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Written by: Janet Hueglin Hartwick
When I give a talk or lead a training session, I like to ask leaders “What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received for your work?” While the answers can vary, what all the ‘best’ examples have in common is how meaningful each compliment was to the employee. Recognizing a team member with a compliment, a thank you or a “keep up the good work” all serve the same purpose – to convey the message “we value you and your work.” But as many HR pros can attest, leaders can be reluctant to give employees recognition, missing the opportunity to deliver what could have been a positive conversation.
Recognition is a Need Not a Want
It’s been said that “Waiting for validation from others is like waiting for never to arrive.” This might be true if you are expecting your co-workers to notice a new haircut, but when it comes to work performance, staff need feedback to validate they are doing what’s expected.
Some leaders openly chastise a team member’s need for recognition. But isn’t it possible some employees are actually looking for reassurance instead? Acknowledging an employee’s work is more than a ‘thank you’, it tells them if they are meeting, and perhaps exceeding, their leader’s expectations. This feedback is critical for staff to feel invested and feel psychologically safe to give their best.
Three Tips to Consider When Recognizing an Employee
1. Conversation vs. Statement
Recognizing a job well done with an employee as a statement without the expectation of a conversation is like giving a gift and forgetting to wrap it first. It reduces the value of what you’re offering and poor delivery will likely be what’s remembered. Some leaders get nervous and try to rush through the discussion without giving the employee a chance to reply. It’s important to give your team members the opportunity to talk about the recognition they have earned. Ask open-ended questions that encourage self-awareness. New research shows “self-disclosure - revealing personal information to others - produces the highest level of activation in neural regions associated with motivation and reward.” In fact, “sharing information gained through personal experiences can lead to performance advantages by enabling teamwork and shared responsibility for memory.”
2. Personal vs. General
When’s the last time an employee said, “I received a group email today thanking me for my hard work. It really meant a lot to me”? Leaders know it’s more effective to offer individual recognition yet many rush to get it done rather than get it right. Here’s why this matters: personalized feedback creates an emotional connection which will be better remembered – longer, and with more clarity – than a group compliment. It is the equivalent of adding a Post-it note that says “Remember this!”
3. Spontaneous vs. Prescribed
When staff participate in a performance review there’s an expectation they will hear positive and constructive feedback. This can water down the meaning of a compliment, even if it’s well deserved. There is something about an impromptu conversation that makes what is said more memorable. If you really want your talk to engage your employee’s brain leave the office and go outside, sit in a coffee shop or take a stroll. Changes from your usual surroundings will offer more sticking power to the recognition you’re about to give.
The benefits of offering spontaneous recognition can boost an entire organization. Tom Rath, coauthor of How Full Is Your Bucket?, says a “positive leader” “[walks] around the office, [makes] calls, or [writes] e-mails, they are always trying to catch excellence in action. When they spot a job well done, they call attention to what is right. This in turn raises the entire organization's productivity.”
Recognition should not be rationed out like sugar during wartime. Some leaders believe staff should do their job and “not expect a thank you”. In other words, they are paid to do their work so why receive recognition for doing what is expected. This outdated notion is as appropriate as smoking cigarettes in the lunchroom. Employees should not be penalized for wanting their hard work to be acknowledged. This is a natural expectation of a high functioning employee. Cranky people managers are the ones who need to change and lead better conversations with their staff.
Written by: Saeed Sadooghi
Search engines play an important role in the decision-making process. When people are looking for a vacation destination, a new home or even someone to date, they often begin their search online. And the same rings true when job seekers are looking for their next employer.
With millions of job postings on search engines – not to mention, millions of job seekers – how can companies ensure that they’re attracting the right candidates? It begins with effective job content. Having a quality job title and description improves the chances of people finding your job opening, clicking on it for more information, and finally – hitting the apply button.
Indeed recently presented a webinar with CPHR Alberta, “A Recruiter’s Guide to Content Strategy,” and uncovered 10 tips to optimize your job content to attract top talent. Let’s take a look.
1. Capture job seekers’ attention
Pique job seekers’ interest by opening your job description with a strong, attention-grabbing paragraph. The job description should depict your company’s personality while at the same time communicating what makes the role exciting.
It might be difficult to describe a role or profession that differs from your own. The best way to overcome this challenge is to interview people that are currently doing the job. Or, enlist the marketing team to help with the copywriting and get feedback from other recruiters.
Steer clear of generic job descriptions – make it as informative as possible to give job seekers an accurate depiction of what the job entails.
2. Target and be precise
Your job description should contain keywords that will perform well in search, and job titles should describe the main aspect of the role. For example, the title “senior software engineer” will perform better than “software engineer 3,” as it is less ambiguous and job seekers are more likely to search using this title.
If you’re unsure about what keywords to include, visit Indeed’s Trends to learn the top performing search terms for various fields.
3. Be open
Your job description is a chance to shine and sell your company to prospective candidates. Include an overview of your company including the benefits and any perks that you offer.
Some companies struggle to determine how transparent they should be. For example, whether or not to include salary information. This is an opportunity to start measuring variations of your job postings – if you find you’re getting a higher bounce rate on your posting with salary information, remove this piece of information and see if it starts performing better.
4. Make every word count
The old adage, “less is more” applies here. Provide relevant details and don’t be afraid to delete portions of the job description that you feel don’t provide necessary information.
Character count is key. In fact, job posts receive an average of 30% more applies when the description is 700 to 2,000 characters. When it comes to job titles, they should be 60 characters or less for desktop, and shouldn’t exceed 35 characters for mobile.
5. Avoid Jargon
Most people search by job title, so when crafting your job title and descriptions – think like a job seeker. Avoid using internal jargon, acronyms or ambiguous terms. For example, if you’re hiring a “social media specialist”, call it that and avoid using wacky titles such as “social media wizard”.
6. Be honest
You want to ensure that people have a full understanding of what the job entails. That said, don’t exaggerate or underplay the responsibilities of the role. If you’re looking to fill a marketing manager role where 80% of the employee’s time will be spent on social media, describe the role as being primarily social media focused. This will help you reach candidates who are skilled in this area.
If job seekers know that they are unable to fill the requirements, they are more likely to self-disqualify, removing the burden from you.
7. Learn from others
Perusing job descriptions for similar roles can be helpful. Take a look at what your competitors are including in their job descriptions to get a sense of how they’re describing a certain role and selling their company.
Of course, you don’t want to copy them, but it’s always good to stay abreast of the competition. You might pick up on some interesting approaches and styles or see how you can differentiate yourself.
8. Keep it simple
Remember – less is more. Keeping it simple can go a long way. Don’t over format the job description, inundating it with a lot of bullet points and subheadings. And don’t feel obligated to fill white space. Only include the most integral information.
9. Test everything
When trying new job titles and descriptions, test everything. Understanding what delivers more traffic and candidates and better hires will help you gauge what is – and isn’t – working.
There are three ways to start testing your job content:
- Contact Indeed’s Client Services team to arrange a test campaign. The team will help you analyze your job content and make recommendations for improvement
- Leverage your applicant tracking system to test various job titles and descriptions
- Work with your marketing team to get ideas on the best way to test ideas, content and campaigns
10. Audit and Proofread
It’s important to monitor the performance of your job content and ensure that it’s up to date, user-friendly, well-maintained and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Sloppy mistakes can reduce your credibility and tarnish your employer brand.
Written by: Janet Hueglin Hartwick
CPHR Alberta is proud of our industry partnerships – they provide high-quality data and insights from thought leaders. The following blog post from Indeed is a great example of this thought leadership.
Written by: Krista McIntosh, ACTivate HR