NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganA recent Crain’s survey informed us that among over 650-plus Chicago-area men and women surveyed in January, 62% —nearly 2 out of 3—said changing companies was necessary for advancement in the local job market.

We know this isn’t a Chicago issue per sé but we do know that certain industries offer fewer opportunities for growth and increased income than others. Frequently large CPG firms, common in this area, take the brunt of not allowing the growth or compensation opportunities needed to make a long stay worthwhile. Rather than waiting for promotions, people are leaving.

Foster GrowthWhile many suggest the Millennial generation, followed by their predecessor Gen Xers, tend to move with the highest frequency, we’ve got a few suggestions on how better to manage churn.  In fact, there are even strong arguments that encourage moves that support both employer and employee.
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Pat DuganNo matter the burdens we’re facing of a divided government or a deeply affected constituency with its own divides, the light is always there —if we care to see it.

The future is bright, and getting brighter according to observations made about a new generation whose pragmatism, entrepreneurial curiosity and realism are being tapped into as the next best thing.

Generation Z is available for hire.

Generation ZFollowing the Millennial generation is a group making up approximately 25% of the population; all-in-all, bigger than the Baby Boomers or the Millennials. According to Hal Brotheim, author of Introducing Generation Z, they’ll be better future employees.


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Well, it appears the Chicago Hawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.
Today, they hold the number one position within the Central Western conference. Num-Ber-One, a place they haven’t held since the 2012-2013 season.
We can’t help but appreciate the interplay and growth that can happen between exceptional players and terrific leadership when we think about Joel Quenneville; the second most winning-est coach in history.  What’s the secret sauce behind those that track record? Cultivation and tenure? Fire  and philosophy? Lady luck?
Sports leaders and their teams show us variables that sometimes don’t allow us to be certain of whether it’s team cultivation or an elusive chemistry that brings it all together. But it seems that managers and coaches who succeed have a lot of the same characteristics.
One thing they seem to share is an awareness of what’s going on outside the clubhouse. While some companies we watch on a daily basis show us lengthy tenures by colorful CEOs – Reed Hastings Netflix 19 years, Jeff Bezos, Amazon,  21 years, Dan Amos, AFLAC, 27 years, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp., 38 years, Roger Penske, Penske Corp., 48 years – according to a recent Temple University study on CEO tenures, the optimal length of stay for a CEO is just 4.8 years. The reason being that, “…after about five years, chief executives will rely more on their internal network rather than information that comes from outside markets. This tendency to focus inward causes them to become less attuned to market conditions and customers, which ultimately hurts the company.”
Of course they’re different scenarios: corporate America versus professional sports.  Differences in commercial season lengths/sports seasons lengths, extremely different compensation granted for a wing or goalie versus a marketing manager. And, of course, very different market  and category factors.
Interestingly, in Q3 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average wage/salaried employee lasts just 4.7 years, The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years in January 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014. Some might argue that approximately 4.7 years of collaborative business leadership and management efforts aren’t nearly enough to shift the needle, elevate a brand or expand without hiccups.
Mindsets that include solid standards and clearly-defined expectations seem to trump all, though. Of the aforementioned CEOs with decades of vested time, all demand consistent performances from their teams. Their personal expectations run wildly high. and have a contagious effect on their company cultures that stands the test of time. It‘s all about consistency.
We find those characteristics in the Hawks’ Coach Q and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon. In the case of Maddon, a lifetime’s worth of gumption and managerial agility found its perfect application.
Quenneville, recognized as a player’s coach, is noted for his strong compassion for his players. In nine years, his tactics reveal a slow burn approach to managing people, with a deep hunger for the game. When interviewed, he cites a favorite part of coaching as being cultivating players. Compare that with Joe Maddon, who’s also expert at handling young players and veterans alike.
One similarity between the two? They each brought home the ultimate prize at the end of their second season at the helm of their respective teams.
There aren’t many finite assumptions about generating greatness, but we can touch on winning factors found on the field or office. Here are a few that a Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks organization exemplify, and they’re factors that any company should emulate in creating equal ideal alignment between job candidate and organization:
1) Understand the nuances of leadership, and bring the right candidates to complimentary leaders so there’s a good stylistic fit.
2) Encourage candidates —whether managers, subordinates or administrative workers – to develop a sensitivity for peers and the greater goals of an organization.
3) Coaching people – whether hockey players or our own candidates at North Bridge – to expect to deliver success wherever they go. When we do that, we’ve found that that success always followsWell, it appears the Chicago Hawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.

Pat DuganWell, it looks like our Chicago Blackhawks won’t be left behind. If things continue as they are today, like the Cubbies, the Hawks will be extending their icy-hot brand of winning, and bringing more hardware back to Chicago’s municipal trophy case.

Today, as the Cup playoffs loom, they hold the number one slot in the Central Western conference. Num-Ber-One, a spot they haven’t held since the 2012-2013 season.

We can’t help but appreciate the interplay and growth that can happen between exceptional players and terrific leadership when we think about Joel Quenneville; the second most winning-est coach in history.  What’s the secret sauce behind those that track record? Cultivation and tenure? Fire  and philosophy? Lady luck?
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Pat DuganAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,976,800 workers classified as secretaries and administrative assistants in 2014 (the most recent year for which they’ve posted figures). We’re on course for 4,095,600 people in those jobs by 2024. That’s a steady, if not spectacular, growth rate of 3% a year – but growth nevertheless.

We’ve helped companies hire a lot of secretarial and administrative workers over the years, so we’ve picked up a few tips on how to make a good hire for an admin role. Even though some might say, “Hey, it’s just an admin job – that’s not quite a make-or-break hire for my business, you know?”Chart

Our observation? A great hire is a great hire, regardless of the position, and they’ll help you in ways that go far beyond the job description. A bad hire? That’ll cause damage or costs that make a hiring manager regret not doing their due diligence in the first place.
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Pat DuganWe can sincerely say we work hard at North Bridge at being good partners for both our clients and our candidates, each and every day. That’s not too hard to do when you’re enthusiastic about the business you’re in. And when you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself as you try to connect the right people with the right positions.

7 Signs Quality RecruiterBut there are obviously going to be some people who play fast-and-loose with the rules, don’t play it straight with candidates, or don’t particularly care if they’re trying to shove square pegs into round holes when it comes to filling a client’s open positions.

If you’re a jobseeker, how can you tell – or maybe it’s better to say, smell – the difference between a good recruiter and a bad one? Here’s a list of seven qualities pretty common to good and great recruiters. Keep them in mind: if you ever come across a recruiter who doesn’t follow these tenets, find another one to help you out. Never forget that when you’re making your next career move, you deserve the attention of a true professional.
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Pat DuganSome of us here at North Bridge are South Siders at heart, so it pains us to acknowledge competence anywhere around the intersection of Clark and Addison. If you’re not from Chicago, find a Chicagoan and ask them what that means. If you’re from around here, there’s no explanation necessary.

But as staffing and recruiting professionals, we always have to admire when an organization gets it right. Hiring Theo Epstein to be the man in charge of the Chicago Cubs turned out to be exactly the perfect move for that franchise.

Source: Wikipedia.org


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Pat DuganAt North Bridge, we’ve learned a few things by trial and error over the years about why good candidates apply to a job posting — and why they don’t.

And as the dynamics of recruiting change, thanks to social media and word-of-mouth, it’s important to stay alert and aware of candidate behaviors and mindsets. Because there’s no worse feeling for a recruiter than to post a job…and then get very few applications. Sometimes? None at all.

What’s up with that?

A new survey by LinkedIn probed the reasons why candidates don’t apply for a job, asking 20,000 people (including 7,000 recent job-switchers) why they don’t apply to listed jobs. The results bear out something we’ve observed ourselves — that in an age where more and more information is available about companies, work cultures and jobs, the employers who don’t serve up enough information are the ones who don’t get applications.
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Pat DuganWe’ve talked about the benefits of treating your temps right in the past, and this is a complement to that notion. Because once a temp or contractor has left your business, there are real positives in maintaining a relationship with that person.

That idea is supported by statistics about how companies benefit from delivering a good candidate experience to potential hires. A 2013 report by an offshoot of TalentBoard called the Candidate Experience Awards (yes, there is such a thing!) profiled 63 companies that excelled at it, and among their findings:

  • Nearly 60% of survey respondents (candidates at the included companies) felt they need to have a relationship with a company before they apply for a job there. Nowadays, with information about a company and its culture available within a few clicks of your smartphone, no HR manager can afford to ignore this.
  • But amazingly, 75% of candidates who apply for a job get no response at all — zip, zero, nada, according to a CareerBuilder study. Maybe HR at these companies think that applicants should just get used to it. But how hard would it be for autoreply with a polite turndown?


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Pat DuganWant some insight into the upcoming hiring trends? Whether you’re an employer or a jobseeker, it’s always good to have a crystal ball handy that can peek into tomorrow — and thanks to Chicago-based staffing software firm Hireology, we’ve got one.

Hireology conducted a survey of 2,500 companies in the U.S. and Canada, and arrived at three key insights about how the job market may shift in the next several years:
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pat_smallThe trend toward having more workers spend more time working offsite is growing, according to a recent Gallup study of telecommuting.

Whether they’re full-time or temporary/contract employees, more and more of the workforce is embracing the flexibility that technology allows.

“Technology has made telecommuting easier for workers, and most companies seem willing to let workers do their work remotely, at least on an occasional basis if the position allows for it.” – Gallup

What’s this mean for recruitment professionals and company managers? What are some solid best practices you can use when it comes to managing and motivating full-time telecommuters?


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pat_smallCalifornia recently passed one of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country, enforcing gender pay equity with a very rigorous standard. California already has tough rules in place since 2014 regarding temporary and subcontracted employees, too.

Neither of these may seem relevant if you’re a small to medium-sized business located somewhere outside of the Golden State, but what is crucial for any employer is that they have a firm understanding of the wage and benefit laws in their own state.

Those rules are always evolving, at the municipal, state and national level, as seen in the Obama Administration’s proposed changes to overtime rules.
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pat_small5 HIDDEN BENEIFITSWe’ve mentioned the many benefits of hiring temporary staffers and independent contractors in the past, and most hiring managers are probably aware of the main advantages, like flexibility, seasonality and cost savings.

There are other benefits, however that aren’t exactly “hidden” but may not spring right to mind when considering hiring temporaries:

  1. Leveraging specialized skill sets: To reach your organization’s goals, there may be a need for ultra-specialized proficiencies that might not need to be permanently engaged, or for worked with particular accreditations or licenses. Temp hiring can be a perfect route to adding these talents to your company for as long as you need them.
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