Tag Archives: commitment

How Benefitfocus is Winning with Their Culture

For those of you that know me by now, you probably can tell that I really enjoy researching and writing about company/workplace culture. For whatever reason, learning about a company’s culture is a passion of mine. I find it fascinating that each company has a unique “personality” which allows their employees to either embrace or reject it, thus determining the level of success or failure a company has. I strongly believe that company culture can make or break a business. It is quite a mix: it’s delicate and needs to be handled with care, and yet it holds a certain level of power that can control the fate of a company.

First, I would like to say a big heart-felt “thank you” to a company headquartered here in Charleston, SC. Benefitfocus took notice of my love for company culture and was so kind to send me their book, “Benefitfocus: Winning with Culture”. I just received it the other day so I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it’s been inspiring so far. Their culture is very impressive and could easily give some of Silicon Valley’s top-dogs a run for their money. Companies that are struggling to find that “good cultural balance” might want to pick up a copy and take some notes. It seems to be working very well for them.

Something that did stick out at me so far was actually located in the beginning of the book. The author discussed some of the challenges that Benefitfocus faced when trying to create and maintain the culture that they have today. The company admitted that it wasn’t easy: there were days when employees were stressed out and irritated because of heavy workloads and tight deadlines; there were external factors that tried to get the company to conform to what was “normal”; and they had to find the right balance to try to make all employees as happy  and engaged as they possibly could.

Although there are many challenges, the company has managed to maintain it the best they could. I could tell they were successful in their efforts because the book had an endless amount of employee accounts in which they talk about the specific reasons of why they love the company and what qualities make them excited to come to work every day. Normally, I’d be skeptical of that many employees promoting a company brand in such a positive light. However, while going through my job hunt, I’ve had plenty of friends that work there (or have worked there) that gushed about the company. I’d have to say, you know a company is good when the employees speak highly of it even in private conversations. Reading and hearing about their stories made me smile, laugh, and actually feel a bit jealous (Yeah, so, maybe I’m a brat). Simply stated: It made an impact.

It’s situations like this that show me how important culture is. This company is notorious for celebrating, especially celebrating the individual. Because these employees feel like they’re appreciated just for being themselves, they’ve become more invested in the company. They’re committed. They’re willing to work as hard as possible. All this dedication and hard work has aided the business to grow at rapid rates. Their name and their software are becoming more well-known throughout the world. At this point, I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. Not only is this good for business, but this PR is actually helping the company attract quality talent, as well.

I don’t normally read detailed books about specific companies, but I can easily say that I’m enjoying this so far and look forward to reading all of it. Yes, it does interest me because it deals with culture but it’s more than just that. I find it refreshing to see a company so committed to the happiness of its employees. Benefitfocus knows and understands that its employees are its greatest asset, and the company treats them as such. It’s also nice to see the conviction in the employees’ statements when they say they honestly love working there. I hope more companies consider the benefits of having a solid company culture and work on creating and/or improving theirs.

Links:

Click here to read more about their culture and watch some of their videos.

Click here to request a copy of their book.

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Filed under Benefitfocus, Company Culture

Finding a Company Fit through the Interview Process

For those who have read some of my previous blogs, I’m sure you can see that I enjoy writing about finding a fit between candidate and company. I strongly believe that job seekers can find what will make them happiest if they spend time determining their values and what they truly want out of an employer. If they have the luxury of time, I typically urge people to hold out for a company that can offer them the closest to their ideal. If not, then I suggest for those who need to take a job for financial reasons to still continue to search for their perfect situation. Although this information is all fine and dandy, it does not give suggestions or tips for what happens once you land an interview.

So, let’s fast forward a bit. Let’s say you took the time to dig deeper into your inner self and were able to determine what you really wanted out of a company and job. After a little soul searching you were able to find a few companies that seemed to be aligned with your requirements and decided to apply to an open position there. Well, it was all smooth sailing up to that point but what happens when someone actually calls you in for an interview? How do you prepare for the interview to ensure that the company is how you perceived it?

My best suggestion is to have well-thought out, structured questions. Unfortunately, candidates in this economy have shied away from asking questions for fear of turning off the interviewer. Contrary to popular belief, most interviewers actually enjoy speaking to candidates that ask solid questions. This shows that the candidate did their homework, was genuinely interested in learning more about the company, and actually took the time to think of ways to contribute to the interview rather than it just is one-sided. Good questions can not only impress the interviewer but also help you get a better feel for the company before deciding to accept a job offer that might come your way. The interviewer may also get a better feel for you, too.

To prep for your interview, re-research the company by doing a deep dive. Get down to the nitty gritty and find all the legitimate details you can in regard to the company. Once you’ve compiled all the important information, compare those notes against the things you want out of a company. Connect the link between the two and take the time to formulate some intelligent questions. If aren’t sure where to start when it comes to creating these questions, feel free to look at the link at the bottom of this article written by Jacquelyn Smith from Forbes.com. She had some great questions to ask, as well as questions to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve done your research before committing to anything big, pricy, or long-term: buying houses, moving, purchasing a car, deciding on a college, and so on. Why should a job be any different? You spend a good portion of your life at a job and typically, most people try to find a company they can commit to long-term. Try to get the most information you can before making that commitment. That includes asking questions and getting informative answers from someone on the inside. It pays to take this extra step.

Take control of your employment choices and continue on the path of finding that perfect fit for you. Don’t let it all fall apart once you get to the interview stage. After all, you’ve made it this far in your career goals- don’t give up on what you want now. Best of luck!

Ideas for interview questions:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/07/06/the-questions-you-should-and-shouldnt-ask-in-a-job-interview/2/

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Filed under Company/Candidate Fit, Future Employers

Is Job Hopping Really a Bad Thing?

Some recruiting and hiring managers would look at a “job-hoppers” resume and most likely shred it without even a second thought. Job hopping was considered to be career suicide in the past because employers would consider the candidate to be a high-risk employee. The assumption was that they were flaky, would not be committed to a company, and would leave the company high and dry. This assumption has caused recruiters to turn the job hoppers away in previous years. The economy and workforce has changed since that outlook but, unfortunately, hiring practices have not changed with it.

Job hopping isn’t always a bad thing and recruiters shouldn’t turn away a candidate without digging deeper. Sure, there are the people that fit the unreliable, job-hopping stereotype. On the other hand, there are plenty of people in this economy’s workforce that do not. For example, some people may not have willingly job hopped. Over the recent years, many people have been laid off and/or have had a hard time finding stable work. Because of this, people may not have left jobs voluntarily or may have had to take odd jobs just to stay financially afloat. These individuals may have been the most dedicated and hardworking employees a company could have but were just dealt a bad hand. Without investigating their job history further, a recruiter may have missed a gem.

Another reason why a candidate may have job hopped is because they haven’t found what they are looking for. There are so many options a person can have when it comes to workplace, job type, culture, benefits, etc. Sometimes a person will take a position and realize it is not a right fit for them. Once they come to this conclusion, they may move on to find something they can be happy with. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s probably a good thing that a person is very set on what they want out of a job and employer. Will they potentially leave your company within the first year? Maybe, if you don’t take the time to determine if you are a fit for each other. This candidate clearly has an idea of what they want and what they won’t settle for. You know what your company can offer. It would pay to take the time to look deeper and see whether or not you would be a fit for each other before making the investment.

Some job hoppers take temporary/short-term positions to obtain experience for a company or position they have their heart set on. I could actually use myself as an example for this one. After finishing my BSBA in Human Resources I had attempted to apply for human resources based jobs only to be rejected due to lack of experience. Well, how was I supposed to get experience if no one would hire me to get it?  Simple: take temporary positions that were more flexible on hiring people with little to no experience. Sure, it’s been a bumpy ride over the past year and it’s been scary to not have a stable job, but it’s what I had to do. I could wait forever for a company to take a blind chance on me or I could take temporary jobs here and there and gradually build my experience to meet the requirements that the companies have. Job hopping was an investment for my future.  My resume probably looks like a recruiter’s worst nightmare but if you take away all the companies and job titles, you’ll be left with the experience, knowledge, and skills that companies require.

Sometimes job hoppers might be more valuable than employees that have been with you for years.  Job hoppers have experience in working with many different companies. Their experience will expose them to procedures, practices, software, and much more. Because they have knowledge of different ways of doing things, they may be able to help your company find ways to be more efficient. Maybe they can suggest a new way to do a task that can cut down the time to complete it. Maybe they know of software that would better suit your company’s needs. Perhaps they have connections or have networked with a client that you’ve been dying to get business from. I’m just saying: sometimes job hoppers can open minds, eyes, or doors for your company.

So, recruiters, next time you receive a resume that has a horrifying job history, please remember the details above before making assumptions about the candidate. Take the time to speak to the individual and assess whether or not they could be a good employee for your company or a costly decision. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of these candidates may just be waiting to commit to a dream opportunity that presents itself.

Some other articles you can read on the subject:

http://excelle.monster.com/benefits/articles/3643-job-hopping-career-killer-or-savior

http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533347268

 

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