advertising

Is Communication Killing Productivity?

 

Before the days of internet driven non-stop, instant communications my employer, WSJ, engaged with Xerox to improve listening skills believing if we became proficient in actually hearing what was being said productivity would increase. And, it did. For some more than others but that’s another story.

I read today around 1/3 of the workforce is so overwhelmed by their company’s communication’s tools they’re thinking of quitting their jobs. Management acknowledges significant loss in revenue to due to missed or poor internal communications – over three billion dollars in annual profits from wasted time alone!

The Dynamic Signal study found that most workers (51 percent) do not feel properly informed by their company, ultimately feeling disconnected (57 percent), unhappy (33 percent) and not valued (76 percent) for their work, resulting in workplace departures.
Being able to listen to others is imperative in the communication process. This means not only listening with your ears, but also being able to comprehend what the person is saying. And receiving confirming feedback.

I’m a recruiter so helping companies find talent is my job but none of us in this profession want to deal with a workforce incapable of managing communications. To management I’d suggest immediately setting basic communications guidelines holding department heads accountable. To HR leadership I suggest all exit interviews probe for this issue reporting progress to senior management. To those faced with a wide array of tools, time demands and that awful feeling of having missed something really important don’t quit but do demand management deliver a workable fix.

A workable fix could be as easy as (a) severely limiting using the annoying, “reply all” response, (a) taking a few minutes each morning before opening one’s computer to make a prioritize TO DO list and, the really tough one, ignoring the internal chatter.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Advertisements

Working for Fun

Let’s say you’re earning over $300k. Again, in the New Year, your quota was raised so to make the same this year you need to sell $360k. Company offers competitive benefits like unlimited paid vacation (on a modest base) and open-bar Fridays. Account Services is on top of their game but are increasingly spread thin putting more pressure on keeping promises and delivering on time.

So, you looked at your 2017 calendar and tax return only to discover some enlightening facts. Like, after taxes, your earnings were $160k. Over the course of this job you’ve had 3 managers and the company has had two senior level house cleanings. Across 52 work weeks you managed 12 days’ vacation and 12 holidays including Cinco de Mayo.

Here’s where the data tells the real story. You average 12.5 hours working each day not counting commuting: 236 days X 12.5 hours = 2950 hours/year roughly equal to $55 per hour after taxes. Now, go find the last plumber or electrician’s bill and take a look at their hourly fee.

Since educator’s salaries are a hot news topic did you know a secondary school administrator in Silver Springs, MD hourly mean average pay is $53.41 according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)? If you’ve read this far and your head is exploding consider having that intro chat with the next recruiter who reaches out and take the conversation beyond money. You might discover there’s some exciting aspects to living with a company you’ve never considered.

Next Generation of Thinkers and Leaders

I read a short piece on finding talent in tight markets (read: low unemployment) written by a CEO of a full service ad agency whose early career was working with a major consulting group.
She asked the question, “So what’s a small business to do when competing for talent with companies that might have bigger purse strings and a sexier name?”
To address the issue most companies, large and small, should either fire their HR department or, in a kinder gesture, isolate the educable from the “sheep” and teach them look for problem solvers. You know the type – it’s the person who leans away from consensus, the person who tends to break process and the person who has a record of delivering when others are still doing what they’ve always done regardless of results.
If you want your company to do great work – you know, the stuff that’s positive-disruptive employing the game-changing strategy that has clients and the competition saying, “wish I’d thought of that” remove your industry-only blinders, look across the entire business horizon and dig-deep for the next generation of leaders and thinkers.
That’s what we do for our clients.

Transferable Skills

It has been our experience that the majority of the job descriptions we see for marketing roles contain very specific job experience requirements. To me, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Ask any CMO of a large, publicly held company, they will tell you that marketing skills are transferable across industries. Therefore, a skilled and experienced marketing person should be able to transition from CPG to financial services or financial services to pharmaceuticals or… There might be a steep learning curve but a motivated, intelligent person will succeed and the company benefits from having a fresh perspective on its marketing challenges. This industry-only practice seems to unnaturally eliminate some very good potential candidates.

So, why does this practice continue to exist? I can think of two reasons. First, companies don’t allocate the time required or have confidence in their on-boarding process. So they hire someone who will “hit the job running”. Or second, they’re afraid to make a mistake. If the candidate doesn’t work out for reasons that have nothing to do with experience or skill set, the hiring manager has a built-in excuse, “But he/she had all these great jobs and recommendations”.

At PCS, we like to look at a prospective position in terms of what skills are necessary to be successful at the job and how will the person fit into the culture – and that has to go both ways. We believe that’s the winning formula for a successful placement.

Be Curious

Read a piece earlier today about Amazon’s hiring process. You know Amazon – that, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.” first company (beating Apple!) to reach a $1 trillion market cap. What struck me was the company’s attraction to candidates who are “scrappy in how they solve problems”. Good advice for any company hoping to survive the next market disruption.

Beyond being scrappy Amazon also recommends that the candidate stays open-minded and curious about opportunities at Amazon. For me that’s the “bingo” moment for any candidate hoping to stand out from the crowd of other candidates. Ask great questions. As my business partner says, “Great questions trump poor answers”. And, honest curiosity may open new doors that lead to an even better career move.

Rehires Rock

We all know companies that have a policy prohibiting hiring someone who previously worked for the company. The policy doesn’t address the reason for leaving but, unless there was a serious ethical or legal issue (firing for cause ), people usually leave for one of two reasons: Better opportunity for professional and financial growth or with growing frequency, because they hate their boss. Both reasons are easy to understand and/or identify with.

Let’s consider a couple of good reasons to hire a “boomerang” candidate especially if no bridges were burned when they walked out the door. What really happened? Someone leaves to learn new skills or develop their potential. And if they went to a competitor, they’ve gained a greater understanding of the marketplace. These boomerangs bring a lot to the party if management is open-minded about the possibility of their returning.

Given the current tightness of the talent marketplace that most companies are facing, does a policy of “You can never come back” really make sense?

By Roger Tremblay

A Routine of Good Habits

One of my favorite people, even though we’ve never met, is Doris Kearns Goodwin. She’s a history wiz, a brilliant writer and, in this fake news galaxy, knows how to give a fair and honest interview by sticking to the facts and alerting her audience when expressing an opinion. I read a short piece in Fast Company about how she manages her day and the good habits that contribute to her success and happiness. So I thought I share because who wouldn’t like a better day of good habits built on a simple routine?
Ms. Goodwin rises early – around 5:00 AM – just like most Navy Seals, and uses the time to write and take notes. No TV, no email, and no distractions. Around 9:00 AM she takes a simple breakfast with her husband before checking email and making for a productive day. In the evening she follows FDR’s WWII, “no talk of war cocktail hour” infused with trivia, or live music – anything to refresh and recharge. Before bed she spends a few minutes reading mysteries which help clear her mind and relax.
If she’s on a plane or train it’s, in her thinking, a wonderful, uninterrupted time to “get things done”. And she does. For her, as it was for Teddy Roosevelt, procrastination is a mortal sin. If she starts to put things off she simply thinks of Teddy. I’m adopting this!
I’ll end with her note taking routine – she states Abraham Lincoln was a tireless note-taker who attributed much of his Gettysburg Address to a collection of notes gathered from his roll-top desk.
So, what’s my point? I’m not suggesting everyone should follow Ms. Goodwin’s routine. Perhaps adopting note taking, or early morning uninterrupted creative time might work for you? The point is if you feel a little out of kilter perhaps a simple routine adjustment will make things right. Let me know how it works.

Money Well Spent?

When I got into the media business (sales) ad agencies were known for hiring youth, paying meager wages, providing minimal training and offering limited advancement. Long hours were common and I’m pretty sure late night pizza delivery was common several times a week.

That was 45 years ago! Over the last couple of decades agencies have pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and hacked themselves promising to be the agency of the future.

But wait, there’s more. Back then it was common for an agency to have 10 employees grinding on just 1 Million dollars in billings. Over time technologies introduced some new efficiencies and, of course, salaries exploded with inflation and the ratio declined to one person working on $1 Million. Today, I’m told, a single agency employee works on several million dollars’ worth of billings.

So, have those millions of dollars clients spent supporting the agency of the future built a place of well-trained, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals with multiple choices for early and frequent advancement?

I’m guilty of generalizing because there are some great shops, foundries, farms, or whatever that are doing their clients proud. For the rest keep disrupting until you get it right!

Exploring the Undiscovered Career Move

There was a piece in USN&WR citing a career consultant who urged employees to always be on the lookout for new opportunities even those who are happy in their job and well paid. Unfortunately, across various fields of marketing communications, job security is rare. How rare? About as rare as chicken’s teeth. Good people find themselves laid off for reasons beyond their control and, typically, not for lack of performance.

As recruiters, we always look first to the people who are happy, successful and not actively looking for their next opportunity. These are considered by many as highly desirable “A” players. When asked, most CEO’s say when moving through the hiring and interviewing process, they look first for character and integrity because those are traits you can’t teach. And, those traits are shared by the people who are better adept at dealing with a steep learning curve.

So, you “A” players, the next time you get a call from a recruiter, it might be worth a few minutes to listen and learn about the offering. Who knows, it could change your life and, it only takes a minute or less to reply, “I’m not interested at this time but, let’s stay in touch”.

SAVE THE DAY

It’s very frustrating for a professional recruiter to be called in to “save the day” tasked to find a new hire in an extremely short period of time after an internal search failed to produce any acceptable candidates. Professionals are good at what they do is because they take the necessary time and effort to conduct a thorough search and that doesn’t happen overnight. The most desirable candidates are usually gainfully employed and are not looking for other opportunities.

To find top candidates we start every search with a “blank page” not simply relying our extensive data base. To fill the “blank page” we conduct a thorough needs analysis discussion with the hiring manager and anyone else involved in the hiring decision to fully understand the ideal candidate’s profile covering both soft and hard skills.

So the next time you hear or are tempted to say, “We’ve never had any luck using recruiters” or “We can do what you do so you’re not worth the money” consider this. It’s true, there are bad recruiters out there just like any other profession but the good ones know their value and earn appropriate and fair fees. Most of the elite members of the executive search profession have a solid business education defined by years of experience, continue to be trained in new search methodologies and are dedicated to professional excellence.

We’d like to think that PointClear Search is included in that group.