Tag: ROI

The Evolution of Effort

Megan recently graduated from the University of Michigan and has been working as a Marketing Analyst with HRInsights and the magis group for 1 year.

As citizens of the 21st century we recognize that any endeavor can be as easy or as difficult as we’d like.  With the facilitation of technology, most processes can be expedited, leading to a general discontent for inefficiencies and delayed gratification.  And this isn’t new – the assembly line, snail-mail marketing to email marketing, webinars and podcasts, even books on tape demonstrate our willingness to adopt multi-tasking, integration, and automation.  There’s a reason why that iPhone is so popular.

StrawberryIn the business world there are a lot of buzz words that epitomize this evolution of effort: “minimum effort for maximum return,” “low hanging fruit,” “efficient ROI,” “repurpose” and “no need to reinvent the wheel” to name a few.  These terms have come to represent success in a way, but also the need to understand where time, resources, energy and brainpower should, and should not, be allocated.

We proactively seek out solutions that will make our efforts stretch more efficiently over more time and people.  In marketing departments, we gravitate towards free services like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that aggregate social media, making it easier to quickly converse and engage with current and prospective customers.  Sales teams utilize lead-tracking and CRM tools like Sales Force to manage the process a prospect takes from cold to warm, to “ready to purchase.”  And the brilliant minds that create these tools for us are constantly finding points of integration with brother, sister and cousin tools.  Gone are the days of manually importing contacts, just “connect” with Outlook, Sales Force, Gmail, or Facebook!   Thanks to technology, we can automate.

But even without technology, understanding the appropriate allocation of resources can be a difficult technique to master.  It is undoubtedly one of the more important lessons that we learn as business people and, being just a year out of undergrad, it is one that I am still in the process of absorbing.  Working at a start-up company, HRInsights, has made me uniquely aware of the time-effort trade off.  Each person on the team is required to think creatively, often wearing multiple hats.  We constantly challenge ourselves to understand the effort required in the actions we take on a daily basis and the resulting value that we see.

This fierce dedication to efficiency ultimately forces each one of us to think creatively – finding points of synergy and utilizing technology to automate and ease the burden of everyday tasks.  This attitude and behavior allows us put forth “minimum effort” and yield “maximum return.”  If this equation does not balance, we don’t pursue the activity.  And while this all breaks down to not wanting to work that hard (on things that aren’t important) it also breaks down to efficiency and emotionally detaching from things we may love.  These attributes don’t guarantee results and in order to be smart in allocation of time and resources, we must be dedicated only to action that yields positive results.  Nothing else.

Low hanging fruit http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/11/cdu.html

What does HR mean to an outsider? A simple analogy.

HRInsights is fortunate to have two impressive interns working withe us this summer, Kyla Kelly and Lizzy Rewalt. In this post Lizzy, soon to be a junior at the University of Michigan, shares her impressions as a young person interviewing for the first time…Good perspective for business owners and HR…

As an undergrad, and newly immersed into the business dating world (or, as some would call it, ‘job searching’), I have quite a bit to say about HR practices across different companies.

The varying processes created by each company for hiring, and the standards associated with each directly impact my desire to work for them.  When a company fails to realize the importance of the candidates they are looking to hire, they are indirectly telling the candidate:

  1. “We, the HR department, will not be interested in developing a relationship with you, or helping you grow professionally”
  2. “Our lower standards for hiring directly correlate with the low quality of our current employees/your potential future co-workers”
  3. “The inefficient operation of our HR department is suggestive of inefficiencies elsewhere in the company”

On the contrary, a company that pays significant attention to the hiring process will attract conscientious candidates who are eager to demonstrate and deliver on their value.  A cycle of excellence and mutual respect will begin, leading to more positive growth for the company.

The best interviews I’ve had were the most engaging and challenging.  Interviewers who are prepared, (or just talented at impromptu BS-ing) will not only reap the most benefit from the interview to gauge if a candidate is a right fit, but they also set a high standard for future candidates that will flock to their company.

I’ve seen this theory congruently proven throughout my undergraduate experience.  My business fraternity’s (Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Chapter at the University of Michigan) ‘hiring’ process is intricate.  Recruitment is the single-most important aspect of our organization because our people create our success, (a theory that should be similarly upheld in the business world).  The more we expect from our candidates, the more the fraternity grows.  Our members dedicate days of their time to recruiting: seeking out prospective candidates, preparing events, maintaining contact with candidates, interacting with them, reviewing their qualifications, and voting on the final selection.  In return for our dedication to this process, we have seen more involvement and loyalty from our selected recruits.  Recruitment periods that weren’t taken as seriously by the current membership resulted in a fade-away and disappearance of the selected candidates over time.

Whether you can measure it quantitatively or not, conducting your HR department properly and efficiently will only result in a greater ROI for your business.

Care about your business.  Care about your HR.

(Startupnation thinks so too: http://www.startupnation.com/articles/1399/1/human-resources-small-business.asp)