Perform Business CPR With Your New CPO

Posted by Mark Jackson on Thu, Mar, 26, 2015 @ 08:03 AM

A common business mantra you may have heard before is “do more with less.” Whether it’s avoiding fake work, managing your revenue and expenses to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, or consolidating departments into each other, the idea of making the most of what you’ve got is an alluring one. Shouldn’t companies always want to get more out of their expenses, employees and assets? If the mantra is to do less with more, what were businesses doing before?


Enter the CPO, a recent addition to the executive repertoire. The positions of CPO came into prominence after President Obama added the position to his stable and named Jeffrey Zients his first CPO with the goal of having him “streamline processes, cut costs, and find the best practices throughout our government.” The CPO is the answer to all of the “do more with less” needs, but what exactly is a CPO? How do they help maximize your businesses’ talent and finances simultaneously? How do you get one?

CPO vs. CPO: What’s the difference?

Before we begin to define what a CPO is, we should clear up a bit of the alphabet soup. “CPO” can mean a number of things, but for our purposes, it means two things: Chief Procurement Officer, and Chief Performance Officer.

A Chief Procurement Officer is effectively the leader of the HR department at a company. They handle all the human resources issues and handle talent acquisition matters. They’re responsible for how employees are treated, how they work, and how to find (procure, if you will) new hires. A Chief Performance Officer, on the other hand, takes a bit from the Procurement field and adds a bit of finance. Mark Feffer (@markfeffer), President of Tramp Steamer Media, does a great job of defining the role of the CPO.

"CPO takes an organization-wide view of performance, developing measurements to gauge the results of various units, working with stakeholders to improve them, and reporting on performance to the organization’s chief executive... In essence, the CPO becomes the go-to person for issues related to an organization’s performance in all aspects of its operation.”

A Performance Officer would take the idea of talent and turn it into something that helps inform ideas of performance, then taking both of those ideas and measuring them against expenses.

A Chief Performance Bump

But why are these CPOs necessary? Because businesses around the world are constantly motivated to improve their performance, and to do this, one needs a keen understanding of both the financial and human aspects that drive it.

According to a recent survey, 57% of HR departments have increased spending on analytics, the kinds that help them understand how their employees are performing. Additionally, 70% of CEOs are concerned about finding the right kinds of candidates for positions they need filled, and 58% worry about the rising labor costs associated with entering high-growth markets. This tells us that the ideas of big-picture finances and talent management are intertwined much more closely than we thought, and order to maximize both, a company needs someone who can dip their hands in both.

Tweet This: 57% of HR departments have increased spending on analytics.

Now we have to figure out who that is. If you’re looking to promote from within, look no further than some of your top-performing employees, who may already be doing some of the things necessary to become a valuable CPO. Top performers don’t get where they are alone; 83% of them use big data to gain insights about their business, which is the exact kind of thing a CPO would need to do. They also know how to bring different departments together, and 88% of top performers can collaborate well with others, including people outside their enterprise. Finally, a Good CPO knows which way the winds are blowing, and 73% of top performers do too, adapting to changing market conditions on the fly.

So when asking your company to do more with less, start at the top and implement a CPO who can merge performance with finance and give you the performance increase you’ve been looking for. Your CPO may already work at your company or it may be someone you bring in from the outside, either way, with an executive focused solely on performance and procurement, you maximize talent and efficiency.

If you’re looking to maximize your talent and get more out of what you’re spending on its acquisition, look no further than Visibility Software. Visibility offers Cyber Recruiter, your one-stop ATS offering applicant routing, interview scheduling, onboarding services and more. Sign up today and get a free demo!


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Tags: cyber recruiter, Performance, HR analytics

Succession Planning: The Core Issue of Leadership Failings

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Wed, Mar, 18, 2015 @ 07:03 AM

An organizational succession plan should always have a plan B. It is one of the biggest problems for any business and a core issue for leadership. Succession planning is like an insurance plan for the survival of your business. So it stands to reason then, that if you don’t have a succession plan, you can’t ensure that your business will survive after your resignation. The good news is, it’s never too late to start the development of a succession plan. All you and your team have to do is answer a few questions and write the plan to set it in motion once it’s needed. It’s no easy task however, and as it becomes a higher priority as Baby Boomers enter retirement it’s of growing importance to be able to answer these questions. Brendan O’Neil, Solutions Architect at CareerBuilder, provides the essential questions to ask in order to create a well-rounded succession plan:


  1. How many people will be leaving the organization - both voluntarily and involuntarily - over the next 5-7 years?
    The youngest Baby Boomers turn 50 this year and are preparing to retire. Your organization has to be ready for the retirement or removal of key players to the team. The maturing age group makes up 13% of the American population, and that could mean a large percentage of employees retiring from your organization.

  1. What skill sets will those employees who are leaving take with them?
    In preparation for several key members to leave the organization, understand what their positions are. Detail job descriptions accordingly so the team can adjust functionally and culturally for the impending change.

  1. Will we recruit externally or promote from within to fill those gaps?
    A vast majority of organizations - 77% of them - realize the significance of internally recruiting candidates for promotion. However, even though so many understand this key fact, 54% do less than one-third of their recruitment from within the organization. Take into account the financial responsibility of committing to an external recruitment plan and if that’s a risk your organization is willing to take. While internal recruitment strategies may save the budget, external recruitment can bring life and fresh ideas into the office.

  1. What’s going on outside the organization that could affect my ability to recruit the employees we need?
    Pay attention to economic and employment trends. Mass layoffs and the size of college graduating classes are just two examples that can have an impact on how your team formulates a recruitment strategy.

  1. Where is the supply of candidates going to come from?
    Your career page, job boards, and social job advertisement all have a part in recruitment strategies. What do they have in common? They are all on the internet. Online recruiting can save companies as much as 50% in cost-per-hire.

  1. Where will our company be in 3-5 years, and what does that mean for the type of people we will need to recruit?
    Projecting your organizational needs as well as employee needs can help decide the future of your team. This can help your recruitment team determine which niche job boards it will be best to post job openings to. 

  2. What type of training opportunities do we need to provide to ensure our current employees develop the skills we need?
    As the Baby Boomers enter retirement, the Millennials are entering professional employment. That means, your organization will need to prepare the training programs set in place appropriately. Because 40% of Millennials are interested in careers that allow for growth and accomplishment, training programs need to determine a career path.

Now that you’ve asked all of these questions, do you have a backup plan? Your succession plan is dependent upon how thorough the questions are answered so your organization can be prepared from A to Z when a key team player leaves the company. Give your team the tools they need to keep the organization thriving as Baby Boomers retire. They have big shoes to fill and with a succession plan, it will be much simpler for your team to compensate for any gaps in the team.


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Tags: cyber recruiter, Leadership, Succession Planning

6 WAYS to Develop a Mentorship-Style Training Program

Posted by Mary Sue McClintock on Wed, Mar, 11, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Our recent article, “6 Reasons to Develop a Mentorship-Style Training Program” examines the various benefits for employers and employees to create an effective training program designed for mentors and mentees. Employers benefit greatly by implementing this style of learning and development, especially when it comes to building an employer brand that fosters loyalty. More than 70% of Fortune 500 companies have official mentor programs, and with results like increased retention rates, meeting diversity initiatives and increased employee engagement; it just makes sense.


The benefits don’t just stop at the employers, but they stem throughout the entire organization and positively affect employees too. Not only do mentor programs build lasting relationships with leadership, but they provide opportunities for professional advancement, as well. The rewards of this type of training program are evident, but earning those rewards requires a little work. Or maybe, it requires no work at all. Here’s a great point: 

“A lot of companies’ structured mentoring programs have failed as they have tried to put structure to something that is basically a relationship.” - Jeanne Meister (@jcmeister), Author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today 

Unlike any other organizational program, the mentorship program is more likely to fail if it’s structured. You simply can’t spoon feed a mentor-mentee working relationship. However, you can put in place these 6 organizational initiatives:

1. Job Shadow

“Spending a day in the life of someone in a different department can change the way you approach every aspect of your job.” - Lisa Evans, (@WriteLisaEvans)

For new hires, spending time in a different department may be getting ahead of yourself, but spending time with someone in their department should become a major part of the onboarding process.

Work4, a social recruiting platform, founded an inter-department employee exchange program called “Live My Life” which allows employees to spend a day in the life (at work) as one of their coworkers. See how this program has been a success with approximately 75% of interns (which are generally new hires) have participated.

2. Get Out and Network Together

As a mentor, it’s one thing to provide contacts to your mentee. Introing them to a sales rep that you’ve worked with in the past, or giving them the contact info for the IT department are great first steps. However, networking needs to happen externally as well. Invite your mentee to attend a conference with you, a business lunch meeting or any professional networking event. 

3. Discuss Interpersonal Skills

This one is often overlooked, yet extremely important. Every person works differently depending on their environment and the people they are working with. Sit down with your mentee and find out what makes them tick. What are their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working with others? Obviously, after finding out this pertinent information you aren’t going to advise them to avoid so and so. However, you can direct them towards other coworkers that you think will be valuable to their training.  

4. Volunteer Together

Does your organization have any charities they partner with? Is there a charity that is related to your organization’s mission or industry related? This is a great opportunity to break away from the structured mentorship program and do something a little different. Volunteering is a great way to build a bond and an opportunity to get to know each other better.

5. Cross-Lead

KMPG, a global professional services company, started a mentorship program called “Leaders Engaging Leaders” to diversify and grow its group of managers. This cross-mentorship program is definitely something that other organizations need to consider including in their current programs. The results of this program have been successful in that more leaders are taking on higher-level leadership roles. A study found that mentors in an employee mentoring program were promoted 6 times more often than those not in the program. Mentees in the program were found to be promoted 5 times more often than those not in the program. What does this mean for a cross-mentoring program? Everyone is getting promoted! 

Tweet This: Mentors in a mentorship program are 6 times more likely to be promoted.

6. Consider a Reverse-Mentorship Program

As baby boomers are set to retire and leave the workforce, Millennials are taking over with a nationwide attrition rate of 15%. The changing workforce highlights the need for a reverse-mentoring program in many organizations. Step out of the typical top-down mentor program and switch up the roles. Higher ups can learn from new employees too, and in turn it may teach the new hires a little more about themselves.

80% of learning is informal

Therefore, this fact should be used as a basis for your employee mentorship training program. Mentoring empowers employees and new hires to learn and develop in ways that complement your already established training program.

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Tags: cyber train, training, Employee Training

Mentoring a Millennial is a Win-Win for Everyone

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Mar, 04, 2015 @ 08:03 AM

The shifting personal and work values of the newer generation are creating an opportunity for a bilateral beneficial relationship between manager and millennial. Mentorship is something millennials crave, but are not receiving.


A study found that only 2% of college-educated Millennials received career encouragement from a mentor at work. That number should be a wakeup call for mentors and entry-level workers as well. With Millennials poised to be the largest sector of the workforce this year, we need to define mentorship, teach new workers how to ask for mentors and encourage potential mentors to get out there and find a younger worker to take under his or her wing. Millennials not only find value in a older and wiser influence, but a mentor can learn from the relationship as well.

Millennials Demand Mentors, but Aren’t Great at Asking

Generation Y cares about career and personal development at every point in the employee lifecycle. 70% of millennials rank the opportunity to learn and develop on the job as a top professional priority, and 65% of millennials say personal development is the most influential factor in their current job. They see their job as a way to grow and develop into a better employee and a better person. A mentor can fill this role to provide guidance, feedback and development. This new work generation welcomes any and all feedback and will jump at the chance to be mentored.

Where they’re lacking is the ability to ask or even define what mentorship looks like. Generation X and the Boomer generation aren’t interested in overseeing every aspect of a young person’s career. They expect millennials to come to them with a problem and a multitude of solutions or for advice on a project nearing completion, not one they just started. Prospective mentees should keep this in mind as they search for career guidance. 

Mentors also frequently feel they have to do all the work in a mentoring relationship. Entry level grads should “do the legwork” when it comes to reaching out to potential mentors. If you want an in-demand mentor, you should reach out, schedule the meeting and arrange your schedule around his or hers; not the other way around. Consistent follow up and a grateful attitude go a long way.

What You Get from “Reverse Mentoring”

A mentorship is rarely one-sided. Millennials have strong values and unique insight that can be used to round out a mentor’s work-life:

The dominant trends for millennials point towards sustainable work, valuable work and work-life integration. Money is not a sole motivator and redeemer, and a higher-purpose value is apparent. From spending time with millennials, mentors can gain insight on their own intrinsic values. Learning more about what really matters to you in regards to work, balance and sustainability could have a positive impact on your work life as well as the company. 

By sharing their life lessons with younger workers, mentors get a chance to relearn much of the knowledge that hasn’t been used in a while and practice patience, listening and a unique insight on how the next generation views the world of work; all things that may come in handy in the mentor’s everyday work life. 

Remember This 

Millennials will welcome any and all feedback but need to grasp the difference between a boss and a mentor. In fact, 80% of millennials say they wantregular feedback from their manager. This does not mean annual performance reviews, but on-the-job immediate feedback, good or bad, on what’s being done. We’ve all heard about the attention spans of the so-called “now! generation,” well it transfers over to how they want evaluation as well. Little comments on a job well-done, or something to improve upon for next time can go a long way. Millennials must understand that mentors are not their supervisors and will not be providing regular feedback, but giving advice and commenting on solutions the mentee has already figured out on his or her own. 

74% of millennials surveyed said confidence in their leadership was a key driver of engagement. If mentors can pinpoint a strength to recognize and focus on, all the better. Gen-Yers want to put in a good job and want to be engaged. A little trust, a little empowerment and a chance for them to put in their own ideas, and the results may just surprise you. Mentors should strive to instill confidence in their charges, especially when they bring well thought out solutions to the table.

Don’t Look Past the Women 

A Bain&Company survey reports that women lack meaningful recognition and support from managers during their mid-level career period. This talented and educated workforce has a great need for leadership and mentorship from above. Want to know how beneficial women are in your workforce? Read this. Women benefit from mentorship as well as men and have a unique viewpoint on the workforce, past and present.

You Don’t Need a Label

Mentors don’t need to label a protegee to begin to invest in their growth and potential but beware of crossing the mentor line if you are not a young person’s immediate supervisor. As for millennials, if you have someone in mind to be your mentor, offer to buy them coffee or work on a project with them. If you have a connection and can gauge whether their life will accommodate your “sitting at their feet” then move forward with more regular meetings. You don’t have to ask the actual awkward question, but phrases like “I’d love to learn more from you.” or “If you have time, your story is fascinating to me. How did you get where you are?” can be a little less daunting. All millennials are trying to find their place in the world and in the workplace. Don’t believe it? “What Career Should I Actually Have” quiz on Buzzfeed has over 18 million hits.

Have you ever thought about developing a mentorship program? The right training can augment a successful mentorship program. Give us a call, and we’ll set you up with Cyber Train to get you started. 

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Tags: cyber train, training, Employee Training, Mentoring

How Gamification can Help (and Hurt) Your Employee Engagement

Posted by Mark Jackson on Wed, Feb, 25, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

Success stories touting gamification’s success abound. Recently, the spotlight’s been on companies like Dailybreak, who’ve used gamification to engage customers and reaped the incredible profits. As Dailybreak has shown, the market for gamification is huge, sparked by a series of successes in things like education and hurricane relief, as well as books touting the benefits of gamification. 

Gamification is being used in the world of work, so it’s important to HR professionals to understand what gamification can and can’t do for them. What is gamification? How can it help people work? What are its limitations and problems? How can we solve these problems or work around them? These are questions HR professionals should be asking themselves, as they’re important to knowing whether they should implement gamification in their own organizations. 



Gamification and its benefits

In a nutshell, this is gamification: taking processes and tasks that may not be fun or engaging on their own and turning them into “games” by providing an extrinsic reward and motivation for completing these tasks. By providing a bonus that then ties into a larger reward system, employees are motivated to do better at these tasks or complete them more quickly.

Let’s take filing invoices or time sheets, for example. They’re tedious to do, very few people like doing them, and they have to get done. So rather than have workers lounge in the tedium of filling these sheets out, gamification would motivate workers to get them done more quickly by offering them a reward, like a gold star or the experience points you’d typically receive in a role-playing video game.

There’s evidence that gamification can work, too. Studies done at call centers have shown a 15% decrease in call time (which means getting through customers more quickly), an 8% increase in sales, and a 9% increase in customer satisfaction. This increase in quality work has caused 70% of employers in the Global 2000 to have gamified at least one process at their organization. It’s clear that not only gamification is popular, but it can also get results. 


Tweet This: 70% of employers in the Global 2000 have gamified at least one process at their organization.


Problems With Gamification

Unfortunately, while gamification can help accomplish a number of things from increasing call center productivity to lowering traffic speeds in Sweden, it may not be the best fit for the business world. While there are benefits to sign gamification properly, as many as 80% of the current gamification apps today are predicted to fail, mostly due to poor design. In studies where the use of gamification was monitored in an organization, participation rates in gamified tasks was 50% lower than those using peer recognition incentives for said tasks.

Gamification doesn’t seem to be a long-term solution, and in fact it could be problem. Take gamification’s application in education by organizations like Khan Academy. Some have pointed out that in the case of education, gamification is going further down the test-oriented path schools have been going down in recent years by focusing on results. It leads to kids focusing on answering test questions without really understanding the material. This may not be as problematic in the results-oriented world of work, but it could lead to employees not understanding material they’re being trained on and losing out on productivity long-term because they have to relearn processes. 


Tweet This: Companies that utilize recognition programs have 23% lower turnover than those that don't.


Finding a Solution

If gamification isn’t always the answer, what should employers do? Well, when you think about it, the gamification problem is really an engagement problem, and there are other ways to help there. For one, 76% of employees find peer recognition rewarding and more likely to motivate them. 90% say they’re more likely to work harder if their work environment were more fun, gamification or no.

Gamification, ultimately, is a means to an end: retention and engagement, which 78% of business leaders rank as important. So while it’s tempting to hop aboard the latest trends in making your employees work better, we should use them in moderation, and not as a panacea for a problem we could tackle in more specific ways (such as implementing more robust peer recognition programs). The #1 reason employees leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated, and companies that utilize recognition programs have 23% lower turnover than those that don’t.

How effective is your training program? It’s time for you to take a second look.

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Tags: cyber train, training, employee engagement, Employee Training, Gamification