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Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group - Blog

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A good CX is the incubator for innovation

As I discussed in my previous two blog posts, providing a good candidate experience (CX) is critical to a successful recruitment process and employer brand. It’s also an essential element of attracting the young, high potential talent you need to drive innovation in your organization. So how do you ensure this critical interface between the future talent of your company and the ever-developing technology of the day are getting along seamlessly? And if you’re not thinking about this relationship, why not?    

To deliver a good CX for those entering the workforce in 2020, you need to create an effective, user-centric experience that engages candidates and makes them feel valued. You have to approach them on the platforms they’re used to. For the last group of Millennials and the first wave of Gen Z workers to enter the workforce, their smartphones are their platforms of choice. Consider the following statistics:

  • According to Pew Research Center, 92 percent of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 29 owned a smartphone in 2016.
  • The Deloitte 2016 Global Mobile Consumer Survey showed that 10 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 21 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds use mobile payments in-store on a weekly basis. These numbers are likely to increase quickly as more stores accept mobile payments.

In addition to preferring smartphones over tablets, laptops, or desktop computers, these users overwhelmingly choose apps over browsers. Research by Flurry Analytics, cited in the article “Seven Year into the Mobile Revolution: Content Is King… Again,” shows that 90 percent of the time spent by U.S. users on their smartphone is in apps—not in browsers. Why? Because apps provide consumers with a fast, personalized way to connect with their favorite brands—and immediately take action, for example purchase products, read articles, or share something with their social networks.

When you combine all these statistics, it quickly becomes clear why companies around the world are prioritizing user experience (UX) in their marketing efforts: They need to connect with consumers and provide them with a personalized, streamlined experience that keeps them coming back for more. If they fail to do this, they risk becoming obsolete.

It’s crucial to understand that these young consumers, the ones who use apps on their smartphones to do everything from shopping to banking to exercising, are the same group of young professionals entering the workforce in the next three years. Since they’re used to exceptional UX in their daily lives, they’ll expect the same from potential employers—and lose interest in companies that fall short in this aspect. On the other hand, employers that invest the time and resources to design, develop, and manage a good CX for lean, high potential talent are likely to attract precisely the kind of top quality talent they want.

In conclusion, delivering a good CX should not be thought of as a luxury. Instead, it should be considered a key component of your talent acquisition strategy. Because by attracting young professionals who bring new skills and insights to the company, it directly contributes to your organization’s ability to drive innovation and by extension, advance its competitive positioning.


Publish Date: June 12, 2017 5:00 AM

Why does your contact center exist?

Most organizations answer, “Because it’s an operational necessity. We need it to sell our product and provide customer support.”

Of course, this is a perfectly valid business reason. But if you want to advance your competitive positioning, you should also be thinking about another reason: to enhance your brand by providing an outstanding customer experience.

The crucial role of the contact center in delivering a good customer experience

Customer experience continues to soar in terms of importance to a brand’s success. In fact, a recent study by Walker found that by 2020, customer experience will be a more significant brand differentiator than both quality and pricing. Here’s why: With the ever-increasing competition in the global marketplace and the rise of everything-as-a-service (XaaS), consumers have almost unlimited choices. They can find quality, affordability, and even both if they just look long enough. But what will eventually motivate them to purchase from a specific brand is how that brand treats them.

For example, it’s easy to buy a new pair of sneakers online because it’s cheaper, faster, and you don’t have to go to the mall. Or you can install a smartphone-based home security app that’s much easier to set up and manage than a traditional security system.

But what happens if the sneakers are delivered in the wrong size or color? Or if you run into issues setting up the home security app on your phone? A company that provides a quick and convenient way to contact its support center and connects you to a knowledgeable agent who resolves your issue is going to make you feel valued. On the other hand, if a company has an automated troubleshooting feature that ultimately doesn’t offer a solution and then instructs you to report your situation via a contact form, you’re not likely to feel good about your purchase or the brand.

This is precisely why the interaction must be positive when a consumer or a business connects with a live person. They should be left with a sense of closure and confidence that their inquiry was handled properly and their issue was resolved. This sounds simple, but is the foundation of trust in future transactions with the company and building brand loyalty.

Cost or quality?

Costs drive many considerations regarding contact centers, from location to technology to talent. However, to turn this operational necessity into a strategic advantage, it’s crucial to prioritize quality. Too often, in an attempt to cut costs, contact centers employ untrained or incapable agents and deploy overly impersonal technology. Unfortunately, this ultimately results in a subpar customer experience, has a negative impact on the brand, and can adversely affect the bottom line.

Your main consideration should be to provide a comprehensive support platform that can best represent you to your customers while simultaneously promoting your brand. Regardless of whether you set up your contact center yourself, hire external consultants to help, or choose an outsourcing partner, you should select your staff based on their ability to provide the right outcomes and customer experience. Make certain that whatever your solution becomes, it is connected to your culture and can emulate the same passion your organization has for its own products or services.  
When it comes to the technology, think from the customer perspective and choose your technology based on its capabilities to foster a memorable and positive experience.


In short, if having a contact center is an integral part of your business, then why not make that contact center great? It’s simply a smart business investment to connect the RIGHT employees, who have the necessary skills and passion, with a technology solution that enhances the customer support experience. Because when done well, your contact center can be one of the main drivers of your brand image—and that’s a critical component of your competitive advantage.


Publish Date: May 30, 2017 5:00 AM

How to deliver a good CX with a pre-recorded video interview

Recently, increasingly more companies have started using the pre-recorded, or on-demand, interview as a hiring tool. Unlike interviews by Skype or other teleconferencing apps where candidates interact with recruiters in real time, with pre-recorded interviews, candidates respond to a series of written questions that appear on the screen. This eliminates the need for recruiters to schedule and conduct live interviews. Instead, they can simply start a candidate’s video, skip to the questions, and assess the candidates’ answers.

This delivers enormous time- and cost savings for employers. For example, as Rebecca Greenfield reports in the Bloomberg article titled “The Rise of the (Truly Awful) Webcam Job Interview,” Hilton was able to reduce its hiring cycle from 24.5 days to just 4.5 days thanks to on-demand interviews, while other companies saved substantial sums on recruiters’ travel expenses.

Factors that contribute to a poor CX

What’s so important to note about pre-recorded interviews is that contrary to what you might expect, candidates aren’t universally enthusiastic about them. Yet they’re predominantly used to interview Millennials and Gen Z candidates—the two most tech-savvy, connected generations in the workforce.

Interestingly, many candidates who shared negative experiences with on-demand video interviews on sites like didn’t seem to have any problems with the technology. Instead, they felt uncomfortable because they weren’t interacting with a “live” recruiter. Others reported feeling rushed because their answers were being timed. Yet others didn’t receive any communications about their interview until weeks later.

Tips for delivering a better CX

As I discussed in my previous blog post, delivering a good CX is critical to both your employer and company brand. Keep the following tips in mind to optimize your pre-recorded video interview CX:

  • Choose a good provider that caters to a variety of platforms. The process should be as easy as possible for the candidate—regardless of whether he or she uses an iPhone, Android device, laptop, or desktop computer. Make sure there are clear instructions and that quick and effective support is available to help with any technical glitches. It’s also advisable to select a provider that offers user analytics so you can track your data.
  • Put the candidate at ease. In her TalentCulture article titled “Improving the Video Interview Process for Better Candidate Experiences,” Meghan M. Bird advises sending the candidate some information about your company’s interview practices before the interview so her or she knows what to expect.
  • Brand the interview video. Instead of using generic templates, create a visual experience that clearly aligns with your company’s brand.
  • Create an exchange of information. In addition to learning more about the candidate, use the interview to provide more insights into the position and your company.
  • Follow up. Immediately after the interview, send the candidate a thank-you email with a quick outline of the next steps.
  • Measure and analyze your data. Ask candidates for feedback, and combine it with the platform’s analytics to see where you can improve the process.

When properly designed and implemented, pre-recorded video interviews can save you considerable time and resources. And if you can simultaneously deliver a good CX during this crucial phase of the recruitment process, you can also build employee and brand engagement, instead of the opposite.

To continue the conversation connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter @tproehm


Publish Date: May 29, 2017 5:00 AM

Will virtual work and AI hurt or help the recruitment industry?

Imagine this:

You’ve applied for a job, aced the phone interview, and now you’re waiting to hear the outcome of the in-person interview you had a few days ago. You receive an email instructing you to click on a link to review your application status. The link leads you to a video of someone you don’t recognize—who tells you that, regrettably, you weren’t selected for the job. The video isn’t personalized, nor does it make any mention of precisely which position it’s about. What’s more: you can see in the information bar below the video that it’s been viewed more than 1,100 times.

How do you think you’d feel? I don’t know about you, but I’d feel upset that the employer couldn’t even take the time to send me a personalized (or even a standard) rejection email. Because obviously, the video has been seen by more than 1,100 other people who also didn’t get a job.

As far-fetched as it might sound, this scenario actually happened. It was described in Ed Newman’s PhenomPeople article titled “Candidate Experience Worst Practice Alert: How NOT to Reject Applicants!” The employer in question was probably looking for a time-effective way to follow up with rejected applicants, and thought the video aspect used technology with a human touch. Outcome bad. Epic fail.

However, the story does flag some potential issues regarding leveraging technology to make a virtual organization more effective.

First of all, as the story above shows, it’s critical to never let technology take the human aspect out of recruiting—even if you never meet your candidates or clients in person. After all, recruiting is all about people: the people you work with, the people you’re recruiting, and the stakeholders you’re recruiting for. Streamlining communications is fine, but when it makes people feel like numbers, both your relationships and the employer’s value plummets. Granted, none of us enjoy picking up the phone and telling a candidate he or she didn’t get the job. But don’t you think that call to provide closure and meaningful feedback is a worthy investment? I do—because if your input helps that person interview better during the next opportunity, he or she will become a stronger and possibly more loyal candidate.

In addition, technological advancements like predictive tools and artificial intelligence (AI) are slowly but surely entering the virtual recruitment space. These innovations are already making an impact on how we assess talent. We want innovative, creative, and agile talent—and we’re letting applicant tracking systems make the first decision on whether or not a candidate possesses those qualities. But can technology truly become a foolproof way to assess talent in the long run? Will it become the new standard in evaluating what a “good” candidate is?

I don’t have the answer to those questions—but I do know this: when it comes to adopting new technologies, make sure to really think it through first. Figure out how these innovations could impact your interactions before committing to them. Because if you don’t, whatever you win in efficiency might be nothing in comparison to what you could lose in valuable relationships.


Publish Date: April 24, 2017 5:00 AM

Recruiting the right contact center talent to build brand loyalty

Regardless of what industry you’re in, customer service is becoming increasingly important in building brand loyalty. Research by Ovum shows that an astounding 76 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with an organization after having had just one bad customer experience. And since people can now basically access a global marketplace that’s open 24/7, more and more companies are relying on contact centers to establish their relationship by providing good customer service which will help drive brand loyalty.

However, establishing a contact center with a workforce of skilled talent who can provide solutions while simultaneously functioning as brand ambassadors can be challenging, not in the least due to the high turnover rate in this type of service. According to Penny Reynolds in her Quality Assurance & Training Connection article titled “Exploring Call Center Turnover Numbers,” the average turnover rate for call centers is between 30 and 45 percent. In contrast, Compensation Force lists the average turnover rates for all industries as 16.7 percent. Moreover, high agent turnover compromises performance, which in turn has an adverse impact on the customer service experience and efforts to build brand loyalty.

It’s all about hiring the right people and surrounding them with the tools, support and a positive culture they’ll need to be successful. So what can companies do to enhance contact center agents’ performance, and train them to become outstanding brand ambassadors?

First of all, it’s important to recognize the constraints of brick-and-mortar contact centers. In addition to the obvious disadvantages of being subjected to site outages, inclement weather, and other events that impact business continuity, requiring agents to be on-site limits the available talent considerably. A virtual contact center, on the other hand, allows you to source talent from around the country, by bringing the work to them, which inevitably provides access to a much larger and richer talent pool. In addition, it allows you to include workers in your talent pipeline who may need or prefer to work from home.

Second, be talent-centric and cast a wide net. There are many workers out there who might not have a customer service background but who are interested in learning. While it’s possible they don’t consider being a customer service agent their ultimate career objective, they’re very likely to want to establish a strong relationship with a company that can help them advance and find interesting jobs throughout their career. It’s key, therefore, to get to know your people and determine how you can best help them move forward in their careers.

Third, provide good training and technology. A lack of technology and tools training can be extremely frustrating for workers—and it’s one of the main reasons for high turnover. You need to invest in user-friendly, effective technology and provide effective up-front and on-going training. Doing so enables the workers to provide excellent service and enhance their skills along with expanding their opportunities.  Solid skills verification and ongoing development can be key to ensuring the delivery of quality customer service along with providing Agents with the opportunity to continuously learn. 

Fourth, make sure your contact center agents feel supported, engaged, and part of a team. Technology can be used to create online platforms where your team can check in with each other, as well as their managers and tech support. It can also be leveraged for engagement, performance management & enhancement, and team building by means of gamification, competition, and social media such as message boards and IM.  Applying social media concepts can be equally as effective in business as it is in the public domain.

Finally, make sure your people are attached to the culture of your organization. Building a culture and environment that is connected and inclusive of the home based agents will be the glue that fortifies the agent’s work life. Stay connected as much as possible through regular touch points and communications. Develop a cadence with your employees to maintain regular communication with their team and leaders. This is essential and can be accomplished through many different channels of communication, voice, video, chat, email and gamification. Staying connected and the sense of not being on an island is imperative to making your people feel valued—and that’s critical to enhancing engagement and retention.

Creating an effective contact center that builds brand loyalty can be challenging. But with these points in mind, you can establish a robust talent management system that not only brings out the best in your talent, but also keeps your customers coming back.


Publish Date: April 18, 2017 5:00 AM

Creating a custom talent cloud for requirement-specific hiring

In recent years, the number of free agents in the workforce has hovered consistently around 30 percent. In the Asia-Pacific region, free agents currently comprise 34 percent of the total workforce; in the U.S., that number is 31 percent; and in Europe, it’s 27 percent.

Besides their sheer numbers, there are a couple of significant facts every high tech employer needs to know about the free agent workforce. First of all, according to the report “Shifting the talent equation: The world of online talent communities,” most free agents choose this work style voluntarily because it offers more freedom and flexibility, as well as autonomy over their careers. Second, when compared to the regular workforce, the free agency workforce has a higher proportion of skilled professional and technical workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. And notably, high tech is one of the verticals in which professionals—especially engineers—can thrive as contractors who work on project by project basis. 

An increasing number of high tech employers are aware they don’t need every team to consist of fulltime employees, since they can hire specialized talent when they need it. However, many still find it difficult to locate talent with the exact qualifications they need. Moreover, managing remote workers and the risks associated with hiring them can be challenging.

While online talent communities like Upwork and WorkMarket offer an easy, effective way to hire professionals on a temporary basis, they have a number of drawbacks. Most of their high tech professionals work in IT and software development, so employers looking for a different type of high tech talent will have to go elsewhere. Additionally, it requires a significant amount of time and attention to find a professional who can deliver precisely what a company needs, when it needs it.

That’s why Kelly® offers custom talent cloud solutions to companies that want to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. We build an on-demand workforce with the precise requirements a company needs. For example, if you need 50 field engineers to start in two weeks in central Utah, we locate and recruit engineers with the right qualifications and experience—and who are available at the right time in the specified location. Or if you’re an insurance company and you need a contact center to handle calls during hurricane season, we can deliver the IT talent you need to create a robust, high-capacity communication system, as well as the people you need to staff the phones.

We can combine custom cloud creation with a number of other BPO or RPO solutions, including KellyConnect: plus, we can ensure compliance in regard to legal requirements, OSHA, and other considerations.

The future of work isn’t about having all the talent you need in-house. Instead, it’s about using the most effective solution to ensure you have the ability to safely scale your workforce at the speed of business.


Publish Date: September 13, 2016 5:00 AM

The top four essential administrative recruiting actions

Building a successful talent recruitment strategy isn’t just about identifying, attracting, and recruiting prospects. It’s also about managing and administering the recruiting function itself. What follows are the top four essential administrative recruiting actions:

  1. Utilize data-driven decision-making. Thanks to the plethora of data that’s available to companies nowadays, decisions that are based on “gut feeling” are a thing of the past. Instead, decisions pertaining to recruitment should be based on data that’s won by frequent testing, as well as the recording of results and measuring of progress. In all of this, the quality of hire is the most important metric, because when you can calculate the performance of new hires, you can take action to improve. Using data from the quality of hire, you can identify the best talent sources, the most accurate assessment methods, and the most effective sales pitches, as well other essential factors in the recruitment process. In order to pinpoint both problems and best practices, metrics must continuously be applied to the entire recruitment process. In addition, data analytics should be used both in real-time and in a predictive manner to monitor conditions such as upcoming talent shortages and opportunities for “right time recruiting.”
  2. Use prioritization to focus. Not all jobs and talent have the same business impact for an organization. For example, innovators can be expected to be 10 times more productive than an average hire. That’s why hiring managers and recruiters must work with company management to determine which jobs and recruiting targets are most important to a company in terms of dollar value and competitive position. Then they must prioritize their efforts and allocate their resources, including their top recruiters, accordingly.
  3. Meet or exceed candidates’ expectations. From delays and unmet commitments to unprofessional or unknowledgeable recruiters, for many top candidates, the hiring process itself has become a source of frustration. And when the recruitment process isn’t conducted appropriately, it becomes a deal breaker. Consider the fact that top candidates are in high demand and usually have multiple offers of employment. If you want them, you need to give them the “white glove” treatment—in other words, you need to make them feel valued and wanted from the first moment of contact to the signing of the contract and beyond.
  4. Make recruitment an essential business operation. An outstanding recruitment strategy costs resources: people, money, and time. Of course, recruitment has to compete with other business functions for these resources. In order to get the budget you need, you need to make a strong business case to your CFO. The best way to do this is to convert the recruiting department’s output into its dollar impact on the company’s bottom line. This dollar impact should include the costs involved with prolonged position vacancies; the costs of weak or bad hires; and the yields of hiring top talent in terms of increased revenue and enhanced intellectual capital.

With these four administrative actions firmly in place, the chances of your recruitment strategy being successful are greatly enhanced.


White paper: The Best Practices In Attraction And Retention For High Tech Firms


Publish Date: August 29, 2016 5:00 AM

The importance of leveraging your talent ecosystem during hiring surges

Last year around this time, I wrote about the fact that in the third quarter, many companies faced the dilemma of needing strategic talent precisely at the time when budgets were running low. Back then, one of the trends we saw was that while a few organizations stopped all hiring in Q3 and Q4 and assimilated what was left of the recruitment budget into their 2016 plan, other companies chose to work with a strategic workforce partner to implement customized solutions that met their talent needs within their budgetary constraints.

Fast forward to this year. Currently, the insurance sector is gearing up for the projected spike in demand when the 2017 open enrollment season begins in September. Statistics show that year-over-year, the number of people enrolling in ObamaCare has steadily increased. According to ObamaCare Facts, in the 2014 open enrollment season, eight million people enrolled; in the 2015 season, that number was 11.7 million; and in the 2016 season, it increased to 12.7 million. This year, the trend is likely to continue.

At the same time, an increasing number of companies are in the market for company-wide group healthcare insurance plans from large and mid-sized insurance providers. Since companies with 50 or more full-time employees have to provide healthcare insurance or else receive a tax penalty, many employers are now looking for plans that are not only affordable, but also offer employee wellness programs.

In terms of recruitment, this means four things. First, insurers need to expand their workforces to accommodate all of the consumers and employers taking advantage of the open enrollment season. Second, these new workers need to be recruited, onboarded, and trained by September in order to handle the surge in demand. Third, due to the growing customer base, these additional workers will for the most part remain employed even after open enrollment ends. And fourth, employers will have to hire qualified professionals to coordinate and implement occupational safety and wellness programs.

That means there’s an immediate need for a diverse group of talent: not only representatives, account managers, and administrative talent, but also—since the majority of the enrollment process takes place online—IT experts, systems administrators, network architects, and so on. And let’s not forget about healthcare professionals to implement corporate wellness programs.

In all of this, it’s important to understand that the size and scope of a company’s talent ecosystem is critical to its ability to successfully navigate hiring surges. A talent ecosystem is a constantly evolving extended network of talent that includes current employees, alumni, members of the talent community, freelancers, consultants, interns, crowdsourced talent, etc. Instead of relying on the more linear talent supply chain and bringing in talent from one source, employers need to assess all the different sources that can supply the different kinds of talent. This involves dipping into whatever talent pools are available in order to recruit the talent they need within the designated time frame and for the right price.

All things considered, finding the right talent to ramp up operations can be a daunting task. And those employers that have nurtured their talent ecosystems will find themselves better equipped to handle hiring surges than those that haven’t.


Publish Date: August 11, 2016 5:00 AM

How aggressive, targeted poaching can strengthen your recruitment strategy

When improving your talent recruitment strategy, it’s advisable to benchmark your processes and performance against those of top firms. Doing this enables you to skip the “trial and error” portion of process improvement and instead, adopt already proven practices right away.

The high tech industry is one sector where, due to the skills shortage, companies don’t reserve their recruitment efforts to targeting only unemployed and/or job seeking candidates. They also aggressively target top talent at their competitors’ firms and poach them away. This serves a dual purpose: first, it instantly strengthens your firm and second, it instantly weakens your competitor.

If you want to integrate talent poaching into your overall recruitment strategy, then you need to keep the following best practices in mind:

  1. Consider other companies your “farm team.” Make a list of competitors that basically serve to train and nurture top talent for you. Once these skilled workers are functioning at a high level, then you can poach them away and they can hit the ground running in your company. What’s more: they’ll likely bring both knowledge and colleagues with them, adding even more to your intellectual and human capital. Make a list of the people you want who are working for your competitors, and start building relationships with them.
  2. Offer a sign-on bonus. In order to entice the people you want away from their current employers, offer them a significant sign-on bonus. One example is that the CEO of Yammer offered a $25,000 signing bonus to any Yahoo! employee who left their company within 60 days. Similarly, Uber has an incremental referral program that offers $250 for a referral; $500 if the referral is from one of Uber’s targeted competitors; and $1,000 if the referral is a driver trainer with a competing company.
  3. Captive recruiting. If the person you’re trying to recruit can’t get away simply because of his or her physical surroundings, the odds of the recruitment being successful increase significantly. For example, a number of top firms including Tumblr, Bigcommerce, and Roku have targeted Google employees while they were waiting for their luxury ride to work at a Google bus stop. At the same time, Uber employees book rides with competitor Lyft; then surprise the drivers with their recruitment pitch, which the drivers are forced to listen to because they’re on the clock and can’t get away.
  4. Encourage new hires to give referrals from their former company. When you’re onboarding hires you’ve poached from your competitors, ask them to help you recruit top employees from their old company in exchange for bonuses.

Targeted poaching is an effective way of recruiting top talent that’s already trained and experienced in the areas you’re looking for. These strategies will help you fine-tune your poaching efforts and increase your ROI.


White paper: The Best Practices In Attraction And Retention For High Tech Firms


Publish Date: August 8, 2016 5:00 AM

Establishing a successful employee referral program

In his recent guest blog titled “Make every employee a talent scout to attract top talent,” Dr. Sullivan discussed the intense competition for talent in the high tech industry. As he so correctly points out, because the high tech industry is innovative by nature, it also often leads when it comes to cutting-edge talent management practices. One of these innovative practices involves creating employee referral programs that are nimble and attractive enough to keep employees motivated to drive referrals to their employers.

According to Dr. Sullivan, the leading high tech firms now get nearly half of all their new recruits from employee referrals. His recommendations for creating a successful employee program are as follows:

  • Make it easy for employees to make referrals by providing them with the tools to do so.
  • Ask only for referrals that will make the team stronger. 
  • Include alumni, retirees, contractors, and family members in the referral program in order to reach a bigger talent pool.
  • When recruiting an in-demand candidate, enlist the assistance of an employee who is most likely to know or be able to connect with him or her.
  • Offer significant referral bonuses.

While these tips will undoubtedly contribute to the effectiveness of a referral program, there are a number of factors we’d like to add to Dr. Sullivan’s article that can make your referral program more successful.

First, you should continuously monitor your referral program to assess how successful it is; what your ROI is; and what aspects need to be adjusted in order to amp up its efficacy. This monitoring should be done by one centralized team instead of expecting managers from various departments to keep track.

Second, it’s important to ensure your current employees are engaged. The reason for this is simple. Your employees are your company’s ambassadors, so you want them to be able to speak truthfully about all of the benefits of working for you. Especially with tech talent being in high demand, the risk of unengaged employees jumping ship is ever-present—and that’s hardly an incentive for top talent to accept a position with you.

Third, you need to know what top tech talent wants—and then tailor your offers accordingly. It’s important to realize that each candidate has his or her own preferences, so you need to create a flexible framework that has room for everything from career guidance and training opportunities to flex work and on-site wellness programs.

Of course, these three tasks each require a considerable amount of time and know-how that you might not have in-house. That’s where outsourcing the management of your employee referral program to an experienced workforce solutions company can mean the difference between success and failure.

A successful employee referral program requires ongoing monitoring to ensure you’re creating an engaging, attractive environment. Utilizing the expertise of a workforce company can offer an effective solution that unburdens your HR department while providing you with the specialized tools and resources you need.


The Best Practices In Attraction And Retention For High Tech Firms

Article: Make every employee a talent scout to attract top talent!


Publish Date: August 5, 2016 5:00 AM

What's next for tech employers? Preparing for the tech talent of the future

Tech talent is in high demand and short supply. As Alessandra Sollberger points out in her article “The Growing Tech Talent Gap (And How to Fill It),” according to a 2015 survey, almost 40 percent of employers found it challenging to fill engineering and tech positions. It must be said that industry experts are debating whether the shortage is real or whether it’s caused by employers’ reluctance to consider candidates who don’t hold a college degree in a technical field. Regardless, the fact remains that for many tech companies, the difficulty of finding the right people with the right skills poses a direct threat to their bottom lines.

Leading tech companies—well-known brands with high-profile projects and large talent budgets—logically have the advantage when it comes to recruiting top tech talent. They can offer interesting work, great perks, outstanding salaries, and even very generous referral bonuses to employees who bring new talent into the company. In his Boston Globe article titled “The war for tech talent escalates,” John Dodge reminds us how HubSpot offered a $30,000 referral bonus for software designers and engineers in 2013.

However, even market leaders don’t possess the power to look over the horizon to see what kind of talent they’ll need two, three, or five years down the line. Of course, companies have their upcoming products or services planned out. But depending on the field, rapidly developing technology trends can impact plans and result in the need for a course adjustment—and consequently, possibly require talent with different specializations. In addition, employers can’t predict what kind of package they’ll need to offer in order to attract this talent. Clearly, employers need agile yet robust workforce strategies that can continuously be tweaked in order to meet changing demands.

This is where the consultative support of an experienced workforce company can provide essential insights. First and foremost, workforce consultants can help employers analyze and optimize their current workforce, paying attention to factors such as labor categories, quality, and cost. It can also assess projected workforce losses to attrition and retirement and pinpoint where attrition could be counteracted, for example by keeping a retiree on as a consultant or retraining an employee whose position becomes obsolete.

Furthermore, while nobody can predict the future, experienced workforce consultants can help employers establish broad talent pools that, in preparation for expanded or changing talent needs, encompass a variety of skilled tech workers. When combined with insights into what tech workers want in terms of work environment, perks, and other work-life design elements, this can yield highly effective and agile talent management strategies that can be used in a variety of conditions.

Looking over the horizon is impossible—and even if it weren’t, the tech industry is prone to fast, impactful changes. By partnering with experienced workforce consultants, employers can establish the resources and processes they need to attract and retain the top tech talent they need, now and in the future. 



Publish Date: May 31, 2016 5:00 AM

Talent Advisory & Analytics Key to MSP & RPO Growth

KellyOCG held its second annual analyst event in Chicago last week. The event covered KellyOCG’s full suite of HR service offerings, but here I take a closer look at MSP and RPO and specifically at the advisory and analytics services that are driving growth in these areas.

KellyOCG is the outsourcing and consulting group of Kelly Services Inc., and represents the largest growth segment of Kelly Services. In 2015, Kelly Services reported revenues of $5,518m, down 0.8% y/y (or up 4.7% in constant currency), while KellyOCG’s revenues were $674m, up ~15% y/y from $587m in 2014 and +16.6% in constant currency. KellyOCG’s operating profit in Q4 2015 was $14m, up 44.3% y/y, while gross profit was $48m, up 13.5% y/y. The largest profit and revenue growth came from MSP followed by RPO.

Within MSP, KellyOCG has 4,600 registered and active suppliers with $7.2bn total spend under management, which according to NelsonHall, puts KellyOCG among the top tier of global service providers. There are ~232 MSP clients across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific with a 99% client retention rate.

KellyOCG has ~50 RPO clients, including ~14 new clients since January 2015, and in 2015 performed ~47,000 hires in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Its longest running RPO client has been with them for ~20 years. A recent trend has been clients starting with project RPO for a specific number of hires and then, once benefits are realized, expanding into full RPO clients.

Talent Management Consulting

KellyOCG began providing talent management consulting services in Q1 2015. Services are typically provided with RPO and MSP and include:

  • Talent Strategy Advisory, which includes: Strategic Workforce Planning, Process Optimization, Business Care Development, Talent Strategy Alignment
  • Talent Attraction and Engagement, which includes: Specialized Career Events, Employer Branding, Candidate Experience Measurement, Talent Community Management
  • Workforce Governance and Execution, which includes: Program Structure & Governance, Market & Competitive Intelligence, Program Performance Management, Change Leadership
  • Talent Counseling, which includes: Career Transition, Outplacement, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development
  • Workforce Analytics, which includes: Labor Market Intelligence, Talent Supply Chain Analytics, Business Process Analytics, Predictive Analytics.

Talent Supply Chain (TSC) Analytics

KellyOCG’s TSC Analytics Portal helps to give clients insights to drive change, and focuses on:

  • Rate analytics: providing insights on current spend and competitiveness by supplier, geography, and marketplace
  • Supplier optimization: providing insights on supply chain attributes of time, cost, and quality
  • Order efficiency: providing insights on cycle type, benchmarking on efficiency of the supply chain, and on risk due to aging orders
  • Workforce planning: providing insights on percentage breakdown of workforce, trends, alignment to workforce plan, how sourcing aligns and compares, where changes can be made to optimize cost, and where talent pools can be implemented. This includes the ability to view attrition by region, country, state, client, vertical, etc. and also compare how a particular client compared to all other clients. Scatter diagrams can also be used to view tenure and attrition rates for FT and temp workers.

Predictive analytics are also provided, e.g. clients can predict when aging orders are going to cancel, and also predict cycle times, and recommend what can be done to improve performance.

Over the last year, KellyOCG has focused investment on delivering analytics to support its MSP offering and has recently deployed its offering across RPO and is now focused on enriching the data. New clients will have the toolset implemented within 3 to 6 months. All clients get the analytics portal included with the program and can do their own analysis or, if they prefer, can pay extra for help with analysis.

In Summary

In NelsonHall’s latest RPO Market Analysis published last week, we report that the key client drivers for RPO adoption include the ability to improve performance and meet business demands, and clients are looking for providers with broader talent management consulting capability and talent analytics for improved decision making. In this regard, KellyOCG is addressing the right client issues.

Future market needs will include more upfront strategic talent consulting and longer term workforce planning. Service offerings are expected to develop in the areas of consulting services, analytics, and assimilating labor market data, to support better planning and sourcing choices. Increasingly, RPO contracts will be bundled with consulting services as RPO clients expect higher quality and more value.

NelsonHall has just published a comprehensive global RPO Market Analysis report, plus associated RPO vendor profiles, including KellyOCG. For more details, contact Guy Saunders.

Source: NelsonHall 

About NelsonHall

NelsonHall is the leading BPS and IT services research firm with analysts in the U.S., U.K., and Continental Europe. The company takes a global approach to analysis of vendors and outsourcing markets and is widely respected for the quality and depth of its research. With its "Speed-to-Source" initiative, NelsonHall is helping buy-side organizations significantly reduce the time and cost associated with BPS and ITS sourcing projects.

About Gary Bragar

Gary Bragar is the HR Outsourcing Research Director at NelsonHall. In this role, Gary assists both buy-side and vendor organizations in assessing opportunities and supplier capability across HRO, including in Recruitment, Learning, Payroll, Benefits, Mid-market HRO, and Multi-process HRO.


Publish Date: May 27, 2016 5:00 AM

Five tips for eliminating traditional performance ratings

One of the topics of discussion at the 2016 LEAP Tech Talent event was the growing trend of eliminating traditional performance reviews and ratings. Over the past years, companies like Adobe and Microsoft have been in the news for doing away with traditional performance reviews. The main reason is that many employers believe they’ve become to a large extent counterproductive. Most employees dread performance reviews and view them more as a demotivating rap on the knuckles than constructive criticism. Many managers, on the other hand, get stuck with reams and reams of reports to write—on top of their already full plates—and the unnerving task of delivering feedback that’s oftentimes more negative than employees believe they deserve. It should be clear that this kind of system doesn’t foster engagement, let alone increased performance.

However, if you’re considering shelving traditional performance reviews, it’s crucial to keep the following tips in mind so you’re pleased with what you use to replace them:

  1. You need a clear, transparent replacement process that’s focused on positive development. Employees—especially Millennials—need and deserve feedback on how they’re doing. It’s a critical aspect of advancing their careers. However, they want a transparent process that allows them to know ahead of time what’s expected of them and how they will be assessed. The process should be focused on positive growth, not negative corrections.
  2. Involve all stakeholders. According to Angela Szymusiak, Senior OD Consultant at Adobe, in the LEAP report “Tech Talent Outlook 2016,” your HR people should work closely with all stakeholders to develop a framework that can be tailored to the various departments’ and managers’ needs.
  3. Set realistic expectations, both for managers and employees. Managers should be responsible for setting relevant, attainable performance expectations that they can communicate properly, measure consistently, and provide accurate, timely feedback on. Instead of assessing all employees on the same attributes, it’s key for managers to establish which three to five skills and accomplishments are most relevant to each role. It can be useful to involve employees in this step, since they usually have more in-depth knowledge of their duties than their supervisors.
  4. Foster a culture of collaboration. Employees don’t function in a vacuum, and neither do managers. And especially with workers nowadays looking for collaborative work environments and opportunities to advance, it can be highly effective to establish a company culture where employees work and learn together—by means of mentoring, training, and even job shadowing—to sharpen their skills and increase their performance.
  5. Use feedback to empower employees and enhance engagement. Giving employees an active voice and role in the feedback process empowers them, since they know they can influence their work environment and their professional development. As a result, they’ll likely become more engaged with the company.

Eliminating traditional performance reviews can be an opportunity to enhance employee engagement and increase productivity. Just make sure to keep the tips above in mind so your replacement process doesn’t frustrate your people, but instead, motivates and inspires them.


LEAP report “Tech Talent Outlook 2016”


Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM

Three things mature workers should consider before becoming an insurance consultant

As most professionals in the insurance industry are well aware, our sector’s workforce is rapidly maturing. A much-cited 2015 report by McKinsey and Co. stated that by 2018, 25 percent of insurance professionals in the U.S. will reach retirement age. As a result of this and similar predictions, forward-thinking employers have been preparing for an exodus and potential brain drain by looking for ways to keep knowledge in-house. Strategies include mentoring programs, in which mature workers gradually transfer their knowledge to younger employees; establishing work-life design options such as flexwork, reduced hours, and telecommuting; and bringing retirees and alumni back into the company in the form of consultants.

That last point is what I want to start a conversation about. Here’s why: The notion of “becoming a consultant” is spoken about so often that we hardly even stop to think about what it entails. But the reality is that even for the most capable knowledge worker, leaving the ranks of the fulltime employed and striking out on your own isn’t a step to take lightly. There are three main points to consider carefully before making this change.

  1. What expertise can you offer? We’ve established that mature employees possess a lot of knowledge about the insurance industry in general and their companies in particular. However, it’s critical to understand that the insurance industry is changing—in large part due to the increased integration of new technology. For the mature worker, this means you have to be 100 percent sure that your knowledge will continue to apply and be relevant. In addition, you need to be able to work with the ever-evolving tools insurers use to reach their—largely mobile—customer base, as well as cloud-based collaboration systems used for in-house communications.
  2. How will you get work? It’s one thing to assume your former employer will hire you as a consultant when necessary. It’s another thing to actually have an ongoing business relationship that provides you with the billable hours you need. You need to make sure you’ll be able to find sufficient work—and if your former employer comes up short, who else might need you? Will you be allowed to work for a competitor or are you bound by a non-compete clause? How will you navigate these potentially challenging waters? And what will you do during a dry spell?
  3. Will you enjoy the free agent work and lifestyle? This is perhaps the most important point of all. So many people automatically accept that if you’re a free agent, life is good. And it can be—if you’re someone who enjoys independence and hard work. Take a moment to think about everything you’ll have to do: maintain a steady stream of interesting and well-paying work; do your own accounting and taxes; and manage your own benefits. Plus, you also need to make sure your equipment is in good working order; you can motivate yourself to work whenever and wherever the job demands; and you have the energy to always go the extra mile, because free agency is a competitive business.

If you’re a mature worker looking for a better work-life balance but still remain professionally active, take some time to consider these points carefully. Because even if you’re getting out of the full-time race, unless you’ve established what your service will be, who will need it, and whether you’ll enjoy being independent, you’re likely not going to feel as if you’ve traded up.


Publish Date: May 10, 2016 5:00 AM

Using talent analytics to get your products to market faster

Though the consumer electronics market has largely rebounded from the global economic crisis, it doesn’t mean electronics companies don’t face considerable challenges.

Product lifecycles are shorter than ever, due to the rapid rate at which new technologies are developed and adopted. Especially with consumer electronics that are connected to the IoT and fully integrated with people’s lives, products are continuously undergoing upgrades and improvements. At the same time, demand is in large part dictated by consumer sentiment—and that can be a fickle thing. Consider Xiaomi’s Mi Band, which surprised experts by rapidly gaining in popularity mainly due to its long battery life and low price. In contrast, the highly publicized Google Glass, costing around $1,500, is no longer in production—in fact, Glass is no longer a division of Google.

What all of this means is that consumer electronics companies need to get their products to market as fast as possible. Those who fail to stay ahead of the competition, or even keep up with it, will inevitably fall behind and incur losses.

In order to remain competitive, solid talent supply chain management is key. First, you need an agile workforce with the capacity to quickly ramp up or scale down in response to fluctuations in demand. Second, you need to be able to rely on your core team; the talent you depend on to design new products and upgrades, manufacture them, and bring them to market. Plus, in some cases, if your team doesn’t possess the necessary skills, additional talent will need to be identified and onboarded as independent contractors or as fulltime recruits.

However, acquiring the right talent and maintaining a solid talent supply chain can be a significant challenge, especially when talent management isn’t your core business. That’s where an experienced workforce solutions company like KellyOCG® can help.

When it comes to top Engineering and IT talent, acquisition and retention can be difficult. One of the main things to consider is that the skills shortage means workers are in the position to negotiate high salaries and a variety of perks, including flex work, training opportunities, extended leave, etc. Thanks to our ongoing research into what talent wants, we can advise you on creating the employment offers and work environments top talent are looking for.

In addition, our Talent Analytics Portal offers an accurate, data-driven look at all aspects of your talent supply chain and shines a light on the areas that can be improved in order to optimize your program. It can give you insights into which talent suppliers perform best in regard to quality of talent, time to fill, and risk and compliance. It can clarify how much time and money you’re spending on attracting the various labor categories, as well as what measures you can take to reduce excess expenditure.

Reducing time to market is key to your company’s success. By partnering with an experienced workforce solutions company like KellyOCG, you can attract the talent you want and maximize the power and efficiency of your talent supply chain—and as a result, get your products to market as quickly as your talent strategy will allow.


Publish Date: May 9, 2016 5:00 AM

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