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Posts from the ‘Recruiting’ Category

How to Build a Great Place to Work

great place to workMany organizations are wrangling for “great place to work” status these days.  Organizations that achieve this public distinction are rewarded with deeper talent pipelines and, assuming their hype is well earned, higher employee retention as well.  In fact, the number one source of visits to Kronos’ careers page is the multiple best place to work lists we’ve landed on around the world.

I recently had a conversation with two of my fellow Workforce Institute board members about what it takes to create a “best place to work”.   I was joined by Dan Schawbel, bestselling author and founder of, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals. Our trio was complete with  Sharlyn Lauby, whose official title is President of the training and HR consulting firm ITM Group, also known as The HR Bartender.

You can’t make one of these lists without first having a great culture – after all, it’s the employee surveys that ultimately determine if your company’s name will appear on a list. So what’s the secret ingredient for building an award-winning culture?  You can listen in to our podcast below to hear our panelists responses to these and other questions:

  1. Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What do you think about Drucker’s assessment that culture is more important than strategy; and is there data that backs up his claim?
  2. Sites like Glassdoor have made it nearly impossible for organizations to hide their cultural identity, for better or for worse. And the rise in best places to work competitions have certainly made an impact on the job-seeker’s mindset. How can companies ensure they are featured favorably on these listings?
  3. Human Resources and Public Relations departments have bought into the importance of landing their company on these culture award lists. But good PR aside, has the C-suite bought into the concept of actually creating a great place to work?
  4. If a company is leveraging social media as part of their communications strategy, it’s typically overseen by the PR or marketing team. But how can HR departments harness social media to mobilize their engaged employees to spread pride about where they work?
  5. When people hear that a company is a “Great Place to Work” they may have visions of ping pong tables, dogs in the office, beer service at 5 o’clock, and so on.  What are the important elements of a Great Place to Work strategy that resonate across the ENTIRE employee base regardless of industry, age, sex, religion, et cetera?
  6.  If there is ONE thing organizations can focus on that will increase their engagement scores and Glassdoor rating, what would it be?

Click on the podcast link below to hear our conversation.  And add your comments – what makes your workplace a great place to work (or not?)


Are Your Boomerangs Welcomed Back?

2015-09-01-1441142394-1593542-boomerang.jpgWhat is your organization’s stand on boomerang employees; i.e. those who voluntarily left your employ, but subsequently ask to return? According to recent research we conducted with, data shows a changing mindset about hiring boomerang employees. Where employers historically may have been more likely to write off former employees, they are increasingly considering them as viable candidates for new openings.

One reason could be because of the increased competition organizations face to attract and retain talent. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data on turnover indicates that the average tenure at one company for a U.S. worker is about 4 and-a-half years. The numbers are worse for younger workers, where the average worker aged 25-34 has been at their company for just 3 years.

In the national survey of more than 1,800 human resources (HR) professionals, people managers, and employees, responses indicate employee engagement should not end once the working relationship is over – especially between high-performing alumni and organizations with a strong corporate culture. However, this era of the boomerang employee creates a unique type of competition for job seekers and new challenges for organizations to maintain relationships with former high-performers.

Based on the survey data, nearly half of HR professionals claim their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees – even if the employee left in good standing – yet 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past. Managers agree, as nearly two-thirds say they are now more accepting of boomerangs.

While only 15 percent of employees said they had boomeranged back to a former employer, nearly 40 percent say they would consider going back to a company where they once worked. This result varies among generations, with 46 percent of Millennials saying they’d consider returning to a former employer, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 29 percent of Baby Boomers. In an era where job-hopping amongst young professionals has become the norm, this could suggest that Millennial employees might be leaving organizations too quickly, without fully evaluating the greener pastures they’re seeking.

Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve. In the past five years, 85 percent of HR professionals say they have received job applications from former employees, and 40 percent say their organization hired about half of those former employees who applied. This high hiring rate is not surprising, since HR professionals (56 percent) and managers (51 percent) say they give very high or high priority to job applicants who were former employees that left in good standing. Conversely, only six and nine percent, respectively, say they give zero priority to former colleagues.

Boomerangs are not the only type of job seeker adding increased competition, as 75 percent of HR professionals say that customers have also applied for positions at their organization, with 60 percent saying they have hired at least one former customer. Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of employer are benefits for boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns linger. HR professionals (33 percent) and managers (38 percent) agree that familiarity with the organization’s culture is the biggest benefit to hiring back former employees, while nearly one- third appreciate that boomerangs do not require as much training as a brand new employee. When employees were asked for the top reason they would go back to work for a former employer if pay was comparable, employee benefits and better career path tied for the number one response (20 percent each).

But while the overall acceptance of boomerang employees has changed direction, HR professionals and managers still have concerns. Nearly one-third of HR professionals and managers claim boomerang employees have a stigma hanging over their heads that they might leave again, and more than one-quarter say these employees may have the same baggage they originally left with. This suggests that HR professionals and hiring managers need to investigate a former employee’s motivation to return closely before rehiring them. And employees seeking to return should be proactive in providing assurances that they are committed to the organization.

HR says they have a strategy for maintaining relationships with former employees, but workers and managers disagree. While organizations appear increasingly more accepting of boomerang applicants, 80 percent of employees say former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return, with 64 percent saying there appears to be no strategy for maintaining a relationship. Nearly half of managers say their organization has no alumni communications strategy.

HR practitioners, on the other hand, say they use several strategies for keeping in touch with former high-performing employees, including email newsletters (45 percent), recruiters (30 percent), and alumni groups (27 percent). Facebook is the platform of choice for alumni groups according to HR professionals (42 percent), with email (39 percent) and LinkedIn (33 percent) close behind.

My employer, Kronos, currently has more than 180 active boomerang employees who have returned to work at the organization, including nearly 120 who have been re-hired since 2010. Many of them cite the Kronos corporate culture as a primary reason for returning to the organization, which is reaffirmed by recent employee engagement scores that far surpass industry benchmarks for global IT organizations.

Peter Drucker famously said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. He wasn’t saying that strategy wasn’t important, but rather that execution of any strategy is going to be more successful when the people in the organization are on board with the mission and engaged with the organization. These survey results underscore the magnetic attraction that a strong culture provides, both to keep your talent and to draw people back to you after they leave.

Relevant Links:

Podcast with WFI board members Sharlyn Lauby and John Hollon about boomerang employees

Kronos Culture and Job Openings



Battle of the Interns: The Competitive Fire Burns in the Next Generation Workforce

Today’s guest blog is courtesy of Kelly Dynan, a Kronos intern from Marist College who worked with the Corporate Communications team this summer.

Since 2013, Kronos has hosted its own an internal Intern Kronolympics event at the conclusion of the summer internship program. This year, we took the event to new heights by inviting five other leading Greater Boston technology companies to compete in the inaugural Summer Games: Battle of the Interns. We also teamed up with the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), who provided referees, scorekeepers, and a master of ceremonies for the day’s events, which featured challenges designed to test the brains and brawn of 90-plus interns over a series of team competitions.

Despite Boston pulling out of the 2024 Olympics bid, you’ll see from Kelly’s post that the spirit of competition is alive and well with the next generation workforce…

July 22, 2015. 12pm. Tryouts. All of the Kronos summer interns gathered around the green space outside of the cafeteria. Kerri and Nicole, the heads of the intern program, explained the rules of the obstacle course that stood between us and becoming a member the elite Kronos Summer Games team.  

With almost half of Kronos’ 80-plus summer interns vying for the 15 available roster spots, the competition was fierce. We were forced to race down a stretch of grass via crab walk, answer a trivia question about the company, and then move on to a water balloon toss in rapid succession. The whole event was timed, with seconds added on if you missed a water balloon bucket or incorrectly answered the trivia question. Although I was horrid at the water balloon toss, my main time was enough to grant me the 15th spot on the team.

Talking to my friends outside of this internship, they were shocked that Kronos was taking this so seriously. (READ: “You actually had tryouts?!?!”) However, it wasn’t surprising to me. In fact, I was expecting it. Kronos as a company is high-performing, innovative, and ambitious, and the interns are no different.

August 6, 2015. 1pm. The day of the competition was here. The Kronos team was decked out in our orange shirts, orange bandanas, and eye black. We sized up our competition from the other competing companies: Acquia, Constant Contact, Epsilon, HubSpot, and MathWorks.

Six Greater Boston tech companies matched the talents of their interns against each other in a competitive day of brains and brawn.

Six Greater Boston tech companies matched the talents of their interns against each other in a competitive day of brains and brawn.

The first event was an obstacle course; consisting of a hula hoop pass, pony hop, and hot lava. The hula hoop pass went easily, and the pony hop was hilarious to watch – see for yourself in the highlight video. The trickiest challenge, however, was the hot lava game – where each team of 15 was given nine 10-inch ‘stones’ to get their entire team across the 25-yard long ‘hot lava’ without touching the turf. Our team went with a unique strategy, having everyone pair up in piggyback formation to move across the dots (And although we weren’t the fastest team, we definitely looked the coolest). All in all, we finished fourth after the first round.

Knowing that we needed to step up our game up, we regrouped and headed into the water balloon and corn hole tosses with fresh mindsets.  96 completed tosses later, we stormed into the lead and were one of four squads to make it to the semi-final round.

For the semi-finals, we had to do a unique word unscramble . In front of each team was a ball pit of approximately 300 balls, with some of the balls containing letters. The MC provided a clue over the PA system for the word (or words) we were supposed to spell. The horn blew and the competition began as the four remaining teams sprinted to their ball pits. While searching for all the balls with letters on them, we also had to figure out the answer to the question as the MC provided increasingly easier clues.  What seemed like a pretty easy task turned out to be quite complicated for Team Kronos. Due to a simple lack of communication, we did not finish in time to advance to the finals (we couldn’t find one of the Ls needed to spell the answer: Kendall Square).

For the finals, Acquia and Epsilon battled it out in a tug-of-war competition, with Acquia taking home the gold in a best-of-three challenge. The event organizers tried to make it interesting after the first pull by asking the anchor on the Acquia team a trivia question that would have eliminated him from the competition – but he answered the question correctly and was allowed to compete in the second tug-of-war game, which Acquia swept 2-0.

As much as I hate losing, I can only have a sense of accomplishment after surviving the first Battle of the Interns. And of course our team learned a valuable lesson about just how important proper communications is at a successful company like Kronos.

In the end it was a great day filled with competition, fun, and networking. This event was the perfect way to end my time here at Kronos.