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Archive for the category “Employee Relations”

Hiring Employees – With an Attitude!

By Dr. Ben A. Carlsen

With the employment market tightening and jobs scarce, employers seek employees with the “right” attitude. Identifying these candidates can be a little “tricky,” as the selection process is almost invariably not designed to measure these attributes.

Before discussing the hiring matter, we need to examine the underlying reasons for the hiring need in the first place, along with a framework for dealing with them.

NEW EMPLOYEES ARE COSTLY

Employers hate employee turnover. If the turnover rate is high the company will notice a negative impact on the “bottom line.”   The costs of recruitment, selection, hiring and training new employees are high.  And, depending on the complexity of the job, lower productivity, while new employees gain necessary experience, is another costly factor. Experienced employees lost to the competition are an even greater threat.  These employees may know business philosophies, practices, techniques, trade secrets, and strategies which could strengthen your competition. Considering all of these negatives, savvy management does its best to retain their valued staff.

KEEPING VALUED EMPLOYEES

Experienced, qualified and productive employees are an asset, but keeping them can be challenging. Loyalty to employers hasn’t been the norm for many years. Of course companies can do a number of things to keep the good ones.

Many years ago a researcher named Frederick Herzberg (The Motivation to Work, 1959) developed a theory that divided job satisfaction into two major components: Motivational factors and Hygiene factors; with the motivational factors such as interesting work, challenge, recognition, and variety being, by far, the more powerful. On the other hand, the job features we all expect, such as pay and benefits or working conditions are nowhere near as important, except to serve as potential causes for dissatisfaction.    These findings may be counter-intuitive, but as we all know, we will spend hours doing the things we like to do, with people we like to do them with. Conversely, unchallenging tasks, or work performed in a non-supportive, or uninteresting environment, will typically not evoke our best efforts

So making your workplace a challenging, exciting, and supportive place will greatly help in reducing or limiting avoidable turnover. As an important added benefit the customers will have a better relationship with a motivated, helpful, satisfied workforce.

Now that we’ve examined the background, let’s look at hiring new employees. While it’s obvious that it is best to retain employees, turnover will occur, and businesses may grow. This being the case, a superior recruitment plan is essential, as it will help accomplish several things:  hire the “best,” have a good fit between employee and job, lessen the need for discipline or discharge, reduce turnover, and provide a competitive edge.

THE RIGHT STUFF

Employers tell us that the most important characteristic to look for in a new employee is the “right” attitude. What is the right attitude and how do we hire people with it?   The right attitude, according to most employers, consists of several qualities:

–  Positivity (doesn’t focus on negatives)

– Open-mindedness

–  Flexibility

–  Superior interpersonal skills / a liking of people

–  Desire to learn

–  Willingness to work, (and work hard)

–  Dependability – Desire to accept challenges

–  Team player

With these characteristics the employee should exhibit a “good attitude” toward his employer, fellow employees and your customers.

FINDING AND HIRING EMPLOYEES WITH THE “RIGHT ATTITUDE”

Considering  the above attributes, be serious about your hiring process, as you know the headaches resulting from poor decisions.   Here are some suggestions:

–Identify the essential characteristics required for success on the job.

–Incorporate behavioral and attitudinal qualities into your selection criteria.

–Include these requirements in your job bulletins, advertising, employment agency  requisitions, etc.

–Carefully examine employment, educational and personal history (to the extent permitted by the law).

–Conduct a background check on candidates.

–At the interview, observe the candidate’s behavior, general attitude and demeanor, body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, etc. (You may want to try an interview panel to guard against subjectivity and “blind spots”).

–Consider using role-playing, situational questions (e.g., “What would you do if?), and performance simulations.

–Make sure the candidate is someone you will be comfortable around, as you may spend more time with him/her than with your spouse.

–Look for a “smile.”

Copyright ©, 2008, Dr. Ben A. Carlsen, MBA. All Rights Reserved Worldwide for all Media. You may reprint this article in your ezine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, leave my name and bio box intact, and you follow all of the EzineArticles Terms of Service for Publishers.

Ben A. Carlsen, Ed.D, MBA, is an experienced CEO and manager. Dr. Carlsen has over 30 years experience in management, consulting, and teaching. Currently the Head of the Business Department at Everest Institute, Hialeah, FL., he was Chairman of the Los Angeles County Productivity Managers Network and President of the Association for Systems Management (So. Calif. Chapter). Additional information can be obtained at http://drben.info

Employment Matchmaking

by Patricia Guerzo 

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge, and add a new person to your team.  This is an area where how you go about it – process – makes a big difference in finding and retaining the right person.

In a small business, recruiting is one activity that happens so infrequently that it’s unlikely the owner will be good at it.  Plus, the multitude of steps required to find, screen, interview, and orient them can be overwhelming.

If you choose to do it yourself, here are some steps that will save time, weed out poor fits, and increase the likelihood that your chosen candidate will be a long-term contributor to your business.

Know what you want.  This is obvious, right?  Not really.  Most times, an owner will think of every trait they want, creating a superhuman expectation that cannot be fulfilled.  Write down what you want, and see if you know anyone with all those skills.  Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

Create an ad to match those must-have needs.  You will get the highest number of qualified applicants if you “bait your hook” with the right bait.  Your bait is the words in the ad.

If the person will be expected to take orders or support others, you may not want someone who responds to “self-motivated” or “self-starter.”  Try using “team player” and “diplomatic” instead.

If you need a business development “hunter,” skip the references to a team environment.  Your ideal candidate will identify with “highly driven,” “excellent opportunity,” and “growing company looking for new markets.”

Match the recruiting process with the job.  Do you want someone to make cold calls?  Then have them respond by calling you.  If you want someone to follow instructions, create a process that requires them to follow instructions.  This is a sure-fire way to weed out people who don’t have the personality for the job, even before they interview.

Prepare interview questions in advance.  The stakes are too high to rely on a resume’ or to use a gut feel to make a decision.  People can hire professional resume’ writers, and unfortunately, desperate people might be less than truthful.

Questions should produce a SOAR response:  Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results.  Keep this acronym in mind during the interview, and prompt the candidate for missing pieces.

Have an orientation plan.  After you find the right person, make them successful.  Too often, owners believe that “the right person” will know what to do.  Give your new employee the best chance to succeed, by painting a picture of what they need to learn and do within their probationary period.

If you have other employees, make sure they know how to support the new hire.  Set the expectation that they will help them succeed, and find unique ways each person can contribute.  Is there a role for a mentor, resource for questions, or even a schedule to take the new person to lunch?  These things can keep internal dynamics on track.

Remember, increased staff is necessary to grow.  By focusing on the hiring process, you will find and then create your winning team.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

Power – It’s a Good Thing

by Patricia Guerzo 

Think about the last time you were frustrated.  The problem was probably something outside of your control.  Being hit with a life challenge in one part of your life can sometimes make you feel powerless, and that feeling can linger.  If you could just flip a mental “switch” and get your mojo back!

While I have not found a switch per se, I have learned, observed, and practiced some techniques that can push away those frustrated, powerless feelings.

It’s helpful to look at the sources of power we can have.  The most obvious are reward power, and coercive power – the power of a bully.  While effective in the short-term, they are rarely appropriate for everyday situations.

Positional power is awarded to the boss.  Even if someone is not a powerful person, their title gives them power.  There’s not much one can do to tap into this source right away.  Fortunately, there are others.

Referent power is the power to attract others and build loyalty.  People with charisma, good looks, and interpersonal skills have a lot of this power.  They are powerful because people want to be around them.  Employees with referent power can stall company changes, or help them succeed.  Management needs to identify people on their team with this power source, and make sure they manage them.

Similarly, expert power comes from what you know.  People are drawn to your valuable expertise.  Experts are needed beyond their organizational chain of command, and may have a public presence.

Unlike positional power, referent and expert power are available for anyone to own.  You can become smarter, get into better shape, and learn how to be motivating for others.  Most of the ways to increase your power are free.  Books, blogs, and newsletters everywhere can tell you how to be a better listener, lose 5 pounds, or where to find your industry’s latest white paper.

So the next time you feel frustrated because things aren’t going your way, challenge yourself to increase your personal power.  Take a walk, read an article, call a friend to listen; they all will help.

Better yet, make a list of things you always wanted to learn, appearance-enhancing steps you might want to try, and ways you can improve your interpersonal skills.  Then when life delivers a challenge, you can select a way to regain some power and control.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

Workplace Humor: Are We Having Fun Yet?

By Allen Klein, MA, CSP (aka Mr. Jollytologist®)

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”

– John Cleese

Work places are not necessarily fun places. Yet research has found that people who have fun at work are apt to be more productive and have a lower rate of absenteeism.

How to add some fun to a not-so-funny workplace is, of course, a challenge. A recent issue of Inc. magazine, however, gave some clues of how to do just that. Some of their suggestions and examples are below.

  • First, identify people at your organization who share some common traits such as having attended the same college, bike to work, or perhaps have the same first and last names that begin with the same letter. Then, bring one group together at a time and see if they can determine the common denominator.
  • Doing spring cleaning in your office? Make that fun too by offering prizes for the oldest or strangest or funniest items to emerge from the clutter. The most fossilized food gets a special prize.
  • Post a cartoon, without it’s caption, or photograph over the copier each day. Have employees add a funny caption on a piece of paper underneath the photo or cartoon.
  • For a great social lubricant at meetings, or a way of getting to know new employees, ask everyone to write down two facts about themselves that are true and one that isn’t. Then have people try and guess which is the fib.
  • Hold a food fest. Have something like a cookie contest or barbecue rib-off. Ask employees to bring their favorites in those categories and have judges or customers select the best.
  • One company, P. J. Salvage in Irvine, California, lightens up their staff’s workload by providing tea and scones every afternoon at three.
  • Another company, Sub Pop Records in Seattle, Washington, once hired a pet psychic for a day. Employees brought in their furry friends for an analysis session.

As the Inc. magazine article shows, there are lots of ways to add more fun to dull workdays. But you’ve got to plan them. Sometimes fun takes a little bit of work.

Allen Klein is a professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. He can be reached at humor@allenklein.com

The Attitude of Entitlement and How to Fix It!

By Stephen J. Blakesley 

 

Recently, I spoke to a wonderful group of Human Resource executives. The group from the Houston area known as the Bay Area Human Resources Management Association (BAHRMA) met to “sharpen their saws.” I was asked to participate and shared my thoughts on Strategic Performance, its value and how to get it.

During the presentation a young lady raised her hand to comment and told of a situation that echoes around our country, today; She told of an attitude of “Entitlement with which they struggle.”

The “Big E,” as we call it, is when employees express their belief that others and the organization to which they belong, are somehow blessed by their presence. Often there is no evidence supporting their right to a favored state, just a belief in their own minds that they, somehow, deserve special treatment, recognition, pay or all three.

She put it like this; “We are consistently faced with younger employees believing that we (older employees and the company) are somehow fortunate in our association with them.

They come to work late or miss deadlines and believe it to be Okay,” she says. “It seems, as if, they believe the organization should be thankful that they decided to come to work, at all.”

The Entitlement attitude seems to be more prevalent among younger employees. Our experience has been that many of the Generation Y employees do, somehow, believe that they have a right to a job. A belief, I support, at least in part. I believe that there is work for anyone who wants to work, not necessarily the work you may want, but work from which you can earn a living. That does, somewhat, differ from the Generation Y notion.

So, what can or should you do about an attitude of entitlement, whether it comes from Generation Y employees or elsewhere? We believe that corporate America is in control and if the attitude of Entitlement is an issue, in your company, you can do something about it. Here is what we recommend:

  1. Clearly state expectations before you hire anyone.
  2. Get agreement before you hire
  3. Have a “Zero Tolerance Policy”
  4. Operate with integrity

Many organizations complain about poor attitudes but shoot themselves in the foot by not being clear about the values of the organization, their expectations of the employee and enforcing their own rules. Organizations should know their values and clearly share them with potential employees, but few do, they should create a “Top Ten Reasons People Work for XYZ Corp.”, A Values Statement, and a clear, easy to read statement of expectations in the job a candidate is being asked to fill. Get them to sign and date those documents and keep them as a permanent record that the candidate acknowledged your expectation and agreed to them. That document should go in the employee file. That takes care of item 1 & 2, now let’s talk about the rest.

Many organizations want people who have a great attitude, many do not, but it is their own fault. They continue to believe that they can put into someone something that is not there, hire someone that is marginal, and somehow expect superior performance. That seldom occurs. The key to having the right people and attitudes on your bus is hiring excellent people, in the first place and realizing we are all human and make mistakes, sometimes hiring the wrong person. When you hire someone who does not wish to adhere to something they agreed to before the hiring and obviously the wrong person for the job, fire them. That takes care of 3 & 4 above.

Applying these four simple rules will, I guarantee, diminish the number of employees that believe they are entitled to their jobs, but most importantly, send a clear message to the many people in your organization that you value their good work ethics and operate with integrity.

Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Partner, GMS Talent L P ( http://www.gmstalent.com ) is a Successful Entrepreneur, Marketeer, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, “The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( http://www.targetthebook.com ) and Strategic Hiring – Tomorrow’s Benefits Today are top resources for business owners, mangers and C-Level executives.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_J._Blakesley

  

Employee Issues Resolved

Have you ever thought one thing was your problem, only to find out it was something different?

In business, it is especially painful to solve a symptom instead of the root cause. The money spent is essentially wasted on a band-aid. Instead you should focus on preventative care or surgery that cures the root of the problem.

At Guerzo Business Solutions Center, we have heard employees described alternately as, “The problem that keeps on giving;” and “We are just like a family with the infighting and favoritism.”  Does this sound familiar?

In a small business, any dynamic can become an issue due to a lack of written procedures on the jobs, policies, and company. The problems that result look like unmotivated employees, finger-pointing errors, ducking and covering, turnover, and a lack of profitable growth.   Because the owner created the whole dynamic, he often does not have the perspective to change it.

This is where Guerzo Business Solutions Center can be your employee relations team.  With a MBA concentration in Organizational Design, and an Internal Auditor Certification, Patti Guerzo is well positioned to see the root cause and fix it the first time.

Here is a situation Guerzo Business Solutions Center (GBSC) addressed in 2010.

A 2-location medical spa was experiencing employee non-compliance to policies and disrespect toward management.  The negative environment was evident to clients, and was also causing staff turnover.

Our field process began with a DISC Assessment of each employee to understand their underlying personalities, and a confidential interview with each.  This led to a report of findings, which identified previously unknown issues.  After agreeing on each point, we prioritized the list, and GBSC created a project timeline.  Patti coached the owner and management to understand the rules and policies that created the friction.

The specific fixes and outcomes for this client:

  • Job descriptions for all, included in the employee manual
  • Revised policies, compliant with all rules
  • Employee handbook rewritten to increase motivation and commitment
  • Retool employee goal tracking system
  • New Team incentive geared off company sales
  • Assessment of how the business can increase profitability
  • Two problem employees quit
  • One problem employee was terminated
  • Better morale and increased trust from remaining staff

The owner now has the confidence to make future changes without jeopardizing the progress he has already made.

What are the employee concerns in your company? Do you know? Imagine how your company would benefit from having a field assessment. How would your company morale, employee and client satisfaction grow through clear employee handbooks, tailored HR training and other proven techniques?

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com/contact_us.asp

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