How to Create Your DEI Plan Part 1: Preparation

Note from Nelson

Like many companies, Nelson is committed to a diverse and equitable workplace. Our company’s DEI charter specifies both internal and external-facing activities. The article series Creating a DEI Plan is part of our effort to share with Nelson’s larger community both knowledge and best practices related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As an organization, we are continuing to build upon and implement our internal diversity strategy, including ideas suggested in this article and from other activities underway with clients and business partners. We acknowledge that we don’t know all the answers and understand that for most organizations, creating an effective and sustainable DEI culture is an ongoing work in progress.

We are excited and dedicated to continuing our work in this area. We hope you enjoy the article.

Article written by Dwan Jones
Dwan is the founder of Strategic Like a Boss, a strategy consultancy, and a contributor to the Nelson Get Work Blog and more. Connect with her about DEI, strategic planning, and multicultural communications on LinkedIn.

Given the dramatic events of the past many months, you’ve probably recognized the imperative to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within your organization. You’ve secured initial buy-in and committed resources. You’re ready to launch (or enhance) your DEI initiative. Yet, creating a DEI plan can be overwhelming. So, where do you begin? As with many endeavors, it’s important to prepare before taking action. The following steps will help you prepare to develop an effective plan.

Step 1: Assess where you are

“Start where you are …” —Arthur Ashe

Assess where your organization is now on the DEI spectrum by collecting both internal and external data to gain a 360-degree perspective of where you stand.

Internal data should include analyses of internal culture, attitudes, and systems. You can gain insights by reviewing internal company information related to:

  • employment data
  • affirmative action plans
  • EEO reporting
  • internal surveys

Organizational assessments are also a great way to examine your current status and gauge cultural competency.

You’ll also need to know how your company compares to other industry organizations. Labor market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will help you understand industry and workforce demographics.

With the internal and external data in hand, you can identify key areas of concern and needs to define goals and strategies. Be sure to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to get a clear sense of the numbers and narratives of stakeholders.

Step 2: Define the business case

Successful DEI initiatives and planning require the commitment, focus, and participation of those within each level of the organization, especially leadership. Their expressed passion to lead the charge sets the tone for the entire organization to follow.

Getting leaders on board requires the ability to translate the benefits of DEI into a program that leaders want to fund. Enter the business case for diversity, which includes highlighting the business value, humanity, and equality-based benefits to transformative change.

Step 3: Engage the right stakeholders

Make sure the right people are in the room to make an impact, including both leaders and diverse staff from various levels within the organization.

  • Invite decision-makers who can approve activities and resources.
  • Include influencers whom decision-makers listen to and who know the organization’s pulse.
  • And don’t forget the skeptics. Although they may not buy in initially, their perspectives and your ability to sway their reservations will help to bolster transformation.

Step 4: Identify your “why” and goals

Before and throughout the planning process, continue to ask the question Why do we need diversity within our organization now? This simple question will help keep your efforts grounded and focused. And, be sure to tie the “why” to your company’s core mission, values, and priorities to help make DEI become part of your company’s DNA.

Because DEI initiatives are plentiful, it’s key to identify SMART goals aligned to the needs identified during the assessment process in Step 1.

Strive to set meaningful goals, including those that:

  • show early wins
  • help to expedite buy-in
  • look beyond quotas
  • show a commitment to changes in internal culture and systemic biases

SMART DEI Goal Example:
By 2022, implement a new recruitment system and process using clearly defined criteria, guidelines, and outreach methods targeted specifically to diverse candidates to increase diverse new hires from 10% to 30%.

Step 5: Garner broader feedback

Once you’ve drafted your SMART goals, the next step is to make sure they’re collaborative by garnering broader feedback from those outside of your DEI-focused group. Getting input from people in various organizational levels who are going to be the most impacted is a great start to inclusiveness and also ensures all voices are heard and valued. This feedback will be eye-opening and help to inform goals or clarify what you should prioritize.

There’s no better time than now to start or enhance your DEI journey. With the steps outlined above, you’ll be well-prepared to start developing your plan. But, don’t stop there.

Stay tuned for the next article in our 3-part series “How to Create Your DEI Plan” as we take you through writing an effective plan and implementing/tracking your DEI initiative to ensure your efforts are positioned for ongoing success.

If you need assistance with employment services, contact Nelson today. Our staffing and recruiting experts are here to help. 

by Victoria Lasin

From the arts to science to the military, women have been integral to shaping our nation’s history. Yet until the late 1970s, women’s contributions were largely unrecognized by the public. This all changed with the creation of Women’s History Month.

A California celebration becomes a national event

The roots of Women’s History Month sprouted in Santa Rosa, California, when the Education Task Force of Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned a Women’s History Week to expand on International Women’s Day on March 8, 1978. The idea kindled an enthusiastic response, with scores of women among the local community giving presentations around the country. The grassroots movement grew year by year.

Then, the National Women’s History Alliance successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. The celebration picked up even more traction, and since 1995, each president annually issues a proclamation designating the entire month of March as Women’s History Month

The theme of Women’s History Month 2021

The National Women’s History Alliance selects a theme for the annual event that mirrors the changing times. The theme for Women’s History Month 2021 is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”

The 2021 theme is an extension of 2020’s theme. Last year marked the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage through the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The National Women’s History Alliance explains: “A victory as important as women winning the right to vote deserves an extended celebration.”

This very important point in history must not be silenced, even by the pandemic. Recognizing the major advancement of women in our evolving history, The National Women’s History Alliance is “determined that the important roles of multicultural suffragists and voting rights activists continue to be recognized and honored.”

Women making history today

This was a historic year in our country for women, and in particular women of color. On January 20, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female and first Black and South Asian vice president. More than 100 women of color ran for Congress, and 51 of the 141 women elected are women of color. Both the House and Senate include more women than ever before, including record numbers of Blacks, Latinas, and Asian or Pacific Islanders. And, more women than ever before will serve in their state legislatures in 2021.

This was a historic year in our country for women, and in particular women of color.

“… We the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president …”
— Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate

These are indeed historic times that will go down in the annals of women’s role in shaping the future of our country. Although the pandemic may alter how we honor Women’s History Month, taking time to read and applaud our sisters, mothers, and grandmothers makes for a more tolerant and inclusive world.

Ways to celebrate Women’s History Month 2021

  1. International Women’s Day — March 8 events recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. Check out the 2021 International Women’s Day lineup of virtual events in support of women’s equality.
  2. Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote — This beautifully curated online exhibit from the Library of Congress presents the history of the women’s suffrage movement.
  3. Because of Her Story — The Smithsonian features the stories behind some of the greatest women contributors to U.S. history, from performing arts and social activism to from sports and government. Read inspiring stories of women who have shaped our nation’s story.
  4. Women’s History Month Events & Exhibits — The National Women’s History Museum has several upcoming Women’s History Month events. Check out their online exhibits to learn about fascinating women in articles such as “The Women of NASA” and “Breaking in: Women in STEM.”

Nelson has supported women in work for over 50 years. Contact Nelson today to see how we can help with your hiring or employment needs.

Victoria Lasin is a freelance editor who helps professionals elevate their business communication.

by Clea Badion

There’s a lot at stake when creating a job description, and it’s tempting to rush the process. When you have an open position, you typically want to fill it as soon as possible.

However, if you want to hire talented candidates, you first have to attract them, so it’s essential to take the time to write a job description that will bring in the right people for the job.

Also, putting in more time up-front to write an accurate, engaging, search-optimized description can save you time in the hiring process. You’ll attract more quality candidates instead of less-qualified applicants who aren’t a good fit for the role.

Here are some tips on how to write a great job description:

Do your research

Before you begin, spend a little time considering the position with fresh eyes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What specific skills does the job require?
  • What level candidate are you seeking?
  • If you’re replacing an employee, do you need the new person to do the same duties, or has the position evolved to include new responsibilities?
  • What unique traits that candidates must have to succeed in the job and at your company?

You might also get the feedback of employees currently in the role or in the department about specific skills or experience they feel are critical to success in the role. This input is especially helpful if you’re listing a job that requires particular technical expertise, hands-on knowledge, or interpersonal skills.

Consider keywords for search engine optimization

In addition to writing an accurate job description, you also need to use the same word or words candidates use when searching for jobs.

For example, you’ll see a lot of variation in titles that describe the same position. With titles continuously evolving, both applicants and companies use different terms to apply to roles that require the same skills. For example, is it best to say “Accounts Payable Clerk” or “AP Clerk”? Should you list your job as “Content Strategist,” “Content Manager,” or “Marketing Content Specialist”?

To figure out if your terms are on target, search job titles on sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn to see which are the most popular and what skills and experience are listed for the different titles.  You can also search job titles in Google and see what jobs are returned on the Google Jobs results screen. There are also free online tools to help you determine job title keywords.

Create the job description

Once you’ve finished your keyword research, the next step is to write the job description. Here’s what to include:

Job title

  • Use the word or words that most accurately describe the position.
  • Double check that the words you select match the terms candidates use to search for the job.
  • Keep the job title language plain. For example, instead of “Administrative Professional IV” use “Senior Administrative Professional.”
  • If the job is remote only, you might add the word “Remote” to the title.

Job summary

  • Begin with a short summary of the job function and where it fits in the department and company.
  • Briefly highlight why a candidate should want this specific job: What makes the position and your business special?
  • Aim for an open, friendly tone: This is essentially your “elevator pitch” to potential candidates.

Job responsibilities

  • Give an overview of the job’s day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Be detailed enough for candidates to know if they have the qualifications to apply, but concise enough so the description doesn’t sound like a laundry list of duties, which may turn away applicants.
  • Show how the position relates to the larger company.

Skills required

  • List the “must-have” skills for the job. Provide the skills an applicant has to have to be successful. Be specific, so people without these skills are less likely to apply.
  • List the “nice-to-have” skills for the job. These are qualities you’d prefer candidates have, but they aren’t necessary for success in the position.
  • List educational requirements.

Sprinkle the same keywords you used in the job title throughout these sections, but don’t overuse them. Stuffing the job description by repeating a keyword too many times can negatively impact Google search.

How Covid Has Impacted Employee Compensation

Include pay and benefits

Determine what salary range you’re offering for the job and include it in the job description. Make sure it’s competitive, so you don’t lose top candidates to other opportunities. Nelson’s 2021 Salary Guide is a popular resource for customized salary recommendations.

Also, be sure to list what benefits the company offers. Benefits can distinguish you from competitors, so mention flexible work schedules, vacation time, childcare options, or similar perks.

Each job description you create should be unique to the specific job and your company’s needs. By taking the time to write an accurate and thorough job description, you’re more likely to attract ideal candidates for the position and fill the role sooner than later.

Want to know if your pay is in line for your open positions? Find out with Nelson’s 2021 Salary Guide.
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Clea Badion is a copywriter, social media manager, and corporate blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s been writing about career and workplace trends for over a decade, specializing in blogging, website content, ghostwriting, thought leadership pieces, executive speeches, and presentations. 

by Andrea Griffith Cash

In February our nation celebrates Black History Month, also called African American History Month. This annual observance commemorates African Americans’ achievements and honors their central role in shaping U.S. history.  

How It Began 

The tradition of Black History Month began 95 years ago through the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who has been called the father of Black history. A Harvard-trained historian and the son of former slaves, Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH), which conceptualized Negro History Week in 1925.  

The first event was celebrated during the second week of February 1926. This specific timeframe was selected as it contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In response to the first Negro History Week, Black history clubs were formed, teachers sought instructive materials for their students, and many progressives stepped forward to support the endeavor.  

Beyond the Classroom

Woodson’s inspiration for founding Negro History Week was in part a response to how Black people were underrepresented in American history books and instructional materials. He wanted to help educators coordinate their focus on the topic. Black History Month continues to provide teachers and students with insight and inspiration about African Americans’ contributions throughout U.S. history. 

Since 1976 every U.S. president, beginning with Gerald Ford, has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, also devote a month each year to honoring Black history.  

Today Black History Month is celebrated not only in school settings but also in museums, theaters, libraries, on social media, and in corporate environments. As more organizations commit to making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a central part of their infrastructure, expect to see more widespread commemorations during the month-long observance. 

Black History Month 2021

The theme for this year’s Black History Month is “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” Events this year will explore the African diaspora and expansion of Black families across the United States.  

The ASALH website offers details on this year’s Virtual Festivalwhich honors the strengths, struggles, resistance, and perseverance of the Black family.  

The festival features scholars, authors, chefs, educators, musicians, activists, and even a panel discussion with divers who preserve Black history by retrieving artifacts from sunken slave ships. 

Making History While Celebrating History

Some notable moments in America’s Black history have coincided with Black History Month. For example, in February 1995, Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. became the first African American astronaut to walk in space. In February 2007, Barack Obama formally announced his candidacy for president with a speech in Springfield, Illinois. In February 2009, Eric Holder was sworn in as our country’s first African American attorney general. 

This year Black History Month begins less than two weeks after Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn into officeShe is the first woman, first Black American, and first South Asian American to be elected as U.S. Vice President. On the same day that she assumed office, Harris swore in Rev. Raphael Warnock – pastor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta – as he became the first African American to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. 

Ideas for What’s Ahead 

Over time, African American History Month has evolved to not only look back but to also look forward. Organizations such as Movement for Black Lives andBlack Lives Matter promote Black Futures Month in conjunction with Black History Month. While Black History Month focuses on past achievements, Black Futures Month looks ahead, and through art and creative expression discusses topics impacting Black communities and imagines the possibilities of what can lie ahead. 


To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion, read our article on Making DEI Part of Your Company’s DNA or watch our webinar recording Race Relations and Your Business: Making DEI Part of Your Company’s DNA featuring two DEI experts. 

Are you looking to hire or looking for a job? Contact Nelson today. We’re here to help. 

By Clea Badion

Remote work was on the rise well before the pandemic. What’s changed is that working from home is now considered a mainstream option at many companies. And this new reality leaves many companies considering pay localization for remote employees.

Pay localization, or offering salaries based on the cost of living where workers live instead of where a firm is based, is a common approach to compensating remote workers. But does it make sense to pay remote workers who move permanently – or those you hire for remote-only jobs – less than employees who are located near the main office?

Some large tech companies have said they’ll cut worker pay for those who choose to relocate away from their Bay Area headquarters. Other organizations have said they will provide relocation money and then adjust pay. And some companies indicate they will not reduce salaries based on location.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your pay localization strategy:

Determine your approach

The first step in figuring out a pay localization plan is understanding the demand and average pay for each job. Salary guides can help you determine if your company’s starting and existing employee salaries are competitive in different cities. Nelson’s 2021 Salary Guide, an annual listing of compensation across industries, is a popular resource for customized salary recommendations.

Another approach is to evaluate three items:

      • cost of living where the company is based
      • the cost of living where the employee is based
      • the national average pay for the job

A staffing professional can offer local market insights and detailed salary knowledge of your industry and location.

Assess the job

Different types of job are more suitable for pay localization than others. For example, you might have to pay a data engineer the same amount to work in Boise, Idaho, as you would in San Francisco. Why? It’s a high-demand job that requires a specific level of education and skills, making candidates more challenging to find.

On the other hand, there are often more available candidates for entry-level customer service jobs that require less education and skills. For these types of jobs, it makes more sense to implement a pay localization plan that reflects local cost-of-living data.

To avoid inequity, be consistent with the salary approach for each job category. For example, you might offer software engineers the national market rate no matter where they live. For call-center representatives, you might align pay with  local cost of living and job demand.

5 Ways to Manage Employee Salary Expectations

Consider the total benefits package

Base pay isn’t the only thing to consider when compensating employees who do the same job  in different zip codes. Benefits are another employee expense that can be modulated based on geographic location.

It’s common to offer employees in major cities benefits such as commuting or parking reimbursement. However, these benefits likely would be unnecessary for a remote worker in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The result is that the full pay and benefits package might be different depending on where a staff member lives.

Are You Offering a Competitive Pay Rate?

Be transparent

Determining compensation during uncertain times is complicated – and that’s before considering how to pay employees working in different locations.

No matter what approach you take to pay localization, be clear about your strategy with employees: Are you basing compensation on national averages instead of averages within a regional area? Is paying remote employees who live in areas with lower costs of living a financial decision or an effort to hire workers for less money?

Be flexible

Your company may decide on and implement an approach to pay localization that initially makes sense. But you may need to rapidly change that plan if demand for a specific job goes up (or down) over the time.

For example, a top employee could be talking to a competitor for any number of reasons. If you haven’t adjusted your salary approach, and the other firm offers more, you may find yourself needing to hire a replacement, and you’ll certainly need to review your salary structure in the process.

Keep your plan flexible and pay attention to market changes that could impact compensation for different positions across the country.

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By Clea Badion

Just about everything in the world of work has changed since COVID-19 became the new normal, including how companies approach employee compensation. Building a compensation strategy for 2021 is especially tricky for organizations that have experienced a pandemic-related slowdown.

For example, Nelson’s Q4 Pulse Report shows that between the end of 2019 and Q3 2020, revenue growth was elusive for the majority of companies surveyed. Although 26 percent of organizations reported income growth, 36 percent saw no change in revenue, and 34 percent experienced a decline.

In addition, the Federal Reserve has suggested that full economic recovery is unlikely until people feel safe returning to pre-pandemic activities. Although the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will likely foster a more “normal” business environment, no one knows exactly when that will be.

Plan your pay strategy

It’s against this uncertainty that companies of all sizes and sectors must develop competitive pay rates for the coming year. Here are some helpful tips to help you develop your plan:

Restore pay if possible

Perhaps your firm reduced salaries to avoid staff reductions in 2020, but you anticipate business will return to normal in 2021. While employees likely understood the need for short-term salary reductions vs. layoffs, it’s important to reinstate full salaries as soon as possible.

This is especially important for the many employees who are working longer unpaid hours during the pandemic or managing childcare while on the clock. Bringing back full salaries will go a long way toward motivating and retaining your team.

If you’re unable to restore salaries, show appreciation and support in other ways:

      • Accommodate remote schedules for employees with children at home.
      • Express appreciation for a job well done.
      • Check in frequently with staff members.
      • Shift or postpone projects for employees who feel overwhelmed.

Offer raises or bonuses

If your firm has returned to solid financial ground, raising pay is an excellent way to reward staff members for their hard work during the pandemic. Offering a salary increase may also reassure employees that your business is back on track and will help prevent top performers from seeking work elsewhere.

What about employers who are hesitant to increase pay due to economic uncertainty? One option is to give a smaller-than-normal increase. Another idea is to offer variable pay based on performance, such as a bonus. A variable pay approach provides more financial flexibility than a raise during uncertain economic times.

According to Willis Towers Watson’s survey results, 84 percent of U.S. firms plan to give some level of pay raise in 2021, although one in three is reducing their projected salary increases. Another two-thirds say they will give annual bonuses.

5 Ways to Manage Employee Salary Expectations

Consider location

The pandemic permanently changed the office-based work model for many businesses. In fact, three out of four employers in our 2020 Q4 Pulse Report said they now offer more remote work options. Adjusting pay for different locations can be another consideration of your compensation strategy.

The Nelson 2021 Salary Guide, a popular annual guide listing compensation across industries, is a great resource for customized salary recommendations in different locations.

Know what the competition is doing

Because every industry has been impacted differently by the pandemic, it’s important to know how other organizations in your sector are managing raises and bonuses. For example, the pandemic and resulting shutdowns have impacted travel and hospitality businesses more than technology companies.

So while restaurants and other related businesses have less flexibility to offer raises, they still need to know what others in their space are doing to stay competitive. A staffing professional can offer local market insights and detailed salary knowledge of your industry and geographic area.

Remain competitive with new hires

When brining on new team members, consider looking beyond current unemployment numbers and economic conditions. Offering competitive pay from the get-go demonstrates your commitment and respect to employees. In turn, you will likely increase employee loyalty and retention when more jobs open up post-COVID.

Additionally, despite increased unemployment, pay rates have increased in some industries, creating a candidate’s market for high-in-demand roles. The Nelson 2021 Salary Guide provides insight on new-hire salaries across industries and geographic locations.

Communicate your plan to employees

No matter your approach to employee compensation in 2021, be transparent about your decision-making process and the financial impact to your team.

For example, if you are reducing or forgoing employee raises and offering bonuses instead, explain the reasons for your decision.

Feeling in the dark about salary changes, even good ones, can impact employees’ motivation and loyalty. On the other hand, team members who fully understand financial decisions and feel they are being treated fairly are more likely to stick around through uncertain times.

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By Clea Badion

In any year, determining if your company is paying competitive pay rates can be a challenge. Add a global pandemic into the salary conversation and knowing what to pay your employees becomes even more complicated.

For example, many companies that had planned to implement pay raises have had to reconsider as the pandemic has impacted their bottom line. Even some thriving organizations have taken a conservative approach to increasing salaries given the unpredictable environment.

In fact, in Gallagher’s 2020/2021 Salary Planning Survey, nearly half of the organizations surveyed plan to re-evaluate their salary increase plans in 2021.

Because offering competitive salaries is essential to attracting and retaining top candidates, it’s important to get it right. In Q3 2020, Nelson spoke to over 200 employers about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, and these companies said talent acquisition and retention were among their most pressing workforce challenges.

So how do you determine if you’re paying a competitive pay rate for existing employees and new hires?  Here are some tips:

Do your research

To attract and retain top talent, you need to offer a pay rate that’s similar to what other firms are paying for the job. Salary guides can help you determine if your company’s starting and existing employee salaries are competitive. Nelson’s 2021 Salary Guide, an annual listing of compensation across industries, is a popular resource for customized salary recommendations

In addition, sites such as Glassdoor,, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer detailed compensation insights. Reviewing online job listings in your area can also provide guidance. You’ll see what other firms are offering for similar jobs in your industry in a specific city or suburb.

Check out our tips on managing employee salary expectations.

Consider location

Because pay rates vary by location, make sure you adjust salaries for your region. Most salary guides and calculators allow you to make those adjustments. You might also consider working with experts such as a staffing professional who can offer local market insights and detailed salary knowledge of your industry and location

The rise of remote work during the pandemic has led many companies to hire employees from areas outside of their headquarters, and that makes it harder to figure out an accurate pay range. Should two people with the same experience and job description be paid the same if one lives in San Francisco and the other in Billings, Montana, for example?

One approach is to evaluate the cost of living where you are based, the cost of living where the employee is based, and the national average pay for the job, but there are also other factors to consider. Here’s more detailed information about compensating your remote workforce.

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Look beyond salaries

While the pandemic has led to more applicants for certain jobs, according to research from the 2020 Q4  Nelson Pulse Report, hiring top talent remains challenging for many companies. Some candidates are reluctant to commit to a new job in an uncertain time or are scarce due to health or safety concerns. And in truth, the best employees are always in demand, so offering in-demand perks and benefits can aid in both retaining current employees and attracting top candidates for open positions

For potential new hires, it’s important to highlight benefits such as health and dental care, retirement or 401(k) matching programs, and paid time off. In addition to competitive pay, offering perks such as a work-from-home option after the pandemic is over, a flexible work schedule, and family leave, can also distinguish you from other companies

Top perks and benefits are also key to retaining existing employees, so be sure to compare salaries for internal staff members with what you’re offering new hires for similar jobs. Top-performing employees shouldn’t earn less than new hires in the same job with the same level of experience. Make salary adjustments as needed or you’ll risk losing your top employees.

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Finally, keep in mind that offering a competitive pay range is an ongoing project: you should regularly benchmark your salaries against those in your industry and region to retain and attract top-tier employees.

Note from Nelson:
During Black History Month, we remind you of our October 2020 webinar examining Race Relations and Your Business. Of particular interest is the first part of the webinar, which talks about how we got to where we are with race relations in our country. Dr. Jarik Conrad explains that understanding the back story is fundamental to making positive changes. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion: they’re admirable and obvious goals – and ones that work environments large and small are re-evaluating against the topic of racial equity in the workplace.  

In recent months, organizations have become re-energized to build strong company cultures that embody these goals and encourage diverse employee poolsgrounded in equal treatment, mutual success, and a fully engaged workforce.

Getting started

It’s widely accepted that implementation of a DEI plan can lead to improvetalent acquisition, creativity, innovation, revenue, and reputation. But for companies lacking a DEI roadmap, where is the best place to begin? How can leaders ensure that everyone within the organization feels comfortable participating in racial equity conversations? How does an organization know if its efforts will yield desired results? 

 DEI Webinar Visual

To get started, watch our October 2020 webinar
“Race Relations and Your Business: Making DEI Part of Your Company’s DNA.
Be sure to download our speakers’ presentations after you watch the webinar. 

The importance of safe space

During the webinar, Connia Nelson, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for LifeWay Christian Resources, emphasized the importance of establishing a safe space for talking about DEI topics.  

All stakeholders should understand that the process may create discomfort and hard discussions may occur. But by setting expectations at the outset, an organization lays the groundwork for producing lasting change.   

Ask questions

During her presentation, Connia also suggested that to initiate the DEI discussion, leadership teams should ask the following:  

• How is leadership helping employees learn, grow, and understand the ways in which they can create and influence a culture of diversity?
• Is the current environment open and safe for honest conversations?
• Are leaders aware of their own behaviors and biases?
• How is diverse talent included in business planning, product development, and business execution?
• Do leaders regularly evaluate compensation and promotion discrepancies?
• Is the company’s DEI success based on a wholistic evaluation of DEI metrics or on the number of diversity demographics alone?

Build a DEI plan

Once leadership has a good picture of the company’s current environmentit can move forward to the planning phase. Connia recommended that companies: 

• Base their diversity, equity, and inclusion plan on the company’s mission and values
• Assess the company’s current culture for diversity and inclusion
• Develop a DEI mindset from the top down
• Develop diverse talent at all levels
• Embed diversity in every aspect of the business
• Measure what you want to achieve
• Create an actionable DEI plan that moves from compliance to commitment
• Evaluate and adjust the plan for future success

Keep it strategic

Making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of your organization’s DNA requires a systematic approach that is strategic in nature and goes beyond doing what is right. Organizations that embrace DEI as integral to their company culture, business strategy, talent management, and metrics take the first step in realizing equity in the workplace and creating an environment where all employees can grow and thrive.  

If you want to learn how Nelson can support your DEI efforts and help you build a diverse workforce, contact us today. We’re here to help. 

Nelson CEO Joe Madigan recently was featured on the ABC 7 segment Job Hunting with Jobina. Joe spoke about current employment trends and highlighted the many local job opportunities available through Nelson.

Watch the recording below and listen to Joe and Jobina talk about how Nelson can help you find your next position!

To view current opportunities, visit today. We look forward to assisting with your job search.

The Marin Independent Journal recently featured Nelson in its Keep It Local section. This annual publication highlights companies working in and serving North Bay communities.

The article coincides with Nelson’s 50th anniversary in 2020 and features the company’s history and founding of its first office in San Rafael. The story explains Nelson’s evolution from an administrative employment agency into a full-service staffing partner to businesses across California and the United States.

Nelson Featured In Keep It Local

The article talks about Nelson’s current-day workforce strategies and recent hiring trends resulting from COVID-19 are discussed. The article also showcases Nelson’s commitment to and philanthropic support of the communities where employees live and work.

The story begins on Page 14.

To learn more about Nelson and how we help people find great jobs and great companies find great people, contact us today.

September 16 is National Working Parents Day. When we learned about this annual day, our first thought was: Isn’t every day Working Parents Day? As in: Do you know even one parent who doesn’t work, whether for pay or not?

Regardless, we thought we’d look a little deeper into this day of parental recognition, and we’ve gathered some fun facts about parenting and working, including a few about doing both during a pandemic. Here’s what we found:


“Although the origins of Working Parents Day are unknown, it seems logical to suggest it was created by an overworked, under-appreciated mother or father, seeking some basic recognition for their efforts.”

Amen to that.


“A parent’s work is never done. Working parents, pat yourself on the back. Spend some time with your children. Before long, they’ll be grown. Your hard work will be done. For now, celebrate your tenacity and perseverance. While you’re celebrating, share your best tips and tricks for organizing your busy life.

Be sure to remember all the work parents do and use #WorkingParentsDay to share on social media.”

From the U.S. Census Bureau

A few key notes from the Census Bureau article Working Moms Bear Brunt of Home Schooling While Working During COVID-19:

“Parents who kept their jobs during the stay-at-home orders had limited options: to take paid or unpaid time off, quit or adjust work hours to nonbusiness hours such as evenings or weekends to care for children.

Around one in five (18.2%) of working-age adults said the reason they were not working was because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements.

Of those not working, women ages 25-44 are almost three times as likely as men to not be working due to childcare demands. About one in three (30.9%) of these women are not working because of childcare, compared to 11.6% of men in the same age group.”

And one interesting chart from the article as well:

Chart on percent of adults (25-44) with children by sex not working due to COVID-19 Child Care Issues

From Harvard Business Review

In the article HBR Readers on Juggling Work and Kids … in a Pandemic, HBR readers shared ideas for doing work and parenting at home, at the same time, day after day. Three headline ideas that caught our eye:

  1. Outsource, be honest, and let go of perfection
  2. Start your day with a D3 review
  3. Chores for all, respect space, practice gratitude

At Nelson, we acknowledge, respect, and take our hats off to the thousands of working parents who show up every day for both their families and their jobs at our business partners’ companies. We thank you.

To learn more about Nelson and how we help people find great jobs and great companies find great people, contact us today.

Like so many in California companies, the Nelson team is moving out of shelter-in-place, preparing for the re-opening of our economy, and strategizing about returning to our business locations.

During the past several weeks, we’ve collected an abundance of information about preparing the workplace and safely bringing employees back to work. In case you are sorting through the many requirements and issues involved with re-entry, we thought it would helpful to share some of the most valuable resources we’ve discovered.

In particular, our business partner Brown & Brown Insurance has graciously made a number of their re-entry-related documents available for free download. Some of their plans and checklists are customizable, so you can adapt the text for your company. We’ve also posted CDC health safety posters in English and Spanish.

Download resources here

Additionally, Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate firm offers excellent and detailed re-entry information. You will need to go to the C&W website and download after providing your information. A few standout publications include:

Recovery Readiness: A How-To Guide for Reopening Your Workplace

Retail Readiness Essentials Checklist

Industrial Warehouse Readiness Essentials Checklist

We hope you find these resources useful. Should you need assistance with your organization’s re-entry safety plan, please let know. We are happy to work with you to help ensure a safe work environment for everyone. Simply contact your local Nelson office to see how we can help.

California’s shelter-in-place restrictions are gradually lifting, but no one knows with certainty when the guidelines will be fully relaxed. This means many employees remain quarantined at home and uncertain about when things might start to look normal again.

Even with the prospect of returning to work on the horizon, the quarantine has stretched some employees’ abilities to remain engaged and productive in their roles. For others, isolation combined with a working-from-home lifestyle is taking a toll not only on their work productivity but also on their emotional and mental well-being.

Isolation Can Take a Toll

A recent article describes how scientists have drawn parallels between studies of people in extreme isolation (think submarines, the space station, and polar bunkers) and those currently experiencing enforced isolation because of COVID-19.

The article explains that during quarantine, people pass through several phases, including the initial “panic” mode (think about the run on toilet paper), followed by a honeymoon phase when staying sheltered seems new and possibly even fun. However, the article points out, as isolation continues “there appears to be an inflection point where frustration of being cooped up inside gets suddenly harder to bear.”

Remain Observant and Lend Your Support

As an employer, it’s important to remember how ongoing instability can impact employees behind the scenes. For many people, COVID-19 has created significant and often unwelcome changes, and with this knowledge, managers have an opportunity to lend support and help their teams stay on track for the remainder of the current stay-at-home period.

Here are a few tips to keep your workforce connected and help them safeguard their physical, emotional, and mental health during quarantine.

#1 Keep in contact
Whether on a daily or some other regular basis, it’s important to stay connected with your employees. There is no shortage of apps that let you check in with employees and help them remain engaged with their jobs and the company. One-on-one video chats and phone calls can be big morale boosters that break the monotony of working solo. A personal check-in lets employees know you are thinking of them and assess how they are holding up.

      • #2 Provide updates

    Even though you may not have a solid return-to-work timeline, be sure to update employees regularly on the plans you do have. And remember, it’s okay to say you don’t yet know exactly how things will look when the quarantine is lifted. Providing incremental information with the caveat that things may change is better than waiting to communicate until everything is set in stone.

          • #3 Encourage remote employees to stick to a routine 

        By now, working from home is not the new concept it was in March when massive numbers of employees were sent home for the first time. And by now, cadres of remote workers can attest to both the benefits and pitfalls of the 100% home office. For example, staying focused and not giving in to distraction have always challenged remote teams. Here’s where you can help:

              • — Establish clear workday start and stop time. An easy way to accomplish this is by having a daily morning call to put the day in motion. Telling your teams that they are expected to stop work at a consistent time of day provides structure and permission to not always be “on” while working from home.
              • — Remind and encourage your team to take breaks. Again, many apps can help remind people that it’s time to get up, walk around, and simply get a change of scenery.
              • — Monitor your employees’ workloads. Just as in an office environment, employees’ workload can vary. Encourage people to ask for assistance if they feel overloaded or to offer up if they some spare time. Being isolated doesn’t allow for the same casual interaction and conversation that allows in-person teams to more organically iron out workload responsibilities.
                      • #4 Encourage exercise and nutrition

                  Encourage well-being and support your employees’ efforts to exercise and eat well. Check out our prior blog that provides great resources for staying physically fit and emotionally healthy from the confines of your own home.

                          • #5 Acknowledge that the impact can be real and lasting

                  Most Americans have never been in quarantine before, so it’s important for employers to remember that the impact of prolonged isolation can be real and lasting. Pay attention to what your team members are saying … and not saying. Be aware that some may experience burnout, and be on the lookout for signs that team members are struggling. Make sure your team knows if your company offers an employee assistance program (EAP), and remind them to utilize company-provided health and mental wellness resources.

                  The quarantine will not last forever, but keeping your team focused and motivated promotes positive and long-lasting results.

                  Nelson remains dedicated to helping you build the teams you need today and in the future. Contact us for more information on our workforce solutions and ideas to help your teams return to work.

by Victoria Lasin

Whether you were already familiar with a remote work arrangement or were thrown into it by the mandate to shelter in place, the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all in it together. So while we collectively commiserate about the challenges of working from home, we also have the unique opportunity to redefine how businesses get work done.

In our new reality, our pre-coronavirus work norms have evaporated: managers aren’t in their offices across the hall, workers aren’t behind their desks, and we don’t  bump into each other in the lunchroom. The new work environment presents a different way of relating with one another, so understandably the expectations between employers and their teams need to shift as well. How do we stay in touch with co-workers, projects, and assignments, and how do leaders track their teams’ progress?

A recent article in the New York Times examined how some employers are utilizing tracking software to monitor workers’ computer screens, using their cameras to watch what their teams are doing, and following their employees’ movements through GPS. An alternative to this guard-tower method is to honestly consider the needs of both sides of the organization: employers and employees. Navigating this new work structure can be seen as a two-way street.

Everyone Wins With Higher Productivity

Understandably, management is looking for ways to ensure productivity. They need to know that employees are on task and efficiently using their work time. After all, each completed task leads to incremental goals that contribute to the business’s overall success.

On the flip side, employees need to let their bosses know that they’re on it. For example, sharing task lists with others not only demonstrates that you’re keeping productive but also that you’re comfortable with transparency.

Because COVID-19 has disrupted so many organizations’ priorities and revenue goals, employers and employees should review and update KPIs as appropriate. It will be important to adjust performance expectations to reflect the new reality.

Regular Communication Builds Trust

Communication among team players has always been critical to successful outcomes. But working remotely means we never have accidental conversations so we need to schedule regular check-ins. How frequently depends on the team, but whether it’s every day or twice a week, holding meetings at a predictable time on a reliable schedule keeps everyone accountable.

Additionally, managers need to be available to employees outside of scheduled meetings. Employers need to let their teams know the best way to get in touch if questions come up, and workers need to know they’ll be able to get support from their supervisors. (This couldn’t be more important than in the case of an employee just onboarded before SIP.) And, as we’re figuring out how to work smoothly in this remote environment, everyone needs to be able to openly discuss if systems aren’t working. This type of honest communication builds trust.

Success in the Remote Work World Relies on Flexibility

On an individual level, each of us needs to build routines that support our work and personal lifestyle. Since we’re essentially reinventing the work world, a familiar 9-5 schedule may not work as well as it did before shelter in place. For many people, a more realistic approach may be working in short blocks of time, from 90 minutes to three hours, throughout the day and evening, or after dinner. But scheduling and adhering to specific times for sitting down to business helps you be psychologically ready to work.

But for all the leeway we need in our schedules, workers and managers alike need to be clear on expectations. Goals must be clear and the road map defined. Once people know what to do, regular communication sets the stage for accountability, as well as an open forum for discussion and support. The flexibility to get the job done in a way that works for each person’s lifestyle can build confidence that the team is working together, even if from their individual homes.

Mutual Support Expands Opportunities for a Win-Win

We don’t know whether this massive work-from-home experiment will be temporary or morph into something that we’ll all have to adjust to going forward. Regardless, it doesn’t pay to be shortsighted. Business will continue to thrive through innovation — creativity doesn’t have to stop because of SIP. Employers can hold casual team meetings with a virtual whiteboard where everyone can brainstorm new solutions and contribute improvements and new ideas.

Managers can support employees, too, by keeping in mind that their career goals likely extend beyond just getting the work done. Are there opportunities for mentoring, skill building, and training, even in the remote workspace? Looking ahead keeps open the flow of a two-way street to better outcomes between employers and employees, and ultimately, to better business outcomes.

If you’re interested in finding out how Nelson can help with workforce planning or you need assistance with your job search, we’re here for you. Contact Nelson today.

We’re deep into the days of coronavirus. Our social feeds and email inboxes are bubbling over with tips, tricks, and advice on how to stay healthy, safe, and sane. With so many choices, we wanted to find a single source to help us sort through the options. And we found one.

We’re grateful to our business partner Brown & Brown Insurance, who, just like a genie in a bottle, immediately produced a great list of well-being apps, and we’re happy to share it with you. The list is categorized by addiction, caregiving, crisis, emotional, financial, fitness, preventative, and sleep and includes everything from free workouts and stress-reduction methods to financial education providers and even … wait for it … ways to stop touching your face.

Download Brown & Brown well-being resource list.

We’ve also come across some good sights and sounds that you might want to check out as well:

  1. State of California Resources for Emotional Support and Well-Being
  2. California Surgeon General’s Playbook: Stress Relief for Caregivers and Kids during COVID-19
  3. HuffPost: This Is Your Body and Brain on Coronavirus News
  4. Adweek: How Agencies Are Supporting Their Employees’ Mental Health
  5. Gretchen Rubin: Coping with COVID-19: This Difficult Time Reminds Me of Many of My Favorite Children’s Books.
  6. KQED Forum Interview with Rick Hanson on Building Resilience in a Pandemic
  7. Fresh Air: Need A Mental Escape? These Books Offer Solace In Troubled Times

At Nelson, we love to help great people find great work and help great employers find great employees. Contact us today to see how we can help.

By Leah Garrison

Getting bored with Zoom? Tired of walking the dog? While the nation shelters in place, this is a great time to update your LinkedIn profile – especially if you need to find work or want to change jobs when the coronavirus crisis ends. Your LinkedIn profile gives employers their first glimpse of you and your skills. That first impression matters a lot. So take an hour out of your quarantine day to give your profile some extra oomph. It’s worth it. Here are 7 tips to get you started.

  1. Make the right impression with the right pictures.

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so make sure your photos show you at your best. Use a recent photo that actually looks like you, and wear the type of clothes you normally wear to work. Use a close-up shot — your face should fill about 60% of the frame – and smile warmly. Then add a background photo to grab extra attention. Choose a photo that has meaning to you. It could be your cityscape, a piece of art you like, or a surfer riding a wave. A good background photo piques interest and gives people a little insight into you.

  1. Tell a story in your headline and summary.

In 6 or 7 words, write a headline under your name that goes beyond your job title. A medical writer becomes Medical Storyteller & Healthcare Maven. A sales person becomes Sales Leader & Strategic Business Partner. In your summary in the About box, tell your story in 50 words or less. How are you different than everyone else with your experience?

  1. Highlight your top skills and services.

Be strategic about which skills you list under your story in the About box. List only the skills most important to the job you want. No one will read a long list. Three or four is better than 10 or 12.

  1. Reach out for recommendations.

Most people you’ve worked with are happy to give you a shout out on LinkedIn. Make it easy for them. Ask if they would write a recommendation focusing on a specific skill, and tell them which one. Remind them of a project or accomplishment that they can mention if they want. It’s better to have 5 recommendations that each show a different side of you than 15 all saying the same thing.

  1. Share your work.

Your LinkedIn profile is not just your online resume, it’s also your brief portfolio. Post some of your work if you can. You might even make a short slideshow featuring content you’ve written or images with captions about key past projects. Sharing your work tells employers two things: You’re proud of what you’ve done, and you’re skilled enough to really do the job. That’s key to getting an interview.

  1. Follow important influencers in your field.

Relevant influencers put interesting content in your LinkedIn feed, which you can then share with your network. It’s a good way to show that you’re committed to your industry and staying on top of advances in your field.

  1. Add contact information.

Make it easy for people to reach you directly. Under Contact Info, you can add your personal email and phone if you wish, as well as links to websites that may feature your work. Your LinkedIn profile is all about showing people who you are, what you can do, and where to find you.

Want even more help with your job search? 

The Nelson team provides FREE resume reviews, can help with interview tips, and is happy to discuss our available positions. We’d love to talk with you! Contact your local Nelson office today.

As we continue to work remotely during shelter-in-place orders, many challenges that at  first seemed daunting are now familiar. Even though re-entry is on the horizon, physical distancing is likely here to stay, at least for the near future. As companies adjust to new work environments and protocols, many will continue to offer remote work options—and managers will continue to need strategies and tools for monitoring and managing their teams’ activity and productivity.

Working remotely isn’t a new concept. Organizations of all sizes were successfully using this model long before COVID-19 changed the work world. As greater numbers of employees work from home during the coming months, the definitions of how and where we work will be part of the cultural mind shift defining how we conduct business.

What should managers know about remote work environments as they revise their long-term strategies? Here are some best practices you can use both to support your teams and track their productivity.

Develop/Maintain an Environment of Trust

Establishing a culture of trust is critical for remote teams to be successful. By remaining focused on the work that needs to be accomplished, both employers and employees can measure success, despite the particulars of where the work is being done. Some teams new to remote work may need to proactively discuss the topic of trust and accountability in the new environment, while others may simply need to reinforce the measurements of success.

Hold Regular Team Meetings

Holding weekly or even daily team meetings keeps everyone up to speed on projects, keeps goals front of mind, and enhances accountability. But for remote teams, where spontaneous collaboration in the breakroom isn’t an option, regular check-ins are vital to mitigating the isolation of social distancing. The human element is essential to staying motivated and on task. It keeps co-workers “real” and demonstrates how each person’s contribution matters.

Have Regular 1:1s

Connect with direct reports via video conference for cadenced 1:1s. Having consistent face time with your team is crucial for building the trust needed for successful outcomes, especially when employees are working from home. It provides the opportunity to connect with individuals personally so you can understand what’s working and where they need more support. Feedback enables improvement on the individual, team, and business level. Employees are more motivated and committed to shared outcomes when they see you’re responsive to them and interested in their contributions.

Set Clear Deliverables

It’s easy to judge performance remotely when you set clear deliverables and deadlines for your employees. Setting clear expectations enhances employees’ productivity and allows them to structure their day so they can best meet objectives. Defined goals set up employees for self-accountability. This also helps cut down on the inclination of managers to constantly check on employees to ensure they’re working — a common tendency for first-time remote managers. If employees are getting their work done, they’re working. It’s that simple.

Measure Metrics that Matter

This will look different for every team. Take a look at what outcomes matter most for each individual and for your larger group’s success and measure those activities. Measure the items that will drive ROI or that tie back to each team member’s KPIs. This could be the number of qualified marketing leads brought in, the mean time to resolve IT tickets, or the accuracy and timeliness of producing financials or processing vendor invoices. 

Publicize Project Management

Visibility is a strong motivator. Use cloud-based project management software like Trello or Asana so team members can see what everyone is working on. Here you can assign tasks to people, monitor progress, and set deadlines. These platforms make it easier to see what each person is working on, facilitate multiple-project collaboration, and allow team members to track each other’s action items.

Ask Employees to Track Time

Some managers are overseeing remote teams for the first time. And while most fully remote companies advocate measuring outcomes not hours, it may be helpful to understand how your employees are spending their time. If that’s the case, ask workers to use time tracking software to keep tabs on their work hours and assignments. This holds employees accountable, motivating them to stay on task, and it puts your mind at ease knowing exactly how your team is spending their time.

Adjusting to the new remote workplace can be challenging. This shift can be especially tricky when you’re managing a team. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. 

Contact Nelson today to learn about how we can support your staffing needs so you have one less thing to worry about.

How we work, why we work, can we work … ? These questions have new meaning in light of coronavirus and shelter-in-place restrictions. Many people are working longer hours than before, while others find their work days turned upside down with less or even no work.

But no matter what our work situation, it seems that across the board, many, many Americans are watching their screen of choice.

So here’s a short list of great movies that focus on work life in America. There are of course countless other standout films on the same topic, but if you haven’t seen these memorable ones, they’re worth a look. Thanks to Google for the movie descriptions and thumbs-up ratings. Happy movie watching!

Cinderella Man

PG-13 ‧ 2005 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 25m ‧ Google users: 92% liked this movie
During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).

The Devil Wears Prada

PG-13  ‧ 2006 ‧ Comedy/Comedy-drama ‧ 1h ‧ Google users: 93% liked this movie
Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she finds herself the assistant to diabolical editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Andy questions her ability to survive her grim tour as Miranda’s whipping girl without getting scorched.

Glengarry Glen Ross

R ‧ 1992 ‧ Drama/Adaptation ‧ 1h 40m ‧ Google users: 82% liked this movie
When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.

The Internship

PG-13 ‧ 2013 ‧ Comedy ‧ 1h 59m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
After old-school salesmen Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) find themselves downsized, Billy decides that, despite their complete lack of technological savvy, they should work for Google. The friends somehow manage to finagle internships at the Internet giant and promptly head out to Silicon Valley. Viewed with disdain by most of their fellow interns, Billy and Nick join forces with the rest of the misfit “nooglers” to make it through a series of competitive team challenges

Jerry Maguire

R 1996 Romance/Sport 2h 19m Google users: 90% liked this movie
When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that promptly gets him fired. Desperate to hang on to the athletes that he represents, Jerry starts his own management firm, with only single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) joining him in his new venture. Banking on their sole client, football player Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Jerry and Dorothy begin to fall in love as they struggle to make their business work.


PG-13 ‧ 2011 ‧ Sport/Drama ‧ 2h 13m ‧ Google users: 91% liked this movie
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A’s, one day has an epiphany: Baseball’s conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labeled as flawed, but have game-winning potential. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.

Pursuit of Happyness

PG-13 ‧ 2006 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 57m ‧ Google users: 95% liked this movie

Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

Tommy Boy

PG-13 1995 Comedy/Buddy  ‧ 1h 37m  Google users: 89% liked this movie

After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky, Ohio. His brand new stepmother, Beverly (Bo Derek), wants to cash out and close, but Tommy’s sentimental attachment to his father’s employees spurs him to make one last-ditch effort to find someone who will buy their products. With his father’s tightly wound assistant, Richard (David Spade), in tow, Tommy hits the road to scare up some new clients.

Up In the Air

R 2009 Drama/Comedy-drama 1h 49m Google users: 84% liked this movie

An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), so he takes her on a tour to demonstrate the importance of face-to-face meetings with those they must fire. While mentoring his colleague, he arranges hookups with another frequent-flier (Vera Farmiga), and his developing feelings for the woman prompt him to see others in a new light.

Working Girl

R ‧ 1988 ‧ Romance/Drama ‧ 1h 56m ‧ 85% liked this movie

Savvy New York City receptionist Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gives her conniving boss, Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), an excellent business tip, but Katharine simply steals the idea without giving due credit to her secretary. After Katharine winds up in the hospital with an injured leg, Tess decides to exact revenge. Pretending to be her boss, Tess initiates a major deal with an investment broker (Harrison Ford) — but things turn ugly after Katharine finds out what Tess has been up to.

We love to watch movies, but our specialty is helping great people find great work and helping great employers find great employees. Contact us today!

By Julia Davis, Executive Recruiter, Nelson

As America has become more accustomed to a life of sheltering in place, most employers and employees have pivoted and settled into their new reality of working from home. There have been challenges for sure: quickly issuing laptops to employees, setting up people on video conferencing, and adjusting how workflow is supervised. A majority of Nelson clients have smoothly transitioned to working remotely, and it’s pretty much business as usual. However, there is one striking exception: onboarding new employees in a remote work environment.

How can you onboard a new employee when everyone is working from home?

Believe it or not, many employers are bringing on new employees despite the remote work situation. For many, work hasn’t lessened or slowed down just because teams are working from home, and if a company is hiring, it’s likely there is too much work spread across too few employees, so bringing on new team members makes sense. Through our discussions with several clients and HR experts, we’ve identified 6 best practices to help clients onboard new employees, even while sheltering in place.

  1. Technology is your friend. With access to the right technology at home, employees remain productive, can connect with colleagues, and successfully get their work done. When hiring a new employee who is starting their new job from a remote location, it’s recommended that the employer ship essentials, such as a laptop, monitor, and keyboard, along with set-up instructions at least several days before the employee’s start date. An IT or Ops team member should call the new employee early on Day 1 to guide the newbie on the company’s systems and software. Some companies will allocate a budget for new employees to purchase home office items, such as an ergonomic chair, printer, or other office supplies, so they can comfortably work from home.
  2. Create a memorable first day. You might not able to take the new employee to lunch, but you can organize a festive, virtual welcome lunch or breakfast with the team.  One way to make the first day special is to send a welcome package for the new employee to open during the welcome party. You might include company SWAG, a bottle of champagne, a gift card, or comical tips from each employee on light topics, such as “How to survive working at ABC company.”  Another idea is to order breakfast or lunch and have it delivered to the new employee’s home.
  3. Schedule regular check-ins. Many employers follow the best practice of scheduling a daily check-in between the supervisor and new employee. Some companies recommend a 15-minute morning check-in along with an end-of-day check-in for the first two weeks. This gives a new employee plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get guidance to ensure they’re on the right track. It allows supervisors to address challenges or roadblocks in a timely manner.
  4. Assign a buddy. Pair the new employee with a colleague who can be the go-to person if the new person has questions or gets stuck. Knowing there’s a resource available to answer questions or provide guidance can reduce the stress associated with a new job.
  5. Create an FAQ sheet. Provide a document that has contact information and other resources the new employee might need. Ask recently hired employees to recommend information that should be included on the FAQ.
  6. Establish Week 1 goals. Clearly communicate the concrete goals you expect the employee to accomplish during Week 1. This list might include having 1:1s with key team members, gaining access to systems, setting up trainings, reading company policies, or reviewing last year’s financial statements. Having a clear to-do list allows the employee to continue being productive if they hit a roadblock on one task. A concrete set of goals also enables a supervisor to measure the employee’s progress.

Of course, implementing these tips requires some extra time and resources, and frequently, the reality is time and resources are in short supply. But if your team’s workload is daunting, and you need to hire asap, these tips should help you successfully onboard a new employee despite the remote work environment.

Nelson helps companies recruit and hire employees who will make the right impact, whether they be working from home or working on-site. If you’d like more information on how we can assist with building your teams, contact us today. We’re here to help.

Fast Company

We’re working from home. Talking from home. Reporting, and meeting, and Zooming from home. And the internet trolls know it. During the COVID-19 crisis, malicious intruders are seeping into our personal and work lives in ways that disrupt, embarrass, and, in more severe situations, put privileged personal and company information at risk.

What’s Happening?

The new zoombombing phenomena happens when uninvited participants hack their way into a Zoom or other video conference in progress and post graphic images, make racial slurs, or create other interruptions. Stories abound of meetings being “bombed” and hastily ended to stop the intrusion.

Companies also report increased incidents of phishing, the practice of sending malevolent emails that get readers to give away personal information, credit card numbers, etc.

Why Now?

The spike in internet bad behavior reflects the growing popularity of video meetings resulting from shelter-in-place orders. According to Zoom, the company had a record 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019. In March the number skyrocketed to 200 million daily meeting participants. And Zoom wasn’t prepared.

According to the New York Times, Zoom has “a default setting that allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from an event’s host. Anyone who has a link to a public meeting can join. Links to public Zooms are traded in Facebook Groups and Discord chats, and are easily discoverable on Twitter and public event pages.”

Which means the default settings make it easy for hackers to find you, join your meeting, and create problems.

What You Can Do

To keep you meeting private, you must take a few steps to protect yourself, including setting up waiting rooms, using a meeting lock, and limiting the number of people who can screen share.

A CNBC article explains: “A waiting room is a virtual place where people gather before a Zoom meeting, allowing the host to vet each one of them before allowing them into the live meeting. Hosts can set up a waiting room by default for every meeting you with a control in Zoom’s web settings

A meeting lock stops newcomers from joining once everyone you were expecting has arrived. To turn on that feature, click the “manage participants” button at the bottom of the Zoom application window, hit “more” in the participants pane near the bottom right corner of the window, and select “lock meeting.”

A meeting host can stop anyone else from taking control of what everyone sees and sharing a stream of what’s on their computer screen. You can enable that restriction from the Zoom web settings.

Also, you can better manage disruptions if you do not make the meeting public and don’t share meeting links on your social media accounts.

On its website, Zoom offers a full selection of support, from live demos, DIY tutorials, and reading materials.

Additionally, the company encourages users to make Waiting Rooms the default setting, as follows

  1. Sign into your account in the Zoom Web Portal and access the Settings tab.
  2. Click on the In Meeting (Advanced) option.
  3. Search or scroll to find the Waiting Room option.
  4. Toggle the button next to the Waiting Room to enable this feature.
  5. After enabling the Waiting Room feature, you can choose to send all participants to the Waiting Room when they join or to send only guest participants (external accounts) to the Waiting Room. You can also allow other internal participants to admit guests from the Waiting Room if the host is not yet in the meeting.

Be on the Lookout for Phishing

As our country works from home is, phishing incidents are increasing as well. The Federal Trade Commission provides these four steps to help keep you safe:

  1. Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
  2. Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
  3. Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:
  • Something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app.
  • Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
  • Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
  1. Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.

With a little attention to details, you can make your meetings safer and your work-from-home experience more secure.

At Nelson, we’re here to help with your staffing or job search needs. Contact us today.