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Year One

One freaking year.  We are at one year into this crazy pandemic.  The good news is that vaccines are on the way.  The bad news is that it’s still going to take a while to recover.  Some of us have faired okay, others have thrived, while others are drowning.  We’ve had multiple flavors of pandemic depending on where you live, what industry you are in, not to mention your personal mental and physical health.  It’s been a lot.  Like a lot, a lot.

At BOOST we’ve certainly weathered some storms, but we’ve come out more focused and determined, to say the least. Looking back, here are some observations and lessons learned from the past year.

Communication. We all stress that it’s the most important thing, yadda, yadda, yadda.  This was the year where communication either made your team stronger or broke it.  It’s a heavy lift when everyone is virtual, and the world is crazier than ever.  People are tired.  People are over-zoomed, but yet, you must overly communicate these days. A recent study showed that we’re over-utilizing our brains and bodies because we’re trying to compensate for the lack of body language clues. No wonder we’re so exhausted after a day of working from home.

Virtual. BOOST was already a virtual company, but we were a company of folks who had childcare, spouses working outside the house, etc.  No one was prepared to full-time home school, share bandwidth, and juggle the “whose conference call is more important” dance.  Eventually, everyone settled in, but it took a while.  Difficult decisions were made.  We lost employees who just couldn’t work.  We’ve realigned salaried employees to be hourly, so they had the flexibility they needed to take care of their families.  We’ve been extremely flexible on when people work and pretty much gave up on core hours.  As long as the work gets done and the clients are happy, that really is all that matters.

Grace. We’ve all been in low places throughout the past year.  Stress levels are high, no matter how well adjusted you are.  We’ve tried to extend as much grace as humanly possible knowing that people are simply not functioning at 100% in any area.  The world isn’t at 100%, but that isn’t at a sacrifice to our business.  Performance issues still need to be addressed, if from afar.

Planning. It’s darn near impossible.  We’ve shifted our timelines and our expectations for future planning.  While the big picture doesn’t change, how we get there may.  We’re planning for a quarter at a time right now.  I expect this will get back to annual planning but for now, this is the best we can do.  And that’s okay.  Planning is still very real and very necessary. We don’t recommend throwing it out completely but allow yourself to break it into smaller, more achievable chunks.

New Stuff. If there was ever a time to say screw it, let’s try something, it’s in the middle of a pandemic.  We had some success (new offering – marketing and branding for GovCons!) and we’ve had some failures (one commercial client).  But most importantly, at least we tried.  Better to know than not. Those pieces that stick post-pandemic  (that’s a thing, right?) will be stronger and more resilient for having been born of a trying time to begin with.

Humor. If you can’t laugh at all the bat-shit crazy stuff that’s happened, you’re doing yourself a disservice. If the options are to laugh it off or cry it out, which one would you rather do? We would rather take responsibility for the pieces we can, adjust the pieces possible, and give a good chuckle to everything else. (Except for good yoga pants, we’ve realized that those are no laughing matter.)

Combining all we’ve observed, everything we’ve learned, and the knowledge that we’re still here and still kicking, we’re going to give ourselves (and all of you) a passing grade for year 1 of the pandemic. Congratulations! Your reward is to keep on, keepin’ on. As is the case in the typical business fashion we’ll make new discoveries, try new things, and always strive to grow and succeed. Nothing like a little pandemic seasoning to flavor the future. Our advice is to continue washing your hands, wear a mask, and make good choices for you and your family so we can all get back to hugs and handshakes.

Employer Branding | | The Missing Piece of Your Recruiting Strategy 

Here’s a littleknown fact: Recruiting is the money-making department you didn’t know you had. If your recruiting strategy is considering your employer brand, and your hiring process reflects that brand through great candidate experience, then your employee retention rates should be looking great and your costs low. If there is a disconnect anywhere in that ecosystem than it all crumbles, expectations aren’t met across the board, people quit or get fired, and your costs just skyrocketed. (Scary, right?) 

Finding quality candidates quickly is essential to your bottom-line, as is keeping them retained and not having to backfill them. That whole cycle starts with recruiting, and your employer brand. When we say “employer brand” we are referring to the unique pieces of your company and culture that set you apart from other employers.  Your employer brand is comprised of elements like your Glassdoor reviews, the voice and tone of your job descriptions, the media (social and news-oriented) on your organization, and of course what people experience when interacting with your brand as a customer OR as a candidate or employee. In order to attract quality candidates in a market flooded with more jobs than talent, your employer brand is the most important differentiating factor you have control over. Your brand isn’t some logo or fancy webpage, it’s how people experience your organization, it’s what they think of when they think of your organization specifically. Your employer brand begins with the hiring process and how your recruiting process is designed to reflect that. If candidates have multiple options in terms of organizations looking for someone like them, why should they choose you over someone else? What makes you stand-out? Do you have a great culture or mission that would attract candidates? Or would it at least help them take your Recruiter’s phone call? When looking for hard-to-find and highly sought-after talent (Everyone wants the A-Player!) you have to bring something to the table.   

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine the strength of your employer branding:   

  • Do you have a social presence?
    If the answer is yes, does it mirror your mission and values? Does it adequately speak for your company in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of feel?
    Do you have the projects you’re really proud of showcased on your website? Does your website promote diversity in practice? 
  • Do you have Glassdoor reviews?
    In the 
    GovCon industry specifically, positive (and realistic) Glassdoor reviews are paramount to inviting and retaining top talent.  

Here at BOOST we work with our clients on building their brands day-in and day-out to help differentiate themselves in a saturated market. We craft recruiting strategy specific to each search we take on because one size does NOT fit all. We’d love to help you strategize and grow! Let’s chat, today.  

Be Very, Very Quiet… We’re hunting Unicorns…

The definition of a unicorn is a mythical beast that looks like a horse with a horn projecting from its forehead.  However, in this context, we’re talking about the ever-elusive purple unicorn; something that is highly desirable but difficult to find or obtain.  In the recruiting world, companies are always looking for the purple unicorn, but is this reasonable?  Unfortunately for the hunters, the answer is no.

Of course, every employer would like to check off every box on the “requirements for the job description” section. Yet there are very few individuals (if any) who would match every job description perfectly.

As a recruiter, here are a few pointers on how to come close to finding the unicorn:

• Review the job requirements. This step is the most important. You will want to be sure that you have captured everything that the person will need to do as well as any specific knowledge, skills, and abilities or KSAs.

• List the requirements from most important to least important. By ranking the requirements, it provides good insight into what are the “must-haves” and “need to have” for the role.  Of course, we want it all, but there is no perfect person or job out there where everything will match 100% of the time.

• Be sure to know the difference between what you want and what you need. Having too many requirements and expecting the individual to have all the KSAs is unreasonable.  By knowing what you want versus what you need, you are in a better position to identify where compromises can be acknowledged to get closer to the individual that would best fit in the organization.

• Be willing to compromise on the KSAs. In some roles, especially for the high-tech positions, certifications are key.  We have found that in some cases, years of experience can be swapped out for certain certifications. In addition, by knowing where you are willing to compromise you will open up the target candidate pool to find those diamonds in the rough.

• Hire not only for KSAs but for cultural fit. When considering hiring someone, make sure that the person will fit into your corporate culture as well as function within the team.  We cannot stress enough that making the wrong hire can be extremely costly to the bottom line.  It is estimated for a role that is considered mid-career it can cost an organization upwards of $50,000 or more.  That is a lot of money and time that has been invested in hiring someone who doesn’t “fit” the company.

As mentioned, hunting and hiring the purple unicorn can be difficult if near impossible.  There are a multitude of factors to consider such as cultural fit and understanding what is really needed to do the job.  When we are hunting the unicorns, we use the mentioned bulleted items to open up our candidate pool to find that diamond in the rough because he or she, just might be the purple unicorn hiding in plain sight.

If you’re looking for purple unicorn search support, let us know! BOOST functions as a boutique recruiting firm, with customized, targeted recruiting efforts for your billable positions, C-suite or corporate positions. Give us a shout, [email protected]