Are You Embracing an Agile Management Style?
There’s no one right way to manage a team or function as a successful leader. The “right” management style is always the one that 1) aligns with your personality, 2) aligns with the needs and personalities of your team members, and 3) gets the job done, ideally without compromising enthusiasm, commitment, engagement, and morale.
But even though an effective management style is situation-specific and highly personal, there are a few traits that, when applied, can elevate any managerial approach to the next level. One of these traits is agility. No matter your approach—hands-on, hands-off, micro, macro, carrot, or stick—embracing agility can help you get where you need to go. Keep these tips in mind.
Maintain short-term goals.
Long-term goals are great. But most industries move quickly, and if your fixed point on the horizon is the only point guiding your day-to-day efforts, it’s time to establish a closer and more immediate destination. Your employees should always be reaching for a milestone or end-point that’s just beyond their grasp, not one that lies five years in the future. Try taking long term goals and breaking them down into smaller and smaller sub goals until the next victory lies within the bounds of a week or even a single day. Short term goals are more manageable, but they’re also more fluid. If they don’t serve their purpose, they can be quickly changed.
Evaluation should be constant and low key.
Don’t wait until the end of each calendar year and an awkward, formal meeting to tell your employees how they’re doing. All year long, maintain a constant stream of low-pressure feedback, and don’t wait until December to express negative feelings about a mistake made in June. Year-end evaluations should be nothing more than a formality in which you tell your employees what they already know.
If you assess a new employee and decide, based on what you see, to adopt a cheerful, laid-back coaching style, that’s fine. But if another style feels more appropriate as you get to know the employee better, change course. If your team usually benefits from strong oversight, that’s fine. But if they outgrow the training wheels eventually, take those wheels off. If a once-successful approach suddenly stops working, don’t cling to that approach. Let it go and try something new.
Hold conversations, not just meetings.
Keep the dialogue open between yourself and your direct reports, and make sure the flow of communication is driven by you; don’t wait to be approached. Circulate each day among your teams, say hello, ask them how their doing, ask them what they need, and by all means, make yourself available when they come to you to ask questions or share ideas.
Work with a Top Recruiter in Scottsdale
If you are looking to add the top talent to your team, contact the professional recruiters at ACCENT Hiring Group where we can help find the right people for your organization!
The Candidate Accepted Your Offer, Then Turned You Down. What Now?
You’re on track to landing an excellent hire. You’re proud of this candidate, and you’re pretty proud of yourself (you must admit) for finding her and negotiating the terms of her employment with style and savoir-faire. You always say “We’re excited to have you onboard!” when you hire a new employee, but this time you really mean it. You’re genuinely looking forward to welcoming her to the workplace and witnessing the positive change that she’s likely to bring.
And then the worst happens. She calls one week before her start date to tell you that she isn’t planning on showing up. You’re disappointed, annoyed, and discouraged. How should you respond? Keep these tips in mind.
Prepare for this beforehand.
As you move through the selection process, don’t slam the door on your second and third place contenders. Let them know you’ve staffed the position and the process is complete, but leave room for possibility. You can tell them directly that they’re runners up (which is always nice to hear), or you can simply tell them that you’ll contact them if your chosen hire falls through. That way they’ll know not to wait by the phone, but if the phone rings, maybe they’ll be willing to take the call.
Share your feelings carefully.
Show your disappointment, but not your annoyance. Explain that you really like the candidate and were looking forward to working together, but stay positive. If you alienate them or respond rudely to their change of plans, you end the relationship forever. If you stay polite and diplomatic, you keep the door open.
Find out why.
The candidate may or may not provide details, but you can feel free to ask. Sometimes the problem is insurmountable (For example: “I received a far better offer elsewhere.”) But sometimes the issue can be sorted out (example: “I never received the promised reimbursement for my travel costs to the interview, which seemed like a pretty big red flag.”) Communication is key. Keep all channels open between the candidate, the recruiter, and the company.
Let them know what you plan to do.
Feel free to leave the candidate with a clear statement like, “We’ll reopen the position” or “We’ll hire someone else.” That way the candidate will know that you’re moving on. Of course, if her change of plans will somehow violate the contractual terms of her employment, let her know what kind of action you plan to take next and what her options are. Again, stay polite.
If you are looking for experts in recruiting to help you with the hiring process of your top candidates, contact the top recruiters in Scottsdale and reach out to the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Are the Off-the-Wall Interview Questions Worthwhile?
Goofy, surprising, and off-topic questions are a hot trend these days among HR teams and hiring managers in search of new talent. But do these kinds of questions actually pay off? Do they bring real results and help managers identify well-suited candidates? Or do they simply lighten the mood and add some entertainment to an otherwise tense conversation? The answer depends on who you ask; some companies swear by these tactics. But the answer also depends on the nature of the silly questions you decide to ask, and how your managers catalog and analyze various responses. Keep these considerations in mind before you decide to steer your interviews off the beaten track.
Actually listen to the answers.
Feel free to ask a question like: “If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and what would you do with it?” But when your candidate answers, pay attention. Don’t just enjoy a self-satisfied chuckle and tune out whatever happens next. If she says “I would fly, and then I would use my power to rescue people from natural disasters,” what does that actually say about her character and skill sets? If your applicant says, “I would gain X-ray vision and use it to look through walls,” does that tell you anything about his personality or readiness for the job? If you don’t know, find out. If you don’t care, delete this question from the lineup.
Silly questions come at a cost.
You may consider this a low-stakes decision. After all, a few silly questions might not help you assess a candidate, but they certainly can’t do any harm…right? Wrong. In fact, there’s a fine line between a harmless off-topic question (“How many golf balls can fit in an elevator?”) and a demeaning question that suggests you don’t take the job or the candidate seriously. “Draw me a picture of a bicycle” is fine. But “If you could be any cartoon character, which would you be?” comes close to the line. Top candidates usually pay close attention to how they’re treated during interviews. If they sense disrespect, they head for the door.
Watch for non-verbal reactions.
Employers often pose off-topic questions simply to observe how candidates react to the unexpected. They use these questions as a kind of flexibility test, not a literal source of information. If you’re using your questions this way, again, be respectful. Don’t put timid, inexperienced young candidates in the hot seat and then revel in their prolonged discomfort (or genuine terror). Once you gain the information you need (yes, the candidate is definitely anxious and inflexible), move on. Return to a straightforward discussion of generic strengths and let the silly questions go. “Flexibility” represents just one aspect of a complex profile. Once you have the data you need, turn your attention to the next piece of the puzzle.
If you are looking for the right candidates to interview for your open positions, reach out to a top recruiter in Scottsdale and contact the ACCENT Hiring Group today!
What Are Best Practices to Implement a New Policy?
The new year has arrived, and as the numbers on the calendar turn over, you’d also like to turn over a few of the standard practices and policies that keep your company in motion. Specifically, you’d like to add a new policy as a result of data analysis you’ve conducted during the last few months. How should you move forward? Here are a few tips that can help you smoothly implement your new policy and have all the gears in place by the arrival of spring.
First, clarify your goals and your language.
Why are you choosing to implement this policy? Will the policy, as it’s currently worded, help you achieve those goals? Make sure your intentions and your new rules are actionable and realistic. If you’ll be asking employees to discontinue a practice they’ve engaged in for a long time, give them an alternative that achieves the same ends. If you’re mandating a new action, make sure your new requirement is possible. Some rules are easier made than followed. Provide a pathway to compliance, or expect your policy to be ignored.
Gain employee input.
You don’t have to let your employees dictate all the terms, but ask them for their input as you shape the language of the policy. Target those who the policy will impact the most. Ask them to participate in meetings or contribute written feedback via email or surveys. Make sure all affected employees are kept in the loop, as far as possible.
Gain buy-in from senior managers and HR teams.
After you’ve ironed out the kinks and made adjustments that reflect the legitimate concerns of employees and those who will be directly affected by the new policy, take the next step. Submit your new policy proposal to the review of senior managers and HR experts who may spot legal problems you haven’t seen until this stage. This process may require a few rounds of editing, since your reviewers may hand the policy back to you with suggested or required revisions.
Announce the new policy at an appropriate time.
Either gather all your employees together to make a formal announcement, or break this population into smaller groups who can meet at roughly the same time period. Make your announcement in a way and in a venue that respects all members of your target audience (don’t leave anyone out). And make sure you allow time for questions or direct questions to a person or resource that can answer them. Follow up your announcement with written messages (via email) and make arrangements to insert a new page or otherwise alter your employee handbook.
Three Tips to Boost Productivity
Have you ever faced a task or a problem that seemed to warrant a team meeting, and then scheduled, held, and left that meeting feeling even more lost than you felt when you started? When we sit down with our teams to hash things out and make a plan, we often end up whiling away an hour (or two) with no measurable progress and no next steps or actionable items to speak of. How does this happen? And how can managers keep the day on track by asking the right questions? Here are three key questions that can leave your employees with an elevated sense of confidence and direction.
What one thing can we do to make this week better?
Of course, there are probably several things that you can do to make the week better. But for now, try to isolate one primary item, action, or resource that you can offer to your teams to support their success. Are some of your team members struggling with a conflict that they need to resolve? Are you dealing with one major obstacle that that’s impeding progress? Are your teams working to accomplish something that should ideally be moving a little faster? Choose one thing. This week, focus on that thing first.
What can I do for you that I’m not doing?
Ask your teams to tell you something they wish you would do to help them move forward. They should feel safe volunteering this information; if they’re afraid to speak up, nothing will happen. Solicit pointers, requests for help, and constructive feedback even if it’s negative. You can’t solve a problem– or get out of the way – if you don’t know that the problem exists in the first place. Encourage your teams to approach the meeting with the idea that anything is possible. But in order to get what they want, they have to speak up.
What projects/tasks are you focusing on?
Far too often, employees waste time and spin their wheels simply because they lack clear and meaningful oversight. If you don’t know exactly what they’re doing during the day, find out. Use your weekly meetings to gain transparency and open the channels of communication. As a boss or manager, you have a certain right — in fact, an obligation — to know what your employees are working on and help them prioritize. In the long run, most employees will be happy to have some guidance. Your input can keep them from wasting time on the wrong endeavors.
For more on how to find the right employees who are ready to come into your company and be productive, turn to the management pros at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Get Managers and Recruiters on the Same Page
Too often, expensive staffing problems, delays, and hiring mistakes take place as a result of simple miscommunication between hiring managers and recruiters. These problems can’t be blamed on one party, and sometimes they can’t even be identified by a new hire leaves within a year, or a candidate steps into a position he or she isn’t prepared for.
Keep your managers and recruiters on the same page starting on day one, and you’ll quickly fill hard-to-staff positions with appropriate candidate matches. Keep these tips in mind.
Foster functional relationships.
If you’re constantly turning to new recruiters, your recruiters and managers won’t know each other very well, and this can increase the potential for mistakes and miscommunication. Establish long-term tenured relationships with your recruiters, or better, work with an established staffing partner.
Focus on listening skills.
Managers know what they need in a new employee. But they don’t always express these needs clearly, and even when they do, it’s easy for recruiters to mishear or misremember a key detail that can send them down the wrong path. Make sure you choose recruiters who listen carefully and take appropriate notes, especially if your position requires very specific or highly technical skill sets.
Rely on testing.
When it comes to sifting through a candidate pool for specific skills and strengths, testing is an underused strategy. A simple test can often separate truly skilled candidates from those who get by on bluster and salesmanship, and most test methodologies are simple, effective, and inexpensive. Contact Accent to learn more.
Choose a recruiter who will respond quickly when managers reach out with instructions and questions. And train your managers to respond quickly when recruiters reach out with questions and clarifications. Rapid and frequent contact can prevent countless small problems from becoming big ones.
Encourage both parties to see the other’s point of view.
If a certain position requires a vague personal trait, like “leadership” or “tech-savvy”, encourage both parties not to act on assumptions or fill in the blanks on their own. Get the details and gather the facts. What do these terms really mean to another person in the conversation? Don’t let either party walk away until these abstractions are cleared up.
Establish priorities and cut-offs.
The position requires a college degree…but how rigid is this requirement? Can a few years of equivalent experience compensate for a missing degree? Can multiple fluencies in one area make up for a deficit in another? Establish these parameters before your recruiters launch into the sourcing process.
Conduct assessments of mismatched candidates.
When recruiters present a mismatched candidate, give them the feedback they need in order to find more accurate matches. Don’t leave them in the dark.
Stuck in a Recruiting Rut? Your Process Might Need a Change
A few years ago, during the height of an economic slowdown, employers held the cards. Candidates had to work hard and jump through hoops to wrangle interview invitations, and at the negotiating table, employers held the advantage. But those times are over, and the tables have turned. We’re now facing a strong candidate market, and employers are the ones who need to think a few steps ahead in order to attract and recruit top talent.
If your hiring process seems to be stuck in the past, it may be time for a re-evaluation. Here are a few moves that can bring your process up to speed.
Reach out aggressively.
Don’t wait for top candidates to come to you. Those days are over. Make an effort to reach out to the best talent in your geographic area by conducted keyword searches of Linkedin profiles and encouraging your recruiters to sift their networks and actively pursue potential leads. When you find a qualified candidate, present them with an opportunity, a request for a resume, or a targeted pitch.
Make things easy.
Too many employers are living eight years in the past, and their application instructions are confusing, elusive, and even forbidding; they’re more of a deterrent than an invitation. Here’s a hint: If a candidate can’t even find the “contact us” section of your web page, or can’t submit a resume without navigating an online submission process riddled with frozen links and fill-in boxes, something is wrong. Present an email address in an easy-to-find location on your site, and allow applicants to submit resumes and cover letters to this address. Keep it simple.
Lead with encouragement, not discouragement.
Your recruiting team should present your company’s best face to potential candidates. They should be friendly, warm, and approachable. Gone are the days when recruiters couldn’t spare the time to answer an email or return a call. While interacting with a talented candidate, consider your company’s reputation and workplace brand, and make the candidate feel respected and significant.
When you make your choice, act quickly.
Once you settle on a top choice, don’t let bottlenecks and administrative delays allow your candidate to slip away. Move with speed and efficiency, get the necessary paperwork processed, and close the deal. If you let the candidate wait by the phone while you organize things on your end (or worse, call them in for ten more rounds of tedious interviews), you’re more likely to lose them to a competitor.
Your Employees Fail — And They Should
f you’re approaching your management role from a rigid standpoint that allows no room for failure, here’s some news: You’re on the wrong track. Contrary to what you might believe, failure is a necessary and vital part of the growth process, and growth is essential to company success. So when your employees stumble, you know you’re doing something right. In fact, we’ll take it a step further: While some say it’s fine to get knocked down as long as you get back up quickly, we find that truly exceptional employees (and companies) are those that get knocked down again quickly after they get up. It means they’re fearless, they chase risk, they seek new horizons, and they’re never content to sit still. Here are five signs that your “failing” employees are doing just fine.
They’re trying new ideas.
Employee X gets shut down in meetings on a fairly regular basis. She’s constantly proposing new ideas and making suggestions, and many of her ideas don’t pan out. She tries, crashes, and tries again. She’s a mess. But compare her to Employee Y who sits next to her in the same meetings, saying nothing. He sits on his hands, stares at his notes, and never makes a peep because he’s afraid of proposing something that might be dismissed. He never comes to your door with new ideas, and he never extends himself beyond the limits of his assignments. Who’s failing more? And who’s more valuable to the company?
They’re bringing in ideas from outside.
For some rigid managers, there’s no bigger pet peeve than an employee who keeps saying: “This is how we did it at my last job.” Try not to emulate those managers. When your employee brings in concepts or experiences that aren’t familiar, listen. Keep an open mind. And while you’re at it, take a closer look at some of your other employee “pet peeves.” Those who fearlessly annoy you may have the most to offer the company. They know that success isn’t about impressing and pleasing you; it’s about getting things done for the team.
When they hit the ground, they learn from the experience.
Weaker employees try, fail, and learn not to try again. Stronger employees try, fail, decide how to tackle the challenge from another angle and jump back into the game. If they fail on the second round, they regroup and head back in for a third.
“Failing” employees inspire others.
Nothing is more inspirational than fearlessness. Timidity is contagious, but fortunately, so is boldness. Employees who are always at the center of the conversation, for good or bad, and who risk everything for the group—including their status as “winners”—are the ones you want on your team. Their energy and resilience motivate everyone around them.
For more on how to hire, retain, and motivate the most talented applicants you can find, reach out to the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group. As a leading recruiter in Scottsdale, we can bring you the right employees to help your company today!
Questions You Can Answer With Your Own Analytics
As you scrutinize your staffing program and start making changes that help you source, identify, hire, and retain the best candidates, you’ll need to establish clear goals. And to establish those goals, you’ll need to gain some answers to few core questions. Before you can attract the best possible pool of applicants, you’ll have to determine where these people spend their time when they set out in search of work. But before that, you’ll need to check your own analytics and company data to identify who these people are what differentiates them from the rest of the candidate market. Here are a few answers that your own resources should be able to provide.
What characteristics bring success in your company?
Culture matters, and you need candidates who can navigate the social fabric of your workplace and embrace its unique challenges. If your workplace is competitive, you’ll need a fierce elbow thrower. If your company is collaborative, you’ll need someone who can work with others instead of against them. If your employees work long hours, spend time on the road, engage in public speaking, or brainstorm frequently, you’ll need to understand what you’re dealing with, so you can sift candidates for markers of success.
Which traits align with this specific role?
Check your records and review the files of those who have excelled in this position. What kinds of traits did these applicants demonstrate at the outset? Some types of tasks require specific personality traits and elements of experience, and these markers aren’t always what you might assume. In boring jobs, for example, “boring” people don’t always do as well—or stay as long– as class clowns or motivational leaders. Your own analytics can help you spot links between common traits and thriving hires.
What makes employees vulnerable to burnout?
Review the files of the employees you’ve lost to burnout. What do they have in common? What traits did they bring to the table that made them likely to hit their limits and leave? More important, what kinds of preventable pressures ultimately drove these workers out the door?
In this organization, what makes an effective leader?
Take a close look at your best leaders and most successful managers. What qualities and qualifications set them apart? How can you spot these qualities in both internal and external applicants for leadership roles?
Which benefits are working, and which are not?
Review your benefits and cross reference these against the profiles of your most successful long-term employees. Which benefits really make a difference and keep hardworking employees loyal and onboard? By contrast, are you offering some expensive benefits that don’t reduce turnover at all?
If your company is in need of finding the right candidates to match the profile of a successful employee in your organization, then don’t hesitate to reach out to the staffing and management experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group!
What Do You Ask an Employee Who Is Leaving?
Your talented, hard-working, valuable employee has made the decision to say goodbye and move on with the next chapter of his or her career. You’re happy that she’s pursuing her goals and sorry to see her go, but as you deal with a mix of emotions, you’ll need to take practical steps in order to learn as much as possible from this experience. If your HR team has a specific protocol in place and an established exit interview process, that’s great. But even if you don’t have a formal method of soliciting feedback from departing employees, make sure you find a way to ask these key questions before the end of your employee’s last day.
Was the job what you thought it would be?
Find out how well your original post, job description, and training program aligned with the way your employee spent her days here. Did she have expectations while stepping into this role? How well did those expectations play out? Was the overall experience more or less meaningful and valuable than she thought it would be at the beginning? If not, then in what ways did the reality depart from the expectation?
Did the job support your long-term goals?
Does your employee feel better prepared to face the rest of his career as a result of this job? Did he gain a set of experiences here that will likely help him on the road ahead? What does he plan to do next and what does he know now that he didn’t know when he first stepped into the role?
Did we try to develop you?
How satisfied is your employee with the education, training, and coaching that she received here? Ask her to describe her development process in her own words and ask about her level of satisfaction with your tuition reimbursement program (if she used it). Ask her to evaluate the company’s general approach to staff development and both internal and external forms of training.
Would you recommend this company to your friends or family?
Ask if your employee would recommend your company to others, and ask her to explain why or why not.
Did you have what you need to do your job (physical tools and team support)?
Sometimes an employment experience can be exceptional in some ways and lacking in others, and even a happy employee can feel like he’s working with insufficient tools. Ask your employee if he had the equipment and support he needed to do his job to the best of his ability.
Would you come back?
Ask if your employee would consider applying to work here again in the future. If the answer is yes, find a way to keep her in mind and in touch when suitable positions become available.
If you are in need of replacing departing employees, reach out to the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group. As a leader in recruitment in Scottsdale, we can help you find the right employees for your organization today!