Why You Should Include Text Recruitment in Your Outreach Strategy
By Rebecca Ferlotti
Cell phones are ubiquitous, so it’s no wonder HR departments are expanding their tactics to include text recruitment. A quick text to job candidates allows for increased productivity rather than typing out lengthy emails. Plus, texting prompts immediate responses: over 90% of people read texts within three minutes of receiving them.
With companies already seeing higher response rates for text recruitment as compared to phone calls and emails, recruiters have the ability – through texting – to make candidates feel more comfortable from the initial touch-point.
Texting is how many people prefer to communicate.
Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce back in 2016. Although Gen Y uses all forms of communication, texts signal immediacy, whereas phone calls can make people anxious (candidates need to respond in an eloquent way instantaneously), and emails are perceived as a less urgent form of communication.
Gen Z shares Millennials’ desire for quick messages versus longer emails. And as these generations continue to grow in the workplace, it’s important for HR departments to incorporate strategies like text recruitment to keep potential team members interested and engaged.
By texting candidates, you can increase productivity.
You can send a text from anywhere and at any time. Text messages are succinct, whereas emails require more thought and effort to customize. The entire recruitment process is shortened by one efficiency.
Time is of the essence when you reach out to your ideal candidate(s). You want them to accept interviews and job offers; sending a text message they will see and respond to immediately gives you an advantage over the competition.
The amount of time you save from texting rather than phone calls or emails can free up your time to schedule performance reviews, organize the office, or even plan parties. Since your messages need to be concise to catch people’s attention – about 160 characters if you can – there isn’t enough space to ramble. You can save those discussions for interviews and orientations.
When you’re writing text messages to recruit potential employees, remember to:
- – Ask permission to text them when they apply for jobs at your company.
- – Introduce yourself so they know the text isn’t from a stranger.
- – Tell them the name of your company and the name of the position.
- – Explain any mutual connections.
- – Add a personal touch so it doesn’t look copied and pasted.
- – Tell them the next step should they want to pursue a career opportunity.
Text recruitment is effective across industries, but is especially helpful for blue collar jobs. Incorporating texting into your recruitment strategy allows people to receive and send initial information no matter where they are, whether or not they have access to a computer. When used in conjunction with in-person interviews and follow-up emails, texting may be the way your job candidates feel most comfortable communicating with you…and it might make all the difference when they are considering your job offer.
By Lisala Peery
Here is a scenario: You must find the best-fitting talent for an open position. You receive a referral from an industry colleague for a candidate who is a rising star in the field. After some vetting, and a great interview process, you fill the position and onboarding begins. Since you are extremely busy, you oversee training and trust they will be on their way and helping the company prosper.
After a few weeks, it is clear the new hire’s performance is a little less stellar than expected. You find yourself repeating instructions and explanations. While their work is okay, they do not seem to be catching on to the culture as quickly as you expected, and it is causing you to take more time out of your week to address than you planned. Would a talent assessment have helped?
What Is An Effective Talent Assessment?
An effective talent assessment should start by stating the company goals and values. Do you know what the company needs? Do you know what the role requires? Being upfront and transparent can help your candidates have a positive interviewing experience and offer insight into how to adapt to your management style and company culture. Keep your objectives top-of-mind during the assessment and improve the process for evaluating current personnel and assessing new hires and ensuring they align with the short and long-term goals that matter most to your company. Then, create a well-written job description and posting to attract candidates who are already a great fit.
Another powerful assessment tool is a phone interview, according to Mike Smith, VP of Sales & Marketing for Sirius Instrumentation and Controls. With the right questions, the phone interview process can determine if a candidate is worth the expense of assessing. “We use two to three interviews per candidate before deciding to do an assessment,” Smith said. Referrals offer insights into how someone has performed, indicating how they would most likely perform going forward. Smith also advises to not discount your gut instinct about a candidate, saying he weighs his gut instinct as one-fifth of the evaluation. Another benefit of using assessments over time is that your gut instinct becomes more accurate.
Why Use Talent Assessment?
A bad hire can cost up to 30 percent of their annual salary, according to the Department of Labor. Assessments and pre-employment testing save time and money in the long run by screening those who may fit the company’s needs and culture. Employers use assessments to help identify which candidates will fit well into the company and whether the company can help the candidate reach their career goals.
Assessments can help spot coachability, common sense, knowledge, experience, and even personality assessments and work style. These assessment tests are based on hiring and retention case studies that analyze employee data. Evaluations are typically highly advanced screenings, ranging from in-person interviews to computer-based or online assessment, and even virtual reality simulators and gamified assessments.
There are three common talent assessment tests:
- Behavioral Assessments – this gives employers a better understanding of a potential employee’s behavioral patterns, drive, as well as their needs.
- Cognitive & Aptitude Assessment – this type of test helps gauge a person’s ability to think quickly, solve problems and other skill assessments to perform specific jobs accurately.
- Integrity & Personality Assessments – this helps gage a person’s reliability, dependability, honesty, trustworthiness, and behavior.
Each assessment has its own pros depending on your end goal. By performing talent assessments, this takes the guesswork out for recruiters and talent management when reviewing candidates, teams and potential employees. Talent assessments give employers confidence in selecting certain candidates to fill specific roles within their company by determining their strengths and weaknesses.
How Does a Talent Assessment Work?
When an employee applies for a job within a company that uses online talent assessment tools, the pre-employment process is handled on the internet until it is time for the hiring decisions. All job postings are listed online, a potential candidate will apply online, and take the talent assessment.
When a candidate applies for a job, they will be given instructions on how to take the assessment tests whether it be online, by email or on the company’s website. Often, talent assessment tests are provided by a third-party company.
There are often situations when an employer will ask another employee to roleplay different scenarios with the candidate to ensure they have qualification skills such as verbal communication, problem-solving, sales, leadership, and counseling. Depending on the position in which the individual applied for, they may also be asked to perform certain tasks to test their ability on speed, proofreading, editing, writing and accuracy skills.
Implementing Assessments through a Talent Management System
Once the hire is on board, ongoing assessments can be made through a Talent Management System (TMS). Ensure the entire workforce understands the company goals and objectives and their role in making sure the objectives are met. A good TMS is designed to use hard data and metrics to assess workforce quality. This tool is useful for setting realistic recruiting and training objectives and incentives. A good TMS also ensures that top talent is cultivated and rises within the company, while those who underperform are disciplined (while making sure they understand the goals they should be meeting). Department managers can access the TMS to keep track of employee progress, making it easy to quantify the basis for promotions and raises. Skill gaps and completed training are measured, and real-time reports are easily accessible. Keep your workforce engaged and thriving by:
- Providing objective feedback often, showing that the company is vested in its success.
- Removing vagueness from the role description to set clear objectives and give talent room to grow with the company.
- Rotating top talent throughout the company. As they learn and work in each department, they gain a better sense of how what they are working on effects the rest of the company, allowing them to make better decisions. They will also make better C-Level talent because they have this global perspective.
- Examining offerings in terms of rewards, recognition, time off, and compensation medical and retirement benefits. Is what you’re offering competitive enough?
- Paying attention to attitude or workflow shifts and squash any conflicts as quickly as possible.
- Keeping communication open and current, so nobody feels like the rug was suddenly pulled out from underneath them when company initiatives shift.
- Remain competitive in the marketplace. Stay on top of – or ahead of – customer needs and in line with shifts in your industry.
The last three items are crucial for morale and encouraging continued high-performance. High performers tend to connect with other high performers. When your employees discuss your company, they can become unofficial ambassadors. By sharing their positive experiences, they can attract even more desirable talent to the company. Now, let’s say your company seems to be doing these things but is still struggling with finding or cultivating the desired success factors. What then? Dan Spaulding, Chief People Officer of Zillow, would say it is probably time to look outside your organization for assistance. One place to look is to a staffing agency, who can help you find the right talent for each of your open reqs.
Once you have created your objectives and strategy, communicate your goals to your teams, assess and evaluate your data, you have set your workforce up for success. It is time to implement everything you have learned and experience growth.
Ultimately, assessments improve performance and reduce costs and quickly identify great candidates. So if your company finds itself with too many negative opinions, or if you want to attract and cultivate specific values among the workforce, talent assessments can help you build and retain the teams that keep your company competitive and successful.
No time for talent assessments during the hiring process? Let Nelson help. We can assess candidates before their resume ever lands on your desk. Learn more or get in touch today.
By Catherine Tansey
Millennials are changing the world of work. They’re bringing technological fluency and a preference for collaboration to the workplace, as well as high expectations for the employer-employee relationship. If your organization is struggling with hiring millennials or plagued by perpetual millennial job-hopping, it’s time to reconsider your recruitment and engagement strategies.
Strengthen Your Employer Brand
Employer brand is not just what you say, but also how you say it—and it’s key to attracting top talent. Employer brand is the look, feel, and experience candidates have with a company and Millennials want a seamless—and consistent—fit with their employer. Part of the reason for Millennial job-hopping is the reality of working for a company doesn’t align with the expectation. Minimize these issues by taking a holistic approach to building a strong and consistent employer brand: ensure your social media presence aligns with the company’s mission and values, highlight your company culture and employee benefits, and tailor the recruitment process to reflect the individual.
Provide Growth and Development Opportunities
Salary and benefits are part of an enticing employment offer, but they aren’t all that matters. Millennials are hungry for professional opportunities and career development, and they favor employers who provide a clear path forward with consistent support from the organization. Foster a culture that reinforces an active open dialogue between managers and millennial employees, where both parties regularly discuss career aspirations and potential opportunities. Ongoing conversations allow managers to more clearly understand what kind of development is most attractive to their employees, be it immersive hard skills training or lessons on business leadership. Hiring millennials gets a lot easier when development is a core piece of the offering.
401K match and comprehensive health packages are attractive benefits, but they’re not the only ones millennial job hunters are most interested in. These future-centric benefits Baby Boomers were focused on aren’t powerful distinguishers for Millennials; rather, they should be standard and expected components of any reasonable employment offer. Hiring Millennials requires offering and highlighting benefits that affect them here and now, like wellness packages, student loan repayment, and child care reimbursement.
Talent acquisition etiquette has changed. Look no further for proof than the rise in text messaging as a communication tool for HR departments or the use of AI-powered chatbots to guide candidates through the application process. Top talent teams are also using social media channels to bolster company brand, interact with prospective clients, and build a robust talent pipeline—and not just LinkedIn. Twitter can be a goldmine for sourcing creatives like freelance writers, while Instagram is a prime platform for showcasing company brand and culture.
Make Work Meaningful—Onsite and Off
When you’re trying to understand millennials in the workforce, a few things become clear. They want development and crave flexibility, sure, but above all else, they want to find meaning in their work. While the definition of meaning varies from individual to individual, Millennials generally agree that meaningful work impacts others and has a positive effect on the community. Hiring more Millennials means a commitment to making work meaningful—onsite and off. In the office, encourage a professional environment where the value of everyone’s work is recognized. Externally, organize events where employees can volunteer their time, services, or resources to give back to their community in meaningful ways.
Nelson does this through our corporate philanthropy program: beCAUSE. Through the beCAUSE program, employees are given eight hours of volunteer time per quarter, in addition to donation matching, company-sponsored volunteer events, and corporate grants to nonprofits.
To recruit and retain Millennials, recognize what motivates candidates and employees and meet these expectations as though they were internal clients. Stay in the know on all things Millennial- and workplace-related by visiting Nelson’s events page for helpful webinars and more information.
As the end of the year approaches and the nights get darker and colder, it’s easy to get spooked by things that go bump in the night…but what about the frights that occur in the harsh fluorescent light of day?
Managing employees shouldn’t have to be a frightening affair. Just in time for Halloween, here’s how to face the scariest situations in the office.
With some of the lowest unemployment in years, the job market is now very much in the employee’s favor: while employers are hard-pressed to fill roles, both active and passive job seekers have their pick of the best positions.
The availability of jobs means that job seekers may not feel it necessary to even let you know that they can’t make an interview if another, better-fitting role has come along. While the term “ghosting” originally described dating behaviors, where one person stops returning messages or never shows for a date, the business world has seen a mirroring of that behavior in employer-employee relationships.
An informal poll from 2018 suggests that anywhere from 20–50 percent of applicants and employees have displayed some kind of ghosting behavior (whether that means ghosting the interview, ghosting on the first day of work, or ghosting after on-boarding).
While you can’t force an employee to show up for an interview or for work, you can take some preemptive actions to ensure they will at least give you a chance:
– Communicate, communicate, communicate! Candidates are used to the “black box” style of recruiting, where they submit a resume to an ATS and then never hear back. Show candidates that you care by getting in touch, communicating your expected timeline for interviewing and decision-making, and checking in to make sure that the candidate is still interested.
– Stand out. With a wealth of jobs available, candidates may continue to look for a better opportunity, even as they’re accepting yours. Demonstrate to candidates how your company and the role is different from others. For example, even if you can’t compete on pay, are there aspects of your company culture, perks, benefits, or advancement opportunities that you can use as selling points? Make sure candidates can differentiate between your offering and those of others
- – Be prepared. If candidates don’t show up for their interviews or new hires don’t show up for their first days of work, will you be caught off guard, or will you have a contingency plan? While you should start with an assumption of good intentions, it’s a good idea to know what your next move will be in case things don’t go as planned. Discuss contingency plans with your team in case you need to keep your job req open for another day.
- – Work with a staffing firm. Working with a staffing firm like Nelson can save you from many of these recruiting and hiring pitfalls. Nelson recruits reliable, quality candidates and works with both you and them to ensure that the first day is just the beginning of a great working relationship.
- From text messages to social media, there are a lot of screen-based distractions in the office — and sometimes, those distractions eat away at productivity. While you don’t want to mandate screen-time rules in most office settings (your standards might be different in retail, light industrial, and other industries), you do need to know how to have productive conversations with employees about unproductive behaviors.
It’s first helpful to understand that, especially in creative/knowledge-based roles, taking breaks can actually be more productive. LIfehack.org suggests that taking 30-second to five-minute “microbreaks” can improve productivity and mental sharpness by up to 30%. Therefore, you don’t want to assume that all time spent away from the task at hand is inherently nonproductive.
However, if your employees are missing deadlines, it can be helpful to have a conversation about the way in which screen time might impact their ability to work. If you don’t have a workplace screen-time policy, then the best approach is to have a conversation with an employee if you notice things starting to slip. The longer you wait to have the conversation, the bigger the issue might become.
Before an employee’s behavior escalates into a true problem, invite the employee for an informal meeting to discuss their deadlines and goals. Get curious:
- – What do they feel might be impacting their ability to get work done on time?
- – How can you better engage them in their work during office hours?
- – What support do they need to continue showing up at the top of their game?
- Once you’ve established reasons why the employee is disengaging and proactively and collaboratively discussed ways to re-engage the employee with their work, work together on milestones and measurements so employees know what expectations you have of them. At that point, if they stay stuck in their phones and tablets and continue to disregard deadlines, you can have a disciplinary conversation and discuss next steps.
While they may not come out at all hours, employees with a dark and negative outlook do exist — and when they show up, that negative energy can be draining to both you and the rest of your team.
Energy vampires are employees who are ready to shoot down every new idea — because it’s too hard; because it will never get done; because it’s “always been done like this.”
Energy vampires suck the lifeblood — and productivity — from your team by making it impossible for anyone to feel good about the work they’re doing. Sometimes, they’ll even actively make sure that their negative predictions come true by blocking positive action.
You can redirect this kind of behavior in a few different ways:
- – Get curious. Sometimes there’s a reason for negative energy — and your direct reports want you to figure out why. Instead of guessing, ask the employee why they feel things can’t be accomplished or what resources they need to do things differently. It could be they are frustrated and unsure of how to ask for what they need to be successful; by asking questions and getting curious, you may find out that there are different ways to run the team or missing resources that can be acquired to diffuse the situation.
– Offer leadership opportunities. One way to break your direct report out of a negative rut is to offer responsibility. By giving your employee the opportunity to take the lead on a project, they may develop a new perspective. Leadership offers them a chance to own the project, figure out how to do things differently, and see that projects take teamwork to accomplish — and it’s possible that, by giving them the chance to lead a team to success, they may be more excited about working with the team on projects in the future.
– Have Direct Conversations. If things aren’t getting better, then it’s probably time to have a direct conversation with your energy vampire. Poor attitudes can be a reflection of poor performance — and, if that’s the case, you might need to take steps to correct that behavior before it becomes a bigger issue. Consult your organization’s HR department for policies on beginning and documenting a formal process for handling this situation.
Make your office Halloween a treat by facing your fears and slaying the workplace scaries!
By Rebecca Ferlotti
Maybe you’ve recently been laid off, quit your job, or your career has stagnated – you’ve become too comfortable at your company, and your responsibilities no longer seem challenging. Even though employee engagement is at its highest since 2000, only 34% of employees are engaged. This figure has steadily risen over the past five years, but still remains low, which is why career guidance at any stage is useful in getting your career path back on track.
Take a career assessment.
Career assessments, or aptitude tests, will aid you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. The results might spark ideas for a new career entirely, cause you to think about the different types of roles you could do within your current company, or even prompt you to start your own business. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®, CliftonStrengths by Gallup, and 16Personalities are a few low- or no-cost tests you can take to get you started.
Consider your goals.
Dive deep into what is going on with your career. More than understanding what you want to do, verbalize (and be honest with yourself) the values you want the company you work for to possess, as well as picture the work environment, promotional opportunities, and even what your office space might look like. Write down your professional goals and, when given the chance in job interviews, question your interviewer to make sure the company meets your non-negotiables.
Look back at your experiences.
Think about the past jobs you’ve had and what aspects of those jobs you enjoyed. Compile a list of those responsibilities, and do your research to see if there are positions that exist that match your talents. You may find an entirely new career path to pursue. Or maybe you can find a job that almost fits those requirements, which can be adapted once you’re in the position.
Find the right career coach.
An effective career coach, first and foremost, should be certified and experienced. It’s okay to meet with multiple coaches to find the right fit; after all, you need to feel comfortable sharing personal information with them, much like you would with a mentor or therapist. Get in touch with your alma mater’s career office for recommendations, talk with your friends, or reach out to local professional organizations to see if they have referrals.
When you meet with potential career coaches, have an honest conversation about your professional needs. Ask them for references or testimonials. Don’t be afraid to check their credentials with the National Career Development Association. This is an investment in yourself, and you should do your due diligence to find the right coach for you.
You can also work with an experienced recruiter like the ones at Nelson to help you beter position yourself for the right jobs that match your skill set and your career goals. Nelson’s approach to recruiting is holistic: our recruiters seek to understand your skills, matching you with careers that would fit well with your desired job qualities and past experience. Our recruiters are here to support you every step of the way: through the interviews, the onboarding process, and post-hire.
Get out into your city.
Attend networking events to meet a wide variety of people with different jobs. When you speak with someone who has a career similar to what you might want to do, try to find time outside of the event to meet with them or ask them if they would be willing to talk with you on the phone for an informational interview. Remember: as you build your network, you also might be able to access your connections’ networks. If someone in your network knows a professional in your desired field, request an introduction.
Once you determine your career path, you can guide it back on track with a little introspection and outreach. Whether you keep your thoughts to yourself, find solace in sharing with others, or seek out a career coach to help you along the way, career check-ins are important to propel you forward at any stage in your profession.
Read our blog about career assessments here.
By Rebecca Ferlotti/The Nelson Team
Whether you are just entering the workforce or are a seasoned professional, career assessments are an important tool to determine what types of jobs to take and whether you’ll be a good fit for certain roles or even certain companies. Using these career tests can aid in your job search decision-making process, as well as proactively reassess your career trajectory.
What are career assessment tests?
Career assessment tests, also known as career aptitude tests, help determine your job interests and strengths (which can save you time and frustration when deciding on the best role for yourself). The effectiveness of these assessments depends on a person’s self-awareness; career tests can ask individuals to evaluate job situations, determine solutions to everyday problems, identify their personality traits, or any number of scenarios. The majority of the time, career assessments do not have right or wrong answers, as there are plenty of personality types that produce competent employees. Upon completion, career assessment reports can help you understand where to focus your efforts.
Aptitude tests do not provide job seekers with the name of the career they are meant to have; rather, the tests supplement the self-assessment process by identifying both your proficiencies and areas for development.
When can you use career assessments?
Career assessments can be used at any time in the job search – and they may even be used by employers during the interview process. Used in conjunction with interviews and performance reviews, career assessment tests will help HR departments understand their team members and potential team members on a deeper level. You can also take career assessments after you’ve been hired or at any point in your career to help you better understand how you fit within your current team and how to develop yourself in your current role or to prepare yourself for future roles.
Some common career assessment tests are:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®
- CliftonStrengths by Gallup
- Self-Directed Search
- The Big Five Personality Test
- MAPP Career Test
There are many other career assessment tools available, both free and paid, that will highlight personality traits you might not even realize your exhibit.
Career assessment strengths and weaknesses
Aptitude tests are commonly used and widely accepted; however, they sometimes face scientific scrutiny. To alleviate concerns, select a well-established career assessment tool backed by industry experts. Be clear with yourself about what you’re hoping to learn from taking this test – and either work with a career coach or recruiter to position yourself for roles that leverage the knowledge you’ve gained about your strengths and opportunities.
When you are able to pinpoint your interests, you can find professional environments wherein you will thrive. Through career assessments, you may discover that you are in the incorrect department or role for your skill set. Understanding your own personality can enhance your work performance and increase job satisfaction – you seek roles and tasks that suit your strengths and interests.
Career assessment tools can be useful for candidates seeking to gain a better understanding of their needs and desires of a future job or company during the job search. These tests illuminate personality traits that can impact employee effectiveness over time. Although aptitude tests are a time – and sometimes monetary – investment, using a career assessment can improve your effectiveness both as an employee and as a job seeker.
By Catherine Tansey
When it comes to emerging technology, none seem as poised for disruption in Human Resources as artificial intelligence, or AI. AI, the field of computer science that aims to replicate human behavior and includes machine learning and deep learning, is helping the most human-driven function embrace bleeding-edge technology in a big way. Tech-savvy CHROs and leading organizations are implementing AI-driven software to enhance their recruitment and onboarding processes, streamline operations, and improve the employee experience.
AI is helping improve HR analytics by helping teams extract meaningful insight and make recommendations in real time. Let’s take a look:
Recruiters have long harnessed HR technology to improve the pace of recruitment and the quality of candidates generated. Today, artificial intelligence is shaping a new landscape where workflows are automated and labor-intensive tasks, like scanning resumes and screening candidates, are reduced. In the years to come, AI is expected to produce the best candidates possible with human-like algorithms that can not only evaluate a candidate’s resume, but also assess general online presence, which can speak to hard to measure traits like drive, integrity, and ambition.
AI is also improving online applications. Recruiter databases already use data points like keywords and word flows to organize and prioritize the applications they receive online. As AI becomes more readily incorporated into the HR function, these tools are expected to grow better, faster, and more accurate, and be used not only for applicant processing but also for talent scouting as well.
Streamlined Onboarding Process
Onboarding is dreaded by most but needed by all. And as it turns out, many organizations have onboarding programs in need of a revamp — or no onboarding program at all. This can be hugely detrimental to an organization, as the correlation between a robust onboarding experience and retention is clear: with a “great” onboarding experience, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer for three years.
Organizations are coming to recognize that onboarding is not a singular event, but rather an ongoing experience. And they’re using AI-powered chat bots to help new employees have the best experience possible from day one. With chatbots, new hires can quickly get straightforward answers about things like employee benefits or how to submit IT tickets, freeing up the HR team’s time to deal with more complex issues or strategic planning.
(You can also read about how to improve your onboarding our recent whitepaper.)
Better Indicators of the Employee Experience
Did you know that engaged employees are more profitable? They’re also happier, more productive, and less likely to leave their organizations. And while engaged workforce are no longer a nice-to-have but a business imperative, the annual surveys used to measure this fickle and vital ingredient to a healthy workforce are inefficient, inaccurate, and dated.
HR analytics tools to measure culture, engagement, and experience are helping HR leaders understand how the workforce feels about the senior leadership’s performance and how well the company is delivering on the values espoused. With HR analytics, companies can ensure the right questions are being asked of the right people at the right time by using psychometrics and behavioral analysis.
Improved Predictions & Data-Driven Culture
The HR department is historically one driven by qualitative analysis. Afterall, prior to the digitalization of the workforce and the rise of big data, recruiters and HR professionals routinely made decisions based on gut feelings. Now, HR is not only expected to be as data-driven as any other mission-critical corporate function, but is also actually the analytics leader in some of the most forward-facing organizations. In fact, thirty-one percent of respondents to a recent Oracle survey noted they were already using machine learning and predictive analysis to identify flight risks, forecast high-performing recruits, and select the best candidates with resume scanning.
Clearer Answers to Questions about Employee Benefits
AI is demystifying convoluted employee benefits programs by giving employees human-like answers to real questions, fast with chatbots. Most companies offer three separate plans for health, dental, and vision insurance, and have policies for FSA, PTO, and wellness programs.
Finding simple answers to questions about these benefits can be costly to companies and frustrating for employees. Chatbots are changing this. AI-powered chatbots are helping HR teams answer questions about employee benefits—often complex policies or procedures, in easy to understand language about practical applications. Companies spend on average 30% of an employee’s salary on benefits, a number that’s only expected to increase with the rise of high-deductible plans as baby boomers age. Using chatbots to help employees quickly find simple answers to questions is an easy way to ensure benefits packages are being fully utilized.
Staying ahead of emerging technology today is no easy feat, but one thing is clear for HR leaders: it pays to discuss incorporating AI into your function today. From improving new hire onboarding to more accurately measuring the employee’s experience, as well as providing quick and easy answers to questions about benefits, AI is shaping the HR of the future.
For more information on events and webinars covering the future of work, visit Nelson Job’s events page today.
By Laura Bednar
The phone interview holds more weight in the process of landing a job than most potential employees think. The phone interview seems to have taken the place of the first in-person interview, at least as an introductory way to learn more about an applicant.
Aside from seeing if your skills on your resume really match the person on the other end of the line, a company uses a phone interview to narrow down a large list of candidates. This interaction can be your virtual foot in the door to earning a real face-to-face second interview.
51% of recruiters state that they will hold at least three interviews before companies make a job offer, meaning that speaking to someone on the phone is only the first step of the application process. To make it to the next phase, preparation for your phone interview is key.
Creating an Ideal Speaking Environment
When you are trying to listen and absorb what someone is saying on the phone, you will need a quiet area in which it is easy to focus on the conversation at hand. Be sure that there are no distractions in the background, such as other people or blaring televisions and electronics.
If possible, it is safer to use a landline because there is less of a chance that you will drop the call. If you are using a cell phone, ensure you are in an area that has strong service and have the device fully charged before you engage in the call. In some cases, it may be better for you to stand during the call to allow yourself to sound more confident and more enthusiastic than when sitting at a table or a desk. Find an area that is comfortable, but not so familiar that you lose a tone of professionalism.
Overcoming the Disadvantages of a Phone Interview
The major obstacle in partaking in a phone interview is that you cannot see the other person. Body language can generally give us an idea of how another person perceives us and what the comfort level is on both ends of the interview. Without any visuals you must rely solely on the interviewer’s tone to respond to their questions and comments appropriately.
Jack Kelly, a Senior Contributor for Forbes, says that “all the interviewer can rely upon is your voice, phone demeanor and delivery.”
The challenge comes in finding the right tone, between sounding natural and maintaining a sound of professionalism. The best way to meet in the middle is through audible practice. While you may have written down points you know you would like to include, reading them off a paper and speaking the syllables from memory have completely different sounds.
When you speak, do so clearly and slowly so that the interviewer does not have to ask you to repeat yourself. Keep in mind that you are speaking to a potential employer and not a friend about weekend plans, so your demeanor needs to change.
Above all, not having any visuals can lead you to lose focus on the conversation. This can result in an embarrassing situation where you must ask the interviewer to repeat themselves, which is one of the red flags they look for when conducting a phone interview. Thoroughly listen to what is being said and take notes to keep yourself engaged in the conversation.
Heard but Not Seen
A perk to interviewing through the phone is that you can have materials in front of you, such as a copy of your resume and research about the employer and the person with whom you are speaking. Some companies may schedule more than one phone interview with you and the calls may be with completely different people. Find out who you will be speaking with and try to find some background information on them from the company website.
Though you may not be speaking to the CEO, a recruiter who found you via LinkedIn can be your only connection to speaking with those who have higher positions. Do not assume that a new person you talk to has read your resume already or spoken with the person who interviewed you earlier. Address them by their title unless otherwise told and firm up the details of who will be calling whom and when.
There are several general rules that can help you to ace your phone interview and most of these tips can translate into all aspects of interviewing, but one rules holds true: dress the part. Even if the interviewer can’t see you, wearing a professional outfit will put you in the interviewing mindset and keep you from falling into the trap of taking the call less than seriously.
Key Follow-Ups After the Phone Interview
If you were taking quick notes during the call, chances are your writing may be a bit chaotic. Organize your thoughts and answers to the questions you asked as soon as you hang up while the conversation is still fresh in your mind.
Following the call, wait a day or two and send a thank-you email or card in the mail to the person with whom you spoke. Staying positive throughout the call and afterward shows your determination and interest in the position.
Need help finding a role and preparing for your first phone interview? Nelson has nearly 50 years of experience matching talented and positive job seekers with opportunities that fit their abilities. Learn more about how our staffing agency can help you at https://nelsonjobs.com.
By Catherine Tansey
The new digital culture and economy in which we live and operate has forced a shift in the leadership landscape. While leaders still need to hone traditional leadership competencies like expert communication, the ability to inspire, and a capacity to foster collaboration, the digital era also demands skills centered around adaptability and technology. Moreover, to successfully implement and oversee digital transformation initiatives in an organization, leaders must be able to manage teams, projects, and programs with digital fluency and an agile nature.
Hiring for a leadership position, or vying for one yourself? Consider these five digital leadership skills needed today.
It has been said that today every company is a technology company. Proponents of this idea aren’t arguing that every company makes a tech product, but rather the digitalization of life has created a tech component for many functions in a given company. Whether running the website of a local brick and mortar shop, or using cloud-based enterprise resource-planning software, leaders in the digital age need technical aptitude and competence.
The only constant is change itself. One of the top digital leadership skills to have is not a skill so much as an attitude, a mindset, and an ethos. Originating as an approach to organizing software development, the principles of agility have been adopted cross-functionally in enterprises to streamline productivity with frequent assessments to ensure the project and team are on track. With the accelerated pace of change that digitalization has enabled, leaders must be able to adjust pace and change course rapidly, all while leading a team.
Several factors have contributed to the rise of global teams, but none more so than the open communication and exchange of information enabled by the internet. As such, leaders are finding themselves managing teams across global, cultural, and linguistic lines—challenges that can quickly become insurmountable without an expert communicator to facilitate team interactions. To be a leader in the digital age, individuals need empathy-based communication skills to foster collaboration, ease cultural differences, and support team members.
As company hierarchies have grown flatter and more project-based, project management has become an increasingly necessary skill for leaders in the digital era. Whether overseeing digital transformation initiatives or managing projects to carry out the organization’s strategic agenda, project management is here to stay as a top digital leadership skill.
Leaders must be primed for transformation and change all the time. Enterprises are looking for people who leverage technology to upend traditional business models with creativity through disruptive thinking. It’s no surprise creativity is considered one of the most important traits for which to hire in 2020. Beyond the design-based roles we traditionally associate with creativity, the concept is more akin to imaginativeness, and in the context of critical thinking, extends to the ability to solve problems in a novel and insightful way—a must-have for any leader today.
Leaders need specific skills for the digital era to complement their existing approach to managing people, projects, and teams. With an emphasis on all things technical, leaders fare well in learning agile principles, having a baseline level of digital fluency, and understand the principles of effective project management. But staying in-the-know on the latest trends, research, and findings for leadership in the digital age can be challenging. Visit Nelson’s events and webinars page today for all the information you need to stay one step ahead of HR and business trends.
At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:
Meet Joanna Trinh, Recruiter
Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.
Downtown Streets is a great organization that pays bills and gives gift cards to those who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless. These people earn the stipends by cleaning up the streets around them: picking up trash and carrying out beautification projects for parks, as well as other areas. They support each other and have a weekly meal together.
The organization is located all throughout the Bay Area, including in Hayward, San Jose, and San Francisco.
Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?
Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, I volunteered with the Downtown Streets organization to throw a picnic to show appreciation to its members who help keep the cities clean. It was wonderful to interact with different members of the community – they were friendly and had interesting but heartbreaking stories about how they arrived in their current situations. There was a man who couldn’t find a job because he was thrown into prison while being out-of-state and carrying drugs that he was prescribed, and another normal woman made some bad decisions in life and had kids, but the kids wouldn’t help her with her homelessness. The homeless people were just normal people in unfortunate circumstances.
I really enjoyed this volunteer opportunity (which I found through www.volunteermatch.org): I helped the organization leaders prepare and transport the food to a lovely park (with foxes, coyotes, and birds on display!), set up the tables, enjoyed socializing with the attendees, and cleaned up afterwards.
What is your “beCAUSE”?
I volunteer to stay in touch with the reality around me. It can be easy to get caught up in this lucky, employed life and forget that others may not have the same opportunities or money available to them. For me, it’s important to be informed about the community that goes on around me (and the homeless people of this organization are the ones keeping the cities clean!), and ,in California, that community is diverse. I love to see how I can help them in return. Additionally, we tend to have stereotypes regarding the homeless and it’s easier to solve this problem by interacting directly with the homeless rather than keeping them away.
By Emma Nelson
As an accounting and finance professional, you know that an impressive candidate has experience and a strong education background. But you must also keep in mind the important soft skills needed to work and be successful in this field.
Soft skills are the skills that you don’t learn in technical schools and can only really be honed in practice. While a stellar resume will help you stand out when applying for accounting and finance jobs, to truly differentiate yourself, you must be able to clearly demonstrate your soft skills. What kinds of soft skills do accounting and finance professionals need? We’ve compiled a few of the top soft skills below:
Leadership is an important skill to have while working in this field. You must be able to step up and take control when needed. This includes initiating action and motivating fellow employees, as well as providing guidance to build confidence among your team members. You should have the confidence to suggest your ideas and feel certain that your opinions matter.
In addition to being able to lead, you must be able to work well with others. You should not only be able to implement your own ideas, but also be respectful of other employees’ ideas and keep everyone’s opinions in mind when making decisions. When employees can work collaboratively and as a team, it enhances the work environment and creates a creative and cooperative atmosphere.
Accounting and finance professionals need to be able to clearly explain information to other colleagues in their department. Numbers and charts can get confusing and complicated, and you must possess the skills needed to explain data to your coworkers clearly and concisely without leaving out important details.
Accounting and finance jobs also often require workers to be skilled in a wide range of technology. You must feel confident in using the software and other tools that are necessary for creating and analyzing data. You also should not only have the skills required to perform their job but also the ability to expand these skills and feel comfortable using new technology.
Lastly, it is important for accounting and finance professionals to be able to think critically when working in these fields. They must have analytical and problem-solving skills in order to analyze data and get through complications that come up during work. They should also be able to think strategically and focus on both short- and long-term issues.
Do you have what it takes to be an accounting and finance professional? Find a job with Nelson in your area today!!
One of the largest independent staffing firms in the U.S. also named 90th overall
Today, Nelson announces that it has been named to Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms. Nelson, which is based in Sonoma, California, has been ranked 15th for its presence in the Golden State, as well as 90th out of 250 firms overall in the United States.
As a family-owned firm, Nelson is especially honored by this recognition: for the past fifty years, Nelson has been a strong presence in the California’s employment market, connecting highly-qualified candidates across roles, levels, and industries with Nelson’s valued partner companies. Nelson recruits for roles in specialties like technology and engineering, accounting and finance, office and administrative, wine and beverage, and manufacturing; the company also provides general staffing and executive search services.
“Nelson is committed to offering high quality services to both our clients and our candidates,” said CEO Joe Madigan. “We are honored to be recognized for that commitment, and as we approach our 50th year in business, we look forward to continuing to make connecting talent with great jobs our priority.”
To evaluate and rank America’s best recruiting firms, Forbes partnered with Statista, a market research company. Through Statista, Forbes surveyed HR Managers (who were clients of recruiting firms), external recruiters (as a form of peer review), and candidates (who worked with recruiting firms to land a job). The rankings are based on these three groups’ ratings of quality – from communication and process to roles and/or candidates offered. To view the list, visit Forbes.com.
For nearly 50 years, Nelson has been more than a workforce solutions firm, connecting companies with the resources they need to efficiently build and manage their teams: we’ve been a neighbor and an invested member of your communities. Nelson’s deep knowledge of and involvement in California’s job markets allows us to serve companies and organizations of all sizes in nearly all industries by collaboratively identifying and constructing flexible, scalable programs in staffing, recruiting, and payrolling to help our partners adjust to shifting workforce needs and priorities. Our mission is to help employers seize on golden opportunities in the Golden State while putting California to work.
As a family-owned business and one of the largest independent staffing companies in the U.S., Nelson is committed to involvement and investment in the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE corporate philanthropy program and our partnerships with companies and candidates throughout the state, we’re not just matching talented, hardworking people with the companies who need them, we’re also building a better California. For more information, visit nelsonjobs.com.
By Catherine Tansey
Today’s HR department is very different from that of yesterday’s. Once simply referred to as “Personnel,” the Human Resources office has evolved from a “keeping-the-lights-on” function to the strategic business driver it is today. In the era of advanced analytics and powerful human capital management systems, it’s easy to overlook the importance of HR soft skills needed for success. But it’s soft skills, the ability to communicate clearly, think critically, and work collaboratively that help keep us ahead of machines. Additionally, improving soft skills also helps you develop meaningful relationships in the workplace and increase overall fulfillment in your job. For HR, these soft skills are not nice-to-haves, but business imperatives.
Teamwork and Collaboration
HR team members do a lot. Beyond the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes, HR members are tasked with making the workplace the best it can possibly be. With businesses becoming increasingly global, cross-functional, and collaborative, HR leaders are being called on to work with teams to improve their tactical execution of strategic initiatives. But to do so, HR professionals must be well versed in teamwork and collaboration themselves.
Because we communicate with others every day, most people tend to believe they are effective communicators. But communication and effective communication are very different things, and the majority could improve on the latter. As a people professional, communication should top the list of soft skills for HR to master. It will help you resolve problems, build lasting relationships, adeptly interview prospective clients, and boost your overall performance.
HR is responsible for keeping track of a wealth of information on employees, candidates, and the organization. HR professionals handle a lot of digital paperwork and need to remain highly organized to access it with ease. And as the business’ first point of contact with prospective candidates, organization helps HR professionals keep track of scheduling and candidate qualifications and create a positive first impression of the company.
Ability to Build Relationships
In the quest to source top talent and foster a healthy workplace, HR professionals must be able to make meaningful connections with prospective candidates and current employees alike. Maintaining relationships with both candidates and employees helps build trust in the organization’s leadership, enables HR to successfully launch strategic initiatives, aids the securing and retaining of top talent, and supports better cross-functional collaboration and communication.
Empathy is increasingly considered a trait in short supply in our modern world. But it’s empathy—the willingness to understand where another is coming from—that helps us communicate effectively, collaborate on complex projects, lead by example, and develop fulfilling professional relationships. HR professionals are people professionals, and their dynamic and human-centric roles demand individuals who can work cooperatively with others from very different backgrounds while helping others do the same. Any HR soft skills list would be incomplete without empathy.
Today there are five generations in the workforce. Task forces and teams come together and disband quickly. Organizational hierarchies are shifting. All of which is to say: there is a lot of change happening in the workplace. And as creatures of habit, change can be difficult, and almost always is at work. But as we all know, change is inevitable and “if you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” HR leaders are increasingly called on to help mediate the changes in the workplace, making change management a top human resource soft skill for any HR professional today.
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
With a wealth of information only a few keystrokes away, we’ve become accustomed to finding answers with ease. But searching for answers on Google and critically thinking through a problem are very different. Human Resources professionals are tasked with diverse responsibilities that range from people management to problem management and beyond. Those who can see holistically and think critically to solve a problem are bound to be some of the most in-demand HR workers out there.
As an HR professional, you know the depth and breadth of your skills. You’ve mastered not only the skill required for various HCM technologies, but also the soft skills necessary to deliver on the other dynamic aspects of your job. As an expert communicator, organized professional, and master collaborator equipped with critical thinking skills and the ability to oversee change management, you want a role that allows you to apply and maximize these hard-earned skills. But finding the right role at the right organization is easier than it sounds, and the search can be frustrating—but it doesn’t have to be. With nearly 50 years of matching the best candidates to the best jobs, Nelson can help. Contact us today to find out how we’ll work to help you find the best fit for your HR background today.
By Emma Nelson
Over the years, advances in technology and modes of communication have led to an increase in companies’ ability to hire remote employees. Working from home, a coffee shop, or a different branch of the company has become increasingly prevalent, as employees are able to communicate via new technology. This phenomenon has been incredibly useful to companies all over the world, because it is now easier to find skilled employees of various backgrounds that enhance the company’s diversity and skills, without limiting the search to the company’s immediate area.
However, it can be difficult to manage remote employees. Communication is essential when it comes to the workplace, and companies must have the skills necessary to manage employees who are working out of the office and potentially in different time zones. Here are some tips to avoid the challenges that may appear while working with remote employees.
Stay open to new technology
While technology is helped facilitate the growth of remote employment, it has also created new ways to manage these employees from the workplace. By using programs such as Skype, Zoom, and GoToMeeting, remote employees can video chat in groups, share their screens, and instant message other employees. There are endless programs to help employees to stay connected throughout the day, and staying open to all options will help better manage the company.
Organization is critical when managing employees in different work spaces. It is important to make sure that everyone is on task and aware of projects, meetings, etc. Use a communal calendar or project management tool that all employees can access, to clearly lay out the tasks, meetings, projects, and deadlines for the week, month, and year.
Communicate on a regular basis
It is important to make sure that you don’t go days or even hours without communicating with your remote employees. Although they are remote, they can still be kept in the loop. Make sure that you are staying in touch by checking in, sending out emails, and asking questions throughout the work day or week. This is key to ensuring that your employees are staying on task and are aware of important updates, tasks, and projects.
Be sure to establish guidelines in order to keep employees on track. Make sure that emails are answered on a regular basis, hours are logged regularly, and meeting invitations are sent and accepted according to schedule. By establishing a set of guidelines for employees to follow, information will be sent and received promptly to further increase productivity.
Consider weekly reports
A good way to offer feedback to employees about their remote productivity is to send a weekly report. Make things simple by referring to your calendar or project management tool to compile a list of what was completed, what remains outstanding, and what is coming up for the following week. Weekly reports make it easy to have conversations about productivity, because employees can directly refer to the report. They also help you spot challenges sooner – if you notice a trend of work going unfinished or deadlines being dropped, you can have productive conversations to discover what obstacles are standing in employees’ way and what resources or processes need to be implemented so that the work gets completed on time.
Make sure you are readily available
If you’re not going to be sharing the same workspace as your employees, it is important to make sure that you are still readily available to them. Avoid cancelling meetings or video chats, and stay active on email throughout the work day. This way, remote employees will still be in contact and know that they are part of and have access to the team, even if they are working remotely.
Still be sure to meet face-to-face
While there are many benefits to having remote employees, it is still important that you make time to meet with them face-to-face. Whenever possible, set aside days to make visits or meet at a convenient location for both parties. Even if employees are located in other states or countries, many employers will hold company meetings, sales summits, or even holidays parties to give employees a reason to and support for travel to the main office. In-person interaction will ensure that the remote employee feels like part of the team.
At our recent webinar on the new EEO requirements for California businesses, our audience had a lot of questions about the intricacies of the law. Our host Jennifer Shaw, of Shaw Law Group, graciously answered those questions, as well as took the time to answer the questions she did not have time to address during the call. We have provided a lightly-edited transcript along with the answers to the questions that were taken offline. Please note that this content is for educational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as professional legal advice.
Our workforce is 100% remote in CA. Are there in special considerations for us?
No considerations. You’re probably going to do a webinar. You would do a live webinar, where you would see the slides, you would be on the phone, and then on the screen if you have the ability to do some video conferencing, and then that would allow you to do that interactivity.
Got it. So we have employees who talked to employees in California who traveled to California for a day or two to interact with the California team, but not as supervisors who asked for information from employees in California. Do they all need to be trained as well?
Probably not, so long as they’re not meeting that definition of supervisor in California. But most of the time, these folks who travel from out of state to California, they’re usually relatively high level. And that doesn’t mean they’re in quote management. But, you’re generally not going to take the receptionist and say, “Okay, we’re going to send the receptionist to California to see what’s going on in California,” right? It’s usually something to do with workflow, project management, that sort of thing. So, that’s just something to think about.
Gotcha. Another specific one. We’re an event center and hire many seasonal employees who may only work for a two-week period for an event. In some cases, we hire people who may only work for one day or a specific assignment. Do we have to train those people as well?
Yes, you do. Yep. Now, keep something in mind because this is a little trick that the legislature didn’t think about. They have to be trained within six months of hire, okay? And then the temporary seasonal employees have to be trained within the first 30 days or before they’ve completed 100 hours of work. So, you know, for example, if you’re Pebble Beach and you’re hiring people to work the AT&T Pro-Am classic, right? You’re going to hire people to work 24 hours in a weekend, you’re not going to train them, because they’re not going to work 30 days, and they’re not going to do 100 hours. Here’s your problem: You use them for the Pro-Am in November and then the next April you use them for another tournament. Now you may have an issue. The others way that this gets complicated is using temporary employees through an agency. You may have the same temp come out six different times during the year that are tracked. I think it’s important to tell the agency to do the training.
Well, it should be, since they’re on their W2, wouldn’t it be their responsibility?
It shouldn’t be, but if they don’t do it, you’re on the hook: joint employer. So, you make sure I mean, we represent temp agencies to and we tell them, You know what that’s saying don’t rely on the employer to do it. You do it. And we tell the employer: have the temp agency do it. They’re the ones with the W2. They’re the ones dealing with the record keeping; they should be doing the training.
For supervisors, if I’m in HR, and I’m recommending this training to California employees, do I need to do the supervisor training? If they’re the HR professional, telling everyone else they have to do it?
Not necessarily, because sometimes the HR professional who’s doing that could be an HR generalist who is not at a level where they would be considered a supervisor. I will tell you, I think every HR person should go through the supervisor training, because if they’re going to be dealing with equal employment opportunity issues they need as much help as they can get.
And in the training, can the questions on the e-learning platform be pre-loaded? Like multiple choice questions?
Yes, they can be absolutely pre-loaded. All you have to make sure of is that there’s a chance for live Q&A or Q&A within 24 hours of the end of the session?
I had previously been told that is only employees, not supervisors who need to be trained in 2019, if supervisors were trained in 2018. Is this an interpretation difference or an incorrect statement of fact?
I hate to say that’s an incorrect statement of fact. Yeah, I’m sorry. A lot of people have misunderstood this, and they’re getting it wrong.
I’m training as an HR professional, if I’ve done investigations all across the board, including EEO compliance for four years, but not in California, does that count?
It does not.
Okay. So. they still need to get — ?
Yep. Let me let me clarify that for a second. I want to be very precise. They could be outside of California, they can be in Pennsylvania, so long as they’re investigating something in California, so long as they’ve done something under the Fair Employment and Housing Act for two years. It doesn’t mean they have to be physically located in California.
Can I use the videos from California Chamber of Commerce?
Yes, you can use the videos as a teaching tool. In fact, I helped them with those videos. But you still got to have all of the other content. And you’ve got to be able to have that Q&A.
And can we assume that the online training materials that the DFEH makes available this year meets the criteria of being individualized and interactive? Or should we still do a follow up Q&A session?
You’ve got to do the follow up Q&A, because the requirement is that they have the opportunity to ask questions. We also recommend that if there’s anything in the DFEH training materials that is inconsistent with what you’re doing in your organization that you fix that because the DFEH has a PowerPoint presentation that you can modify.
What if I have done investigations that don’t turn into DFEH complaints they are settled internally?
That experience likely still counts towards the trainer qualifications, but only if the investigations are EEO-related.
We have 75 employees in CA. We conducted an ALL employee harassment training in April 2018. Non-supervisor employees stayed for 1 hour, supervisors stayed for the 2nd hour. Do I still need to retrain everyone before January 1, 2020?
Unless SB 778 becomes law before December 31, 2019, yes. I know it’s crazy…
What if we hire temp-to-hire and they receive this training by their agency? Do we have to re-train once we convert the employee to full time?
Yes, because at that point they are your employees.
Don’t miss our next webinar. Find out about all of Nelson’s upcoming events here.
By Catherine Tansey
A career in the wine industry has long held romantic allure for many. Imagining elaborate lunches with fellow wine professionals or days spent at renowned châteaus, it’s easy to see why. But in reality, the wine industry and the roles that make it work are as varied and complex as the grapes used in the process. The hands-on type often prefers winery or oenology work, while those with a penchant for sales thrive in distributor or hospitality roles. Let’s take a look as some professions in the wine industry and how to land one today:
With a keen sense of smell and taste, a talent for critically solving problems, and deep reverence for wine, wine makers are the ones behind your favorite every-day brand and those special occasion bottles you’ve been reserving for years. Many winemakers head to university for a degree in viticulture, oenology, or wine science to grasp the complex theory behind turning grapes to wine. From there, aspiring winemakers do well to seek out internships or work harvests at various wineries around the globe. The key here is diversity. The world of wine is diverse and to avoid a one-dimensional approach to one’s own wine, it’s beneficial to gain as much varied experience as possible.
Wine Sales Jobs
Wine sales jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Sales reps, or wine sales representatives, are the people responsible for getting the wine from the winery or distributor to the restaurant, wine shop, and ultimately to the consumer. Wine reps often work either directly with wineries or with distributors where they’re tasked with moving large quantities of bottles. For a wine sales job, it’s important to have better-than-average wine knowledge (for example to know the difference between a California Chardonnay and one from the Mâconnais) but the imperative here is to know more than your client. Which brings us to our next point: sales chops. Those working in wine sales jobs are salespeople first and foremost, and they need to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. Brush up on your wine knowledge and people skills if you’re hoping to land a wine sales job.
Wine Taster Jobs
In reality, just about every job in the wine industry requires some ability to taste and talk about wine, but there are some roles where this is more prominent. For those blessed with an especially perceptive palate, a professional wine tasting job could be for you. Wine tasters work in a variety of settings to ensure quality control, educate others on the nuances of wine, or work as professional sommeliers. Individuals with the ability perceive flaws as well as describe characteristics of a wine—body, acidity, sweetness, tannin, and alcohol—are in-demand at multiple steps throughout a wine’s lifecycle. Needed on location to ensure the desired outcome is being produced, wine tasters work at wineries during the vinification process. They’re also often on staff to help educate and aid guests visiting the winery in uncovering the special subtleties of the wine produced on-site or in tasting rooms elsewhere.
Wine Writer Jobs
Earned your stripes for years in restaurants taking about and selling wine? Sat for the WSET or Court of Master Sommeliers tests and passed? Have a knack for written communication and want to share your love and knowledge of wine with others? A wine writer job may be for you. Wine writers do everything write copy to create marketing campaigns to publish journalistic deep dives in the wine world. With experience and years of dedication to the job, some become true thought leaders who taste and talk about wine publicly, ultimately influencing the production, distribution, and consumption of wine globally.
Wine Production Jobs
Want to get hands-on? While you probably won’t be living your Lucille-Ball-wine-making fantasy, you will gain valuable experience in production. Wine production jobs include everything from working on the bottling line and running forklifts to maintenance and shipping and receiving. Production and warehouse roles are essential for ensuring that wine is correctly and safely bottled, shipped, and delivered. If you’re organized, efficient, and excited about using your warehouse, back-of-house, shipping and receiving, or related skills to keep the wine industry moving, then these are the roles are for you.
Wine season starts in late summer, so now is the time begin your search. At Nelson, we’ve been placing top talent with across all roles and functions in the wine industry for nearly 50 years. For more information on how Nelson can help you find your next wine role, search our jobs today.
Today, Nelson announces that it has been ranked 36 out of 100 on the San Francisco Times’ 2019 Bay Area Corporate Philanthropists List, which was published in a San Francisco Business Times’ supplement on July 19, 2019.
Each year, the San Francisco Business Times recognizes for-profit companies and non-profit health care organizations that made cash giving contributions to charitable organizations in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Over $300 million was raised for charities in these counties by the top 100 corporate philanthropists on this list.
Although Nelson has been known for corporate giving for nearly 50 years, last year, Nelson codified that giving in their “beCAUSE” philanthropy program, a corporate philanthropy program that offers a variety of options for non-profit organizations interested in obtaining support. Already, in 2019, the beCAUSE program has raised $41,000 in grants and matching and provided many opportunities for employees to volunteer with their favorite charitable organizations.
“A company-wide ethos of giving is one of the unique qualities that sets Nelson apart,” said CEO Joe Madigan. “We have made corporate philanthropy a priority, especially in the Bay Area, but throughout California, because we know that, while the economy is doing great, there are still plenty of people and organizations in need. We are proud to be recognized among these organizations that are doing their part to uplift our communities for the 5th year in a row.”
A complete list of winners is posted online here.
By Emma Nelson
So, you’ve graduated college. Now what? Finding a job after college can be intimidating, stressful, and all-consuming. Whom do you talk to? Where do you go? To help you reduce some of the stress that can be associated with this time, here are some tips for landing a job after college.
Visit Your Campus Career Center
You can do this while still attending college, as well as when you’re on the brink of graduating. The services offered at your school’s career center are right at your fingertips. You can touch up your resume, write a cover letter, network with graduates of your college, and so much more. Take advantage of the easily accessible and incredibly helpful services offered at your college career center to get a head start on the job search before you don your cap and gown.
Create Accounts at Online Employment Websites
Creating accounts on recruiting sites like LinkedIn, SimplyHired, and Glassdoor will make your name and face known to an entire network of people who are also utilizing these sites. Attach your resume, your skills, and personal information to gain access to an abundance of opportunities. You will be able to see job listings, contact employers, and show off your skills to employers who are searching for someone like you.
Over the past four years, you’ve had the opportunity to meet many professors, alumni, and speakers who could be very valuable to your job search. Make sure to stay in touch with past professors whose classes were related to your chosen career. You can even reach out to professors from whom you haven’t taken classes, but whose specialties are aligned with your career interests. Connect with speakers via LinkedIn (but make sure that you send a concise and relevant message and a reasonable ask when you do!). And don’t forget to stay in touch with alumni – they, along with your professors, could very well have research opportunities, internships, and jobs that would interest you and kick off your career.
Contact a Staffing Agency
It might be beneficial to look into joining a staffing agency. You’re still at the beginning of your career and might not be sure what specific job interests you. Or, you may know what you want to do, but you don’t yet have the experience on your resume. Staffing firms like Nelson help you find a job that suits you and that you could either stick with for a short period of time or potentially turn into something bigger. With its network of employers throughout California, Nelson knows where the best jobs are and does its part to match you with the right role in a convenient location. Even better, by working with a staffing firm like Nelson, you may be eligible for benefits in addition to getting a paycheck!
At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:
Meet Sarah Barnett, Recruiting Coordinator for Google Onsite
Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.
I volunteer weekly at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. Our adoption center where I spend most of my hours is located in Burlingame! You can usually find me on the adoptions floor on Monday evenings.
I started volunteering at PHS in October of last year. Since then I have been going in once or twice a week every week to “Cat TLC” shifts. TLC volunteers spend time socializing animals that are ready to be adopted. They have a few different TLC opportunities, from dog walkers to bunny cuddlers, but I have a soft spot in my heart for cats—so that was the most natural opportunity for me to take on.
As you spend more time with the animals, and you hit certain total hour milestones, you have an opportunity to work with animals that have different behavioral needs, and more complex personalities. I am currently working with the behavior department to make my way to the top tier of the volunteer chain, as these cats need the most help, and they have the least number of qualified volunteers for them. I am one step away from being able to test for that opportunity, and I hope to be able to do that by the end of the year!
I say by the end of the year, because it is kitten season. My latest adventure at PHS is an additional weekly shift at the kitten nursery. And, while that doesn’t mean I will be giving up my behavioral shift every week, it does mean that most of my focus will be on the orphaned kittens and making sure that I am helping them grow big enough to be adopted! Kitten nursery volunteers work the kitten season annually and bottle/syringe-feed kittens that are too young to be out on the adoption floor. Last year, PHS cared for nearly 400 orphaned kittens between April and October. These guys require a lot of careful care and attention, being as young as they are. When you are in the nursery, you will see kittens being fed, weighed, cleaned, cuddled, and monitored by our onsite veterinary team. Once kittens are big enough to be adopted, they are moved out to the adoptions floor with the other cats!
Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?
I have many stories about volunteering at PHS but the best part is that each story ends in animals finding a forever home. That in itself is rewarding enough!
If people would like to watch the stories unfold, I have an Instagram account for people to join me in my journey!
Tell us about your involvement with the Nelson beCAUSE program.
My entire team went to volunteer at a soup kitchen of sorts over the holidays last year, and that was a great bonding experience for all of us. I think it is wonderful that Nelson encourages and highlights the philanthropic spirit of their employees! We all truly enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to doing it again!
What is your “beCAUSE”?
I am an animal advocate, plain and simple. I have been inspired in particular by Hannah Shaw and Jackson Galaxy over the last few years, and finally decided to put my passion into action.
While excuses tend to get in the way, if you find yourself able to jump in and take even two hours out of your week every week, the fact is, it just feels good. There are plenty of different organizations out there that thrive off of the passion of their volunteers, and it is absolutely a win-win opportunity for both the organization, and for the volunteers themselves! I find that being active in my community and advocating for those who do not have voices if their own, has, without a doubt, been one of the most rewarding decisions that I have made to date.
You can learn more about the Nelson beCAUSE program here.
By Rebecca Ferlotti
If everyone looks the same in your annual company picture, it might be time to reassess your HR practices; sameness is detrimental to your company’s bottom line. People want to see themselves within your company (both your customers and your employees), and when you have a workforce that reflects your diverse target market(s), you have access to the full marketplace.
Whether your company is starting from scratch with a brand-new diversity policy or you want to build on your existing inclusion initiatives, here are three ways to increase diversity within your workforce.
Evaluate your workplace culture
Write down the driving forces of your hiring and retention practices. What are your non-negotiable candidate qualities across the board? Identify how people interact within the office, how they speak to each other, and how they resolve conflicts. Once your workplace culture is in front of you, think about what facets of your culture are a hindrance to inclusivity.
Develop a diversity policy with your company’s diversity obstacles in mind. Put steps in place to improve any team behaviors that might go against the policy through cultural sensitivity training. Get the word out about your diversity policy by hosting an official launch with your team. Be intentional about your marketing materials, showcasing your diversity policy in practice to continue inclusive trends within your business.
Recruit outside of your backyard
If you aren’t getting many diverse candidates, it may be time to cast a wider hiring net. Advertise in areas outside of your typical range – within magazines that have a reader base different from yourself and on websites that reach a diverse range of people. Attend networking events that might attract a wide variety of candidates such as events hosted by cultural organizations and women’s groups. Reach out to local colleges and universities for information about their job fairs; prime young employees to rise through the ranks with a mentorship program.
When you’re looking to fill a position, ask your team members for referrals. Not only does this build trust, but you might end up with a bunch of talented candidates who may not have otherwise stood out in an application pool.
Embrace flex time
The workforce is becoming more virtual in part because that flexibility grants workers time to spend with their families. Single parents are seeking out work-life balance; when your company steps up with a policy that promotes flexibility, you have the chance to attract a more diverse group of applicants. Flex time also is helpful for individuals who take public transportation and college students seeking out internships – being able to complete work virtually opens up your business to additional diversity options.
Flex time benefits everyone. Employees who opt to work from home are typically more productive and, with less people around the office at times, team members who prefer to drive in to work each day may have extra quiet time.
The current labor force seeks out diversity when they are weighing their job options. By implementing diversity and inclusion practices, you are setting up your company for long-term success.