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Leadership

How to Use Core Values to Craft Your Perfect Job

G iven that we spend about a quarter of our lives at work – maybe more – it’s kind of a travesty to say we’re going to spend most of our waking hours doing something that we don’t think matters that much. So it’s not a surprise that people are searching for meaning in work.” These are the words of organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who specializes in improving the work lives of employees.

For those who want to change their fortunes at their place of employment, the key may lie in the ability to identify what you are passionate about and work those passions into your job.

 

Discovering core values

“Make a list of the biggest sources of meaning in your life,” says Grant, and then ask yourself a one-word question about each: Why? The goal of the exercise is to eventually reach a core value. These values are at the heart of who we are as individuals. Incorporating core values into your daily activities will provide a much happier and satisfying work life.

Make a list of the biggest source of meaning in your life.

Grant says that once you identify your core values, two actions need to be taken. First, connect parts of your job that don’t feel meaningful to a core value. Second, find ways to work core values into your job.

To illustrate the first action, I will use a first-person perspective. As our company’s staff writer, I craft all types of content from blogs to website copy to emails. Without a doubt, there are some things I enjoy writing more than others. Email composition resides pretty low on my list of preferred tasks.

However, an important core value I live by is to be a great communicator. I strive to communicate in a way that is easy to understand, and leaves little room for misinterpretation. While emails may not be terribly inspiring, doing so gives me a chance to connect with my core value of being a good communicator. When I think of it in those terms, I view the task much more positively.

 

Job crafting

Grant referenced an article from the Harvard Business Review when he discussed the concept of job crafting.

Job crafting is this idea of saying, I have unique interests, values and skills that I could bring to the table that would allow me to be more effective and find more meaning in my work. So, I’m going to become an active architect of my job and I’m going to change the way that I do it, or I’m going to change what I work on.”

Job crafting does not advocate turning your job into a free-for-all, but it does mean incorporating elements that will inspire you and help you maintain a high level of energy and engagement. One idea is to come up with a side project from your day-to-day duties that really speaks to a passion you possess. Even if you spend just 10% of your work time on that project, it will help put you in a better place mentally to take on the rest of your tasks with a clearer mind.

Depending on your interests, this idea might come to fruition in the form of a social group that meets outside of work, such as a book club that furthers learning, or a charitable activity that can benefit your workplace.

Job crafting involves serious introspection about your job with the purpose of redefining it to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions. Going through this process helps you to have influence on your daily activities, creating a job that will feel more meaningful and fulfilling. It serves the additional benefit of giving you more control over what you do on a day-to-day basis. You are the one that ultimately controls your outcome, not your boss or the leadership team.

Job crafting involves serious introspection about your job with the purpose of redefining it to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions.

Why would an organization support job crafting?

Most people have more to do than time in which to do it. Having the ability to delegate tasks can free up time to address other important job tasks. Typically, leaders are the ones that determine what a worker does on a regular basis. By delegating job crafting to the employee, it frees up the manager to accomplish other things.

Not only does job crafting empower employees, it can serve the additional bonus of being a company benefit in lieu of cash bonuses or time off.

 

How to job craft

Begin by identifying motives, strengths, and passions, three vital components that will lead to higher engagement, better performance and overall happiness. Then look at how those things apply to work-related tasks, relationships and perceptions. Considering each of these three factors will ensure a thoroughly devised plan and greatly increase its chances for success.

Make sure that you are shaping your job, not letting your job shape you.

Conclusion

According to a survey of 5,000 U.S. households by The Conference Board, only 45% of those polled say they are satisfied with their jobs, certainly a downward trend from the 60% who were satisfied in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted. More recent studies from Gallup about job engagement show numbers even more disheartening.

Much of that dissatisfaction may lie in whether or not individuals control their own workplace destiny or are simply following orders and completing tasks on a daily basis. Make sure that you are shaping your job, not letting your job shape you.

Article written by Dave Clark, Staff Writer and Editor at TTI Success Insights.

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When It Comes to Developing Your Organization, Do Your Numbers Add Up? [Infographic]

W hen it comes to training your current workforce, including your next generation of leaders, having a first-rate training plan that employs assessment solutions is key. Assessments can be used to uncover the how and why behind behaviors, soft skills, and EQ, producing results and increasing engagement.

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Bottom-up Thinking Through Messy Strategy: Creating Alignment Within Organizations

H ow do we do what is right by the people of our organization while protecting the company’s bottom line? The answer lies in reimagining the way we plan our strategies. Rather than relying on the age-old method of “top-down” thinking, we need to consider a new, more effective approach, that begins at the bottom and works its way up. This is a method we employ at TTI Success Insights and it works.

The concept of Messy Strategy is based on a “bottom-up” strategic planning process. Messy Strategy involves every employee seeing themselves in the company’s overall plan. This strategy succeeds when all employees have input in the plan and work toward a common goal. When the entire staff feels like they are a part of the planning process, they take ownership of the plan, even if their own personal contribution is a very small part of the overall strategy.

Messy Strategy involves every employee seeing themselves in the company’s overall plan.

What is Messy Strategy?

What if an organization had a roadmap to achieve consistently high-levels of success? What if the organization was able to bubble up all the unique and diverse ideas from the receptionist to the CEO, hearing the voice of every employee and incorporating that into the strategic plan? Imagine the results a company could achieve if every employee felt heard. What would that do for employee morale and engagement?

At TTI Success Insights, we use this approach and have been extremely happy with the results. It starts out with leadership asking the staff for candid feedback to an annual company survey. Year after year, our people contribute more and more constructive feedback, which gives us a better perspective of where we are and where we need to go.

An important thing to understand about the process is that it can be a significant investment of time – and messy – thus the name, Messy Strategy. In our case, the process involves reading hundreds of pages of feedback from employees. Going line by line, we read every single word that is written.

Messy Strategy may be intense, but it is also very invigorating. It gives us the intelligence we need to be able to formulate a plan that makes sense for our business. As leaders, we may believe we know exactly what the organization needs, but it’s not until we get the feedback from the entire staff that we fully understand the breadth and depth of the organization’s challenges.

Messy Strategy gives us the intelligence we need to be able to formulate a plan that makes sense for our business.

Once all the feedback is read, we brainstorm ideas, pasting a countless number of sticky notes on the walls. This helps us sort out what to do now, in the near future, in the distant future and whenever we get to it.

The key takeaway is that it’s not top-down, it’s bottom-up. Messy Strategy means hearing, feeling and understanding what every employee is thinking. Employees want to see themselves in the company plan. When they feel they are heard and that their input matters, they buy in. Having the ability to achieve a bottom-up strategy will give you a top-down confidence to execute your strategic plan.

 

How to make Messy Strategy work effectively

A few basic tenets need to be in place for Messy Strategy to work effectively. Organizations need to have a tolerance for failure, but not be willing to accept incompetence. Experimentation is acceptable if implemented with a highly disciplined approach. Brutally candid communication throughout the organization allows recalibration if the plan veers off course. Any member of the organization should be encouraged to speak up if something is not working.

Collaboration with individual accountability ensures everyone does their part. Finally, over communicate! Too much communication, rather than not enough, helps to address any uncertainty and confusion that may arise within an organization.

7 Techniques to Messy Strategy

Make sure the process fits your organization. Consider your company’s culture and employ a process consistent with that culture so the process feels natural. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Messy Strategy. Do what feels right for your company.

Plan for planning. Be very strategic about dates and times. If possible, break up planning sessions to provide time for reflection. Start with a deep dive, then pause and reflect. We tend to get overly optimistic during planning, so having time to reflect brings real-world perspective back into the process.

For us, taking a break between sessions, or having a day to contemplate the multitude of ideas, provides perspective. Time gives us a true feel for whether or not a strategy makes sense and is viable.

It’s recommended to do the planning on-site if your company has the right space. When employees see the leadership team working diligently to create a solid plan, it’s energizing to the staff. Off-site strategy can easily be misperceived by employees as leisure time for leaders. Let them see you working hard!

Give voice to the entire organization. Get a pulse on the culture. A great question to ask is, “If there is one thing you can change about the organization today, what would it be – and why?” Be sure to ask that question! It’s better to know what issues your employees have with your organization now, so you can make every attempt to correct any shortcomings. Try to ask the same questions year after year to find trends and common themes.

We didn’t realize our need as a company for a human resources professional until that fact came to light consistently during our surveys. Once we had that information, we took action by creating a new position and hiring a great candidate to fill it. The employees know they are being heard.

Identify “start, stop and continue” behaviors and actions. Figure out what is working, what isn’t and what is currently missing. This concept pertains to individuals and the organization as a whole. This recognizes jobs well done, while also pointing out areas of improvement. It’s just as important to celebrate the victories as it is to address the problems and challenges.

Start with actions, end with numbers. Once you can identify what needs to be improved, you can more effectively translate that into numbers, creating much more accurate goals. Taking this route usually results in higher-stretching goals compared with processes that start with the numbers.

Make the plan presentation special. In today’s virtual world, be sure to keep it tangible. At TTI SI, we hand out binders and schedule a full-staff presentation around the year’s strategic plan. We end the presentation with a Q&A session encouraging employee feedback. This interaction makes the strategic plan become a two-way agreement.

When presenting the plan, look for employees who light up because they see themselves in the plan. Positive energy is contagious! Once employees know they are being heard, it encourages them to be even more candid and forthcoming in the future.

Create a meeting cadence and follow it. There’s no “right” formula when it comes to best practices for meetings. Do what works best for your organization. Once you’ve identified a certain cadence, do your best to stick to it.

Circumstances may dictate making changes to the meeting schedule or format throughout the year, which is ok, as long as you clearly communicate those changes with the organization. Employees want to know that leadership has a firm grasp on the pulse of the organization.

Leading by example will help you accomplish strategic alignment with complete buy-in from the organization. Several times throughout the year, we follow up by sending short surveys to the staff enabling us to understand the pulse of the organization. This process lets us know if we are on track or need to make adjustments.

Final thoughts

Every organization has its own culture and its unique way of doing things. How Messy Strategy is implemented will vary company to company. The key is to make it work for your organization. The good news is that this is not the same old way of conducting business. Messy Strategy is an invigorating process that leads to positive results.

At TTI Success Insights, we believe in being as authentic and transparent as possible. Involving your staff and gaining their buy-in throughout the planning process will provide an organization of happy, productive employees aligned to the company’s strategic plan.

Article written by Ashley Bowers, President and Chief Strategy Officer for TTI Success Insights Global Consulting.

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The New Super Hero Team – Business, IT and HR

T he ongoing disconnect between business, HR, and IT is legendary and many managers and even some executives may believe this thrilling threesome has nothing in common. Business can no longer operate without good talent management and HR can no longer be effective without IT. Why do these three bickering siblings need to get along for a more successful future?

One might say that business is the hero that built America.

The Business of Business

America, unlike many believe, was not founded for political or religious reasons. When Queen Elizabeth I of England sent people to explore the New World, it was in pursuit of riches. Business helped grow those riches for England and America. Business has spawned many other heroes in the building of America. The United States is still one of the few places on the planet where anyone can build their own empire.  One might say that business is the hero that built America.

The business of business is all about another hero, its people. There will be no numbers to crunch, no products to sell, and no services to deliver without people. While there are giant heroes in America’s past, these are the everyday heroes who continue to build organizations. Boards and CEOs are staying awake at night worrying about recruiting and hiring good talent. This is particularly troublesome for organizations that are not born digital. Many an article has been written about the need for in-depth recruiting, good hiring processes, and fitting the right people to the right job. Oftentimes, an organization will get all that right but fall short once their valuable heroes are on board.

“The workforce continues to change, and people today need different requirements for recognition, communication, engagement, and motivation. A more individual approach is necessary to address these needs and ensure that every worker realizes his or her hero value. The other side of this coin is that organizations need talent that can adapt, be agile, and embrace changes brought about by the market, the economy, customer demands, and of course, technology.

IT is It

Years ago, I remember the sales department arguing that nothing would happen in business without them. They thought they were the business hero. HR would argue that if it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be any jobs because there would be no one to fill them. They thought they were the business hero. Today, IT may very well be the hero because neither sales nor HR can function efficiently without them. Technology touches every part of our lives and is now recognized for making valuable contributions to business success, customer service, including making life easier for HR. Indeed, technology touches every part of business playing a significant role in keeping every department operating smoothly. That’s a heroic feat if ever I heard one.

Many of the jobs available today didn’t exist just a few years ago and many new jobs are not too far away on the horizon.

While everyone is smart to keep abreast of trends, IT must do it on steroids. While change is rampant, changes in technology come at blinding speed. Technology not only changes how we work, but the jobs we do, as well. Many of the jobs available today didn’t exist just a few years ago and many new jobs are not too far away on the horizon.

 

HR The Caped Crusader

Having been in HR, I can appreciate the effort it takes to walk the fine line between the dictates of business and keeping up morale. Or, between dishing out discipline and building a friendly culture. And finally, between building diversity and being fair to everyone. Any manager who has forgotten to dot an “i” and cross a “t” who has had HR swoop in, bail them out and, magically make all the distress go away, will call HR a hero. However, HR must now enfold business and IT under its collaborative cape as “friendlies.”

Now HR must become a business partner. It’s not enough to know the organization sells stuff, money comes in and everyone gets paid. Now HR must understand business strategy, marketing, sales, and profit margins. Now HR must understand a lot of technology and partner with IT to operate efficiently, attract hero talent, and use technology to help the business grow and prosper. Technology is changing every aspect of business including HR. It’s changing the way jobs are posted, the way people apply, and employee development.

 

Stay in Your Own Lane

Recently I was at an international conference and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of executives. I asked for their thoughts on the CEO, the CHRO, and the CFO becoming business partners. I was told that everyone should stay in their own lane.

Business heroes who might not have thought about being collaborative in the past must change their thinking pattern must solve problems together.

Business heroes who might not have thought about being collaborative in the past must change their thinking pattern must solve problems together. The same can be said for business, HR, and IT.

Article written by Diane Bogino, President of Performance Strategies, Inc.

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Secrets for Attracting High-Performing Talent in Today’s Competitive Marketplace

T oday’s workers have different wants and needs compared to those of previous generations. Security and predictability have given way to preferences for flexibility, culture fit and a people-first focus.

Google recently published an article stating that psychological safety can be the number one dynamic that sets a successful team apart from others; more important that actual talent or resources. Psychological safety speaks to an environment where individuals can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.

Psychological safety speaks to an environment where individuals can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.

Defining employee experience

The employee experience can be defined as a set of perceptions that employees have about their experiences at work in response to their interactions with the organization. The employee experience (EX) signifies the entire life cycle an employee has with a company, from onboarding to departure.

When unemployment was higher, posting a job opening could often attract hundreds of candidates eager to find employment. That dynamic has changed. Now it can take several months to find that high-performing employee that possesses all the desired attributes. A great culture, people-focus and employee experience will be the components that will attract the best candidates.

The employee experience is all about people feeling good about the work they do and the company for which they work. It’s about being excited to go to work. A positive employee experience gives workers a feeling that they are a part of something special and that their contributions are meaningful to the organization.

A positive employee experience is not reserved for the elite workplaces in the world such as Apple, Zappos and Disney. EX is something that all organizations should aspire to in order to compete for top talent in the modern workplace.

“Employers must provide development more quickly, move people more regularly, provide continuous cycles of promotion and give employees more tools to manage their own careers.” Employees don’t want to come in and do the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. They want to be challenged, know someone is listening to their ideas and that their ideas can and will take the organization to the next level.”

Components of a great employee experience

If an employee leaves the office exhausted day after day, or gets knots in his or her stomach every Sunday just from thinking about the upcoming work week, he or she is probably not having the best employee experience. Companies need to create an environment that attracts people; an environment where current employees want to recruit their friends to work. Imagine the productivity of a company where every employee loves his or her job!

One of the most successful entrepreneurs of our lifetime is Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. He breaks down employee experience simply and succinctly in his quote, “There’s no magic formula. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated. Think of it as the Golden Rule for creating an exceptional employee experience.” Leaders need to think about what type of experience they themselves want and how that experience can be translated to the entire staff.

Leaders need to think about what type of experience they themselves want and how that experience can be translated to the entire staff.

According to a recent Deloitte report, “Employers must provide development more quickly, move people more regularly, provide continuous cycles of promotion and give employees more tools to manage their own careers.” Employees don’t want to come in and do the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. They want to be challenged, know someone is listening to their ideas and that their ideas can and will take the organization to the next level.

The cost of finding a new employee

For general employment, it can regularly take between 45-75 days, on average, to find the right person for the right job. Hiring for specialty positions can take significantly longer, sometimes many months. Most high-performing workers are currently employed, though they realize they have choices.

A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that employers need to spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary in order to find and train their replacement. Hiring mistakes are costly. A new employee can take up to two full years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member, according to business expert Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte. A new hire will need to acclimate and be trained, likely taking productive work time away from co-workers.

The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. While organizations may be anxious to fill positions, a more prudent approach is to put a little extra time and effort into hiring to ensure getting it right the first time.

Engagement

Employee engagement is getting a lot of publicity these days. Despite engagement being on the upswing, the majority of workers (53% of them) remain disengaged according to a recent study by Gallup. The question an organization needs to ask is…what’s missing? What can we do to tap into to true talent and abilities of that 53%?

Imagine the possibilities if organizations started to get high-level production from workers that are just working to get by.

Imagine the possibilities if organizations started to get high-level production from workers that are just working to get by. Putting more focus and attention on soft skills may be the answer to moving some of those disengaged workers to the engaged side.

Putting people first

Putting people first – sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Companies that put people first will have a staff of employees that say “I love my job and I’m excited to do what I do.” Not only will these employees do better work, they will act as the company’s own recruiting arm by promoting the virtues of the company to their peers.

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7 Keys to Successful Organizational Development

B usiness is no longer business as usual. In fact, those who don’t embrace change in the modern workplace run the risk of becoming yesterday’s news. Today, the organization needs to be working in unison, aligned with a strategic plan that has the buy-in from all members of the team, regardless of position.

Organizational development can be defined as the theory and practice of planned, systematic change in the attitudes, beliefs and values of employees.

Organizational development can be defined as the theory and practice of planned, systematic change in the attitudes, beliefs and values of employees. How does an organization get all of its employees to be part of the process? These seven strategies proposed in a recent humanresourcesmba.net article can help an organization create a unified company direction, rallying around a strategic plan created and embraced by all employees.

Involve all employees in decision making

In the days of old, leaders and managers sat in boardrooms and created strategic plans. Once they were done planning, employees were expected to follow the newly implemented plans and be fully on board, even if they had nothing to do with the plan or no say in it. It’s pretty easy to see how that might not be the most successful way to go about it.

“Involving employees in the entirety of the planning process serves the single-most important purpose of giving them input into the company plan. If they have a say in the plan, how could they not be on board with it? By believing they are part of the change, they are more engaged and more willing to go along with the plan, even portions of it that they may not necessarily embrace.

The key is to empower employees with the tools, including the necessary decision-making abilities, to do their job unencumbered. Let them own their unique part of the company’s universe and be fully responsible for it.

Change should focus on groups and departments

Each specific department should be analyzed to see where it is highly functional and where it can be improved. The change should be department wide, not necessarily put on the shoulders of certain individuals. Look at the whole of the group and try to identify common themes. Are certain deadlines not being met consistently? What might be the cause of this? Are there recurring bottlenecks that are inhibiting a smooth work path? What can be done, department-wide, that might improve these workflows?

Build trust throughout the organization

Employees simply will not give their full effort and attention to a company that they do not trust. Building trust with the employee is paramount to getting the employee’s buy-in to the company’s strategic plan. Trust and respect are the building blocks upon which all good company/employee relations are built.

Trust and respect are the building blocks upon which all good company/employee relations are built.

Building trust should not be an afterthought. Without this important component, nothing else really matters. Everything starts and ends with mutual trust.

Encourage collaboration over competition

It used to be common to create internal competitions to spur action. But for every competition, there needs to be a loser. When someone loses repetitively, they may eventually decide to stop competing. A better alternative is to create an environment of collaboration over competition.

When people work together, they all have a part in the success and no one has to lose. Of course, ensuring a smooth workflow free from bottlenecks is paramount to ensuring the success of the collaboration, but as long as safeguards are put in place, a collaborative work environment can produce higher quality work with less stress on individual employees.

Invest in education, benefits and incentives

Helping your employees become masters of their own personal universe empowers them to excel at their activities. Investing in education to help them learn the necessary skills to do their jobs to the best of their ability. On or off-site training can help improve specific skills and keeps employees current on new methods, techniques and information.

Helping your employees become masters of their own personal universe empowers them to excel at their activities.

Create the opportunity for employee feedback

Having open channels of communication is key for an organization to ensure it’s strategic plan gets carried out. Not only should employees have an unrestricted ability to give meaningful feedback, including constructive criticism, during the planning stages, but they should also have the ability to openly communicate all along the way should unforeseen problems arise.

This two-way communication should not be restricted to annual performance reviews or monthly one-on-one meetings. Employees should be able to voice their opinions at any time in order to ensure that operations continue to run smoothly.

Involve all members of the organization

It’s important to showcase the importance of diversity of thought, and the need for every member of the organization to participate in strategic planning sessions. The greatest ideas may not always come from the person with the most prestigious title.

It just may be the janitor that sees something that needs attention that others may miss. It may be the receptionist who talks with people on a daily basis that has the true pulse of the organization and some of its customers’ concerns. Never discount a person’s opinion simply because of their position within the company and get feedback and input from every single member of the organization.

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How the Difference Generations Stack up in the Workforce [Infographic]

A ccording to Pew Research Center data of 2017, the most recent year for which the data is available, Millennials are the most populous generation in the workforce, having surpassed Generation X’ers in 2016. The numbers will change significantly in the coming years as Baby Boomers retire and more members of Generation Z join the workforce.

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5 Reasons Why Training is Important

T  here was a time in my previous life when I worked in the beer world. Being on the craft side of the industry, knowledge and training were vital to the success of our brands. My job took me inside hundreds of food and drink establishments every year and I was simply amazed at the absolute dearth of training in the industry, as a whole. Not only was finding a well-trained bar or restaurant staff the exception instead of the rule, it was truly like finding a diamond-in-the-rough when I did encounter one. I often wondered why it was this way and what could be done about it.

This real-life experience left a lasting impression on me, but by no means was a lack of training confined to the beer industry. Have you ever called a major corporate entity and suffered through a painful conversation with a robotic call center employee? Or maybe, you’ve had a less-than-stellar experience at your local post office or DMV?

Have you ever called a major corporate entity and suffered through a painful conversation with a robotic call center employee?

Some companies find success in spite of their training techniques (or lack thereof). Can you imagine a world where training was deemed as important as the products the companies were selling; where training was considered part of the very DNA of a business’ modus operandi? Here are five good reasons to make sure your employees have the best training possible, and what happens when they do.

Employees work harder

When an organization takes a genuine interest in an employee, the employee feels the need for reciprocation and tends to put forth a better effort. Work becomes more meaningful and a the employee feels a certain responsibility to execute the job tasks to the best of his or her ability. It’s human nature to want to work for someone that respects us and shows that respect.

Company loyalty increases

When a person feels as if they are a meaningful part of an organization, they become and stay more engaged. Employees who are engaged will outperform those who aren’t. Companies that support its employees build loyalty, resulting in deeper dedication, better efforts, less sick days used and other ancillary benefits.

When a person feels as if they are a meaningful part of an organization, they become and stay more engaged.

Untrained workers equal lost customers

Who wants to do business with a company that appears to be inept? A negative first impression is hard to overcome and if you have a negative experience the first time you deal with a company, chances are you won’t be inclined to give them a second chance. The opposite of that is also true.

If you have a consistently good experience with a company, then run into an isolated incident where something isn’t right, you are much more likely to forgive that company and overlook the indiscretion.

Untrained workers are inefficient and mistake prone

When a worker is going through the motions, their heart and mind are not on the job they are performing. Because of this, they are more likely to make careless mistakes by losing their focus. Mistakes cost companies money, especially if it means lost customers.

These non- or disengaged employees feel much less inclined to work hard since they are, effectively, just going through the motions to collect a paycheck. They might be marginally useful and still perform to some degree, but there is still a level of loss for the company since that position could be filled by someone who engaged who would work harder.

Workers want to advance

Talented employees take an interest in a company and want to grow within that organization. These employees are good contributors and they typically want to stay onboard longer since they feel like they are a part of something exciting.

Talented employees take an interest in a company and want to grow within that organization.

It’s important to distinguish between training and developing employees. Training usually focuses on the acquisition of new skills, according to lessonly.com, while development is concerned with the improvement or extension of existing skills. Once a person is trained, they need to be regularly developed in order for them to continue to grow.

Conclusion

Going back to the beer industry reference earlier, I challenge you to pay special attention to the staff’s training next time you go into your favorite establishment. Does your bartender put your beer mug into the spigot when they pour your beer? (They shouldn’t!) Can they ably explain the differences between the beer styles that are currently on tap? (This should be a prerequisite before hiring.) If they don’t know, do they at least find the answer and get right back to you? (Let’s hope so.)

Think about how much happier you are when you go into an establishment that seems well run by an engaged and knowledgeable staff. Sometimes the service can leave more of a lasting impression than the food or drink itself. Now take that thought process and apply it to your business. If everyone who does business with your company can feel that same sense of satisfaction when they do business with you, then you know you are doing things right.

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Practice Rescue: 3 Tips to Hiring the Right Candidate

T he unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and the war for amazing talent is at an all-time high. What can employers do to find the best fit for the position they seek to fill?

A dentist client recently told me that she was so desperate to fill an open dental assistant position in her practice that she hired the first candidate that applied, despite the “yellow flags” she sensed when she was interviewing the candidate. These same warning signs resurfaced during the employee’s 90-day onboarding/contingency period.

What are yellow flags?

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level. The applicant does not quite give us the obvious red flag that would disqualify that person from consideration, but rather shows elements that cause some sort of underlying concern that he or she may not be the ideal fit.

Yellow flags are indicators that a candidate or new hire may not meet all our requirements from either a skills, personality or cultural fit level.

Often, we feel in our gut that something just isn’t right, but not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is, we may be inclined to hire anyway. Dismissing those gut feelings can come back to haunt us, especially if we overvalue the candidate’s potential due to an urgency to fill the open position.

Three examples of yellow flags during the interview process may include the following:

  1. Workplace timelines do not add up on the candidate’s resume.
  2. The candidate is very eager, or even aggressive, about securing employment with your practice.
  3. The candidate offers openly negative discussions regarding a previous employer and that employer’s work environment.

3 tips

How do we avoid getting sucked into a yellow-flag employee?

  • Use words in your job posting to describe your practice and the position that would attract the type of candidate you are looking for, such as “growth-minded” or “fast-paced.” You want to sell the position. Great candidates are not just looking for a job, they are also looking for a great fit. You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

You want a candidate that is as particular about where they work as you are about hiring the right person.

  • Ask yourself if the candidates applying for the position are hungry for more. Are they teachable and passionate for growth in your business? Initiative cannot be taught.
  • Ensure you have a system in place for true references, background checks and interview processes with several current members of the staff prior to making an official job offer.

Green, yellow, red

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning and nothing throughout the process gives any indication to doubt those signs. Yellow flags are more common when you find someone that has some, but not all, of what you are looking for in an ideal candidate.

In some cases, you just know when you’ve stumbled upon a great candidate. The signs point to green from the beginning.

These yellow flags are not to be confused with red flags that come with candidates who have a criminal or drug history, are not a cultural fit with your organization or simply possess an incapacity to do the job. On the racetrack, yellow indicates caution. If your candidate is causing you to raise the yellow flag, I suggest you proceed with caution before offering that person a position.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.

5 Characteristics of Great Leaders

T  he hope of every employee is to work for a leader they like and respect. While each person may have their own definition of what constitutes a “great leader,” we can agree there are certain traits that appeal to the masses.

If you are a leader and you possess these five traits, you are probably quite successful. If you don’t think these traits describe your leadership style, working on one or more of these areas would be a great place to start in order to build a better rapport with your teams.

Humility

We may often think a successful leader needs to be a commanding or charismatic presence, yet often it’s exactly the opposite type of leader that appeals more so to a workforce. A leader who shows humility steps out of the spotlight and lets that light shine upon the team. While having a fiery or attention-grabbing personality may be great for a leader doing a public speaking engagement, that approach can wear thin with workers on a day-to-day basis.

We may often think a successful leader needs to be a commanding or charismatic presence, yet often it’s exactly the opposite type of leader that appeals more so to a workforce.

Sue Shellenbarger of The Wall Street Journal said, “Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years. Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.”

She ascertains that humility leads to lower turnover and absenteeism, because these leaders tend to let their teams get the majority of the attention and the accolades, making them feel more engaged.

Conviction

Author Nishant Bhajaria wrote an article entitled, Four Mistakes That Made Me a Better Manager. In this article, Bhajaria cites four key attributes that any leader needs to have to empower them for success: conviction, courage, good listening skills and the ability to mentor.

“Believing in the mission is at the foundation of everything a manager does. All plans and strategies are built from that mission. You can’t build a sound structure without a solid foundation, and it works exactly the same way in business. As the leader, you are responsible not only for yourself, but for every member of your team. You have to believe in them to be able to support them in times of need. The bottom line is simple: employees want to follow a leader they believe in and a leader in whom they trust.”

Courage

Put more than one person in a room and disagreements are bound to occur. When there is a disagreement, a great leader needs to be able to stand their ground believing in their position, while still being receptive to the opposition’s point of view. Conversely, they have to understand that there are occasions when their beliefs may not be best for the organization and they must be willing to be flexible. The key is to win others over through a sound and calm fact-base case rather than by becoming emotional or argumentative.

Part of having courage is trusting your people to do the job without a lot of interference.

Part of having courage is trusting your people to do the job without a lot of interference. Constantly being involved with minutiae can become more of a distraction than a help, and it impedes an employee from wanting to take chances and expand their comfort zone. An employee that is constantly challenged becomes tentative, and eventually, complacent. A great leader will provide instruction and direction, then trust that the employee is capable enough of carrying out the duties out in a meaningful way.

Great listener

A great leader certainly needs to be a support system for the team, but the leader must also let the workers grow. With growth comes the occasional failure, which is perfectly acceptable since it leads to expanding comfort zones and learning new skills.

Workers typically want to know that when they have a need or a concern, their manager will be there to listen to them and lend support, if needed. Sometimes, just letting an employee verbally brainstorm or even vent is all that is needed. Being a good listener can be as powerful, if not more powerful, than a “fix it” manager who always feels the need to try to fix problems that may not actually exist.

Mentoring

Very few people are “born leaders.” Most leaders need to learn their skills somewhere and from someone. Virtually every great leader can immediately recall someone who helped them over the years, especially when they needed help the most. Even if the mentor’s involvement seemed insignificant at the time, it can often leave a long-lasting positive impact on the person who was helped.

A great manager understands that the more they listen, the more they can learn, and let’s the employees do the majority of the talking.

Virtually every great leader can immediately recall someone who helped them over the years, especially when they needed help the most.

Mentoring can be done in a structured, formal capacity or very casually. Mentoring is simply helping others get to where they want to go. It can be a full-fledged training program or a properly timed pep talk.

When I was a young sales executive, I didn’t have an official mentor or a predesigned career path to get into management. I did, however, have a high-ranking division leader that I went to when I needed words of wisdom. That leader came through every time, no matter how seemingly insignificant the issue. While he may not have even realized he was being a mentor at the time, I credit him with a key role in my eventual move into sales management because of his words of wisdom and the things I learned from him, including the example he set as a leader.

Conclusion

There are many people who hold positions of authority, but there is a shortage of great leaders. When I think back to the leaders who made the greatest positive impact in my life, there were a few consistencies. These were the leaders that respected me as a person and a worker, supported me in good times and bad, and gave me the space to do what I did best – produce results.

At times, a week could go by without more than casual conversation with these great managers. This was perfectly ok with me because I knew what I needed to do and the manager knew I was getting the work done at a high level. Micromanaging simply wasn’t necessary. But when I needed the manager, they made themselves available. The mutual respect led to a great working relationship and the results spoke for themselves.

Download Our Free Hiring Guide.

In this guide, you’ll get access to the seven most important questions to ask when hiring someone. And yes, they go way beyond a basic job description.