You May Be the Reason Your Employees are Job-Hunting

I know managers and leaders work hard. The number of important decisions that need to happen in a day are staggering. But I firmly believe that there are few decisions more important than those relating to your people (i.e. your talent).

It is your people who make the important connections with your customers, improve your processes, invent new services and do most everything the organization needs to thrive. What are you doing to ensure you are building a strong and supportive relationship with each? If you’re not making this a priority, the truth is that your top talent is likely job-hunting.

Stop and notice how you interact and treat your people. If you are doing any of the following, there is a good chance your best employees are job-hunting:

  • Not treating your employees as people, but instead as resources used to achieve your goals.
  • Forgetting to applaud exceptional work and instead only finding fault and highlighting shortcomings.
  • Losing your cool instead of managing your emotions.
  • Telling, controlling and directing instead of asking, guiding and coaching.
  • Not taking the time to know who your employees are – what they are good at, interested in and what matters to them – and using that information to build better and more authentic relationships with them.
  • Not providing supportive or corrective feedback in a way that helps your employees do more great things and improve and grow where and when needed.

The greatest resource an organization has is its people – their knowledge, passion, experience and commitment. It is a requirement of all leaders and managers to look in the mirror and assess what is working and not working in the way they connect with and activate their employees. If it is ineffective, they are likely encouraging their employees to leave.

Remember: people quit people before they quit companies. In a low unemployment workplace, organizations are poaching great talent from average companies. Managers and leaders who don’t build and sustain strong relationships with their employees become victims of poaching. 

Take Action
Spend time with three of your best employees. Get their fair assessment of the way you manage, lead, engage, activate and inspire them. Don’t refute their comments; simply appreciate the feedback and improve what needs improving. Without this exercise done periodically throughout the year, you will find yourself spending your time hiring their replacements.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Get The People Thing Right for Your Business

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3 Ways A Coach Can Help You Succeed

We all have a lot on our plates. Work, life, relationships – the responsibilities never end. Even on good days, our responsibilities can leave us with little time to think, plan or achieve beyond the bare minimum. We get stopped by challenges and obstacles. We get overwhelmed by commitments. We get blindsided by the unplanned or inconvenient. And every night, we fall into bed wondering what happened, and how did we get here.

Does this sound like you?

Life comes at you fast. That isn’t going to change – in fact, it will likely get faster. What can change, however, is how you get ready to be in this game of life – to live it like it matters, to achieve your goals and live to your potential.

The good news is you have an ally in this game to help you implement this change: a professional coach.

Working with a coach gives you access to getting clear on what you want most in life. Through a guided, thought-provoking conversation, you start to better understand yourself – your strengths, passions, liabilities and triggers – and understand how to overcome any obstacles that may be stopping you from getting whatever it is you’ve identified as what you want most in life. Whether it’s a small goal or navigating a big life change, whether it’s something at work or in life, a coach can help you get clear and stay focused on what you really want. But the really big differentiator of hiring a coach is that they hold you accountable to your actions so you can reach your goals.

Working with a Forte Factor coach takes this a step further by giving you access to the only tools you’ll ever need to navigate real life: awareness and confidence. Forte Factor coaches are trained to help you discover, develop and live your potential by expanding your self-knowledge, self-belief and self-confidence. These help you become more aware of yourself, your world and how to connect the two for your greatest impact.

So what does this really mean? And what does this look like?

Here are three ways a coach can help you succeed:

  1. A coach helps you see things clearly.
    • Develop your awareness and self-awareness to more accurately see and understand your world and yourself, and more wisely connect them to achieve your goals.
    • Identify and focus on what’s important and meaningful to you personally and professionally.
    • Clearly define and state what you want (your goals) and honestly review your current performance (what’s working and not working) so you can build a practical plan to close the gap between the two.
    • See and understand your strengths and talents to know what to lead with to achieve your goals.
    • See and understand your challenges, triggers and blind spots that get in your way from achieving your goals so you can manage them.
    • See the limits you impose on yourself to empower you to move past them.
  2. A coach encourages expansive thinking.
    • Imagine and see what is possible instead of just what is.
    • Discuss potential and possibilities instead of doing enough to get by.
    • Understand limits you impose on yourself and what life and work without limits could look like.
  3. A coach holds you accountable.
    • Create meaningful and realistic performance expectations and the commitments needed to achieve the expectations.
    • Create clear performance metrics and measurements to assess progress and performance that come from knowing you well.
    • Communicates candidly, clearly and directly about achieving defined expectations.

Life is difficult. There is so much coming at you from every direction that it is easy to get overwhelmed, distracted or to even feel like giving up. By working with a coach, you can get the guidance to keep things in perspective, learn how to be confident in a noisy and distracting world and achieve the things that really matter to you.

Take Action
Start a conversation with a Forte Factor coach to learn how our coaching approach can help you develop greater awareness of you, your goals and your current situation, and guide you to moving yourself to the areas that will make work and life successful for you.

Read our case studies and client testimonials.

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How to Get the People Thing Right for Your Business

We all want to work in a place where every employee feels appreciated and valued. Where employee education is encouraged. Where high-performing employees are the norm. Yet for many, it seems more a fantasy than reality. Why is getting the people thing right so elusive? Because we are stuck in old unproductive habits about employees and we are not using some important lessons from other parts of the business.  

Let’s first focus on customers. You can’t get it wrong for a customer – their loyalty is important to your business success. To ensure you don’t get it wrong for your customers, you have to get it right for your employees.

There are three, non-negotiable areas every organization has to get right before you can add the something extra: hiring, workplace culture and management.

Hiring – Bring in the right people. Get your approach to hiring right by having a process that focuses on consistently hiring people who are capable and successful doing what the job requires. This shows in how you define what the job does and the attributes of someone who can do it well. This shows in building a non-conventional sourcing strategy that includes both actively searching for talent and to become an employer of choice so the best find you. This shows in changing how you interview so your interviews are prove-it-to-me events, ensuring you are clear of the candidate’s strengths and liabilities. Updating your approach to defining, sourcing and interviewing is key to bringing in the right people. They can’t perform well if they are in roles that do not connect with their abilities and interests, or if it doesn’t help them develop their potential.

Workplace culture – A workplace that values, develops and engages. Get it right by providing a workplace that takes the well-hired employees and engages and empowers them to learn, grow, own their performance, contribute and make an impact. This can include ensuring:

  • Employees have the tools and resources needed to do their jobs well.
  • Employees are clear of their performance expectations. 
  • Employees receive recurring performance feedback that focuses on applauding good performance and improving areas of challenging performance.
  • Employees are routinely involved in skill and career development.
  • The workplace is accepting, supportive and collaborative (psychologically safe) by refusing to accept cliques, gossip, mocking, ridicule or put-downs.

Management – Have managers who think and act like coaches by guiding, supporting and encouraging instead of directing, controlling and telling. Get it right by training your managers to think and act like coaches who know how to build strong, supportive and development-focused relationships with employees. Help your managers develop greater emotional intelligence (greater self-awareness and self-management) to prepare them to create and sustain stronger and more effective relationships. This extra attention and effort managers make in their relationships is a driver of greater employee engagement and retention.

Make it your purpose to hire wisely, build an employee-focused workplace culture and train your managers to build better working relationships by helping them shift from managing to coaching. People – your people – will continue to be the greatest workplace challenge until you learn how to get it right. And until you get it right for your people, you are also challenging your ability to get it right for your customers.

Make getting the people thing right your key focus in 2020 because as your people go, so do your customers. And, as your customers go, so goes your business.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Leave you (and What to Do About It)

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How Much Money Did I Make?

Most of us are in business to make a difference in something that matters. It may be making a difference in the health, life or happiness of another. It may be making relationships stronger, driving safer or even making the planet healthier. We do the work because it makes a difference.

At the same time, we are also in business for the money. We use the business to help support a lifestyle that matters to us. That means that we have to know our numbers – what creates them and how to use them to make wise decisions.

There are a few ways looking at the numbers can help us be better at business. The Income Statement, for example, allows you to organize the numbers to serve as a scorecard. This helps you literally visualize how your business is doing; the numbers are the financial representation of the quality of your decisions. You can use your Income Statement, when it is laid out wisely and the numbers in it are accurate, to get it to tell you a lot about your businesses – sometimes things you can’t see.

Numbers are critical to business success.

Business coaching is not just about hiring wisely or managing dysfunctional teams. A big part of what I do with my clients is to help them better understand the Income Statement to access its value and its power. As a previous financial executive, I help organizations see potential from their numbers. Here is what I share:

  1. Learn the structure and flow of the Income Statement and align it to your business. Your business should dictate the way you create and manage your Income Statement. It should include income and expense captions that are both meaningful to the business and able to be used to understand the business. Follow the basic format of your industry. For example:

    Net Sales – Cost of Sales = Gross Profit
    Gross Profit – Selling and Operating Expenses = Operating Income
    Operating income – Interest and Taxes = Net Income

    Using this basic layout will help you clearly identify the income and expense captions that belong in each area. Pro tip: once you set it up, keep it consistent from period to period. This will help you have Income Statements that you can compare year to year because the components in each caption are the same.
  2. Ensure your numbers are accurate by creating and supporting consistent operational policies and procedures. Numbers that are inaccurate or numbers that are put in one account one month and in a different account in another month make the numbers meaningless. Accuracy is critical. Create procedures to record expenses, bill customers, give credits, pay invoices and issue payroll, among the other things a business does, then train your people how to do it accurately and well. Garbage (i.e. meaningless numbers) entered into the Income Statement leads to garbage out.
  3. Spend time with the numbers to get them to tell you their story. Numbers aren’t just a scorecard; they are also a storyteller. Your numbers, when you use them and review them can help you assess whether you pay too much for product, labor, services, insurance and even subcontractors. Your numbers can tell you how much you have to bill to cover your expenses and what amount of sales dollars each employee brings in. The options to dig into the numbers to get them to expand what you know about how you are doing are limited only by your creativity. Get in the habit of reviewing your numbers for what they tell and don’t tell you.

By creating a process to record your income and expenses in a way that is accurate and meaningful encourages better understanding of the decisions you made that generate the results. Train all of your employees to be effective at using numbers and understanding and managing how they impact your Income Statement. They can’t improve what they don’t know, so get good at sharing the meaningful income and expense captions on the Income Statement.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Pay or Purpose – What Really Activates Employee Performance?

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Great Job Candidates Won’t Wait

The best job candidates won’t wait for your slow hiring process. Sure, it makes sense for your hiring process to be thorough and methodical. After all, you are adding talent to your organization and talent is key to your ability to drive performance and achieve goals.

However, today’s fast-paced world demands that your hiring process be both effective and efficient; it must move quickly because the best talent rarely stays available for long.

Here are 4 steps to increase the speed of your hiring process without sacrificing the quality of your new hires.

  1. Build a performance profile on every role in the organization. A performance profile clearly defines the tasks and expectations of the role, as well as the attributes required to do the role well (talents, skills, education, experience). Having the performance profiles completed means you’ll always be ready to source talent for an open role and be clear about what is required to be successful in the role. In short, you will know what the role does and who fits.
  2. Create the interview structure for each job. Using the performance profile as your starting point, define the attributes you want and need to assess to determine a candidate’s fit for the role in your organization. Build an interview using segments, where each segment defines what will be assessed, by whom and for how long. In the segments that use questions, create the questions to ask. In the interview segments that use activities, define the specific activity. Defining and preparing these in advance gives you the ability to quickly activate them when a strong candidate appears.
  3. Train the interview team. Yes, everyone is busy with their regular work, but your employees are key players in accurately assessing job candidates. Help your team understand the impact of hiring quality talent and train them how to do their specific part (i.e. segment) of the interview process. Pro tip: splitting up the interview segments encourages employee interviewers to make time when they are needed because one person or role is not leaned on too heavily. They have clear guidance in what to ask or do, and what specific attributes to be aware of or assess for. Dividing the interview into segments and limiting employee participation to a segment or two, encourages a faster (and more dynamic) response.  
  4. Share the hiring process with your candidate. Be up front and clear about your process and the components the candidate will participate in. Stay in constant touch with the candidate. Keep them informed of schedules. Value their time by keeping your interview to its scheduled time. Live to your word. Be sure your hiring process models your workplace culture in the way you connect and interact with the candidate. Document your full candidate hiring process and the time the hiring team will meet to share their comments about each candidate. Urgency and transparency matters.

The low unemployment rate has the workplace back in a war for talent. So, when a passive job candidate becomes an active job candidate, it is important that your hiring process isn’t the reason you lose good candidates. Remember, most great candidates are already interacting with other organizations.

Take Action
Commit to a sound and efficient process that lets you connect with candidates, efficiently gather information, and accurately assess abilities, respond to questions and make decisions quickly. Great people don’t wait. Be sure your hiring process is effective AND efficient to be responsive to today’s workplace.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Win in the War for Talent

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This article first appeared on Vistage’s Talent Strategies Network on January 21, 2020.

How to Help Your People Improve

There is a lot on your plate. What happens on a daily basis at home, combined with the ever-evolving experience at work, can be a lot to manage. Take a look at work, specifically. The general description “work” has become more complicated and complex; few days at work are the same as the day before.

So, how can you keep your employees engaged and performing at a high level? Through skill development. Having the best skills enables an employee to be more engaged, more efficient and more effective. In my experience, the best way to build education and learning into an already busy workday is through active learning.

Consider these three ways to bring active learning into each of your employees’ days.

  1. Create learning expectations. Add learning a skill, habit or other performance improvement idea to each employee’s weekly to-do list. Have a weekly check in on things done and things learned. This does two critical things. First, it creates valuable manager-employee relationship time and second, it draws attention to the urgency, need and importance of continual learning. This makes learning a cultural value.
  2. Create teachable moments. In every moment, there is always something to learn. Think and act as a coach who uses interactions to ask key questions to help others think, consider, reflect and respond. Consider questions like, “What is another way to handle this?” Or, “What did this situation tell you about your abilities, about our culture, about our customers, about working effectively with others, etc?” Or, “What could you do to make this better?” Stopping for a moment to draw attention to or focus on a situation can help everyone learn from the moment.
  3. Connect your people with internal mentors. Mentoring is the process of accelerating learning where a person with greater skills shares what they know with those who have lesser skills. Identify the skills the workplace needs and those on the team with these skills. Create the opportunity for a mentor to share what they know and feel is valuable and important. When done well and with intention, it leads to a wiser, more able and more connected team.

According to the Gallup Organization, today’s employees want to grow, learn and develop because they are aware that those with the best skills have the best opportunities. This benefits the organization because employees with great skills are more engaged which helps them be more efficient and effective. A true win for both employee and organization.

Take Action
Develop a cohesive active learning plan for each of your employees by defining their success and challenging skill areas. Be clear of the existing skills each employee can further develop, as well as the skills they each need help developing. Use this information to identify your skill mentors to make learning and performance improvement the responsibility of everyone in the organization. Not only does the organization become wiser, but employees build stronger performance relationships with each other.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Get Your Employees to Want to Do More

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3 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Leave you in 2019 (and What to Do About It)

Some of your best employees will leave you because you are not intentional about giving them a reason to stay.

Similar to the behaviors you follow to create a high-value relationship with customers to inspire their loyalty, you must also do the same for employees. This requires you to know what engages and retains your workforce, and to have a plan that routinely delivers it. Without this process in place, the organizations that make this effort will attract and poach your best employees.

Here are the three reasons why your best employees will leave you, and some thoughts on how to stop it from happening in 2019.

  1. You manage instead of coach your employees. Employees want a supportive, encouraging and guiding relationship with their managers. They want to feel valued, respected and included. Our industrial age trained managers to direct, tell and control – an outdated approach with today’s workers. To help employees choose to stay and perform at their best, help your managers learn how to think and act as coaches. The shift from managing to coaching is the single most important talent engagement initiative every organization should be focused on.
  2. You don’t make employee development a daily event. Employees know that in a fast-paced and constantly changing workplace, it is important to constantly develop the best skills. Organizations that provide continual (i.e. daily) performance feedback through coach-like relationships, as well as active on-the-job skill development, encourage their employees’ engagement and loyalty. Consider training managers to provide recurring performance feedback using the “what’s working, what’s not working” approach. On a daily basis, review an element of employee performance by assessing what worked and what didn’t work in the performance. Engage the employee to be more mindful in their performance, to consider ways to do more of what worked and to develop a plan to improve what didn’t work. This encourages adaptive learning and continual development, while also ensuring that all development is built both around technology and human connection.
  3. You don’t align the career path to the employee’s strengths and interests. Employees perform best in roles that need what they do and like best. So many organizations insist on moving employees through existing career paths that routinely take them from what was once a highly engaging role for an employee to one that can quickly become disengaging. This can be the result of a number of factors, but primarily it’s due to the fact that they lack the competence and abilities to excel in the role. Review your current career paths or advancement approach to ensure they, like when you hire, assess for employee alignment and fit, rather than just tenure with the organization. The goal in any career movement is to ensure the employee’s or candidate’s success. An assessment process must always exist to ensure alignment.

You must be intentional in creating a process to bring in the best talent, and once you have that talent, you must be intentional in developing a plan to keep it. Your organization, its culture and its focus on developing the relationship employees have with their managers all influence an employee’s interest in doing good work and choosing to come back each day.

Take Action
Stop and notice what works and doesn’t work in the way you engage, develop and retain your employees. Do more of what works and address what’s not working before your talent finds an organization that does all the right things to keep their best employees.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading High Disengagement Rates = Challenge and Opportunity

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