Changing the Language in Job Ads Could Help Bring More Women Into Tech

Over 90 companies, including HP, Accenture, Cisco, and Dell, have signed up to a collective Tech Talent Charter, which aims to promote greater gender diversity in the UK’s tech workforce. The charter, which has also received funding from the British government, pledges to bring companies together to address the industry’s diversity problem—only 17% of tech and telecom workers in Britain are women.

To that end, charter members promise to make tangible changes in how they recruit, retrain, and retain women, by liaising with other firms and getting help from non-profit organizations like Code First Girls.

One simple but effective way to attract more women to tech jobs is to change the language in job ads (pdf). (For more, click here.)

The language used in vacancy announcements can make a huge difference in who ends up in the candidate pool for any given job. What have you seen done to help ensure that the vacancy announcement is a help, not a hindrance, to finding the best quality employees for your agency?

How to Bridge the Generation Gap

If there is one common challenge facing public sector organizations today, it’s this: A growing crisis in staffing levels due to accelerating retirement rates and continued tight budgets.

Two statistics show the significance of these factors:

  • As of mid-2014, there were 500,000 fewer local government employees nationwide than in 2008.
  • In some state agencies, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2017.

With 8,000 baby boomers retiring each day, managing a multigenerational workplace is becoming even more crucial for government agencies. But while businesses, schools and health care organizations have made progress attracting younger employees, governments are falling behind. Less than 6 percent of college graduates surveyed in 2014 report interest in federal, state or local service compared with 37 percent for private industry and 20 percent for health care.

Millennials (born from 1981-1997) have some distinct differences from other generations. Millennials grew up in the information age with constant connection to social media. They are highly social and impatient, always looking for entertainment, connectivity and technology. To this group, experience is priceless. They are used to … (For more, click here.)

How have you seen the  “immediate things government agencies can do to attract millennial worker” implemented in your agency’s staffing plans? Which of the practices discussed in “bridging the gap with technology” do you think could be applied to your human capital strategies to improve your candidate pools and employee retention?

Why Millennials Spurn Government Jobs

Phillip Sheridan, a 34-year-old government technology contractor, believes his federal security clearance raises his earning power in the Washington metropolitan area by $30,000. “But it makes you insecure because you think you don’t have skills to compete in Silicon Valley,” he said. In his heart of hearts, he “wants to be around people who’re excited about their job every day and absorb that energy from them.”

In government, Sheridan added, the only place you get that excitement is at “the tip of spear,” such as serving in other countries or helping agency cyber-teams fend off hackers. Plus, “government undertrains its employees, and contractors [are] even worse because their companies don’t have extra funds for training,” he said.

Not being able to travel to cybersecurity industry conferences like his private-sector counterparts is a burden because they’re “mandatory for career advancement,” Sheridan told Government Executive. “You have to be able to learn what’s going on in the world.”

The obstacles agency recruiters face in attracting the digitally-absorbed millennial generation (generally considered to be the 18-34 cohort) are by now a well-discussed litany of stereotypes: … (For more, click here.)

Do you agree with the observations discussed in this article? Has your agency implemented the approaches described by OPM officials? What other ideas do you have for recruiting millennials for your agency’s vacant positions?

Closing the Federal Millennial Hiring Gap

After a boom, there doesn’t have to be a bust. Federal agencies have a real opportunity to increase the number of millennials in their workforce as more and more baby boomers retire.

When baby boomers—the largest generation of its time—entered the job market, their traditional roots landed them seamlessly in the federal workforce. But agencies have had a difficult time getting the now-larger-in-number millennials on board. Despite making up about one-third of the private sector labor force, the under-30 crowd represented only 7 percent of federal employees in 2015—the lowest that figure has been in nearly a decade.

It’s not for lack of open positions. By 2017, 31 percent of federal workers will be eligible to retire. Many of those jobs are in areas where millennials are comfortable. (For more, click here.)

How has your agency incorporated the three steps described in this article in their recruiting practices? If they have not, which do you think would be most essential to implement immediately?

What Are Some of the Biggest Red Flags in a Job Candidate?

I rarely give candidates feedback on red flags they give off during interviews, mostly because it is really hard to deliver this feedback without offending them. I spent 10 years as a recruiter and interviewed thousands of candidates. Now as Co-Founder of Betterteam, a recruitment platform for small businesses, I have access to real world data across many industries on why candidates fail interviews.

These are the top 7 that I see most often in why our clients reject candidates. (For more, click here.)

Which of these red flags have you noticed in your work in the federal HR field? Which do you think most influence the hiring decision?

What Employees Value More than Salary, According to Glassdoor

Salary is important, but it’s not the only thing that contributes to job satisfaction. New research from Glassdoor reveals what makes people happiest at their jobs and how it varies depending on income.

Glassdoor wanted to see how employee values change as their income changes. What workplace factors do employees workers value overall, and how does it change with salary increases? To answer this, Glassdoor looked at their own data: salary reports and company reviews from over 600,000 users. They looked at six different factors: culture & values, senior leadership, career opportunities, business outlook, work-life balance and compensation & benefits.

They used the “Shapley Value” analysis method to see how various factors change the overall outlook. They explain: (For more, click here.)

How does your job satisfaction track with the six workplace factors described in this article? How could this data be applied to deal with employee retention and turnover at your organization?

I Do Solemnly Swear That I Will…

People in the private sector do not take an oath of office when they get a job. They get an offer, report to work, and that’s it.

For federal employees it is different. Reading so many articles about the inauguration that refer to the president-elect taking the oath of office on the 20th of January got me thinking about oaths and what they mean.

I have taken that oath of office as a civil service employee. Raising your right hand and swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” is not something most people take lightly. It is a solemn oath and it means something to most people who take it.

The president becomes a federal employee by taking an oath prescribed by Article 2, Section 1, of the US Constitution. It says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

 Judges, members of the House and Senate, political appointees, the military, and other federal employees take oaths of office that are required by Article VI of the Constitution, which says “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The Constitution does not prescribe the actual text of the Article VI oaths. For federal civil service employees, the oath is set forth by law in 5 U.S. Code § 3331, which reads as follows:
 “An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.””

The oath is relatively straightforward, but what does it mean? (For more, click here.)

Did any of the information in this article surprise you? Did it make you think any differently about your oath of office?


How Much Does Employee Turnover Really Cost?

People are companies’ most important assets. We’ve all known this for a long time, but 1) we pay it lip service more often than we try to do something about it, and 2) it’s true more now than ever.

The rise of technology and the information age has resulted in more companies that compete based primarily on their people. This isn’t only true for technology companies like Facebook and Google; as software continues to eat the world and the pace of business increases, nearly all companies will live and die by their continual ability to innovate.

Despite the fact that most organizations know that their long term advantage resides in their people, most companies don’t think critically about how to increase employee retention.

In this post, I’ll argue that the core reason people don’t think about employee retention seriously enough is because they don’t know how to measure the impact. I’ll then share some frameworks for how you might associate dollar values with regrettable turnover, and once I’ve (hopefully) convinced you that this matters, give you some actionable ideas for improving the state of affairs. (For more, click here.)

Use the spreadsheet provided in the blog post to get a sense of what the costs look like for your organization. Then think through how you could apply the growth, impact, and care factors the author describes to those turnover issues. Describe for us what you think the impact would be on your organization.

How HR Can Promote Flexibility in Blue-Collar Jobs

Working-class employees need work/life balance, too. And HR can help give it to them—while boosting the organization’s competitive edge.

When Rachael Sobon, SHRM-CP, started her job as the first HR professional at CRP Industries 10 years ago, she quickly saw room for improvement. Sobon understood that the daily deadlines of a bustling warehouse required many of the Cranbury, N.J.-based company’s 180 workers to be onsite at certain hours. However, she also believed that some policies at CRP, a third-generation family business that distributes after-market auto parts, were too rigid for the company’s own good.

“We had a lot of attendance issues,” Sobon recalls. Because there was no provision for taking just an hour or two off at a time, employees would often take a sick day to run errands or go to routine appointments. Many would use up their time off by summer, so when the holidays rolled around, they took leave without pay. “That hurts the business when we can’t schedule out the manpower,” Sobon says.

Decades-old policies intended to ensure proper staffing levels were backfiring, Sobon says. So, with support of the company’s president, she introduced a paid-time-off policy that allows employees to take accrued leave in half-hour increments. “Whether they’re sick or going to a school play or the cable person is coming—it just gives them flexibility so they’re not stuck in a situation where they have to pretend they’re ill or make up a story,” she explains. (For more, click here.)

This article primarily addresses the private sector. Which of the ideas expressed in this article could be applied to the federal sector? Which are not an issue or have already been addressed?


GAO Finds Phased Retirement Can Benefit Employees, Management

Although the number of federal workers enrolled in the government’s phased retirement program remains minuscule, analysts say it could be a valuable tool for agencies to preserve institutional knowledge and plan for the future.

As of Tuesday, 259 federal employees had applied for phased retirement, according to the Office of Personnel Management. This represents a significant increase over the 90 feds who had applied as of August 2016. An additional 82 people have applied for the program and are now retired.

Still, the numbers are below the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 projections on enrollment, … (For more, click here.)

Has your agency offered phased retirement to its employees? Do you think this program could help your agency accomplish its mission? How?