Top Employers Institute

The podcast focuses on how new, innovative, HR/talent related insights and strategies will drive better business performance, raise the level of excellence of the worldwide human resource management profession.
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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 14, 2016

One Company’s Secret to Employee Happiness

We know from research that having a company’s executive leadership team involved in all aspects of HR and people programs makes for happy employees who stay longer. But how are companies finding creative ways for their executives to do just that?

We recently spoke with Kathy Klein, director of human resources at Top Employer certified BSH Home Appliances, for the Talent is Transforming podcast. If you know Thermador and Bosch appliances, then you know BSH Home Appliances – the largest home appliance manufacturer in Europe and the third largest in the world.

Kathy shared with us the global company’s onboarding practices and how executive leadership welcomes new talent. (Spoiler alert: It involves good food.) Kathy also filled us in on BSH’s leadership programs and the fun way the company keeps its employees healthy.

“Proper onboarding is as important for the impression made on the employee as the first interview,” Kathy told us.

One onboarding example she shared is that as soon as an employee is hired, BSH sends an electronic file with benefit information rather than mailing a bundle of papers. The employee can then review and sign the information electronically, making the process more professional, faster, better for the environment and less expensive for the company, says Kathy.

Anyone who’s started a new job understands how overwhelming those first few weeks can be. And making long-term decisions about health care and retirement plans can be daunting. Kathy says BSH checks in with employees six weeks after their start date about a number of items and to make sure the new employee feels that they have made the right decisions about their benefits.

Then at 90 days, the HR team does another follow-up to discuss whether the employee is happy and what can be improved in the onboarding process. “[We do this] so over the next 90 days, they start to feel like a veteran of the company,” says Kathy.

The company also started connecting new hires with executive leadership over lunch in the company’s product showroom. This practice gives new team members the chance to meet with leadership in an intimate setting over food. “Not only do they get to see a beautiful showroom, they get to sit down and share a meal together,” Kathy adds.

BSH employees are not always sitting though. The company started offering adjustable desks for sitting or standing which has become quite popular. Kathy says so far employees are feeling better and engaging in more casual conversations. And it turns out that stand-up meetings are proving to be more efficient.

To hear Kathy’s perspective on leadership development and how Top Employers’ certification has affected BSH, listen to the entire Talent is Transforming podcast.  In addition, be sure to download our global HR Insights reports for additional best practices and case studies: click here.

And remember…Develop. Always.

Dec 7, 2016

Why Talent Acquisition Needs To Get More Chatty


 “More than 80% of today’s shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. Just like a sophisticated consumer, candidates are researching your company to help them decide whether they will apply or accept a job with your organization.” ~ Proactive Talent Strategies

 The “you have to reach people where they are” mantra has been around for decades. But what exactly does that mean for candidate attraction efforts in today’s war for talent?

 We recently spoke to Ed Barrientos, CEO of Brazen, an #HRtech software company, for the Talent is Transforming podcast. We wanted to identify how companies engage with prospective talent by leveraging technology and today’s preferred communication style -- texting. Brazen found a way to engage with the next-generation workforce that could completely change talent acquisition.


“Employers are 2X more likely to capture candidate interest via online chat over online applications.” ~ Brazen

 Brazen, founded by two Millennials and a Gen Xer, built a platform that uses text-based chat to engage with prospective and current employees. “Think about how Millennials communicate,” Ed shared. “They text, they chat, they’re online all the time and it’s all text based. Why fight that trend, why not embrace it and find a way to connect employers with candidates with some form of chat.”

 So why does text-based engagement work? Ed says companies need to get back to the basics of engagement, which means human interaction. Engagement used to happen over the phone but that model isn’t scalable anymore. Text-based chat solutions allow companies to engage with several candidates at the same time. And they’re not necessarily chatting with a recruiter but with current employees in roles that the candidate is interested in. So an engineering candidate will text chat with a member of the engineering team about their projects and experience working at the company.

 Ed says this is particularly powerful with “passive” candidates, who are already in jobs and not actively looking to make a change.

 “Nearly 90 percent of a company’s pool of candidates are passive. Being able to attract and engage those individuals is a lot tougher than just sending them an email and asking them to call you,” he says.

Another notable shift in talent acquisition has been from “everybody wants to work for us and we’re here to filter out the bad and pick the good” to using more of a marketing approach to engaging with candidates. Ed says a great example of this is GE’s “Owen” commercials, which creatively attempt to change the stereotype of GE as just an industrial company. “This is using a marketing approach and technique to communicate and engage with candidates at scale,” says Ed.


The marketing “call to action” is also changing talent acquisition. Calls to action are used in marketing to get people to take the next step, like buying their product or clicking a link to get more information.

 In recruiting, the call to action has always been the singular “apply now.” The majority of candidates avoid it because of the long process of applying and then potentially being rejected. The new call to action for recruiters should be “come chat with us.” Companies are scheduling chat events with internal teams who can tell candidates about the projects they’re working on.

 “If you’re paying to reach individuals, why not take advantage of a higher percentage of people engaging with you. It may not be immediate hires, but now you have them in the pipeline.”  Ed Barrientos, Brazen


Want to hear more about how talent acquisition is changing? Listen to the rest of the Talent is Transforming podcast. (insert hype

Dec 1, 2016

Why The Boss Is Becoming The Coach


Performance management is evolving to a more collaborative, open dialogue between managers and employees


Business cultures are evolving as organizations become flatter and more agile to align talent with business goals and strategies. And these changes are forcing many HR functions to change with them.


One of the most dramatic changes we are seeing is in the area of performance management. Gone are the days of annual reviews and other formal, passive methods for measuring employee performance.


By some estimates, more than 1/3 of U.S. companies - from Silicon Valley to New York - and in offices across the world, organizations are replacing annual reviews with frequent, informal check-ins between managers and employees.

~ Peter Cappelli & Anna Tavis, Harvard Business Review


Managers are transitioning into coaches and employees are rejecting forced rankings, revealed Top Employers Institute’s recent Performance Management HR Insights Report.


Traditional annual review programs are backward-focused, holding people accountable for past behavior, versus focusing on improving current performance and priming talent for future leadership roles. 

Traditional performance review programs also leave employees with little control and input. So it’s no surprise leading-edge organizations across all industry sectors are favoring a more responsive and progressive approach. One that goes beyond the once or twice-yearly “check-in” and favors collaborative dialog and feedback. Goals are flexible, more agile, and embedded in the day-to-day operations of a person’s given job function.


Many companies, such as Microsoft (see our case study), Deloitte, GE, the Gap, and Adobe Systems, have shifted from annual reviews to programs that support coaching for development, with a greater emphasis on teams, versus the individual.


A manager’s ability to provide timely, honest and constructive feedback is a skill in and of itself and should be part of the leadership culture from the beginning. People want managers who:

  1. regularly engage with them about their work and progress, and
  2. routinely share how their performance is evaluated.


The good news is that organizations are ensuring managers can fulfill this new role as coach. Among Top Employer certified organizations, managers are routinely instructed and trained to provide their teams with open and constructive feedback on an on-going basis. Our study shows that it’s as high as 93 percent among #TopEmployer certified organizations.

The idea of coaching is in direct response to employees not wanting to be ranked in their organizations. Ranking encourages competition over collaboration. Companies are realizing this and changing their practices.

We saw a great example of this from Microsoft, which completely overhauled its performance and development program by removing all ratings and moving to a conversation-based approach. (Read the case study on Pg. 14 of our HR Insights Report)

Nov 9, 2016

The Business Case for On-boarding


In less than 5 minutes, listen to this special edition of the Talent is Transforming podcast to learn more about key global trends in on-boarding -- and read the research: click here


“Approximately 70% of new hires decide whether to stay or leave an organization within the first six months of joining”

Human Capital Institute


Insert link to podcast HERE


Over the years, on-boarding has been viewed by some as merely a way to introduce new employees to a team and ensure important tax and health care paperwork were completed.


Recently, however, on-boarding has seen a surge in focus among leaders as research identifies it as one of the most effective ways to address engagement and retention challenges and ensure a smooth and welcoming transition for new hires.


With almost 25 percent of staff turnovers occurring within the first 45 days of employment, there’s a real business case to be made for effective on-boarding programs since the cost of losing an employee within the first year adds up quickly -- often equating to 150 percent or more of an employee’s salary.


Based on the business case and numerous indirect team benefits resulting from updated and more effective on-boarding programs, companies are no longer waiting until the first day of employment to start bringing new hires into the fold.


At leading-edge companies, the on-boarding process begins as soon as an offer is accepted. Some effective practices include sending a welcome box with goodies, or providing access to online portals for new hires to access information on the company’s values, history, key corporate information, and pre-boarding tasks (DHL case study).


These online portals replicate the function of social media platforms with content that can be liked, shared, and recommended. We’re seeing videos, blog posts, and games being used in various on-boarding portals.


We’re also seeing more and more companies assigning a “buddy” to each new employee -- someone who can provide advice, guidance, and encouragement to help new employees settle-in, while senior management actively introduces new hires to the business purpose and legacy. In fact, 66 percent of Top Employer certified companies assign a buddy to new hires and about half assign a mentor – a trend that’s continuing to increase in popularity.


“We expect the importance of mentors to be recognized more in the near future as the use of mentors is something that millennials, in particular, see as both an engaging way to welcome them to the company and an effort immediately impacts their leadership development needs.”

David Plink, CEO Top Employers Institute




The active measurement of on-boarding’s effectiveness is also a growing trend. Leadership is following the progress of employees throughout on-boarding and looking at areas of improvement in the actual process.


Our study found that 83 percent of companies consistently have meetings with new employees at the end of their probationary period and 74 percent are asking employees to evaluate their own on-boarding experience against expectations.


Companies are also collecting qualitative feedback at regular intervals from new hires and managers via online platforms, allowing the company early insight into any potential challenges during the settling-in period.


To hear additional ways in which you can affect engagement via your on-boarding practices, listen to this special 5 minute episode of the Talent is Transforming podcast for key trends and download the full report for additional case studies. Develop. Always.




Oct 28, 2016

The Change Mentality and Why Leaders Need To Embrace It
What’s the next frontier in Human Capital Management? How about leveraging an Uber-type software platform to recruit the right people at the right time? Or using analytics to show how someone’s unrelated background can actually translate and fulfill your organization’s employment needs.
Business leaders need to embrace this type of people-focused innovation and use data in new and unique ways to identify and engage the right talent at the right time to ultimately drive business performance.
Aneesh Chopra was the U.S. Government’s first chief technology officer and is now focused on helping health care organizations use data to increase efficiency. Aneesh recently with me about innovation, culture, and how data plays a role in acquiring and engaging top talent.
He stressed that while technology and innovation can play an important role in health care and other industries, organizations need leaders who truly embrace the new world and lead their teams on new paths.
“It’s obvious when leadership is just squeezing the last [bit] of lemon juice out of the lemon because the model they’ve been accustomed to for so many years had worked,” he said. “They’re just not that committed to change, even though they’re saying it just to get by the next couple of years.”
A great case study of a leader pushing change is Trinity Health’s new CEO, who had previously run the Center for Medicare-Medicaid Innovation.
He arrived three years ago, pushing for Trinity to function as a people-centered health care system as opposed to having a doctor or hospital focus.
How did that translate? He:
• Encouraged new processes for finding the right talent
• Established a startup mentality modeled after Silicon Valley technology companies
• Made line managers accountable for their business units and encouraged to run them as startups
• Encourage innovation by awarding funding to groups within Trinity to try new ideas.
“Having a leader come in and, over the course of several years, put that marker in the ground and back it up with these [innovative] processes and training and recruitment is absolutely critical [for growth],” said Aneesh.
If the global economy matched talent with opportunity at a more accurate clip, it would get a $2.7 trillion boost, said Aneesh, citing a recent McKinsey study.
The global economy is moving in a direction where we can clearly match talent with opportunity, much in the same way that we can use a platform like Uber to recruit a driver. But it should be taken a step further by using analytics to match skills, not necessarily past job titles, with a company’s current needs.
“So you can find that military veteran who had phenomenal experience managing complex projects and bring them in with training to lead some of the more sophisticated IT projects that are in desperate need of project management,” Aneesh said. “Being able to find talent in new and clever ways and put them to work in an organization is the next frontier in HR/Talent.”
Another data source to help business leaders break into the next wave is standards. When there’s so much disruption going on in every industry, especially digital disruption, the HR function should have benchmarks to know if they’re keeping up or falling behind, said Aneesh.
“Certification models can help ensure an organization is moving forward and has enough feedback loops to determine whether they need to course correct,” said Aneesh. “In this era of digital disruption, change is about every sector of the economy, not just the high-tech sector.”

Oct 14, 2016

Talent 2.0

HR Transformation and the Evolving Role of CHROs

Welcome to the Talent Is Transforming Podcast – I’m you’re host Jennifer Ives SVP with Top Employers Institute and today I’ll be speaking with Louis Montgomery, Korn Ferry HR Executive Search Practice Leader about the changing role of chief human resources officers and their influence with CEOs and investors. The corporate world has many trusted advisors – those who direct business through influence - and one of the newest influencers is the chief human resources officer.

The world of HR and People has seen a dramatic shift in responsibilities over the last few years from practitioners focused on compliance and administrative tasks – operational and tactical – to strategic influencers focused on acquiring, engaging and retaining top talent to directly enhance the growth and future of a company.

People-focused leaders are increasingly looked upon by investors, CEO’s and others in the C-suite to provide innovative advice on how to contribute to the overall effectiveness and financial growth of an organization -- to better align talent management and talent development needs and drive financial performance in the process.

In this episode of the Talent is Transforming podcast, Louis Montgomery, who leads Korn Ferry’s HR Executive Search Practice for the mid-Atlantic and Southern regions, shares wisdom about this and other changes in the role of CHROs today and the evolving nature of HR/Talent leaders.

A persistent theme he’s witnessing first-hand is the idea of HR transformation and leadership’s effort to attract the right kind of talent. And once that talent is hired, is leadership doing enough to retain and develop said talent? These questions and pressing market conditions are forcing HR/Talent leaders to be more creative and innovative in not only how they hire people, but how they engage them.  As Louis states, “HR leaders [can] take this as an opportunity to delve into the bigger [business] challenge that the organization is trying to solve.”

Listen to more of Louis’ insights on the changing nature of HR/Talent leadership and what CEOs and investors are ultimately looking for in a chief human resources officer today on the Talent is Transforming podcast.

Sep 30, 2016

Why Leadership Development Matters?  Without strong leadership development programs, companies may be losing top talent

Let Top Employers Institute’s approach to talent give your HR team the advantage!

Executives overwhelmingly agree that the retention of talent can make or break a company, yet only a minority of those executives say they invest in leadership development programs. 

“Every organization has their own classification for leadership, but however they define it, at Top Employers, we are interested in what they do to ensure that their current leaders grow and that they have strategies in place to ensure that they develop their next generation of leaders.”

David Plink, CEO Top Employers Institute

The good news?  As Top Employers Institute CEO David Plink reports: “Globally, we’re seeing encouraging signs that companies are putting more resources toward leadership development. Organizational culture is shifting towards creating an environment in which leadership can develop and thrive -- and that begins by management clearly defining desired leadership skills, talents and capabilities.”

From a business perspective, executives at global top performers report that they’re laser-focused on two areas:

  • improving the quality of leadership development programs to directly increase their candidate pipeline, followed closely by
  • improving efforts to engage and retain current leaders. 

Definition: Leadership Development is any activity that improves or strengthens the quality of leadership within an individual or an organization.

The way we define leaders is changing.  With talent retention and succession planning top of mind, it is important for all businesses to nurture and develop their future leaders, enabling them to fully realize their potential in a sometimes complex and always evolving world. The future workforce will need to acquire new skills on a regular basis and will be performing many role yet to exist, so it is vital that Leadership Development programs help equip tomorrow’s leaders with the skills, capabilities, vision and perspective to help them succeed.

Jul 20, 2016

Johann Labuschagne Introduction & Leadership

I'm excited to share with you periodic insights, resources and announcements about the great work at Top-Employers Institute.

We've created a podcast series and myself and my colleague, Jennifer Ives, SVP, North America, TEI, will speak on subjects we're passionate about.  Sometimes we'll talk to "thought leaders in HR," sometimes we'll talk to each other about great HR measurement tactics, and sometimes we'll offer our own insights and information.

It is under the banner of the latter, above, that I will be talking with you today.

Please listen to my commentary, chime in, let me know what you think, and let's keep the conversation going.

Briefly, at Top Employers, our people are data geeks whose mission for 25 years has been to help organizations better develop their people, drive business performance and certify the best of the best as Top Employers.

We help leaders unwrap organization-wide HR data to more effectively identify where they’re succeeding AND where they have opportunities for growth.

We’re proud of the fact that this year alone over 1100 leading-edge organizations in more than 100 countries – including 40% of the top 50 Global Fortune 500 companies -  have earned the right to carry the Top Employers certification seal.

In essence, our insights help highlight the contribution people – an organization’s number one resource – make to the business, so that leadership can make objectively informed decisions on ways to align their HR strategies with their business strategy to drive business performance.

Join me and Jennifer for the Talent Is Transforming podcast, and another insightful program about innovation, leadership, new technology, and strategy, to help guide your organization toward a future of performance. At Top Employers Institute, our motto is to Develop. Always.

Jul 19, 2016

Talent Is Transforming Podcast, Interview: DHL Laurie Colasanti

Whether you’re an established, worldwide brand or just starting to expand globally, recruiting and engaging a talented workforce can get tricky when you have employees in many different locations. It can be challenging to inspire employees while trying to attract new customers to solidify your market share. To increase your chances for success, use these human resource strategies to engage, unify and align your workforce around the globe:  on board smart, and win at your culture.

We will answer those questions and more, in our Talent Is Transforming interview with Laurie Colasanti.  Laurie Colasanti is Vice President, Human Resources for DHL Express Americas. During the span of her 24-year career, Laurie has led all aspects of Human Resources, including HR business partner, labor relations, training, organization development, and shared services functions in both division and corporate level roles. She is currently based at the DHL Corporate Office in Plantation and is part of the DHL Express Americas and U.S. Management Board.

Jul 15, 2016


New research shows better business performance, as measured by higher stock prices, faster revenue growth and more favorable perception of employer brand, is correlated with both company-wide certification of HR practices by Top Employers Institute and certification of individual professionals by HR Certification Institute.

Better business performance, as measured by higher stock prices, faster revenue growth and more favorable perception of companies’ employer brand, is correlated both with company-wide certification of HR best practices and with the employment of a proportion of HR-certified professionals according to new research conducted by Top Employers Institute

According to David Plink, CEO, Top Employers, “Our findings build on previous research to deliver the clear message that exceptional human resource management – from applying HR best practices to the competencies of the HR professionals who design and implement them – can demonstrably and positively contribute to the bottom line.”

The Talent Is Transforming Show, hosted by Jennifer Ives, focuses on how new, innovative, HR, talent related insights and strategies will drive better business performance, raise the level of excellence of the worldwide human resource management professional, and transform talent.

Jun 11, 2016


Today we are talking about top employers, our history, our research, our data, insights, all the work that we do all around the world with almost 40% of the top 50 global Fortune 500 companies. It's an astounding statistic and one we're very proud of. At Top Employers, we are people data geeks, and we love to help companies and those executives that are running companies. We love to help them develop their people and drive business performance in the process: 

At Talent is Transforming, we'll be hosting a lot of these kinds of conversations about leading business performance and how it validates HR practices, because we have a great deal of global data and insights to share. Thank you for listening, and if you like what we're talking about and you like the podcast, please find us on iTunes and LinkedIn and join the conversation.

Jun 1, 2016

Talent Is Transforming Podcast: Interview with Millennial Generation Expert, Gabrielle Bosche

Welcome to the Talent Is Transforming Podcast, I’m your host, Jennifer Ives, SVP, Top Employer Institute, North America.  My guest today is Gabrielle Jackson Bosche.  Certainly many of you in the HR community know Gabrielle Jackson Bosche from her work on the subject of understanding, hiring, motivating and leading the millennial generation.  Grabrielle is an author of 3 books on the subject of millennials, and is President and Millennial Strategist of Millennial Solution.  Gabrielle’s newest book is titled, “5 Millennial Myths."

In this segment of Talent Is Transforming Podcast we’ll talk to Gabrielle, who’s business, Millennial Solution is based on translating the world of millennials “for everybody else,” and as she refers to them “the Yelp generation.”  Another quote I found said, “She demystifies millennials to the rest of us dinosaurs"

As always, here on Talent Is Transforming Podcast we’ll focus on how new, innovative, HR related insights and strategies can drive better business performance, raise the level of excellence of the worldwide human resource management profession.  

Gabrielle’s books and her business model exemplify this work, and along with her excellent books, which we’ll link to, I think you’ll find this show to be a great conversation, and one I think you’ll find eye opening, as I have.