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HR Magazine, April 2005 - From the Editors

By Terence F. Shea; Adrienne Fox; Patrick Mirza   4/1/2005

HR Magazine, April 2005

Vol. 50, No. 4

Truth in Numbers

Using finely honed techniques, some employers are coming up with detailed and helpful insights into which types of compensation and benefits most cost-effectively drive employee retention and satisfaction.

In this month’s cover story, "Find What Workers Want," business journalist Pamela Babcock shows how some organizations are sharpening their ways of determining the effectiveness of incentives—an exercise that doesn’t require broad-scale workplace attitude surveys to draw sophisticated conclusions.

California-based IndyMac Bank, for instance, examined various types of information already on hand in determining—with a few surprises—how specific practices affected retention among various categories of employees.

The message for HR is clear: General information about employees’ attitudes may not provide enough guidance when shaping incentive and benefits programs. You may have to overlay several types of data to see whether particular programs are producing—or would produce—the results you want among particular segments of your workforce.

—Terence F. Shea

Your Turn, Trainers

If you’re a trainer or the HR person overseeing training initiatives, now is your time to shine. Organizations are turning to you to keep them out of the “war for talent” debacle in which they found themselves in the 1990s. They want you to train and enhance the expertise of existing workers today, rather than offer the highest bid for external talent tomorrow.

This is not rhetoric. Training budgets are rising, as are trainers’ salaries and prominence. But those extra funds also bring added responsibility and the challenge of figuring out how your training aligns with business needs and helps boost the bottom line. Journalist and former trainer Kathryn Tyler shows in "Training Revs Up," how companies are fueling business growth by increasing their investments in training.

To better manage these investments, some organizations are appointing new top-level executives to oversee training on a corporatewide level. To learn what it takes to fill that high-profile role and how to meet the new demands of learning professionals, turn to Robert Rodriguez’s article, "Meet the New Learning Executive."

Adrienne Fox

Hiring, Through Fresh Lenses

Sometimes familiarity breeds not contempt, but apathy. Hiring employees, for example, is something every business in existence has done since day one. But when was the last time you took a new look at your old hiring practices?

How about now? This month’s special report offers three new views on hiring.

Our first story, "The Next Generation of Hiring Metrics," shows how employers are tapping new metrics and grouping them together to get a more complete picture of their hiring practices. Cost per hire and time to fill data are being supplemented by additional measures that help employers better gauge, for example, whether applicants from one source are more successful than others.

Our second story, "Dialing for Candidates," takes a fresh look at a vital part of the screening process—one that is instrumental in saving time for you and for hiring managers.

And "De-Greening Teens" explores the legal and practical challenges of hiring teens—which many of you will be doing this summer, when teen hiring surges. But, as this story points out, new legal regulations—spurred by a rise in court cases involving teens—show that employers need to take a closer look at how they select and manage their youngest workers.

—Patrick Mirza

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