September 28th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
That suggestions box? Ditch it in favor of savvier methods for getting workers to open up.
By Tim Donnelly
No employee wants to be just a faceless cog. No matter how big or small your organization is, employees who don’t feel like they have a voice can drain the oxygen out of other employees, lower productivity rates, and even cause increased turnover. Employees who feel voiceless are more likely to be a drag on the day-to-day mood around the office.
Like a good therapy session, giving workers of all levels a chance to express their thoughts on the direction of the company has the opposite effect: Show your employees you’re interested in their opinions and they’ll be more likely take a personal stake in the business. They’ll go from feeling like they’re working for the man to feeling like they’re a part of the team.
“We don’t recruit engaged employees. Engaged employees are created,” says Lisa Wojtkowiak, client relationship manager with the Opinion Research Corporation, part of Infogroup. “It’s our job to engage our employees from Day One.”
In the old days, soliciting feedback from your employees meant putting a box marked “suggestions” next to the water cooler. Now, smart companies realize that, as they become more reliant on a knowledge-based economy, they need to engage their employees on a much more detailed level.
Getting Employee Feedback: The Issues to Target
Every method of gathering employee feedback depends on what challenges you need to address as a business. Consider: Is your employee base growing or downsizing? Are you preparing for a merger or staying level?
Professionals in the industry of employee research say offering general feedback opportunities are important — open-office policies or meeting with managers — but specific targeting of issues can help guide your company through difficult times.
Common questions managers seek input on include: how engaged are my employees? How satisfied are they working for the company? What is the communication like with management? Do they have the right tools to do the job? How secure do they feel in the job?
You can also use a survey to find out the demographics of your work force, such as age and gender, and to look for reasons for high turnover.
“You don’t do business without employees,” says Howard Deutsch, CEO of Quantisoft, a survey and consulting company based in Monroe Township, New Jersey. “Those who are highly engaged or motivated will be better at their job.”
Gerry McDonough, CEO of LeadFirst, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based partner of data collection firm WorldAPP, that provides survey design and employee engagement consulting, says asking about the culture of the organization is important. The culture is “upstream” of issues like employee satisfaction and engagement, meaning the answers workers give about their coworkers and the general office environment often directly affect their job satisfaction.
The culture questions can affect your core mission statement too: is it a set of values your employees support?
Conducting a full-scale employee survey is still the most recommended method for gaining actionable employee feedback. Professionals recommend doing surveys on a regular basis, but say you shouldn’t do it any more often than once a year because employees could lose interest if pressed for feedback too often.
Although it’s recommended to tailor the specific questions to your company’s current issues, though a common thred that most surveys seek to discover is how connected the employee feels to the company. Most surveys will inquire as to the whether the employee has a good work-life balance, whether they are proud to work for the organization and how much effort they put into their work. Questions can also be tailored to find out how long the employee plans to stay with the company or what their feelings are about health and safety issues.
“We have a lot of clients, and every single questionnaire is different,” Wojtkowiak says.
Professionals say a mix of quantitative questions — asking employees to rate their satisfaction on a five-point scale, for instance — should be mixed with open-ended questions to gain a mix of anecdotal and statistical information.
As for length, experts say a survey with between 35 and 55 questions is the ideal length, and it should take no more than 15 to 25 minutes to complete.
“You want to make sure you have enough information so you can make good judgments based on good data,” Wojtkowiak says.
If you want to conduct an employee survey more than once a year, she recommends trying a six-month “pulse” survey, a short four-to-10 questions of inquiry, usually based around measuring the impact of changes made based on feedback during the larger customer survey.
Companies should allow time for employees to complete the survey on the clock. It also helps to do the survey when the calendar is more likely to be clear: Avoiding the holidays or even your company’s open enrollment period helps workers focus on their feedback.
Getting Employee Feedback: Using Other Methods of Information Gathering
Just because a comment box is one of the oldest forms of employee feedback doesn’t mean it might not be useful for your business. Although it feels a little cold, and, frankly, antique, Wojtkowiak says keeping a suggestion box is an easy way to let employees know you’re interested in their opinion outside annual surveys. Town hall-style meetings and other group events that place management in front of workers are also becoming popular with companies. Or, consider an online portal where employees can send an anonymous note or post. Employee feedback can also be worked in from Day One. Wojtkowiak says successful organizations incorporate the need for employee feedback options and open communications in their training programs.
“If you’re retaining your most valuable staff, you’re really taking those best practices from those highly engaged employees and applying them down the road,” she says.
Getting Employee Feedback: Ensuring Participation
Typically employee surveys get a 70 to 90 percent response rate, but experts recommend several ways to ensure strong participation.
Anonymity. If employees can be assured their responses won’t lead to any retribution, they are much more likely to give honest answers, Deutsch says.
Proving access. Online surveys are considered the most efficient, but you’ll need to make sure everyone in the company has access to a computer. This can be done by setting up a dedicated computer station in the human resources office or by scheduling time for certain workers to use a computer terminal.
Encouragement from management. A successful push for employee engagement has to be believable. That’s why experts say if you really want to hear from your employees, you should have your top bosses encourage feedback on a regular basis or send out reminders. “The response rate really depends on how much senior management gets behind the project,” says Josh Greenberg, president of AlphaMeasure, a research firm based in Boulder, Colorado, that has worked for Little Debbie snacks and the Canadian Red Cross.
Incentives. While experts discourage companies from offering direct incentives to individual employees who participate in feedback opportunities, other methods are available. Greenberg says some businesses will offer a raffle prize for something like an iPod nano. Others will offer to donate money to a charity if their surveys reach a certain response rate.
Getting Employee Feedback: Using the Feedback
The worst thing for a company is to go to great lengths to solicit employee feedback, and then do nothing with it.
“If you’re going to collect all this data and then not close the loop back to the employees it almost makes sense not to do the survey,” Greenberg says. “It’s important to let them know that they’ve been heard.”
This can be achieved by sharing at least some of the results with the whole organization and setting benchmarks for improvement. Some companies will set up a goals monitoring system either online or on an office white board tracking efforts at reaching those goals so employees can be reminded of the progress.
Gerry McDonough, of LeadFirst, recommends companies split feedback into two categories: the broad issues that need to be addressed on a corporate or high management level and the narrow issues that can be addressed at a departmental or division level.
The shorter “pulse” surveys can also be conducted throughout the year to gauge progress. Wojtkowiak says matching the results to the hierarchy of your organization is important, to differentiate between the engagement of employees in an office inKentucky versus one in Iowa.
“Don’t put everybody in the same bucket,” she says.
Donnelly, Tim Aug. “How to Get Feedback From Employees.” Small Business and Small Business Information for the Entrepreneur. Inc.com, 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. <http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/08/how-to-get-feedback-from-employees.html>.
Our client is a growing software company that offers a security intelligence platform to organizations of all sizes. Their solution delivers security solutions across a corporation’s entire network. This company is building a talented sales team and looking for dynamic professionals to join their team.
In this role you will be responsible for developing and closing opportunities both direct and through channel partners throughout North America. You will be part of a new and growing team and will have a lot of input on the direction of the sales organization. You will be driving revenue through mid-market accounts and your primary focus is on outbound activity to multiple vertical markets. You will work closely with System Engineers and the Channel Management team. The goal is to develop and close opportunities both direct and through channel partners throughout North America. Some travel is required to trade shows and events.
5 years inside sales experience
Security Software experience is preferred
Proven track of success and quota achievement
Outstanding verbal and written communication and presentation skills
September 23rd, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
Why Sales People Need to Use Social Media
By David Steel – September 21, 2010
Back “in the day” the salesman went door to door selling everything from vacuum cleaners to manufacturing equipment. Catalogs were popular and every visit to the salesman or the catalog took valuable time away from your business.
Today in this highly competitive world the salesman still has to land the clients but can do so from a different venue. The internet. Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, etc have opened up the market to the world rather than those within driving distance. Websites abound selling everything you may need to make a business grow.
Savvy executives shop the internet for supplies, manufacturers and employees much the same as anyone else would for a new mixer. Quality reviews, prices, comparisons are all available from the desk. It can’t be more convenient than that. How many of these executives have your website, Twitter or other internet advertisement bookmarked?
In the days of the traveling salesman it was the salesman’s responsibility to find out all he could about his customer. Where are you from, what do you do during your leisure hours, are you married, when is your birthday and all the other information that would help with PR. Today as we fill out our profiles on social networking sites, the salesman can find it in minutes and not be annoying with their long sales pitch and call on the potential or existing client.
This will create a better customer relationship with your clients and puts you on a more competitive edge. Your customers are already out there. Can you keep up with or find them?
Once the sales person has explored the web, he knows more about the client than a competitor would and the client knows enough about him that he won’t converse with a competitor.
Expensive advertisement, direct mailing and meetings used to tie up a lot of time with a good percentage of positive response being in the 1-10% neighborhood. Newspapers are hungry right now because the savvy sales person uses the internet rather than the printed word. Chat rooms, social sites and blogs make the world available with a lot less expense and time.
When a customer was dissatisfied with a product, people or company talk would prevail to relay the negative messages. Today conversation face to face has decreased and reviews are up on the same social networking sites and the business owner has very little they can do about it. Often they don’t know who posted the tweet or the blog. Feedback is much more prevalent than it used to be. Good sales techniques are all the more important to satisfy the visibility factor.
Get the information out there quickly. What used to take visit after visit to the customer can now be done with one stop on a website. Provide everything your customer needs to know to satisfy their needs.
What used to be a shopping expedition has turned into a buying expedition and the sales person with the most information out there will probably get the sale.
David Steel is one of the nation’s leading experts on the topic of Sales Motivation. He’s a popular and widely recognized author and motivational speaker who works with businesses and individuals as a sales management consultant, offering insights into hiring, compensation, goals and strategies, and teaching the use of sales management skills to build and maintain highly aggressive sales teams. For more information he can be reached at email@example.com
September 20th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
Inside Sales Representative
Inside Sales Representative 684 – Boston – Technology – $100k
High energy and rapidly growing SaaS Company that is growing rapidly. With a new round of financing and as a leader in their space our client is looking to grow their inside sales organization. This company is building the next generation business solutions in their space. They offer turnkey solutions that are quick to implement right off the shelf, as well as embeddable solutions for organizations to integrate into their own systems. The solutions can be applied on an enterprise or small business level. If you are looking for a high growth, positive environment, then this may be an opportunity to consider.
This is an inside sales role where an extraverted personality is a must have. You must be able to develop and manage a sales pipeline within your territory, qualify sales opportunities and build account plans and strategies for each opportunity. You will coordinate sales team strategy and efforts throughout the sales cycle, meet revenue/margin objectives for the assigned territory on a quarterly basis and ensure successful transition of closed accounts to Client Services. You must feel comfort providing input to the senior leadership team to improve the overall company performance and develop and manage sales pipeline within your territory. You must have the ability to manage all aspects of new account selling: cold calling, territory development, third-party relationship management and negotiating/closing.
1 – 10 years of Inside Sales Experience
Experience selling SaaS products to the mid-market
Exceptional verbal and written communications skills
September 17th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
Help Your Recruiter Help You To Find A Job
By Matt Milano – September 16, 2010
Most of you reading this have probably used a recruiter at some point in a job search and some might even be using one (or more) recruiters right now to help you find a job. Lots of people have had positive results using a recruiter, others have had mixed results and unfortunately, some have had very poor results using recruiters. Whatever your experiences have been, the case for using an effective recruter is strong. The first step is no doubt finding a good one! But past that, a successful job search will also require you to make it work.
Here are a few tips that you can use to actually help your recruiters help you get a job.
Work with recruiters that specialize in your profession:
Sounds pretty obvious right? Well let’s define “specialize”. For example, there is a big difference between someone who claims to specialize in technology recruiting and someone who only places .Net developers, or someone who claims they recruit in the finance and accounting fields, vs. some one who only places hedge fund traders. The more specific the person is in their industry, the more they will understand about your background and understand the types of jobs you are interested in and qualified for. These types of recruiters tend to know about jobs that are not advertised and typically have relationships with not only human resources, but also the hiring managers at the companies they are working with. A lot of these “specialty recruiters” work directly with the hiring managers and can get you face to face interviews with the decision makers very quickly. Think of it as VIP status for interviewing.
Work with recruiters that are local to your marketplace:
Work with recruiters that are local to the cities you are looking to work in. This doesn’t mean a recruiter from Seattle can’t find you a job in Miami. But, odds are that you are in better hands with a local resource. Chances are that a local recruiter has met with the companies they will try and get you interviews with, and can provide you with helpful tips about the company’s environment and the manager’s background, or hot buttons he is looking for in his next hire. It’s also highly likely that he or she will be able to meet you face to face and this will help your working relationship. Which brings me to this next point.
Suggest a face to face interview:
The reality is most recruiters recieve more resumes than you can possibly imagine. The trick is to make sure you leave a positive lasting impression beyond a piece of paper. The best way to do this is to meet the recruiters you are working with. Not only will they remember you but they will know how serious you are in your job search. In fact most recruiters work harder for those they meet than those they don’t because they make a better connection that becomes more personal. Just make sure you treat the meeting like an interview. Don’t treat this as a chore. Interview to impress this person. Don’t complain about your job search or talk about how desperate you are (even if you are desperate). It’s your job to make sure everyone you talk to is impressed by what you have to offer including recruiters who are going to help you.
Think like a recruiter:
Do some homework for your recruiter. Put together lists of companies you feel would be a good fit for your background, as well as a list of companies you would be interested in. Recruiters will take that research and put it to work by trying to represent your background to those companies.
Understand that recruiters also have a reputation to protect in the marketplace. The best recruiters out there get a lot of inquiries from candidates looking for a job. I understand that it can be annoying or seem rude that they don’t call you about jobs or return your calls. Suggest a time once a week where the two of you can speak. Beyond that let the recruiter know that you want full feedback from interviews and even resume submittals. While it is true they are also at the mercy of the companies for feedback, some recruiters hold back on specifics because they don’t want to hurt a candidates feelings (Yes! recruiters do have hearts). Tell your recruiters that you can handle all feedback because you want to use that to get better. And don’t shoot the messenger! The last thing a recruiter wants to do is deliver bad news. If you feel the feedback is inaccurate then offer some work samples that can prove your knowledge or skills. Most recruiters will take your feedback and work samples to clarify a potential misunderstanding. This could lead to a second interview and potential new job for you.
Understand the relationship:
You are using them to help you get a job. Recruiters will use you to try and fill the jobs they are working on. Try not and take it personal if a recruiter doesn’t call you back right away. They most likely don’t have any news for you and are putting their focus on trying to find opportunties for you and all the other candidates they are helping. My first advise would be to not rely on one recruiter to get a job. You should be searching for job opportunities and networking for connections, as well as using other recruiters to help you find a job. In fact the more interviews you get the more marketable you start to become. These relationships should be a 2 way street and should grow stronger based on each others ability to help each other out. When a recruiter delivers interviews for you they should be able to provide you with valuable information that can help in the interviews. Likewise you need to do your best to prepare and present yourself to the best of your abilities everytime a recruiter gets you an interview.
So there you have it. Working successfully with recruiters comes down to first finding a good one, and then putting your best foot forward to help that recruiter help you. Like Jerry Maguire said to Rod Tidwell, “help me…help you!!!”
Milano, Matt. “Help Your Recruiter Help You to Find A job.” Candidate Advantage – Job Search Advice & Tips | Career Management Advice & Tips. 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. <http://candidateadvantage.squarespace.com/blog/2010/9/16/help-your-recruiter-help-you-to-find-a-job.html>.
September 15th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
What Happens if I Embellish My Salary History?
By Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder.com
Talking about how much you earn is kind of like talking about how much you weigh.
Both are uncomfortable subjects, so you might not always be 100 percent honest about either. (Who hasn’t shaved 10 pounds off their physique or upped their salary by a few thousand dollars when hanging with their rich and skinny friends?)
Most of the time, these little white lies are no big deal — it’s not as if your friends are going to ask you get on a scale to verify your weight.
However, while telling an occasional fib in daily conversation may be a minor offense, lying about your salary history on a job application can be a serious transgression.
“Unlike many soft skills, salaries are finite, concrete numbers that can be verified through things like a W2, 1099 [or] tax return,” says Paul Peterson, national talent resource manager for Grant Thornton, a management consulting firm. That means that if you lie about your salary history on your résumé, there’s a good chance that your potential employer will find out.
“If someone goes to extremes to embellish a salary prior to getting the job, one has to ask, ‘What will they embellish when they are actually performing the job?’” Peterson says.
Though it’s true that not all employers conduct background checks or delve as deep as checking a candidate’s W2 forms, salary information can easily be verified through your references — which most employers do check.
“Salary is one of the very few things that former employers are often willing to reveal in a reference check,” says Barry Maher, author of “Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business.” “Even if they won’t give the exact amount, a question like, ‘If I placed his salary range with you in the area of $100,000 would I be in the ballpark?’ usually yields the information.”
“Lying about anything as part of a job search strategy is not a good idea,” says Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners, a recruitment firm. “Starting a relationship with a company based on false pretenses may not hurt you in the short term, but chances are you will be exposed.”
Yet what about job seekers who think they were underpaid at their last job? Should they continue to settle for less money than they think they’re worth, just to avoid embellishing their salary history?
Not necessarily, say our experts. There are plenty of ways to get the salary you deserve without lying on a job application.
Here, they offer three ways to broach the subject of salary increase with a potential employer:
1. “If you’re looking to make a significant jump in salary, my advice to people is to convince the potential employer why you are worth what you are seeking and, where possible, quantify that number,” Peterson says.
2. “It’s perfectly acceptable to say something like ‘I’m making $80,000 now. And though my present employer would certainly agree that I’m worth more, the simple fact is …’ then give the reason, [whether it be] a salary freeze, budget constraints, tough times in that industry, whatever. [Then continue with] ‘Since the industry standard for someone with my skills and experience is $120,000, that’s one of the reasons I’m looking to move on,’” Maher says.
3. “When you are asked about compensation, you can say: ‘I was making in the mid-$70s, which included a 20 percent performance bonus, which I always got, and a very comprehensive benefits package.’ Then ask, ‘What is the compensation range for this position?’ Using this technique allows you flexibility and gets the employer to share compensation data. Be prepared to negotiate only after an offer has been made,” Varelas advises.
Madden, Kaitlin. “What Happens If I Embellish My Salary History? – CNN.com.” CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 15 Sept. 2010. <http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/09/15/cb.embellish.salary.history/index.html>.
September 13th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager 670 – Boston or NYC – Advertising – $110k
Our client is an industry leader in sales content known for high quality media. They provide senior sales managers with print, audio, video, webinars and conferences to help sales leaders create a more efficient and effective sales organization.
As a Regional Sales Manager you will be responsible for developing new business. You are selling online, print, and lead generation campaigns. You will build relationships and know your clients needs. You will create proposals and create offers for the client. You will spend a great deal of time on the phone and work for a home office.
5+ years experience selling online/traditional media.
Ability to create relationships with C-level executives
Confident and outgoing personality
BA/BS degree in business or related field
Ability to work and contribute in a home office environment while collaborating with team members in remote locations
September 8th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
By Chris Isidore, senior writer – September 8, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Does allowing the jobless to get nearly two-years of unemployment checks give them an incentive to not work?
When Congress debated whether to extend unemployment to a record 99 weeks, some Republicans said that the unemployed are staying home collecting benefits when they could otherwise be working.
“[An unemployment extension] doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,” Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., argued during Senate debate in March.
And with the current extended benefits due to expire soon after November’s mid-term elections, that argument seems to be gaining some traction.
The extension of benefits “is almost surely the culprit” behind sky-high unemployment, argued Robert Barro, Harvard University economics professor, in a recent Wall Street Journal column.
Barro said unemployment, now at 9.6%, would be less than 7% if unemployment benefits had not been extended.
“If people have different incentives to be searching and accepting jobs, it would make a big difference how many jobs would actually be filled,” Barro told CNNMoney.
Barro admits his estimate is more of a rough approximation than a hard economic forecast.
“I don’t claim the research I did was definitive. It was saying ‘What if the increase in long-term unemployment was all related to this extension of benefits, what would the numbers maybe look like,’” he said. “It was partly motivated by trying to get more people to work on this topic.”
Critics of extended unemployment often point to research by Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economics professor and a leading expert on the topic, which showed that more generous benefits have historically raised the unemployment rate. But even Katz himself says his previous research is dated, based on data from the 1970’s and 1980’s when workers were more likely to be temporarily laid off, rather than permanently displaced, as is the norm today.
“The most compelling research suggests only modest impacts of extensions on the search effort and duration of unemployment,” Katz said while testifying before Congress in favor of extended benefits earlier this year.
Most Democrats and many other economists agree, arguing very few unemployed workers are staying home by choice.
A study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve found there is very little difference between the length of unemployment for those receiving unemployment checks and those who don’t qualify for benefits.
During Senate debate, Max Baucus, D-Mont., argued that everyone collecting unemployment benefits would rather be working, but with five unemployed workers for every opening, they don’t have a choice.
“The [unemployment] payments are so much lower than a salary or wage would be,” said Baucus.
Raj Chetty, another Harvard economics professor, said that when the economy is closer to full employment, extended benefits can deter workers from accepting jobs below their skill level and cause labor shortages for employers looking for help. But that is clearly not the case today.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have 99 weeks of unemployment in general. But in the current state of the economy, with a severe recession it makes sense,” he said.
And the extra benefits can also stop the economy from slowing further, Chetty said. The additional billions the government is spending on extended benefits is quickly being spent on necessities, which helps reduce unemployment by increasing economic activity.
“Most people who lose their jobs don’t have much in the way of savings,” he said.
Eliminating extended benefits could lower the unemployment rate, Chetty agreed, but not because it would put people back to work. Rather, it would cut the number of people being counted as unemployed.
The government only tracks those who have looked for work in the previous four weeks, and workers collecting unemployment must be actively searching. So without an extension, many long-term unemployed would simply give up, resulting in a deceiving drop in the reported unemployment rate without a corresponding increase in jobs.
September 7th, 2010 by Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline, Inc
Senior Account Manager
Senior Account Manager 648 – Boston – Business to Business – $150k- uncapped
Our client is was founded 25+ years ago and they have become a valued resource for Fortune 500 companies nationwide. They offer their clients the ability to gain strategic market advantage. They focus on qualitative and quantitative research consultation and ideation, letting them work as ongoing partners with their clients.
This individual will be responsible for identifying, qualifying and closing qualitative and quantitative market research projects while growing key account relationships. In this role you will also be supporting the project teams and be responsible for ensuring client satisfaction in all phases of client relationships.
Candidates must have a college degree with at least 5+ years of client management experience and at least 5 years of primary market research experience. Must be willing to travel 25% nationwide.