Category Archives: Talent
Many of us understand that the job market is a tough, competitive one. In the pursuit for good talent, it’s necessary to stand out in order to attract solid candidates.
However, if you look closely at your hiring criteria, you may find that you’ve set too stringent a criteria for your search and restricting or excluding the people who may be the best match for your organization.
Look at your hiring and job descriptions then see if any of these key phrases appear:
- XX years of YY industry experience
- XX years of <specific> regional management preferred
- Knowledge of Excel, Powerpoint, Word
- Experience using ZZ system (usually a CRM, SaaS, other technical interfaces)
- XX years working for AA or BB company/or in AA or BB operations/systems
- Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s preferred
- Extensive contacts and network in the industry
Now at first glance these seem like necessary skills that a candidate needs to possess. But dive a little deeper and ask a few questions respectively:
- Industry experience – Can someone from an ancillary industry serve in the same capacity with the same impact?
- Regional management – Does someone who is highly effective managing a team of 5 qualify them for managing a team of 50?
- Excel, PPT, Word – Do these still matter today? Do these need to be mentioned?
- Using a system – can someone who is competent learn your system?
- Working for a specific company – Does this shows preference and bias to an internal candidate? Or, can someone learn internal operations quickly and still effect needed change?
- Degree required, preferred – If the right candidate emerges without this, will you disqualify them?
- Contacts in the industry – Does this “rainmaker” bring the right customers into the pipeline? Do you show a red flag for not generating leads or other internal warning signs?
The core question at the root of all of these is this:
Are you being too stringent in your own prejudices and hiring biases that you’re neglecting great talent?
I’ve worked with many companies and managers who let sharp talent slip past them because they carved out and restricted otherwise matching talent because they didn’t fit a certain pre-conceived mold.
In fact, I had one manager say she wasn’t going to hire a customer service person because there was a spelling error on her application!!
Yes, certain non-negotiable traits must be met. But how many do we place in our hiring process, and particular our ATS, that are kicked out because they aren’t – in what we and/or the ATS deem – the “right fit”.
Most hiring is like an iceberg. That top 10% is skill and the below the surface is the 90% behaviors that you can’t see at first. You only see the top 10% of what the person shows and neglect the 90% of who they are. And our hiring processes only are targeted for that 10% and leave the other 90% untouched. It’s that 90% that can tell you more accurately what a candidate brings to the table.
A former colleague of mine was refused an interview as he was told he didn’t have the needed experience. When they called him on the phone to inform him, he went down the job description and asked them line by line what the’re looking for, then matched it up with what his style and behaviors have accomplished. After each line, they admitted that he did have the relevant talent they were looking for. They scheduled an interview and he got the position after all.
Whether you’re looking at internal or external candidates, don’t restrict your chances to finding the right fit by narrowing your search. Have high standards, but open up the parameters to capture as many people as you can in the queue. Then you can use your standards to select the best from among them.
A recent workplace training study over the last year resulted in an astonishing fact:
Between 79-80% or workplaces spent less than $1000 in training on their employees
That’s a staggering amount and even more when you break it down further:
- Given a median hourly rate of $22, this equates to 45 hours of training
- 45 hours is just barley the first week of work for a full-time employee
- This is an annual figure, meaning onboarded staff from prior years barely get 1 hour of training and development a week
- Weekly, the average employee gets less than $20 of training spent on them to develop skills or increase productivity
It’s no wonder that lack of adequate training, development of skills, and creation of new challenges are a consistent metric that appears in most every survey of why employees leave.
Leaders and organizations can do better than this. So as to get our mental acuity focused into the realm of increasing training competency, here is a checklist of items you’ll want to consider in making your training programs effective to better develop your staff and organization.
- Onboarding with Clear Expectations.
- Onboarding with a Mentor, Big Sister/Brother
- Mini-boot camp (or training camp) training (any title will do)
- Yearly skills calibration
- Micro-learning accessibility
- Tailor training methods to meet employees needs, not company’s (or the trainer’s)
- Thread Culture, Values, Vision through every fabric of training (yes, the finance team too!!)
- Subject ALL staff, from hourly to C-level – to the exact same training modules and sessions
- Mix up remote digital training with in-person small groups
- Find each person’s needs and match to a training plan
- Train every day (athletes and orchestras do it!)
- Make training a bigger budget line item – it does ensure a solid ROI if done right
- Leadership must by in
- Training must be a culture, not a counter-culture
- Always work to improve content, engagement, and relevancy
- Ask trainees for feedback personally, not through a survey
- If you do ask for feedback through a survey (because some of you will), leave open ended comment boxes so employees aren’t penned into a few irrelevant answers that don’t allow them honest feedback
- Infuse fun and creativity
- Encourage training credit in extra-curricular training that augments and dovetails into the work (thru Lynda.com, local colleges, online sessions, etc)
- Reinforce continually to keep skills sharp throughout their career
- Have a monthly training focus throughout the entire organization to rally around a core value (customer service, safety, communication, integrity, etc)
- Combine learning styles for maximum impact and reach
- Include your hourly staff in teaching to build there skills and grow future teachers, trainers, subject matter experts, leaders
- Don’t make it boring – mix it up with breaks, change seat locations, content structure to avoid boredom and increase retention
These are just a few of the many ways great companies get proper training done. It’s easy – if you’re willing to make it happen. And it reaps benefits – if you execute it correctly.
If you have other methods of training that you’d like to include, please list them below!!
For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Jeffrey A. Fox is a management and executive consultant, and a great leadership author. I enjoy reading his books for a number of reasons, some of which are because he succinctly gets to the core point of what he’s saying. Each chapter is a precious nugget of richness, solid in truth and invaluable to those yearning to grow.
While not his latest book, “How To Be A Great Boss” is a read that I have thoroughly enjoyed every page of the way. One of the chapters hits the nail on the head about where your time should be spent among your people. It’s entitled “Spend 90% of Your Time With Your Best People”.
It seems that so much of leaders’ time that they spend on their staff is consumed with the so-called “high maintenance” employees. They are the ones that literally cost the company precious time and money due to their lack of performance, disruptive behavior, or both. A few years back I reported to a C-level executive who confided in me that 80% of their time was lost constantly on 20% of their “problem children”. While they didn’t know how to swing that around (and couldn’t see how they themselves had created this culture that they were drowning in), I used my personal experience to shed some light and help them understand what Jeffrey Fox layed out for the rest of us.
Years ago I knew a manager who was charged with creating a new department for an entertainment company. This department was an offshoot of an existing one, yet it was to run co-dependently at first then become self-sufficient within 60 days. It was an on-the-fly task that was literally dumped on him; part of his benefit package for being promoted.
The staff that he and his supervisory team were given were the employees that none of the other supervisors wanted to invest time in. They were deemed “unproductive” and by jettisoning them to this new area, they were relieved of any further obligation to work with these employees. So this manager had a staff of about 50 untrained and unmotivated employees to start a department with.
He immediately started to recognize three types of employees: those that worked hard no matter what, those that worked well but not always consistent, and those that were never motivated and failed to do the job at all. Unconsciously, he started investing the bulk of his time with the hard workers, as he needed them to anchor the day to day tasks. He then spend most of the rest of his time with the second group, realizing that they had potential but were never properly trained or shown they had value. He did spend time with the unmotivated group, mostly in corrective action, but never let them consume his valuable time.
Well, a peculiar trend started to happen in this manager’s new department. He noticed that the hard workers dug in and worked harder, and set a great attitude and pace for the entire team. He then saw that the middle group felt needed because they were given attention finally, and, seeing the first group energized, started to perform on a pace close to the hard workers. But what the manager saw in the unmotivated group literally shocked him. He noted that many of these workers, previously deemed problematic, started to perk up and step up their game. Their attitude and performance improved remarkably. When asked, they generally said that they had never been a part of such a team before, and didn’t want to be left out, or left behind. Granted, there were a few dissenters that needed to be groomed out, but the vast majority clicked with the team dynamic and their first year brought incredible sales success and profitability that they did not forecast they would attain for at least 3 years.
By focusing on your 90%, Fox states, you invest in the biggest return in your company. If you invested in those underperforming stocks, you would most certainly look for better returns in higher potential stocks. Why should it be any different with your staff? Invest where it counts, and you’ll be surprised at the results. And so will your team.