Get Your 2015 Hiring In Order – 5 Quick Tips to Get It Moving

2015 cubesJanuary, 2015, where plans are made and enacted for the coming year and where what you do now will have a solid impact on what happens later.

It is also the time to really plan what is going to happen with your staffing. What new projects will need to see increases? Can you see any staff looking to leave? Any changes that will see fluctuations in numbers? All of these need to be considered now to make sure you and your business are geared up and ready to face the year.

So what are the best tips to get these plans happening?

  1. Nail down your culture – Make sure you know exactly what makes your current employees get out of bed and come into work every day, what keeps them with you, what makes them happy, what engages them to the work they do and what you need to do to foster this. If you have no idea what your culture is, get it sorted now. You cannot hire without knowing exactly what makes your people great employees
  2. Get the basics in place – Do you know what is a killer job description? Know where to find the best candidates? Got your interviews structured nicely? Know the ins and outs of background checking? These are the basics that can mean the difference between success and failure.
  3. Start engagement now – this is something not a lot of businesses really understand. Employee engagement starts even before they are hired. Business leaders need to get out a bit more to attract the right people. Use social media, networking, whatever to create a sense of you as a leader being highly approachable and dedicated. Additionally, when you are starting the hiring process, think engagement from the first step. Present a clear picture of what your business is all about, get your other employees involved and get that message out where you can. If you create a great impression of your organisation before you go to hire, you may not even need to advertise the role as you be an attractive proposition for any potential candidates.
  4. Get to know who is about – recruiters call it ‘talent mapping’, but we’ll just call it good planning. Knowing who is in the marketplace, where potential candidates could come from and even initiating conversations prior to a role becoming live is a brilliant way to get the jump on the market. It will increase significant your ability to locate and secure great new employees and place you in a great position to lose as little time possible when filling your next live role.
  5. Profile the best candidate – this is the picture of who would be the perfect addition to your business. This picture isn’t the technical skills they have, but the behaviours, attributes, persona – the soft skills – the candidate will have to be a brilliant employee. Note who are your best workers, and those who show high levels of engagement and use them to create this picture. Put it together now so that when the time comes, it is an easy reference to base selections on.

Finally:

Get the plan in place and actioned – OK, so we know we are going to increase staff numbers this year, we can see the little bits to make it happen, so now is the time to be putting the plan together.  You are at a great time of the year to put some serious thought into what you are going to do this year to hire with a high level of success. Take these points and give your hiring policy some purpose and structure to really propel it into 2015.

Have a great (hiring) year.

 

What To Do When Your Top Performer Goes Rogue

ClarksonThings are going brilliantly. The business is building some impressive productivity results, the goals are all being achieved and the team is working harmoniously. Of particular note is your star performer. He or she is the gun of the whole business. They get the major clients in or produce the highest quality results and you know that your business would not be in the position it is without their input.

On top of all that, they are your model of the perfect employee that you use to gauge new candidates against when hiring. They are there when new employees start, and always turn out to be the perfect mentor and role model for any new team member.

So what happens when that perfect employee, that top performer, starts causing problems? What do we do when questions over ethics or behaviour or productivity or approach start to be asked? What do we do if they have done something so problematic that their very employment could be questioned?

As we have seen this week in the very public career execution of former Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson, it can really be a thorn in the side of the organisation and something that would require careful examination and detailed processes.

We Are All The Same

Thing is, the Clarkson episode offers up another sticking point: that top employee is also very popular and it is not going to be easy to enter disciplinary action with such acceptance and visibility across the team inside the business, let alone a worldwide fan base. Issues arise when any sort of action is taken – it’s going to be clearly obvious to the rest of the business on what is happening and it in turn has a real question on impact on engagement and loyalty attached to it.It is going to require incredible management, end-goal determination and a clearly defined and backable process.

The one thing that was handled correctly by the powers-that-be inside the BBC was that Clarkson was not treated any differently from other employees. When it comes to commencing any sort of performance management, it is essential there is no difference between management of junior staff to that of senior staff. This transparency allows a strong sense of equality manifesting within the team – this is incredibly vital for engagement.

Look! Over There!

The temptation when your best performer turns sour is to fall into complacency…or even worse, ignoring it. This is a real engagement killer and far more pronounced than with any other employee. As this employee is highly visible and noted as a mentor and ‘buddy’, so too would any actions they take will be replicated throughout the team. These actions will be indeed be positive when everything is running fantastically, but can turn problematic when behaviours and approaches dive.

This is why leaders need to be observing what is happening in their team. No, this does not mean micro-management, which is itself an engagement killer, but awareness. If things sour, you as a leader must be able to pick up on it quickly and address it even quicker. It really goes to the heart of what a Leader does – or should do – every day. They must be so clued into what is happening in their team, the dynamics that influence it and the changes, however subtle that can impact it.

Keep The Talk Open

When action taken against a star employee is viewed by the greater team, the sense of trepidation of ‘it happened to them, it can happen to me’ will really start to influence. This needs careful management. Whilst specifics about the action taken may not be able to be exposed, a good leader will update the team and allay any fears about their own roles. This is a delicate path to tread, as a lot of these employees would see this employee as the epitome of excellence and now they are being seen as in a totally different light. As a leader, the communication must be open and remained open. Indeed at the conclusion of any action, and regardless of the end result, these communication channels must be left wide open to allow proper disclosure and acceptance of actions taken. If a business is serious about keeping employee engagement as central to their business, this is a non-negotiable.

Time Killers

Finally, the need to process any management activity as soon as possible allows the impact to be felt as least as possible. Notwithstanding the need for proper processes that allow appropriate action and reaction (and hopefully a return to star status for the employee) to be allowed, the fact that this process should happen in an effective time frame shouldn’t be discounted. A prolonged and visible review can disrupt the team, the business and productivity over an even greater length of time as team members debrief, and this can only be detrimental to long-term engagement.

It can be a devastating event to have your star performer turn rogue, but handled correctly, the damage can be mitigated and the successful resolution of the employee’ problems can be applied. Whatever the outcome, keep your sense of proper process in place, your ability to keep other employees engaged and your strength of character to see this to the resolution should never be underestimated. Your employees will thank you for believing in them, regardless of how things turn out.

My Story…and Why I Believe Humanising Hiring and the Workplace Matters

handsBefore I publish the next instalment of Humanising Hiring, I wanted to take a step back and reflect on why I see this as so vital and how that realisation was made. Believe me when I say this wasn’t a recent idea I woke up with one morning, it has been something I have learned, developed upon and understood for a long time and now it is the time where it needs to be a tangible and credible argument, one that can really change the way a business not only hires but engages with their staff. This is my ‘why’.

It is the beginning of the year 2000. We had survived the Millennium Bug and getting on with the new century. I had recently moved back to my home town of Newcastle, NSW from Sydney to move in with my then-girlfriend, now wife. I was still working in Sydney and commuting from Newcastle (2 hours each way) but was looking for something closer to home. I found a role with a Job Network provider. Job Network (or Job Services Australia as it’s called now), for those who don’t know, is the Federal Government program designed to help unemployed people return to work or training. The program was administered by a wide array of private sector firms who were actively involved with assisting the more vulnerable in the community.

I am not sure I could’ve been adequately prepared for what I was about to face over the next four-and-a-half years. As a twenty-something it was an eye opening insight into what happens when people are forgotten by society.

I was placed in an agency in the city of Maitland, some 45 minutes out of Newcastle, in the beautiful Hunter Valley. Maitland had a staggeringly high unemployment rate (always above 25%) with very few industries in the local area, and poor transport to the city. It was really feeling the effects of drought, closure of the BHP, a huge employer across the Hunter, downsizing of local businesses and a general unwillingness of governments of all persuasions to invest in the city and surrounds. On top of that, I was also given the outreach role in the small town of Dungog, a further hour’s drive into the Hunter region and with an unemployment rate of nearly one in two.

Moving into the role of ‘Employment Consultant’, I was responsible for assisting clients who were classed as ‘Intensive Assistance’, or those with significant barriers to employment or who had been unemployed for over 12 months (some may know that as Stream 4 in today’s JSA).

IA clients came from all walks of life. Some had never held a job before and came from generational unemployment. Some were professionals, with impressive qualifications, skills and experience who slipped through the cracks for differing reasons. Some were parents, some university graduates, some had never been in this situation before. Some were ex-prisoners, ex-drug addicts or people with mental health issues. Each, though, was a person, with a story and a desire. Not once did I come across a stereotypical ‘dole bludger’ that the media like to portray taxpayers as subsidising. A lot of clients were placed into sustainable roles, where they were happy and finally motivated. I remember receiving flowers and boxes of chocolates from relived clients as they restarted their own dreams and futures.

But there were also times when nothing can prepare you for. I was working with a lady in her late 30’s. Very intelligent, a good career and some excellent skills. It was also clear she was battling some real personal demons, and it was hard seeing her consumed with this overarching sadness. At times, she would come into our appointment visibly wretched from crying. She was desperate. She could not find work, and the debts and stress and lessening self-worth were compounding with every week. It was difficult for her to even attend interviews with employers, as this would mean she would swing between elation and downright terror beforehand and would not be in a state to put her best foot forward. All conventions and tasks required under the Job Network rules were thrown away as I tried to comfort her, reassure her that it will be better and we will work really hard to get her something to regain her own personal importance. During one appointment, we talked for well over an hour (eating into the next appointment – but necessary) as a way of giving her some hope and purpose. We made a new appointment for the following week and she left seemingly better than when she came in.

Two days later I received a card from her thanking me for taking the time to listen and to help (as much as I could). It was a heartfelt gift and I displayed it prominently on my desk.

The following day I took a phone call. It was mid morning, and I was between appointments (we always scheduled 7 per day, for each hour, bar lunch, so it was always busy).

Everything stopped.

It was the police. They asked me if I was her case worker. No, just her Employment Consultant I responded. Then they told me: she had taken her life.

I stopped, stared at the card sitting on my desk, then with my head in my hands, wept. I cancelled the bulk of appointments until mid afternoon. All the training I did in suicide prevention failed…I felt I failed her.

Nothing prepares you for that to happen. In total we had three people take their lives whilst I was there. To be faced with such desperation, such vulnerability, such sadness and then trying to explain it rationally is incredibly difficult.

The thing is, Job Network couldn’t prepare you for the numerous issues that would be present. As an Employment Consultant, you had to wear many hats. You were a resume writer, an interview guide, a counsellor, a financial advisor, a carer, a career guide and a friend. You learn quickly that above all, you have to be there. Some clients saw you as their only hope and a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world. It was up to you to guide them through the treacherous waters in the hope of finding a safe harbour. All this on me in my mid-20’s was indelibly life-changing.

It lead me to my first conclusion: Job Network (and JSA) is abhorrent. Focused on punishment rather than assistance, it is almost like the government is deliberately washing their hands of the unemployment question and telling someone else to fix it. No responsibility. No care.

It is inhuman to force people into further desperation by having to jump through hoops and demand compliance. These people are human, they have different influences and they cannot be given a blanket response. They are individuals. It was that experience that taught me of the intrinsic value of treating everyone as human.

From there, I matured into my second, and most significant and lasting view: being human matters, from where they come from, what circumstances they are faced with or the challenges that have to overcome. They need to feel respect, dignity, to belong and have a future they can grasp. We need to treat people as humans, not numbers or statistics or entries on an applicant tracking system.

This is why I now fervently believe that as a business / employer, we must bring the human side to the way we hire and the way we build our businesses. We must bring in a clear understanding what makes us who we are and what challenges and successes we face and why it is vital there is ample consideration for all that when we are firstly bringing on new employees and how we treat them when they are with us. To some it is a revolutionary thought…but frankly it should be the basis of how a leader operates. Incorporating this philosophy into our business will see a reinvigoration of the people within it, an attractive proposition to any potential employee and a real sense that we are changing people’s lives for the better.

THAT is the real reason why we do what we do…and that is the reason I believe it.

What Makes High Turnover a Recruitment Killer?

I was genuinely chuffed to present at a recent Career Development Association of Australia event, looking at the world of recruitment and how it interacts within the greater Career Development Consultant market. The research into the presentation included a look at staff turnover rates for most industry sectors. Most were pretty average and indicated and level of comfort and engagement within a number of these industries. The usual two industries often noted as having the highest – retail and hospitality at 29% and 31% respectively – maintained that standing…yet they were both superseded significantly by one other.

Recruitment.

At 43%

exit-44205_1280So, in essence, 43% of employees who start a role, leave within 12 months. That is almost half and indicates that an almost full office of recruiters is replaced every 24 months. Suggestions that a significant number of employees leave the industry for good add to an already problematic situation – and one that really threatens the industry as a whole

At more than 10 percentage points higher than the next highest, it is a figure that should sound alarm bells to the industry as a whole. Whether it actually is creating concern or not is a matter of opinion (mine says it’s not…), but whatever the resonance from this statistic is, the fact is it is a very unsustainable rate.

So why is it so grim for the industry?

Is it too salesy?

No. Outside of the myopic view by some that cold, unsolicited calling still has some part to play in modern-day recruitment (it doesn’t), sales is incredibly vital and it must be in the kit bag of any recruiter. On top of that, it has such a visible element of the role that no one new to it will be unaware of its requirement. Savvy agencies realise that sales is not cold phone-based, but involves deeper understanding of industries and business and being able to build business via branding and more modern marketing techniques.

Is it a rotten job to work in?

For all the comments I have made about its negatives, recruitment, when done right, is a fantastic job to work in. Imagine being able to directly help in getting a candidate to realise their career goals, or to be influential in making some pretty important decisions about their jobs? Or help a business find that elusive candidate they have been struggling for months to find? It can be a really fulfilling and exciting career.

Do certain agencies perpetuate this problem?

I know of agencies that give consultants minimum training (usually of the internal database and recruitment software), give them a list of clients and tell them to find roles. Worse still, some are actively giving consultants only a relatively short time to make ‘sales’ or they are booted. This is the oft-touted ‘churn and burn’ in recruitment, and it has no place at all in the modern industry. It is archaic, misinformed and a highly contentious policy to play – and agencies subscribing to this method are part of the problem, not the solution.

Does it attract the right people?

This is a key issue. Problems within the industry are not consultant-centric. They are management’s doing. The industry is not an attractive proposition to those who would give the industry a much-needed boost – those who are people-centric, personable and driven to meet the needs of candidates, clients and internal colleagues equally – and it is the failure of management or those responsible for hiring consultants to properly secure these people.

Is there enough ‘can’ or too much ‘should’?

How agencies allow consultants to play their own game, give it the ability to become engagement models. What a consultant can do offers flexibility in the way they find clients, negotiate terms, locate candidates and complete roles. Compare that with agencies who tell consultants what they should do (or even worse; must do) to see where the more favourable – and engaged policies – lie.

Does it lose the right people

Unfortunately it does. If the industry is lucky enough to hire these quality candidates, it doesn’t take long for the ugly side to come out and for these folks to be turned off and ultimately escape it.

Does it actually have an ugly side?

When recruitment goes wrong, it does so spectacularly. Forced KPIs that fail to acknowledge changes in markets and which are changed on whims, the ever-present spectre (real or not) of ‘cowboys’ and the self-centred, money hungry, crash or crash through approach to recruitment, antiquated sales techniques forced on consultants, usually to the detriment of more modern and effective techniques and an obsession with the ‘old ways’ all seem to set modern-day recruiters up for fail. When these are present, the role is an ugly one to be a part of.

Is the views of outsiders impacting?

Oh, definitely. The agency recruitment model has one of the worst reputations in the business world. Comments throughout social media, publications and general viewpoints offer clear examples where the industry is falling over. Whilst some would say that only negative comments make it to the public domain, they are ignored at their peril.

Is it a transient industry?

By this, I mean is it like hospitality or retail: used as a springboard into another industry / career option or as a tool to get one’s permanent residency? It certainly appears that way – in some cases, whilst in others it is held onto as a career in itself. Can it be solely attributed to high turnover? I’ll lean to a ‘no’, but it is something that needs careful looking at. Using the industry as a ticket to other outside areas is not sustainable. Recruitment is not hospitality nor retail, where transience is common. Serious thought needs to given to making it attractive to the point where importing consultants from overseas is not a necessity.

Are employees engaged properly?

A-ha! Bingo. Here lies a big gap in the industry. Engagement levels hover at a lower-than-average and are a hugely untapped area for the industry that could really change its standing. This goes way beyond Friday drinks and the Christmas party, and more into both structured and organic programs designed to make a consultant feel a part of the organisation, in tune with what they are doing and how it impacts and happy with where they are and where they can be. Whilst some agencies have semblances of engagement programs, it does not go deep enough for long lasting engagement, and its most common result: retention.

So…

Is the recruitment industry serious in addressing this unsustainable turnover figure? Do they want to set up their agencies for success within their own employee base, as well as their profit margin?

Let this be a wake up call.

Humanise Hiring – People Need Love Too

happy employeeIf we are going to be serious – I mean REALLY serious in building a human, highly engaged hiring system, we have to acknowledge a few basics that form the core of how we will hire.

Last time I looked at humanising hiring, it was to curtail a reliance on technology in the sourcing and selecting of potential candidates. In this chapter, I want to explore how we as humans get along and why it is vital to understand human interaction as a basis for any hiring process and how to humanise it.

To be clear, the point I want to make is this: a hiring process with full human interaction is a perfect way to identify and hire top candidates.

Inherently, humans need to feel they are appreciated, accepted, loved or admired. There is a sense of achievement that we want to constantly have and always seek out and it is this need that drives a lot of us to push ourselves both in work and outside. Do you think the guy that punishes himself for 2 hours in a 40km marathon does it purely for the exercise? Or the musician who travels up and down the coast for gigs does it purely for the driving? No they do it for the achievement, the admiration and the sense of purpose.

Looking for work can be one of the most challenging and stressful times for any person to go through (according to the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, it sits above moving house) and so, by virtue of this alone, hiring managers, HR, recruiters or anyone responsible for sourcing potential candidates needs to be a little more aware of what they are dealing with. So that’s one way to look at it…

…another is common to the psychology of human interactions. In it’s basic terms, a level of interaction that is personal, face-to-face and connecting is the best way to create feelings of connection and comfort as well as a commodity that no other interaction can create: trust.

Trust is big. Trust gives you significant credibility and unquestioned goodwill. It is an element of business that significantly overrides most other intangible assets and when it comes to hiring is probably the most powerful thing a hirer can possess. You will not find trust at the end of an email, follow, Inmail or retweet. It can only be achieved in person. For all the technology, arms-length interaction and unprecedented access to a company’s personnel, nothing beats the old school.

Humanise, Man…

Before looking at the how we must first think of what we are doing. In any conversation I have had with hiring managers or recruiters about how to humanise it, the first thing I say is this: think of what happened when you were looking for your first role, or your last role. How were you feeling, what emotions were being played out, how did you feel during the actual hiring process, how nervous, scared, worried, elated were you? Use this, then, to determine how you will approach your candidates.

Keep in full mind that the way we were treated when we were on the other side of the hiring process should help us in the way we treat our candidates.

Hello? Is Anyone There?

Nothing irritates nor confuses more than submitting an application only for nothing to be heard or a phone message never returned. It’s as if the effort to apply, to address criteria and to fashion a response particular to the requirements of the role have disappeared into the ether.

The way we can keep candidates informed on how their application is being processes will be a clearly definable way to know whether your hiring process is healthy or not. Regardless of the outcome of their application, communication allows the candidate to know exactly where they stand and allows them to adjust accordingly.

Everything Old Should Be New

The use of more and more impersonal means to communicate is at the very heart of why there is at times a disjoint between those hiring and those applying. Communication channels are often held at arms length, indicative of a certain type of fear or discomfort in having the channels opened to more personal conversation. The recruitment industry has labelled this simply as ‘Phone Fear’ and it is a net result of the plethora of ways communication can happen without physically speaking to the recipient.

In all that, it should be noted the old methods of face-to-face conversation and phone calls yield far better results. Astonishing, I know. The more personal the contact, the more involved directly with candidates the employer / recruiter, the more substantially qualified the decision to hire will be. When it comes to identifying the candidate’s cultural fit, or understanding how they will communicate to the team or customer, or even just to get that ‘gut feel’ about them, the more personally focused it is, the better the result. In other words, bringing in the human communication channel will also bring in the results.

Get Your Feet Wet

OK, so you have the communications and the more humane contact sorted. Great! Keep it up.

Thing is, unless you dive in feet first and actually meet the candidate who could be your next employee, you are not getting the full deal…and neither is the candidate. Phone communication is fine, but it is simply lazy to solely rely on it. Nothing provides a greater indication on the suitability of a candidate than meeting them face-to-face (or via Skype / video conferencing if geographical boundaries are an issue). So doing it is paramount in creating a more human-focused hire for two big reasons:

  • Proper decisions cannot be genuinely made without physically viewing the candidate. They just can’t. How are you going to get an idea on how they will fit your culture? Or communicate with your team or customers? Or how will you get that ‘gut feel’ that many an informed decision are based on? You can’t until you lay eyes on this candidate. Sadly, I know of recruitment firms who do not interview candidates for roles, almost instantly referring them on to the employer. I’ve seen it first hand and it gives me the irrits (as my 11 year old son would say). Suitability cannot be assessed by a phone call only, and I don’t care how good a phone interviewer you are.
  • Interviews, indeed the whole hiring process, is a two-way street. Not only are you assessing a candidate’s suitability, so too is the candidate assessing your suitability as an employer. Meeting them will give clear ideas on how they are to you and you are to them. In other words, you are providing solid information to the candidate to base their decision on. It’s empowering, it’s comforting and it allows the candidate to feel a real sense of being acknowledged as a real option for employment. This is solid human hiring.
  • Get the critical elements of your business involved. What do I mean by ‘critical’? It’s the people that are the decision makers firstly, but also those who will interact day-to-day with the candidate. Most times, they are incredibly important to gauge a potential employees fit into that team.

Friendly – and Human – Tech

Sure, I gave tech a big old slap in the face last time, but I am not the Luddite, tech-will-ruin-our-lives kind of guy. In hiring it must be used sparingly, but where it can be used to enhance the hiring process, it should be embraced. Social Media is a good way to keep the hiring channels open and interactive. Picture having a Twitter account that can be your channel for sourcing great talent or indeed answering questions about what it’s like to work in your company. Starbucks did exactly that as described in this article in Smart Company from a couple of years back. Similarly, there is coming into the market a suite of collaboration apps and online networking tools that allow interaction with a a array of people from the phone or PC. In fact, your online realm is just as busy as the brinks-and-mortar one and just as vital in ensuring engagement. As a means of gaining traction with potential candiates, creating the buzz of attraction and ensuring your presence in both worlds is maintained, it is a solid investment. However it only works if both worlds work in unison and tech does not fully take over the hiring process.

Remember I mentioned the biggest benefit in humanising your hiring? It’s trust. By keeping this in touch with the people you are looking at as potential employees, you are creating something that is often not thought of as important in your hiring structure:

Brand Power

Let’s get one thing sorted: true candidate management creates something that cannot be undervalued – engagement. You engage a candidate to your hiring process, you engage them to your business. Remember, candidates are customers, and thus part of your branding strategy. Sort out how you work closely with your candidates and how it intermingles with your branding, and you will realise that a practice of relationship building at the start will pay dividends later.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, it creates something that a lot of companies want, but few claim to really have: “Attractables“. What are attractables? Simply, they what you company does internally and externally that give potential candidates / employees a sense of who you are, what you stand for and what you offer that make you an attractive employment prospect.

In marketing, much is made of having people rave about your product or service; tapping into motivations behind consumer behaviour and how they can be geared towards your business is something businesses spend thousands and thousands of dollars on. What gets me is that for all this money, if you cannot attract the right people, treat them brilliantly and give them a sense of engagement within your business, the greatest potential ravers of your product of service – your people – are going to be disinclined to do so. You attract great people via the same way you attract your customers…you keep your employees via the same methods you keep your customers.

Hiring is marketing…and human hiring is the single greatest marketing plan your business can implement.

Love Is All You Need

The bottom line to all this is simple: treat candidates as humans, put a bit of old-school contact in your hiring process and understand that this is the sure-fire way to build engagement from the very moment your role is launched in the market. An engaged workforce is now seen as the single-most important element for productivity gains and increased revenue generation…and about time too. Human Hiring allows for greater communication, openness and enhanced employee satisfaction from day one. For it is the human aspects of a business that are its most tangible and beneficial asset and it is the way a business incorporates its human side in their hiring plans that ensures these assets are afforded the best and most obvious vision of your business from the first point of contact.

 

 

Warm Bodies – The ‘Anyone Will Do’ Syndrome in Hiring

Hire FireI’ve spoken quite a bit before about ‘Panic Hiring’ in a broad sense of how it happens and why it is bad business sense. Its incidence is so common, and the way it almost always leads to a bad hire warrant further and deeper investigation.

For any small business or micro businesses doing their first hire, the cost in a resulting bad hire from a panic-based process is steep. As a quick guide, a study from Right Management (part of the Manpower Group) found that bad hires can cost any business a minimum of 30% to more than 5 times the annual salary, depending on the role, with an average of twice times this amount. When put up against a micro or small business, we are talking costs that would render a business insolvent, purely on the basis of one bad hire. For a larger business, this is a major hit that can be ill-afforded

The thing to remember is that bad hiring decisions are not intentionally made. Nor are they inevitable. The simple thing is they are made by carelessness;  by not putting enough thought to the overall holistic approach to hiring. Predominately decisions are made far too quickly and without proper checks and balances to make it a good decision.

Far too often, though, it is a case of ‘Anyone Will Do’.

Anyone Will Do is the simplest form of hiring. It is taking the first person that fits the skills of the role, is available straight away and seems to be suitable for the role. They are a ‘warm body’; there, seemingly ready to go and available.

It is also the laziest form of hiring.

When a new employee is hired under the  ‘Anyone Will Do’, they will start, often well, but it isn’t too long before the signs suggest this decision is going to backfire. Problems arise with performance, attitude and competence. Then issues around fit appear:  Workplace morale falls. Staff turnover increases. Customers start to abandon your business. Things start to go ‘missing’. Complaints increase.

They are the sign of a bad hire and the chances of this happening under the Syndrome are greatly increased. It happens because the quality checks were discarded in favour of a quick turnaround – checks that would pick up on issues that would question a candidate’s suitability.

If any person can identify this as occurring in their business, the question needs to be asked how was the hiring done.

Hiring needs attention. It needs time. It needs care.

However, let’s be honest here, business owners, decision makers and hiring managers – in fact anyone responsible for hiring – are flat-out busy. The incidence of new work, a leaving staff member or growth often bring that sense of panic and uncertainty to hiring, trying to ensure gaps are filled quickly with as little downtime as possible. A quick hire is seemingly best and the most appropriate action that results in as little downtime as possible.

It is this combination of busyness and panic that lead to the Anyone Will Do Syndrome.

So how are we, in the times when we are incredibly busy, avoiding a fall into this trap?

It’s hard. Very hard. I won’t beat around the bush. You have to think about this: the care you put into hiring this time will mean the difference between getting a great candidate and having to repeat the process again, and again and again and…….

It is the way a business hires; the process it chooses, that determines the success of the candidate chosen. The first candidate that comes across the desk of the hirer may indeed be the best fitting candidate, but only through rigorous checking, interviews and verifying skills, experience and background will the suitability of the candidate be confirmed.

The thing is, you must focus on what is needed to make a hiring process workable and accountable. Why? Not only do you and your business require a success when hiring, your customers demand that the people you have working for you are in tune with the way your business runs and do not come across as mere Band-Aid solutions.

Remember, bad hires are not solely an internal issue, they are an outward branding one. To avoid these is to avoid external damage to your business.

The final point here is to lay out the three things all business must do to  avoid a bad hire and the antidote to the ‘Anyone Will Do Syndrome’. They are investing in:

  • Enough time to make informed decisions;
  • Quality processes that ensure all information is at hand; and
  • Planning to cover all bases and proper checks.

Add these to any hiring situation your business is placed in, and your hiring health is assured.

 

 

 

 

Start Them Out Right – The 5 Main Points That Every On-Boarding Plan Must Have

ilovemyjobThe hiring process can be a long and frustrating affair, with little room for error. So why then to many businesses fall over at the one crucial part of it – the on-boarding? To go through all that time and effort to end up with the candidate leaving or worse still, completely disengaged from the moment they start, is a waste. When you consider that candidates who are not properly on-boarded and orientated into the workplace environment are 80% more likely to leave within 6 months (with a fair majority of those leaving within 6 weeks), it is an area of vital importance that is so often overlooked.

So, how then do we make sure we properly orientated the new employee into the organisation whilst giving them the best possible chance to properly engage with the workplace immediately?

1. Lose the Day 1 Mentality

Too many on-boarding and orientation process are obsessed with ‘Day 1’. Everything has to happen on day one. All introductions, work scope, task lists, log ins and accesses have to happen on day one and it is seen as an unmitigated disaster if this doesn’t happen. That’s fine…but it forgets one thing – the poor new employee. Swamped with so much happening on their first day, their sense of the overwhelming will be prominent…and dangerous for any long-term retention.

2. Plan Plan Plan

From this loss of the Day 1 mentality, an on-boarding plan is able to breathe a little. Put together a clear plan of work over the first day, week, month and quarter to allow the employee to ease and grow into the role. This planning should have regular updates with the employee to make sure they are handling the new role well.

3. Lose the KPIs

If you hit the new employee with a whole array of KPIs and performance targets immediately, you have failed. Simple. The introduction of these should occur much later into their employment, when settling in and comfort has been achieved. Much worse, if you set Day 1 targets that must be abided by as a basis of their immediate continued employment, get out of business – because you suck at it. No amount of ‘sink or swim’ justification will suffice. It is a policy of a rotten employer.

3. Is the Director / CEO / Owner Involved?

Speaking at a recent engagement, I was given the story of a business whose CEO refused point-blank to engage with any new employee. This wasn’t a huge multi-national, but a small 10-person operation. Ludicrous! If the top of your business does not want to meet with any new employee, it is a huge mistake. If that new employee does not feel a part of the organisation, from top down and understands their role in the eyes of greater business, then that Director / CEO / Owner has failed a basic test of employee engagement.

4. It Isn’t Just Showing Where the Bathroom and Kitchen Is.

New employees need to know exactly where they sit in the organisation and its overall strategy, what their role will do to contribute to it and how they will bring their skills to the fore. Remember this: there is nothing like losing a candidate because they did not feel a part of the overall organisation immediately

5. Think Engagement

The activities of any on-boarding or orientation process must have the central themes of employee engagement at its heart. Having a new employee feel a part of an organisation from the moment they start is incredibility vital. It will mean that employee will be productive from the start and feel a part of the team immediately. It should be the aim of any organisation with new employees.

Just as you have one chance to make a first impression, how a business handles a new employee, one they have spent time and resources finding, is incredibly vital. Stuff it up, and you will not have an employee completely in line with your culture, strategy and growth. Get it right, sow the seeds of engagement from the moment they arrive, and your chances of having a solidly engaged and advocating employee are greatly enhanced.