Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Effective Hiring’ Category

light bulb team

Creating a Team Building Culture

Last time, we reviewed the four things  you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

Now that you understand the individuals on the team and their leaders,  combine what you’ve learned and develop an understanding of how the team members will interact with each another.  This is when you bring them all together to assess the team dynamics.  A team workshop will help everyone see a big-picture perspective. Each employee brings unique skills, behaviors and interests to the work environment.  This process will allow everyone to understand how those qualities interact.

You will no doubt find that you’ll need to make adjustments. Clarity is easily achieved by having the results and data.  Adjustments to the current work environment become obvious and much simpler to make.  The way your team works together directly impacts on productivity and now that you have clear understanding of where strengths and weaknesses vary, managers can make intelligent adjustments to maximize efficiency.

Once a team is correctly assessed and adjusted, job satisfaction improves significantly!  This happens because with the right job fit and a well aligned team, employees feel fulfilled in their roles.  When all roles are understood and appreciated, employees feel engaged and work to their full potential.  Happy employees also encourage their peers and coworkers to achieve maximum productivity.  Better fit and better alignment creates higher engagement, better productivity and increased profits.  It is that connected!

Next time we will bring it all together when the culture of having strong teams really becomes a part of the fabric of your company’s DNA.  No longer a “flavor-of-the-month” management topic, an organization that genuinely values engagement will begin to see the fruits of their efforts through stronger branding, enhanced company identity, better retention and a leg up on the competition when recruiting.

In our final discussion, we will explore the attitudes that will keep this culture at the heart of an organization.

Read Full Post »

Image

Creating a Team Building Culture

 

Last time, we discussed “what not to do” when your mission is creating a culture that puts a high value on strong teams.  We identified the four things you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

We begin with employees, because they are the foundation of your strong teams.  First, make sure they are in the right jobs. The average employee wants more than just a paycheck from his employer, many want training and stimulation so they can develop and promote. You can provide this opportunity using predictive performance or job matching technology. This way, you can strategically invest in your people, fully developing them for the jobs they are in, and you can tailor specific training for career advancement.

Identify your target employees, those who fit well in their current job, are fully engaged in their current role, and whose performance exceeds expectations. This is the kind of employee who achieves goals and has the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, teams, departments, and divisions. The right assessments will tell you about employees’ cognitive skills, job-related behaviors and occupational interests. You’ll need the right data for identifying your stand-out, target employees and those employees who are doing a good job but may not yet have emerged as your rising stars.

Challenge your employees! Managers may be four times more engaged than frontline employees because they have additional responsibilities. Give your employees stretch goals and let them learn from their mistakes. This will enhance the level of employee engagement.  Get their feedback as you challenge them because what you learn from them can be extremely important in helping implement solutions. Try this approach: Encourage the employee to identify: What can be improved?  What do we need here?  What can be adjusted? What should we start or stop doing?

The actions of senior leadership, managers and supervisors are the key drivers of your employee engagement. This is critical because it needs to be a vital part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set.  Next time, we’ll learn the value of assessing your leaders to reveal how adept they are at engaging those on their teams.  We will show you how!

Read Full Post »

Key IdeaPosted on March 8, 2013

Synergy, now there’s a buzz word if there ever was one.  So what does it mean?  “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Everyone’s heard that expression. OK, but what does that really mean? Simply this, an effective team can accomplish more together than the individual members can accomplish on their own. Building a high-performing team culture requires more than just throwing a group of outstanding folks into a room and telling them they can’t come out until they have a solution. Maintaining a team culture that’s highly productive requires planning, communication and decision-making. Assess individual strengths and weaknesses, build support, establish the conditions for effectiveness, agree on your goals—and you’re on the road to building a championship team.

If instead, you lead with your emotions, shy away from hard decisions, cross your fingers and hope that the process will “work itself out”, or if you build a team made up of your personal favorites, then don’t be surprised if your outstanding individuals fail to become your dream team. We see it in sports all the time and it happens in businesses too, maybe even more often. Based on our experience with many of America’s Most Productive Companies, we’ve identified four things you must do create an effective Team Building Culture which will sustain your high-performing teams. In order to create a team-building culture you must do the following:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

Next time, we’ll explore ways that you can do just that and you might be surprised at the results and delighted to see what it does to the effectiveness of your team.

Betty Streff is a Human Capital Expert and Leadership Coach with Ellison Partners.  She facilitates the LEAP™ leadership acceleration program and helps ensure leaders have the employee data necessary to effectively and profitably manage their workforce.

©Ellison Partners 2013.

Read Full Post »

I believe there are those things in life that will always ‘work’.  I’m talking about the things you can count on like candy on Halloween or the smile on my kids’ face when they smell ‘Grandma’s’ homemade rolls coming out of the oven.  I know that if I eat less than I work off – I lose weight; if I spend less than I make – I save money.

In the business world we have things we can count on too…like the value of good customer service or a good employee. We know, in the end, both will make our company more profitable.  Ironically we spent a lot of time, energy and money on ensuring our customers remain loyal. Yet I hear many employers clamor for the secret to ensure their employees will remain loyal.

I do a lot of speaking engagements and have noticed recently it seems the topic everyone wants to discuss is employee engagement.  Last week I spoke on this very topic for a group of national CEO’s and Executives who were in town for a convention.  While I appreciate their kind words when they said my presentation was “…the best (they’d) ever heard on the topic of engagement.” it has me pondering why a concept so basic is so hard to do.  What IS the secret to, as the book Good to Great would say, ‘getting the right person in the right seat on the right bus’?

This morning, while enjoying one of the ‘old’ luxuries of life (reading the Sunday newspaper while leisurely drinking my coffee), I came across an article that every employer who is trying to ‘hire the right person for the right seat in the right bus’ should read.  The article was in the Omaha World Herald’s Marketplace Jobs section.  The writer had interviewed  experts on job hunting such as nationally certified resume writer, Rosa Elizabeth Vargas and other career coaches.   The experts advise coming  up with a specific proposal for what you would do in that position.  They called it the first 60-day plan and went on to say “As the first interview wraps up, be sure to ask the hiring manager what the ideal candidate looks like.  Listen attentively to the company’s needs and become the solution to any problems.”

What employer would NOT want a job candidate to lay out how they’d handle the first 60 days and how they’d be the solution to your problems?  Sounds great doesn’t it?   But think about what that candidate is about to ask you.  Do you KNOW the answer?

If you (who already works at your company) do not know what the ideal candidate needs to look like to be ‘the right person in the right seat on the right bus’ at your company, how on earth is a job candidate much less a new hire supposed to be that person…let alone be engaged, productive and successful?

In most cases, the way you prepare and interview a new candidate is exactly why you can’t hire the right person.

1.  You don’t worry about defining job needs you just know you need to hire someone.  You may or may not have a job description on hand. Who cares if its current or not and care less about what behaviors are needed to successfully DO the job.  You come up with a couple of skills that you think you need and you post the job.

2. You’re excited to have your first job candidates’ and you start randomly scheduling interviews. In some cases you are tempted to hire the first person you interview because you need someone – anyone. Then you decide it’s silly to hire your first applicant regardless if they are ‘the right person for the right seat on the right bus’.  Nobody hires the first applicant, right? So you keep interviewing until you are tired of interviewing then you pick one based on your gut feelings (which you tell yourself is right based on your experience).

3.  When your new hire starts you  tell them a bit about the mechanics of the job and encourage them to ‘get to work’. You don’t explain to them what optimal performance looks like in their new job or what behaviors they’ll need to exemplify to be engaged, productive and successful in the job. Three-to-six months later you are frustrated because you, in fact, did not hire the right person.

If you find yourself doing the above you might want to re-work your hiring process before the next candidate asks you that ‘ideal candidate’ question.

In business, there are tried and true things you can do to ensure your employees will be loyal, engaged and productive.  And like most ‘tried and true things’ it really is very simple.  Stop making your hiring process difficult and an exercise in futility; try DOING what Good to Great is telling you works:

1.  Define the job before you post the job aka ‘the right seat’.  This means taking a minute to determine what work needs to be done and look at whether or not your current ‘grouping’ of these tasks make sense.  Don’t create a job, for example, that involves detailed work and multi-tasking unless you intend to hire one skill set then watch your new hire fail on the other.  Most people have natural tendencies.  Creating a job that requires opposite tendencies in order for the job to be done well is just asking for failure.  If you find your job duties list require such opposites, consider reworking a couple of jobs until you have similar job duties grouped together.

Did you hire a sheep or a wolf?2.   Know who you are hiring:  screen out problem candidates and screen in candidates who have the ability to perform ‘optimally’ in the job aka ‘the right person’.  It’s not enough to know if your candidate has the skill to do the job, you must also know if their natural behaviors will fit your job at your company.  In this day and age of data, it’s silly to try to hire a candidate without first knowing if they have the work ethic and attitudes essential to becoming a successful employee at your company.  Secondly, it’s imperative to understand what optimal performance looks like in the job.  This is what is referred to as ‘Job Fit’.   Job Fit is the key to  hiring ‘the right person in the right seat on the right bus’.   Assess your current top performers to know what your new hire will need to look like in terms of successful behaviors; confirm this model by comparing it to those ‘passengers’ at your firm who aren’t engaged or producing to your satisfaction.

3. Coach your new hire to help them adjust to performing ‘optimally’ in the job aka ‘the right bus’.  Assessments provide a great way to understand how you can help your new hire perform at optimal levels.  Employees become engaged when their understand what success looks like in their job and they are able to work at an optimal level.  Using data to coach your employee towards optimal performance is a better way to achieve the ‘right person, right seat, right bus’ goal than using our gut instincts – even if they are good most of the time.

It sounds simple but it works and the research is undeniable.  Aberdeen Group found that companies using this hiring and on boarding process tended to have 22% more revenue per employee over those not using this process.  Harvard business Review, in a study of over 260,000 salespeople followed for 20 years, found Job Fit to be the key to sales growth.

Using these 3 steps in hiring will ensure your hiring process is as guaranteed to work as I’m guaranteed to have candy on Halloween.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments Ellison Partners helps businesses achieve results.

© Nikki Ellison, 2012.

Read Full Post »

I’ve noticed businesses are starting to hire again.  Slowly but surely.  In mere days, sooner than we will probably be ready for, we’ll begin to see the holiday car commercials on tv; the toy ads are already airing. Hiring salespeople has always been an interesting art.  Sales folks, even the ones bad at closing the deal, can usually make a good pitch last long enough to convince you to hire them.  Unfortunately that doesn’t mean you hired the Rock Start Sales Rep you thought you did.

As a matter of fact, 50% of businesses are dissatisfied with the new sales representatives they hire. Nearly 1 in 5 sales representatives will quit their jobs every year; 1 in 6 will get fired. 

Here are 3 ways to ensure your next sales hire will fail:

1. Hire most everyone, weed them out, and keep the good ones.  At the peak of the baby boomer generation, it seemed like no big deal to hire the wrong sales person. “Hire a group and let the cream of the crop rise to the top; we’ll let the rest go…” seemed to be the norm.

2. Hire the ones you enjoy talking to after all if you like them they’ll surely be successful, right?   Selling takes many avenues from lead generation to uncovering problems to positioning the sale to closing.  Enjoying your conversation with the applicant may mean they could be good at uncovering problems but it doesn’t mean they will generate leads or be able to close the deal.

3.  Hire without regard to your process and culture.    If they’ve had proven sales in one company that success will transfer to mine, right?  Not always.  If their sales cycle was short and didn’t require in-depth knowledge of the product and your sales cycle is longer and requires they take time to know the products before making sales you risk them leaving  your company before their first sale.

As a frugal business owner, I am not willing to risk lost sales while the ‘dart throwing’ hiring process works itself out. 

If you are of the same mindset, you’ll be sure you have a clear idea of what skills and behaviors are important for successful selling at your firm and will discipline yourself to ensure you match your applicants to your optimal performance model. 

Not sure how to do that?  Check out our FREE webinar series. This months’ topic is 100 Days to Improved, Sustainable Sales Growth.  Details are on our website http://www.ellisonpartners.com/events.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments Ellison Partners helps businesses achieve results.

© Nikki Ellison, 2012.

Read Full Post »

For those of you who have dealt with this situation you know the gut wrenching frustration of trying to figure out what to do when that high performing employee is wrecking havoc in your company.    I’ve often pondered whether learning to manage difficult employees made me a better parent or if being a parent made me better at managing employees.  While I’ve yet to solve that ‘chicken and egg’ question, I have learned much over 24 years of working with and managing employees.  The question that is often at the root of our frustration is whether or not the added cost of managing these difficult yet high performing employees outweighs their benefits.

Studies show that high performing employees often come with difficult personalities creating challenges for their companies and earning ‘special treatment’ in the eyes of coworkers.  Yet the qualities that make some employees difficult also make them successful at their jobs.  Highly driven employees tend to not be so concerned about others.  Detailed oriented employees tend to have aversion to change. Rising to the challenge of managing these difficult high performers takes patience, perseverance and guts; a feat many bosses struggle with.

Bosses can be reluctant to address these high performers difficult behavior for fear of losing the benefit of their high productivity.  As such bosses tend to leave these folks alone and are often unaware of when difficult behavior slips into the realm of unmanageable behavior unless their behavior becomes outrageous or aggressive.

The research is clear:  Managers need assistance in managing their high performing yet difficult employees.  Here are 5 keys to survival when your best employee is your worst employee:

  1.  Don’t avoid them.  Consult with other managers, your boss or other resources then have a one-to-one discussion with the employee about the problem behavior.
  2. Give them clear guidelines.  Most people can absorb and retain about three points at a time.  Your conversation is most powerful when your message is simple. Give the employee 3 guidelines you need them to follow.
  3. Provide them and yourself with training. Learn the unique personality and behavioral traits of the employee. Understand these traits and how to coach to them.  Make yourself available for additional training or provide them with outside training.  Often managers expect employees to ‘just know’ how to execute.  Help them learn how to take action to achieve your desired result.
  4. Monitor progress.  Obtain feedback through a formal review meeting, even if it’s not time for a scheduled review.  Have the employee submit reports on their efforts.
  5. Discipline when needed.  With outrageous behavior, put the employee on probation for a specified amount of time.  Suspend the employee while looking into aggressive behavior.  For serious infractions, terminate the employee immediately, explain the cause and provide pay for any hours already worked.

Companies who work to understand their people – how they think, their natural tendencies and behaviors, and their workplace attitudes – gain a competitive advantage.  Success comes by not only selecting the right people, putting them in the right jobs but also by ensuring they are developed to reach their full potential and managed to support and achieve your company’s objectives.

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments Ellison Partners helps businesses achieve results. 

© Nikki Ellison, 2012.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: