Help Us Improve the Recruitment and Selection Process
The recruitment and selection process can be stressful. First impressions are lasting, but the burden isn't just on candidates. Starting off on the right foot is equally important for employers. It can be a decisive factor in employee engagement and retention.
Both parties benefit when the process is objective and transparent. Employers get more consistent results, candidates are more likely to feel that they are treated fairly, and reciprocal commitment is built from the ground-up.
We always advocate for evidence-based talent management systems. The recruitment and selection process is no exception. That's why we've put together a survey to collect feedback on this process.
We want to hear from YOU!
If you're ever been through a hiring process (or are going through one right now), then we want to hear from you! You can participate in our study by visiting the link here:
>> Take the Talent Recruitment and Selection Survey
The results will be published and distributed throughout the recruiting industry to motivate improvements to the recruitment and selection process. This is key in advancing talent acquisition knowledge and best practices.
Why improve the talent recruitment and selection process?
Enhancing engagement and commitment are two of the most valuable strategies in any HR departments arsenal. It's no secret that successful companies integrate these goals into every level of the organization - starting with recruitment:
- Job design can have an enormous impact on engagement.
- Talent acquisition strategies can be designed to encourage engagement and inspire commitment.
- Investing in the right talent development strategies is necessary to promote these goals in the long-term.
- Leadership ultimately has to spearhead these strategies - otherwise they won't be made a priority.
- Finally, performance management best practices can yield excellent returns for both employers and employees.
None of these tactics could have evolved without a deep understanding of human behavior and its relation to organizational outcomes. That's where you come in.
We would love for you to be a part of this latest study - so if you have a minute, click here to take the survey. It won't take more than 5 minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your time! This research can be instrumental in improving the hiring experience for everyone.
How to Use Staffing Strategies to Boost Your Competitive Advantage
Competitive advantages come from many sources: innovation, cost, service, quality, branding, distribution, speed and convenience are perhaps the most prominent.
But this masks their true origin.
The reality is that workers are the root of any competitive advantage. Consider this: they're the ones who come up with more efficient processes, develop innovative products, and deliver exceptional customer service.
Companies that recognize this fact learn how to tailor staffing strategies to leverage what they do best - aligning business objectives with the right competencies, all the way from the C-Suite to the frontlines.
That's good not just for the company, but also for its people, teams, customers, shareholders, and society as a whole. It creates coherency, purpose and growth.
So how can you maximize your competitive advantages through staffing strategies? That depends on the advantage itself. Below are a few examples:
Innovation - Does your company excel at product development? Then fostering innovation and accelerating time-to-market are musts. That puts a premium on creative workers with research skills, entrepreneurial drive and innate curiosity.
Low Cost - If your focus is on cost and convenience, then you need to recruit talent that enables efficient production and delivery. Hires that are adaptable, trainable, efficiency-oriented and willing to follow standardized procedures can best serve these goals.
Customization - Companies that thrive by molding their offerings to each customer's needs can readily earn long-lasting loyalty and repeat business. Achieving those goals requires a high level of customer service, adaptability and willingness to learn.
Growth - If you're rapidly expanding (either as a start-up or to reach economies of scale), you have to recruit employees that are on board for what that takes. Future-oriented, flexible risk-takers that gel well with your company culture are likely to stay along for the ride and grow as your company does.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. Identifying the competencies that matter, crafting success profiles and creating an acquisition process that works are each difficult unto themselves.
If you're looking to align your staffing efforts with what your company does best, don't hesitate to reach out. We're always happy to help aspiring businesses find the right path.
Change Management for Humans: How to Turn Critics Into Advocates
Why do change management projects fail?
We all start out with the best intentions - an ambitious vision for the future, innovative strategies for getting there, detailed plans for managing change. But even the best laid plans fall flat if they lose sight of what really drives change: people.
Your employees can be your most powerful advocates, but you have to earn their support. The key is recognizing that resistance is our de facto attitude toward change. It's hardwired into us.
When you structure your programs around that assumption, you make them thoroughly human. Instead of forcing change on people, you learn to inspire change in them. This ability to encourage change from the bottom-up is what makes or breaks a change project.
1. Tell a compelling story about the future. Everything starts with your vision. Turning your strategic goals into an inspiring narrative should be priority number one. Be aspirational, but also be real. Employees care about more than just company outcomes. They want to know how this change will impact them, their team, the customer, the company, and society at large.
2. Listen. This is a critical step - and the most often neglected. Change is a dialogue. Leave room for employees to express their fears, concerns and motivations and listen carefully. The feedback they will volunteer is priceless. Involving them early will not only help tailor your program to their needs, it will also earn their commitment in the process.
3. Clearly define goals and roles. Showing employees how their responsibilities align with long-term goals fosters engagement and buy-in. When the connections aren't clear, they become apathetic or even resistant.
4. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Leading by example is always a good approach, but it's essential when you try to change entrenched behaviors. Saying one thing and doing another is a quick way to sabatoge employee engagement. Get leadership on-board before and provide consistent feedback throughout the process to help them model the behaviors you want to see.
5. Provide both technical and emotional training. Reaching your intended future state requires more than changing practices; it requires changing the beliefs and attitudes that underpin them. If some people aren't readily adopting the desired behaviors, find out why and address those issues. It's okay to admit when things aren't going as planned and work to rebuild trust. Glossing over reality only undermines the process.
True transformation comes from the bottom-up, not the top-down. Respect this fact and your vision is already within reach. And of course, if you need help, please reach out to us. We're more than happy to help.
Superfeet: Aligning Innovative Culture With Executive Search
When Superfeet was looking for a new president, they didn’t want the “usual recruiter experience.” When you’ve built a unique and successful company culture from the ground-up, leaving company’s direction to chance is not an option.
Enrique wrote about how valuable his immersive experience at Superfeet was. After hearing his rave reviews of their culture and the process they went through, I couldn’t help but be curious about the other side of the story. What inspired Superfeet to embark on such an intensive executive search?
I caught up with retiring Superfeet president Bill McLean to find out.
“What really worked is that Enrique opened himself up to us and allowed us to make him a part of the family and the culture,” Bill told me. “He really got to know how we look at customers and candidates and got a deep look into what we needed.”
That depth of understanding was critical for Superfeet. Cultivating a culture of innovation has always been at the heart of their success: “Our culture is what drives us forward. That needs nourishing and caring for everyday.”
You might think this emphasis on preserving culture would make them cautious, but in fact it led them to do just the opposite.
“We needed someone with a different set of experience,” says Bill. Keeping the company innovative and headed in the right direction meant personality and competencies trumped industry knowledge.
To that end, “Enrique went and reached out to people who had demonstrated success in their industries and had taken their companies to the next level — even people who weren’t looking for a job.”
It’s this approach that led Superfeet to John Rauvola, the then-president and managing director of Bona US, Inc., a wood floor product company in Sweden. John’s track record in developing new retail markets aligned perfectly with Superfeet’s focus on international expansion.
So how have things been going since then?
“I can’t tell you how pleased everybody is,” Bill says. “It’s a great feeling to have John on board and we definitely have mutual admiration for each other. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the nice thing is that we’ve got a solid, healthy company and we’re working through a smooth transition.”
“When you have to put fires out, you don’t have time to really develop the business. Now we have time to get the company headed where we want to be.”
The company’s future has never looked more promising. They’re currently the world’s leading biomechanical insoles and sandal manufacturer with over 80% of the specialty outdoor insole market. Superfeet is also an ESOP company and currently 39% employee owned.
Head on over to superfeet.com to learn more about their innovative products and culture.
What Makes an Executive Onboarding Plan Successful?
Hiring the right executive is just the first step. Integrating that executive into the rest of the company is critically important. The process is complex, difficult, and can take over a year to complete.
If it's done right, it empowers new leadership to get the results that company hired them to get. If not, it can undermine their efficacy and eventually lead to their resignation.
That's a costly proposition. So how can you ensure success? Design a system that incorporates the following 5 steps:
Why Socialization Is The Most Challenging Step - And How To Approach It
Out of these steps, the most important and complex is socialization. It goes beyond just getting to know everyone. Socialization has teach cultural norms, establish credibility and earn buy-in from the rest of the company.
At Generator, we take a multi-phase approach to socialization, bringing together four steps into a coherent and effective process:
1. Personality Knowledge - The first phase involves understanding the individual personality of the executive. Much of that can be gleaned from the acquisition process if it was rigorous and thoroughly documented.
2. Teambuilding - Phase two is formal teambuilding.
3. Short-Term Outcomes - The third phase is setting short-term outcomes. What does success look like in the first 3 months? The first 6 months? Establishing explicit performance goals will guide the executive's actions and keep them accountable to all stakeholders.
4. Long-Term Outcomes - Fourth and finally, long-term outcomes need to be clearly outlined. This helps new executives keep their eyes on the prize. Perhaps the most difficult part of executive integration is finding the right balance between fitting in and leading.
Executives are usually expected to engineer long-term changes in an organization. Finding a place within an organization's cultural norms while keeping enough distance to stay objective and be able to change them when necessary is essential.
Learning a new company is difficult work and that responsibility should be shared. By developing an executive onboarding plan you can demonstrate commitment to new leadership, help them thrive, and ensure a successful integration.
3 Employee Retention Strategies to Control Turnover
One of the key misconceptions about employee turnover is that people quit and get fired for different reasons. In fact, a recent study at Cornell found that both are influenced by the same three HR policies.
Professors Batt and Colvin of Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations School explored three primary levers for controlling turnover: work organization, long-term incentives, and short-term incentives.
What they found is instructive for any business looking to develop effective employee retention strategies.
1. Work Organization
Jobs that are defined on a mass scale with little discretion tend to hurt motivation and generate higher turnover. In contrast, those that promote autonomy, engagement and teamwork increase employee satisfaction, commitment and retention.
According to the study, higher levels of independence and group interaction “have been found to relieve boredom, stress and isolation, leading to lower absenteeism and turnover and better sales performance.”
This reinforces the idea that job design can boost employee engagement and commitment.
2. Long-Term Incentives
Holding on to valuable (especially firm-specific) skills motivates many employers to reduce turnover. Higher compensation, opportunities for growth, and job security are all long-term incentives for employee retention.
The evidence for the efficacy of these tactics is mixed. There’s a growing body of research showing that long-term incentives reduce quits. However, they tend to do so for both strong performers and poor performers alike.
Weeding out the deadweight in an organization is an important and difficult task. Combining long-term incentives with performance management strategies can help keep employees committed without sacrificing accountability.
3. Short-Term Incentives
Short-term incentives like customer service monitoring, performance appraisals, and pay-for-performance models are designed to enhance productivity.
The effects of these practices are both beneficial and harmful: employees are more accountable, but report higher levels of stress and less commitment to their employers.
The result? Short-term incentives lead to higher turnover both through quits and dismissals. When that tradeoff makes sense, as always, depends on your business model.
What employee retention strategies does your company have in place? Let us know in the comments below!
Why Turnover Is Key To Your Business Strategy
Do you think about turnover as a strategic variable? As something to be manipulated to achieve your business goals?
We typically counsel businesses on how to reduce turnover rates and costs, but some degree of turnover is inevitable and even desirable.
Of course, how much turnover is desirable depends on your business model.
High Turnover In High Performance Businesses
Netflix is a prime example of an organization that encourages a high rate of turnover. Their HR policy dictates that if you're just doing your job, you're gone.
That’s a mandate for high turnover, but there’s a business case for it. The intent is to drive innovation by keeping only top performers and opening up other positions for more promising employees.
While Netflix takes it to an extreme, culling the best while letting disengaged or unproductive employees go is just common sense. It’s good for the company and it’s good for employees who might be happier elsewhere.
High Turnover In Cost-Focused Businesses
There are also cases where lower operational costs outweigh higher turnover costs. Think about call centers, fast food restaurants, or budget grocery stores, for example.
Should you improve your company culture, implement performance management tactics and offer opportunities for growth to reduce turnover? Obvious ethical issues aside, you can see how the expense might override the benefits.
High Turnover for the Rest of Us
Of course, high turnover is a costly proposition. Separation, replacement and training can all be expensive and time-consuming, but turnover also negatively impacts customer service and employee commitment.
Most companies can’t afford to continually replace staff or lose business from poor performance. For most of us, keeping turnover as low as possible is essential to staying cost-effective and competitive.
No matter which boat you’re in, you should explicitly consider turnover in your business strategy. What do you do to influence it?
Performance Management Best Practices: Debunking the Myths
There are a lot of misconceptions about performance management — misconceptions that have hollowed out what should be one of the most effective ways of improving your business.
Take, for example, the idea that performance management is solely the domain of supervisors. An exclusively top-down approach can cripple the process by setting irrelevant goals, discouraging employees, and dismissing valuable feedback.
Instead of just exploring common myths like these, we’re flipping each into a best practice. Best practices are easier said than done, but in this case they are well worth the investment.
Performance Management Best Practices
1. Involve Employees at Each Step of the Process
Effective performance management requires engagement from all parties. Goal setting, evaluation and feedback are not just the domain of managers. Involve employees at each step and you’ll earn buy-in and foster engagement in the process.
When employees help determine their own goals, they’re far more likely to actively pursue them. Similarly, self-evaluation encourages reflection and continual improvement on an internal level.
Finally, the feedback they contribute can be invaluable. Insights on all levels have merit and can help guide the program, managers, and the company as a whole in productive ways.
2. Ensure That Performance Management Is Continuous
Unfortunately, performance management is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Firms that only revisit goals and performance on a quarterly or an annual basis are leaving money on the table.
First of all, timeliness is key when it comes to evaluations and feedback. Otherwise, it may come too late or out of context.
Secondly, adaption is the point of performance management. Helping individual employees evolve and advance their careers goes hand-in-hand with addressing changes in the market and at the company.
3. Set Relevant, SMART Goals
Smart is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound. Objectives should be clear and concrete, measurably and realistically achieved, and have a defined timeline with milestones along the way. Sticking to a practical framework is infinitely better than setting vague or subjective goals.
Of course, that’s all rendered meaningless if they’re not relevant to the individual, their job, or the company’s business goals. Arbitrariness is the enemy of efficacy in performance management.
If an employee views the goals as irrational or unachievable, they’re likely to see little point in trying to achieve them. That’s an additional reason why getting them involved from the start is so productive.
Conversely, if goals are tied directly to job responsibilities and aligned with business objectives, employees will be inspired to take action.
How does your business work on setting meaningful goals and encouraging genuine employee engagement in meeting them? Let us know in the comments below!
Embedded: Talent Selection for Superfeet on the Frontlines
For me, there’s nothing more empowering than getting an inside look into the companies I work with. Deep client engagement is essential to what we do and recently I had the opportunity to take that to a whole new level.
Premium insole designer Superfeet graciously let me become part of their team, and I don’t mean that figuratively. I spent an entire month on-site over the course of our engagement. They gave me my own desk — they even framed pictures of my kids!
Every few weeks during the 5-month process, I would fly up to Bellingham, WA and spend several days there. I learned everyone’s names by taking their coffee order and built great relationships with the key players in their business. I even got to sit in on product innovation meetings and get familiarized with their processes.
That might seem excessive, except that this was the most important decision the company had ever made: hiring a president.
A Candid Look at a Company’s Culture
This intensive approach gave me a clear understanding of their company and culture. I had a chance to see the good, and I also had a chance to see opportunities for improvement.
It allowed me represent the opportunity to candidates for what it really was, at a level of detail that would not have been possible any other way.
That kind of “warts and all” proposition might seem scary, but the end result was that candidates were able to self-select more effectively. They were able to honestly assess the opportunity and say “No, I don’t want to work that hard,” or, conversely, “Wow, that is exactly the challenge that I’ve been looking for.”
There’s simply no more efficient way to screen candidates than to let them screen themselves.
Taking a Structured Approach
From day one, Superfeet let me develop a structured interview process, train their staff, build a selection system, and run panel interviews and debriefs. We were able to conduct analysis on the interviews because of the scoring system we put in place and make sure our decision-making process was objective.
I’ve never done such an intensive engagement before and it was eye opening. I got a better understanding of the business; I got to understand how they looked at product innovation and development; I got to know what employees thought about the product, the company and the culture.
Most importantly, I was able to translate that into a dialogue with the executives that helped put the best selection system possible in place — and make sure it directly aligned with their business needs.
Thanks to the Superfeet team for having the bravery to face this challenge head-on and for so warmly including me in their team! I certainly look forward to the next experience like this.
Practical Guide to Career-Hopping Part 3: Five Ways To Prepare for a Career Change
Some people thrive when jumping headfirst into the unknown. For most of us, that's a recipe for disaster when it comes to making a career change.
No matter who you are, making a solid plan and getting your ducks in a row will go a long way towards making you feel stable and secure. I can't stress enough how important that is during a transition as big as making a career change.
With that in mind, here are the five most essential ways to prepare for a career change.
5 Ways to Prepare for a Career Change
1. Put healthy habits in place. Maintaining a healthy level of exercise, diet and sleep are the best things you can do for yourself in preparing for a major transition. Each on its own will significantly improve your ability to cope with change. Together, they'll form a solid foundation that will have you ready to face whatever challenges arise.
2. Recruit a support team. Talk to family and friends about your plans and ask for their support. You'll need it. Be upfront with those close to you and get them on board for the road ahead. Bringing in family and friends can also help you stay accountable. Check in with a friend twice a month to tell them what you intend to do over the next few weeks, report on what you've accomplished, and let them know how things are going.
3. Get your finances in order. Make sure you've got your bases covered financially. Otherwise, financial issues can quickly derail your plans - especially if you're cutting down on work to pursue additional education or unpaid work in your new field. Budgeting carefully ahead of time will save you loads of stress down the line.
4. Network with people in the field. Having a strong network can expedite your transition into a new career path. Go to industry events and start building your network as soon as possible. This is a time consuming process and you'll want to have as many connections as you can in place before you flip the switch.
5. Try it out! The only way to know with certainty if a possible career is a good match for you is by giving it the ol' college try. Ideally, you should do this with as little risk as possible. Whether that means taking on an internship, part time contract work, or relevant classes, there's simply no substitute for doing the thing and seeing how it makes you feel.
Did you catch Part 1 and 2? If not:
Read Part 1: Finding the Right Career Opportunities
Read Part 2: Diving Deep Into Your Career Shortlist
How do you prepare for major transitions in your life? Let us know in the comments below!