Posts tagged: cost-per-hire

Your Employees Are Not As Excited As You Think…

Some of your employees might not be as excited about working at your organization – or staying there – as you think despite all of the Ping-Pong tables, free beer and latte’s, shorter work weeks, pampering, corporate culture and loads of perks and benefits you’ve been showering on them. 

In my recent LinkedIn blog, I cited some disturbing stats from an October 2014 US Dept. of Labor study:

The Good News: there were 5.1 million new hires in Oct. 2014
The Bad News: there were 4.8 million total separations in Oct. 2014
The Really Bad News: there were only 1.9 un-employed persons per job in Oct. 2014, compared to 6.2 un-employed persons per job in June 2009

American employers are really busy recruiting and hiring a lot of people but they’re missing something big. A tremendous number of people are simply moving from job to job, looking for greener pastures. They are referred to as highly mobile which is a nicer way of saying dis-engaged. They lack commitment to their organization and their career. They’re thinking things like, “Just can’t wait to leave this stinkin’ job!” or “My next job is gonna be way better, by golly.” Of course it will be. For awhile.

Is it just me, or does this seem like a massive exercise in futility, like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? It might have been better to allocate resources towards avoiding icebergs instead of planning what songs the orchestra would play. Those passengers were expecting a cruise rather than a swim.

The statistics indicate that a significant number of your bubbly, enthusiastic new hires are not likely to remain in that state for long, nor to perform at peak levels, nor remain at your organization, without some fundamental changes.

The Good News: there’s a better, more cost effective, more reliable, simpler way to make sure that every employee you hire, develop or promote is the right person for the right job for all the right reasons.

Human analytics, performance modeling and predictive behavior assessments can help you determine – early in the recruiting process – if a candidate is able to perform the requirements of the job well; has the right work ethic; will fit in with the culture, team, co-workers or supervisor; is likely to stick with your organization and stay engaged and productive; is coachable or has potential as an effective leader, etc.

Of course, it is much easier to stick with the status quo, throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks, and just work the numbers, odds and percentages. Full steam ahead, and uncork the champagne! Some organizations have that built right into their budget and process. For them, it’s acceptable and ‘normal.’ These organizations refer to people as human resources, and have buildings full of human capital. They maintain headcount, and when one of their people leaves, they just need some backfill. Like dirt. Isn’t that heartwarming?

Their employees are really excited, right up until the day they leave. Some of those who leave are the very best, leaders, the top performers who have been making it happen and producing the results. They’ll really be missed.

That’s the upside to turnover, lack of engagement and low retention. You’re always meeting lots of new people. And there’s the Ping Pong, beer and latte’s, too.

They Are Your People – NOT ‘Human Resources’

About 50-60 years ago, after WWII, the term ‘Human Resources’ came into popular useSince that time, the term has become widespread and acceptable, part of our workplace lexicon.  Universities offer degree programs, and entire organizations are dedicated to professional certification and skill enhancement in this field.  It’s now an acronym, just 2 letters: HR.‘  

After half a century, the world has changed and it’s time for something new.  My goal in this blog is to radically change your thinking; to introduce you to an all-new approach to talent management and brand development - rather than the conventional Human Resources approach. 

The term ‘human resources’ was used to describe and classify a certain thing; an asset of corporations; like buildings, equipment and financial resources.  It could be quantified and moved around by the accountants, shown in the numbers on financial statements and described glowingly in annual reports to the stockholders.

In the 50′s and 60′s, two major influences drove American business: the Cold War and Harvard MBA-style thinking.   

Harvard MBA’s were taught to manage corporations by focusing primarily on the bottom line, producing profits with efficient operations and processes.    Human Resources was a process, a line item, a department with ‘personnel’ that managed ’head count.’  You acquire some, you use it for its intended purpose and you divest yourself of it when it is no longer useful or capable of producing profit.     

The Cold War spawned the creation of many horrible weapons, including the neutron bomb.   A neutron bomb is a type of nuclear weapon specifically designed not to produce a massive explosion and significant infrastructure damage, but rather to completely irradiate an area with neutron radiation, killing all living things while leaving the infrastructure relatively intact. Though a neutron bomb does cause infrastructure damage and some long term radiation (it is still a nuclear weapon after all), they are specifically designed so that ~48 hours after the device is detonated, friendly troops can move into an area and utilize the infrastructure without fear of radiation.  Thus, neutron bombs are generally seen more as a tactical nuclear weapon than a strategic one.

Maybe it’s just me…but I think that the combination of Harvard MBA-style thinking and ‘old school’ Human Resources has created some situations in corporate America that bear a few unfortunate similarities to the effects of a neutron bomb. 

  • For the last 30+ years or so, many organizations have implemented policies (via Human Resources) that have killed all living things while leaving the infrastructure relatively intact.   
  • Mergers and acquisitions, lay-offs, down-sizing, consolidation, off-shoring, job-sharing, risk management, benefits administration and ‘strategic HR initiatives’ have all been implemented to help organizations manage corporations by focusing primarily on the bottom line, producing profits with efficient operations and processes.  The survivors, when there are any, are often in very poor shape.  
  • Wall Street executes mergers and acquisitions followed by ‘strategic HR initiatives,’ so that ~48 hours after the device is detonated, friendly troops can move into an area and utilize the infrastructure.  Out with the old employees, in with the new.  The customers are going to love them.  We think.  At least we can show a profit.  This quarter.
  • The real net impact of this thinking has generally been seen by employees more as a tactical nuclear weapon than a strategic one.  It worked in the short-term, but in the long term, things are not better.  Some skirmishes may have been won, but the war is going rather poorly. 

The results of this worldview and behavior can be illustrated in one word: DETROIT. 

Employee tenure, loyalty and engagement is now at an all-time low (or practically non-existent).  Some organizations experience 50-75% annual turnover.  Terms like ‘shrinkage’ are used instead of what it describes: employees who are so dis-engaged from their job and employer that they steal from them.  From CEO to the front-line, employees move from company to company for a better paycheck and benefits. 

Here is a statistic that I find truly baffling.  The unemployment rate is around 7.5% – YET - almost every organization is having a hard time finding qualified candidates for open positions.  If that many people need work, why aren’t they working for the employers who want them?  Maybe a different way of thinking, an entirely different approach would produce far better results!      

The sad truth is that a lot of organizations, from small to large, have forgotten what HR actually stands for.  A significant % employees think it means something different than HR professionals and executives at most organizations think it means, or would like it to mean. 

This thing - which is far more difficult to define or classify than buildings, equipment and financial resources creates every brand impression and delivers all of the products and services of the organization to the marketplace.   This thing – at every touchpoint and interaction - with customers, clients, constituents, vendors, other employees, potential employees, stakeholders, investors, partners, the community and the marketplace in which the organization resides creates the brand that the public really understands and remembers.

This thing that I’ve been describing is YOUR PEOPLE.   They are not an asset like buildings, equipment and financial resources.  They are human beings, not human resources

Every employee, each individual person at your organization, comes to the workplace (whether physically or virtually); performs tasks; creates value; generates every idea; manufactures every widget; engineers every assembly and structure; maintains every system; oversees the management of every dollar (costs and revenues); sells every product and service; attends every meeting; and serves and supports every customer. 

I close with 4 recommendations/challenges for every executive, manager or owner:

  1. Your people are THE key differentiator in a marketplace full of identical competitors.
  2. A new approach is required for change to occur.  Conventional thinking will produce ’normal’ results.  
  3. Talent management is the missing ingredient in brand development. 
  4. The organization with the best talent (people) will tend to dominate its marketspace.

If you’re ready to implement a radical change in thinking at your organization, contact Brand+People today.     



Reduce Turnover and Improve Hiring Success – Here’s How…

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (4/19/2013 SHRM Bulletin), cost-per-hire in the Southwest Central region averages $2,829.  Annual turnover rates vary widely, but are in the 15-20% average range across all US industries.  Whatever the numbers are at your company, wouldn’t it be better to waste fewer dollars on turnover costs, and to be more effective at hiring the right person for the job every time?    

This article will provide you with specific ideas on how you can do it at your organization.

The Costs and Problems of Turnover

Let’s first look at the hard and soft costs of turnover. 

Hard costs are usually defined as recruiting and hiring; training and onboarding; salary and compensation; and other lost costs that can be quantified in terms of dollars spent on an employee who is hired and subsequently leaves your organization.  Hard costs are the simplest to quantify.

Soft costs are defined as: time spent by management trying to manage, discipline and motivate an employee who is hired and subsequently leaves your organization; the stress and headaches experienced by those who must manage the unsuccessful employee; lost employee or team productivity due to conflicts or underperformance issues; or lost customer opportunities or sales due to the non-performance of the employee who is hired and subsequently leaves your organization.  Soft costs are often hard to quantify, but still take a toll on the organization’s productivity and bottom line. 

Quantifying Cost – An Example

What does turnover really cost?  Let’s look at an example of a 100 employee company with 15% turnover, using modest numbers:

  • Average employee base salary of $40,000.
  • Annual benefits = 20% of base salary
  • Vacant position is ‘covered’ by temps or other employees for 30 days until it is replaced
  • Hiring manager base salary is $80,000.
  • Cost of online or print advertising / posting is $1000.
  • 8 hours are allocated for 1st and 2nd screening/hiring interviews
  • Cost of candidate screening assessments used is $500.
  • Cost of background checks is $150.
  • Training manager or related employee base salary is $45,000.
  • New employee receives 15 days of training during their first ~90 work-days of employment

This company’s annual hard cost of turnover is about $209,000.  That’s about $2,100. per employee.  Every year, this amount is deducted from the bottom line.  Remember, this company makes ZERO return on investment on these dollars.   

Given the spiraling costs of benefits, healthcare, etc., it makes sense to look at every area for cost savings.  This hole in the bucket can be plugged (and we’ll get to that later).

The Benefits of a Better Hiring Process

Now, let’s look at the benefits of improving the hiring success.  An effective hiring process is the key to solving many problems and getting personnel costs under control.  It can prevent many problems before they occur. 

An effective hiring process leads to a high performance and should be part of an overall talent management strategy for any organization.  It prevents the wrong people from being hired, and ensures that the right people are hired.  It attracts top talent, and leverages the employer’s brand and reputation in the marketplace and the industry in which it competes.        

A poor hiring process can lead to increased hard costs in recruiting and hiring, training and onboarding, salary and compensation, turnover, legal liability, absenteeism, employee benefits, customer service and quality issues and other costs which can be quantified in terms of dollars spent on a employee who is hired, performs poorly and then is terminated or leaves your organization.  Soft costs associated with poor hiring include poor morale, opportunity loss, discipline issues, decreased engagement levels, workplace conflicts, lost management productivity, etc. 

How To Solve The Problem

Here are 9 basic steps to reducing turnover and creating a better hiring process:

1. Define what you want by writing a good job description. 

Ask yourself, “What would it look like if someone did this job ‘just right?’”  Take some time to carefully define the important and critical aspects of the job, rather than just finding a person who might do some job well.  This way, you’ll hire the person who 1) is right for the job and 2) is excited about doing the exact job that you want done.  

And since many of the people you’ll be recruiting are ‘passive’ candidates (currently employed and not looking for a job), a clear and exciting job description may be the reason they’ll initially consider a new or better position than they currently have.  

2. Develop an interview worksheet specific to the position and insist that every interviewer uses it with every candidate.  

Passive candidates often don’t have a current or updated resume’, so you’ll have to gather accurate information about them some other way.  Here’s how.  Each person who interviews the candidate, whether by phone or in person, should ask the questions on the interview worksheet, taking note of the candidate’s answers.  Immediately following the interview, each interviewer should use a standard “grading system” to rate the individual’s performance in the interview.  This ensures that interviews are conducted in a thorough, professional manner and helps you capture more of the critical information that will be useful in making your hiring decision later (see step 7). 

3. Require all applicants to respond in a pre-determined manner.  

You want to hire people who really want to work at your organization, right?  The job description should include a pre-determined ‘How To Respond’ process.  Here’s why.  Your ideal candidate should 1) really want the job, 2) be qualified and 3) go through some effort to get the job.  So here is a simple test.  If a candidate will not be diligent or follow directions prior to being hired, they certainly won’t behave differently after they’ve become your employee.  IF – the candidate is qualified based on the position description and responds in the manner you’ve specified – proceed to Step 4 

4. Do a brief (20-30 min.) phone interview first.

If the position will involve working with customers or routinely communicating with others, do this before meeting for a personal face-to-face interview.  Jobs that deal with people require effective communication skills.  A phone interview will quickly determine if your candidate can communicate verbally, listen, build rapport, think on their feet and stay on track.  Unless personal appearance is a critical aspect of the job, it shouldn’t matter what a person looks like at this stage in the process.  

If the initial phone interview is satisfactory, then proceed to a personal interview where you can get to know your candidate better and assess job-specific skills, presentation skills, personal appearance/dress (as required or appropriate); and pick up on any irritating quirks, mannerisms or other things that were not observable on your phone interview. 

When communication is critical to the job, do not waste time conducting personal interviews with a person who can’t communicate well enough to pass a brief phone interview first.   

5. ‘Inspect what you expect’ by performing pre-hire assessments and checking the candidate’s background and references very early in the process. 

This can prevent many employee problems before they occur.  As a stated pre-condition of employment, get the applicant’s written permission to perform any necessary reference-checks (i.e.; criminal background, credit checks, drug-testing, etc.) and a pre-hire assessment.  Always perform these steps early in the process, rather than as part of the final interview or hiring process and never after making the candidate a job offer.  This simple step can eliminate ‘problem’ candidates, and some will voluntarily withdraw from the application process.   

A brief, inexpensive pre-hire assessment can provide you with useful information about the candidate’s attitudes regarding integrity, reliability, substance abuse and authority – which could contribute to problems later in their career.  This assessment will give you valuable insights and specific questions to ask the candidate during their personal interview.

6. Use quality assessment tools to determine the applicant’s suitability for the position. 

New assessment technology can help you determine a candidate’s ‘job-fit.’   You can accurately determine a candidate’s match with specific job requirements, occupational interests, personality and behavior traits; promptness, integrity, customer service and sales skills; cognitive abilities (math and verbal skills; learning style, etc.), work ethic, fit with the team or supervisor; and other potential risk factors or contributors to job success – prior to conducting the first personal interview. 

Specialized assessments can help determine a potential candidate’s suitability to technical positions, sales, customer service, marketing, executive, financial, leadership, supervisory and a variety of other careers and positions – prior to final consideration.  

A word of caution: never use a single assessment as your only basis for selecting candidates.  Instead, use appropriate, valid and reliable assessment tools as part of a good interview and selection process, as described here. 

7.  If a candidate interviews well, and has a close match to the position based on the assessment data, the candidate can advance further through the hiring process to the offer. 

Quality assessments will provide relevant interview questions based on the candidate’s match with the performance model (see Step 8) for the Hiring Manager who is not trained in interviewing.  Interviews are an important part of a hiring process, but are a notoriously poor method of determining a candidate’s actual job-fit  for a specific position.   

NOTE: Conduct multiple interviews (see steps 2 and 4 above) – using peers, team-members or other employees – in addition to the hiring manager or supervisor.  Every interviewer will gain valuable insights about a candidate, both positive and negative.  A good candidate should give clear, consistent answers in every interview.  When your ‘hiring team’ agrees on the candidate, proceed to step 9.  If not, see step 8.

8. Identify key critical positions within your organization for which there are either open positions or predicted growth and demand.  

Perform studies of the current top, middle and low performers in those positions in order to determine their specific differences.  This data can then be used to create ‘performance models’ in order to help you identify what specific characteristics are common to your top performers.  

9. When your performance models have been created, candidates should be assessed early in the recruiting/interview process. 

Accelerate the interview/hire process for those who match the performance model criteria and characteristics of your best performers.  Consider passing on those candidates who match the performance model criteria and characteristics of your low performers.    Our ultimate goal is to hire only the candidates who have attributes similar to your current top performers in each of your critical positions.       

The Potential Positive Impact On Your Bottom Line

Why assume that any % of turnover is acceptable?  The goal should always be to reduce it to the lowest level possible.  Our example company has 100 employees with 15% average annual turnover, costing $209,000. every year.  If we reduce this just 12% (by replacing only 11-12 employees per year, rather than the ‘normal’ 15) the results are dramatic:

  • By reducing turnover at this company by only 25% – they ADD $52,250. to the company’s bottom line.
  • For each employee the company hires right and retains in the future, the company saves $13,933. in recruiting, hiring and replacement costs, each subsequent year.  ($209,000. ÷ 15 = $13,933.)

 There are other benefits to reducing turnover and improving the hiring process.  By improving the hiring process and hiring only employees who match the performance model criteria and characteristics of current top performers in key positions, we will see an overall increase in per-employee productivity, each subsequent year.  Here are some striking numbers to consider:

  • Let’s assume that this company has revenues of $100,000 per employee, resulting in annual revenues of $10,000,000. 
  • Our target is an initial 5% increase in average per-employee productivity in the first year.
  • In the first year, company revenues increase to $10,500,000. (10,000,000 x 5% = $500,000.) without a single additional employee.
  • 3-4 employees in the previous year performed at sub-par levels and were replaced.  Each of those positions now are filled with employees who perform at levels similar to top performers.  Due to ‘natural turnover’ levels at this company, more positions will be filled by employees who perform at or near the level of the company’s current top performers – each subsequent year.
  • Since turnover was 15%, this means that 85% of the company’s employees delivered 100% of the company’s results prior to implementation of the new hiring process.  The actual per-employee revenue was $117,647.  ($10,000,000. ÷ 85 = $117,647.)  Note: some will point out a flaw in calculation here, but remember, employee turnover is a cost, and does not produce revenue.  Lost productivity and opportunity for under-performing employees also can never be recaptured.
  • If all 100 employees were performing at acceptable/goal levels of per-employee revenue of $117,647., annual company revenues would increase to $11,764,700. ($117,647. X 100 = $11,764,700.)

This dramatic increase in overall company productivity and revenues is achieved without a single additional employee.          

There Is A Cost To Inaction

By not taking action to reduce turnover and improve hiring processes, costs continue to pile up.   Productivity and sales revenues continue to be lost.  Turnover and management headaches continue  unabated.  And competitors have the opportunity to snatch your top talent away.

Remember how much time, money and productivity was wasted when you made that last hiring mistake?    Given the high costs and negative consequences of poor hiring like turnover and employee problems, it’s worth the time and effort to find the right person for the job.  Think about the impact that your best employees make on your organization’s bottom line and success.  Wouldn’t you like to find more people that look just like them?   Don’t settle for less. 

This article began by discussing the real costs of turnover.  It closes with the prospect of a return on investment by eliminating the problem, and improving your hiring process.  If you’d like some help, contact On Purpose Enterprises for a confidential discussion today.       

Hey Boss, YOU Set The Tone…

While completing a few assignments for clients, I’ve had the opportunity to see how the boss really treated his employees – and it wasn’t pretty.  

A recent incident caught my attention.   A very qualified candidate, a top performer, one who would have changed the entire fortunes of the company, also saw how that boss treated his employees: belittling them, criticizing them, yelling at them, showing them disrespect and subjecting them to indignity.  As a result, this candidate decided to look for another opportunity rather than accepting an offer from the company.

It’s been said that people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.  But some bosses are actually barriers to entry for many high-potential candidates.  They see that the person who is in control of the place is not someone who will help them be successful, show them respect or treat them with dignity. 

In many cases, the boss – not the employee – is a major cause of employee under-performance and turnover at the company.  The sad reality is that many executives, bosses, company owners and managers will look everywhere for the cause of employee turnover and under-performance  - except for the ONE place where they could find the answer: the mirror. 

In these organizations, everyone else is the problem.  

You usually hear them saying, “I can’t seem to find good people!”   These bosses complain about ‘lazy’, ‘un-motivated’ or ‘incompetent’ employees.  But not a single manager or employee will dare tell them that something is wrong, and that they could use a little help.  Not on your life.  THAT is a career-ending move and a quick route to the unemployment office. 

But isn’t it strange that in the very same market or very same city, another company seems to find and keep good people, and out-perform their competition?  There is a war for talent, and you may be losing it, whether you know it or not.  And the company with the best people wins.  Unless your company motto is “We’re #2!”, that’s not the best position to be in, is it? 

Admit it.  Does this ever happen at YOUR company?  Believe me, as an entrepreneur, I’ve made the same mistakes and I understand that it’s lonely at the top. 

So, how can YOU, THE BOSS, get some realistic feedback and coaching in order to help you become more effective at working with your people?

If you are sincerely interested in being more effective with your people, you need three things:

  • First, you need a way to look at yourself accurately, realistically and transparently – in a safe and positive environment.  Assessments are an excellent way to get a good look at yourself from a third-party perspective.  
  • Second, you need some time-proven recommendations and goals for changing your behavior, and an action plan for getting it done.  Lots of people are willing to tell you what you should do.  And most will be wrong.  The truth is that most people are just as ‘stuck’ as you are.  So, if you were lost, why would you ask another lost person for directions?   
  • Third, you need a coach or a mentor to help you change; one who will give you honest feedback and tell you the truth – even if it hurts a little – in order to help you.  Changing behavior can be really uncomfortable.  But remember, what is comfortable to you is not working.  If you’re the type of person who doesn’t take feedback well (re-read this blog if you’re still not sure), you’ll need a coach who can work with a person like you.   

So Boss, do I have your attention now?  Are you feeling burned out, under-appreciated, over-worked; and sick and tired of being sick and tired?   Then, why not try something else?  At OnPurpose Enterprises, we help you make the most of your most important asset: your people.  After all, didn’t you hire those people to help you?   

If you’re ready for some positive change around your organization, let’s begin WITH YOU.  Remember, Boss, YOU set the tone…        

The Real Bottom-Line Value of Mentors

Top performers want to work for organizations that will give them a little ‘extra.’  They want a guide in the organization, an experienced person who will help them excel in their position and navigate around the pitfalls that might cause them to fail in their career.  They want mentors.

So, why do your BEST employees – your top performers - stay with your organization?  Or more importantly, why would certain people – top performers – want to go to work at your company, and why would those same certain people continue to work at your organization for a long time?

In many organizations, mentoring is scoffed at as a waste of time.  They say, “With employee tenure at an all-time low, why go to the time and expense of developing a new employee?”   It’s a good question.  After all, why would you take a high value, productive, experienced employee away from productive work in order to mentor a new, unproven employee?  They’re just going to leave as soon as they’re fully trained, right?  Not so fast there, my old school management style friends.

In the 2011  SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey Report, the top 26 factors related to job satisfaction among American workers are listed.  Now, we ALL know the top factors, especially among young under-35 workers are pay and benefits, right?  Wrong.  The most important factors identified in the most recent survey were: 1) ‘job security’ and 2)  ’opportunities to use your skills and abilities in your work.’  But here’s the gold nugget.   Number 3 on the job satisfaction list:  Relationship with immediate supervisor. 

The takeaway: providing high potential employees with an opportunity to work with a mentor or manager who will give them the best possible opportunity to succeed is critically important for hiring and retaining top talent in this ultra-competitive market. 

But what about your current top performers?  Are you paying attention to the good people who are already making things happen for you?  Are they feelin’ the love? 

Study after study shows that people don’t leave companies; they leave bosses.  Most people have a horror story to tell about working for a jerk in some previous job.  A mis-match between a high potential employee and and their manager is a costly mistake just waiting to happen.  When a high potential employee walks away to join a competitor, the opportunity loss, recruiting and replacement cost and management headaches are great.  So, remind me again.  Why is it that we don’t manage our managers, expect high performance from them – and remove those who have unacceptable turnover rates?   

I apologize for using so many sports analogies, but please bear with me on this one.  Teams with lots of talented players tend to win, right?  However – if the coach is incompetent – that’s another story.  The best players poorly coached will not win games.  But, put talented, proven players with a brilliant, experienced coach and you have a winning combination.  Great coaches understand their players, they build personal chemistry with each one of them, and they help them play to their absolute peak performance.           

The lesson here is quite simple.  First, pick employees carefully.  Then, match the employee with the right manager.  Then, once the employee has proven themselves, provide them with a capable mentor to help them develop to their full potential.

By the way, only top performers who have proven themselves qualify for this ‘perk.’  It must be earned. 

In a recent article (Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Mentor Match) in, Gary Kranz described a mentoring program at Covance which employs about 10,000 people.  In order to receive mentoring, employees “must meet three main criteria: they must have worked at Covance for a specified period of time; achieved a ‘meets performance’ rating; and have a well-defined objective in mind.”    Kranz also says that, “Managers also must give their approval before an employee is able to participate.”  These are reasonable criteria for any organization to use.

At the beginning of this blog, I asked why your top performers stay with your organization.  My bet is that they stay with your organization for 3 reasons:

  1. They have a good relationship with their supervisor and don’t feel the need to look for another boss who will make them feel good about themselves
  2. They have a good ‘fit’ with their job and use their skills and abilities frequently in their work in a way that is significant to them, they like that, and as a result they are productive and feel engaged and committed
  3. They produce results, are low maintenance and you like having them around – which equals job security for everybody at your organization

Good mentors are just like good coaches.  They’ll build a winning team and a winning organization.  They’ll help your best people create extraordinary results.  They’ll make your organization more attractive to the best people.  They’ll duplicate themselves by modeling the kind of attitudes and behaviors you want in every employee.  And they’ll help you retain the best people – your top performers – longer. 

If you’d like some help in identifying your mentors or coaches, or in building a mentoring/coaching program at your organization, just give me a call.      


Could ALL Of Your Employees Be As Good As Your BEST Employees?

 No matter what product or service your organization provides, there’s another organization that provides an alternative, similar or identical product or service.   With the internet, customers have more control than ever over pricing and every other part of the vendor selection and purchasing process. 

Your people are the only real differentiator in this hyper-competitive marketplace. 

In this challenging economy, it’s tough to win market share.  And once you have it, it can be even tougher to keep it.  So, it’s always important to keep the right people ‘in front of the customer.   It’s critical in a competitive marketplace to make the best first impression possible, and then to deliver the best service possible – every time to every customer.  Most often, the person who is ‘in front of the customer’ is your salesperson or customer service rep. 

Now comes the real challenge.  Some of our people are really good at this customer stuff and some are…not so good.  And as most experienced managers know, some of your people should not be allowed anywhere near a customer

Suppose that you could hire only people who looked just like your best employees?  Suppose you didn’t need to make those costly hiring or employee placement mistakes anymore?    The ideal situation could be described as having employees who are all ‘assets’ instead of ‘average.’

Eventually all of your employees can look like your best employees.  Imagine the impact that would have on your organization: 

  • What would your annual sales, growth and profitability look like if every salesperson sold like your best salesperson?
  • What would your teams and productivity levels look like if every manager and supervisor was as effective as your most effective manager or supervisor?
  • What would your organization’s employee engagement level be if every employee was as happy and motivated as your most engaged and motivated employee? 
  • What would happen to your customer satisfaction rating if every one of your customer service reps was as effective as your best customer service rep?

You may be thinking, ‘We’ve tried everything and the law of averages always applies.  A certain percent of people we hire just don’t work out.  It’s part of doing business.’   The reality is that if you keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting the same results.  So, how about trying something different?

The real problem for most organizations occurs and can be solved in two areas: hiring and employee placement.  We must first question the ‘traditional process’ of hiring and employee placement that leads to several problems.

We recruit and hire people with the best of intentions, but some employees just don’t perform to expectations.  Some don’t work out at all, and they either leave voluntarily or they must be terminated.  No one hires people thinking that they won’t succeed on the job, right?  Hiring and turnover costs can be the biggest costs in some organizations.

When placing employees in jobs, hiring managers have good intentions and do their best to interview, select and make the right decisions.  But we have all made bad mistakes.  When that happens, we’ve taken a productive person out of a job, promoted them or put them in another job where they didn’t perform to expectations.  And we’ve all seen the disastrous results.  The person became bitter, de-motivated, negative and probably left the organization.  In this situation, no one wins and the costs are high.      

What you don’t know, the information you’re not getting with your current hiring or employee placement process is costing you money.  It eats away at your profits.  Accepting the status quo of the ‘traditional process’ is like a hole in the bottom a bucket.  You can 1) continue to work hard as you leak more and more water – or 2) you can plug the hole and become far more efficient.  . 

By using Profiles International’s highly advanced, valid and reliable assessment technology, we can perform a concurrent study of any group of your employees (sales, customer service, managers, supervisors, etc.) to assess the specific traits and characteristics of the best, most productive, high-performers (as well as the average and under-performers in the group).   Then, we’ll identify the specific differences between these 3 sub-groups.  Based upon that critical information, we’ll create a ‘performance model’ for you that can be used to identify people – before they are hired or placed in a position – who look just like your best people.

Now ask yourself two more questions:

  • What would your turnover and retention rate be if every employee was good at their job and loved what they do?
  • How much easier would your life be if you never hired – or had to terminate – another unproductive salesperson, employee or manager?

This is not rocket science, nor is it impossible or too expensive.  We’ve helped over 50,000 organizations, large and small, in 122 countries around the world.  We’d love the opportunity to help your organization, too.   Let’s talk!   

Law Firms Sue Companies For Discrimination – But Practice It Themselves

It’s always interesting to ‘see what’s behind the curtain’ in businesses.  Seems that law firms have a dirty little secret. 

For the last 10-20 years, many law firms have made a handsome living suing employers, large and small, for both real and perceived discrimination.  When a job candidate feels they were passed over in a hiring situation due to a diversity issue, or when an employee feels they have been wronged over a diversity issue – a lawyer is always available to save the day!  And the employer must pay, even to avoid a lawsuit.  Litigation is costly and bad for the reputation.  So, in most cases, the law firm will happily negotiate an out of court settlement.

But let the record show, your honor, that the very people who are busy litigating against American employers for discrimination are guilty of the same thing. 

The majority of law associates and attorneys “of counsel” who make partner at U.S.-based law firms are white men, despite the growing presence of women and minorities within the law firm population, according to Vault/Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Law Firm diversity data released Sept. 27, 2011.  White men continue to dominate the partnership ranks, representing more than 76 percent of partners and 79 percent of equity partners, according to Vault.

But don’t think your company is off the hook, just because the the legal industry is having a few issues.  They’ll still be looking for new and better ways to make your life difficult.  It’s what they do. 

But seriously, knowing how costly diversity and discrimination issues can be to your business, have you considered how your hiring and HR policies can be improved to avoid costly problems like this?  Do you really want to spend more time with lawyers discussing how to extricate yourself from employee problems?   

Consider: it is far easier to hire the right person for the job than it is to get rid of a problem employee who never should have been hired in the first place.  Many problems can be avoided in the hiring process – before they ever happen.  And it’s also easier to promote the right person into an open position, than it is to remove a person later for bad attitude, underperformance, incompetence – or your own failure to make a good decision about that employee’s future with your company.  No one wins in that situation.      

There is a better way.  Check out my resource ‘How To Hire Right – Every Time’  and call me for a free consultation if you need help finding and hiring great people who are just right – for your job, your team, your corporate culture and your customers.   

Why Some People LOVE Their Jobs!

Payscale,  a market leader in global online compensation data, conducted a survey in early 2011 asking workers how satisfied they were with their job, and compiled a list of the top 10 most popular jobs and what they pay.

Read more:

Since most recent studies indicate that about 1 out of every 2 people (this is a conservative estimate) are dissatisfied in their current career, I wondered if there might be a common thread or theme in the kind of jobs with which people expressed satisfaction.   
There is quite a bit of disparity in pay and working conditions between these jobs.  But two characteristics are common among all 10 jobs listed. 
The first is that these workers are routinely engaged in helping others.  Their focus is not on themselves, but on others.  Self-absorbed people are often very unhappy people.  If you find yourself hating your job, try focusing on helping someone around you – your co-workers, your customers, your boss, someone in your community.   Take time to notice people, to listen and to develop relationships.  The sun might just shine a little brighter tomorrow.
The second is that most of these workers solve problems and help to create real, positive outcomes.  The expectations and standards of performance in these career fields are fairly well-defined.  And their brains are engaged when they perform their jobs, which involve a certain level of challenge.  When positive results occur, the workers know it; they can see it; there is feedback.  When an organization fails to set clear expectations and standards of performance, workers seldom express a high level of job satisfaction or engagement.  On the other hand, if each person on the team knows what ‘just right’ looks like in their role, and how they contribute to shared objectives for a positive outcome, they feel engaged and satisfied – even at the end of a challenging day.
Here’s the gold nugget takeaway, friends.  MOST WORKERS WANT TO LOVE THEIR JOBS.  Think about it: people don’t go looking for a job they’re going to hate every day for the rest of their lives, right?  It takes very little effort and costs next to nothing to create these two situations for the employees in any organization.  You just have to be intentional about changing your situation, and taking the right actions. 
Unfortunately, many organizational leaders either discount or ignore these all-important factors as they wrestle with creating a more engaged and productive workforce.  Their results are consistent: turnover, conflicts, low levels of employee engagement, bad attitudes, financial under-performance, disciplinary issues, lack of teamwork and communication, customer complaints, quality issues…and the list goes.   
The principle here is simple.  The implementation can be more challenging.  If you need some help with creating a better corporate culture in your organization, you’re not alone.  Let’s talk.           

You Don’t Miss Your Water ‘Til The Well Runs Dry

If you’re a business owner or manager, this blog may cause you to lose some sleep tonight. 

In the last cycle of workforce reductions, only half of those who left companies were ‘underperformers.’  The other half were top performers who knew something was coming and left for better conditions or better jobs before the ax fell.  They’ve been successful elsewhere, have started their own companies and are probably still performing well for the same reasons they performed well at your organization.  And they aren’t coming back. 

Now the ‘survivors’ – your current top performers who have stuck with you during the tough times - are feeling over-worked, stressed out, underpaid and under-appreciated.  They’ve  carried extra loads, managed around barriers, skimped on expenses, produced more with less, begged for budgets and worked the hours that were required.  And they will be the first to go – when your competitors are hiring.  

Here’s the reality: many of your current top performers and key employees are just waiting for the right opportunity.  But there’s no ‘rule book’ that says they have to go somewhere else for opportunities, is there?     

A college football coach who won a national championship once shared his secret to success with me.  The simple formula: knowing his players personally, along with frequent 1-on-1 communication and lots of positive feedback.  He shared this little poem to illustrate his point:  ‘Do you love me, or do you not?  I know you told me, but I forgot.’ 

Whether the economy is booming or crashing, great people are hard to find.   Top talent always comes at a premium.  Your people are your most valuable asset in any competitive marketplace.  

Are your best people engaged and committed?  How do you know?  And what are you doing – NOW – to plan for their replacement if (or more likely, when) a few of them do leave for ‘greener pastures?’  After all, an ambitious, smart competitor can grab market share and hurt you – all at the same time – by poaching your top employees.  And when they do, they take your intellectual property, proprietary processes, specialized experience, customers and contacts, other key employees and a lot of other things that are difficult if not impossible for you to replace quickly.

Do I have your attention now?  Are you aware of the situation described above, but unsure about what to do?  There’s a better way.

By getting to know your employees, what motivates them and ‘makes them tick;’ by placing them in the right jobs based on their abilities, personalities and interests; by providing them with opportunities for growth and development; by compensating and recognizing your top performers for top performance; by truly understanding them and coaching them in ways that are meaningful, helpful and positive for them – you’ll keep your best people engaged and motivated. 

A wise man once said that the best time to replace the roof is when the sun is shining.  Look at your employee engagement levels.  Learn about your employees so that you won’t have to miss them when they go.  Create an employee development program to develop ‘bench strength’ for succession planning in all key positions.   

Here’s the happy ending: it’s far easier – and less costly – to keep your top performers stable, happy, committed and working at your company for the long run than it is to ‘crisis hire with your hair on fire’ while trying to control turnover costs in a competitive talent market. 

If you need some help, give me a call.  And let’s talk before the well runs dry.

Cost-Per-Hire Rises 57 Percent in 2010

The average cost of recruiting a new college graduate for a full-time position rose dramatically from 2009 to 2010, according to results of NACE’s 2010 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey.  

The average cost-per-hire for a Class of 2010 new hire was $8,947—up approximately 57 percent from $5,708 in 2009.   The difference in number of hires from 2009 to 2010 accounts for much of that increase, according to Ed Koc, NACE director of research. 

So, here’s my question – and a sidenote.  If you spend all that money just hiring these brilliant, energetic young people who are ready to conquer the world - what will you do to keep them engaged and committed to your company’s vision, mission and goals so that you can recover that investment?  If they lose interest and leave, turnover costs can wreak havoc on your bottom line.  Check out ‘The Powerful Act of Coaching Employees’ Whitepaper on my website for some suggestions. 

Another interesting insight from this study: while many firms invested heavily in social media as a means of recruiting college students, it was among the least effective of all methods employed for recruiting.  What worked best?  Good old-fashioned job fairs, with face to face contact, real people meeting real people.  The lesson here: when the world zigs, you should zag.  Like I’ve been telling you, people make all the difference.   

The National Association of Colleges and Employers2010 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey was conducted June 15 through August 15, 2010; 268 employer members, or 31 percent, took part.


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Brand Development by Garrison Everest