Top 10 “Conventional” Ways To Engage Employees (And How To Upgrade Them)

Top 10 “Conventional” Ways To Engage Employees (And How To Upgrade Them)

There’s a new bar for HR when it comes to employee experience. But some conventional engagement strategies work for a reason — especially when they’re amplified by intelligent tech. 

Talent Experience Live Host Tom Tate and Luke Carignan, Director, Enterprise Sales at Phenom, discussed the basics employees need to thrive and how organizations can deliver. Keep reading to discover the top 10 ways to engage employees, or watch the full episode below!

 Seek employee feedback consistently and often
 Encourage employees to explore their interests
 Be diligent in providing a career path
 Connect peers with other peers
 Help employees find mentors and sponsors
 Promote a culture of learning and curiosity
 Invite employees to share their unique stories
 Referrals: recruit your employees to recruit
 Show employees you care
 Just be human

1. Seek employee feedback consistently and often

To properly support employees and build personal connections, you need to ask them what they want and need, Tate pointed out. Acting on that feedback is important also. How can HR leaders prioritize what to tackle?

“Look for patterns… when you hear something three times, that’s a pattern,” Carignan said. Investigate those patterns, and put resources toward solving any problems you identify.

2. Encourage employees to explore their interests

Recognize that employees have passions outside of the confines of their career role, and give them the chance to apply them at work whenever possible. 

“True happiness comes in — and you get people staying — when you hit that magical flow of being able to integrate both what they love to do, what they’re passionate about, and what they can make money at,” Carignan said. 

Offering internal gigs is a great way to let employees bring their interests to work. For example, invite a team member who’s an amateur photographer to take pictures at the next company event.

3. Be diligent in providing a career path

Opportunities outside your company abound. Showing employees they have a future with your organization — and helping them visualize a clear career path — is a major piece of retention today.  “It can’t be just something on paper,” Tate said. ”It has to be actionable; it has to be multilayered.” 

So what does that actually look like? Organizations getting career pathing right approach it in a few key ways:

They recognize that employees will value different things at different life stages. (For example, entry-level workers might want an exciting location and networking opportunities; workers with young kids want to be able to provide for their families.)
They show employees how their evolving career path will fit with the company’s growth trajectory in the coming years. 
They use technology to help create an actionable career path. The right career pathing tech can help employees define goals, identify skills needed to get from point A to point B, and illuminate the resources available to gain those skills.

4. Connect peers with other peers

Especially in a remote working environment, organizations need to find ways to help colleagues build personal relationships. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a vital way to help like-minded colleagues connect. 

Organizations can get creative, too, in helping employees bond. Here are a few examples of things Phenom does to encourage those “virtual water coolers.”

Share your “not normal.” As an ice breaker, team members are encouraged to share something that makes them unique. That can be pretty much anything, from unusual hobbies to “My feet are as almost as wide as they are long.” (That was Carignan’s!) “I identify with my peers still to this with the ‘not normal’s’ that they shared,” he confided. “It brings us closer together.”
Create fun Slack channels. Phenom Dogs is one that co-workers really bond over. 

5. Help employees find mentors and sponsors

When it comes to career growth, mentors and sponsors aren’t always on the radar of organizations. But when employers help employees cultivate those relationships, it goes a long way toward engagement and retention. 

While some employees are naturally wired to network, many aren’t. That’s where HR can step in, helping match employees to mentors and sponsors based on their career goals.

6. Promote a culture of learning and curiosity

Organizations should encourage employees to ask questions and keep learning. “It’s really the best way to keep employees engaged and leveling up,” Tate said. Here are some ideas to promote a culture of curiosity:

Have various departments host L&D sessions to show what it’s like to work in that area. 
Engage senior leaders to share their career paths, which not only helps employees learn, but also humanizes execs. 
Practice “reverse mentoring,” where junior workforce members educate senior employees on things they have expertise in, like being a digital native. 
7. Invite employees to share their unique stories

“Most humans are wired to be storytellers,” Tate pointed out. But how can organizations empower people to share those stories?

In a word…video. Video is a great way to capture what employees are willing to share, and it’s never been easier with the right technology. Ask employees to upload videos in which they respond to prompts like how they’re dealing with remote work, or describing their career journey.  

The result? Employees will feel seen and valued — and you’ll get awesome, authentic content to use on your career site, in email campaigns, and other channels. 

Related — Show & Tell: How Life Time is Winning at Video Testimonials

8. Referrals: Recruit your employees to recruit

“It’s everyone’s responsibility in the organization to recruit,” Carignan said. Adopt that mindset, and help it take root throughout the workplace. 

Just sending the simple message that you want and encourage employees to make referrals has dual benefits: Employees feel more valued and engaged, and you’ll get a nice flow of referral candidates to add to your talent pool. Of course, making the referral process easy, transparent, and trackable is more than half the battle.

If you’re looking for a successful model to follow, check out Southwest Airlines’ employee referral program. 

9. Show employees you care

“Every organization has the opportunity to look at what’s happening in people’s personal lives and support them through the good and the bad,” Tate noted. 

One of the simplest gestures that has a lot of impact? Recognize employee birthdays, and give them a tangible. (“Everyone loves swag,” Carignan mentioned.) Similarly, celebrate employees’ personal and professional milestones — and make gestures that show you care when they’re facing crises or challenges.

These are little things, but they go a long way toward creating community. “Think about how impactful that is, if you can create that type of community around your organization. That should be the goal,” Carnigan continued. 

10. Just be human

“Understand that every employee is a unique individual with a favorite snack, a favorite song and with challenges at home … and things to celebrate,” Tate said. “Once we start to integrate that into our day-to-day engagements … that’s when we open up the opportunity to be human in a very two-way nature.”

According to Carignan, team leaders can strengthen relationships with employees by asking two questions: What motivates you? And What’s important to you? Money and recognition are two common motivators. “Important” might mean having the flexibility to pick kids up from school, or to take a half-day on Fridays. “Figure that out, and then you can be successful with that relationship with that individual,” Carignan said. 

The main takeaway here? “It’s all about seeking to understand our employees on a professional and personal level,” Tate said. “Once we can do that, it unlocks the opportunity for us to do some amazing things to keep them engaged and keep them on the right path.”

Catch Talent Experience Live on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook every Thursday at noon ET for the latest in recruiting, talent acquisition, talent management, and HR tech.

Thu, 01/20/2022 – 04:42

The Sky’s the Limit: Inside Southwest’s Employee Referral Program

The Sky’s the Limit: Inside Southwest’s Employee Referral Program

Employee referral programs are nothing new. But here’s what is: automated HR tech that seamlessly skyrockets the number of quality referrals made while providing a fabulous experience for candidates, employees, recruiters, and hiring managers — all at the same time.

Southwest Airlines recently shared how they’re driving a 700% increase in employee referrals — from 125 to 1,000 per week — with the same AI-powered solution that saves its TA team countless hours sourcing, hiring, and retaining talent. How’s it work?

Get the full details from Southwest’s Kelby Tansey, Team Lead, Recruitment Marketing, and Tyler Hagood, Team Leader, Sourcing and SWA Staffers in the 12-minute video below, or read on for the highlights!

Why Referrals Matter More Now

As the talent shortage continues, companies are reexamining ways to tap into high-quality candidate pools. Why prioritize referrals? Data shows that 45% of employees sourced from referrals stay for more than 4 years, while 25% sourced through job boards stay only 2 years. 

The team at Southwest knew that referrals were already a rich source of high-quality job candidates — but only if employees actually make them. Already armed with many of Phenom’s intelligent Employee Experience and internal mobility capabilities for the past few years, they decided to incentivize and optimize employee referrals using the platform. 

7 Steps to Success

Here are the steps Tansey and Hagood took to get their amazing referral results:

1. Designed a compelling rewards program. Southwest created a rewards program aligned with the company’s overall employee recognition strategy. Referring employees are awarded points that increase if the lead is hired and then again after the referral’s 6-month anniversary. Points can be cashed in for some pretty tempting swag — including a coveted “buddy pass,” which allows employees to choose a companion to fly with them free of charge.

2. Automated internal promotions. To spread the word,Tansey leveraged the platform’s automated campaigns functionality to launch far-reaching communications about the new referral incentives. “We were able to do several company-wide communication touchpoints and then lead [referring employees] back into the internal mobility platform to learn more or refer somebody,” she said, resulting in a seamless experience.

3. Encouraged employee profile set up. More employees making referrals means more employees using the platform. The team capitalized on the opportunity, prompting referrers logging in for the first time to set up an employee profile. 

“We’re getting two things when employees go into [the platform] to refer someone — a more complete employee profile that enables us to let them know about potential career mobility opportunities at Southwest and a referred candidate,” Tansey said.

Resource — How Kuehne+Nagel is building a strong internal sourcing strategy with Phenom

4. Leveraged CRM to streamline communication. As referrals began climbing, Tansey’s team used their Phenom CRM to streamline communication with referred candidates as well as referring employees.

Referred candidates received automated emails and text messages about job openings, and were also invited to join their talent community by completing a candidate profile to learn more.
Referrers received automated emails, helping them track the referral process to see where the candidate stands in the process.

5. Examined referral nurture strategy. On Hagood’s end, the sourcing team had some important goals to focus on:

Delivering a great experience
Converting more referrals into hires
Balancing hospitality with the administrative demands of scaling the program 
“We [previously] found ourselves delivering static information over and over again, and that was something we noticed early on and wanted to address,” Hagood said. “How can we … give all this valuable information to the referral community, but also have valuable, meaningful conversations with them whenever we do connect with them on a one-to-one basis?” 

6. Hosted referral info sessions. Hagood found the solution with online “referral info sessions”, which enabled the team to reach high numbers of candidates at one time while still maintaining a personal feel. 

Using Phenom Events, they hosted several sessions each week during times convenient for working candidates (lunch hour and after typical workday hours). Recruiters covered practical topics, such as interviewing tips and culture at Southwest, with live chat and FAQs available too. 

“Giving [referrals] …valuable information they’re seeking and getting to them quickly so they feel welcomed, cared for, and appreciated — that is in our DNA at Southwest Airlines,” he said. “Hospitality and candidate experience is very important to us.”

Related — The Value of 1M Chatbot Interactions: Southwest Tells All

7. Conducted direct outreach. Through all the ups and downs of the labor market, Hagood’s team has been able to stay ahead of hiring demands by proactively reaching out to referred candidates when they identify a hard-to-find role. 

With direct calling campaigns, recruiters can proactively contact referral candidates who would be a good fit for an upcoming position. “When we know a position is going to post, we are calling into that market weeks ahead of time, letting the referrals know,” Hagood explained. 

Examining Referral Results 

In addition to soaring numbers of referrals, the team is watching conversion rates climb as well. “We’re seeing about 1,000 [employee] referrals a week with the new incentivized program, which is amazing,” Hagood reported. And “at least 50 percent of referrals have given us full profiles, where we can directly pipeline them … and turn them into applicants.”

In any kind of hiring environment, a 700% increase in referrals is something to celebrate — in this kind of environment, it’s something to revere. 


Want sky-high referrals? Get a demo to see how Phenom can help!


Mon, 01/17/2022 – 00:01

How to Maintain Your Company Core Values in a Virtual World

How to Maintain Your Company Core Values in a Virtual World

In the early stages of the pandemic, HR leaders scrambled to provide support, guidance, and structure to their workforce while transitioning to a fully remote environment. For many organizations, business priorities also shifted as the coronavirus spread to different countries they operated in across the globe. 

Here at Phenom, we quickly developed a Response Team with HR leaders from our offices worldwide. A common theme we noticed? Each location had its own stories about employees who continued to uphold our core values of curiosity, responsibility, intensity, self-confidence, and positive thinking during uncertain times. 

So what are the best ways HR leaders can continue to foster this sense of community and company culture? 


1. Ask employees for feedback  

Most companies have their own set of unique core values, which connect the purpose of the business to the employees who work there each day. These values are the foundation of most organizations—and although they may feel different when working remotely, they still exist.

One way to enforce them among your remote teams is by activating employees and soliciting feedback. By hosting regular Q&As or town halls where people are given an open floor to ask questions and share feedback, you’re able to maintain a sense of community.

Including employees will ultimately build stronger relationships in the long run and can be a win-win for all.   

2. Lead by example 

During uncertain times, it’s easy for employees to stray — especially since the majority of the workforce was accustomed to working in an office every day surrounded by cool snack bars, lounge rooms, and their favorite coworkers. In a remote environment, these perks don’t exist, which can make it harder for employees to stay engaged with the company culture. 

But leadership should emphasize the importance of upholding the organization’s values — and leading by example is crucial. Living out your company values will serve as a guiding light for others to follow suit, stay on track, and remain focused. 

Related: 5 Ways to Improve Virtual Collaboration Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers


3. Stay on track  

An organization’s core values should be conveyed throughout the entire talent lifecycle: from the moment they apply to a job to their first day — all the way to when they are ready to move on to the next step in their journey (in some companies).

Try not to lose sight of these important milestones within your organization and continue highlighting the core values every step of the way. Consider creating a virtual onboarding program, celebrating birthdays via Zoom, and more. 

4. Reward and recognize values 

Reward employees who exemplify the core values defined by your company and make sure they are recognized. You can do this by sharing their story at a company-wide meeting or featuring them in your internal email newsletter.

Consider asking employees to nominate their colleagues by sending in a video and explaining the core value they represent. The employee will feel great, and others will be encouraged to follow suit — creating a great employee experience.


Spend time supporting your virtual community  

A company’s culture and values should remain strong in times of uncertainty — and it’s up to HR leaders to encourage teamwork, leadership, and empathy during tough times. If there’s a silver lining during this pandemic, it is this: we are all coming together as leaders and working through the challenges of the workforce, and growing stronger because of it. 

Looking for more ways to engage your teams? Download the Definitive Guide to Employee Experience!

Fri, 01/14/2022 – 16:00

Unlimited PTO: Why the Hate? Let’s Debate!

Unlimited PTO: Why the Hate? Let’s Debate!

Unlimited paid time off?! Sounds like a dream. So what’s to debate? Apparently a lot, according to conversations on Reddit and LinkedIn.

To discuss the pros and cons of this controversial topic, we invited Nikki Spencer, Director of Business Development at The Starr Conspiracy, and Christine Kensey, Phenom’s Senior Director of Global Organizational Effectiveness to last week’s episode of Talent Experience Live.

Read on for the highlights, or watch the full episode below!

A Love | Hate Relationship?

For a better idea on how our own community feels about this polarizing topic, we conducted a quick LinkedIn poll before the episode. With over 200 responses, here’s what we found:

69% love it
8% hate it 
14% prefer required PTO
9% think it’s complicated
The response was loud and clear. The majority see unlimited PTO as a positive policy that fosters a better work-life balance, empowers employees to manage their own time, and eliminates the stress of accruing days based on the number of years served. So what are 8% of “haters” reacting to? 

Employees don’t feel they have “permission” to actually take time off. Studies show that employees with unlimited PTO take less time away from work for fear of not being viewed as hard workers.
Calling it “unlimited” is misleading. If we want to get technical, the term itself is a lie (12-month vacation, anyone?). A more accurate name like “Take It When You Need It PTO” could set more realistic expectations and set the tone for a culture of responsible trust.  
It benefits the employer, too. Companies normally don’t offer a pay out for unused time when an employee resigns. This rubs some people the wrong way…a few going as far as to say “it’s one of the greatest scams ever pulled off by employers.”

Moving Past A “Use It or Lose It” Mentality

At her former job, where Spencer was an hourly employee with a traditional policy that alloted only two weeks of vacation a year, she operated with a “scarcity mentality”. What does that mean? Every January 1st, she felt pressured to decide how she would allocate her limited time off for the entire year — whether to take it for mental health, care for family, or save it for vacations. 

Coming from a world where how much you work or how hard you work is equal to your value as an employee, is a stark contrast to the culture at The Starr Conspiracy. The “abundance mentality” of her current employer’s unlimited PTO policy gives her the freedom to use her time when and how she needs it — and seeing coworkers use the policy gives her permission to feel ok about it.  

Employees’ dedication and passion for their work (and respect for one another), are key to making this policy work. As Spencer stated, “it’s common sense not to leave team members in a tough position [when taking PTO].” To note: Spencer still only takes 2 or 3 weeks off per year, she revealed.

How to Position an Unlimited PTO Policy for Success

If your organization currently offers or plans to offer “unlimited” PTO, there are some key ways to ensure employees get the most out of it. Kensey shared some advice that addresses four central themes: expectations, communication, empowerment, and challenges.

1. Set expectations that it’s not “one-size-fits-all.” As Kensey pointed out, “Why you take time off, what you use it for, how much you need, is so personal. So this idea of what’s reasonable? There is no single answer.”

For some employees, taking an afternoon off or several long weekends throughout the year might be ideal. Others need that two-week break to really unwind. The point of time off is that it’s restorative for the individual employee — and it’s up to managers to understand their individual needs and preferences. 

2. Communicate the intent. Further up the chain, HR and upper management should clearly communicate the intent behind an unlimited PTO policy. “Unlimited” isn’t about the amount of time. It’s about the flexibility to use the time as it best serves each employee.  

For many, being boxed into a typical 9-to-5 workday just isn’t realistic anymore. A flexible PTO policy can illustrate an employer’s authentic commitment to supporting a modern work-life balance.

According to Kensey, “It really does signal to our people that we understand how they work,” she said. “The benefit of having an unlimited policy, or a more flexible policy, is that you really, truly are trusting your people to make choices that are best for them so they can show up as their best self to work every day.” 

3. Empower employees to use their time. When trying to shape an organization’s business and culture, a lot of the work for leaders lies in unlearning past lessons and experiences along with their employees.

This may require shifting the organizational mindset, Kensey said, like encouraging them to use time off and not expecting them to be immediately available while on vacation. To the end, some companies are also playing with the idea of implementing a “Required PTO” policy to ensure all employees are taking a minimum amount of vacation days.

4. Uncover the root cause of challenges. As with any workplace policy, an unlimited PTO policy may have some hiccups. It’s important to get to the root cause of the problem in order to fix it. Our experts offered solutions for some of the most common PTO challenges outlined below. 

Addressing Common PTO Issues

THE ISSUE: An employee’s usage of PTO is raising eyebrows 

A new employee takes a week off. A month later, they take another week. Team members seem surprised and complain to their manager. What’s at the root of those negative feelings? 

More often than not, if an employee’s time off is disgruntling the team, it’s related to performance, JD revealed. Is the employee leaving others scrambling while they’re away, or not pulling their weight on a daily basis? Conversely, when an employee’s performance is up to par, and work coverage is well planned before taking time off, other team members won’t feel slighted. 

THE ISSUE: Pockets of employees aren’t taking time off

“When people aren’t using time off, investigate why,” Kenzie advised. A variety of factors could be at play:

They don’t feel the need to use it
They’re getting a subliminal message that it’s not okay to use (e.g. a high performer rarely takes a break).
They need to have the policy clarified
When pockets of people in an organization aren’t taking time off (whether by team or department), it’s an indicator for managers to uncover the root cause and address it. If there’s a trend throughout the entire organization, HR should step in.

THE ISSUE: Taking time off feels like more work 

Often, taking time away from the office entalis hours of work to prepare for it, creating more stress and defeating the whole point of taking a break. “Look at this as a business-level problem,” Kensey advised, “and explore ways to create an environment where it’s not hard work to take a day off.” 

Strong communication among team members — and having enough team members to fill in when there are gaps — is essential. Ideally, there should be clear processes in place so nothing major slips through the cracks when an employee is out. 

“We need to really understand why our teams feel that way, and how we can create processes, structures, and mechanisms that make it easier to take time off while also ensuring that your work is able to be covered,” she continued.

Final note: Ask for feedback

Getting employee feedback is crucial to shaping an effective PTO policy and guiding the way it’s presented. When asked about the value of employee surveys, Kensey had this to say: Employee surveys are a great tool as long as they’re clear (they shouldn’t scare employees into thinking that the benefit is about to be taken away), and they’re designed to gather actionable data so the results can be used effectively. 


What’s your take on unlimited PTO? Let us know in the comments of the full episode!

Catch Talent Experience Live on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook every Thursday at noon ET for the latest in recruiting, talent acquisition, talent management, and HR tech.

Fri, 01/14/2022 – 07:30

What You Need to Know About Video Interviewing Candidates

What You Need to Know About Video Interviewing Candidates

Love it or hate, video interviewing is here to stay. How can TA teams make the most of it to hire faster without sacrificing a wow-worthy talent experience? 

Here are 5 ways to enhance how your team uses video interviewing during the hiring process: 

1. Make all first interviews virtual to expand your candidate range

If your organization is open to relocating the right candidate for a position — or offering a fully remote opportunity — a video interview allows you to expand the candidate range. This can be particularly beneficial for niche or hard-to-fill positions in any industry. 

Instead of only searching for candidates within a certain geographic proximity to your office, you can easily interview people across the country (or world!), increasing your talent pool to find the right people for open roles. Because of their convenience, video interviews are also a great way to build an arsenal of silver-medal candidates who may be a good fit at a later date.  

Either way, you can always invite potential candidates for an in-person interview further into the hiring process if necessary. 

2. Set expectations to help candidates feel more comfortable on camera

Some people feel more uncomfortable speaking on camera than in person — and this can be a disadvantage to both the candidate and the organization. The candidate may not represent their fullest potential to the company, while the organization may not obtain a foolproof examination of the candidate. 

To help overcome this challenge with video interviews, send an email with tips and expectations before the scheduled interview time. This email should include the interview time, interviewer’s name and title, estimated interview length, and other pertinent information — including how to troubleshoot connection, audio, and video issues. 

For interviewers, send a similar list 15 minutes before the interview time that reminds them to check their connectivity, silence their work notifications, and find a quiet place with minimal distractions so interviewers can give candidates their complete attention while staying on schedule. 

3. Establish interviewing time blocks with hiring managers 

Not only is it important for recruiters to adjust their calendars for candidate interviews, but it’s equally crucial that hiring managers make extra accommodations during heightened hiring frenzies. 

Booking interviews before or after hours increases the likelihood that candidates will move through the hiring process faster — and ultimately, join if it’s the right fit. For interviewers without off-hour availability, work together to block ideal interview times during regular work hours every week. 

By establishing interview time blocks with hiring managers, you can ensure they have an open spot on their calendars dedicated to candidate interviews. After all, timing is everything in the search for talent.

Downloadable Resource: The 2021 State of Recruiter & Hiring Manager Collaboration 

4. Re-evaluate the interview team and hiring process 

“Zoom fatigue” is real and could adversely impact the interview process, as well as the end result. The fewer interviews your candidates have to attend, the more likely they’ll complete the entire interview process. 

Determine how many interviews are really necessary to make a hiring decision. Can you eliminate some and still appropriately evaluate the hard and soft skills required for the job? 

If not, consider hosting panel interviews instead. By having multiple hiring managers and/or interviewers on a single interview, everyone saves time. Choose your panel carefully, however. Candidates can feel intimidated by a group interview, and some interviewers may ask or share less depending on who they’re partnered with.

5. Leverage automated confirmations and feedback loops 

To avoid candidate and interviewer no-shows, take advantage of scheduling technology that also provides automated text or email confirmations and reminders. This simple step can save all parties involved countless hours sending one-off messages and rescheduling missed interviews so candidates can move through the process swiftly. 

After a candidate completes an interview, they should also receive a thank you and communication requesting feedback so your TA team can establish areas of improvement. Remember, today’s job seekers are accustomed to instantaneous hyper-personalized experiences, so being transparent and over-communicating will ensure more candidates remain engaged. 

Watch Now: Using Automation to Schedule Interviews with Ease

The right tech is crucial to support video interviews 

Video interviews, Zoom calls, and virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere. Be strategic about what recruiting technology tools you use to streamline the process, improve the experience, and make it easier for recruiters to move candidates through the hiring funnel. 

By leveraging all video has to offer, your team can expand your talent pool, interview more efficiently, and create a better overall talent experience.

Schedule interviews faster with Phenom — Get a demo!

Mon, 01/10/2022 – 09:00

Newell Brands' Plan for A Red Carpet Employee Experience

Newell Brands’ Plan for A Red Carpet Employee Experience

There’s no question that a big focus for companies this year is Employee Experience. Of particular importance? The ability to empower employees to own their career paths so they can grow and move to relevant roles within the organization. 

The challenge for enterprises is doing this efficiently and at scale, without adding yet another disparate system to the fold.

Consumer goods leader Newell Brands tackled this complex goal using the same AI-powered talent experience technology that fuels their first-class candidate and recruiter experiences. Get a firsthand look at the diverse capabilities they now have — from AI skills matching and career pathing to referrals and ERGs — with Newell’s Ashley Blackmore, Director of North America Talent Acquisition & Operations. 

Top Goals

Blackmore wanted to take Newell’s internal career site from what she admitted was a bit of a “data dump” to a red carpet experience that would replicate that of external candidates. “Consistent feedback we’d gotten from our internals is that they don’t have visibility to all of the openings,” she noted. “It also wasn’t a great view or experience, especially with referring friends.”

Another goal was to leverage a solution representative of Newell’s core values — truth, transparency, teamwork, and trust — to provide:

Global visibility to all internal openings
Employee ownership of career pathing
Relevant information matched to employees’ preferences

Why Phenom for Internal Mobility? 

Already a thriving Phenom Talent Experience Management (TXM) customer, Blackmore saw a demo of Phenom’s Employee Experience and knew immediately it would support Newell’s internal mobility goals through:

Easy internal career site navigation & apply
Personalized job search & recommendations
AI-driven skills matching & job alerts
Enhanced referrals 
Transparent employee resource groups (ERGs)

Related Case Study: How Kuehne+Nagel Leverages Phenom to Empower Employees

Steps To Launch

As with any tech adoption and rollout, Blackmore knew that securing cross-functional buy-in was paramount. Key stakeholders across the organization — including TA, HR, HRIT, and business unit leaders — immediately recognized the platform’s potential benefits after a product demo. 

Then it was time to hit the gas pedal on a global launch. The team put together a multichannel communications campaign designed to generate buzz. A combination of flyers, TV banners, in-office presentations, emails and, of course, some good old-fashioned swag for employees got the excitement going.

Newell’s New EX Functionalities

Easy site navigation & apply. Their refreshed internal career site solves one of the main challenges Newell experienced previously: Employees had a tough time navigating the system to view and apply to open jobs, make referrals, and join ERGs. The result was less applications and engagement and more questions for the TA team to answer. 

Post-implementation, it’s easy to see how to browse and apply for jobs, complete a referral, and set up job match alerts, said Blackmore. Other indispensable features include an internal chatbot that immediately answers FAQs and provides other essential information, and the ability to share open positions with social media networks.

Personalized job search & recommendations. Internal candidates can now look for positions based on the skills, experience, and preferences they put into the system via their profiles. Even better? They get personalized job recommendations based on the same information…just like candidates do on their external career site.

AI-driven skills matching & job alerts. Employees can also choose to receive relevant job alerts on a regular basis. According to Blackmore, this represents a huge improvement since previous jobs alerts were often irrelevant to experience, skills, or desired career path.

A major benefit of AI? The algorithms will get better at recommending relevant information over time. “It will continue to learn more as the candidate does more in the system — so as they apply to more openings, or they refer more friends. We feel like they really will have more control over their own career,” Blackmore explained.

Related — The Role of AI in Skills Management and Career Pathing

Enhanced referrals. “We’ve always gotten referrals at Newell,” Blackmore said, but “this referral program … takes it to the next level.” Now, referring employees can see where their referred candidates stand in the interview and hiring process — and they can track their referral bonuses as well. (Pro tip: Incentives work, so spotlight them!)

With their enhanced referral capabilities, Newell can fill critical roles faster by tagging specific positions in the CRM, which are then fed into the referral system. 

Transparent ERGs. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DI&B) is a top priority at Newell. And while their external career site did a good job highlighting resources, Blackmore wanted to strengthen internal enablement of ERGs to help employees form connections. Their internal career site does just that, complete with a calendar of events and the option to sign up for alerts on related news and events. 

Early Results

Just 48 hours after launching their new EX suite of TXM features, Blackmore was thrilled with the results generated by Phenom’s talent analytics:

1,026 internal jobs posted
880 employee visits
646 employee logins
26 apply clicks
21 referrals
“For us to have 26 internals find and apply to 26 jobs in that amount of time is huge for us,” Blackmore shared. “Now our internals are getting the great same experience that we have been able to give our externals.” 

What’s Next? 

What’s next after a successful phase 1? Continuous optimization with an eye on the data (particularly analytics around profile activity). Newell also plans to explore additional products including Phenom Gigs and Phenom Mentoring to round out employee career pathing capabilities. Stay tuned!

See how Phenom’s Employee Experience can simplify internal mobility for your team — Request a demo!

Feeling inspired? Check out all EX Success Stories from IAMHR ‘21 here.

Mon, 01/10/2022 – 08:40

The Role of AI in Skills Management and Career Pathing

The Role of AI in Skills Management and Career Pathing

Skills management is foundational to career pathing and internal mobility. But managing the sheer breadth of data involved in effective skills management can be overwhelming — especially for large organizations. 

With an AI-driven skills database, HR and TA professionals can save time and gain visibility into the skills that are already available internally to meet future needs. 

To find out how AI can help you better manage skills and unlock internal mobility, watch this Phenom presented session here — or check out key insights below! 

Discover employee skills to unlock internal mobility 

First, organizations need to analyze teams’ existing skills and experience to form a baseline of skills in the AI system. TA and HR managers can collect skills data from several sources: 

Employee profiles with up-to-date information on skills, experience, and job history
Employee assessments 
Manager and co-worker validation

How AI augments the skills profile

Once all relevant information is cataloged in the system, AI can get to work. It does this by automatically separating job skills into various categories: 

Semantic skills. AI analyzes skills available in an employee’s profile and identifies additional skills that may be related. “If you have a skill in Java, for example, then we have the ability to assume you know Beacon or some other programming language,” Sumita Mehta, former Phenom product manager, explained. 

Correlated skills. The AI engine can also identify skills related to specific job titles, Mehta explained: “If you say you are in sales, then … we can also correlate that with negotiation skills, for example. So we can build a more robust skills profile just from your job title and how recently you’ve had specific jobs.”  

Categorizing skills. AI sorts skills into three categories: technical skills, soft skills, and industry-related skills. Technical skills are those needed to perform specific job tasks. Soft skills are transferable skills gained throughout the course of someone’s professional experience, like problem-solving and teamwork. Industry-based skills correlate with established categories. For example, someone working in healthcare most likely has additional skills related to that field.

“These are the different ways that we can use AI and put some intelligence into this so that even after you create your profile, AI can help augment that profile and use it in different places,” Mehta said.

Multilingual ontology. Global organizations hire across different countries and multiple languages. But “a lot of the ontologies that are out there are very much focused on single languages, primarily English,” John Deal, Director of Knowledge Management at Phenom, said. “They depend on machine translation to work within that framework … and I’ve seen that machine translation doesn’t quite get you there all the way.” 

Phenom AI helps preserve context, which is critical in creating ontology and taxonomy — and Phenom has created native language versions of skills ontology to provide better matching across different languages. 


Leveraging an AI-driven skills base to optimize TA functions

Once you have a baseline and greater visibility into your skills inventory, AI can help optimize and streamline your TA process. In this application, AI works as a recommendation engine to help employees move closer to their career aspirations. Here’s how: 

Improved sourcing insight and visibility. This is an area where all that manual work of establishing the skills base really pays off — it helps form a common language around employee skills, making it much easier to identify internal skills gaps and guide sourcing efforts.

“By having that common language, it helps to set a base to decide where you should be sourcing – should you be looking internally at upskilling, or should you be looking outside?” Deal said. Although you may not be able to fill every position with an internal employee, this insight provides recruiters with the information they need to find best-fit candidates for current and future open roles. 

Resource: Quadient’s Key to Internal Mobility & Creating an Agile Workforce That Lasts

Simplified matching with Phenom AI Fit Score. A fit score is a dynamic score that categorizes, ranks, and recommends candidates for open positions based on their skills, experience, and geographic location — and it plays a key role in discovering the right talent.

Although data fields such as preferences and other employee information come into play, skills are the primary component driving AI-assisted candidate recommendations. “Skills is the main data element we use to match people, allowing them to see jobs they may not have seen otherwise,” Mehta said. “So if they have skills that are not obvious [but that AI associates with their profile], we can use those to suggest other kinds of jobs as well.” 

Proactive career pathing and succession planning. TA professionals can also use AI-powered skills management to forecast potential skill deficits that can be averted with proactive career pathing and upskilling. “It answers [the question]: how do you proactively prepare your people for your needs when you’re pipelining or looking at future skill requirements for the organization?’” Deal said. “That’s where the idea of career pathing comes in.”

Just as building the skills base requires hands-on effort, career pathing also begins with manual work, including: 

Examining the organization’s job roles
Coming up with job descriptions and skills needed 
Developing hierarchies to build the career path
Establishing required learning to get to the next level 

“Most large organizations probably don’t have a fully fleshed out job hierarchy for each and every person,” Mehta said. “We have the [unique] ability to take a company’s data of people skills, as well as how they moved within the organization, to create career paths on the fly … that highlight lateral moves that could be really good for your career.”


Closing skills gaps through learning, gigs, and mentoring

Once the career path has been established, it’s time to invest in your employees to help them achieve their goals while alleviating hiring costs and filling critical roles. 

To help accelerate their journey and support upskilling opportunities, be sure to consider: 

Recommending LMS courses on new topics that foster employee development
Offering gigs, or short-term projects, in different departments that provide a hands-on learning experience
Establishing mentoring relationships with senior employees who have had a similar career path

Career pathing and internal mobility is all about “using AI as a recommendation engine, not just for jobs, but also for learning opportunities, gigs, [and] mentoring [to help] you grow in your career,” Mehta said.

Resource: The Definitive Guide to Employee Experience




Like any application of AI, the technology only gets better with time and increasing amounts of data. Deal noted, “AI learns as companies hire into positions … it can continue to refine career paths as it learns more and more from actual activity, such as a promotion or new hire perspective.

Another invaluable benefit? TA teams can leverage AI for succession planning. With the application of AI, “companies can [begin to] understand who can move into roles internally and whether it makes more sense to go outside [the organization] based on the talent they have,” according to Deal.

These types of AI-powered insights are critical to both the current and future hiring and retention success of enterprises — especially those with high-volume demands.  


To learn more about AI-powered skills management and career pathing,request a demo of Phenom Employee Experience!

Wed, 01/05/2022 – 23:33

Two Out of Three Employees Want this Talent Practice Now

Two Out of Three Employees Want this Talent Practice Now

Quick – what’s one of the biggest retention busters in today’s tough employment market? If you said “lack of career growth and development,” you’re right on the money.

The million dollar question, though: How do you meet this demand? Weaving data and stories together, Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst and Chief Research Officer of Lighthouse Research & Advisory, shared the top ways to champion internal mobility within the employee experience — and track and measure program success.

Watch the full session below, or read on to get the highlights!

Survey Says: Career Growth and Development Are Top Priorities 

According to a recent Lighthouse study, the opportunity to grow and learn is most important to today’s workers. “We surveyed a thousand full-time employees in the U.S. and Europe to understand their preferences and what they need from us as employers. There was an overwhelming result that shows they’re hyper-focused on growth, mobility, and development,” Eubanks said.

This finding is in direct contrast to the mindset of many leaders Lighthouse hears from who believe employees are content where they are. “Based on research, for every employee who feels that way, there are two who crave growth and mobility.”

Why should HR care? With no opportunity to grow, workers will leave — a risk employers can’t take amid the ongoing talent shortage and seemingly endless “Big Quit.” Other notable survey findings included these stats: 

Two out of three workers have quit a job because of a perceived lack of growth. (“Perceived is a key word there,” Eubanks pointed out, alluding to the fact that no matter how many resources are actually available … no matter how hard HR works to promote and share them … if employees aren’t aware of them? “They may as well not even be there.”) 
88% of those who quit said they would have stayed if they’d had the chance to grow and develop in their careers.
Pro Tip: Check out Phenom’s AI-fueled Career Pathing technology, which brings transparency, structure, and personalization to an organization’s internal mobility resources.

How Can HR and TA Leaders Overcome Retention Barriers?

Being aware that internal mobility is critical to retaining top talent is a step in the right direction. But the real challenge lies in actually putting systems and processes in place that will empower employees to own their career paths.

In a separate survey of nearly 2,000 employers, Lighthouse found that the No. 1 barrier to successful retention efforts related to internal mobility is being unsure where to begin. 

Survey respondents — who included leadership roles in TA, HR, and Learning & Development — also weighed in on solutions to overcome retention challenges. Top responses included:

We are working to identify and communicate career paths so employees can take a more active role in the process. (L&D leaders)
 We use or are planning to use a dedicated internal talent marketplace where employees can participate in gigs and flexible projects without changing roles. (HR and TA leaders)
Resource: How Kuehne+Nagel Leverages Phenom to Empower Employees

The Value of an Internal Talent Marketplace

An internal talent marketplace is one of the most important efforts an organization can undertake when it comes to improving employee growth and development, Eubanks believes. Talent marketplaces provide a mechanism for matching employees with gigs or side projects throughout the organization, allowing them to explore new career directions and increase skill subsets.  

They also drive employee engagement, happiness, and connection. Think about the euphoric feeling of being hired for a job — a talent marketplace can re-create that feeling for employees, Eubanks noted. “[A talent marketplace] says, ‘We see what you have, and we want to leverage that because we think it’s important and valuable.’” 

Tracking Success and Impact of Internal Mobility Efforts

Once internal mobility efforts are underway, tracking and measuring results comes next. Here are three major indicators for success, according to the Lighthouse employer survey:

Performance, retention, or success rate of internal hires. This measurement is particularly useful to counteract pushback when it comes to investing in internal mobility. “When you hire someone from outside, it costs you more money, and they perform worse on average for the first two years on the job,” Eubanks said, citing research by the Wharton School of Business. 
Number of internal staff moves. This is a good way to get a reading on whether the organization’s culture really supports mobility. Include lateral moves as well as promotions in the count.
Greater diversity. “We’ve all seen the data on the value of having a diverse organization,” Eubanks said. “But then sometimes it’s really hard to move people or solve for that. Mobility is a great way to bring people up throughout the organization and plug them into those opportunities and level them up so you can reap the benefits of having a more inclusive organization overall.”
Real-World Examples of Internal Mobility 

In addition to Employee Experience success stories from countless customers — including Southwest Airlines, Newell Brands, Kuehne+Nagel, The Warehouse Group, and Quadient — who are making it easier than ever for their employees to grow and thrive — Eubanks shared some poignant examples of various strategies to support internal mobility:

During a hiring freeze, World Bank Group focused on investing in its current workforce. They implemented a talent marketplace to tap into employee strengths — and its success and popularity lasted far beyond the hiring freeze.
To reduce store manager turnover, Chipotle decided to only promote from within for these roles. Turnover dropped from 52% to 35%. 
Global contractor Bechtel advocates for high performers, pledging to move them throughout the organization and sculpt jobs around their abilities and goals.
Related: Inside The Warehouse Group’s Purpose-Driven Employee Experience

Motivation for HR during Challenging Times

Despite the challenges wrought by The Great Resignation, to Eubanks, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the positive changes HR and TA professionals are in a position to make.

“That’s what I love about the work that we get to do in HR. We get a chance to support someone — and the people behind that person, their family, their hopes they have,” he revealed. The work we get to do has such a bigger and more meaningful impact.” 

Feeling inspired? Check out all IAMHR ‘21 sessions here, or request a demo!


Mon, 01/03/2022 – 09:10