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Here are highlights from the seventh in a 13-week series of broadcasts on HR Trends, a special edition of Coffee Break with Game-Changers on the business channel on Voice of America Internet talk radio. During this series, industry experts are discussing a variety of topics trending in HR today, such as this one on the use of reviews and its affect on employer branding.    /wp-content/uploads/2014/10/graham4_player_wide_568460.jpg

Online reviews of organizations are affecting the recruiting process for both companies and candidates. Just how was the focus of this week’s radio broadcast with Tim Sackett, SPHR, President of HUR Technical Resources, Will Staney, Head Talent Warrior at Glassdoor, and Jessica Miller-Merrell, Founder of Blogging4Jobs.com.

The people now have the power! 

For the first time in history, prospective employees have the opportunity to find out what the working environment is like at companies they are considering for new employment. The availability of online reviews of companies, access to employees through LinkedIn and other social networks, and employees speaking out online have changed how candidates job hunt.

Here’s a few ways that things are changing, according to the experts on this week’s panel.

  • It is, after all, a referral economy. It is a just a given today that people will check out online reviews and ask for feedback on social networks from family and friends before making a consumer purchase. And today, looking for a job is no different, as people want guidance in making the right employment choice. Formal and informal reviews are everywhere online. And for
    those that are willing to do due diligence, it’s easy to find people on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Glassdoor that are happy to chat about what it’s like to work at a particular company. This is empowering for people, and it puts them in the driver’s seat as they make this important decision about their future. 
  • Companies need to let go of control. Whether organizations like it or not, employees are always talking (both online and offline) about where they work and what it’s like – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Employers need to be okay with this and learn how to use all these comments advantageously. In fact, companies can use negative reviews as a motivation for change. Reviews can be analyzed to see if there are patterns, which can then lead to positive changes internally.
  • Negative reviews show authenticity. Here’s another thought about negative reviews – they are a reality. Everyone recognizes that there are no perfect companies in this world. If people see only positive reviews, they suspect censorship. Authenticity and transparency are what counts here, as people want to know what a working environment is really like. Reviews are highly subjective, as everyone has a different point of reference. One employee or candidate’s negative review could be a positive for someone else.
  • It’s key to focus on the employee experience. Again, if a company is getting bad reviews, it can be a positive wake-up call for a company that they need to build a better work experience for current employees. After all, if a company is a great place to work, that kind of news will spread quickly. And companies can use that type of buzz advantageously to attract top talent and hire premium candidates.
  • Encourage – but don’t influence – employees to write reviews. In fact, when companies know they are creating a good work environment, they can proactively encourage employees to write online reviews about their experience. For instance, when an employee’s first year anniversary comes up, HR can offer congratulations and request that they share their experience online. It’s important not to influence what they are going to write about, but a company can encourage openness and transparency about the work environment. 

The crystal ball: What will recruiting look like in 2020?

For their predictions, the expert panelists share their views on what recruiting will look like in 2020.

  • Sackett believes the best talent acquisition departments will report into marketing. He sees recruiting as a function that
    is closer to sales and marketing than HR. And he believes recruiting efforts will be much more effective if they reside in marketing and are broken off from traditional HR responsibilities. 
  • Staney disagrees, as he sees that marketing and human resources have very different internal customers. HR represents an
    entire company, from marketing and sales to engineering. But marketing’s internal customers are sales people and he believes this would be a hindrance in hiring the right candidates companywide. However, he does think that the walls between departments throughout a company will start to become windows, with greater collaboration that is enabled by technology. 
  • Miller-Merrell agrees with Staney that HR should still be responsible for recruiting. She also sees employer branding evolving
    to engage contingent workers, a segment that will be much bigger in the future. She sees the workforce of the future as being a more transitional workforce, with people entering and exiting companies more quickly.

You can hear the full broadcast on the yelpification of recruitment here, including more on the role of leadership in this challenge. Listen to other recent HR Trend Radio Shows, including ones on baby boomers, workplace collaboration, and work-life balance here.

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