Sometimes, the boss is the one lying in the job interview….

one-skill-job-candidate-blanda-openforum-338We often hear about job candidates exaggerating their accomplishments. Somewhere between their resume and the interview, the truth takes a back seat.

This stretching of the truth, however, is not a one-way street. Many new employees have told us that they felt they were misled in interviews about either the responsibilities of the position or the culture of the company. Small untruths on working hours, flexibility, dress code, or employee numbers can even translate into big slights for a gung-ho new hire who feels he’s been deceived.
It should be obvious that a false start is no way to start a professional relationship.
We’re not suggesting that employers intentionally misrepresent their company or the opportunities for new employees, but somewhere inside the ritualistic dance where applicants and employers are both trying to put their best feet forward, they can wind up tripping over each other. And that can lead to an atmosphere of distrust for new employees.
 

So how can leaders build a foundation of trust with new employees from day one, and ensure their long-term success and satisfaction?

 

Start with the job description

When it comes time to filling an open position, hiring managers are often in a mad rush. Someone has just given a two-week notice and there is a chair to fill. And from the employer’s perspective, that empty chair is seen as costly. So the old job description is quickly dusted off and posted in the hopes of attracting a top-flight replacement. That’s where the first mistake occurs.

What this approach does not take into account is that today’s jobs are constantly evolving. A job description that is a just few years old may have long become irrelevant. As a hiring manager, it’s critical to ask yourself questions about the position, such as: How has it changed since we last hired for this job? What new tasks are critical to the role? What would I like a new person to do differently? How will success at this job be measured?
 

Revisiting the role before the hiring process and having a clear grasp of its responsibilities and expectations are the first steps to ensuring that you find the right person. This also makes it more likely that your new hire understands exactly what he’s signing up for and won’t hightail it out the door the first chance he gets.

 

Don’t rely on the resume

Resumes, understandably, are a key indicator for many hiring managers to determine whether an applicant will make the short list for a particular position. But resumes are just advertisements for the past. What you are really looking for is a crystal ball into the future. In fact, it is important to keep in mind that you are not just hiring someone for a particular job, you are hiring them to grow with your company.

 So, what will success on the job look like? You need to be upfront with job applicants and explore that question during the hiring process. Tell candidates what will be expected of them and ask them what their definition of success is and how they hope to attain it at your company.

Look for insights into what makes applicants tick, which will provide clues to their potential, strengths, and development opportunities. Those attributes, which can be further gleaned from an in-depth personality assessment, will help hiring managers identify individuals who can succeed in the job and thrive in the company’s culture. Combine that with a behavioral interview and referrals, and you get a comprehensive, integrated approach to hiring. When expectations are clearly defined in the interview process, it’s an exercise in trust building.
 

Build trust upfront

Once a new employee is hired, it’s important to start off on the right foot. Particularly in the first week, it is important that the new manager takes the time needed to create a real connection and ensure that trust is firmly in place.

job interview, culture
The first few days on a new job are what you might call “the Goldilocks time.” New employees are trying not to be too hot or too cold, but come across as just right. New hires are keenly aware that they are being evaluated by their colleagues, so there has to be someone who can provide a solid understanding of how a worker can best contribute in her new environment.
Trust between a manager and new employee doesn’t happen overnight, but the first impression can be a make or break point. Be clear about the requirements and expectations of the job. Be genuinely interested in who they are (don’t multi-task when you are talking to them), and let them know you are interested in their aspirations and their growth within the company. And be open about how you like to work—your habits, quirks, strengths and the things you are working on improving. -Patrick Sweeney

The Interview Question That Can Seal The Deal

Interview best question

I’m in the middle of hiring someone to replace my irreplaceable executive assistant, a title that barely does justice (as any executive assistant will tell you) to the extraordinary intensity and intellect of such a job.

The job search has yielded several excellent candidates, meaning that I’ve once again had the opportunity to ask my favorite interview question:

What did you do to prepare for this interview?

Oh, the answers I’ve heard – the good, the bad and the ugly, and so powerfully revealing in each regard.

“I’ve been stalking you for three days,” was one. I loved it! Especially after she described what that stalking involved: Reading virtually everything she could find ever written about me, plus reading or scanning everything I’ve ever written online and in print, including two books. As a result, she came to the interview ready to talk not just about her fit for the requirements of the job – but my interests, values, and, perhaps most impressive, the intellectual content of my life’s work.

Another candidate had this impressive response: “I looked at all of your social media platforms and tried to back out of that what your communications strategy is, and how I would advise you to change or refine it. I also evaluated the marketing plans you appear to have in place for your new book launch, which led me to put together a list of questions.” She opened her folder to reveal just that — a full page of them.

Hello! You’ve walked in the door over-delivering. I like you very much.

Other answers have been rather less mind-blowing.

“Well, I drove here last night with my boyfriend to make sure I didn’t get lost today.”

Another candidate answered, “I read your Wikipedia.”

Both OK, but hardly enough to demonstrate the kind of passion and curiosity I’m looking for, or, most importantly, the resourcefulness. Look, there are plenty of great interview questions out there, and there’s no doubt about it, you need to ask a slew, as well as carefully check references. (I also give candidates a good, old-fashioned editing test.) But this single query has proven its worth to me time and again.

Half the battle in business is being prepared. Make sure the people you hire don’t have to learn that on the job. – Suzy Welch

Preparing for You New Position – Phase One: Pre-Start

meeting your boss

If you could spend an hour with the next person to hold your current job, how could you use the time most effectively? What information (public or private) could you pass along to make the transition easier for your successor? What reports and other reading materials would you provide? What advice would you give about the best ways to deal with your boss……senior management in general…your key associates….your subordinates? What insider’s viewpoints could you give regarding the secret of how things really get done in your current organization, and how to watch out for pitfalls along the way?

Don’t you wish there were someone in your new organization who could do the same for you?

As a matter of fact, there are ways to collect large chunks (assuming that you have already found what you can via the web) of this information even before your scheduled start date. All you need to do is decide what information you need…..contact the right person(s)….and ask for it. Just about any information you request is available to you, except for:

  •  highly classified data, such as military projects, competitive secrets regarding product formulas or manufacturing processes, etc.;
  • information dealing with politically sensitive subjects due to power structure and “turf-protecting” situations;
  • information which your boss would prefer to withhold until you’ve officially joined the organization.

As you begin the systematic transition to your new job you’ll think of many kinds of information that can give you a head-start. The following list gives some basic data; you should be able to think of other items that will contribute to your Pre-Start education.

A.   The Organization

  1. All public documents such as annual and quarterly reports to stockholders; proxy statements; documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Forms 10-k and 10-Q); public offerings (Form S-7); corporate profile or financial fact book; recent analyst research reports. (Most of these documents can be obtained through the Corporate Secretary’s office or Legal Department. or Web search.)
  2. Corporate and divisional publications including product/service brochures; catalogs and price lists; recent speeches by members of top management; capabilities presentations and scripts; recent “new business” proposals.
  3. Organization charts showing how the company is put together; names and titles of senior line and staff executives; the relationship of your function to the rest of the organization; reporting lines between you and top management. (Your boss should be able to furnish the organization data.)

B.   Your Department or Group

  1.  Plans and budgets that affect your job including descriptions of all projects and programs; dollar allocations per project; deadlines; staff allocations and time devoted to each area.
  2.  Departmental organization including position descriptions for all employees; recent performance appraisals of key people; detailed salary/bonus report for the current period; property and equipment assigned to your care; inventory reports; etc.

(Your boss should be able to supply this information, either formally or informally. If portions of the above do NOT exist – e.g., performance appraisals, position descriptions – you may want to put them among your first priorities after you assume control.)

 C.   Your Job

  1.  Position description including specific responsibilities, standards and deadlines; criteria for successful accomplishments of duties; salary history and position in pay grade; etc.
  2.  History of your predecessor including appraisals of performance and results; reasons for past successes and failures; areas of management satisfaction and dissatisfaction with working methods or results.

(There may be written information on this subject; otherwise, you’ll need to obtain verbal comments from your boss.)

Now that your imagination is stimulated, think of other materials or information you’d like to review before your scheduled start date.

Obtaining Advance Information

Since your contacts in the new organization are limited, your present sources of information are few: your boss, the Human Resources, your predecessor (if he/she is reachable and willing) and, possible, one or more members of your staff.

Perhaps your best strategy is to arrange a “pre-start” meeting with your boss, using a prepared agenda. (In fact, once the meeting is scheduled, it’s a good idea to send the agenda ahead of time, so your boss can review the items, assemble some of the requested materials, and add other topics for discussion.)

With this request you’re beginning a series of meetings with your boss – essential planning and “no surprises” sessions that will extend over the next three to six months. It’s important that each of you obtain the results you’re looking for. Especially with this advance meeting, the purpose and agenda should be clearly spelled out between the two of you.

Faced with many other problems – including the need to take a more active role in you new function until your arrival – your boss may not feel an advance meeting is necessary or practical. You may hear something like “Oh, don’t worry about it. You just get yourself here, and we’ll get started once you’re on board.” Still, it’s your responsibility to see that the meeting takes place now, so that you can clarify your roles ahead of time and control your entry into the new job.

Aim for at least an hour of uninterrupted planning of uninterrupted planning, at whatever time is least likely to complicate your boss’ schedule. You might justify the meeting in terms of the following objectives:

  •  To develop a strategy for introducing you to the organization;
  • To get an idea of the recent performance history of your office or function;
  • To obtain an understanding of your authorities, decision levels, and operating freedoms;
  • To become familiar with priority projects and deadlines;
  • (perhaps) to meet some of the people you’ll be working with in your job.

Of course, there are some additional benefits for YOU in having this advance meeting. Your fear of the unknown will be reduced as you obtain clarification of some of your questions. Your employees will be able to “put a face with the name” if you get the chance to meet them briefly. And you will appear to be a prepared, clear-thinking professional to people at various levels within the organization.

The “First Meeting With Your Boss” checklist contains many subjects you’ll want to cover before joining the team on a full-time basis. Use it as a guide, deleting those items that do not fit your situation and adding whatever special issues you’d like to discuss with your new boss.

First Meeting With Your Boss

  1. Use the following outline to structure the first meeting. Check each item that applies to your situation, and  make personal notes.
  2. Schedule a meeting with your boss as soon as possible after accepting the job offer. Send a confirming memo to highlight the subjects to be discussed.
  • Review current projects and problems that will demand your immediate attention.
  • Ask your boss for a capsule summary of recent performance regarding your function.
  • Ask for a candid evaluation of current strengths and weaknesses in the function, including areas that need priority attention.
  • Request and collect all information and materials as outlined earlier.
  • Along with available personnel records, make a list of all performance/salary reviews due in the next six months.
  • Clarify any remaining questions about your salary or bonus structure.
  • Ask for a general idea of your boss’ expectations for performance from you in the coming months.
  • Learn what resources are available to help you meet those expectations, including your authority to make changes in staff, time allocations, or deployment of resources.
  • Discuss your boss’ criteria and methods for evaluating your performance.
  • Ask your boss whether he/she perceives the need for training or development programs among your future employees.
  • Make sure you understand the extent of your authority to operate independently during your first months on the job.
  • Ask your boss to describe how he/she manages people. (although this is a question you should ask during an interview)
  • Ask for some guidance on your boss’ level of involvement during the first few months (inform, review, decision, approval, etc.).
  • Find out your boss’ preferences for progress reports (formal or informal) and desired timing.
  • Is it possible for you to meet your predecessor for a discussion of his/her experience in the job?
  • How does your boss plan to handle the announcement of your appointment to the job, and initial introductions to employees, associates or others?
  • What other issues would your boss care to raise at this meeting?

Tomorrow……Phase Two – First Days on The Job

Sharon Jenks, CEO/President The Jenks Group, Inc.

Preparing for Your New Position – A Systematic Approach

new job

As a consultant and coach I am frequently asked for advice when changing jobs. This job change may  be a position change or promotion  within the same organization. Either  way, the same advice applies. I will  provide this in four separate blog  posts.

  1. A Systematic Approach
  2. Phase One: Pre-Start
  3. Phase Two: First Days On The Job
  4. Phase Three: Settling In and Taking Charge

You may not feel the need to use all four, or to complete every checklist suggested. Depending on your situation, some of the information will be more pertinent than other parts. You decide which sections you’ll want to spend more time with.

  1. A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH

Why Were You Selected For This Job?

Probably because the company likes your track record – both the kind of work you’ve been involved in and your accomplishments in that field. Probably because your new management senses that your personality and methods are compatible with theirs. And certainly because they can visualize you as part of the future growth and profitability of their organization.

How can you confirm their good judgment in selecting you, and use this opportunity as a quantum leap toward your career goals?

Probably by the professional manner in which you introduce yourself to the organization and take hold of your new responsibilities. Probably by the initial impressions you make with all the people you’ll be dealing with in you job. And certainly by your ability to get up to speed quickly and reach your maximum productivity in minimum time.

Right now you’re concerned with disengaging successfully from your current job. That’s a proper attitude, because you owe your organization (and yourself!) the courtesy of a professional closure. However, even at this early stage your emphasis begins to shift toward the new assignment, and toward your strategies for starting the next phase of your career.

What’s the best way to “hit the ground running” in your new job? It begins with your commitment to take an active role in developing a systematic approach to the transition process starting now instead of waiting until your reporting date. Without compromising the “closeout” requirements of your current job, you can begin to collect the information that will help you understand:

  •  Your new organization/division (how it operates; where it wants to go; how it intends to get there)
  • Your new job/position (what management expects of you)
  • The resources available to you (people, budgets, programs and operating freedoms you’ll need to get the job done

At this point you may know very little about the inner workings of the organization. You may have only a skeletal idea of your job requirements. You may have met very few of the people, except for your new boss and the Personnel manager who negotiated with you. Yet your mind is filled with questions:

  1. Who am I replacing, and how was he/she regarded by superiors, associates and subordinates?
  2. Why was the position vacant?
  3. Who else wanted my job, and how can I deal effectively with them in the coming months?
  4. What commitments were made to or by my predecessor that I should know about?
  5. Why was I selected?
  6. Upon arrival, what immediate responsibilities will I have to take on?
  7. If there is unfinished business with my old job, what arrangements would be acceptable to my new boss?
  8. How do things really get done?
  9. Do I have any allies or adversaries in my new job, and how are they identified?
  10. How and when will I be formally announced to the organization and its people?

The list could be much longer, and some of the questions may have been answered during the interview that preceded your selection. In any case, you need the answers to begin planning your systematic approach. As a starting point, make a list of question you have now about your new job. (Later as you begin to collect more specific information, you’ll be able to ask more pertinent questions, in much greater detail.)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Make a list all of the questions you’d like to be answered about your new job. Note the sources available to you at present for providing the answers.

Why have a Systematic Approach?

For many professionals the introduction to a new job is a haphazard affair. The good news is usually accompanied by smiles, handshakes, and vague statements about “getting together after you’re on board.”

Then follows a period of coordinating the relocation with in-house specialists….reading a few general pamphlets about the company and its products or services….and possibly some lonely moments of contemplating the nameless and shapeless challenges that lie ahead.

The first day on the new job is a kaleidoscope of administrative forms.. an absolutely un-rememberable volume of new faces and names….a quick tour of the immediate area…. and a few private minutes with the boss, whose impromptu remarks about projects and problems barely register.

Suddenly the new person is alone at a desk or behind an office door, checking the starter supply of pencils and wondering what comes next.

Answer? Simple. Next comes a honeymoon period – length unknown and indeterminable – after which the prevailing judgments will be rendered in either of two forms:

  • “Joe really has taken charge in record time! We’ve got a real winner there!”

-OR-

  •  “It’s a shame, but Joe still hasn’t grasped the situation yet. Guess we can’t always be right.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. A few hours of up-front planning can arrange important subjects and issues in a logical priority and eliminate minor matters that tend to “fog” the entry process. The “people” skills you already possess can help you gain the cooperation of your boss and other sources of advance information. With a systematic approach to your upcoming transition you can:

  • obtain information needed to form preliminary conclusions about the organization, your new job responsibilities, and the people you’ll be dealing with;
  • provide a framework for your self and others to follow during your transition;
  • simplify your “first day” entry with your boss, subordinates and associates;
  • increase your managerial effectiveness during your first weeks and months on the job;
  • bring yourself up to speed as quickly as possible in terms of productivity and results.

A Matter of Timing

Your entry process begins while you’re still in your old job, and ends on the day you’re performing effectively in the new position. Let’s divide the total process  into three distinct phases as follows:

Pre-Start – A time for gathering information, researching the elements of you job (at least in general terms), getting familiar with some of the people involved, and coordinating your announcement and arrival.

 First Days on the job – A carefully structured format for meeting key people, introducing yourself to your staff, getting down to brass tacks with your boss, and becoming familiar with departmental tasks and responsibilities.

Settling In/Taking Charge – A newcomer’s game plan for managing the efforts of people, solving problems during the first several weeks on the job, and obtaining complete agreement and support from the boss.

Each phase is treated separately  and will follow in the next three blog posts, with a text that discusses the principal issues and work-sheets designed to help you plan your actions and priorities. To Be Continued….

Sharon Jenks, CEO/President -The Jenks Group, Inc.

 

 

 

One Interview Question That Reveals a Superstar Job Candidate

Granted, it’s not exactly a question…but it definitely elicits an important response.

chairs

We all have our favorite interview questions. (And every interviewee has questions, like the five great questions job candidates ask.)

Yet we all wish we had better questions to ask, especially when hiring the perfect person is so critical. But is there one perfect question that can identify a true superstar for your business?

Turns out there is.

Tejune Kang, founder of Six Dimensions (No. 651 on the Inc. 5000 in 2013), an IT service firm that provides expert consultants and on-demand implementation and management services, has one he swears by.

“The world is full of mediocrity,” Tejune says. “I don’t just want to compete. I want to hire superstars, because I want to win the Super Bowl.”

So Tejune starts every interview with a few basics. Assessing the candidate’s hunger and drive is important, so he asks how candidates determine their goals as well as what motivated them then and what motivates them now.

He also looks for competitive people, so he asks about the last time they competed, what they like about winning, what they don’t like about losing, how they feel when they lose–and what they do next.

Then he takes a step back:

“It sounds like you have the right degree, the right background, and the right skills, but in our company every employee has those qualities. That’s a given.

“The problem is, I just don’t see that extra something in you that all of our people have.”

And then he throws down the gauntlet:

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this is the right fit for you.”

Then he sits back and waits.

What happens? Nine out of 10 people immediately fold. They say, “Well, I appreciate your time.” They say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but thanks for the interview.”

But the true gems don’t fold. They instead immediately rise to the challenge. After all, theywant the job and know his company is the right fit for them. So they work hard to overcome his resistance.

They say, “I think you’re wrong. I’m here for a reason. Here’s what you’re not seeing.”

In short, superstars don’t give up–which is exactly what you want every employee to do.

“It’s one thing to have a pleasant conversation during interviews,” Tejune says. “And I definitely do that. But at some point, you also need to turn up the heat and see how people respond. Anyone can do well when things go perfectly. Superstars rise to the challenge when things don’t go their way.”

The Gotcha Game?

I know what you’re thinking. Tejune’s approach sounds like a test.

But aren’t all interviews, at least in part, some form of test? You ask questions. You dig. You probe. You assess. No matter how hard you try to make an interview a conversation, there’s still an element of “testing” involved.

Besides, some companies literally test prospective employees (here’s looking at you, Google). Others spring surprises like group interviews or role-playing sessions. Because there is no way to truly know what’s inside a candidate–and how that candidate will perform once on the job–every interview involves some form of test the candidate passes or fails, even if that test boils down to, “Do I like this person?”

Plus, Tejune’s approach focuses on an important quality that is often hard to identify in an interview. Say you’re hiring a salesperson. Salespeople hear “no” dozens of times a day. Sales superstars rise to and defeat the challenge of “no” much more often than mediocre salespeople; that’s one of the qualities that make them super.

Or take it a step further. Don’t you want your employees to be able to push back and say you’re wrong–and then explain why you’re wrong and what is the better option?

Of course you do.

Superstars aren’t just good at what they do. Superstars push past barriers, push past rejection and roadblocks, and rise to the occasion when times truly get tough–which, in any business, they inevitably do.

Qualified candidates can do the job when life is good. Superstar candidates can do the job when everything collapses around them because they have the hunger and the drive and the competitive spirit to not just compete…but to win your version of the Super Bowl.

The next time you interview a job candidate who doesn’t appear to have what it takes, be honest. Say, “I’m just not seeing it.” (You may not feel comfortable when you do, but because you’ll eventually tell the candidate he or she didn’t get the job…why not do it now?)

Then sit back and see how the candidate responds.

Most will thank you for your time. And that’s fine.

But once in a while, a candidate will rise to the occasion and the challenge, and surprise you…and you will have found a superstar you otherwise would have missed.

It’s worth a shot, because no company ever has enough superstars.

Including yours. – Jeff Haden

7 Career Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making

career mistakes

Older workers have a harder time finding jobs and remain the demographic that once unemployed, stays out of work the longest. So hanging on to their jobs is of paramount importance. Yet here are 7 mistakes older workers unwittingly make:

1. They don’t think they need to pick up new skills while they are still employed. 
Jobs are not static anymore. The workplace is constantly evolving and they need to evolve along with it. If an employer offers training classes, some older workers wrongly believe the classes are intended for new company hires and don’t go. Instead. they should be taking as many of those earn-as-you-learn classes as possible.

Should they lose that job, training is hard to come by. Government training programs are geared toward those who are receiving public assistance. The goal is to get those folks off the public dole and into tax-generating jobs.

Retraining programs for college-educated professionals kind of don’t exist. That, or they do a terrific job of hiding themselves from the public. In fact, a “60 Minutes” segment featured a Connecticut program in 2012 for just one reason: It was such a rarity. In that program, college-educated professionals, who had lost their jobs when they were in their 40s or 50s and who had been out of work for a full 99 weeks, were given a crack at some internships that could lead to permanent jobs. These former six-figure earners were grateful for the foot in the door for one big reason: Most of their peers don’t even get that.

Take-away: If you have a chance to broaden your skills, jump at it.

2. They think community colleges are just for kids.
The community college system has borne the brunt of re-training the displaced older workforce. There’s a program that launched in 2010 called the Plus 50 Completion Strategy which basically helps post50 students complete their post-secondary degrees,and aims to give older workers the skills they need to get jobs in fields that are actually hiring — like health care. So far, the Plus 50 initiative has served about 24,000 students, which — not to diminish this rare drop in the bucket — is about how many out-of-work journalists I hear from in any given week.

Even if you are working, it still makes sense to keep an eye on what lies around the corner for you professionally. Many of these classes can be taken online. If you are in one of those careers that is contracting, use the “hospice time” to prepare for what you will be doing next. And a community college is a great place to start.

3. They don’t sufficiently value reverse mentoring.
Older employees have some amazing teachers right under their noses, says Robert L. Dilenschneider, an author and business leader who lectures older workers around the country about staying relevant. “Younger employees are fluent not just in the new technologies but in the best ways to deliver business messages and marketing in such technologies,” he said, and older workers should seek them out. When workers can learn from each other, the workplace is strengthened.

Mentoring is a two-way street and the older workers who embrace that — instead of thinking that their age and experience alone make them the only teachers in the room — improve their value to the company.

4. They wrongly assume that working beyond 66 will be their choice.
This is a silly assumption, especially with companies eager to reduce costs and an economy that can provide many eager-to-work millennials who can be paid less than an older, more-experienced worker. The reality is that there is a guillotine lurking in every future and no job is secure for a lifetime anymore. It’s another argument for making yourself as invaluable as possible to the company by being willing and able to do multiple tasks.

Most boomers have gotten over the notion that they will be able to retire as young as their parents did. Now the goal is to hang on to the jobs they have for as long as possible.

5. They inflict self-damage when they joke about being tech-illiterate.
Stereotypes are bad things. And one of the popular stereotypes is that older people resist technology. It hurts them in the workplace and can be the death knell if they are job-hunting. And never mind that it isn’t a universal truth.

It’s important not to fuel the myth. Telling your younger boss that you need your teenager to program your new phone isn’t a funny joke; it’s a check mark in your “not capable” column.

6. They don’t make time to socialize with the younger people in the office.
While you may not think you have oodles in common with your decades-younger coworkers, it’s important to secure your place in the office universe.

Go out to lunch when they invite you, make time for the occasional drink after work, be interested in their weekend plans. Aside from the fact that having office friends will actually make coming to work more fun, it’s also easier to lay off the people who nobody knows.

7. They don’t actually have an exit strategy or a retirement plan.
A Fidelity study reported that 48 percent of boomers won’t be able to afford basic expenses in retirement. It begs the question: What are you doing about it?

The simplest answer is to try and save more and look for ways you are wasting money now. Another thing to think about is your housing costs, which are pretty much everyone’s big ticket item. While you are still working is the perfect time to look into more affordable places to live or how you can adapt your home expenses to be more aligned with your reduced retirement income. -Ann Brenoff

Employees Quit Management, Not the Company

I quit

I have the opportunity to do a lot of Consulting for Companies – Big and Small Companies, Companies in several different industries, Newer Companies and Established “Dinosaur” Companies, etc. The point is, I have had the privilege of Consulting for just about every type of business there is out on the market. And there is almost always the same problem – companies are experiencing higher turnover than they should – generally speaking of course.

Cost of Turnover

The obvious immediate problem is the cost of replacing an employee. Dun & Bradstreet have a great article where they reference a study done by Institute forResearch on Labor and Employment at UC, Berkley. The average cost of replacing an employee is about 1.5 times their Salary. For instance, if you are filling a $60,000.00 position, with all costs incurred, it will cost your company around $90,000.00.

Instability for Customers and other Employees

When you have employees rotating in and out, and customers dealing with new people on a semi-regular basis, regardless of the viability of the company it gives the appearance of instability and a company that employees don’t even like. Turnover can be a huge cancer to your employees as well, as employees have to unexpectedly take on extra responsibilities or duties that they do not have the skill set for, yet are held accountable for their errors.

Cause of Abnormal Turnover

In almost every case, when an employee leaves a company voluntarily, it is Managements fault. Yes, there are the proverbial “nails in the coffin” which Management loves to deflect to – such as “they got offered more money”, “their work load is easier over there”, and on and on. But if Management was doing their job correctly, in almost every case none of these reasons would be enough to make them want to move to a different company.

How to Keep Low Retention

Every company is different, but these principles stay the same. Use these ideas and suggestions, but also build off of them and create custom policies that fit your company, your employees, and your companies “personality”.

  1. ALWAYS DO EXIT INTERVIEWS!!! Unless the employee is extremely hostile, make sure an immediate exit interview is done with employees that tender resignations to understand why they are leaving. And listen – do not try and persuade them that they are wrong. Just listen. For instance, even though you may know that a particular action is not happening, there may be an issue somewhere in the company where there is a “perception” problem which are making employees unhappy that needs addressed.
  2. Work Atmosphere – Work Hard, Play Hard. Create a fun atmosphere at work. Never before, especially in the US, have we demanded more productivity out our employees since we are competing in a Global Economy now. And guess what, it is tough on everyone and will run you into the ground if you let it. This is a great time to get ideas from employees – game room, relaxation room, fun “brainstorming” sessions (I will do a separate article on this at another time), daily competitions for particular KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators – Sales, Revenue, Net Profit, Calls, etc). I am a big believer in spiff’s for winning a competition or if an employee does something particularly outstanding) – whether it is a small gift card, cash, company gear – use your imagination.
  3. Knock Down The Wall Between Mid-Management and the “C” Level – One of the biggest problems are C Level Executives not knowing about problems. I am not letting C Level Exec’s off of the hook, as even though they have Managers to handle the day to day Operations, C Level Exec’s need to be “keyed” in on what is going on, and make sure that employees can confidentially come to you with an issue to be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem. But it is amazing how good some Mid-Management get at putting up a wall where if there is an issue, that employees find it difficult, if not impossible, to voice a concern that may need to be addressed.

This is just a start, and meant to keep you aware of the high cost of turnover and to be constantly improving the company to make people want to stay. No companies have zero turnover, but I have Consulted for companies with both high turnover and low turnover. For companies with a high turnover problem, if it is handled aggressively and correctly, you can turn around extremely fast. – Jacob Franklin