Cultural Fit

Benefits of a Learning-Based Culture (Part 1 of 2)

Learning is a lifelong activity. New positions, even new projects, require a certain amount of education. Unfortunately, professional development (in many organizations) is stuck in the classroom. While traditional classroom learning is an efficient means of delivering information, it is not always the most effective. Many times, the concepts learned at a conference or training event fail to be implemented or can even be forgotten. Focusing on education without hands-on experiences a HUGE missed opportunity.

Effective leadership development is experience-driven. Experience is gained when education is put into practice. Fostering an organizational learning-based culture will engage team members, increase employee satisfaction, and boost productivity.

Creating a learning culture that is experience-based does not need to be costly. Utilizing the existing knowledge base within the organization is the simplest and most cost effective way to bring effective learning into the office. It also allows for cross-education to occur. Cross-education is critical at senior levels, but can be equally beneficial to productivity at all levels within an organization.

Next: Cross-training, task forces, conferences and classrooms

 

 

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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.

CALCULATING YOUR TEAM’S WORTH (1st of 3)

How to Separate the Strongest from the Weakest

There are four easy steps to calculating an employee’s monetary worth.

1. Determine the Average Employee Worth (AEW) – This number is calculated by dividing the total revenue of the department or organization by the total number of employees. For example, a design team of 5 with a revenue of $600,000 equals an AEW of $120,000.
2. Determine the Weak Performer Differential – Compare the AEW to each employee’s actual revenue. This will create a best to worst ranking for each department. It will also show how strong the strongest are versus how weak the weakest are in terms of performance.
3. Determine other costs – This includes other performance considerations such as absenteeism, missed deadlines, employee attitude, errors, and theft. These considerations may vary based on the job.
4. Determine if weak performers can be made into strong performers. Many times, weak performers can improve quickly and easily through coaching, retraining, and frequent performance evaluations. Other times, weak performers are simply draining time, morale, and revenue from an organization. In this case, the hard decision to release the employee will need to be made.

When an organization learns the true worth of their staff, everyone benefits. Strong employees are validated through data. Weaker employees can either be encouraged to improve or can be removed from the company, if that is the best option for the organization.

Next: Ways to manage employees who are simply not working out.

IDENTIFYING RECRUITING PROBLEMS (Part 3 of 3)

It is helpful to gather input from “the trenches”. Asking employees to share their insight can shed light onto how team members view their jobs, managers, and the company. This can be done one-on-one, in groups, or by sending out a company wide questionnaire. The key is to include everyone, not just the individuals who may provide the answers that you want to hear. Again, do not penalize them for being open and honest with you if you want the best, most candid information from them.

If no clear solution can be determined after reviewing all the information, it might be time to call in reinforcements. The unbiased opinion and advice of a management consultant or recruiter may be the best option. They can look over policies, procedures, and data without emotional or psychological attachment and help craft an unbiased plan for improvement.

Remember attracting and retaining the best talent is a challenge for all industries. Today’s market even more so.

IDENTIFYING RECRUITING PROBLEMS (Part 2 of 3)

During this process, be certain to review exit interviews. What is revealed as an employee leaves can uncover deep, underlying issues in all areas of an organization. Make the conversation informal. Tell them you really need their help as you truly wish to improve as an organization. The key here is to LISTEN and to not get defensive. You may not agree with everything they say, but you are getting their direct and blunt feedback, which can only benefit your way ahead.

After reviewing the questions and answers, it is time to call in reinforcements. Consult with peers and colleagues: those within the organization that will be most helpful from an “insider’s” perspective. Trusted individuals outside of the company can act as a sounding board or a voice of reason. Many times, the problems experienced at one company are actually universal to the industry.

Next: Voices From The Trenches

IDENTIFYING RECRUITING PROBLEMS (Part 1 of 3)

Recruiting top talent that is a perfect fit for an organization is not an exact science. If it were, everyone would be working the perfect position at their dream companies. Errors or difficulties in the process would not exist. However, we live in this place called reality. In reality, companies encounter issues finding and retaining great employees. Over the next three articles, we will look at how to identify and correct some common recruiting problems.

When faced with a problem, whether personal or professional, there is usually a set of steps that one takes to determine its cause and to formulate a solution. When the problem is systemic to an organization, this process is also beneficial.

When an organization has trouble with its recruiting process, it is best to first go to the source of the problem. If there are issues with attraction, or retention, or with making hiring decisions, it is best to go directly to the person or group responsible for talent acquisition and talent management. Is the process up to date designed to address key steps? Are there missing steps or steps that are overlooked – maybe even skipped? Are great candidates lost to a long decision process? How does your company cultivate relationships with passive candidates? Are team members from specific areas of the organization leaving more than others? These types of questions will demand very specific answers that apply directly to the company’s unique situation.

Next: Exit Interviews

Intentional Culture Benefits All (Part 2 of 3)

To build an intentional corporate culture, it is first important to define your organization’s values. A strong values proposition statement, unique to your company, will help define the culture. It is important to ignore another organization’s values, defining your own so that they ring genuine. Create values that reflect your company and the employee lifestyle and are in keeping with the goals of your organization. When doing this, gather input from all areas of the company.

Be open to possibilities from all team members. Encourage innovative thinking. Empower them to explore solutions to issues and to create new ideas, initiatives, and products. When an organization values the input from all team members as part of their culture, an environment of forward thinking and collaboration is fostered. Employees will trust in the brand that values their input.

Next: Recruiting for Cultural Fit

Intentional Culture Benefits All (Part 1 of 3)

Ever feel like your employees feel differently about your organization than you do? Do your employees understand the company’s culture and value system? Your organization is a living, breathing entity, and its pulse is defined by a well-established culture and the value system that keeps its rhythm.

Corporate culture is not a mission statement, it is a way of life both in and out of the office. A successful corporate culture is shaped and managed by core company values. These values are what create the basis for hiring and branding. After salary, culture is the most important aspect of an organization to employees and candidates alike.

Intentional corporate culture will increase employee engagement, productivity, customer service, and revenue. For a culture to be successfully adopted by an entire organization, Executive Management must believe in the culture. Since buy-in trickles downstream, no one will fully believe in the company’s value statement, brand, and culture without knowing that it is supported and adhered to by those at the very top. It is vital that leaders set the standard in this way and believe in the culture they wish to establish and maintain.

Next: Building an Intentional Culture

Attracting and Retaining Millennials

Part 3 of 3

Include videos on the Careers page that highlight different aspects of the company and corporate culture. “Day in the Life at XYZ Company” is a great way to attract candidates. Employee profiles and photos of how employees and the company give back to the community are also great talent-magnets.

Retaining Millennials is not as difficult as anticipated. There are five BIG factors to retention.
• Transparency of corporate culture.
• Communication – frequent and through many different means including email, text, and face-to-face.
• Constant feedback – frequent feedback on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
• Clearly defined expectations – written outlines and milestones for projects. Define position requirements and expectations.
• Sense of purpose – have a means, either within the company or on personal time, to give back to the community.

Attracting and retaining Millennials is easy if you know where to go and what they are looking for in a company. It is without a doubt that this group of talent will help reshape work as we know it.

Attracting and Retaining Millennials

Part 2 of 3

Technology is the obvious choice since they are so dependent upon it. Submitting a resume or application online is second nature to a group who took exams and applied for college online. Eighty-seven percent of new college grads will go directly to a company’s website to search and apply for open positions. However, they will not take time to look for postings on the website. Adding a “Careers” link on the home page of the company’s website is the best way to direct not only Millennials, but all candidates to current opportunities.

Brand recognition and corporate culture are the biggest factors to Millennials. They seek positions that are challenging and lead to opportunities for advancement. When crafting job posts or company profiles, highlight projects they may work on, mentorship opportunities, and potential advancement tracks.

Next: Include Videos