Archives for April 2015

Fixing the Broken Promises of Performance Management

We’ve all fallen into the trap of believing magical things will happen when we take manual processes and put them online. For two decades now, I’ve watched (and in some cases helped) companies succumb to the allure of this formula. So many promises, and so little ability to fulfill them. Remember when…

… our number one focus should be reducing our HR headcount by deploying self-service applications?

… we had link farms called “portals” that people would access once a year when they had to enroll in benefits?

… we knew that employees and managers would love performance management because it was happening online instead of on paper?

Ah, the good old days are always good for a chuckle. The only problem is that, when it comes to these kinds of empty promises, some of us are still living in those days, and they’re not so good.

One of my goals as CEO of The Marcus Buckingham Company is to help organizations, team leaders and HR leaders escape from this rut. To do that, they’re going to have to find a way to make technology add real value to their processes, by enabling meaningful, even addictive interactions between the organization and the people who work for it.

And there’s no better place to start than with the dreaded and reviled performance management system.

Our article with Deloitte on the cover of Harvard Business Review discusses why now is the time to, if I may quote myself, “reinvent both how we look at performance management as a function and how we think about employee engagement.” After all, there is absolutely no doubt left that engagement drives performance; this has been proven over and over again. Any sensible performance management system therefore has to generate and use data on engagement to provide intelligent insights into how to fuel performance.

It would be nice if technology solved everything magically, but we continue to have to relearn the lesson that it does not. We at TMBC have made it our mission to leverage technology not as a cure-all but as a tool that, handled correctly, can help to spur genuine understanding of engagement and performance. As we pursue this mission, we are guided by a few hard-won lessons about performance management.

  1. Performance doesn’t care about the org chart. Traditional HR/Finance org structures have their purpose, but performance happens in the team. This means that if your performance and engagement processes are focused anywhere but on the team leader, you are starting at a huge deficit. In short, if you want to drive performance,  it’s all about the team leader!
  2. Performance and engagement are not annual occurrences; why measure them that way? Performance and engagement don’t open and close. They don’t start and stop. They are fluid, perpetual and ongoing. To acknowledge this is a huge shift for most organizations, because it follows that the process of measuring engagement and performance, to be meaningful at all, cannot occur only annually or semi-annually, but must occur in an ongoing way.
  3. Analytics and measures must be tied to the now, not the past. I want to see how my workforce and teams are feeling right now, not six months ago. I want to understand how my team is performing now, not three months ago. I must take action based on how my team is feeling and performing now to actually have an impact. The true “prescriptive analytic” must be based on the now. I don’t get a prescription for a cold I had six months ago. We live in a now economy. If my engagement- and performance-improving “prescription” is not delivered in the now, I will never truly improve anything.
  4. We live today in the micro-moment. These micro-moments are glances at content, notifications, “likes” and up-votes — quick activities that keep me engaged and become addictive. If action must be taken in the now, and it must, then now must occur in the micro-moment, continuously. Education and content must “drip” to team leaders and team members continually to create an “always on” culture of improvement. Used properly, technology can deliver these micro-moments, these glances and drips, in a lightweight manner, saving our performance processes from becoming heavy and burdensome.
  5. Transactions are not action. I have lived my career in this space trying to create technology to solve problems, only to realize that the services are not there to support the technology. When I talk about services, I don’t mean simply implementation of the technology; I mean true services that leverage the data the technology provides to improve engagement and performance.Technology can facilitate transactions — of data, of content, of learning. But technological transactions, in and of themselves, are not action. Inspiring action requires a holistic approach — one that combines content, research, data and services with personalized, always-on technology that sustains the thinking that can engage teams and drive performance.

This leads me to where we are today. The question I have been asked the most since joining The Marcus Buckingham Company as CEO is simply, Why this company? The answer is simple. We have created a holistic approach to doing what performance management should do: fuel workforce engagement and accelerate performance. Employed on its own, technology simply shifts the method of doing the same old stuff that simply doesn’t work — the stuff that HR leaders and organizations love because it’s created for the organization and the HR leader, and that team leaders and team members hate for exactly the same reason.

Our approach (as shared by Marcus in his most recent blog post) focuses instead on where the action happens: on the team and team leader. It doesn’t start with the HR department; it starts with the team. And guess what? In focusing on the team and team leader, it does a much better job of giving HR the tools it needs to fulfill its yearly activities around compensation and other compliance-driven processes, anyway.

We are here. We have arrived. Whether your function is HR, OD, a line of business, a team leader or an individual, our time is now to change the way we think of workforce engagement and performance management, once and for all. What is this new thing called? Where does it fit? Let’s not get hung up on categories of the past that truly don’t make sense. Let’s focus on where we are. We have found the unicorn and those that ride this unicorn will quickly realize a competitive edge that is unlike anything we have seen before.

Let’s go! Another infusion of knowledge.

About the Author:

Jason Averbook is CEO of the Marcus Buckingham Company and recognized as one of the top thought leaders in the space of HR and workforce technology. Jason contributes to Inc., Businessweek, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CIO Magazine, HR Executive Online, Talent Management Magazine, NPR, SHRM, IHRIM and other well-known publications. He also is author of the new book HR From Now To Next: Reimagining the Workplace of Tomorrow.


Compliance Penalties Hurt Employers’ Bottom Lines in 2014

Although complying with the Affordable Care Act and other government regulations continues to be a top concern for midsize business owners, a relatively small percentage of them have strategies in place to manage their compliance and many say non-compliance has hit their bottom-line. For many, expert advice from benefit advisers could be a real solution.

A third of employers say they’ve experienced fines and penalties in the past year because of non-compliance with government regulations, according to new research from the ADP Research Institute.

For many employers, penalties occurred for infractions they may not have been aware of. More than three quarters of midsized business owners said they lack confidence that their organizations understand all the new ACA regulations.

“Midsized businesses spend a lot of time following and adopting rule changes in an attempt to avoid fines, yet they’re still often unaware when non-compliance fines occur,” says Anish Rajparia, president of major account services at ADP. “It’s no surprise that keeping up with the level and volume of government regulation was a top concern of more than half of the midsized business owners we polled.”

“As a small or midsize company you’d have to hire a small army to keep up with the changing laws,” says Steve Kapusta, division vice president for strategic partnerships for ADP. “And the more you spend on compliance, the more you take away from other aspects of your business.”

This is where benefit brokers can help out, he says.

“That role as the trusted adviser has started to go out of the scope of just brokering employee benefits and moved into [assisting with] compliance. In our experience we are seeing a lot of these employers turning to their advisers,” he says.

“We’re a small team of experts. As the payroll and benefits department, we’re not just dealing with California or with Oregon alone. We have to provide expertise on many different levels — to all of the managers to allow them to work better,” says Tatiana Cass, payroll and benefits manager for Diamond Parking, one of the businesses surveyed by ADP.

Brokers can differentiate themselves from others in the field by offering compliance solutions and partnerships with solution providers, says Kapusta.

Top Concerns

Top concerns for midsized business owners remain the cost of providing health care benefits, the ACA and the level of government regulations with which they must comply.

Sixty-nine percent of employers surveyed said health care benefit costs are a top concern, with 28% of those saying they are extremely concerned.

More than half of employers surveyed named the ACA as a top concern, with 29% of them saying they are extremely concerned. Still, less than a quarter of employers are confident that they have the tools and information needed to make the decisions about the best health and benefits strategies for their companies.

More business owners now than in the past, however, are trying to mitigate increased health care costs, but their lack of understanding of the ACA is often a deterrent to success, the study finds.

“Perhaps as a result of their lack of confidence and understanding of the changes brought about by the ACA, midsized business owners often revert to the tactics of smaller business. Only half of them, for example, said that they are offering or will offer wellness programs to employees as a result of the ACA,” the ADP report states. “And just over half say that their company has put together a plan to help control or lower the cost of providing medical insurance to employees.”

When they are exploring changes to benefits strategies, most business owners said they don’t know how they will administer the changes. Four out of five said they are still planning to handle it in house, the same way smaller businesses do, again highlighting a significant need for adviser expertise.

Reprinted from Employee Benefit News

5 Tips to Solve Conflicts With Workplace Behavior

The ability to productively resolve conflict in the workplace is a necessary skill for supervisors and managers. Organizations require collaboration among employees to effectively meet their goals, but what is said or done by employees can often lead to disagreements or misunderstandings and prevent a team or its individual members from completing tasks efficiently and effectively.

A recent Forbes article citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the typical manager spends anywhere between 25 and 40 percent of his or her time addressing conflicts between employees. While addressing employee-related conflicts is an expected part of a manager’s role, if done correctly, the amount of time addressing conflicts reduces dramatically.

With changes in how employees are managed, the time spent in addressing conflict can even reduce to zero. By taking a behavioral approach to conflict resolution in the workplace, managers and employees can help to pinpoint specific behaviors that lead to these conflicts and find productive ways to move forward.

The science of behavior can be directly applied to the most fundamental aspects of the workplace, and solving conflicts is no exception. As discussed in “The Science of Success,” examining behaviors objectively makes it possible for employees to identify specific behaviors in themselves and others that fuel conflict.

Keep Behavior In Mind

It often comes as a surprise that the fuel of conflict is positive reinforcement. When conflict at work continues and escalates, the parties involved are getting some form of reinforcement for continuing the argument or disagreement. While those involved may describe the situation as aversive and undesirable and would deny that positive reinforcement is at the heart of the conflict, it is.

Once people begin to see how their behavior is keeping the conflict going, they begin to see how different behaviors, and sometimes rather solutions, can resolve the conflict. When trying to resolve conflict at work, the fact that the source and continuance is behavioral is important because behaviors can be changed.

Because conflict increases emotional responses, it is often difficult to know where to begin as emotional responses obscure critical events. When approaching conflict resolution between two or more employees, the following offers five best practices for coach/managers in applying the science of behavior to workplace problem-solving:

1.    Listen to the history of the conflict only once. The value in listening is that the person knows you as someone who is objective. However, after that, it is rarely helpful to keep repeating the “you said …” or “he did …” dialogue. The conflict will be avoided by behavior changes in the future, not in the past.

In addition, memory clouded by emotion is frequently inaccurate and even if it is, discussing the disagreement only perpetuates the emotional behavior that keeps the conflict going.

2.    Identify specific actions that trigger emotional responses and reactions in the participants. Conflict is behavior that provokes a negative response or reaction from another person. While the effect is usually emotional, it is important to have those having the conflict to specifically identify the words, gestures, facial expressions and body posture that cause a negative response from the other.

Any conflict, by nature, is likely emotionally charged, so rather than focus on how the conflict got started or interpreting motive and intent, focus on objective behavior.

3.    Focus on the future. What happened yesterday is history. It cannot be changed. Given the fact that problematic behaviors can be changed, it is more productive to focus on what those behaviors should be and what behaviors will prevent a misunderstanding in the future.

4.    Have each person track the number of times he or she responds in a new way. Each person needs to know how he or she is responding in new ways to situations where the old conflict producing behaviors previously existed.

5.    Have the parties track the number of times they attempt to positively reinforce some behavior or accomplishment of the other. We know from almost 50 years of working in organizations where dysfunctional behavior exists between individuals and work groups that it is almost impossible for people to have conflicts when the mode of interaction is positive reinforcement.

When anyone is looking for positive things other people do, even those in conflict, it leaves little time or opportunity for dwelling on things others have done to harm you in any way.

A productive, healthy workplace will always have disagreements and differing opinions about what and how things should be done. This often results in creative solutions. However, all differences of opinion and disagreements do not result in conflict. When managers and other employees know the power of positive reinforcement and how to use it productively, conflict rarely occurs and when it does can be resolved quickly with the employees and the organization benefiting.

About the Author:

Aubrey C. Daniels is a thought leader and an internationally recognized expert on management, leadership and workplace issues who is an authority on human behavior in the workplace. Trained as a psychologist and specializing in the science of behavior analysis, Daniels has written the newly-released fifth edition of “Performance Management: Changing Behavior That Drives Organizational Effectiveness” and five other business books.

Reprinted from Talent Management Magazine

Online Degrees and Certificates: What Instructional Designers Need to Know

Monica Surrency graduated with a bachelor’s degree in classic civilizations—not your most marketable of degrees. Unsure what she wanted to do with her life, Surrency worked in various positions, from graphic designer to web instructor to education technology specialist, ultimately landing an instructional design position at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus helping subject-matter experts design online courses.

“I really enjoyed the work I was doing,” says Surrency. “I thought, ‘I’ve found what I want to do.’”

Surrency had been planning to get a master’s degree in something anyway; once she found a profession that clicked, she checked out instructional design programs, seeking one that was fully online so it wouldn’t interfere with her job. She settled on a master’s in instructional systems from her alma mater, Florida State University. Two years later—shortly before her graduation in December 2014—she accepted a promotion at Embry-Riddle to senior instructional designer.

“Without my master’s, I’m not sure if I would have gotten the promotion,” says Surrency. “Having that degree really helped.”

Educational Options Increasing in Number

Master’s degrees like the one Surrency earned are part of a growing array of educational options—often online—now available for those choosing to enter or advance within the instructional design field.

“I’m seeing a greater increase in instructional design programs,” says Phillip Harris, executive director of the 2,400-member Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). “We’re seeing a variety of initiatives at institutions big and small,” Harris says. This includes master’s degrees as well as certificate programs.

One reason for the growth in these programs: new technologies. As mobile devices, apps, and other new learning tools have become available, so has the demand for education to teach learning professionals how to use them. A survey of 1,100 instructional designers by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) in November 2014 found that 40 percent were concerned about lack of skilled staff in their organizations, while 29 percent expressed “difficulty keeping pace with new developments in learning technologies/media.” In response, ATD called for more ongoing education for designers.

At the same time, demand for designers by employers is up, especially as the recession eases, says Timothy W. Spannaus, PhD, coordinator of the instructional design program at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

“We’ve noticed a distinct increase since the worst of the recession five to seven years ago,” he says. “Over the long term, there’s been a steady increase in demand.”

So what should you know if you are interested in an online degree or certificate in instructional design? What are key trends in learning in this field, and what can you do to pick the right program for your needs? If an online degree or certificate in instructional design is not right for you, if you need more focused skill development, are there other options that require less time and lower investment?

(Editor’s Note: For an excellent review of the state of the Instructional Design profession today, including the skills and competencies employers want from instructional designers, see The eLearning Guild’s Research Report Today’s Instructional Designer: Competencies and Careers.)

What’s New in ID Education?

For Phillip Harris, one of the biggest factors affecting instructional design education today is brain science—that is, what researchers are finding out about how people learn. Developments in cognitive neuroscience are affecting learning theory, and this is trickling down to the way designers are being taught.

“We’re seeing more emphasis on learning theory in the training programs and a larger recognition of how the brain works in how instruction is designed,” Harris says. “The learning sciences are expanding and computer science is contracting. The designer needs to understand how learning theory drives their design of instruction.”

This doesn’t mean designers don’t also need to know some technology, though. Depending on the size and type of institution, the instructional designer could be one specialist among a team of highly specialized people—or he or she could be expected to handle several roles, especially for smaller organizations.

Wayne State looked at the kinds of jobs its grads were landing and decided three years ago to shift its specialized set of master’s programs into a single, more generalized degree, Spannaus says.

“We saw what was happening in the marketplace for grads was that they were being called on to be generalists—to be able to deal with performance technology, interactive technologies, and design,” he says. The university then created one master’s degree in performance and design.

Specialization also comes into play when looking at whether the design student will work in K-12, higher education, or the corporate sector. Some colleges and universities offer separate programs—particularly at the certificate level—that focus on those job areas.

The University of Georgia and the University of British Columbia, for instance, have graduate certificates specifically targeting teachers. Wayne State has a master’s degree in K-12 design. Spannaus says this is because “the context in which we are working can certainly make a difference in how we apply the learning tools we have.”

Other schools don’t separate K-12 from private-sector or adult learning design, letting students choose through electives to make that specialization if they decide to, while keeping core fundamentals the same.

“Instructional design is instructional design is instructional design,” says Vanessa Dennen, PhD, program director at Florida State University. “People think K-12 must be so different from corporate, but teaching six-year-olds and adults is not that different. We’re trying to teach students to be flexible and assess any environment they enter and use their core instructional design skills.”

Beyond specialization, another trend affecting online instruction is the declining influence of for-profit online schools, says Harris. Though these schools made a big splash seven or eight years ago, “They are losing some of their luster. Their credibility is just not where they’d like them to be,” with students having trouble landing jobs and also experiencing higher student debt. “It looked like they were going to replace some of the brick and mortar institutions, but that’s just not happening.”

(Editor’s Note: For a discussion of which degrees and credentials are of most value for eLearning professionals, see The eLearning Guild’s Research Report Degrees for eLearning Professionals: What’s Needed?)

Integrating New Technologies

ATD’s recent survey found that many designers are aware of newer technologies and are preparing to use them in their jobs, but their use is not yet widespread.

Mobile learning is used by 25 percent, gamification by 16 percent, and MOOCs, only 10 by percent. But, as the ATD white paper about its research points out, “growth in the application of those methods is expected,” with higher numbers of designers considering expanding into those technologies.

At Florida State, new technology electives have been developed in such areas as MOOC design, using social media to support learning, and mobile learning; students learn to create learning experiences triggered off of QR codes, how to build interactive eBooks and how to design apps.

“It’s been very important to adjust our course offerings and be sure we have electives that reflect the kinds of things our students see happening in the marketplace—the types of skills that employers will be interested in,” Dennen says.

It’s also valuable for students to learn firsthand what it’s like to be an online student—since they likely will be designing online courses themselves—and to use various technologies, such as MOOCs, that they may be implementing in their jobs.

Surrency, for example, developed a MOOC as part of her job at Embry just a few months before taking a MOOC design course at FSU. “It was pretty cool, because my work experience helped with my class,” she says. She also learned new skills in her course, such as content creation, to take back to her job.

While instruction in specific technologies can be important, these also are likely to change. That’s why it’s key for programs to teach how to approach technology in general, Dennen says. This involves inculcating attitudes of fearlessness and a willingness to experiment, as well as an ability to “look at a program and figure out the metaphor on which it was designed” so that students can grasp the menu structure and underlying functionality. This way, she says, students can master any new technology.

Master’s vs. Certificate: Benefits for Each

About half (46 percent) of the 1,100 instructional designers surveyed by ATD in November 2014 have degrees in the field. That’s up slightly (by two percent) from a 2010 survey.

Of those with degrees, 87 percent held either master’s degrees or doctorates. About 16 percent of respondents had certificates (up from 14 percent in the 2010 survey).

The vast majority of design professionals surveyed viewed their education as valuable to their careers, with 43 percent saying it was very important and 39 percent saying it was somewhat important (only two percent said it was unimportant).

Indeed, no matter which credential you choose, you are likely to find benefits for your career. But of the two most common types available online—the master’s and the graduate certificate—what are the relative benefits?

Master’s degrees take about twice as long to earn as the certificate and usually involve earning 30 to 40 credit hours, depending on the program. “They hold greater currency in the job market,” Dennen says. “Master’s degrees are a really good step for people who want to be practitioners in the field.”

Certificate programs typically require 15 credit hours. They can be a good intro to the field for newbies—a way to see what it’s all about, while still earning a credential. Or, designers who want to update their skill sets can find value in specialty certifications.

The online PhD degree is more rare. Typically PhD programs are research-intensive and require at least some face-to-face presence, Dennen says.

David Berz, director of global learning products at Melcrum, an internal communications firm, says his online certificate in instructional design was more useful to his design work than his earlier master’s in education technology, which he earned partly online in 2007 from Northern Arizona University.

Berz, who has worked for LinkedIn, Mozilla, and Disney Interactive, says that many years ago, he applied for a job in instructional design at Bank of America and was rejected. He was told he didn’t know enough about instructional design and the science behind it. The interviewer advised Berz to get a certificate, which he did from Darryl Sink & Associates (DSA).

Bank of America later hired Berz as a lead instructional designer. Berz went on to hold a variety of instructional design jobs for different companies, which he thinks he landed in part due to having a master’s degree. Yet he credits what he learned in his certificate program with helping him do the actual work.

“As far as being a better instructional designer, I think the certificate was super-important because of learning the fundamentals of instructional design, adult learning principles, the theories, and gaining an understanding that there is a science around that,” he says.

On the other hand, he says, as someone who hires instructional designers, he looks for candidates with master’s degrees, which he believes give a good background and understanding of the profession. “I think it matters. I think it’s important to have.”

Certificates, too, can be a plus when it comes to getting hired, says Stephanie Taitano, associate director of faculty professional and leadership development at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she designs eLearning courses.

Taitano has earned several online certificates over the years in instructional design, primarily in new-tech areas such as mobile learning, social media, and gamification. She finds certificates “tremendously beneficial,” noting that they can be developed more quickly than degree programs and thus respond more rapidly to tech trends.

“They can keep us current in a way that is more credible and reliable (and vetted) than a conference program,” she says.

When she evaluates designers for eLearning positions, Taitano says she looks “for some indication of currency—and certificate programs and other one-up online offerings are one way to show this.”

(Editor’s Note: The eLearning Guild’s 2015 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report analyzes how education level affects compensation worldwide.)

Tips for Picking a Program

  • Find out what’s required in the job you want to hold (look at job ads or ask potential employers and people who work in that position) and then find programs that fill those requirements.
  • Evaluate the program’s emphasis. “Often there are career areas that different programs end up being feeders for,” says Dennen. For example, some might focus on K-12; if you want a corporate job, this program might not be right for you.
  • Take a close look at the curriculum to see whether it provides both a strong foundation as well as electives in the areas that meet your goals. Not only should you look at the range of courses offered, but also the course of study and how flexible it is, says Spannaus. If everybody has to take the same courses in the same sequence, this may not give you the options you need.
  • Check out the credentials of the professors who are teaching the courses (the university website should have a faculty page listing their books, articles, conference presentations, and awards; if not, try Google Scholar to see what papers they have published, suggests Spannaus).
  • How is the program taught? Is it synchronous, asynchronous, or a mix? If your job requires lots of travel across time zones, a heavily synchronous program may not work for you. Also, is the program taught with the kinds of interactive elements you want to learn to incorporate into your own ID work? In other words, does it practice what it preaches?
  • What do people on Twitter say about it? Taitano says online courses she’s taken sometimes have a specific Twitter hashtag assigned for student discussion and collaboration. Or students may come up with a hashtag on their own and talk about the course. Search for the program and you are likely to find feedback to help you with your decision.

See the sidebar at the end of this article for a list of the top online education programs.

Guild Academy

The eLearning Guild Academy provides professional development opportunities for anyone involved in the management, design, development, and implementation of learning solutions. Courses across a broad range of skills are designed to lead to mastery and to make a difference in your career.

The Academy offers live online and blended courses in:

  • Tools and Technologies; online now (April 2015) are:
    • Adobe Captivate (basic and advanced)
    • Articulate Storyline 2 (basic and advanced)
    • Articulate Studio ‘13
    • xAPI (introductory for designers)
  • Instructional Design and Development; online now:
    • Creative instructional design
    • Designing interaction
    • The A.G.I.L.E. approach to ID
    • Designing learning ecosystems
    • Sketching and prototyping design
  • Virtual Classroom Design; online now:
    • Coaching others for virtual classroom success
    • Facilitation skills for virtual trainers
    • Producing virtual classroom training
    • Design and development of virtual classroom training (basic and advanced)
    • Design and deployment of virtual instructor-led training for mobile
  • Content Creation; online now:
    • Game design
    • Scriptwriting and audio production for eLearning
  • Business and Leadership; online now:
    • Agile project management for eLearning
    • Project leadership for instructional designers

Complete information about the courses, their schedules, and registration details are available here.

Reprinted from Learning Solutions Magazine

There is No Such Thing as Mobile Recruiting

If you have been following recruiting technology trends over the last few decades, you have seen the evolution from electronic recruiting in 1995 to Internet recruiting in 1999 to social recruiting in 2008. More recently, you have seen the emergence of mobile recruiting.

But I am here to tell you: There is no such thing as mobile recruiting!

That’s a surprising statement coming from me. I have been working diligently in the mobile recruiting space for the last three years and am single-handedly responsible for about a third of the hype around the importance of mobile technology in recruiting.

But after living and breathing it and working with clients on solving the ever-growing number of challenges in talent acquisition, I have come to the conclusion that it is wrong to consider “Mobile Recruiting” as a category. I am not saying that the mobile trend is not real or important. What I am saying is that focusing on mobile as a segmented category creates unwanted downstream effects.

The problem with putting too much emphasis on the technology du jour is that we sometimes miss out on real opportunities for change. We get so caught up in the individual channels that we end up with fragmented systems and, in turn, a horrendous experience for the candidate. We forget that the candidates who browse jobs on a mobile device are the same people who visit later on a desktop or tablet. It’s not about the channel or medium, but the totality of the experience and where a candidate is in their process as a consumer.

This doesn’t mean it is not important to accommodate visitors on mobile devices. Mobile accessibility has become the price of admission. However, if your focus is on just patching up your mobile apply and you’re not thinking holistically about the entire candidate journey, then you are thinking about this the wrong way.

While completing the fifth edition of the Corporate Mobile Readiness Report, I visited every corporate career site of the Fortune 500 and personally experienced the fragmentation candidates encounter.

Fragmentation comes in many forms:

  1. Diluted brand – Some companies have several different vendors providing a variety of landing pages for different purposes with very inconsistent branding. As a consumer, it makes you wonder if you have found the right company.
  2. Dead ends – Whether it’s an out-of-sync job list, stale job postings or incomplete mobile optimization, too many paths are leading job seekers to broken links and error messages.
  3. Navigation – With multiple solutions picking up different segments of search and apply process, poorly designed responsive web, or pop-up browser window after browser window, career sites can be impossible to navigate.
  4. Data – One of the biggest impacts of the fragmented front end is the inability to access all the candidate traffic data. Companies spend millions to drive candidates to the career site, and only track information on the very small percentage who apply to a job.

It’s time to stop focusing so much on the tools we use to get the job done. What is most important is providing a high-quality candidate experience, no matter the device. We need to focus on how to provide a candidate experience that is consistent with the brand and make it seamless across all channels and mediums.

For some reason, every time technology changes, we like to give recruiting a new name. Isn’t it really still just about recruiting?

About the Author:

Ed Newman is the vice president of strategy for iMomentous, a recruiting platform provider in Horsham, PA

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