Workers Want Better Communication: Four Ways to Make It Happen
According to a recent study conducted by Survata, seven out of ten workers are interested in more frequent and meaningful communication from their employers, and it’s not hard to see why; these are complicated times for both employers and employees, and concerns about healthcare options and long term financial plans are taking center stage. Workers want to know what the future holds for their insurance, their pensions, their workplace benefits, and the growth of their careers. And they appreciate and respect employers who can provide clear answers. Here are four ways to build loyalty and improve retention by communicating more effectively with your teams.
Don’t drop news bombs on them.
When you have an unexpected announcement to make regarding, for example, the surprise departure of a respected company leader or a downward swerve in the company’s financial prospects, make the announcement quickly. Don’t sit with the information and let it stew while you spend days crafting the perfect message. This only feeds the rumor mill, which can undermine the strength of your message once it’s released. Make your announcements with strategy and diplomacy in mind, but make them quickly.
Know what “need to know” means.
If you have a message to release, but you’d like to keep it among insiders and essential personnel until you’re ready, do these “essential personnel” know who they are? If you rely on an information hierarchy, make sure the structure of this hierarchy is clear and consistent. Everyone in your inner circle should know where they stand. And everyone who radiates out from this inner circle should recognize and respect the way the lines are drawn.
Skip the long emails.
Don’t send out long emails laden with impenetrable blocks of text when you need to announce a change to the company health plan or business structure. Most employees don’t read long emails from HR, no matter how important the content may be. In fact, most employees won’t even read short emails, and they tend to get their information from other employees during face-to-face conversations. Engage your information hierarchy and make sure each person receives the message by word of mouth from a manager, HR pro, or trusted source.
Don’t just accept feedback; solicit it.
Request feedback from both employees and senior managers, and make sure every person in the company knows where to go and who to speak to make their voice heard. Make sure everyone feels comfortable airing greivances, reporting problems, requesting additional information, and registering opinions.
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Making a Counteroffer to a Departing Employee
One of your most talented employees and valuable contributors just delivered some unfortunate news: They’ve decided to pursue an offer elsewhere and they’re ready to submit her notice. You’re approaching a busy season and you’re not sure how you’re going to manage without their presence and their efforts…So what should you do? Should you say goodbye gracefully and let them go, or should you scramble to present a counter offer that might encourage them to change their mind? Before you decide, take these considerations into account.
Counteroffers are not a permanent fix.
More than 90 percent of employees who accept a counteroffer will be gone within 18 months. There’s a simple reason for this: A departing employee isn’t just looking for more money. A salary bump may sweeten the deal, but money or no money, the employee is ready to move on. You can lure them back to the fold temporarily, but you won’t be resolving the larger issue. They need growth, change, and new challenges. They may settle for the status quo for now, but don’t expect to see them around the office in five years.
Consider the value of the next 18 months.
Again, you can lure the employee back on board for the next 18 months (on average), but will they be happy during this time? Will you? Will you trust them as much as you have in the past, knowing that their interest lies beyond these walls? And more important, will they spend this period of time phoning in their efforts while they contemplate their next move? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what you might do during this period. Chances are, you’d lean out, not in.
Team cohesion may suffer.
When their teammates know that the employee’s future plans lie elsewhere, they may not trust them with shared responsibilities and they may not connect as deeply with them on a social level. People don’t typically invest as much emotional energy in work relationships when their teammate has one foot out the door.
Money is powerful, but its power has limits.
Research shows that counter to common wisdom, money really CAN buy happiness…but only within certain limits. Over time, the happiness boost that comes from a raise begins to fade and previous levels of reported happiness return. Your departing employee may be pleased by your offer and may feel genuinely mollified and energized by this new level of income and new acknowledgment of respect and appreciation. But again, if they aren’t happy here, more money won’t permanently solve the problem. It may be wise to let them go and make this inevitable personnel transition sooner rather than later.
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For more on how to hire and retain the best employees in the marketplace, turn to the staffing experts at ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale.
The Real Way to Delegate Decisions and Empower Your Team
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But there’s another, more accurate old saying that goes, “If you want to become an effective leader and truly help your team succeed, delegate.” As often as possible, include teams in decision making, execution, and the completion of meaningful work. If you have knowledge, share it. If you have a plan, bring others on board. Instead of powering through on your own, turn your growth and success into a true team effort. Here’s how.
Harness the power of consulting.
Encourage your teams to bring you questions, not problems. Don’t let them simply dump problems in your lap and leave them for you to solve. Allow the problem—whatever it may be—to stay in the employee’s purview, but make yourself available when the employee needs information and guidance. Take responsibility for the suggestions and insights you provide, and if they don’t pan out, share in both the cleanup and the learning process. But when they do pan out, make sure the employee played a fundamental role in the victory.
Provide the tools.
If the employee needs information that can be drawn directly from the company’s institutional knowledge, records, or resources, provide these tools and point the way. If your employee needs insights that are rooted in your own personal experience or training, share what you have. Just try to stop short of providing ready-made answers and clear-cut step-by-step instructions. The less hand-holding you do now, the less you’ll do in the future as your employee gains knowledge and independence.
Set a goal.
When a newer or younger employee comes to you with an issue, you’ll start small. Over time, you’ll provide fewer supports as he or she begins to rely on her own experience and the lessons of her own mistakes. As your delegation skills improve and strengthen, your employee’s skills will improve and strengthen as well. So how will you know when you’ve reached a goal or truly helped an employee grow? Keep an eye out for the day in which your employee knows what you’ll say before you have a chance to say it. When your employee can predict your answers, then place them into a context of personal knowledge and experience, you’ll know that you’ve done your job. You’ll also know that you can trust your teams to handle the crises and issues that arise when you aren’t there.
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If you are looking for the right employees to bring to your team who don’t need to be micro-managed, contact the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with the top recruiters in Scottsdale.
Five Ways to Become the Great Boss Everyone Wants
You’ve seen great bosses in action. You’ve known a few of them personally. You may have even had a few, or at least one, who stands out in your mind as a competent leader and motivational coach. So what can you do to find a place on someone else’s list of all-time great bosses? How can you make a name for yourself as a great boss everyone wishes they worked for? The long answer is far from simple and involves patience, experience, and trial and error. But over the short term, here are a few moves that can help you take steps toward your goal.
Look for any reason to celebrate. Great leaders share our joy and encourage us to savor positive moments and achievements. When we look back through the mists of time to the best bosses we’ve ever had, we often remember them smiling, giving out high fives, and making the most of large and small victories. Get excited about both performance (great employees doing great things) and growth (mediocre employees getting stronger). Get excited about team victories and individual victories. Get excited about permanent wins and temporary wins. In fact, get excited about everything. Love your work and let it show.
You justify your position as “boss” by claiming knowledge or influence others don’t have. This means you can be expected to withstand punches others can’t, and your responsibility and influence extend further than those of your employees. So when something goes wrong, step up and take the hit. If you truly have authority, the mistakes of your team ARE technically your fault. In the meantime, those who are weaker than you should be protected from fallout and backlash.
Do the right thing, always, even when nobody is watching and there’s no chance you could be caught. Make an unrelenting habit of always doing the right thing, and when you’re standing at a fork in the road, choose the ethical and responsible path…always. If you do this as a general matter, of course you’ll be trusted to do it in the future. Reputation and character are built on a foundation of small decisions that accumulate over the course of months and years.
Make Decisions but Get Input
Don’t make decisions on your own. Gather data from multiple sources and all available factors and evidence. And after you’ve reviewed the data and considered the evidence, pause before moving forward. You’re not trying to win the award for “correct decision maker;” you want the award for “great boss” and “person who interacts successfully with others.” Being a good boss is a social state, not a solitary one. In order to win trust, praise, support, and respect, you need to work well with others. And that means soliciting input before making high stakes decisions that affect other people.
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If you are looking for the right talent to join your team, turn to the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale.
Measuring Potential: Approaches that Work
When you sit down with a prospective candidate to assess their fitness for the job, you have a few useful tools at your immediate disposal. For example, you can simply explain the nature of the job to the candidate and ask how well your description aligns with her career goals. If you need very specific technical skills, you can ask the candidate to describe his or her experience in these areas. Most candidates won’t blatantly claim expertise on a software platform they barely recognize. And of course, you can compare your hard requirements (like a non-negotiable college degree) with the information you find on the candidate’s resume. But these assessments are not easy to quantify. A college degree may not actually translate into applicable knowledge, and a candidate’s claims may have a different meaning to them than to you. So how can you attach some numbers to an inherently subjective process? Consider the benefits of testing and measured assessments.
Potential is the new performance.
Over the past several years, many management experts have been obsessed with the search for measurable, reliable metrics that can help them put a number on employee performance. But now the tide is shifting toward potential, specifically, the potential of prospective candidates. Employers now know that the best way to fix staffing problems to avoid them by hiring the right people in the first place.
Rely on targeted skills tests.
Test candidates using assessment models that target very specific skill sets, the ones that best reveal daily success in the position. Don’t waste your time and burden your applicants by assigning the same panel of tests to all potential hires across the board. For example, not all “writing”, “basic math” or “database management” skills are the same; measure only the specific ones that matter most.
Test attitude as well as aptitude.
Cultural alignment can also serve as a profound predictor of success, but fortunately, there are a few ways to attach numbers to this quality. Choose a personality indicator or assessment model that reveals character traits you’d like to measure, such as leadership skills, team skills, flexibility, extroversion, or assertiveness. Don’t rely on a single personality assessment model (like the Meyers-Briggs Assessment) to outweigh a long list of other qualities that predict a positive match. Instead, take a balanced approach.
For more on how to determine a given candidate’s potential contributions and chances of success, turn to the management recruiters at ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a top staffing agency in Scottsdale!
Your Slow Hiring Process Is Costing You the Talent You Need
There’s not greater threat to your hiring process than foot-dragging, bureaucratic hold-ups, and a general lack of speed. With every passing hour, your candidates are receiving and reviewing offers from competing employers. And unfortunately, your most talented candidates are being drawn away from your pool at a faster rate than the rest. So every day and hour that you can shave from the process can increase your access to highly skilled applicants. Here are a few ways to streamline your efforts and make this happen.
Tighten your job titles.
You may not recognize the distinct connection between your position titles and your hiring success. You may think titles don’t matter, or that “associate editor” and “account manager” can mean whatever you want them to mean. This isn’t the case. Your job title should perfectly reflect both the level and responsibilities of the role, and titles should be common, sober, and searchable. Remove words like “guru”, “wizard” and “artist” from roles that don’t technically involve these actions.
Reduce your interviews.
Keep your entire interview process limited to three rounds at the most, including initial phone screenings. Candidates don’t appreciate being made to jump through hoops, and a long process can seem both disrespectful and wasteful. Interviews are expensive in terms of time and travel, both for the candidate and for you.
Ask your team for input.
Find out where your bottlenecks and hold-ups are occurring and get them sorted out. In the meantime, ask your teams what you can do to make the hiring process faster and leaner. Do they need more data? Better interview questions? More freedom from other responsibilities? Find out how you can remove some of the investment, time and risk from their shoulders.
Keep in mind that the interview moves both ways.
In our current competitive job market, candidates are actually interviewing you, not the other way around. Candidates want to learn as much as they can about the responsibilities, compensation, and opportunities that come with a given position. And they also want to learn something about the company’s culture and its mission. Don’t just grill your candidates and subject them to the third degree; use every interaction as an opportunity to pitch your organization and showcase what you have to offer.
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Rely on the help of an established staffing team to source and vet your candidates, and you’ll move quickly through the process and attract the most talented applicants in the marketplace. Contact the ACCENT Hiring Group today to get started on working with a top recruiter in Scottsdale.
Is Blind Hiring Right for Your Company?
“Blind hiring” is a process by which candidates are reviewed based on their measurable or documentable credentials only; not based on a personal face-to-face interview. In theory, this process can eliminate the non-qualifiable (what some would call “messy”) aspects of the hiring process. Interviewers often feel a connection with candidates that can’t be defined or measured and may be based on nothing more than their mood, their own likes and dislikes, clothing, vocal styles or even the weather on the day the interview takes place.
Unfortunately, this list includes subtle preferences that go beyond personal associations and extend into the realm of cultural baggage like sexism, racism, and deeply rooted, toxic hiring biases that most companies would rather eliminate. Since deeply ingrained biases can’t be surmounted by a simple act of will on the part of the interviewer, some companies are looking for more reliable methods. Could these methods be right for you?
Set your candidates up with tests that can be digitally accessed from any location. This will eliminate toxic bias, subtle preferential treatment, and even the influence of the kinds of credentials that appear on a resume. Less educated or inexperienced employees may perform far better on certain skill tests than their degree-holding counterparts, but of course your hiring success will depend on your ability to align the tested skill set with the actual daily requirements of the job.
During a blind hiring process, you’ll still need to assess the candidate’s adaptability to your company culture. Since “culture” is a non-quantifiable amalgam of intangible qualities, reduce your focus to just two or three. For example, how long do your teams typically stay in the office on a normal day? Do they leave at midnight or go home comfortably at five? Find the answer, then simplify the question for your employee. Try: “What do you consider a long workday?” In another example, if your workers are solitary and don’t interact socially, ask: “Do you thrive in a solitary environment or do you prefer socialization and teamwork?”
Balance and Prioritize
Since no hiring process can be truly blind, organize your priorities. For example, if employee X performs well during skills testing but lacks a formal education, and employee Y is highly educated but performs poorly, which will you choose? Which do you value more: the commitment and focus suggested by a college degree, or the raw skill suggested by test performance? Choose your answer before you choose your candidate.
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For more on how to find the candidates that can handle the unique challenges of your industry and your workplace, contact the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Your Top Hire Is Failing: Coaching Tips
You chose your top candidate because he or she seemed well poised for success in your available position. When you laid the candidate’s credentials down side-by-side with the requirements and demands of the job, the two appeared to be well-aligned. You had no way of knowing that things wouldn’t go very well; you used your best judgment and all the information available to you at the time, and you made the decision you believed to be correct.
But at this point, some cracks are starting to appear. Your new employee is struggling with some key aspects of the role, and you aren’t sure what the future holds. What should you do next? Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind.
Don’t let the employee go into hiding.
It’s perfectly natural for an employee to respond to this conundrum by retreating and reducing his or her profile. In this situation, most of us would likely step out of the spotlight and regroup while we figure out what to do next. But don’t let this happen. Make time each day — even for just five minutes — to talk to the employee in a face-to-face capacity. It doesn’t matter what you talk about, but don’t allow them to scuttle in and out of the office like a ghost.
Don’t let them run away.
The employee may be contemplating an exit or searching for a new job, but if they walk out immediately after walking in, you’re the one who stands to lose. Replacing a new employee can be difficult and more expensive than you think. So instead, encourage them to channel their efforts into turning things around. You chose them for a reason, so focus on the talents, accomplishments or skills that attracted you in the first place. Work together with the employee and try to leverage those skills.
It doesn’t matter whose fault this is, and blaming the employee for misrepresentation is both unhelpful and probably unjustified. Blaming yourself is also not a valuable exercise. Instead, turn your attention to next steps. If you genuinely like this employee and believe you see potential in him or her, consider other options, including a transfer, a shift in the nature of the job, a coaching plan, or a training session. You have plenty of options at your disposal. Chose one—or several.
Assign a mentor.
Can you identify someone in the workplace who can set an example for the new employee and light the path? If possible, connect the two in a mentor/mentee relationship. At the very least, encourage your new employee to model the person and follow her example and her lead. Sometimes struggling employees simply need a way to visualize success.
Work with a Top Management Recruiter in Scottsdale
Rebuild the employee’s confidence and do what you can to help them get back on track. Stay positive! Turn to the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with the best management recruiters in Scottsdale to find the best talent to bring to your organization.
How Can Small Businesses Improve Retention?
Any business — large or small — can take a financial hit when turnover starts to rise. When unhappy employees jump ship, nobody benefits. Replacement can be a hassle, hiring costs can be prohibitive, and with every passing day that a position stands empty, productivity stalls. Even morale and team engagement can suffer when a workplace develops a revolving door.
But while large companies can often ride out these difficulties, smaller companies can collapse under the weight of a weak retention strategy. If you’re a small business owner and your employees are slipping away, what can you do? These simple moves can help you boost employee loyalty.
These are the easiest words in the world to say, but they aren’t always easy to apply, especially when your long-term employees make expensive mistakes or your new hires disappoint you. When your teams need a boost or a break, reaching out and taking care of your people may seem like a chore, especially when you’re the only one available to pick up the slack. But do it anyway. Studies consistently show that a tightly knit culture keeps employees loyal when the going gets rough. Even when pay stagnates and conditions aren’t perfect, employees will stay if the company feels like a family.
Give everything back
Pay your employees as much as you can afford. Don’t put personal profit ahead of salary. Remember: your most valuable resources are your human resources, and no office equipment will bring a higher ROI than a dedicated and talented employee. If you underpay your teams, expect to lose them. You may collect a few dollars over the short term, but don’t be fooled. Fair pay and financial stability go hand in hand.
Competition can be a strong motivator, but only encourage external competition with other companies and outside entities. Don’t push your employees to compete. Your employees should feel motivated to build each other up, not tear each other down. At every opportunity, reinforce the idea that you’re all on the same side.
Your employees may love working here, but they also have complex lives, educational interests and multiple demands beyond this workplace. Respect them as people, not just employees who serve your company. Chat with them, listen to them, and pay attention to their needs and interests.
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If you are looking for the right talent that you want to retain, reach out to the top Scottsdale management recruiters and contact the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Avoid Creating a Bad Candidate Experience
Protect your business by protecting your relationships with every one of your stakeholders: your customers and clients, your shareholders, your employees, and members of an often-overlooked category: the candidates you ultimately decide not to hire.
If an applicant engages with your company and walks away from the interaction feeling misused or misled, this is not the applicant’s fault. It’s your own fault, and the consequences are yours to deal with. Damaged relationships with job seekers can hurt your company’s reputation, and in the age of social media, one negative interaction can have a wide and lasting impact. Make sure your applicants leave with a sense of respect, not resentment. Here’s how.
Far too often, companies fumble the hiring process because they miss one simple rule: Feelings are important. If you disagree, insult your candidates and see what happens to your sales numbers as well as your workplace reputation. You’ll find it harder and harder to attract top applicants and harder to do business with the broader population, all because you believed your candidate should have responded differently to your poor treatment. Next time, raise the bar and remember to treat your applicants the way you’d like to be treated if you were in their shoes.
Express interest, but don’t mislead.
As you solicit resumes, extend interview invitations, and conduct your interviews with candidates, never imply a false level of interest. Don’t suggest that your candidate is a leading contender if this is not true, and never suggest that the job is in the bag if it isn’t.
Show respect for the candidate’s own goals and plans.
The job and the candidate may not be a match, but this by no means represents a qualifying statement about the candidate. The candidate is not “good” or “bad,” or “strong” or weak” based on their alignment with the role. If they want something the company can’t provide or vice versa, they’ll find their match elsewhere. Frame your remarks in terms of fitness, not quality.
Thank all your applicants repeatedly.
Your applicants honor you by showing enough interest in your company to want to work here. Respect that gesture and respond in kind. They are doing you a favor by submitting their resumes and attending your interviews. Thank them continually for doing so.
If you are looking for the right candidates to interview for your open positions, reach out to the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group today!