We’ve learned a great deal over the years.

Call them principles, best practices or golden rules, the fact is after decades of attracting and retaining talent for organizations worldwide, we’ve discovered more than a few keys for success. Some you may know already and some you should know before you undertake your next endeavor. So be our guest and explore.

At S2E Solutions, we never stop learning about talent management. And, we never stop sharing our insights. Because as we’ve said before: Harnessing the potential of your people, processes and technologies to maximize their impact on your business is no small task.

Sharing ideas is the best way to find solutions that make a meaningful and measurable impact. That sounds like a pretty good principle by itself.

So a principle is a course of action that if followed leads to a successful outcome. This outcome is predicated upon the fact that the future is known. It is a certainty. What happens if you don’t follow a basic principles? You replace success with failure.

In business there are no certainties. Or are there? By following certain golden rules a business can grow.

A few of our principles

Principle #114

— Building a recruitment culture involving all employees and not just HR is the best way to move the needle on the key metrics of quality of hire, cost of hire and time to fill.

If we accept this principle then to ignore it takes the certainty and success of one outcome and replaces it with failure and cost of the other. The question becomes then how do we achieve this?

With the advent of a myriad of new technologies this has become a relatively simple 3 step process.

Connect your company with an internal social network

What if Facebook were corporate friendly. What if you could connect to all your employees through one easily understood communication system. What if you could use that system to distribute everything from HR forms to sales tips to sales contests to customer service tips. What if this system was 100% secure and IT would let you use it. What if your intranet was a fully used and vibrant tool.

This can all be done and in addition to the multitude of revenue driving uses such a system has you can use it to onboard new employees, post jobs, develop mentoring programs, build teams. By posting jobs on this site you build a viable Employee Referral Program and let the whole company know that recruitment is active and on-going.

Employee Referral Programs work

If they are marketed properly. In addition to posters and flyers use technology to scrape your ATS for available jobs and send those jobs on a weekly basis to employees in the relevant job families.

Internal Communications are read

Use newsletters to promote these tools and to reinforce that recruitment is everyone’s responsibility. Take your recruitment brand and point it internally. Galvanize the company to support its mission through the addition of quality people that drive revenue.

These 3 simple approaches when used in tandem create a recruiting dynamic that does more than just help fill jobs. It finds good people quickly and uses internal resources before posting or using search firms. It builds morale and finds people with like minds that can build a culture not destroy it.

Principle #26

— Your employer brand – The key to reducing costs, increasing quality of hire and strengthening your bottom line.

Employment Branding: The key driver for modern Talent Acquisition!

As many a Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Leaders have come to realize, focusing on the tactical aspects of staffing no longer gives a company the edge in attracting and retaining top talent. These days, recruitment requires a strategic approach, and Employment Branding is central to aligning a company’s resources with its employment and growth objectives!

How can Employment Branding help me improve my quality of hire? What has changed to make this more important today than it was 5 years ago? Posting and paid recruitment advertising are becoming less relevant; how can I benefit from the surge in social networks?

Recruiting teams are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing, the solution that will secure them the best candidates and that will help them fill their quota of job openings faster, better and more effectively. In the 1990s, the Internet changed the face of recruiting, but the original impact came primarily through the birth of the posting and the demise of the newspaper ad. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the Internet’s impact is now far more nuanced, less tactical, and more pervasive, giving resurgence to one of the most elementary aspects of recruiting – Employment Branding.

Even in the rocking ’90s and the mid 2000s, an Employment Brand was a nice feature to have if you had the time and the money. Small companies assumed an Employment Brand was something for larger companies that could afford them. Larger companies, by contrast, assumed that Employment Branding was only necessary for smaller, less-well-known companies that needed to establish a presence. Stuck in this ultimate catch 22, less strategic companies declined or ignored the opportunity to improve quality of hire by accurately depicting the culture and opportunity their company offered. They instead focused their recruitment resources on the tactics of recruiting, whether that be advertising or search.

These organizations primarily tended to (and continue to) measure their success on the interesting, easily-identifiable and boardroom worthy metrics of cost per hire and time to fill. To be frank, any company expending resources to recruit should measure the effectiveness of their expenditures. As every vendor will state when discussing a product or service with a client, “we must establish an ROI; we must measure results.” One metric seldom measured, however, is quality of hire. This must be the most important variable to measure, right? Intriguingly, most companies do not measure quality of hire. This failure removes the definitive metric for the ROI on the recruitment function. Doesnt?

So why don’t companies measure quality of hire? There are several reasons, but it’s likely the primary reason is that it is too difficult. True measurement of quality of hire can only be done over time, and systems are rarely aligned to provide this kind of metric. Companies don’t relate the source of hire with the cost of hire with the performance review. Now, that is a generalization, for certain, but in the main it’s true.

So how does this all link to Employment Branding? Well, the best way to increase the quality of hire is to hire the right person. The best way to hire the right person is attract the right candidate. This is done two ways: your recruitment strategy and your messaging.

So by taking this circuitous route we are now back on the topic of Employment Branding. A good Employment Brand directly drives and enhances quality of hire. How? Let’s examine two of the many ways this holds true.

Employer Promise vs. Employee Reality

If your recruitment messaging focuses on what you would like your employment experience to be, you are destined for failure. If you describe and promote a workplace that is totally alien to the reality of the day-to-day experience and the long-term future of an employee, you are building turnover into your recruitment process.

You have a position to fill and a company’s employment image to promote, of course. At the same time, if challenges exist in your workplace or with particular roles at your company, now is the time to talk about them. QuickTrip, a national chain of convenience stores, does an excellent job of balancing the need to sell a candidate and to inform them. Before a candidate applies for a role, QuickTrip presents a list of facts they need to know before applying. These facts relate to the realities of the type of jobs available at QuickTrip: long hours, weekend work, holiday work, etc. Basic common sense? Yes. Is such honest information present on every career portal that recruits for non-exempt, traditionally high turnover positions? No.

Treat recruitment messaging like you would product advertising. By all means sell your opportunities, but remember that you want repeat customers, not just one time buyers. If your workplace is challenging, then say so. This negative can be balanced by offsetting it with the rewards that are afforded employees who can navigate these challenges. For every perceived negative, a positive can counter it. The key is to tell the truth, not what you want the truth to be. If your employer promise and the employee reality clash, then prepare to increase your recruiting staff and your advertising expenditure… you are going to be busy.

Social Networking

Social networking is a topic all its own, and it is changing the face of recruitment. How does it affect your recruitment messaging though? With a plethora of social networking sites available to prospective candidates as well as current and former employees alike, it is impossible to keep the truth of your employment experience secret. If you have advertised one thing and reality is another, then this dichotomy, this “false advertising,” will be spread across the ether at a speed that knows no limits. This reinforces the fact that a defined, accurate Employment Brand is a vital part of your recruitment strategy.

It also adds a new twist to the process. Traditionally, companies that have worked to develop an Employment Brand have focused that effort on candidate-facing activity. With the growth of online social networking, it is important that a company’s Employment Brand is shared with and embraced by the entire organization and not siloed to the recruitment function. The entire organization needs to live and breathe the Employment Brand or turnover and employee disengagement will be the outcome.

The future of successful recruitment is social networking. This places a heavy, increasing and evolving emphasis on developing, marketing and living your Employment Brand. Companies that are successful in securing key talent, lowering turnover and reducing recruitment costs will be those that not only have a strong Employment Brand but also live it. That is why uncovering your employee reality and marketing it accurately will be increasingly important.

Principle #19

— Implementing assessments as part of your hiring process – The business case for making better hires.

Quality of Hire: How to make sure you’re hiring the right person right from the start.

“I hire for traditionally high turnover positions, there is nothing I can do to change that.”

“We are growing so fast we need people now.”

“I know there is software but it’s too expensive and too cumbersome, we will lose candidates and management will never go for it.”

Each one of these “reasons” has been used to describe why people don’t use assessments as part of the hiring process yet they constantly seek answers to the question, “how do I measure quality of hire?”

Actually it’s very simple. Use an assessment tool at the front end of your recruitment process. Once you have made that decision, how do you sell it internally? Build an irrefutable business case. Do you have to do it? No, the interested vendor will be only to pleased to shower you with numbers. The trick is to make them work for it though. Don’t let your would be vendor drum up some generic business case. Customize your information so that you can move it quicker through your approval process. Look to build a business case built around key data.


An assessment tool will decrease turnover by at least 10%. What does this mean? What dollars can you relate to this? If you lose a 100 people a quarter and with an assessment tool you now lose 90 what does 10 people less per quarter mean? What is the training cost per person? The number of candidates you need to get a hire, the number of interviews, the number of background checks, the overtime hours, increased productivity. If you’re hiring less people what does it do to the productivity of your recruiting team?


If you have more people staying longer what does that do to revenue? There are many ways to do this. This is a hard number. This is not anecdotal. What is the bottom line contribution of this tool.


Better people will begat better people. As you hire better people you will move the needle on the company’s culture. Moral will improve; the quality of your employee referrals will improve and buy in to the mission will improve. This is largely anecdotal. Or is it? Starbucks and Southwest Airlines are 2 companies that drive performance through a devotion to hiring and looking after quality people. They are 2 companies that perform year after year in difficult industries. Do your revenues and market position look as rosy?

Principle #95

— Think beyond an “intranet” – Why building a social network that works for your organization can give you a competitive advantage.

Internal Social Networks: Gimmick or Corporate Advantage? – By Megan Stanish

According to Facebook’s self-stated statistics, approximately 150 million of their users reside in the United States (U.S.), with more than 500 million total users around the world. The U.S. just released Census data indicating that the American population has reached just over 300 million people. Therefore, close to half of U.S. residents have some level of experience using Facebook. In addition, in November, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that more than half of their 500 million users access Facebook every day. While these statistics specifically illustrate the adoption of the Facebook forum, they also more broadly indicate that this format is comfortable and readily adoptable by a significant segment of the population. People like communicating with each other and sharing information with each other on this platform. Therefore, consider how powerful it would be to adopt this communication platform for use within your organization.

Many companies in this day and age have implemented intranets to distribute and house business and employee information: rules and regulations, programs, forms, organizational charts. However, most intranets essentially are information repositories, file servers that are accessible online. Like most file servers, the method in which files are saved aligns with the thought process of the individual setting up the file folders. It’s not intuitive to everyone, and frustration by users often leads to lack of continued use. In other words, intranets are helpful in theory, but in practice even the most well considered, well planned intranets are rarely seen as the first access point for needed information. It’s just easier to ask a colleague!

Private social networks, for companies, close the gap between interpersonal interaction and rigid intranet portals. They provide an online platform that can house static data – hard files and pure content – while also enabling fluid interaction and rapid updates, all in a forum that is comfortable to a broad segment of employees. Many providers of private social networks have deliberately designed their online architecture to mimic that of Facebook, in order to increase adoption and speed up the learning process.

The business potential endemic to a private social network is almost limitless. As an internal tool, it can be used to support employee onboarding, disseminate training, share and develop best practices, promote positive internal competition as well as engage staff, particularly when employees are distributed across several wide ranging locations. Companies might also establish a publicly accessible private social network to encourage shared communication between customers with like interests, promote cooperation on business improvements, distribute new product or service releases and create an open forum for greater client-vendor partnership. Additionally, a well-promoted, publicly accessible private social network could provide a forum for interaction among experts and interested individuals on key industry topics, allowing a company to establish a reputation for facilitating expertise and connecting the company to potential advisors or future employees.

As with any tool or service, a private social network is not a “magic bullet” that will resolve all communication and information sharing challenges within an organization. However, the online accessibility and familiar format, in addition to ease of implementation and adoption, grant private social networks practically limitless potential to support businesses internally and externally and therefore make them an almost invaluable investment. If you’re interested in learning more about how a private social network might support your organization, what the cost might be and how easy it is to get started, reach out to our own Paul Wills at pwills@michaelswilder.com