improved business results, but also leads to higher employee engagement - which ultimately drives retention.”

They're wise to do so, not only because successful training improves work processes, but also because training is something that employees desire. Among candidates in the MRINetwork survey, external training was cited as one of their most preferred incentives for staying with a company.

It's easy to understand why. The job market is extraordinarily competitive and businesses are pulling out all the stops to find the most qualified people. Training gives current workers a leg-up on their competition in the marketplace, while also incentivizing job seekers to apply because of the potential to advance their career.

Workers acknowledge the value of training

Workers today aren’t just competing with other individuals - machines are vying with them as well. Artificial intelligence is used in a variety of industries, in part to reduce labor expenses. Some experts believe that AI will become more commonplace over time, particularly for positions that involve repetitive tasks. However, a recent Gallup poll found that Americans aren't too worried about losing their jobs to robots, especially those with highly specialized skills. This may be because they have faith in the upward mobility that training can spur. In a separate Gallup survey, 43 percent of respondents said they're confident about being able to take advantage of training to improve their skill sets in the event AI puts their job security at risk.

Help workers bridge generational gaps by learning from each other

Regardless of age group, leveraging training makes good business sense. Not only can workers benefit from training that will help them personally in their own career trajectory, but cross-generational training programs, such as mentoring and succession planning, can also help the organization ensure the next generation of employees are being prepped to lead the company into the future. Senior staff can also benefit by learning more efficient processes or technologies from younger workers who may be more adept with these platforms.

“Employers should take a blended approach to training, ensuring specific development programs are aligned with the best delivery approach,” advised Engel. “With a growing number of Baby Boomers retiring, there’s an enormous opportunity to provide formal mentoring and succession planning programs that share the knowledge of years past with the up-and-coming generations. Today’s learner also wants their training to be short, focused and timely, through delivery platforms such a short videos or text tips. The most effective programs incorporate these methods.”

Just as junior staff can learn from those more experienced than them, senior staff can also benefit by learning about more efficient processes or technologies from younger workers, who may be more adept with certain platforms.

Generation Z - those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s - are particularly interested in training opportunities. According to LinkedIn, Gen Z is on pace to represent 20 percent of the American workforce by as early as 2020. Given their relative newness to the working world, they're ready and willing to learn the ropes. Sixty-two percent of Gen Z respondents in a LinkedIn survey said becoming better at their job was the main reason why they were open to learning, more so than for salary or promotion purposes.

“Gen Z are interested in training on skills that will benefit them in the job they have today, as well as for roles they will have in the future,” Engel said. “Giving them this opportunity can be mutually enriching and rewarding.”

Ultimately, top performers of all generational groups are driven to succeed. The quickest, most effective way of achieving it is through learning, which training provides. Be sure to mention training programs that are available to employees in job postings, interviews and reviews. It's a surefire way to attract and retain star talent.

The Trevi Group | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Key Employment Trends Poised to Impact Your Business in 2019

The U.S. workforce experienced historic gains in 2018 as more than two million jobs were added, and wage increases began to accelerate, according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report and quarterly Workforce Vitality Report. The unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in November, a near 50-year low, which made it difficult for companies to bring in both permanent and short-term, highly-skilled talent. This trend is expected to continue into the new year as the talent pool continues to shrink.

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To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, finding and retaining the right talent is essential. Yet how to do that effectively remains a challenge. “New emerging trends as well as trends that have been identified over the past several years, are forcing companies to embrace new ways of thinking about their workforce and to reevaluate their hiring processes,” says Nancy Halverson, general manager for MRINetwork. “We’ve identified and assessed several significant trends that will most impact them in 2019.”

Transformation and change in the workplace

Business leaders who are actively embracing change recognize that innovation comes from people. As they look toward the future of their business operations, it is this focus on people, that is causing many to prioritize workforce planning and sourcing transformational leaders that can move the company forward. By drawing on the expertise of these change agents, employers will gain new approaches to work and improved company cultures that lead to innovation and increased productivity. “These forward-thinking organizations are driving innovation and gaining momentum by changing the nature of work itself,” says Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork. “They are enabling people to come together and work in a focused, collaborative manner to solve problems and come up with creative approaches to their lines of business. They know that the real value comes from their employees’ creativity, market insights, personal networking, and ability to influence others.”

Predictive analytics

Analytics have the potential to transform the HR function, from recruitment and workforce planning to performance management and employee engagement. Companies are increasingly using predictive analytics to refocus their workforce planning lens from a qualitative one to a quantitative one, enabling them to scientifically unlock and measure the value of people to their organization. This approach views employees as a critical and valuable asset that can be optimized to benefit both individuals and the organization as a whole. It also has the potential to determine which departments and employees are under-performing, allowing managers to create interventions, provide training or move team members around to increase productivity.

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends Report, although 85 percent of survey respondents acknowledged the importance of people data, only 42 percent indicated that their organizations were ready to implement it fully. Anne Hayden vice president of human resources for MRINetwork believes this will change dramatically in 2019. “The rising use of predictive analytics will be one of the biggest recruiting trends to drive productivity and profitability,” she says. “Collecting early performance data on new hires and matching it against assessments allows for the creation of a feedback loop that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee.”

Training

Training will be a critical focal point in 2019. In fact, employers noted in the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, that it will be one of their top priorities in the new year. “When designing meaningful training programs that have the ability to attract and retain, it’s important to think about the top talent you’ve worked with in the past,” advises Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork. “Most of them are typically natural learners, with a passion for continuous self-improvement.” Engel also notes that in order to keep these top performers as happy and engaged employees, leaders must create an environment where people have the ability to grow. She asks, “As a leader, are you providing the right culture and environment to attract and nurture those passions?” “It’s not just about checking the box for a learning and development program, but also creating a culture that supports taking chances, and supports the desires of people to take on new responsibilities and try new things. Leaders must be in tune with their employee’s professional desires and provide opportunities to embrace development and growth. Without that, top talent will seek it elsewhere.”

Workforce agility

As organizations become more agile, they will have a greater reliance on contractors to help bridge the skills gap. Companies across all industries are embracing this trend, with an emphasis on accessing skilled, mission-critical talent. According to Staffing Industry Analysts Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2018, respondents report that 22 percent of their staff is currently contingent and project that by 2028 that figure will rise to 30 percent. Factors contributing to this trend include increased turnover and low employee engagement, especially among younger workers. As a result, some businesses are moving away from trying to keep employees around longer and are instead reducing costs associated with turnover and embracing the gig economy. It is particularly prominent in industries that have changing labor demands for different projects - one project, for example, may need 15 people while another may need 150. “Employers need to assess the right mix of traditional fulltime workers and contractors to best meet their business objectives,” says Tim Ozier, senior director of contract staffing sales for MRINetwork.

Blind hiring

Bias in the workforce remains a big issue. To minimize any controversy, companies are being encouraged to make hiring a blind process. In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate’s background: gender, age, race or even alma mater. By stripping away any information that may reveal demographic data, the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements. “This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit,” says Halverson, “but the problem is trying to achieve this with the proliferation of social media. Using a third-party recruiter is usually necessary to ensure a truly blind process.”

The priorities and challenges inherent in these significant trends are clear, and readiness to respond to them is essential. The ongoing tight labor market means that companies will continue to be challenged with finding and retaining the right employees. “Given the importance that business leaders place on the talent management agenda,” concludes Halverson, “it’s a good time to reflect on what can be done and to take action, focusing on what should be done differently, and what might be improved to move the needle in this critical area.”

 The Trevi Group | “ Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

Lesser known cities for tech in hiring mode

The tech landscape is richer today than it was when 2018 began, largely thanks to the contributions of professionals within the industry. The sector appears poised to make the most of these gains in the coming year.

From coast to coast, the recruitment hunt is on in information technology. This isn't too much of a surprise in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle, Washington, but comes as a most welcome turn of events in places that aren't as well known for technological innovation. Case in point: the Badger State. As reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette, several Wisconsin companies are eager to hire, recent college graduates as well as industry veterans.

Brian Hicks, learning and development manager for software developer Skyward, told the newspaper that software engineering is burgeoning.

"If you want a job right out of college making a good income, software engineering is the way to go," Hicks explained. "It is absolutely booming."

The Green Bay Packers are on the tech bandwagon as well, having teamed up with Microsoft to develop an innovation center in the eastern portion of the state, the newspaper reported.

It isn't just tech companies that are hiring, either. Businesses that specialize in other goods and services are also providing more opportunities for technology professionals to exercise their talents because tech inhabits virtually everything. Cybersecurity, cloud computing, mobile development and business intelligence are just a few of the positions that businesses are hiring for in 2019 and perhaps beyond.

Tech companies command an ever increasing percentage of cities' land mass, suggesting that the industry shows no signs of slowing. In the first six months of 2017, 42 percent of the country top 100 leases were possessed by technological businesses, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Austin, Texas and Durham, North Carolina are among the cities that have experienced a surge in tech business development.

But Jason Ruckel, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, told the Press Gazette he has no intention of leaving the area when he graduates.

"People need to realize we have businesses here doing the same things they're doing on the coasts - lots of innovation, a startup culture - but closer to home, and the cost of living is lower," Ruckel said.

This suggests that instead of relocating to major metropolitan areas for tech opportunities, professionals may be able to find them in places nearer to where they live. 

The Trevi Group | “ Executive Search for Technology Professionals” | www.TheTreviGroup.com

How to Modernize Your Employee Review Practices

In today’s lean, fast-changing world, traditional business practices are being shaken up. Many companies are reviewing their long-held traditions in favor of more agile, responsive ways of improving the employee experience. They are giving more consideration to the physical environment employees work in as well as the practices, technologies and tools that encourage productivity. Changes include providing employees with flexibility to work from home more often, and leveraging technology like Skype for Business or Yammer to better communicate and share information among team members, and even the entire organization.

The long-standing practice of annually evaluating employees based on their productivity, overall improvement and achievement of goals is one of the areas undergoing a big transformation. For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that one annual review at the end of the year is enough to let employees know how they're doing. However, this is no longer true - employees are demanding more frequent and detailed feedback on their performance, and managers are responding by making their review practices more flexible and engaging.

According to the 2018 MRINetwork’s Performance Management Study, 54 percent of employers say they are increasing their focus on performance reviews, which indicates that they recognize the need to find better ways to enhance the value of the reviews, as well as their employees’ perception of the process. The same study revealed that 42 percent of candidates disagree or strongly disagree that their company’s review process is useful and productive.

If your company hasn't updated its performance review practices, it runs the risk of losing top talent to competitors that build regular feedback into their business functions. You’re also missing out on valuable opportunities to identify and develop your employees' professional skill sets.

As you begin to focus on business planning and employee goals for the coming year, consider these four ways you can modernize reviews at your company:

1. Make performance an ongoing conversation

The performance review plays an integral role in keeping the line of communication open between manager and employee. It is the chance to offer employees the acknowledgment that they’re looking for, to encourage them to strive for higher levels of achievement, and to nip problems in the bud. Instead of saving comments for the annual review, find ways to provide feedback and discuss priorities with employees on a regular basis. Consider holding biweekly, one-on-one check-ins with employees, discuss goals or accomplishments at the beginning or end of each quarter, or provide opportunities for group discussions at weekly team meetings. Regular check-ins help employees feel that their managers are committed to helping them be successful workers, which in turn means they’re more engaged and motivated to do their best work.

2. Embrace career pathing

Career pathing is a strategy that actively invests in and develops your employees to thrive in their current and future roles. It is an intentional approach as opposed to a reactive one - instead of managers passively learning of an employee's goals at the company, they take a participatory role in professionally developing the individual. Through career pathing, managers and employees sit down and discuss the employee's professional aspirations at the company and then set a tangible plan for helping the employee reach these goals.

3. Create an open culture of feedback

Reviews that benefit both the employee and the employer are based on honest, open communication, and this is only possible when there is a culture of workplace transparency. Employees should feel comfortable expressing their concerns, and criticism should be communicated in a way that is constructive. If employees feel that they are always one misstep away from being fired, or that their managers are not honest with them, reviews are more likely to further cement negative feelings instead of paving the way for constructive performance augmentation. Company leadership can do their part to create an open culture of feedback by keeping employees in the loop on workflow changes, encouraging employees to voice their concerns and recognizing workers who aren't afraid to ask for help.

4. Ensure reviews are fair

Only 29 percent of employees strongly agree that their performance reviews are fair, according to Gallup. The organization found that one main reason for this is reviews that are held just once a year fail to take into account all the changes that can occur in responsibilities, workflows and personal lives over the course of 12 months. Gallup also suggests that when conducting reviews, managers consider the expectations of the role compared to the time and resources employees actually have to fulfill these duties. The benchmarks employees are judged against should be realistic and fair.

Performance reviews are integral to employee success, but expectations have changed in the 21st century. Employees want reviews that are frequent, constructive, authentic and fair. Companies that update their review processes to match these needs are most likely to retain top talent because better performance reviews lead to higher morale, higher efficiency and overall, a better company in which to work.

 The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | Executive Search for Technology Professionals

Employment Summary for October 2018

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Job growth in October 2018 surpassed September's numbers and economists' projections for the month. In its Employment Situation Summary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Nov. 2 that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 250,000 in October. This is significantly higher than Wall Street analysts' prediction of 195,000, as reported by The New York Times. Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets told The Times, "The underlying fundamentals of the labor market are still really bright, it's really the strongest part of the broader economy at the moment." October 2018 represented the 97th consecutive month of job growth in the U.S.

Hurricane Michael, which caused destruction in the northwestern region of Florida, had no recognizable impact on the national employment rates for October. However, jobless claims in Florida and Georgia rose by 10,000 following this storm's landfall.

The unemployment rate did not change from September's 3.7 percent. This number represents the lowest figure since December 1969. This amount, as well as the impressive job growth of the month, may influence American voters going into the upcoming midterm elections.

The largest job growth statistic comes from an industry that suffered in September: leisure and hospitality. The sector rose by 42,000 jobs. This is a dramatic rise in comparison to September's numbers, which were likely impacted by Hurricane Florence. Healthcare took second place in October, with the addition of 36,000 positions. This job growth occurred in a variety of settings, with 14,000 job gains in ambulatory health services, 13,000 in hospitals and 8,000 in nursing and residential care facilities. The professional and business services industry forfeited its previously first place standing when it gained 35,000 in October, a distinguishable drop from its job growth of 54,000 in September. With the fourth largest job growth in October, the manufacturing industry added 32,000 jobs, 10,000 of which occurred in the durable goods sector.

Employment in construction experienced an increase of 30,000 in October, a significant change from its rise of 23,000 in September. Transportation and warehousing displayed a slight expansion in October, with the creation of 25,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the mining industry remained stagnant, with an increase of 5,000 new jobs. Other industries, such as retail trade, wholesale retail, financial activities, government and information did not change significantly in October.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private payrolls increased by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, in October, rising to $27.30. This is indicative of a 3.1 percent increase over the past 12 months. It seems to be on-pace with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which increased by 2.3 percent from September 2017 to September 2018. The creation of jobs and all-time-low unemployment rate are impressive during this month. Business leaders, job seekers and economists in the U.S. should be pleased with the current state of employment.

As a result of the continually growing economy, interest rates from the Federal Reserve are likely to keep rising. A CNBC report stated, "Powell [Fed chairman] says we're 'a long way' from neutral on interest rates, indicating more hikes are coming." The CME Group provided a 75 percent probability of a rate hike by the end of 2018, likely in December.

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

(Video) Attracting Talent in a Tight Candidate Market

In the executive, managerial and professional labor market, unemployment has been hovering around 2 percent, leaving companies across many industries struggling to find top talent. In a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and executive advisory group Visage International, University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin discovered that "the biggest challenge confronting firms is their need to expand hiring in an already-tight labor market." As a result of increased competition for high performers, employers are now more willing to make concessions to move their organizations forward.

Click to watch the video.

Here’s some advice that may help your organization with its hiring efforts:

Keep an open mind

When hiring managers look for potential employees, they often only focus immediately on the ideal candidate who has all the desirable qualities for the role. It’s important to recognize that an applicant may not need to possess every single one of those qualities to become a great hire, and rigidly sticking to your list may mean that you lose out on a candidate who could be successful in your organization.

Someone can have exceptional educational and work backgrounds, and still fail at your organization if they aren’t a good cultural fit, or if they don’t share your core values. Think about the type of person who will fit in among your employees - the mentality they’d need to thrive and the interpersonal skills that will help them become part of the team.

After you draft a job description, revisit each requirement to determine if it is absolutely needed. You may find room for negotiation on professional designations or technical skill sets that would be nice to have but aren’t essential to the job. Look beyond your wish list to see who might thrive in your company’s environment even without all your ideal attributes.

Expand your talent pool

If you insist upon finding a candidate you don’t have to train, you could add months to your search for a new hire. You could probably train someone in that amount of time while also benefiting from the value that person may add in other ways as they ramp up. Look for coachable, high potential candidates who have transferable skills that will help them overcome the lack of specific experience.

According to the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, nearly 80 percent of the employers surveyed agree or strongly agree that finding quality industry-experienced talent is more difficult than ever, and that their companies are more likely to hire people who have transferable skills, but lack industry experience. By considering those with transferable skills, you can significantly expand the number of applicants and focus on more general skills, such as organization, teamwork and communication, which might be just as important for the role, but are much less teachable than specific, technical skills.

Both employers and candidates see poor communication as a problem in this area, according to the study. Companies need to make it clear they are open to candidates who have applicable expertise, despite their lack of industry experience. Candidates need to focus on how they discuss transferable skills during the interview process and demonstrate how those skills can be applied to a different industry.

Offer sign-on perks that attract candidates

The MRINetwork study also indicated that half of the surveyed employers are increasing the rate at which they offer sign-on perks. Among the top perks that organizations are willing to provide are company-paid health insurance, sign-on bonuses and moving expenses. Candidates are on the same page as employers about the desirability of these benefits, with 76 percent citing both sign-on bonuses and health insurance, and 54 percent citing moving expenses as most important to them. A number of employers stated they are willing to offer tuition reimbursement (33 percent) and even help in repaying student loans (23 percent) as incentives.

Employee perks can have a significant impact on your ability to attract desirable candidates and lower employee turnover. Some of the standard benefits packages offered by companies just aren’t cutting it, which is why many firms have decided to augment them in order to stay ahead of their competition for top candidates. As one hiring authority observed, “There are severe shortages of qualified employees in many sectors of the labor market. This makes it an employee’s market and it thus requires incentives (higher pay, bonuses, etc.) to acquire and maintain quality employees.”

An interesting finding of the survey suggested that while employers are boosting sign-on perks, many candidates are unaware of the potential perks they could be leaving on the table. Organizations will need to become more forthcoming about these perks during the hiring process and address the skepticism that some candidates have about sign-on perks. “Companies are willing to pay for one-time extras to get the people who best match or exceed their ideal candidate profile,” said one potential candidate, “but they may not, however, be willing to start at a higher compensation level.”

In a down market, candidates will be less demanding and more flexible with employers. But in today's market, applicants have numerous options, so it is imperative that that the way employers approach them and the advantages that are offered give candidates every reason to want to join a company.

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | “Executive Search for Technology Professionals”

High demand for smart speakers leading to jump in jobs

When smartphones were first mass produced in manufacturing and distribution centers, millions of Americans said, "I gotta have that." Fast forward to the present, and the vast majority of gadget-crazed consumers own these devices - nearly 80 percent of the country, in fact, according to the Pew Research Center.

Making a strong case for second - if they haven't already caught up - are voice-activated assistant devices, a trend poised to foreshadow an uptick in employment and recruitment in several industries to satisfy buyer demand.

From the iPhone's Siri to Amazon's Alexa, voice-assistant technology is all the rage these days. In fact, approximately 95 percent of respondents in a recent poll conducted by PYMNTS.com and Visa acknowledged owning one or more of these gadgets, which can perform various functions simply by speaking to them.

The uptick in ownership has been particularly notable in recent years. For example, 27 percent of respondents in the survey said they possessed voice-activated speaker systems, up from 14 percent in 2017. Younger millennials - defined as those whose age range between 18 and 29 - are the most likely consumers to be using voice-based tech assistants, more so than so-called "bridge millennials" and early Generation Xers.

"11% of broadband households intend to purchase smart speakers within the next year."

Smart speaker ownership to push higher
Although technologies like Siri and Alexa have been around for several years, it's clear that the novelty factor hasn't worn off. To the contrary, new research suggests that among households with broadband internet connections, 11 percent intend to purchase smart speakers within the next year, according to a separate study from Parks Associates.

"The consumer market first encountered voice control through smartphone-based voice assistants, which consumers report as the preferred method of voice control for smart home devices," said, Dina Abdelrazik, Parks Associates research analyst. "These experiences drive demand for new voice-based experiences."

It comes as no surprise, then, that employment in manufacturing, assembly and distribution centers has risen - a trend that's expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This past summer, Amazon announced its plans to develop a fulfillment center in Eastern Washington, the e-commerce giant's debut in this portion of the Evergreen State. The project is expected to add over 1,500 full-time jobs to the state's economy.

The fulfillment center - projected to span 600,000 square feet - is necessary to keep up with buyer demand, the company stated. Employees at the facility will work in concert with Amazon Robotics to package and prepare orders for customers.

Growth in tech employment
Although consumer technology represents only a portion of what Amazon and other factory settings mass produce for buying customers, it accounts for a sizeable share of annual earnings, evidenced by quarterly sales figures. However, manufacturers and suppliers can only deliver on what tech experts develop. This may explain why employment in the tech industry has proliferated. Through the first six months of 2017, for example, tech companies accounted for nearly half of the square footage office space signings among the leading commercial leases in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates from Cushman & Wakefield.

Revathi Greenwood, head of research at Cushman & Wakefield, said robust tech employment isn't confined to the general sector itself, but to multiple others, including law firms, media conglomerates and most especially retailers.

What does the future look like voice-assist devices? Thanks to the ingenuity of the people that design them and the employees participating in assembly, vital signs are strong. Amazon, for one, announced added intelligent features in Alexa-enhanced Echo devices in September, including updated email management, video doorbell and step-by-step cooking instructions.

"We've only scratched the surface of A.I.-powered inventions, said Rohit Prasad, head scientist and vice president of Amazon Alexa. "We'll continue to invent ways to make Alexa more useful for our customers."

The Trevi Group | www.TheTreviGroup.com | Executive Search for Technology Professionals