Category Archives: HR profession

H1-B Challenges Causing Headaches

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump often talked about making drastic changes to the nation’s immigration system if he won, but is this really what he had in mind?

Recently, employers have been noticing an uptick in the number of challenges they are receiving regarding  H1-B visa applications, according to a new report on Bloomberg.

According to Joshua Brustein’s piece, employers began noticing this summer that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was challenging a large number of H-1B applications:

Cases that would have sailed through the approval process in earlier years ground to a halt under requests for new paperwork. The number of challenges — officially known as “requests for evidence” or RFEs — are up 44 percent compared to last year, according to statistics from USCIS. The percentage of H-1B applications that have resulted in RFEs this year are at the highest level they’ve been since 2009, and by absolute number are considerably higher than any year for which the agency provided statistics.

Brustein says the H-1B program is controversial largely because IT firms based in India have used it to hire for rote computer programming jobs: “These firms, like Infosys Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., have been working to reduce their reliance on the program, in anticipation of a less receptive political landscape. The overall number of H-1B applications dropped this year for the first time in five years. The skeptical eye the government is taking to applications has extended to all types of employers, according to immigration lawyers. Many are rethinking their own use of H-1B as a result.”

 It’s unclear how many applications are actually being rejected, Brustein acknowledges. But even though Silicon Valley sees the H-1B program as one of its top political priorities, this campaign of reform by red tape has avoided the frantic political fights surrounding other aspects of immigration, like the proposed travel ban or the cancellation of DACA, a program for those who came to the country as undocumented children, Brustein says:

After the recent terrorist attack in New York, Trump called for the elimination of another visa lottery program – the Diversity Visa Lottery – saying immigration should be merit-based. This mirrors past calls his administration has made to eliminate the H-1B lottery as a way to punish those who use it improperly.

Instead, says Peter Roberts, an immigration lawyer whose clients include large multinationals and startups, the administration is punishing everyone. He said many of this year’s challenges were “beyond ridiculous, trumped-up requests — no pun intended — issued either without legal basis or making no sense from a common sense standpoint,” and questioned whether they’d stand up. “How do you change the way we live? You can change the laws, or you can change the way we interpret them,” he said. “This is the latter.”

“We’re entering a new era,” adds Emily Neumann, an immigration lawyer in Houston who has been practicing for 12 years. “There’s a lot more questioning, it’s very burdensome.” She told Brustein that in past years she’s counted on 90 percent of her petitions being approved by Oct. 1 in years past. This year, only 20 percent of the applications have been processed. Neumann predicts she’ll still have many unresolved cases by the time next year’s lottery happens in April 2018.

According to Brustein’s piece, USCIS declined an interview request, sending a written statement instead. “USCIS officers use currently existing policy that interprets existing statutory and regulatory requirements to evaluate petitions and make an eligibility determination,” it said. “As done in the past, officers evaluate each petition on a case-by-case basis to determine if a petition qualifies for the benefit being requested.”

Is your  organization experiencing similar delays and challenges to its H1-B visa applications? If so, you can take some small solace in knowing that you’re not alone.

M&As: Keeping Talent Long-Term

Mergers and acquisitions are hard, but post-merger success can be harder: Up to 90 percent of mergers end up failing, according to the Harvard Business Review. While mergers are complicated and the factors that can contribute to failure are many, one of the biggest impediments to success is when talented employees from both organizations decide not to stick around post-merger.

Willis Towers Watson’s 2017 Global M&A Retention Study finds that, while acquiring companies have been increasingly successful in retaining at least 80 percent of their employees who’ve signed retention agreements through the end of the retention period, only about half retain at least 80 percent of such employees a year after the retention period ends.

“It’s a tale of two results,” says Mary Cianni, WTW’s global M&A practice lead. “Acquirers have made good strides at keeping key talent for an initial period, but there’s room for improvement one year later.”

Companies are failing to use the retention period to capture these employees’ “hearts and minds” for the long term, she says. Retention bonuses — the primary financial award used by companies — are important, but are only part of the equation, says Cianni.

“Personal outreach by leaders, strategic promotions and employees’ participation on task forces are also beneficial and will pay dividends in the years ahead,” she says. Total rewards (learning and development and career opportunities for hi-pos, in particular) can also be key.

The report (based on data from 244 respondents in 24 countries) finds that companies which prioritize early communication with senior leaders — 24 percent of the acquiring companies asked senior leaders at their target companies to sign retention agreements prior to the initial merger agreement signing — tend to have better luck at retaining those leaders than those that do not.

Of course, culture is also important: Nearly half (44 percent) of the employees who left prior to the end of their retention period blame the new or changing culture of the combined organization as the reason for leaving. Other top reasons for leaving include being aggressively pursued by competitors (36 percent) and not liking their new role (25 percent).

“The most successful acquirers realize retention agreements can buy time, but not loyalty,” says Scott Oberstaedt, WTW’s director of executive compensation. “And by not using their arsenal of tools to build loyalty during what can be tumultuous periods, companies often lose talent that would serve them well in the long run.”

When Retention Requires Attention

Keeping retention rates high is a priority for any organization, but what happens when it starts to slip?

In a new piece on Fast Company, contributor Lydia Dishman delves into the question of how to stop an exodus of workers that the Bureau of National Affairs has estimated costs employers $11 billion annually.

The reasons for workers to seek greener pastures are often manifold, Dishman notes:

Overall, the latest Gallup report found that a record 47% of the workforce says now is a good time to find a quality job, and more than half of employees (51%) are searching for new jobs or watching for openings. Gallup found that this is due in part to a national employee engagement rate currently hovering at just 30%.

Workers also switch employers to get a salary bump that can go above the traditional annual cost of living raise that hovers around 3%, barely outpacing inflation. Right Management, ManpowerGroup’s global career and talent development expert, polled 4,600 workers globally, and found 1 in 5 people are simply in the wrong role.

A new report from Ceridian, based on a survey of 1,602 U.S. and Canadian employees, revealed that even generational differences are influencing the urge to jump ship. Over a third (33%) of gen-Xers were actively looking for work versus just 22% of millennials and gen-Z. Those between the ages of 18-29 did say that they wouldn’t stick with one employer for more than five years.

Despite these survey results, Dishman quotes an expert who says other factors are also influencing younger workers’ desire to change employers, including a company’s culture.

“Ziprecruiter’s CEO Ian Seigel, agrees that workplace culture is the biggest and most direct driver in turnover. But Seigel says they’re looking beyond feedback and clear communication of opportunities to advance.

Seventy-five percent of millennials want flexibility that also keeps them on promotion tracks,” Seigel notes. That’s why he recommends that managers take a closer look at what motivates their teams, and how to diverge from traditional best practices in order to retain them.

In order for companies to figure out whether employees are leaving because of the culture, Dishman quotes Fran Katsoudas, Cisco’s chief people officer, who suggests that managers listen and engage with their team regularly.

“If you understand your team dynamics, the individuals on your team, and their strengths,” she explains, “you will have a much better lens on what is going well or where there are challenges.” She encourages leaders to show their vulnerability and take ownership of what is not working, which is key to getting to the root causes of people retreating.

Another way to do this, Katsoudas tells Dishman, is “to use data and analytics. Cisco has a weekly check-in tool, quarterly surveys, and regular feedback from every monthly and quarterly event.

“When employees know that their manager is regularly listening to them, the impact is significant,” she says.

Executives Honored at Awards Dinner

Lisa Buckingham of Lincoln Financial Group and a trio of HR leaders were honored at the 29th annual HR Executive of the Year awards dinner held at Boston University.

The HR Executive of the Year and Honor Roll awards are presented each year to the individuals in the HR profession who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary vision, strategy, direction and leadership in their organizations. A prestigious panel of judges, including previous award winners, thought leaders and HRE‘s editor, select the winners from a field of worthy candidates.

Buckingham, the Radnor, Pa.-based insurance and investment management provider’s executive vice president, and chief human resources, brand and enterprise communications officer, was honored for her leadership which has helped Lincoln advance its diversity and inclusion efforts, improve talent management and succession-planning processes, and develop a fully revamped career framework.

Lincoln Financial Group President and CEO Dennis Glass called Buckingham a “sophisticated ball of energy,” and said that when Buckingham first found out she had won the award, the first thing she did was thank her HR team.

“That’s just the kind of person she is,” he said. “She’s never going to take credit for something that was a group effort.”

In her speech accepting the award, Buckingham shared three principles that have guided her career: the power of networking and mentoring, thanking people who have helped you and simply being present at all times.

“Whether it’s a crisis situation or a calm situation, people really need to know that you’re being fully present.  That means that sometimes I may miss things at [my son’s] school or work, but you have to make those choices. You always know where you need to be,” she said.

Also honored at the awards dinner were Honor Roll inductees Vivian Maza, chief people officer at Ultimate Software, David A. Thaeler, executive vice president and CHRO at Haskell and Karen May, executive vice president and CHRO at Mondelez International.

HRE presented the first HR Executive of the Year award in 1989. Since that time, 28 other HR professionals have been honored with this top award and 94 Honor Roll recipients have been recognized, including this year’s winners.

For a full list of previous HR Executive of the Year award winners, click here.

‘Compensation Is Not Appreciation’

According to “Mind the Workplace,” a new joint report by the Faas Foundation and Mental Health America, 71 percent of employees are thinking about—or actively looking— for new jobs.

That’s according to the report’s Workplace Health Survey of 17,000 employees across 19 industries in the U.S. The survey also found that the healthiest workplace industries are healthcare, financial Services and nonprofits, while the most unhealthy industries are manufacturing, retail and food and beverage.

The Workplace Health Survey findings also show that “only 21 percent of respondents felt that they were paid what they deserved, while 44 percent of respondents felt that skilled employees were not given recognition. Additionally, only 36 percent and 34 percent of respondents felt that they could rely on supervisor and colleague support, respectively.”

This perceived lack of support and recognition in the workplace, the report’s executive summary notes, contribute to higher levels of workplace stress and isolation, and are strongly correlated with job dissatisfaction. Survey respondents also reported high rates of absenteeism (33 percent) and work-family (81 percent), as well as increased mental health and behavioral problems (63 percent).”

The good news from the report, says Carmine Gallo, a contributor at Forbes who posted on the study’s results, is that “if leaders want to keep employees happy and loyal, there is a ‘low-cost’ option that ‘makes a significant impact.’ The ‘option’ is called praise. You’ve heard of it, but are you implementing it?”

According to the study, Gallo says, “Staff recognition and praise matters more than compensation, indicating that improving managements’ skills and ability to provide verbal and written support is more meaningful than increasing salaries . . . employees want to feel valued.”

Gallo goes on to cite behavioral economist Dan Ariely’s book, Payoff, in which the author “reveals the results of experiments which find that money matters far less to employees than either they or their bosses think.”

“When we are acknowledged for our work, we are willing to work harder for less pay, and when we are not acknowledged, we lose much of our motivation,” writes Ariely. “Acknowledgement is a kind of human magic—a small human connection, a gift from one person to another that translates into a much larger, more meaningful outcome.”

Compensation is not the same as appreciation, Gallo concludes.

“Appreciation is an emotion, a feeling that your boss values your contribution. Those leaders who actively engage people’s positive emotions have companies that score better on almost all metrics: financial performance, employee engagement, retention and recruiting.”

Women’s Workplace Engagement Gap

Despite the fact that workplace gender equality is getting the media attention it deserves, women continue to be less than enthused about their current work situations when compared to their male co-workers.

According to a recent survey from Mercer Sirota, female employees are significantly less satisfied and engaged with their organizations compared to their male counterparts. Measuring employee happiness based on three factors — achievement, camaraderie and equity – Mercer Sirota found that 43 percent of women are satisfied with their organization in matching pay based on performance, while slightly more than half of men (51 percent) are satisfied with their pay based on performance.

(Mercer Sirota is the result of Mercer’s December 2016 acquisition of Sirota Consulting LLC, a global provider of organizational assessments, surveys, technology and analytics.)

The Mercer Sirota research surfaced three major areas with significant gaps for women in the workplace: fair and transparent pay, defined career paths, and inclusive work environments. The survey also found that keeping employees engaged not only leads to long-term employment, but also growth within an organization.  Women have a focus on longer term career and collaboration not seen in men, according to Megan Connolly, senior associate with Mercer Sirota, which is something employers need to realize.

“Although the drivers of engagement and satisfaction may vary from company to company, our research clearly illustrates that fair and transparent pay, defined career paths, and inclusive working environments are the key to engaging women employees,” Connelly says.

Other findings found trust to be the key factor in terms of sharing ideas and innovations. For example, one in four female employees is apprehensive to report an ethical concern without fear of repercussions, which creates mistrust between employees and employer.

“Understanding the unique needs of women and taking proactive steps to create more fulfilling work experiences may be the key to solving the puzzle that continues to confound organizations, which is how to increase performance through gender parity,” says Pete Foley, principal at Mercer Sirota.

Adopting Freelance Platforms

As freelancers account for a greater portion of large enterprises’ workforce, human resources executives are adopting new technologies to streamline sourcing and paying gig workers.

Chief among those tools are cloud-based platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com that help identify independent contractors with skills and experience that match up to requirements for short- or long-term projects.

Companies can use the same platforms to handle onboarding and paperwork, set up project milestones, and pay people once work is completed and approved, according to speakers at a Thursday session titled, “Leveraging the Freelance Marketplace to Harness a Global Talent Pool,” at the HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas.

In the United States, 55 million people do some kind of freelance, gig or project-based work either full time or as a side hustle. Forecasts show half the country’s workforce will work independently by 2020, said Eric Gilpin, Upwork’s senior vice president of enterprise sales. “A lot of people do this as choice,” Gilpin said.

Freelancers know their skills are in demand, and they like being able to work from anywhere. Their biggest problem is finding clients, “and platforms like Upwork can help them market their skills.”

At the same time the freelance workers’ ranks are growing, large enterprises are looking to be more agile and bring on talent on an as-needed basis. Freelance platforms have been more than happy to play the role of digital matchmaker.

For most of the 31 years Rich Postler has worked at Procter & Gamble, the only approach he took to adding talent was hiring employees. But changing times call for changing methods. When P&G initiated a culture change to innovate faster, Postler, the company’s vice president of HR, global shared services and global information technology, launched a pilot to “borrow” talent only as long as it was needed.

Postler started working with Upwork and several other freelance platforms 18 months ago as part of that initiative. P&G continued to tap ad agencies and other third-party vendors for large, multi-million-dollar projects. But as part of a pilot project, the company gave departments permission to funnel smaller work to freelancers who’d been vetted and approved through platforms like Upwork.

The payoff was almost immediate. Using platforms to find freelancers cut the time it took to source talent for a project from 90 days to 4.2, Postler said. Not only that, in the first full fiscal year of the pilot, quality of the work rose 33 percent, and costs dropped 60 percent, he said.

Postler gives partial credit for such successes to creating a multi-functional team with people from HR, legal, labor relations and procurement to run the pilot and develop processes and controls around how the company uses freelancers and platforms. Bringing on freelance platforms won’t work, though, unless they are part of a larger strategic plan, and have executive-level sponsorship, he said.

Freelance platforms originally launched to support small businesses, but have been adding larger enterprises as organizations transfer responsibility for managing contingent workers from procurement to HR, Gilpin said. “It’s still 80 percent small and medium business, but also very relevant to large organizations,” he said.

Michelle V. Rafter is a Portland, Ore., business reporter covering workplace issues and technology. To see her tweets from #HRTechConf follow @MichelleRafter.

 

Bersin: Massive Disruption for HR

Companies are living in a paradox right now: Brilliant new technology is flooding the workplace and changing business models, and yet, employee productivity and engagement levels are going down in the U.S. and around the world, said Josh Bersin during his closing keynote at this year’s HR Tech Conference.

“Within the last two years, 90 percent of companies have said their business models are under disruption by technology and the problem isn’t the technology—it’s the people,” said Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte. Employees lack the skills to use the technology properly and companies can’t find the people who do, he said.

A big part of the problem, said Bersin, is “the overwhelmed employee.” “One of the most popular pieces my team has ever written is about this phenomenon,” he said. “Technology is doing things to us. It not only affects our productivity but our personal lives as well.”

Employees are being bombarded by emails and texts, at all hours of the day in some cases, and are suffering from FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” said Bersin. They’re stressed over which message to respond to first. All of this is undermining productivity and engagement. The solution, he said, is to find ways to help employees be more productive in the face of this constant change. But how?

The structure of work must be changed, said Bersin. The most cutting-edge companies, like Amazon and Cisco, are doing away with hierarchy and replacing it with teams. At Cisco alone, he said, 20,000 different teams are working on a variety of projects. What’s notable, he pointed out, was that none of this was reflected in the company’s HR database. HR departments—and the vendors that serve them—aren’t adapting their services and tools to support organizations that will increasingly resemble a network of teams.

“This really concerns me,” said Bersin.

Automation is also remaking the nature of work, with Deloitte research showing that 38 percent of companies expect to be fully automated within five years, he said. Seventy-seven percent of companies anticipate that automation will result in “better jobs,” while only 20 percent expect it will result in job reductions. More than 50 percent of companies plan to retrain their employees to work side by side with robots and artificial intelligence. The problem, he said, is that in 65 percent of those companies, HR is not involved in these efforts at all.

“My message is this: You guys have to be involved in the recrafting of work around automation,” Bersin told his audience.

The HR tech vendor community has plenty of tools to offer in this and other areas, with money pouring into the sector from venture capital funds, he said. “HR tech is now a hot marketplace—since 2014, VCs have invested $5.5 billion in HR tech start-ups.”

Meanwhile, more established vendors are investing heavily in making their core HR products more appealing to end users, with ease of use a primary objective. “We used to rate HR software on the number of features it had,” said Bersin. Now, he said, it’s judged based on how quickly employees can master it to become more productive.

The hottest area of investor interest is talent acquisition, said Bersin, with new funding and innovation making it “an incredibly dynamic space,” spurred by record-low unemployment rates that have led to “an arms race among employers to arm themselves with data and create a wonderful employee experience.”

Video interviewing is seeing some of the biggest strides in innovation, he said, with vendors like HireVue creating tools that “can capture a million data elements from one 15-minute interview.”

These tools can analyze candidates’ “micro-expressions” to determine, for example, whether they’re unsure about their answers to questions and assess their micro-expressions against those of the company’s top-performing employees, said Bersin.

Another area that’s seeing lots of disruption is performance management, with “continuous assessment” replacing the annual year-end reviews that Bersin jokingly referred to as “drive-by shootings.”

“I’ve been through around 46 of those myself, and out of all of them, maybe one was a pleasant experience,” he said.

A number of vendors are building tools for continuous assessment, coming at it from “a number of different directions, and the question of how to select the right one is going to be an ongoing challenge for you,” Bersin told the audience. The good news is that continuous assessment—although it can initially feel disruptive to employees—typically leads to increased engagement, he said.

Learning is another sector of HR tech that’s become a hotbed of innovation. “I’m heartened to see that after a period of stagnation, there’s a lot going on, especially in the areas of micro-learning and continuous learning,” said Bersin.

He predicted that the market for employee well-being tools and services “will explode,” noting that “well being” has been steadily trending upward as a Google search term since 2004.

“The idea of corporate well-being has been around for 200 years,” said Bersin. “But it was previously focused on things like safety and reducing insurance rates. Yet as we’ve become more overwhelmed as employees, we’ve changed the issue to be one about human performance—as in, help us learn how to be healthy and well and productive at work.”

“There could be an entire HR tech conference just on well-being—that’s how huge it is,” he said.

From people analytics to performance management, HR technology is being brought to bear on the employee experience, said Bersin: Giving employees the tools and knowledge they need to be productive and well in a period of sustained change.

“The bottom line is, HR tech is reinventing itself,” he said.

Start-ups Make Their Case

Human resources departments know they need to innovate. They know they need to make more workforce decisions based on predictive analytics. In both cases, they also know change means swapping out old HR applications for new ones.

Despite all that, many large enterprises are risk averse, which makes them reluctant to work with start-ups offering the kind of technology that could meet their needs. It’s one reason HR is years behind sales, marketing, accounting and other corporate functions in adopting new technology platforms, according to fast-growth HR analytics and recruiting tech start-up founders speaking Wednesday at a session titled “Start-up Spotlight: What’s New and What’s Next in HR Technology” the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas.

“Selling into HR is bizarre,” said Shon Burton, chief executive at HiringSolved, a recruiting and sourcing data aggregator tool.

Being more compliance-heavy than other departments could have added to the reluctance to embrace new options, Burton said.

But things are starting to turn around, he said. “You’re hearing CEOs talk about how they didn’t hit goals” and need to change up processes as a result, he said. “The need to innovate has outweighed the fear of new technology.”

Organizations are hungry for something new. But when HR buyers talk to a vendor, they want case studies, white papers and other formal sales collateral that start-ups might not have had the time, resources or longevity to create, said Elliott Garms, chief executive at Human Predictions, a recruiting analytics platform for the tech industry.

At most organizations with predominately white-collar workers, employees account for 60 percent to 70 percent of costs.

You’d expect those organizations to use technology to make their people practices more efficient, said Manish Goel, chief executive and co-founder at TrustSphere, a relationship analytics start-up. The hesitancy to work with relatively untried vendors could result from a lack of awareness of what’s out there, “and that lack of awareness is slowing down the rate of innovation,” Goel said.

Larger companies also have lagged behind in adopting new technology because of the logistical challenges that come with making changes that affect thousands or tens of thousands of people, said Kieran Snyder, chief executive and co-founder at Textio, an augmented writing service that screens employment marketing content for unintended biases that could turn off job seekers.

“But if your competitors are using competitive technology they will beat you for talent,” Snyder said.

If you’re ready to look at upgrades, Snyder suggested starting with well-defined pain points or targets you’re not hitting. “Pick one thing that’s important enough that it’s impeding the productivity of the team” to focus on, she said.

In the end, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the business problem you’re solving. “You have to deliver better outcomes, making things faster, better or more efficient,” Goel said.

Once you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new buy, be wary of vendors that can’t explain the measurable results you’ll get from using their service, start-up executives said. “The whole point of any of this tech is that it can make predictions,” Burton said. “If people aren’t willing to commit to you about the results you’ll see in your hiring pipeline, be skeptical.”

Michelle V. Rafter is a Portland, Ore., business reporter covering workplace issues and technology. To see her tweets from #HRTechConf follow @MichelleRafter.

Thinking Like an Economist

Google’s pioneering use of data more than a decade ago to improve how the company found, engaged and retained employees helped popularize people analytics for human resources.

But you don’t need to be a tech giant to incorporate analytics into your hiring and HR practices, according to workforce industry economists speaking at a session titled “The Real Economics of HR Technology: Using Big Data to Drive HR Decision Making” during the HR Tech Conference on Wednesday.

In fact, employers that aren’t using analytics to improve recruiting and other aspects of people management put themselves at a distinct disadvantage. A tight labor market that is intensifying competition for workers, technological innovation, the evolution of how work gets done and changing labor demographics make it imperative to plan for the future, and analytics are the best way to do that, economists said.

“CHROs have to think like economists,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of ADP’s Research Institute. Not just CHROs, but the entire C-suite should be using data to understand how best to allocate talent resources to optimize their workforce and increase margins, said Yildirmaz, who produces ADP’s monthly employment reports and other research.

Smaller employers might not have the budget to hire a data scientist. But they can use analytics built into existing payroll, applicant tracking or core HR management systems applications to test hypotheses about workforce practices to see if the data that results bear them out, said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, the jobs and employer review site.

In addition to internal analytics, economists urged HR teams to track macroeconomic trends and use benchmarking and publicly available data for decisions and planning. When Glassdoor recently investigated changing benefits for its own employees, the company looked up academic research on organizational psychology. Instead of simply changing offered benefits based purely on costs, “we looked at the psychology of what people really care about that would drive satisfaction,” Chamberlain said.

In particular, panelists suggested organizations use analytics to track employees’ skills and matching that data against external job growth forecasts to identify types of skills or positions they’ll need to develop in the future to fill any gaps. Using analytics to pinpoint people for internal training gives employees a chance to grow, costs less than hiring from the outside and could create new roles within HR, such as learning managers, said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS, a producer of talent-acquisition software.

Incorporating outside data sources into workforce analytics also makes it easier to show a hiring manager that a talent problem they’re dealing with isn’t specific to the company but a part of a larger trend, said Tara Sinclair, an associate professor of economics at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Indeed Hiring Lab. That, in turn, could help facilitate a discussion about aspects of the situation the hiring manager might be willing or able to change, she said.

Michelle V. Rafter is a Portland, Ore., business reporter covering workplace issues and technology. To see her tweets from #HRTechConf follow @MichelleRafter.