Ask The Hiring Boss

Your HR Questions Answered. 

A more human take on the most pressing human resource questions.

Human resources is an art and, like all art, sometimes we do great work, and sometimes we struggle with inspiration. In this HR advice series, our owner Nicole Serres answers readers’ burning questions about human resources best practices, gives recruiting and hiring advice, and offers tips on employee retention and leadership. Expect question like:

  • How do I address productivity issues in an employees’ market? 
  • What’s the most important recruiting metric I should be tracking?
  • How do I get more skilled candidates to apply?
  • Should I be surveying employees on their satisfaction at work?

Nicole will tackle a new hiring or HR question each week. Submit yours below for a chance to see her answer in print.

Nicole Smartt headshot
Meet Nicole

Hello! There’s a reason why one of the most common search terms for hiring and staffing professionals is “human resources best practices.” Every day brings a situation that we’ve never encountered before. I’m here to wade through these moments with you.

I have over 20 years of experience at the intersection of talent and operations in the staffing world and working with hundreds of employers on their hiring and HR initiatives. As the owner of Star Staffing, I’ve also learned the many nuances of both California labor practices and general HR best practices. I also write regularly for Forbes’ Human Resources Council on hot topics and all things HR-related. Above all, I believe in building inclusivity and empathy into every aspect of the hiring process. This HR advice column explores all that and more.

I’ve seen it all and can’t wait to help! Send me your questions — no matter how big, small, or unexpected!

Answers to Your Hiring and HR Questions: 

An area of great impact is in the time it takes to identify a candidate and fill an open position within your organization, sometimes called time-to-fill. Tracking this is essential because it directly impacts your ability to onboard an employee, but also when you limit the number of days a role is open, you improve productivity by getting the seat filled faster. Managers are more productive because they don’t need to spend as much time interviewing candidates. Openings fill more quickly, which does a couple of things: the cost of open positions goes down, and businesses can continue working at full capacity.  

Open up apprenticeship opportunities: Train all applicants to become the employees you desire. Consider offering a “get your foot in the door” approach to job seekers: Offer on-site training programs to anyone new to your industry and get them up-skilled using your own techniques in the business. In my experience, employees who are learning and who have mobility from an apprenticeship into a full-time paid role tend to stay longer and are more engaged with their employers. Bonus: you get the candidates you want to be working with because you train them to your standards. 

I understand your dilemma and you’re right that it’s tricky! I suggest trying a positive reinforcement approach. Help your managers to capitalize on what the employees are doing right, and then ask if they can do a bit more. Be sure to share how it will impact the company and how it relates back to them.

Another idea is to get competitive. Set up a competition or leaderboard to see if that will kick them into gear.

You can also try having a conversation, checking in with the employees and asking what they like in their role and how they see themselves growing. Then you can suggest giving 100% in their current role and suggest some small, attainable goals they should be striving for.

Consider joining an HR group focused on legal and compliance updates. Many of these groups send out updates when things change, and they are often proactive. The more local the group, the more specific information you’ll receive to your area. A few places to check out are your local Chamber of Commerce, Society for Human Resources Management, National Human Resources Association (NHRA), Society for Human Resource Management California Chapter (SHRM). Many local business groups have an HR committee or subgroup which are worth checking out.

Another tool you can utilize is your personal HR network. Consider starting a group email chain or shared Google Doc where you and other professionals you know can share information, insights, and best practices. If you’re not yet well connected in the HR world, now is the time to build your network.  Connect on LinkedIn, attend local business events (virtually or in-person), and don’t be afraid to initiate the conversation – most HR professionals would love to have more resources and connections!

submit your question here

Questions and responses may be shared in an upcoming issue of the HR industry magazine, HR Jolt, or other media published by Star Staffing. Not all questions will appear in the magazine, please include an email address if you would like a response.  Contact information is optional. 

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