What You Don’t Know About Your Employees is Impacting Your Team’s Performance

The outside world generally knows more about your employees than you do. And realistically, there’s little surprise here. There often isn’t time to just sit and talk with employees during the day about anything other than work-related items, and there seems to be a manager-employee divide where many won’t cross that line and friend/follow each other on social channels. Yet these social channels are where so much of this expanded employee information is so readily available, like individual skills, abilities, interests and work experience.

This is a big obstacle in inspiring and engaging employees to perform at their best. Think about it: as the world moves faster and faster and requires greater performance from your employees in ever-changing roles and environments, how do you know what skills training to provide and who would be a better fit in a different role?

Our answer: an inventory of abilities.

Generally, we develop a clear understanding of what success attributes new employees bring to their workplace on their first day as it relates to performing the role they are hired for. But this is only a snapshot of what they can bring to the table. Each employee is equipped with a more robust set of skills, experiences, interests and core abilities. When you add these to the robust abilities of your existing teams, you gain the information you need to more wisely align, develop and promote employees as your world and workplace continue to evolve.

To most effectively tap into these previously unknown strengths and skills, help each employee create an inventory of abilities. This is best done through activities and assessment tools to help employees articulate their strengths and liabilities, interests, values, communication styles, favorite and least favorite aspects of their role, behavioral triggers and blind spots. When employees have a more complete understanding of their potential and their personal drivers, it helps managers see all they are capable of. Having an expanded awareness of who employees are also helps to see who they can become and how they may fit into a workplace that always needs new and different skills and abilities.

The inventory of abilities can help your organization inspire greater employee performance by greater understanding of each employee in three critical areas.

1. Alignment. Having a clear understanding of who an employee is, what they are capable of and what they are interested in doing helps improve role alignment. Employees who are well aligned to their roles feel more capable and competent which activates engagement; engagement is the driver of productivity, performance and retention. It is difficult to get A-level performance from someone who doesn’t have the ability or interest to do what the job requires.

2. Development. Upskilling or reskilling are new terms that are making their way around the workplace and refer to adding new skills or improving the skills employees have to accommodate the changes in both work and workplace. As required workplace skills and abilities change, do you know who on your team has the abilities to respond to the changes? Without this insight, you will only look to the outside talent pool to address performance needs instead of considering your existing and already familiar inside talent. This also adds time and additional resources to effectively onboard new talent, resources most organizations are already short on.

3. Advancement. Few organizations treat a promotion or advancement the way they do an initial job hire; it’s often not even considered to clearly define the expectations of the role and then assess a candidate’s behaviors, skills, education and experience as right for the role. Think about how many colleagues or employees you’ve known to be promoted even though they weren’t interested in or capable to perform what the next level required. By expanding what you know about each employee, you start to see the opportunities in employees that may not be on a linear trajectory but instead one that uses their abilities in a new and different way. For instance, an installer of a product may make a great customer service or project manager because they are intimate with the product, its applications and success attributes. Or a frontline employee may make a great company educator because of what they know and have experienced firsthand.

Each employee only brings a small portion of who they are to their current role. Help them expand what they know of themselves and learn alongside them so you can also better see who they can become as your work and workplaces changes.

Take Action
Information is power. Make a point of gathering more information about your employees from your employees; they come with greater abilities and skills that you currently know or use. Without this information, you will not be prepared to properly upskill and respond quickly and effectively as work and the workplace change.

And, contact us to learn about our Inventory of Abilities tool and approach that we use in all of our leadership, management and employee education.

By Jay Forte

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

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3 Ways to Help Your Team Start 2021 Strong and Focused

A new year is associated with so many good things. It’s a chance to start fresh. It’s a chance to try something new. It’s a chance to identify what could be better and create a plan to make it happen. And that’s what so many of us will be doing as we approach the countdown on December 31, ready to ring in 2021 with welcome arms.

After all, 2020 was certainly filled with some unique challenges. A variety of natural disasters, weather, a hostile election year and, to top it all off, COVID-19, which was not only a challenge in itself, but the ramifications it created sent many companies reeling.

So how can you inspire the fresh start feeling of a new year with your employees when 2021 will still reek of the challenges from 2020?

It’s actually pretty easy: relationships.

Relationships are the driver of employee engagement as employees want and need connection, support and guidance from their managers and their peers. If you could only focus on one thing in 2021, make it relationships.

So, as a new year welcomes you and your team to the workplace – in whatever way work is done – here are three relationship-focused things you can do to help your employees (and you) start your year off strong, focused and engaged.

1. Reconnect personally with your team. Make it a point to really get to know your employees. To effectively manage and coach your employees, it is important to know their strengths, interests and values. It is important to know what engages and disengages them about their jobs and the organization. It is critical to know how they best communicate and learn, and what are their most and least favorite aspects of their jobs.

Another element is to get to know them outside of work – what are their hobbies? How is their family? Is there anything they’re worried about? Are they struggling with anything? Is there anything you can do to help? Though some employees may prefer not to share too much personal information, the fact that you asked goes a long way, especially now when so many people may be grappling with challenges of COVID-19, like foreclosures, concern for high-risk family members or access to enough food, to name a few. Gather important information about each of your employees to understand them better and to know how to best connect with them and coach them. Employees want time with their managers – use this increased time to get to know them and to develop a plan to connect with them more effectively going forward.

Remember: people quit people before they quite companies.

2. Include your team in creating shared goals. Goals are important. They provide direction, clarity and focus. And by including employees in the creation of goals, or more specifically team goals, they feel more included, valued and part of the organization. They know you are interested in what they think. A workplace culture that asks employees for input not only benefits from greater employee loyalty, but also from expanded ideas that come from empowering and expecting employees to actively think throughout their days. An added bonus: those employees share their working experience with others, attracting other top talent and top performers to join your team (a huge benefit since networking will look drastically different as we all navigate the continued effects of COVID-19 on how we do business).

3. Commit to sharing more performance information. You want your employees to be more focused and engaged, but few feel that way when they work in the dark. They can’t connect their work to its impact or value with information about why they’re doing what they’re doing isn’t made clear. By improving your relationship with your employees, you create the space to have more candid and honest conversations about performance. Now, feedback is welcomed as it is delivered from a place of care, support and guidance, instead of reprimand. Invoive employees in creating their own performance expectations that help them amplify their strengths and connect with areas that interest and excite them. Again, these are things you don’t know if you have not first taken the time or made the effort to better understand each employee. An added bonus: employees take ownership of things that benefit them and the organization. They learn and grow and the organization improves.

A recap:

  1. Reconnect personally with your team: What is one thing you can do to connect more personally with each member of your team?
  2. Include your team in creating shared goals for 2021: How will you involve your team in the creation of shared goals?
  3. Commit to sharing more performance information: What information will you share in 2021 and how will you share it?

Take Action
As the New Year approaches, commit to enhancing the relationships with your employees. It really all comes down to communication – both listening and talking. Ask questions, be supportive, engage them in organizational goals and share performance feedback more regularly. Observe, ask, listen and guide. That is what employees want from you. And, in return, they work hard, bring their best performance and stay loyal to the organization.

Start the new year off strong. Make relationships your priority.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How To Keep Your Team Energized When Some Now Work Remotely

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The Coaching Manager is the Key to a Successful Workplace Recovery

Some of your employees may still be working from home. Some may be back on-site, full or part-time. This unusual workforce mix creates a challenge for most workplaces and managers: how do you manage a hybrid team that still provides a dynamic employee experience and activates employee engagement?

At the center of this unusual moment is the Coaching Manager. Managers and coaching managers both focus on getting things done, but how they get it done makes all the difference.

Conventional managers focus on results and tasks instead of on the person completing them. This disengages your people and misses out on their expanded ideas, contribution and loyalty.

Coaching Managers (also known as Workplace Coaches) focus on relationships as the means to amplify self-belief, abilities and confidence as the means to performance. This builds a sustainable rapport and connection with their people to be able to gather information about what they may be dealing with as it relates to COVID-19. This information is critical to improve the quality of management’s response.

Relationships done well inspire your people to respond, perform and stay. Relationships done poorly encourage your people to use their time to search out new employment opportunities with organizations that celebrate, care about and support their people.

Here are three things coaching managers do well that activate performance and retention:

1. They build trust. As a certified coach, I know I can’t make any progress with a client if I have not first created an environment of trust. I do this by taking the time to get to know the other person, listen generously, support caringly and keep information confidential. Coaches understand people as people – what matters to them, what they struggle with, what success is for them. They listen to what is meant, not just what is said. They remember important details. They ask powerful questions. They care openly. This level of understanding and interest encourages a trusting relationship. Trust facilitates communication.

2. They personalize the contact. Coaches use a variety of skills and tools to understand each person as a thinking, caring and feeling person, who, when helped to feel valuable and important for who they are, respond by bringing their best to what they do. Expressing interest in the lives of your people is critical, particularly at this moment when so much of their days may be spent in anxiety or worry. Knowing what each person is dealing with creates the ability to better decide how to help them deal with it. They want you to know their name, their current situation, their worries and challenges, their strengths and abilities. They want to know you care and are available. Seeing your people as the means to results instead of people dealing with a pandemic will alienate them and send them looking for an organization with managers who think and act like coaches.

3. They guide and support instead of direct and control. One of the ways to encourage self-esteem, confidence and a greater sense of contribution is to help employees own their solutions and performance. Guiding and supporting encourages employees to tap into and use their abilities which activates their self-belief. Directing and controlling limits the employee’s thinking as they only see their ability to perform a task, not to own it or improve it. At this moment, we all need help feeling important, having purpose and making a difference. These feelings counterbalance the challenging negative feelings brought on by the pandemic.

Coach your people to encourage their connection to value, purpose and contribution. Coach them to help them feel heard and respected. Address these and you help employees feel safe and important in their workplace.

Your best talent wants to feel heard, valued, important, supported and cared for. Who wouldn’t when so much of the world seems out of balance? By doing this in the workplace, you not only help your employees stay connected, but you help them see that they are resilient and strong enough to be successful at home and at work – even during a pandemic. Coach them to keep them.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Get the People Thing Right For Your Business

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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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You Know You’re a Great Leader When You Do These Things

In the industrial age, we prided our leaders on being direct, assertive and knowing all the answers. We needed them to be a strong central figure to help direct and orchestrate work, manage people and make things happen. When the workplace remained fairly static in what work was and how it was done, it was not only easier to accomplish, but also praised and, to an extent, appreciated.

But then the workplace changed. Much of the make-things economy moved offshore, leaving us with today’s provide-service workplace. Every employee has the opportunity to directly interact with customers. This, combined with the fact that few workplace situations are the same day-to-day, changes not only what we do for work, but also how we work and how we lead those who work.

As a result, today’s workplace needs a new type of leader, one who is a good listener but also able to take charge. One who earns respect and loyalty from their employees and still drives results. One who can admit to not knowing everything, or to admit when they’re wrong, and use the wisdom of others to make wise, sound decisions.

To be an effective leader in today’s workplace, four attributes are required:

1. Today’s best leaders are humble. They are aware that they don’t know everything and are firm believers in the mantra, “none of us is as smart as all of us.” They facilitate open discussions and dialog to gather information to be able to fully understand situations, aware that they are no longer expected to have all the answers. Instead, their role is to direct their employees in how to find, gather or create the information. They leave their ego at the door, allowing them to more confidently connect and interact with anyone in or out of the business. They are more interested in having things done well and done right than being the one to have the answer. They know their role is to facilitate the creation and implementation of the best ideas.

2. Today’s best leaders are curious. Great leaders are masters at asking questions. They are interested in knowing what others think, consider, do and want. They know that the responses provide meaningful information that will help them make wise and more successful decisions. They have trained themselves to stop telling and do more asking. This approach has a significant impact on those around them. Others feel engaged, encouraged and empowered to share, think and contribute.

3. Today’s best leaders care deeply about their people. They know that despite the critical role the performance numbers play, the way to achieve results is through their people. They build honest, authentic and caring relationships not just to get their people to do things, but because they truly care about everyone in their organization. It is obvious when a leader truly cares vs. cares to get a result. Caring leaders inspire employee loyalty.

4. Today’s best leaders commit to helping everyone grow, learn and improve. In a world that constantly changes, those with the best skills have the best ability to contribute and build sustainable careers. Today’s leaders have expectations of their people to constantly look at their work and lives and ask the question, “what could I do to make this better?” This focus on gradual and continual improvement helps their people discover, develop and live their potential, leading to more engaged and successful employees, and an improved organization.

Take Action
As the world and workplace changes, so do the attributes of effective leaders. Stay tuned in, focused and aware of the changes to modify your style to stay effective and relevant. Your people expect it. Your organization relies on it. Your customers depend on it.

Original article appeared on The Ladders, October 7, 2019.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Things Every Manager Can Do to Increase Employee Engagement

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The Frontline Drives the Bottom Line

The frontline drives the bottom line. Basically, your people are your profits. What do you do to ensure they are aligned, engaged and supported to bring their A-game to the moments of their work days?

During an average year, I speak to thousands of CEOs, mostly about talent, engagement, productivity and performance. I am surprised how many of the organizations are continuing to use outdated approaches with their talent. I find that many leaders continue to have the old mindset that anyone can do any job with the right training. It’s a holdback from our industrial age when, in a skill-based workplace, anyone could learn how to operate a machine.

But today, in our intellectual and service-based workplace, where workplace situations constantly change and require a present, focused and engaged employee, choosing employees wisely and supporting them intentionally is the key to a high-performing frontline.

For every employee to succeed, to feel capable and competent in a role, he or she must be aligned to a role that needs their strengths, abilities and interests. How engaged will your frontline be if they are not good at and interested in what the role does? What level of service will that provide? The lack of engagement due to misalignment will be reflected in employees’ productivity and performance, and in customers’ lack of loyalty.

Does your organization have a process to consistently and successfully hire good-fit employees? By good-fit, I mean employees who not only align to the tasks of the role, but also have the values, beliefs and mission of the organization.

But remember: your work isn’t done once you find that good-fit employee. Well hired employees still want and need to feel supported, valued and cared for. For this to happen, workplace managers need to act more like workplace coaches. Workplace coaches build relationships with their employees to encourage open and honest communication, develop accountability and clarify expectations. They ask, guide and support instead of tell, direct and control. Coaching managers increase the frequency of contact with their employees and use that increased contact to help employees develop skills and abilities. They host recurring feedback conversations with employees that share what’s working and not working in performance so it can be noticed and discussed to either amplify (what’s working) or improve (what’s not working).

Do your managers know how to think and act like coaches to improve the relationship and development of all frontline employees? Consider this: The Gallup Organization shares that the single most important initiative for all organizations is to train the managers how to think and act as coaches.

Take Action
Assess your hiring process. Does it focus on fit, alignment and abilities? What changes do you need to make? Then, assess your support process of your frontline. Does it train and encourage your managers to think and act as coaches to amplify frontline connection and engagement?

Your frontline drives the bottom line. Give it the attention it deserves.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Don’t Drag Your Feet When Hiring New Talent

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Stop and Notice Works Everywhere

In preparation for the arrival of baby #3, my husband and I have been doing some long overdue household purging. We’re getting rid of things we kept because, at some point in the past, we thought we might need it again. I’m realizing our house is too small for all this stuff AND to safely raise three boys. So, some things have to go.

In the process of going through old boxes, I came across an employee review form from when I was new to management. My scores were good, comments were generally strong and encouraging, but over five pages, there were two negative comments. And those not only stuck with me, but stuck out like a sore thumb as I was reading through the review again.

The two comments weren’t from senior management (read: my bosses) or even from two different people. The comments were from one person who didn’t like my management style.

Reading it years later elicited the same reaction I had the first time I saw it: some embarrassment that someone thought I wasn’t doing a good job. A bit of anger and defensiveness; I caught myself explaining why I had to be that way with this specific team member. And then I took a deep breath and stopped and noticed my reaction. Only then was I able to interrupt my habit of being defensive to instead think more clearly about what could have been done with this employee to make things better for both of us and, ultimately, the end result for our client.

I should have seen that this review gave me a new talking point when I connected with each of my team members. I could have used it as an opportunity to learn directly from them what I could be doing better to be the best manager I could be for them. I could have asked for more direct feedback from my senior management team about those two comments – specifically, what could I do differently in response to a negative comment from someone on my team.

So many questions ran through my head as I reviewed this old review. Once I got past all the negative self-talk about what didn’t work in my performance, I realized that it was partly because I was young and new at the role. This helped me create some guidance that I share with all young managers:

  • Embrace every bit of feedback – It’s not all going to be positive, and it won’t all be productive, but feedback is your opportunity to hear what someone else is saying is not working for them and try to figure out how it could be better. As you hear the feedback, notice what it tells you about what’s working and not working in your performance. Own what is yours to own – successes and challenges. Then consider how to use the information to make small gradual improvements.
  • Ask questions – As a coaching manager, ask more than tell to activate and inspire your teams. And since a big part of being a manager requires you to manage up as well as manage down, learning how to properly phrase questions to your boss(es) can actually engage them into a stronger relationship with you. Stop and notice how much of what you say is directing instead of questioning. Questions pull the other side into communication. Directing generally shuts communication down.
  • Be yourself – We’re all human, which means we’re all uniquely packaged with specific strengths, talents and liabilities that make us who we are. But depending on your specific situation, you sometimes need to manage your strengths. Remember: just because they are strengths doesn’t mean you should use them at full throttle all the time. An unmanaged strength can quickly become a performance liability. This specific team member found my attribute of being organized to be off-putting, calling me a micro-manager, yet others found it refreshing to know that we were always aware of exactly what each member of the team was responsible for. I needed to first understand why they didn’t like it, and then learn how to better work with them to encourage and inspire them in a way that worked best for them. Manage your abilities based on the needs of the situations you find yourself in.

For senior management, consider this when you have young managers:

  • Stop using performance reviews and instead have performance conversations – Help your managers develop greater skills in real time by having frequent performance conversations that review what’s working and not working with some aspect of the young manager. Period performance reviews are ineffective because they are too infrequent and too standard. Performance conversations happen in the moment, letting both parties take advantage of a performance success (that could be amplified) or performance challenge (that needs to be corrected). This creates both a strong manager relationship along with greater development opportunities, allowing the young manager to improve their skills, connection and retention.
  • Encourage dialogue – Encourage discussion and team comradery with you and your manager(s) and encourage them to create the same level of engagement with their team(s). You’re the role model for your young manager; they’re going to look to your behavior as what’s working and not working. Make sure you give them something they can replicate that will benefit everyone.

Take Action
When you feel yourself slipping into a negative reaction about something you’ve just experienced, allow yourself to recognize the emotions you’re feeling by stopping and noticing what’s happening in and around you. Then, take a deep breath and ask what you want to come from the situation and how you need to be or act to achieve this outcome.  With a clear end goal in mind, you can respond with intention to work toward that desired end goal, and often get there faster and more effectively.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Managers: How to Identify and Correct Your Blind Spots

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3 Ways to Get Your Employees to Want to do More

Sometimes it feels like you are in a tug-of-war with your employees – always tugging at them to do just a bit more, think a little more, create a little more or be a little more focused on a customer. You can see it, but they can’t, or don’t, or won’t.

Let’s look at why this is happening.

  1. There is a lack of alignment. How excited would you be to do more in your job if it doesn’t align to your strengths and interests? We choose our level of effort in our work, and much of this comes from how we feel about our work. The more confident and capable we are, the more interested we become. Hiring and developing employees into roles that align to their abilities, passions and interests encourages their productivity, contribution and performance. If employees are low on energy or off in their performance, where in the organization would they be a great or better fit? What needs to be in their days to help them feel capable and competent – and excited to do and be more?
  2. There is a lack of inclusion. How many of your employees do just what the job says, likely because you rarely ask them what they think, suggest and propose? One of the holdovers from our industrial age is the management mindset that managers tell and employees implement. Today’s thinking workplace needs the employee to be actively involved, included and thinking because they are the eyes and the ears of the business. They interact more significantly with customers and therefore have greater information and ideas about how to answer the question, “What could make us better?” To share this information, at least initially, employees need to be asked and invited to contribute – to be included. Regularly ask employees for their thoughts and ideas from every part of the organization. As they are invited to share, they see that doing and being more is encouraged, applauded and even rewarded.
  3. There is a lack of development. The workplace keeps changing which constantly requires new skills. For employees to do more, they need to have the best skills. This requires regular and recurring feedback and development. Again, how competent and confident would you feel if you don’t have the opportunity to continue to learn, grow and have the skills to contribute? Make education, learning and development a regular part of every employee’s workday or workweek. Empower employees to constantly use their new skills and assess the impact.

Most employees actually want to do and be more in their roles. They, however, are stopped by outdated and ineffective management or cultural practices.

Take Action
Stop and notice what you do that disengages your employees. Gather the information you need to shift to behaviors that are more effective and productive. Alignment, inclusion and development are key to raising your employees’ productivity.

And remember: an added benefit of an employee who wants to do more is that they may think twice before looking for the next opportunity.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Move Learning Off the Back Burner

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3 Ways to Help Your Team Start Strong and Focused in the New Year

A new year. The opportunity to see things as new, fresh and exciting. Is this the atmosphere you encourage in your work environment? Or will your employees come down off their holiday high and feel like they are back at the grind?

The more engaged employees are in their work and the workplace, the greater their productivity, performance and loyalty. Re-engaging employees in the new year is a great opportunity for management to make some important changes.

So, as a new year welcomes you and your team back to the workplace, here are three ways to start your year off strong, focused and engaged.

  1. Reconnect personally with your team. Make a point to get to know your employees in 2019. To effectively manage and coach your employees, it is important to know their strengths, interests and values. It is important to know what engages and disengages them about their jobs and the organization. It is critical to know how they best communicate and learn, and what their most and least favorite aspects of their jobs are. Gather important information about each of your employees to understand them better and to know how to best connect with them and coach them. Employees want time with their managers – use this increased time to get to know them and to develop a plan to connect with them more effectively going forward. People quit people before they quit companies. What is one thing you can do to more personally connect with each member of your team?
  2. Include your team in creating shared 2019 goals. Goals are important – they provide direction, clarity and focus. By including employees in the creation of goals, or more specifically team goals, they feel more included, valued and part of the organization. A culture that constantly asks employees for input not only benefits from greater employee loyalty, but also from expanded ideas that come from empowering and expecting employees to actively think throughout their days. How will you involve your team in the creation of shared goals?
  3. Commit to sharing more performance information. You want your employees to be more focused and engaged, but few feel that way when they work in the dark. They can’t connect their work to its impact or value. Work with employees to identify the key performance metrics that will help them asses their department’s performance and their individual progress and impact. Develop a performance dashboard by role or department to help employees see their personal or team impact/progress on shared goals, and to encourage discussion, dialog and conversation. What information will you share in 2019?

Every employee wants to add value and make a difference. Many times, we may unintentionally dissuade them from doing this by doing things that discount their value or disconnect them from their team or organization.

Take Action
As a new year approaches, commit to reconnect with them, get their input for shared goals and commit to sharing performance results. Not only will including employees generate new and great ideas for you, but they will feel more valued and appreciated for being included in the conversation. Start the new year off strong.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Move Learning Off the Back Burner

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Don’t Drag Your Feet When Hiring New Talent

By Jay Forte

When it comes to hiring, you can’t drag your feet. Good talent is in great demand, which means if you have a slow or complicated hiring process, you will likely lose the best talent.

According to a 2017 Glassdoor survey, the average length of the interview process is 23.8 days. Some organizations may think that pace is just fine since it gives them room to leisurely interview each candidate or to build the hiring process around busy schedules. Other organizations pride themselves on the slow and methodical approach to hiring. Both do not take into account the current demand for talent and the speed that today’s employees need to make decisions.

At its core, the real issue is creating an effective and successful hiring process that is also efficient. So, how do you do it? Follow these five steps:

  1. Clearly define the tasks of each role and the performance attributes (strengths, skills, experience and education) required to do these tasks well.
  2. Build a sourcing strategy for each role, including conventional and non-conventional sources to find the best talent. A sourcing strategy defines the conventional and unconventional ways you will find candidates who have the attributes you need in the role.
  3. Define your interview components. As more and more organizations are using the “prove it to me interview,” define the segments and activities that will be part of each role’s interview. For example, you may have four segments in a role’s interview with two segments for questions, and two segments for activities that allow the candidate to share and prove what they know about the role.
  4. Define your interview team and train them. Your interview team must be masters at either behavioral-based interviewing or assessing skill levels through the activity portion of an interview.
  5. Develop a clear, sound and efficient interview process from date of contact to date of decision.

Take a minute to notice two the most frequently used words in the previous list: define and develop. Being intentional about each part of this process is the key to making it effective and efficient.

With a clear process in place, consider creating a timeline and stick to it. Not only will implementing a timeline help keep the process moving forward, it also ensures candidates are kept updated on their status in your process. As you build out your timeline, consider the following:

  1. Introduce the interview process to the candidate in the opening communication. Help them know the timing, what your interview is like, how to prepare and how to be successful in your interviews.
  2. Develop and follow a schedule of regular and clear communications throughout the interview process. Let candidates know where they stand. Define key dates in the interview process, including actual interviews, follow up dates and the date a decision will be made.
  3. Once a decision is made, send out start dates, how to be successful in your first week, key things to know about the job or the organization and connect the new employee to another employee (i.e. a buddy) to help them feel connected from the start.
  4. Gather personal information about the new hire to be able to create a personalized onboarding experience. Share the date of onboarding and be sure everything is ready for the new employee on his/her first day.

Take Action
The opportunity to attract a candidate to your company, to share what the employee experience is all about, starts with the interview process. Make your hiring process clear and efficient, and be sure to share all of the critical information and dates up front. Nothing disengages a future potential employee more than an organization that is disorganized, unclear or too slow in its decision-making. Have an intentional plan so you never drag your feet when hiring new talent.

 

Consider reading People Are Like M&Ms

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