Character

STRATEGIES CONTINUED (3rd of 3)

Frustration among current team members is perhaps one of the worst effects of a bad hire. Constantly having to help new hires, pick up the slack when the new hire fails, or contend with a “checked out” disgruntled employee when they under-perform is an immediate turnoff to top talent. The last thing any organization wants to do is drive away top-performers.

There are three approaches one can take to identify and release the bad hires and dissatisfied employees.

• Create a six-month “refund” policy – After six months, the organization can offer a modest severance and good reference if the poor performing hire agrees to resign. If accepted, the employee signs away their right to sue. Some companies will allow the employee who refuses this deal to stay on for a defined period of time, up to one year. If at that time there is no improvement, the employee is released without any severance or reference.

• On-boarding – An extended on-boarding process that is highly structured is a great way to identify poor-performers. New hires should be assigned a mentor to help facilitate the training process. At the end of this initial training period, companies can take a page from Zappos and PAY under-performers to resign. Another approach used at Whole Foods is to have the team vote if the new hire is a strong enough member. This approach works best when there are team-based performance incentives.

• Encourage dissatisfied employees to move on – Dissatisfied employees can be just as harmful to an organization as a bad hire. In fact, they can convert a good hire into a bad hire. Negativity, absenteeism, or general “checking out” on their work is something that needs to be addressed quickly. It IS in the best interest of the organization to encourage the employee to move on, even if they are performing well.

There is no such thing as a perfect hiring process. Sometimes candidates are misjudged during the interview process. Making certain that reference checks are performed to help detect possible issues is one of the best preventative measures. In the end, despite some of the best plans and preparation, bad hires still happen. Having a process to work with them will mean the difference between a learning opportunity and having a poor-performer in the organization for an extended period of time.

STRATEGIES FOR BAD HIRES REVEALED (2nd of 3)

Dealing with Poor Performers

There is no such thing as a perfect hire. Every person entering a new role requires time to acclimate to the position. Training is not only necessary, but an important part of the on-boarding process. When all is said and done, as much as 46 percent of new hires fail within the first 18 months. Holding on to a weak hire can become a disaster if not dealt with in a timely manner.

Unhappy new hires and even disgruntled employees can become a cancer within a company. Identification and corrective action needs to occur as soon as possible to contain the issue. These employees soak up time and resources when managers try (many times in vain), to train, retrain, and coach them up to speed. It is very likely that a bad hire or disgruntled employee will not get any better.

Frustration among current team members is perhaps one of the worst effects of a bad hire. Constantly having to help new hires, pick up the slack when the new hire fails, or contend with a “checked out” disgruntled employee when they under perform is an immediate turnoff to top talent. The last thing any organization wants to do is drive away top-performers.

Next; Three approaches one can take to identify and release the bad hires and dissatisfied employees.

Intentional Culture Benefits All (Part 3 of 3)

When recruiting, become dedicated to building a team of people who are compatible and enjoy working together. When interviewing for cultural fit, make sure the candidate fits not only the position, but the organizational dynamic. When people who genuinely like and respect each other work together, there is a dramatic increase in recruiting and retention. Your teams are more likely to share how much they enjoy working at your organization and will more likely refer top talent.

Once your organization’s values are defined and the corporate culture is created, it is time to spread the word. Ask all employees to engage with the organization on social media and encourage them to post frequently. Demonstrate your culture with videos of life in the office, team members serving their communities, or share how employees enjoy their time away from work. In the end, happy employees will gladly share in the vision and values, which will yield more recruiting success.

Millennials Deconstructed

Part 1 of 3

Demographics in the workplace are rapidly changing. Baby Boomers are retiring. Generation X is moving out of middle management into upper level positions, leaving Millennials to fill their shoes. The youngest members of the workplace have a very different approach to work than any other generation before them.

Millennials have often been called a generation of entitlement. While this is not true, it is easy to understand how they gained this stereotype. Children born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s have grown up with technology, full schedules of extracurricular activities, and helicopter parents.

They have also witnessed violence in schools and workplaces and have, many times, seen their parents being laid-off after years of loyal service to an employer. Because of all these experiences, they have a basic belief that there is more to life than work and that work can be performed anytime, anywhere.

Next. What Millennials want.

Outsourcing Dividends

Read a piece suggesting 5 small business tasks that pay to outsource. All great suggestions like customer support, taxes, legal, online marketing and Web design and maintenance but, missing one biggie – acquiring talent. Full disclosure. I’m an executive recruiter helping firms find marketing stars.

Empty seats equal missed revenue. I know, I’ve harped on this subject in the past but, in today’s tight, highly-competitive “human capital” market filling those seats with satisfied, long-term revenue producers is critical. Which suggests outsourcing talent acquisition may have a multiplier effect on your business and its growth.

What are experienced, driven marketing executives looking for in today’s market?

Allow me to share comments from an outstanding sales director I spoke with earlier today. He’s looking for a firm with a differentiated product coupled with a strategy to keep ahead of the competition and established culture that unconditionally supports its employees. A place with around 100 dedicated souls who bring a positive attitude, enjoy collaboration and thrive on applauding everyone’s successes.

If that describes your company let’s talk. I’d love to help keep the momentum rushing forward.

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.

Better than When We Found It

advertorial

As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.

Brands Need Good Leadership

Leadership 1.0

Brands. There’s a lot of talk about brands, branding and the importance brands evolving.
Take Taylor Swift. Hugely successful ingénue country singer who successfully pivoted her brand to main stream vocal Phenom. Like Ms. Swift generations have names and identities and are brands that evolve.
For example, Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were among the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
Let’s look at today’s punching bag generation – Millennials. I know some, some are my children and in the course of my work – recruiting, I’ve interviewed my share. Most don’t deserve to be defined with the negatively charged commentary commonly described by the press.
In my opinion the Millennial generation is at a brand cross-road. One direction leaves them on the current controversial path. The other path amplifies all that’s good about a generation that trusts, believes in giving back and cares deeply for family. What’s missing, I submit, is leadership of substance to stabilize the generation’s brand and take it to its rightful place.
So, Millennials what are you waiting for?

Honesty

Honesty

In one of his acts George Carlin had a telling line about honesty, “Everyone appreciates your honesty until your honest with them. Then you’re an a**hole.”

This dovetails nicely with an old recruiter joke. The hiring manager is conducting an interview with a candidate and everything is going smoothly until the interviewer asks an uninspired but common question, “So what do you consider your greatest weakness?” The candidate answers tersely, “Honesty”. Taken aback, the interviewer says, “I don’t consider honesty to be a weakness”. The candidate replies, “I don’t give a damn what you think”.

Honesty is an interesting facet of the recruiting process. Obviously, candidates, through their resumes or interviews, are often less than transparent. On occasion, every hiring manager will admit to the same lack of transparency. And recruiters may be even worse offenders. At PointClear Search, we try to be guided by the principle of telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And that goes for both clients and candidates.

We try to fix bad resumes and we coach candidates prior to interviews. If the candidate completely blows the interview, we gently tell them why so they won’t make the same mistake again. When it comes down to a small group of finalists in a bake-off, somebody has to lose and often the real reason someone loses is because the hiring manager simply liked someone better. I’ve seen some very ugly and emotional reactions when I’ve delivered bad news and I’ll admit to sugar-coating the truth when I know a candidate is very emotionally invested.

In the used car business, there’s an old saying “How can you tell when the salesman is lying? His lips are moving!” Politician’s also fall under the same banner. We try real hard not to be that cynical but some days it’s very hard.

I Support Diversity in Hiring

Compass

It seems that almost everything that Ad Age publishes lately both online and in print has some editorial devoted to the diversity issue. There are certainly plenty of comments about how women still do not have the same kinds of opportunities that men have in the broad field of marketing communications especially at the senior level. And of course, there are no scarcity of comments on how our industry is not reflective of the general population in terms of employing African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. My liberal friends tell me I should feel guilty because I make my living helping these “racist, misogynistic SOB’s” continue to acquire talent perpetuating these injustices.

In looking back at my own career in media sales, I know that I hired many more women than men for the very specific reason that they were the best salespeople available at the time I was hiring. I used to say I would hire a little green person from Mars if they could sell but no one like that ever came in for an interview. But, neither did any significant number of “minority” candidates. I was compensated on my ability to deliver results so I always tried to do the best I could with the talent available. I wasn’t going to be a social engineer with my career and the careers of others on the line.

Yes, in a perfect world we would have an industry whose work force more accurately reflects the population as a whole. But, if one lacks the skill set or experience to do what my client needs for a specific role, I can’t recommend that she/he hire you. Yes, I understand the Catch-22 of a biased education system and limited opportunities at the entry level. Is that fair? I don’t know. Life’s not fair.

I wonder how many other industries can claim they’re doing a better job of providing the “level playing field” than advertising.