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: December, 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)