Category Archives: Human Resources

Three Cool Ways Companies are Promoting Work/Life Balance

by Amanda Levine, Guest Writer
With the job market more competitive than ever, potential hires are finding more and more creative ways to set themselves apart from their competition. The same is ringing true for the other side of the coin. Companies are fighting to attract the best talent by making themselves seem more attractive than their competitors.

Getting talent that is the right cultural fit and has the qualifications you are looking for can be tough. So here are a few things that can be game-changers when it comes to attracting the best employees. Companies who have the most edge seem to be the best at promoting work/life balance. Here are a few ways they are doing this:

games at work

1. Games

It’s like the adult equivalent of our mothers telling us to ‘go out and play’. Most of us are chained to our computers, and with recent studies showing how unhealthy that can be, employees are being encouraged to take 5 to get up, move around and get the blood flowing. They can shoot pool, play ping-pong, or, in the case of Google Zurich, rock out to a round of Rock Band.

Relaxing workplace

2. Getting Zenned Out

Many employers are finally catching on to the fact that overstressed and overworked people are simply not the most productive and effective. Sure, we get vacation days, but according to a study by Inside Science, only 38% of Americans use all their vacation time. With companies downsizing left, right and centre, employees end up having more work to do and don’t feel they can take the time off. So some creative employers have come up with ideas for employees to take a mini ‘stay-cation’ at work. Many workplaces now offer yoga for employees during lunchtime or quiet sanctuary-like spaces for people to relax so they can come back to their desks feeling refreshed rather than stressed.

workfromhome

3. Flexible Work

The traditional ‘Mad Men’ style office is no more. While being together in an office environment promotes team building and culture, many people have multiple responsibilities outside of work.  So to increase job satisfaction, motivation, and reduce absenteeism, companies are starting to allow a lot more ‘flex time’. Meaning employees can work remotely for a certain amount of time each work-week. New technology makes this easier than ever. Things like GoToMeeting, Skype, Yammer and Smartphones have shattered the cubicle walls. Coworkers these days can be in different time zones let alone different cubicles! Allowing for employees to mold their working hours and spaces to what works best for them will, ultimately, work best for the employer as well.

Aside from the obvious benefits of a pleasant workplace and increased job satisfaction, helping employees find a better work/life balance can also help businesses improve their bottom line. So keep your employees happy, relaxed and satisfied and they will repay you with hard work, loyalty and efficiency.

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Growth Strategy: Plan Your Hiring Ahead of Time

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by Adam Gellert, Recruitment & HR Consultant / Founder at Linkus Group

Startup companies are no different than mature companies – their success is contingent on finding good talent.  When a startup company is ready to hire, they usually need the new resources on an ASAP basis, but it is critical that they do not compromise on the quality of talent they hire, as the adverse affects of a “bad hire” are amplified in a small business.

Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you they have a love/hate relationship with employers that call them saying they need help hiring for a position that should have been filled “as of yesterday”.  Of course, it’s exciting for a recruiter to go into their back pocket and pull out that perfect candidate. However, recruiters know that depending on the hiring need, immediate results aren’t always possible. They know that the best candidates aren’t always on the market when you need them so, some good, solid planning can go a long way in a successful search.

Prepare, create a recruitment strategy long term and be mindful and creative of potential hiring needs down the road. 

Have you been in a rush and forced to make decisions based on necessity when hiring? This is very common.  Successful companies know that their greatest employees are what make their company great.

A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day.  He walked into a Starbucks, and observed four of their staff at work. The first one was taking orders at a satisfactory pace, yelling out “double vanilla latte, hold the foam”, another walking around aimlessly and almost confused restocking shelves while paying customers swarmed in. The third just standing in the back washing dishes occasionally at a slow crawl and then, the one that stood out all along, the superstar making four drinks at the same time, while cleaning up after herself and making conversation with the customer’s by name. He thought- “Without her the company would collapse!”

He could tell by observing her in action that she’s a dedicated, hard working, shines under pressure and will be a favourite amongst customers – really the reason you go to a Starbucks and pay ten dollars for a coffee. It’s these scenarios you’ve got to think about during your recruitment strategy planning. Think about how the staff you spend your time and money hiring will fit within your culture really, really well.

Know that any growing business on the verge of stardom is going to need those key players on their team to build on that success the initial team has already worked so hard to create. If you’re on your own right now and hiring, that first team member is all the more critical.

Do the following:

Plan

You’ve got a business plan and set important goals. Now set a recruitment strategy. Get thinking about what roles will you need to fill to get that work done, now and a year from now.

Be methodical

Let’s say you need an Account Manager to handle the business you’ve worked so hard to bring in. What attributes will they need? Is organization more important than customer service skills or industry knowledge?

Be realistic

When you start the hiring process you’ll find its often going to be hard to find someone that checks off all your “must haves”. Set your sights on a few must haves, aim for a few more “nice to haves” and finish up your list with skills that would be a “home run” but not critical.

Execution

Recruiting requires more than one set of eyes and takes a lot of skill to fully plan, execute and hire.

Now that you’ve got a plan, you’re ready to start hiring!

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Organizational Culture

corporate culture

by John Kobrossy

In popular culture, the “typical” office environment is usually presented as a blandly decorated field of cubicles, including the common staples of bad coffee and a water cooler. These factors come to form everyone’s default standard perception of corporate culture. In reality, though, corporate culture is so much more than that.

The corporate culture of an organization is defined by the views of the founder or by upper management and top executives. It is the shared values and visions that drive a company and it can be a great indicator of whether or not a company could be a good fit for you.

In order to understand the corporate culture and determine whether it will be a good fit for you, you should do as much research as you can. The following list of tips will get you started.

Company Website:
Check out the company’s website, and pay special attention to the “about” page. It will likely tell you about their mission statements, their clients, how long they’ve been around, exactly what they do and how they do it. Be sure to read between the lines if you can.

Get Inside:
There are factors about the corporate culture than you can only learn by getting inside the doors. If possible, try to organize an opportunity for a job shadow. You can get a real feel for working there that you just can’t get online. For example, their company websites won’t communicate that at GoodLife Fitness, a majority of employees don’t wear ties to the office or that UPS has a clean shaven policy implemented from the top down. At first glance these things might not seem important, but if you look closely this shows you that GoodLife values comfort and a stress free environment and that UPS wants its employees to know that no one employee gets treated any differently from another.

The Interview:
A lot of us have gotten to that point at the end of an interview where the interviewer asks “Any questions for me?” It has happened to all of us, sometimes we just can’t think of a question. Keep in mind that great question can be “What can you tell me about the culture inside your organization?” This shows you’re already trying to get a sense of whether or not you’ll fit in with them. It makes you seem engaged and confident. Even better, you will be getting valuable information about the corporate culture straight from the source.

Don’t ignore the significance of organizational culture in your job search. The right fit can make the difference between loving and hating your job. Get engaged and seek out the company that complements you, you’ll thank yourself for it and your employers will thank you for it as well.

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Employment After Graduation

-Written for Linkus Group by John Kobrossy, HR Student

Being a new graduate is an exciting time in anyone’s life, it is a time of new beginnings. This new beginning comes with a lot of change and a lot of important decisions that need to be made. These decisions are influenced by many things such as fears or perceptions held about going into the real world. In a small sample group surveyed regarding obstacles new grads may encounter, or fear they will encounter, were the following:

  • Too much competition or an over saturated job market
  • No available job openings
  • Not having the minimum relevant work experience required on job postings
  • Ending up in a position that you won’t enjoy
  • Only being able to find unpaid internships
  • Not yet having all the skills needed to perform at a high level

Linkus

Sometimes coming out of school and being lucky enough to land a job can be a relief and an opportunity that you do not need to think twice about. However, your first career decision does require some serious consideration.  You need to ask yourself whether or not a big brand name corporation is the best for you or whether you might be better off with a start-up company in your field? There are various factors when considering the best answer to this question. There is not one right answer for everyone; before making a final decision, it is important to consider it from all angles.

To begin with, the learning curve can be more flexible with a start-up. Unlike with larger corporations that can rely on their name and resources to supply them with a large candidate pool, a start-up is more likely to commit to you once they have made the decision to bring you on. . On the other hand, there are benefits to a big name company as well. In a larger corporation the reputation of the brand carries itself. You can clearly see the corporate hierarchy, and understand from the beginning how you fit into it. Your path of advancement is clearly drawn out for you if you stay with that company and because of its abundant resources; they are more capable of providing perks as you climb internally.  A start-up however, will train you and appreciate the advantages which you as an intern or entry-level employee afford them. Furthermore, an employee’s feeling of contribution can be greater in a start-up because you come in while the company is still building itself. You will be able to clearly notice the work you do and view the company’s success in direct relation to your efforts.

There are also a lot of personal development benefits to working for a larger corporation. In a larger organization, there are potentially more employees and a longer history; it is very possible that you may share an educational or career background with one of your new co-workers. This opens up the possibility for mentoring arrangements, because even without the shared experiences larger organizations possess the manpower to structure a mentoring program. Although it all depends on what you feel is most beneficial to you, in a start-up you can gain confidence and more significant experience. Within a start-up, rather than just having the resources to bring on interns for solely developmental purposes or even if you were brought on as a new hire, you would be put straight to work. You would build confidence through more autonomy, which in turn would give you meaningful experience because you would have to problem solve and rely on yourself. With a start-up company, rather than feeling that all your competency came from being micro-managed, you could be assured that you are actually capable of standing on your own two feet in your chosen profession.

Ultimately, there is a lot to consider when you are making your decisions after graduation. It goes without saying that hard work would be required in either scenario for success, what you have to consider is if you want to be part of something from the ground floor. Succeeding with a start-up can do wonders for your resume and your career; your achievements would stand alone and allow you to be recognized. In the end no one can make this decision but you and as long as you’re doing what you love you’ve made the right decision. After all, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

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Employee Perks: What’s on Trend


iStock_ILoveMyJobSign_350-by Shada Mahboob, Recruiter at Linkus Group

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy (CEO at Xerox)

Statements like the above lead one to question: how do you make an employee feel like a “whole person”? Perhaps it is in supporting a good work-life balance or delegating rewarding work assignments? Regardless of the answer, employee perks can play a significant role in making an employee feel appreciated. Although some small perks may seem insignificant, they can make all the difference in boosting employee morale.

The Linkus Group has been interested in the trends surrounding employee perks. We conducted a survey of employees in various industries to analyze their current perks and their ideal of what should be offered. The survey data covered a range of employees from a start-up online magazine, a marketing firm, and a large mining company. While these companies may not have much in common regarding the services they offer, they all have kept in mind the importance of employee perks.

Competitive compensation is a hot button topic in all organizations; however, a focus on “total compensation,” including intrinsic rewards such as perks, may be the key to reaching true employee satisfaction.

Here are some interesting perks, we have found, that employers are currently offering!

  • Free breakfast essentials
  • Year-end vacations –based on profit
  • Corporate gym memberships
  • Choice of office colour
  • No dress code
  • Yearly “healthy living credit”
  • Commuting allowance
  • Stock options for all employees
  • Complete flex hours –option to work from home
  • Beer fridge
  • Company car for management
  • Discount to Wonderland
  • Christmas Gifts
  • Free housecleaning for employees every 2 weeks

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Recruiting: Researching the Right Fit

-by Rebecca Garber, Human Resources/Recruitment Intern at Linkus Group

I have spent the past several months trying to gain a better understanding of the different recruitment services offered in Toronto. Sending copious emails, cold calling, and networking was the core of my daily research routine. After speaking to several individuals in the industry, I came to understand that their response or lack thereof, could be seen as a reflection of one’s personal style of recruitment.

One of my first emails was met with a rapid response, suggesting a time to meet the next day. Enthused by the immediacy of my success, I inquired about current job openings. When I received a simple yes, my excitement continued to grow. My initial inquiry into gaining more information had transformed into an interview; I had struck networking gold. Upon my arrival, I met with several individuals in the company. I spent the next several hours screening resumes, perfecting my sales techniques and making cold calls. Although these are all important functions of the recruiting process, the accelerated speed had me question the authenticity and potential longevity of this position.

On the flip side, there were several occasions where my efforts to make contact were not reciprocated. For instance, during one particular experience I finally received a response after weeks of persistence, only to be told that I did not have enough experience for the position. When I reiterated that I was simply interested in learning more about the firm, I still sensed hesitancy. To my surprise, I received a phone call later that week asking if I was available for a meeting. When I arrived at the appointment it was evident why my status had shifted to high priority. The individual I was meeting with felt that I would be an appropriate candidate to fill one of the current positions at the firm. As a potential candidate, the suddenness of this situation seemed very obvious to me and I felt slightly uncomfortable. Placing candidates is what recruiters do, but there is a way to do this so that your candidate doesn’t feel like a “pawn in a game”. It is important to be subtle about personal gain and emphasize benefits to the candidate. .

Although my requests were not always met with unprecedented altruism, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by many of my interactions. I had the privilege of meeting with some extremely helpful and inspiring individuals. The fact that people were willing to spend time with me when there was no apparent immediate benefit, is an indication that they understood a very important principle. I believe it is difficult to find success unless one approaches all interactions with an element of foresight; something beneficial does not necessarily mean something immediate.

In the end, I found myself at Linkus Group; a recruiting/HR agency that structures client and candidate interactions, based on the principle of quality over quantity. Whether it is a personal job search or a recruiter in search of a suitable candidate, finding an appropriate and well-researched fit should never be comprised of the temporary satisfaction of simply filling the role.

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We’re Live!

-by Kassandra Wenaas, Marketing Coordinator Intern at Linkus Group

After months of having the ‘NEW SITE COMING 2012’ slogan up on our old homepage, we have finally managed to launch the new Linkus Group website. Since our new site has now gone live it feels like a good time to do a quick write-up on this milestone.

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The Candidate / Recruiter Relationship

-by Lani Wise, Recruitment Coordinator at  Linkus Group

Recruiters pride themselves on being able to read people.  Highly developed instincts and skills are used to understand what the employer is looking for OR what key strengths a candidate has.  When you find that perfect person and you know they’re going to fit, it’s really thrilling!

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The Recruitment Process… Made Simple

by Adam Gellert, Founder HR Consultant at Linkus Group

If your company is experiencing growth, recruitment and selection can be one of the most exhausting and difficult tasks in moving your business forward.  Yet, as daunting as it is, it’s necessary.

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Helping You Invest in Human Capital

by Kassandra Wenaas, Marketing Coordinator Intern at Linkus Group

In today’s global world, investing in human capital often directly influences an organization’s productivity.  With a continuous rise in secondary education combined with rapid advancements in technology, there’s a growing demand for highly skilled talent to fill industry roles.

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