Top 5 Excuses heard from Hiring Managers

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1) There’s not enough talent out there

Based on what? Is data real time and accurate to create talent pools in key locations? If not, then how? By using Talent Intelligence, companies can dramatically accelerate the speed it takes to reach talent, which offers greater access to selections across the talent market. Talent Intelligence gives companies the ability to strategically plan ahead to mitigate risks, while allowing a seamless integration into an existing process. What if you knew ahead of time that the active candidate market only represented 5% of the market yet you had access to the other 95%?
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2) I don’t have enough people and time
This is probably true as small/midsize companies all over the world are experiencing or about to experience capacity constraints
• Executives and HR are consistently at 125% capacity
• Filling key positions is taking more than 8-12 weeks
• Mid-Level/Senior Executive turnover is at 15% over 18 months

At any of these inflection points, evidence suggests that organizations experience an impactful 38% drop in their ability to hire, which directly impacts their ability to grow.

3) The process is too slow
This is true, however the bottlenecks issues are shared equally between hiring managers and the recruitment team. This impacts the hiring results and at the same time, candidates are negatively impacted.

A recent whitepaper from Robert Walters suggests that the speed of the full hiring process (from application to offer stage) has a significant impact on a candidate’s experience. According to survey results, 78% of job seekers believe a full recruitment process (from application to offer stage) should take less than four weeks. By comparison, only 26% of hiring processes are actually this short in practise. At the same time, while only 1% of employees believe the recruitment process should take longer than three months, 24% take this long in practise.

If you recognise that your process is slow, break it down, measure each component, then fix the problem.

4) Our systems don’t give us the information we need   01202015c                                                             
All ATS’s (applicant tracking systems) are built the same way, but the vast majority of companies only use it as a database and not as a tool to create talent pools and build relationships with potential talent. Talent Pipelining allows for recruiting resources to be strategic and proactive. Investing in continuous engagement ensures that your company will maintain an ongoing pool of interested candidates ready and waiting for an open position. You have the tools, just change they way they are being used

5) Everything is urgent, so I have to be reactionary
This one is true, and you can change to a proactive process. To be proactive, it means planning a process and system to work towards solving future events. There are tools, talent, and methodologies that will help you fight today’s fires and be prepared to fight tomorrow’s fires with very little effort. Talent Intelligence and Talent Pipelining are a couple of tools that takes proactivity to a different level in hiring. Proactivity will be especially needed as we continue to encounter some of the global skills shortage that is trending today.

Start 2015 by taking away the excuses and to learn more, start a conversation with us here.

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Dedicated Talent Acquisition beats traditional HR, every time!

01122015aWhile dealing with hundreds of customers, clients, and partners over the last 20 years, I have seen many different approaches to how Talent Acquisition fits into Human Resources.  Some are integrated so closely, there is no separation between the two.  Others have a very distinct line between the two functions that will either work independently or typically with Talent Acquisition reporting to the Human Resources department.  Both can work and both have certain efficiencies depending on your internal resources.

I have spent years calling into Human Resource departments consulting with these individuals and teams about Talent Acquisition.  A consistent theme from HR professionals is that they are tasked with multiple assignments in any given day.  Every Human Resources person I have spoke with would say they “wear multiple hats all the time”.  The majority of these professionals will have a degree in Human Resources, certification(s) from SHRM or other various credentials.  One constant in their background is that Talent Acquisition is one piece of their training for Human Resources.  This is fine if you company is making 2-3 hires per year, however when growth hits for a company, having a Talent Acquisition expert becomes a necessity.  Whether you hire a full time recruiter or outsource to an outside organization you are investing in a specialist to find and hire the talent you must have to grow your business.

Having dedicated resource(s) for Talent Acquisition is no different than hiring a salesperson, marketing specialist, or accountant.  You wouldn’t ask your accountant to sell your 1021bproduct/service just like you wouldn’t ask your marketing person to do your accounting.  Why do we ask Human Resources to handle all of your Talent Acquisition?  Over a 2/3 of the Human Resource professionals I speak with don’t particularly like handling the recruiting responsibilities.  They prefer employee relations, policy/procedures for mitigating risks, talent development, training, cultural development, diversity, and talent management.  Talent Acquisition is usually at the bottom of the preference ladder.

PSo why is it critical to have a dedicated Talent Acquisition professional sourcing, connecting, convincing, and guiding candidates to and through your hiring process?  Here are a few more in addition to the points above:

  1. You need an expert in your market to understand what it takes to be competitive when hiring.
  2. Technologies for hiring change quickly and you need someone to stay out front of the changes to make your strategy competitive
  3. Your employment brand needs constant monitoring to measure the effectiveness

If your company is going to or is growing greater than 10%, you need a dedicated Talent Acquisition Expert.  If it’s too expensive to do internally due to not enough volume, and you don’t want to go to headhunters, there are hybrid models that can bring effective and seamless solutions.

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6 Things About talent Your CEO Wants to Know

Avancos Banner HomeCEOs are a unique group in that their patience for performance is thin, energy levels are high, and their key focus is on moving the needle for the coming year. They express cautious optimism and high anticipation to whether their teams will execute the plan and grow the business as expected.

Talent is critical to their company’s success, therefore CEOs will focus on whether the organization’s People Strategy is aligned with current and future business demand.

With this said, you will want to be prepared to answer some tough questions that will provide your leader comfort that their plan is safe from disaster.

  1. Do we have the right people (meaning skills, talents, cultural fit) in the right roles? What is your plan to add, move around, or move people out of the Talent Intelligenceorganization in order to hit our objectives?
  2. Where do our A players come from and how can we duplicate them at all levels?
  3. Who is leaving or left us and why? Who is at risk and why? What are we doing to retain our top people? (retention strategies around development, stay interviews, communication and feedback plans)
  4. Is our talent planning process effective in ensuring we are proactive and achieving high quality “just in time”?
  5. What is the talent pool look like for our most critical hires regarding compensation, benefits, career opportunity, reputation of our organization? And what can we do to be the most competitive with minimum viable investments?
  6. How will you better attract, source, screen, and assess great talent better in 2015 than last year? (use metrics and a clear plan)

12312013cCEOs are measured on moving needles, so if you want to help them move the needle in 2015, be prepared to provide the answers, data, and a plan that will help them execute the business strategy.  When you’ve accomplished this feat, then you’ve earned your right at the executive table….until next year!

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Looking to 2015.

As we close out 2014, we wanted to revisit our prognostications for the year.  This blog, "DITCH THE 2014 TREND ARTICLES; THERE IS ONLY ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW...", by Dave Hickman, was posted in December of 2013.  The premise still stands for 2015.  Ignore the trends and focus on how to access talent faster.  We've seen it with our clients.  They were able to grow their business this past year by accessing talent faster.  

3Guess what? It’s that time of year when everyone, including me (in the past), becomes a prognosticator for the next year promoting how much they know and think they know will happen. I’ve read at least seven articles in the last 10 days on “The Top” recruiting tends or challenges facing us in 2014, and almost all of them say the exact same thing as stated in 2013. Topics such as big data trends, mobile, referral program resurgence, ROI on recruitment and Social Media is nothing new. That’s right…..nothing is new.

We all know that competition will heat up in 2014 for STEM talent as global economies strengthen, Boomers move out of the workforce, and companies will slowly begin to 1release funds to hire needed staff. Why? Leaders feel a tad more confident on the economic/political fronts than during the last couple of quarters, and they need to deploy capital judiciously to appease their shareholders. Just as importantly, if they feel more confident, it makes sense that their competitors will feel the same and who wants to be left behind by their competitors? Because there are record amounts of cash on balance sheets and profits on P&L’s, the pressure builds to increase shareholder returns, and as confidence improves, so does hiring. And as hiring improves, it will drive even further competition for STEM talent on a massive global scale in 2015, -16, -17. Think I’m wrong? Take a look at what Google is doing to attract talent for the next 3-5 years. Even though they have one of the best employer value propositions in the world, they are still being proactive and planning for the future by creating innovative solutions to attract the best and brightest talent on planet Earth beyond 2014. Yes, they have a treasure trove of cash to achieve their goals; however there are many cost effective strategies to achieve good outcomes in anyone’s budget that will yield positive outcomes. So if your organization is not looking beyond 2014, then history and trends suggest you will be left behind in 2015, become reactionary, and (without going into the litany of reasons) will lose the game.

So instead of reading the overstated and recycled trends for 2014, let me save you some time and tell you the one thing that all of your Talent Acquisition activities should be focused on in order to meet these challenges.

Access talent faster

10152013cThat’s it. Find a way to access talent faster. Easy to say and hard to do. Because moving from ideas to action is the most difficult thing for most organizations. Talent already implies quality, then add faster access, and you will need: effective talent inputs through a robust sourcing engine, an efficient throughput process, actionable data that matters, social media strategy, talent pools that are in the queue and ready to use, supplier partnerships that don’t waste your time and think like you, metrics to measure and manage, continuous improvement feedback loops, and lastly, strategic oversight.

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3 Tools Everyone in Global Recruiting Should Use

12Based on my 10+ years of experience helping global companies grow into new markets, finding the right talent in new markets is a tremendous challenge for most companies.

Here in Scandinavia, recent surveys suggest that it is in fact a real problem such as in Sweden, 21% of companies that have tried international recruitment rated their experience as ”very bad” and  another 22% rated their experience as ”pretty bad”.  A lot of dissatified companies (43%) are still trying to figure out which recruitment strategy can be implemented and executed to hit the business growth needs.

So why the challenge you ask?

From what we’ve learned over the last 8 years during the transformation of global commerce, is recruitment strategy and planning is missing real-time and relevant information (or data) to support their assumptions.

Firstly, when choosing new markets, understanding the talent pool is critical to utilize the right sources to attract and find candidates. There are many unknowns, especially around what are the most effective recruitment channels, networks, tools, and just as importantly, what push/pull factors will attract or not attract talent in a very competitive market.

Finding this information helps determine the partners, process, and systems needed to reach your objectives.  Once the repeatablestrategy is in place, then put it in project plan and execute, adjusting along the way to find the highest effectivness. At the same time, some of the soft tools you will need is an effective approach with employment brand image, brand messaging, and position messaaging that would attract talent to your company AND to the role you need them for.  Taking cultural differences into consideration is part of the soft tools that need to be researched, recorded, and inbedded in your approach to attract talent.

From our experience, there are three main components that pave the way for a smoother and more efficient process:

1.)    Talent Intelligence: investing in getting to know the new market before deciding a course of action. Turning to peers, suppliers, interest groups, government data, or any other source that can bring insight into what the opportunities and bottlenecks are within a specific market. There are a multitude of stumbling blocks like different laws, etc..  And when companies can’t afford to make a mistake, they invest in a Talent Intelligence report before starting in order to gather the data fast and efficiently.

2.)    Market Insight: With the right technology and process, market data can be collected and structured throughout the entire process, including from the initial sourcing. This will provide the hiring authorities with data from day one until the project is completed, including information on why candidates are turning the role/company down, salary benchmarking, where the talent is located geographically and other relevant information. This will allow each stakeholder to adapt to the process, be proactive rather than reactive, and adjust to the market faster.

3.)    High Touch Communication Strategy: When information is collected and awareness increases, this should effectively be utilized by all stakeholders. From Talent Pipelining, sourcing, screening, assessing, interviewing and onboarding, YOUR EMPLOYMENT BRAND IS AT RISK if you don’t have clear messaging and a positive candidate experience.  Everyone including hiring managers should be coached and prepared prior to any contact with candidates.  If you can automate, great.  But make sure there is a sincere response to candidates in every conversation.

avancosIf you are part of the 43% of unhappy global recruitment companies out there struggling to gain a foothold, these three tools can be used to help you compete in more diversified and talent competitive market.   Proactive and insightful data will turn your challenge into a core strength for your organization, and opportunity to ensure a positive experience for your candidates, hiring managers, and company.

To find out how Avancos can help you address these issues, contact us today.

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Do you want to recruit bodies or acquire real Talent?

12072014aDecision Time:  Do you want to recruit bodies to fill positions or do you want to acquire talent to drive growth?

Depending on your mindset, the choice seems easy.  However, before you answer either way, take a look at “why” you would make the decision.

  1. Recruitment - is a linear process, where you source candidates for the existing vacancies currently available. This approach is reactive in its nature, and typically leads to increased time-to-hire and cost-to-hire.At times organizations compromise on quality in order to manage cost and time.  It’s understandable because there is usually a lack of understanding and support for data, resources, and a comprehensive strategy to solve long term business and talent issues.   Without a proactive strategy, organizations settle with First In First Out strategy.  Meaning, the first candidates that fit a general profile are the first to be sent to the hiring manager.

    As a result, more unqualified candidates eat up the bandwidth of the company resources driving up costs, leaving less time fixing real issues and spending time with customers.   It is a vicious cycle that negatively impacts the business and how candidates view the organization.

  1. Talent Acquisitionis an ongoing cycle of processes that start by building an employer brand through communicating an Employee Value 10102014bProposition (EVP) and building an ongoing relationship with targeted talent pools. This approach leads to the development of talent pipelines eventually creating a sustainable talent supply chain.Talent Acquisition is geared towards advising business leaders on how they will achieve the anticipated growth demand and communicate a plan of action backed up by real time intelligence, knowledge and relationships.  Firms who look at hiring holistically and build processes to run this way are seeing a triple double benefit.  Meaning that they have double the access, double the speed and double the efficiency than their competitors.

    It is about having a true strategy and investment into solving short and long term Talent issues to advance the growth of the business.

3At Avancos, we have helped hundreds of firms change the way they view talent. Especially in the SMB/SME sector where growth is rapid and the right hires are absolutely fundamental to success.

Usually, when companies are growing rapidly, they are peddling hard and fast to keep up with demand.  What they tend to miss is the development of processes and systems in order to add people that will align with the increase business demand.   What we have found in partnering with SME’s is there is an inflection-point in the growth-curve that if not addressed, the growth trajectory will trend down instead of up in the future.

Making the decision on which type of company you want to be in how you hire solely depends on what type of organization you are trying to be in the future.
Think short term and hire bodies.  Think longer term and build a sustainable growing company.

Choose now as the world labor markets are heating up!

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Key learning points when building Talent Acquisition Teams

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When I was asked almost 10 months ago to help with our internal operations for delivery at Avancos, I was very excited for the new challenge of building a team around existing team members and developing a well oiled machine.  My goal was simple.  Find hungry, aggressive, and trainable people to join our team and serve our customers.  As simple as it sounds, there were some unexpected bumps that turned into key learning points that might be helpful as build your teams.

  1. Timing: Aligning supply with demand is a challenge that most take for granted.  Knowing when to hire and being able to hire are two diametrically opposed positions.  Balancing the timing aspect of hiring by maintaining a pipeline of interested candidates who could accept an offer within a 1-2 week window was extremely difficult.  This meant investing time to phone screen and have face to face interviews several weeks, and even months, prior to actually making an offer.  Continuous recruiting and pipelining takes time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it due to being proactive vs reactive for the rest of the business.  Part of being a leader in a company means that even though you constantly being pulled in multiple directions, you owe it to the company, your team, and yourself to dedicate the time to ensure future success.
  1. Assessing “hunger”: This is a key to hiring people in a commissioned role, especially with an “entry level” position.  Sometimes we need to hire people that don’t have 12022014bexperience, but have the energy and aptitude to work on a team focused on production through individual and collaborative efforts.   We do the regular interview process by measuring answers from competency questions, seeing if they are a cultural fit, and testing their skills.   However, I like to test their interest and motivation by observing the most basic, yet critical actions on whether they follow up in a timely manner.  For short term testing, it is as simple as asking them to take a day or two to absorb the information, then follow up with me to share their interest level in the position.  As for long term testing, we pipeline candidates for potential hires with start dates weeks, if not a month or so in the future.  As time passes, the candidates will be instructed to stay in touch or follow up, which we measure as a point of interest and motivation.
  1. Budget: Staying within a budget can also be a challenge when building a team within Talent Acquisition.  This is another reason that Talent Pipelining is valuable as 2/3 of the candidates I interview will fall outside of our budget plans at any time.  Thus investing the time and energy in interviewing becomes critical to keep qualified people and within budget close to you and your company.  Weekly interviewing is crucial to keep the pipeline full and increase your ability to make hires when the demand calls for it.

12022014cIn addition, there are many types of assessment tools that can be used to help determine a candidate ability to fit within an existing team and your company culture.  If you would like to know more, please reach out to Keith Shepherd at:  keith@avancos-global.com

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Is your Puzzle Missing a Piece?

A group of kids putting together a puzzleA successful business is not only made up of people, but of pieces.  These are pieces we all know and understand how they fit together and seamlessly integrate to complete the whole.  But what if you’re missing a piece?  Note that I said, “successful” business.  Ask any business owner what their most valuable asset is and the majority of the time they will say their people.

But is it really true?

When looking at the pieces, it’s pretty straightforward11242014bSales – pretty simple.  This is where we get new business.  Use a sales trainer that teaches and makes our sales organization better.  We forecast for the year, work the plan, always drive towards outcomes.

Marketing – gotta have this. They push our message out to the world to get leads, plus create and produce product messaging and brochures.  They’re constantly cleaning up our message and the marketing plan is key to our success!

IT – as a small business, it’s easier to outsource to a company that assures email is always working and whenever something breaks, they’re here within an hour to fix it.

Finance – an accountant keeps the books in line, does taxes, and we use an internal admin/bookkeeper to do daily transactions and AR/AP.  An outside part time CFO looks at the business strategically offering advice and ensuring we live by the budget.

Product/Service – this is the group that makes what we sell possible and deliverable.  They either make the item or provide the fodder for the service.  There is a complete strategy to how to roll out what we do to customers.  Planning, implementation Tiger teams, and speed to value are “must haves” as we constantly look at new iterations and ways to make it better.

Human Resources – hmmm… well.  I’ve seen many ways HR is utilized in a business.  Most commonly for SMBs/SMEs, there is someone who is making sure new hire paperwork is completed.  They step in after we do yearly reviews as they communicate the salary increases to our payroll provider.  Oh, and they own the employee handbook.  And when an employee has an issue, they are the go to person to follow a process.  For our benefits, they make sure everyone gets pointed in the right direction.  And they help with our internal training program on the product/service.  Lastly, when there is a role to be filled, they post the job and deal with the applicants.  Really anything having to do with the staff, they just handle.

Does this sound like your company?  There is a plan for everything that pertains to hard dollar returns, except for the majority of your people.  Human Resources is a full-time job.  Besides administrating benefits and payroll tasks, the key pieces where they give you the greatest ROI on your business is when they are looking at risk mitigation strategies with policies and procedures.  Improving performance and retention with strategies to address culture building, talent management, people development and “stay” interviews.  And lastly looking at how to attract the right talent into your company so you can prevent future service issues and people issues.

It all starts in bringing in the right staff.  The right people who will care enough to grow your business.   But when it comes to adding staff, you know that part that we say is so important, we just pawn it off and simply react to needs that are key to our company’s success.
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Talent Acquisition is a piece of the puzzle that most companies are lacking.  It deserves a plan.  It has a progression, a lifecycle.  I know, I know, you have a headhunter that always bails you out.  Sure, but at what cost?  And how invested are they in your success?  Do you hold them accountable for the long term success as you do your accountant or IT provider?  Of course you could go hire a recruiter. Sit them next to you and make sure they make a bunch of calls, but can you afford that?  The challenge is predicting when to make the investment to hire someone as new projects/business revenue has to be tied directly to the costs.  And if your business is like 90% of everyone else, then you will have a $60, 000 recruiter sitting for six months and busy during five months.

Here is what I recommend. Think of Talent Acquisition beginning when you first notice new role(s) will be needed to support your growth in the future.  When there is a talent plan in place and revisited on a regular basis, you now become PROACTIVE vs reactive.  Once the plan is in place then sourcing of talent, recruiting of talent, and interviewing of talent occurs.  What about having an interview process that is measurable, repeatable, scalable?  Does everyone know their role within the process?  What do you do with the hundreds of candidates that touched your brand that you didn’t hire?  Do you communicate with them on a regular basis?  How is your employment brand perceived by perspective candidates?  Is it good?  Is it bad?  Do you even know?  Who are your competitors for talent?  Not your competitors your competitors for talent.  Big difference!

If any of the above questions have given you pause, it may be something that you need to investigate.  As business owners we have a plan for everything.  We measure all of the input and output, but when it comes to what we are quick to call “our most valuable resource”, we just leave it to fate.

Avancos views Talent Acquisition just as an accountant would view a budget.  Or as your sales manager views the sales plan.  There is a method, process and system to make your company better.  And Talent Acquisition affects every single part of your organization.  It affects your customers, it affects your revenues, it affects your exit plan.  Think about it and see if you agree.  Then call us and let’s discuss.

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Ready. Set. GROW!

Growth?  Growth?!  Can it be true that we’re talking growth after six years of a challenging global economy?11182014a

In many parts of the world there is enough evidence indicating economies are moving forward and within the USA, we’ve blogged about signs of economic growth over the last 18 months.  As of October, job growth has averaged 222, 000 jobs per month over last 12 months.  And as most economists will agree, we will start to see pressure on wage growth and competition for talent which will add more economic growth and a war for talent.

That’s right.  Just a few years ago unemployment in the USA was over 7.5%.  Now we’re at 5.8% and trending downward fast.  The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) reported in October the second highest commitment of business owners/CEO’s to invest in their business over 3-6 months since early 2008.

When speaking to CEOs, we’re seeing their actions mirroring the data trends.  Companies are investing capital in infrastructure and people to take market share and grow.   It’s not a full robust growth as in 2004-2007, but it may be the beginning.

If you are on the verge of growing and believe or will be growing once the market picks up, you need to be thinking about how to handle a few challenges before targeting talent.

  1. What will the structure of my company look like in 18/36 months and what type of roles will we need to ensure we grow and cover our attrition?
  2. Am I really clear on what competencies, cultural fit, and a successful profile that can be measured when hiring?
  3. How will we compete locally, nationally, and globally for talent when there is a shortage of skills, boomers are retiring, and competition is fierce?
  4. How can we be proactive? Is Talent Pipelining the answer?

It’s impossible to answer all of these questions (and many more) in a 700 word blog, but you can prepare by focusing on three key components within your Talent Acquisition Strategy.

07072014cPeople:

Do you have the right people with the right competencies to find talent, market to talent, assess talent, treat candidates and internal customers properly through the process, and can run processes and systems like it is second nature?  Much like the uniqueness of an engineer, scientist, or sales person, the skills needed to be successful are complex and the person HAS to be agile in order to keep up with tools changing every 24 months and the pace of growth.  If they are not agile, you risk missing the needs of your customers which ultimately impacts revenue and profit. Decide if you have the talent to execute and get it done right, then make your move.

Process:

Process drives efficiencies in everything we do, especially Talent Acquisition.   They need to be defined from start to finish with repeatableclarity on who does what and by when.  Planning, job descriptions/success profiles, requisition build and approvals, sourcing, screening, assessing, interview process, and onboarding all need to have a defined process.   The processes should be so clear and defined that anyone can point to where you are in a Talent Acquisition Process.  And lastly, quality, quantity, and speed have to be measureable to drive accountability and the opportunity to improve the process.

Systems:

Systems are used primarily to speed up your process. There are too many to mention here, but any way you can automate administrative tasks with a system, your speed and efficiencies improve dramatically.

I heard a great quote the other day from a CEO of a fast growth, highly profitable company.  “Either you are growing or controlled.  You can’t be both.”

For those of you who are in leadership positions wanting to be ahead of the curve and win market share, the message rings true.

So….are you prepared for growth?

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GIVING BACK

11102014gbaA pop tab contains more aluminum than the entire can itself, which is why you see “Pop Tab” donations.

Avancos employee, Amanda Cloud, asked the office to save the pop tabs we accumulate from all of the soda that we drink.   Her Father, Randy S. Cloud, is a Shriner and donates them to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.  The money that they earn from recycling the pop tabs goes to the Shriners Hospitals for Children for research. Their mission is to:

  • Provide the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment.
  • Provide for the education of physicians and other healthcare professionals.
  • Conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and families.

Amanda’s Father traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio in the US to visit the new hospital wings that they were dedicating.
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We wanted to recognize Amanda for Thinking Globally, Acting Locally.  Avancos is proud to have employees that are always looking for ways to better the world we live in.  She challenges all of us to look for ways we can help and get involved.

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