Talent Attraction: The Job Candidate Experience

There was a time when human resource departments were judged on how fast they could fill jobs. Keeping a candidate happy and engaged (especially if they were rejected) wasn’t really a priority. Times have certainly changed! Today we understand what we now refer to as the “candidate experience” is just as important as how we treat the customers of our business. Both are crucial to your company’s overall success because each will affect your reputation and your sales.

 The candidate experience begins before you post a job. Many employers make the mistake of writing a job description and then never looking at that job description again. Then they wonder why the talent they’re attracting isn’t a good fit.

 Before a potential candidate answers your ad, it’s likely they’ve interacted with your company. People considering positions today are doing their research and know a great deal about you before they decide to apply for a job. A positive reputation and your “brand” has a lot to do with whether a candidate will apply.

 Candidates who were treated well during the hiring process are more likely to accept your job offer. Whether they were hired or not, they will talk about your organization with friends and family. Every part of the hiring process, and all the multiple conversations and interactions with a candidate, are a reflection on your organization. That includes everything from interviews, the campus tour, the offer letter, the drug test, the background check – even if these touch points are somewhat out of your control.

 Finally, it’s important to recognize the candidate experience doesn’t end with the offer letter. There are few things more damaging to a company than a new hire quickly walking out the door. You should have a long-term plan of professional development in place to ensure employees are constantly learning and feeling engaged and valued.

Employer Branding: Culture And Commitment

Company Culture and Commitment in the Employment Marketplace.

You Can’t Do Without It Anymore.

When we talk about branding, most of us likely think of the type of branding associated with a company’s public image – perhaps created by marketing and advertising. For this blog post, let’s talk instead about “employer branding.”

Employer branding is what attracts potential hires to your company. It’s similar to a shopper using Consumer Reports to compare various washing machine manufacturers. Job applicants are no different. They do research by going to any number of websites. In today’s competitive job market, candidates look at more than just salary and benefit packages. They’re also researching a company’s culture and commitment to employee learning and development. Effective employer branding communicates your organization is a great place to work. And that keeps your current employees engaged and boosts both retention and recruitment of top talent.

It’s important to recognize benefits, compensation and a company’s culture means different things to different people. For example, benefits that are important to someone with grown children are likely vastly different in importance from the needs of a millennial. For example, the baby boomer worker may want three weeks vacation and a lower deductible health plan with a more coverage. The younger worker may prefer more vacation and a higher deductible medical plan with less coverage. Each will have varying degrees of interest in a company’s 401(k) plan, charitable efforts or non-traditional benefits like employee happy hours or free lunches.

The workplace today is changing. Don’t get left behind.

There is no question offering something to everyone can be an administrative nightmare. However, more and more benefit providers are recognizing the workplace today is changing. They’re being pushed to offer more packages and a la carte options. How many different varieties of Coke are there for example? There is something out there for every taste. There’s no reason it can’t be the same with benefits.

To begin, make sure human resources has a seat at the management table. That ensures your employer branding is strategic and part of a measurable plan. Because after all, without a strong, committed workforce, you don’t have a company!

Recruitment: A Better Process for Better People

How to Get People Who Are Right for Your Business

Businesses often think of recruitment as a necessary evil. At Incipio, we encourage our clients to view recruitment as a strategy – not as a headache.


We are firm believers in what we call an “Operating Style Assessment.” Our process is to assess individuals on the team followed by an assessment of applicants. This is one of the key differentiators with Incipio’s service. These assessments provide much more than simply identifying strengths and weaknesses. They help ensure the new hire makes a positive assimilation into an existing team by improving communication.

During the interview process, you’ll likely see a candidate at his or her finest. Your goal is to retain that energy and passion and harness it into onboarding and far beyond. We can help you merge communication across the team and focus on mentoring, coaching and managing performance. That gets you through a new hire’s “honeymoon phase” faster and lets you get down to business.

For example, the assessment shows a team member needs time to process new directives. The new hire learns that upfront – as opposed to overwhelming a team member in the beginning. We’ve found much greater results in retention for companies that follow our process.


Incipio has two primary goals: Reduce the cost of doing business and increase revenue. If we aren’t doing one of those two things, then we’re not doing what we were hired to do. Labor costs are the biggest expense to an organization. Instead of seeing that expense only as a line item in a financial report, we help our clients capitalize on the value of what that line can bring to the business.


If recruiting is taking up a lot of our time, it can be a great value-add to outsource it. For example, if you work a 40-hour week and you spend more than five percent of your time and effort to fill a position, you should outsource it. The value and return on investment of an experienced, trained, a talented recruiter will not only produce a higher ROI for you, you’ll find better talent faster!

Bulking Up Your Business- Smarter is Stronger!

Are You and Your Team Members Getting Smarter?

The other day I ran into a former co-worker. We were able to catch up in about five minutes – a “memory conversation” if you will. I realized pretty quickly there hadn’t been a lot of professional growth for him since we worked together. He seemed satisfied to be in the same job and apparently saw no real need to improve his skills or stretch himself professionally.

If you’re in an organization that isn’t promoting culture and engagement it’s easy to become disengaged in that “toxic” environment. On the other hand, the smartest companies today strive to hire employees eager to grow themselves because they know it will help the business grow. Great leaders have the confidence to surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are – people who add value to every aspect of their job. It makes sense. Research shows when people get the tools and training to do their jobs well they feel supported, are engaged and more loyal.


Regardless of whether your company has a commitment to professional development, ask yourself, “How do I as an individual contributor to an organization become more valuable and a greater asset to the group?” Professional development gives you the ability to speak to different topics in conversation – not only with current or potential clients but also with your fellow employees. It can also put you a path to leadership opportunities, increase your productivity or put you on a path to a boost in compensation.

It’s important you personally seek out opportunities. For example, put together a group of accountability partners you meet with on a monthly basis. Discuss topics at hand or ask to be challenged in your line of thinking. Seek out training and development opportunities for yourself – maybe after hours or on the weekends.

Push yourself to learn something about the business with which you’re not currently familiar. Think about how you can become better versed in cross-functional tasks within the company. The more diverse you make your area of expertise the greater the growth opportunity.

Perhaps you attend a conference and when you return you make it your responsibility to deliver a “CliffsNotes” version to your team. You share your knowledge with others which shows value, and in turn, increases everyone’s value. It also provides a “win-win” for the company to justify the conference expense.

Taking control of your professional development isn’t always easy. But if you stay motivated you’ll find the benefits are immensely rewarding.

Stop. Listen. Ask. – Keys to Employee Retention

As an employer, one of the most important things you can do for your employees is to allow for their voices to be heard and to listen. Employee retention is as simple as that. When you have leaders that dictate and refuse to recognize the option for change, it makes people feel as though they aren’t valued and that their opinion doesn’t matter. These are the kinds of things that truly matter to an employee, and when an employer encourages these things, it can be the difference between whether or not that employee chooses to stay with you.

Of course, not every business is the same.  And no one expects them to be. Taking the time to understand how people want to work, receive work and deliver it, however, is what makes the difference. In some environments, the way things are done is set standard operating. BUT the way in which the direction is delivered is all it takes. Communication is a huge piece when it comes to employee-employer relationships and delivery can make or break that relationship. Regardless of who your employee is or what they do, making them feel valued is key.

What Kind of Relationship Do You Have With Your Employees?

Speaking from experience, I can remember a time I stayed with an employer, over being given the option for a bigger and better role with another company simply because of the leader I had. When asking yourself what you can do to keep your employees and prevent them from leaving to work for another company, think about what kind of leader you are. What are your values, and how do those values affect the relationship you have with your employees? Do your employees feel as though they can voice their opinion to you and that their opinion matters? These are the kinds of things that interest the people that are working for you and what they consider when coming to work for you or when deciding whether or not to leave.

Company culture is a huge aspect of employee retention.  When you have a culture that embraces options and chances for voices to be heard, people want to know that they have a voice.  Allowing people to give their point of view to make things better, improve on the role they manage every day makes a huge impact on their influence within the teams they work. So not only are these things beneficial to the individual employee, but they have an impact on entire teams of people. When people are inspired and want to do their best, it increases overall productivity and engagement within your business. People are the foundation of a business, so how they are treated is something that shouldn’t be easily overlooked.

Let Them Be Heard

So what is something you can do for your business to start making retention a critical focus? Simple. Stop.  Listen. Ask. People want to be heard, valued and given the chance to be their best. Think about when you felt the best at work.  Who were you with, what was your leader doing? The team, or was it an individual contributor role? Make that, take that, and ask your team what they want.  Communication, open transparent conversation is the winning combination for success!

Relationships In Your Business Network – Valuable Beyond Measure

A packed room of two hundred people at an industry conference.  A table of five at a working lunch. An unexpected introduction at a decidedly non-work function.  Ready to make it work for your business? Do you know what you have to do? Networking! It comes easy for some, yet can be painfully difficult for others.  Putting yourself out there and meeting new people can be very intimidating, especially in business situations. The ability to build relationships through networking is a critical tool to getting both your name and your products and services out of your office or work area and into the public domain.  By building a successful network, you have access to endless opportunities and tools that can improve your business.

So where does it start?  The first step is communication, and the ability to effectively communicate with someone can make or break your network before it ever really begins to form.  For me, it starts with a fundamental set of attributes; respect and compassion, checking your ego at the door, and truly listen, doing whatever has to be done to really hear what the other person is saying. The business world can be a scary place, but there is no way to get anything out of it if we are only concerned about our own ideas and thoughts.

As a business owner, I know it can be easy to get caught up in your work. It has a tendency to overshadow other things, but your relationships should be priority one.  And like most things of value, they take a lot of work to maintain; get together, catch up, get to know them personally, and really understand them. Work to get beyond just the surface and work to build deeper connections.  Life happens, and it is so easy to let our own needs get in the way of maintaining our connections, but when we recognize that networks have the power to transform individuals and businesses alike, the value proposition is easy to see.

A Network Relationship = Any Other Relationship

Networks, like any other kind of relationship building, take time and effort. They aren’t just things you can expect to fall into your lap or appear at the snap of a finger. For those of you new to networking or looking to build a personal network of your own, it takes some time, but you can start by asking for help. In a networking situation, people expect you to ask them for help. If you turn that around and just offer some support, your networking partner will be grateful and want to return the favor. We are all out there looking for the same thing; ways to improve our business. If you put yourself out there and offer your services you are bound to find someone in need of your support, and that one person can open doors to many other contacts and networking opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise know of if you didn’t venture out of your comfort zone.

A key aspect of effective networking, and to relationships in general, is that every interaction and transaction is not something that you are always going to benefit from. You don’t always have to gain something direct and tangible in a networking relationship. If you can introduce people who can benefit from one another, it’s just as effective. It is all about the give and take, and sometimes you may help facilitate something that in no way directly benefits your business right now, but will pay tremendous dividends in the long run.

Kicking it into Gear

Once you have developed your own personal network, it’s now time to develop a strategy for maintaining it.  Networks and relationships are much more like gardens, much less like monuments; they need constant tending and care, and without that what you’ve worked so hard to create will slowly disappear. It’s important to take the person that you are making these connections with into consideration and be mindful of the fact that they are people too, not just business advancing opportunities. Get to know people for who they are and recall little fun facts about them; their birthday, their families, favorite foods. As I mentioned before, moving beyond the surface and developing deeper emotional connections is when the fun starts, and the value of the relationship you’ve built really starts to become evident.

It can be a warm and fuzzy feeling when you get a text or email from a coworker wishing you a happy birthday, or someone brings up a funny story you told them at a meeting a month ago, because it shows that they care. These are people that you can rely on to help benefit your business and it will only make the journey easier if you can truly value them as both a business relationship and as an individual.

I have worked hard to develop and maintain Incipio’s network and I’m constantly working to improve it even further. Networks deliver three unique advantages: private information, access to diverse skill sets, and power. Executives see these advantages at work every day, but might not pause to consider how their networks regulate them. We can often take these networking assets for granted, but for many successful businesses, their networks are their foundation and without them, they might not be where they are today. Networks are like a puzzle, and even when one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete.

Keeping Your Network in Check

Consider every relationship you have within your network to be just as important as the next; even if it may not offer as much to your business as others right now, at some point in the future it may prove to be invaluable.

To start, treat others the way you wish to be treated.  We’ve all heard that before, but it carries a much stronger meaning in the business world, where potential clients or partners are all around us. Once you’ve established that solid relationship, it allows you to advance the relationship quality to the next level, where you treat them less how YOU wish to be treated and can focus more on treating them the way THEY wish to be treated.

Networking opportunities are everywhere, whether we are aware of it or not.  This is why it is so important to always maintain the image of your business everywhere you go because you never know who you will run in to.

Networks have the power to work wonders, but they can also wreak havoc if managed inappropriately. We’re humans, and naturally we are selfish beings which is why it can be very easy to unknowingly overload our partners and networking sources with tasks and questions so that we can better our business. Once you start to develop your network it can begin to grow exponentially and it is our responsibility to keep it under control and prevent it from becoming a burden rather than a tool.

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced within my own personal network has been managing the growth and expansion of it. If people know you, then they have an ‘in’, and sometimes you don’t have the time to manage all the asks. Treat your network as if it was a significant other, establish boundaries and what you are and are not willing to do. This will prevent a lot of headaches in the future if you lay down your expectations at the start.  This allows both parties to understand the perimeters before things get to be unmanageable.

We are all in this together, and as discouraged as we all may get sometimes, we all have our own unique assets that bring value to the bigger picture. If you run a business with a close-minded attitude and tend to only keep to your close-knit group of people, then expect to only have access to a limited amount of resources! There are so many opportunities out there, and to have a successful business it takes branching out and truly connecting with people. Speak, listen, and really hear what each other is saying.  Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Pausing to think about the words you just heard is OK. You never know what these people can bring to the table. If you’re only concerned with what you have to contribute to others rather than allowing others to be of support to you, then you’re only holding yourself, and your business back.

At the end of the day, the relationships that we build are the most important aspects of our lives.  Thankfully this is no different in our work-lives; businesses are built by people and the relationships they form as those organizations are created.  Those relationships expand further as partnerships are created, and this extends even more as clients and customers are brought into the picture. Investing in building strong relationships and expanding your personal and professional networks is critical to growing yourself and your business.  Make sure you have a strategy to do both!

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