HR Headliner: May 2019

HR Headliner

HR Headliner: May 2019

The Right Stuff

Identifying and Closing the Skills Gap in your Workforce

Hiring and retaining talented employees is becoming a significant challenge for today’s HR professionals. A recent study published by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 83% of respondents had trouble recruiting suitable candidates in the past 12 months. A major factor in this difficulty is known as the Skills Gap – the difference between the skills an employer needs and those offered by its workforce.

While technical skills are certainly a factor (31% of respondents to the SHRM study reported a lack of trade skills such as carpentry or welding), “soft skills” are often the most-cited concern for managers across the country. Employees may be technically competent, but lack the creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills necessary for a business to be competitive.

So how can you close the skills gap with your employees and ensure that your workforce is prepared to meet company goals? An important first step is identifying both the technical skills and soft skills required for success in each position. Take a close look at your star performers – what are they able to do that others just aren’t grasping? What have you found to be missing in recent job applicants or new hires? Once you know what you’re looking for, the following practices can help to identify candidates with the right stuff and develop valuable skills in existing staff:

• Develop a succession planning program for key positions or hard-to-fill roles. Your current talent pool likely includes individuals who could become long-term superstars with the right coaching.

• Provide in-house training to develop the specific technical and soft skills needed by the organization. We know everyone is busy, but consider it a valuable investment of your time in building a strong, effective team.

• Use behavior-based interview questions to understand a candidate’s approach to topics such as teamwork, customer service, and conflict resolution. Avoid simple “yes/no” questions to which an applicant can easily guess the right answer, and probe for real insight into the soft skills the position requires.

• When using outside search firms, work with an experienced recruiting team that has a clear understanding of your company culture and values. The recruiter should be able to look beyond the job dates and certifications listed on a resume, and screen applicants who are likely to be an overall great fit.


HR Headliner: March 2019

HR Headliner

March 2019

The Growing Trend of Ghosting…
and What You Can Do About It!

Out of hundreds of resumes and applications, one stood out as your ideal candidate. The initial telephone interview was a delight, the in-person interview is scheduled, and you can practically taste the donuts you’ll buy to celebrate the new employee’s first day. But on interview day, the candidate is nowhere to be found and doesn’t respond to your attempts to follow up. You’re frustrated.. you’re disappointed… you’ve been ghosted.

The term “ghosting” may be new to you, but unfortunately, it’s become part of the recruiting lexicon throughout the country. In today’s economy, where there are more job openings than people looking for work, these baffling no-shows are occurring at every level of the organization. Talented candidates are likely fielding multiple interview requests and job offers, and they don’t see the need to stay in touch with an employer they’re no longer interested in. As hiring managers, we complain about the lack of respect for our diligent recruiting efforts, but workers often think of themselves as free agents who owe no loyalty, and may even feel empowered by the fact that they can simply walk away if a better offer comes along.

A big step in reducing your chances of being ghosted by a top candidate is simply recognizing that the recruiting landscape has changed. Job seekers are in the driver’s seat, and we can’t assume that candidates are sitting by their computers and telephones anxiously awaiting contact. Creative new strategies are needed to fill your vacant positions with top talent:

  • Don’t stop the recruiting process once a great candidate has been identified.
  • Continue to screen resumes and conduct phone interviews so you’ll have a full pipeline, if needed.
    Avoid delays in the hiring process.
  • Candidates are more likely to disappear if they feel the process is taking too long or when interview feedback is not provided.
  • Make sure your compensation package and benefits are competitive in your market, and provide as much information as possible about the expectations of the position, pay and benefits, and company culture.

Don’t become the “ghost” by failing to reach out to non-selected candidates. Demonstrate respect for their time and efforts with prompt updates and well-wishes on their job search.

These steps of transparency and respect can increase the likelihood of receiving the same consideration from your candidates. And don’t stop once the job offer is extended! Continue to engage with them and maintain the excitement about joining your team. Then go pick up the tastiest donuts in town… and enjoy!


Harassment Prevention Options


Effective January 2019, Senate Bill 1343 requires California businesses with 5 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to both supervisors and non-supervisory staff by January 1, 2020. In addition, newly hired employees or newly promoted supervisors must be trained within six months.

Sierra HR Partners is here to help with a variety of training options!

Program Options

Training for Staff / Non-Supervisors

This one-hour interactive program is designed to satisfy all components of SB 1343, AB 2053 (abusive conduct), and SB 396 (gender identity and gender expression.)
Key topics include:

  • Resolving workplace conflicts and minimizing gossip and inappropriate jokes
  • Definitions and examples of two types of harassment and protected classes
  • Abusive conduct and bullying
  • Company policy and complaint process

Training for Supervisors

Our two-hour interactive program satisfies legal requirements by including the key staff topics, and adding the following:

  • A supervisor’s role as an agent of the company
  • Understanding potential liability for the company and the individual supervisor
  • How to lead by example and set the tone for positive workplace behavior
  • Protections against retaliation
  • How to properly respond to a complaint of harassment

For your convenience and to foster a shared understanding between employees and management, these two workshops may overlap or be offered back to back.

Location, Location, Location! 

Exclusive Training at Your Business

A certified Consultant will present a private training workshop customized for your team at your location.

Open Training at Sierra HR Partners

Monthly training workshops are offered to all Sierra HR clients in our training room.

Exclusive Training at Sierra HR Partners

For groups of 20 or fewer, private training workshops may be conducted in the Sierra HR Partners training room.

Open Training via Webinar

Training workshops are offered via webinar on a quarterly basis, allowing individual employees to attend remotely.

Please contact us for pricing information, upcoming training dates, and any questions you may have.


HR Headliner: December 2018

HR Headliner

2018 has been quite a year, hasn’t it?

No doubt, you’ve seen some awesome wins, some tough challenges, and plenty of situations that make you shake your head in disbelief! To remind you that you’re not alone, and to give you a few laughs as we head into year-end, here is a roundup of lighthearted stories from the world of HR.


My most memorable experience in all my years recruiting was when I received a resume with a passport-sized photo on the front page and underneath the photo were the words ‘Not Actual Size’. I still laugh when I remember those three words and wonder what he was thinking. Did he really think I would believe he had a tiny little head and hold it against him?


The hashtag #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview shows just how creative people can be when it comes to finding ways to not get hired… The idea is simple: Twitter users post five-word phrases that would guarantee they would get turned down for a job. A few of our favorites:

– There’s no drug test, right?  

– Anyway, they dropped the charges.

– How about I interview you.

– Where do my cats sit?

– You gonna finish that coffee?

– Is your secretary dating anyone?

– First, lemme take a selfie.


An employee complained to me that he deserved a raise because if he hadn’t left our company for six months, about a year ago, he would be making more money by now. After confirming that he had, in fact, walked off the job the previous year, but was rehired into the same position at his former pay rate, I explained that his pay was appropriate for his position, and actually quite generous considering he has previously quit without notice. He told me that if I didn’t grant his 30-cent per hour raise, he would sue us. I told him no… he filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC… and lost.


At last year’s office holiday party, my co-worker, who had already enjoyed two glasses of wine, was complaining about a recent assignment she had been given. She leaned over and whispered to the man next to her, “Don’t tell Bruce I said that.” The man was our CEO, Bruce.


At our office Christmas party a few years ago, one co-worker arrived at the restaurant with a bag of Tupperware so she could pack up all the leftovers.


My craziest office party story is the time two of our employees were competing on the dance floor to see who could do the best moves. It turned into a fight and they both were let go for inappropriate behavior.


Sierra HR Partners can help you navigate troublesome HR questions!

Contact us today if you need help!


Improve Retention With Onboarding Feedback

HR Headliner

October 2018
Improve Retention With Onboarding Feedback

You’ve interviewed… you’ve contacted references… new hire paperwork is filled out and orientation checklists are checked. So why don’t things seem quite right with your new employee? The fact is, many companies’ onboarding procedures leave new hires feeling confused, ignored, and generally disenchanted with what they hoped would be a positive new beginning.

In a recent survey of employees who resigned jobs within six months of being hired, bambooHR found the top reasons for leaving so quickly were:

  • They decided the work wasn’t something they wanted to do anymore (28%)
  • They were given different work to do than was expected from the interview process (26%) and
  • The boss was a jerk (23%)

Many employees said they wanted to have better training and clear guidelines about what their responsibilities would be. And 17% stated that “a friendly smile or help from a coworker would have made all the difference.”

Smart employers can catch issues like these early by examining the onboarding process and checking in with new staff to ensure they’re feeling confident and welcomed. Consider adding an Onboarding Survey to your hiring plan. Feedback from new employees regarding training effectiveness, supervisor and co-worker support, and alignment with the expectations created during interviews can help you make changes that will boost retention and improve the onboarding experience for future staff.

With the increasing role of websites such as Glassdoor in recruiting top talent, your onboarding survey could also uncover problems before negative reviews are spread to other job candidates. New employees are seeing your business with fresh eyes, and getting their feedback could be a game-changer for recruiting retention and overall employee satisfaction.

Sierra HR Partners can help you develop and administer custom onboarding surveys and employee satisfaction surveys. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more!