Category Archives: Employer Tips

Don’t Be “Too Slow” To Hire

Recruiters today are finding themselves in a highly candidate driven market.  In order to hire the people you need, you may be required to adopt different strategies and tactics to effectively attract and hire new talent.

A 2017 recruiting trends report from Top Echelon, based on input from more than 5,000 recruiters, pointed to two key sources of stress for recruiters:

  • Sourcing qualified candidates (35%);
  • Clients who are too slow to make offers (30.8%)

Being too slow to make offers and hire employees is particularly troubling when the most common complaint  is that “there aren’t enough candidates to pick from.”  Clearly, moving quickly to make a hiring decision and extend an offer is critical.

Use Social Media

It’s also critical for employers to have a firm grasp of what appeals to today’s most sought-after candidates. Millennials are projected to make up over half of the workforce by 2020 and they are currently the most sought after employees.  Ashira Prossack, CEO of Millennial Mastermind, a consulting firm that helps bridge the gap between employers and millennials, says that “Companies and recruiters must reevaluate their hiring strategies to attract this younger generation of workers.”  That means moving beyond traditional recruitment methods to connect with candidates on the platforms they use the most.  You need jobs to be posted on multiple social media sites rather than relying exclusively on job boards.  Because this generation lives on their mobile devices, they expect to be able to apply for jobs quickly and easily through their smartphones.  Therefore, creating a mobile-optimized app to maximize recruiting efficiency is a top priority.

For HR professionals, a good starting point for determining the type of adjustments needed is to conduct an internal audit or analysis to determine:

  • Average time-to-hire, by position or job category:
  • Number/percentage of opt-outs or incompletes during online application process;
  • Ratio of accepted-versus-rejected offers and reasons for rejection.

In each of these areas, it can be helpful to analyze results based on various types of jobs, such as by department, by manager, by position, for hard-to-recruit positions, by type of application (email vs. desktop vs. mobile), ect.

Recognizing that time-to-hire is critical in a candidates’ market, anything that HR can do to help streamline the applicant review, interview and offer process can go a long way toward boosting the odds that your most desired candidates are likely to accept your offer.


Employee Benefits: How to Keep Up and Stand Out

Traditional employee benefits have long been the cornerstone of benefit packages. While traditional employee benefits will remain a staple, their power to “wow” prospective employees is becoming overshadowed by more outside the box benefits.  As you strive to  keep up and stand out in the employment market, the impression of your benefits package will be mostly defined by the unique benefits you offer.

When considering how to invest in employee benefits in a way that helps you attract and retain great people, it’s important to start by considering what your target employees truly value. For example, Millennial workers are more open to paying high-deductible health plans and likely to appreciate the value of Health Savings Accounts. On the other hand, they are not likely to put emphasis on long term disability.

At various stages of life, people appreciate things differently. In my experience, the prevailing soft benefit among people is flexibility. It comes in many forms depending on organizational structure and culture.  The knowledge that an employer will extend whatever flexibility it can to help employees balance life situations with work is an important foundation.  Families with young children are seeking more flexibility in order to balance the demands of childcare. Likewise, other families face concerns over elder care which may come with the same or greater demands. Studies have also found that 35% of millennials would take a pay cut in order to work remotely.

In my company, we start our annual business planning by asking employees to list their top 10 goals for the year.  We’ve even extended that conversation into the interview process when it makes sense. I remind people that we are working to live, so it makes sense to start with life goals when creating the goals and plans of the business.

Consider your employees or prospective employees situations. How can you add value to their lives?  I see more companies offering employee benefits including unlimited time off, hiatus, remote working opportunities, and various wellness programs including financial wellness like student loan repayment and mortgage programs.  No one company is the same so it’s important to know your people and what is important to them and then customize a benefits package that serves them best.

I’d love to hear about your most outside the box employee benefit! Join the conversation or email me at

2014 Hiring and HR Trends

 NCMCC 2014 North Central Massachusetts Hiring & HR Trends Survey

August 2014

Welcome to the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce 2014 Hiring and HR Trends study.  The objecSve of this study was to gauge annual senior level business and non-­‐profit perspectives on emerging hiring and HR trends and issues in our region.

The survey results will assist business and non-­‐profit executives that are navigating the complex challenges of a connected economy, interconnected supply chain partners and customers. In addition, the survey results will suggest how executives are leading their organizational response to the pressure to innovate and lead in this digitally connected world. The results will also assist businesses and organizations as they set compensation and benefits plans. Firms can now compare and contrast their compensation and benefit plans with the results from this survey resulting in a better of understanding of differences from offerings at similar firms.

This study was designed and administered by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (NCMCC) Leadership Council Member and Fitchburg State University School of Business & Technology Professor Mike Greenwood, PhD, in cooperation with NCMCC. Dr. Greenwood also serves on the NCMCC Community Leadership Institute steering committee.


David McKeehan President & CEO

North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce


NCMCC Research Steering Committee:  Maria McCaffery, Events and Program Manager, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce

Melissa Glenny, President, Franklin Professional Associates

Michael T. Greenwood, PhD, Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Fitchburg State University School of Business & Technology

Keith Lanzilotti, Owner, Well-­‐Being Total Home Care


Overview of Hiring and HR Trends Survey Results for 2014

  • The survey respondents were 85% profit and 15% non-­‐profit.
  • 44.2% of respondents reported having 1-­‐10 employees. Greater than 50 employees at 22.1% is second.
  • Generally the outlook for overall region hiring trends is rated as good (36.9%) to very good (21.4%)
  • 69% of businesses reported that they plan to hire new employees in the next 12 months. The raw data based on an aggregate of all responses indicates 222 full time and 228 part time.
  • 17.1% of firms responded that they pay from $10.00 -­‐ $10.99 per hour. Another 17.1% pays greater than $20.00 per hour to start. Only 1.3% paid $8.00.
  • Overall firms were split on the issue of supporting the minimum wage with 51.9% in favor of raising the state minimum wage and 48.1% opposed to raising the minimum wage. For those firms that supported raising the minimum wage (51.9%) the average was $10.76 per hour and the range was $8.25 to $15.00. At the time of the survey the Massachusetts legislature was voting to change the state minimum wage to $9.00 eff. 1/1/15, $10.00 eff. 1/1/16, $11.00. 1/1/17. The legislation was subsequently signed into law.
  • During job interviews the top five most important factors that employers look for in a candidate are Ability to work in a team 4.4,  Creative Problem Solving 4.3,  Confidence 4.1,  Critical Thinking 4.1,  Passion 4.1
    • The business degree was the degree most demanded by employers with 41.9% wanting a Business degree from new hires. Liberal Arts was the second most in demand degree with 11.6% respectively.
    • Company culture is shaped most by ethics (4.6), personal accountability (4.4), having Collaborative Environment (4.2), and purpose and mission (3.9). Least impact was diversity at 3.5
  • The following benefits were offered by 50% of more of participants: 79% offered Medical insurance, 70% Annual salary increases, 66% 401(k) retirement plan, 63% Dental insurance, 61% Long term disability, 61% Life insurance, 60% Casual dress policy, 51% More than two weeks vacation (earned).

To receive a length detailed report of this survey, contact Melissa Glenny at 978-534-2422  or via email to

If you have any questions about this survey please contact the survey administrator, Michael T. Greenwood, PhD. Dr Greenwood can be reached at or you may call him directly at 978-660-5647.


Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Law provides job-protected leave from work to victims of domestic violence.

A Bill adopted by the Massachusetts State Legislature by emergency preamble on August 1, 2014 was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on August 8, 2014 and is effective  immediately. The Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Law requires employers with 50 or more employees to grant up to 15 days of leave per 12-months of employment if the employee, or a family member of the employee, is a victim of “abusive behavior” (defined as domestic violence, criminal stalking, or sexual assault) and the employee is using the leave to address related issues.

An employee may take leave to seek or obtain medical attention, to obtain counseling, to obtain a protective order in court, to appear in court or before a grand jury, to meet with the district attorney or other law enforcement official about the abusive behavior, to attend child custody proceedings, or to otherwise address issues directly related to abusive behavior against the employee or the employee’s family member, among other reasons.

The employer can determine whether the leave is paid or unpaid. An employee is required to exhaust available vacation, personal, and sick time before taking domestic violence leave, unless the employer waives this requirement.

Employees must provide appropriate advance notice of the need for leave, unless there is a threat of imminent danger. If there is such a threat, the employee may take the leave, provided the employee or the employee’s representative (such as a family member or the employee’s counselor, social worker, health care worker, a member of the clergy, shelter worker, or legal advocate) provides notice of the leave within three working days after the employee takes the leave. Further, if an unscheduled absence occurs in this manner, the law prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against the employee, provided the employee submits documentation supporting the need for leave within 30 days of the leave of absence.

Valid documentation that will support leave under this law includes a protective order issued by a court, a letter from the court or agency addressing the abusive behavior, a police report, medical documentation of treatment as a result of the abusive behavior, a sworn statement signed under pains and penalties of perjury provided by a counselor, social worker, health care worker, member of the clergy, shelter work, legal advocate or professional who has assisted the employee in addressing the abusive behavior, or a sworn statement signed under the penalties of perjury from the employee attesting that he or she had been the victim of abusive behavior, or that a family member has been a victim of abusive behavior

Further, the law states that any documentation provided to an employer supporting the leave may be maintained by the employer in the employee’s employment record, but only for as long as required for the employer to make a determination as to whether the employee is eligible for leave under this law.

In addition, an employer must keep all information regarding the employee’s leave under the new law confidential and an employer shall not disclose the information except if requested to or consented, in writing, by the employee or ordered to be released by a court or otherwise required by applicable state or federal law.

Significantly, the law states that no employer shall coerce or interfere with any of the rights provided to employees under this law. In addition, an employer is prohibited from discharging or in any other manner discriminating against an employee for exercising his or her rights under this law. Moreover, taking leave protected under the law shall not result in the loss of any employment benefit incurred prior to the date upon which the leave commenced. In addition, upon the employee’s return from such leave, the employee must be restored to his or her original job or an equivalent position.

Finally, covered employers must notify employees of their rights and responsibilities under the law. To satisfy this requirement, employers should consider developing a written policy regarding domestic violence leave. Employers also should consider distributing or posting a stand-alone notice of the right to the leave to all Massachusetts employees.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office is empowered to enforce the law. In addition, an employee who has been retaliated against for seeking leave, or otherwise exercising his or her rights under the law, is entitled to bring a civil action seeking injunctive relief, lost wages and benefits, and other damages against the employer. Significantly, under Massachusetts law, any employee who prevails on such a claim is entitled to mandatory triple damages and attorneys’ fees.

At this time, it is unclear if the Attorney General’s Office will issue regulations or enforcement guidance on the new leave law. Employers with operations in Massachusetts should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance.

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Vacation and Health

The importance of vacation to our physical and mental health

Vacations have the potential to break the human stress cycle.  Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have some sort of stress in our lives.  Whether it be work (or lack thereof), family, friends, finances, or a miscellaneous side project, no one can deny the want to “get away from it all” every once in a while.  In general, stressors take a toll on our bodies and our minds.  When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to get sick, sleep less, and be unable to digest food as well. Mentally, you can become more irritable, depressed, and anxious.

It is the break in the routine that gives us the energy to return to reality with a clear mind and ready to take on the tasks we left behind.  It is rest, recuperation, new experiences, social interactions, time spent with family, creativity, and personal time and development that rejuvenate our souls.

Development and maintenance of personal relationships is a huge factor when it comes to de stressing.  The realization of a strong connection with another person is enough to put other stress factors into perspective.  Vacations promote shared experiences, which in turn give depth to relationships with the people you’re spending time with.  It is the shared memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work, and so on) that help to develop these ties. Though family vacations can have their own share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks.

There a few necessary steps to take in order to ensure that your vacation decreases your stress levels.  The most important thing: do not feel guilty that you are away on vacation.  To enjoy it, remind yourself that you deserve it and use the time to energize and refresh yourself.  It is also important that you do not feel guilty for checking your work or personal email while you’re away.  Everyone is different, and if it makes things easier to not come back to an overflowing inbox, that’s understandable.

Make your vacation an adventure.  Whether you’re going somewhere you’ve never been, or somewhere that feels like a second home, embrace the freedom of time and sleeping in and laughing.  Vacations improve your mood and your quality of life, which in turn improve your performance at work and in other areas of life when you return.   Time is one of the few things in life we can never get back, so don’t forget to spend a little bit of it revitalizing yourself!




Top 3 tips to make yourself attractive to a recruiter

Have you ever considered having a professional seek out your dream job for you while you continue to work in your current position? That’s the purpose of working with a recruiter as a passive candidate and most professionals owe at least experience to the help of a recruiter. A good recruiter can be a real asset especially to the career minded person.

Recruiters are by nature highly curious creatures. They can quickly become a best friend or at least a career confidante- so it seems. It’s important to keep in mind that they actually work for the hiring organizations and it’s their job to get the down-low on candidates they represent. Honesty is always a must but you need to keep in mind that it is a business relationship so remember to play your cards.  Here are 6 tips to getting and keeping the attention of a recruiter so that he or she will happily and whole-heartedly put her energy into you.

Don’t CALL

Recruiters are seeking out talent that is hard to find and they expect to “hunt”. The best way to begin a relationship with a recruiter is to use your industry contacts, peers or prior managers, college alumni database and your LinkedIn contacts for a direct referral to a recruiter.

They also make a high volume of planned out-going calls every day therefore an incoming call that is not precisely timely or planned can feel like an interruption. Most prefer email as an initial contact. Make sure that email is clear, concise and has a resume attached. Make sure the subject line of your email states your name and current expertise or ideal position.

Put yourself where you will be FOUND

If you are career minded and you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one today!  When recruiters conduct Google searches on potential candidates, LinkedIn profiles come out on top.

Your LinkedIn profile also needs to reflect a professional image, be up to date and thorough. There is nothing worse than a profile with little or no detail.  This is an indication of your attention to detail and so it can be a red flag if not done correctly.

It is an added bonus to join groups of interest and include details in things like books you are reading to give a little insight into your personality and interests.

Build a relationship BEFORE you need it.

A search using a recruiter averages about 6 months depending on your profession. I hear candidates say “I’m gainfully and happily employed so now is not a good time” and this is a common error. We live in a fragile economic world and you never know when you will need your recruiter. Begin building your relationship (trust most importantly) and offer referrals in the meantime. By the time you really need your recruiters help, she will be indebted to you.


Why you can’t fix your turnover problem

Some turnover is necessary and good. A rule of thumb is to keep a rate of approximately 15%. Many business leaders and managers have experienced rates well beyond 15%.  Frustration and cost that go along with a high rate of turnover can just about bring a department or business to its knees.  As a professional in the staffing industry for the last 14 years, I am sharing what I have learned that works, and what does not work. The greater part of my work with organizations large and small has centered on solutions specifically designed to improve turnover.  Turnover is one of the pain points that bring companies to engage the services of a staffing agency.  The results: It’s not uncommon to improve turnover from 50% to 20% within one quarter in volume staffing situations where the level can be measured within a short time frame. In other cases, we have companies who experienced 2 to 3 years of constant turnover in 1 or 2 specific positions within the company and we brought that buck to a stop- finally having placements that have lasted 2 to 3 years and counting. In still other cases, we’ve been a part a year-long struggle with little to no gains.  So why the difference?

The simple truth is that recruiting solutions only solve recruiting problems. Turnover problems require turnover solutions. It sounds like a no-brainer but true turnover problems are tagged remarkably often as “requiring better recruiting”.  It’s no wonder the results are disappointing.

Part of the reason this happens is because an improper recruiting process will in effect create turnover. The important thing to note is that while the problem manifests in higher turnover, the real problem is recruiting. These are the cases where recruiting solutions are successful and you’ll see the results quickly. The results show quickly because turnover that is resulting from the recruiting process (or lack thereof) allows people into the company and/or into positions that they never should have been hired for. You know these situations: it’s clear from day one that the person does not have the needed skills, they are not dependable, and they don’t work well with the team. When this happens, it’s not hard to identify almost immediately.  This is a mis-hire and the fix lies with recruiting.

To illustrate the difference between turnover that results from a recruiting problem and a true turnover problem, let me propose another scenario. An employee impresses everyone through the interview process and as she begins in her role, things look positive. The boss is pleased with her demonstrated abilities, she is engaged, enthusiastic, and acclimating well to the team. Then as weeks and months go by, something starts to change.  There is a flag, then two and the shift continues while communication becomes challenging, results suffer, and misalignment and frustration mounts for everyone. What most commonly ends up happening is that she quits. Actually, I mean she quits, but she keeps showing up for work.

“Warm-chair attrition” as it’s called has been reported to exist at levels up to 50-75%. Studies show peak levels being reported in 2009 as the economic crisis and rising unemployment were in full swing. One might think that as the unemployment was rising, the ever-lucky employed people would have been thrilled to be hanging on to their jobs.  Well almost. Unfortunately the “chair-warmers” continue to appreciate the paycheck, but essentially, they’ve already quit.

In coining the “chair-warmer” title, I am not at all trying to say these are bad people. Everyone has experienced a point in life when they just felt like finally giving up on something. Most of us at some time, at least for one day or part of a day, would have to admit, we were warming the chair. It happens to the best of us and the key is to recognize and correct it when it happens.

Bosses ultimately have the power and responsibility to create the right environment that supports proper retention. Remember the saying “People quit their boss, not their job.”?  On the flip side, haven’t you seen people willing to make great sacrifices and achieve astounding results because they were inspired and happy to follow their leader? For good, or for bad, things always go both ways.

Turnover in its true form is what happens when balance is tipped in the wrong direction. To fix it, you must rebalance. This is not an event and we certainly hope not a recruiting event.  An “out with the old, in with the new” approach might seem like a quick fix but it will keep you coming back to square one until you understand what is throwing the balance off.  Solving turnover problems for the long-run is a continuous journey. There may be some sharp turns and bumps but not to worry, just stay in the driver seat.

2 Key Questions to Create a Loyal Team

The days of a 30 year tenure are a thing of the past for most people and companies. That doesn’t mean that we should give up on the notion of loyalty. In the current “gig-mindset” inspired by the emerging workforce, loyalty is not about length of service so much as it is about what drives a person to go the extra mile.

Essentially it boils down to greater quality, not necessarily quantity. Loyalty means working longer hours when needed, challenging status quo, investing ones own creative energy to innovate and referring customers and employees as some examples. These are the things that set apart a satisfied employee from a loyal one.

How are you creating a platform for loyalty in your company? Here’s a path of questioning to get you started:

1. What key point was the deciding factor for the last person you hired? And the one before that? And before that? You get the idea. The value in understanding this is the ability to feature these points in your recruiting marketing messages and to keep them in the forefront of your employees minds. You might call it your employment branding message.

2. What was the key point that convinced your last employee to leave your company? And again, the one before that? This is insightful information to keep a pulse on so that you can properly identify candidates who will align well with your company as well as identifying areas where you can improve your environment to have a higher level of attraction to people.

When you have an understanding of these factors that are impacting peoples decisions to join or to leave your company, you can really begin to know what is building employee motivation and what is hindering it. With this understanding you can plan and take action to amplify the good and rectify the not-so-good. It’s all about continuously improving.

To greater success!