Archive for June, 2006

Recruitment has gone to the dogs

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Are you like me and feel guilty when you leave your best friend alone while you are at work during the day? Would taking your dog to work be a sweetener in deciding to work for and stay with an employer? Would you work harder, even like a dog, for that employer?

A recent survey of dog owners in the United States by Simply Hired revealed some very interesting stats:

  • 49% said they would switch jobs (WOW!)
  • 66% said they would work longer hours and not feel so pressured to race home and walk their family member
  • 55% said they would commute a greater distance
  • 32% said they would take a 5% salary reduction
  • 11% said they would take a 10% salary reduction

Dogster and Simply Hired have gone one step further with the launch of a dog-friendly job search tool - http://www.simplyhired.com/dogfriendly, which allows dog-friendly employers and jobseekers to sniff each other out!

When I conducted a search this morning, a barking mad 4361 matches came up. Google Inc came up as a key dog-friendly employer, which adds more weight to a recent Engage Blog post on Google taking recruiting and retaining people very seriously. Small companies of less than 50 employees make up the majority of the list, with California being the state with the most dog-friendly companies.

There are heaps of examples on the internet about how dogs at work build camaraderie between workers and even between workers and clients. There is also anecdotal evidence that dogs in the workplace can lower employee stress and absenteeism. Of course all this has to be considered using common sense. Some work places are not suitable for dogs, not all people can be near dogs, and not all dogs have the demeanour and control to be office dogs.

Check out http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/general/workplace/ for some useful guidelines if you are considering allowing dogs in your workplace. For a New Zealand example, check out http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3628363a10,00.html.

We would love to hear from any NZ employers who have a dog or pet-friendly workplace policy. What are your experiences? Maybe, in this Year of the Dog, we should consider a NZ ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’, an event that took place in the United States last week (23 June 2006)? With microchipping of dogs, what’s the issue one could say?

Paul Jacobs
Engage

Michael Jackson has always been white: connecting with Gen Y jobseekers

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

If you are of the belief that Michael Jackson has always been white or the term ‘virgin’ means an airline or music store first and foremost to you, then you are very probably Generation Y, the cohort of people born immediately after Generation X - the children of the Baby Boomers.

Defining Gen Y
Although different commentators use different years to define who is Gen Y, the range typically falls within the bounds of being born between 1976 as the earliest possible year and 2001 as the latest. Also known as Millennials, Net Generation, Echo Boomers, and iGeneration, the whole Gen Y thing has been a bit of a topic du jour over the past year or so. Marketing and advertising agencies have been billing large amounts helping their clients connect with Gen Ys. There has also been a significant amount of research on the values, beliefs, work ethics, motivations, career expectations, and learning styles of this group and how they differ from other generational groupings. A common theme emerging in the marketing world is that the generational divide is more significant than any gender, cultural, income, or technology divide. About a quarter of New Zealand’s population is Gen Y and they are entering a workplace near you. Over the ditch, one Australian commentator recently said that over the next five years, the number of Gen Y employees in the workforce will double to 40% of Australia’s total working population.

  • Is your graduate recruitment programme appealing to this group?
  • Are you attracting and connecting with Gen Y jobseekers?
  • Is your workplace geared to retain Gen Y employees?
  • Are you winning in the war for talent?
  • Is it timely for HR people to more fully incorporate marketing principles when it comes to recruitment and employee retention?

Gen Y characteristics
Gen Ys are the “plugged in” and wired generation. They have grown up with technology all around them - personal computers even took pride of place at their kindergarten. They are technically savvy and communicate with their mates through instant messaging and texting. My niece, a Gen Y, spends most winter evenings wrapped up under a blanket in the bedroom of her chilly Dunedin student flat, studying and messaging her flatmates in adjacent rooms using MSN Messenger. Once she graduates she will be focused on progressing in a career that may consist of up to 30 jobs across many disciplines in her lifetime. Other generations will perceive her as transitional and less loyal. She will probably have a number of portfolio careers, pursue employment opportunities that allow time for leisure activities, and have high expectations and an enterprenuial, no barriers, questioning mindset. She will be a stimulus junkie and thrive on change. She will crave opportunities for personal growth and discovery. She will need variety in her work and a stimulating, fast moving work environment - boredom will set in with repetitive work or rigid workplaces. She will need responsibility and input in her roles and will particularly dislike “command and control” management, responding better to mentoring and a “consensus and collaborative” leadership style. For her efforts she will want to be recognised and rewarded fairly, but income and status will not be her primary drivers. More importantly she will want to have fun at work, and even be entertained.

Targeting Gen Y
I had a look at the latest recruitment adverts in The Dominion Post to see whether they could be appealing to a Gen Y jobseeker. I really struggled to be honest. Very few adverts sold the benefits of the role or organisation and some adverts just read like job descriptions. Put the detail on your website! Some adverts were downright dull, boring and uninviting - don’t they want people to work for them? Some advertisers only accepted postal applications - this is a major barrier and viewed as behind the times by a Gen Y jobseeker. Marketing specialists use a term “cut through” - does your recruitment advert differentiate itself from other adverts? I encourage advertisers to find out what attracts people to your organisation and what’s appealing about the target role - people take a “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM) approach to decision making, regardless of their generation! Organisations spend lots of time and money on producing strong branding and glossy material for customers to promote their products, but why don’t these same rules often apply for attracting talent? By the way, Gen Ys like graphics - text is viewed by them as supporting material.

In future posts we will explore how some organisations are connecting with Gen Y jobseekers (yes, beyond the newspaper and job boards) - some are actually making the recruitment process fun and creating a strong dialogue with their jobseeker market. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and experiences on recruiting Gen Ys or on employment branding in general.

Paul Jacobs (GEN X)
Engage