Articles Tagged ‘Employee hiring’

Why Smart Employees Underperform

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

We’ve all been there. After an extensive and thorough search for a key manager, one candidate stands out. This candidate has the right experience, solid qualifications, and a relevant work history, and has given an impressive performance during the interview process. She said the right things, put forward some great ideas and generally presented very well. You commit and make the hire. Three months later, you begin to question your decision. Your new hire’s team appears disgruntled, morale is low, and output and productivity are well behind the figures from the previous quarter. After investigating further and speaking with a few key team members, you realize there is a disconnect—a mismatch. While the hire looked impressive on paper and presented well during one-on-one interviews, your new hire’s style, approach, and behavior on the job are simply inconsistent with the values and expectations of your organization. Your new hire is not a good fit and you need to make a change. We are going to look at seven reasons this could be.

1. Inadequate Capability

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t believe what you read on a resume!

Capability refers to the skills, tools and experience that a person needs in order to successfully perform her job. When any of these factors are missing, there is an increased chance that the employee will underperform.

Diagnostics that help you identify if an underperforming employee has adequate capability:

Skills—Do you know what skills are needed to perform the job and whether the employee possesses those skills? If she doesn’t possess the necessary skills, how will you help her acquire them, and how long do you expect that process to take? Skills training takes time and money, and results are never guaranteed unless there is adequate commitment from both the manager and the employee.

Tools—Even if an individual has the skills and experience to do the job, does he have the tools to deliver peak performance? The tools don’t have to be the most up-to-date, they just need to work well.

Experience—Just because an employee has the skills to do a job doesn’t mean that he has the experience to apply those skills in his specific position. This is especially true for recent graduates, outside hires from different industries and internal hires from different departments.

2. Poor Job Fit

“Fit” reflects the behaviors and interests needed to succeed in a job

Many people fall into the trap of choosing a profession or job that is a bad fit. We are who we are. Our “mental DNA” is influenced both by our genetics and our early life experiences, and it is almost completely formed by the time we are 20 years old. Rather than trying to understand ourselves so that we can choose a calling that builds on our strengths and aligns with our interests, we choose jobs because of peer pressure and societal influences.

Skills can be taught, but behaviors are much more difficult to change

Skills can improve through training and mentoring, but it takes tremendous effort and motivation to change natural behavior. If an individual isn’t motivated to change, then he probably won’t.

It is important to understand a person’s innate behaviors and interests when trying to match him with the right job. Know the job, know what type of person is successful in that job, and then hire others who have the behavioral traits that fit that job. This is easier said than done because it is difficult to gauge behaviors in a job interview, but behavioral assessments can be extremely helpful.

3. Fuzzy Goals and Accountabilities

Clear goals help focus and motivate employees to achieve the desired results

Employees need to be very clear about their responsibilities and about the results you expect them to achieve. Daily work and priorities are easily affected by the crisis of the day, new requests or changes in direction. Setting and tracking SMART goals helps your employees focus on what is most important to your business, and clear accountabilities help ensure that the work gets done with minimal conflict.

Use SMART goals to create clarity and improve the employee’s performance

Specific–Your employee has a much better chance of accomplishing a specific goal than a general goal.

Measurable–Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.

Aligned–The individual’s goals need to support the organization’s priorities.

Realistic–To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.

Timed–A goal should be grounded within a time frame; otherwise there is no sense of urgency.
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The Perfect Employee Plan

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

We all want them, don’t we? That employee that automatically knows what to do. They fix problems, save us money, make us money, and learns new skills every day that rinses and repeats this process. Are we just dreaming or does this really happen? The answer is yes and yes.

We are dreaming, and it does really happen. It is the dreaming that makes the dream employee happen, or at least part of it.

My point is, you should dream about what your ideal employee should be and do, then write it out and create a plan to find him or her.

Let’s say you want to find the perfect person to answer the phone for your HVAC company. You are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars making the phone ring, and you are not sure you have your best foot forward when it does.

First Step

Write an Avatar – A one paragraph or page description of exactly who you are looking for (we call it an avatar) or a story about you prospective idea employee.

Carol Henry is a 45 year old stay at home mom. She is active in the PTA, has a bridge club at her church and in the neighborhood association. She radiates warmth, grace and kindness. She has a great laugh, is a little bit sarcastic but in a way that both of us “appreciate it” and puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Carol went to College; she got pregnant and stayed home with her children. Her husband is a business owner and she knows the sacrifices that are needed to be made to get a business going because she has seen it and worked it first-hand. She longs for the days where she was part of the team of newbies getting the business off the ground. She doesn’t want the long hours just the feeling of connection and growth she had when she was helping her husband get his business off the ground.
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Stop Hiring Losers!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The last U.S. Census reports that small businesses with fewer than ten employees make up 78% of all employers. A recent survey of small-business owners, by SurePayroll Inc., found that poor hiring costs about $10,000 per hire. And according to a recent study by Leadership IQ, nearly half of all new hires (46%) fail within 18 months. That means every move of every employee counts.

What do you need for your business? You need super stars. Simply enough it takes good people. Don’t think there are any good people out there? Wonder why all the bad ones are in your business? Could it be your lack of nterviewing skills?Interviewing is tough business and takes being prepared. We all know that hiring mistakes can kill your company. All the motivation, all the coaching, all the training, all the total quality management and all the reengineering in the world can’t make up for a hiring mistake. If you hire bad people you can’t overcome it or train your way out.

How does it happen and how can you overcome it? Here are a few ideas. Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. Just like shopping for food on an empty stomach shopping for employees when you’re desperate produces the same results–a sick stomach and an empty wallet. Hiring a bad employee can empty your wallet as well as create problems for your business . Statistics show that a bad employee can cost upwards to $40,000 or even more. If you’re desperate to hire you’re more likely to get a bad employee.

Here are some interviewing tips to help you hire the right employees, by the way, this link is a video.

Know what you’re looking for and what will work for your business. If you’re not sure of the job description watch your employees and determine what’s right and what’s wrong with your team. What skills does your team need and what’s missing. Simply, be able to define the job.

Benchmark the job. Do you have someone who works for you with the qualities that you’re after? What does that person do well and list the qualities that you want. Maybe your industry has statistics for job performance.

Don’t hire someone like yourself. This is one of the easiest and most deadly traps that interviewers face. When someone is like you rapport is built easily and it seems like a perfect match. Ask yourself, does my business need another employee like me? If the employee is like you, how will they do with customers who aren’t like themselves?

Meet with your critical staff and develop a check list for the hiring process. If more than one person will be interviewing, everyone should be clear on the criteria. As they interview they should check off the questions and see how closely the candidate fits the criteria. Liking a person doesn’t necessarily make a good candidate.

Be forever hiring. Interview people when you’re not hungry. Encourage applications on your web site even if you don’t have an immediate need for an employee. Who knows, someone spectacular may come along, someone you don’t want to pass up.
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Marketing Lessons from Brann’s Sizzling Steaks

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I recently had the great pleasure to watch how superior customer service is masterfully performed when it often seems difficult to find these days. Here’s the quick story and the three marketing lessons it can teach all of us.

My mom and I went to one of our favorite local restaurants this past Tuesday night in Muskegon, Michigan. Brann’s Sizzling Steaks has been around since 1960, and now has over 9 locations throughout the state.

When we eat there, we enjoy the great food, the atmosphere, and their specials, but
most of all something that is difficult for many businesses to provide on a
consistent basis: great customer service.

I noted that when we sat down, our waitress was happy and very knowledgeable about
the daily specials. Sensing that my special guest (mom) and I were engaged in a
great conversation, she read the situation carefully and came back a few minutes
later to take our drink order. In less than a minute the drinks arrived, and she
then proceeded to take our dinner order, and walked away.

She returned to our table a few minutes later with our dinner rolls and to also
inform us of a special promotion they had going involving a drawing for a pair of
Detroit Lions football tickets against the Chicago Bears.

We let her quickly explain the sign up form and when she returned with dinner we
both gave her our completed entry forms. At the end of the meal she asked us if we
had room for dessert, with which we said no as we were both stuffed. She then
thanked us again for coming in and then returned with our dinner bill.

On the surface this experience may seem pretty mundane and ordinary. However, as we
left the restaurant, we both were amazed not only by how friendly our waitress was
(the food’s always great too), but also how everyone else from the young gentleman
who opened the door for us, to the hostess who seated us were also extremely
friendly as well.

So, here are the three big marketing lessons from Brann’s Sizzling Steaks that anyone
can learn from and apply within their own business or organization.

#1. The first impression with customers is the key. When we entered the restaurant
we were greeted by the door being opened for us by a young, happy man saying
Welcome! Now this may not seem like a big deal, but it is, and here’s why:

It’s rarely done these days, with notable exception being the classic Wal-Mart
greeter. In addition, it was different from most food establishments, and started
the dining experience off with a good feeling before we were even seated.

In an age of bruised consumer confidence, I’m stunned as to why most businesses often
make the first impression with customers so lackluster and unmemorable. Customers
have great choice and are often silently begging to find people and firms that they
can trust, and who also make them feel like their patronage is valued and respected.

So many employees in all kinds of businesses act as if customers are an annoyance or
interruption.

This is not only foolish, but it is also often a huge reason why so many businesses
are struggling with repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. We all have our own
poor customer service stories to prove this point.
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