What is Employee Engagement AND do you have it?

Employees Engaged in their jobs at YOUR company

Could you define employee engagement?

Can you measure it?

Do you have specific programs and initiatives in place to improve or build employee engagement?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, you're in big trouble with your workforce.

I define employee engagement as employees who are excited to come to work, are learning new skills and capabilities, are intellectually stimulated through challenging work, expectations, and assignments. They get praised when they do an outstanding job, and they are recognized by their peers for going above and beyond the call of duty. They wouldn't think of leaving your company for greener pastures, even if they got a 10-15% salary boost. They have a clear understanding of your well-articulated culture and vision, and buy into with all their heart. They are passionate about what your company does, and the role they play. Your employee surveys, 360 degree reviews, and monthly performance coaching confirms that you've got an engaging culture.

How do you define it?

If you have a large percentage of your workforce, especially your better performers, who are not engaged – then prepare yourself for the upcoming flood of talent leaving your organization.

Companies that recognize the importance of an engaged workforce have specific programs in place. They can talk about during an interview. They can reinforce to retain great talent. It allows them to “recruiter-proof” their company.

What employee engagement programs, initiatives, and tactics have you implemented to create an engaged workforce?

Barry Deutsch

Let’s NOT train our staff so they’ll get picked off for better jobs

Are providing enough training and development to keep your employees engaged?

 

I was conducting our Speaker Program on retention titled “You’re the Person I WANT to Keep” and we were at the section on discussing how training and development is a powerful element of employee satisfaction and engagement.

One of the CEOs in the room blurts out “Why should we train our people – we’re just preparing them to be stolen by our competitors”

I was so stunned at this remark, I was for once at a loss for words. Then, an even bigger shocker took place: Some of the other CEOs in the room actually started nodding their heads in agreement.

What have to come to where we are so afraid of our employees leaving, that we're willing to lock them in the basement, put our thumb down on top of them, and crush their future capability?

Is this perspective dysfunctional or what?

NOT training your employees is a sure way to lose them. NOT providing opportunities for learning, development, and personal growth is one of the major reasons 50% of your workforce is logging onto job boards trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else.

Training the heck out of your workforce is one of the best ways to “recruiter-proof” your company. I know you’ll lose a few people over time to competitors; however, you’ll keep a far larger group.

Perhaps, most importantly, the value training brings extends far beyond just keeping people. Your workforce becomes more skilled, knowledgeable, and capable than all your competitors. Productivity goes up. I can’t begin to quantify the value of a well-trained workforce.

What’s your training investment? How much of every revenue dollar goes to training? Does every employee have a personal development plan for formal training, e-courses, webinars, projects, on-the-job skill training?

When you are planning on making training one of the core elements of your culture?

Barry Deutsch

Your Primary Tool To Find Candidates STINKS

Holding Your Nose Because Your Primary Recruiting Tactic STINKS!

 

 

The primary tool that most companies use to attract professional or management candidates is classified job advertising through posting a job description on a major job board like Career Builder or Monster.

 

This technique stinks!

 

This technique works great when you really want to attract the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool.

 

This technique works great when you feel like wasting 2-3 months finding a candidate, and then restarting the whole process over again.

 

This technique works great when you want your next important hire to be a function of luck and hope.

 

Stop using methods that are useless, worthless, a waste of time, and yield poor results based on luck and hope.

 

Instead, we recommend diversifying your search efforts into 3 main categories to attract selective candidates. Check out our blog post defining the various categories of candidates and why “selective” candidates are the “sweet spot” to recruit for most companies. Click here to read this popular blog article on Hiring Mistake #7: Fishing in Shallow Waters.

 

 

Referrals to find great candidates

 

First, employee referrals are your most valuable tool to bring great talent to the table. Research shows these folks tend to be better performers and are a better fit within your culture.  I’d like to move beyond the concept of just leveraging employee referrals. I’d like to recommend we call it “stakeholder” referrals and look at customers, vendors, and suppliers – in addition to employees.

Step 1 is to create a Compelling Marketing Statement. Read the Chapter in our free e-book titled “How to Attract the Bottom 1/3 of the Candidate Pool” for the lesson on how to craft a Compelling Marketing Statement. The link to get a FREE digital copy of our popular and best-selling book can be found on our IMPACT Hiring Solutions home page by clicking here. Send the Compelling Marketing Statement to your employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers via email with a short message. Perhaps, you could say something like:

 

Attached is a Compelling Marketing Statement for a role we are recruiting for right now. Could you please pass this along to others in your network (former business associates, contacts, connections, neighbors, alumni) who you think would be compelled by the opportunity and able to achieve some of the success factors we’ve described.

 

The ten you sent it to send it to ten they know who send it to ten they know – and so on until two weeks it’s now in the hands of other 1,000 appropriate and targeted candidates. You’ve just leveraged the natural networks of your employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers – without randomly picking strangers off generic advertising.

Your minimum goal for using referrals should be that 50% of your hires from this point forward come from referrals.

 

 

On-Line Job Boards to find great candidates

It’s not that the job boards stink – it’s your method of using them. Posting a traditional job description is worthless. It gets lost in the clutter since 99.99% of the ads look exactly the same. Most candidates hunting on the job boards are in the “aggressive” bucket and desperate to get out of their current situation or they’ve been unemployed for a very long time. Finding a great candidate using this approach is like the proverbial “looking for a needle in a haystack”.

To top it off, a job description posted on a job board is not an advertisement. It’s a job description MASQUERADING as a job advertisement.

Have you ever read a job description and been compelled by it? It’s the most superficial, meaningless, conglomeration of bureaucratic terms and buzzwords you’ve ever come across. It’s a complete turn-off.

We call this technique of posting the job description as your ad “Drill Instructor Advertising”. It reads like a drill instructor at army basic training screaming at you on the first day when you step off the bus. We DON’T want you if you DON’T have 3 of these, 4 of that, 2 of those! It’s negative, demeaning, and degrading to read these. Here’s the basic problem with allowing your job description to MASQUERADE for your ad: Top talent DOES NOT give a darn what you want as an employer – they don’t care! They want to know WIIFM. What will I learn in this role, what impact will I have, and what will I become for having been in this role for a period of time.

Remember, early in this article I mentioned that the most common technique of posting the job description brought the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool. It’s even worse than that if that’s even possible. Top caliber candidates are so turned-off by the traditional job description MASQUERADING as your advertisement, that they take their hand and pull it down. You never get to see these candidates in your ad response since they self-select out after reading the first sentence. They are disgusted, repelled, irritated, and feel like screaming when they see jobs posted using job descriptions.

So, even though I am not a huge proponent of job boards to find and attract great talent, you should still use them because they are so cheap and the exposure to your potential universe of candidates is so large. However, instead of posting the traditional job description as a weak MASQUERADE for your ad, instead post the Compelling Marketing Statement. We’ve got some samples in our book and on our website under the FREE Resources tab.

 

Networking Through ONE Degree of Separation

You’ve heard the old adage that we’re all connected to Kevin Bacon through 6 levels, or you can reach anyone on the planet through 6 phone calls.

B.S. – If I had to go through six individuals to get one referral, I’d retired before the job got filled.

I would like to recommend a tactic of “ONE DEGREE” of Separation.

Let’s say Bob is the candidate we would like to recruit. Where does Bob hang out with others just like him?

  • Alumni Groups
  • Trade Association Dinner Meetings
  • Continuing Education Programs
  • Seminars and Workshops
  • Online Discussion Groups and Forums
  • LinkedIn Groups

Now we reach into each group and connect with Bob who is not the perfect candidate. However, Bob refers us to through one degree of separation to the person on his right or his left. I’ve found this technique of using ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION – both on-line and off-line to be one of the most powerful sources of great candidates. In over 25 years of executive search and over 1000 search assignments, I’ve probably placed over 90 percent of the candidates through using ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION.

If would like a quick 15 minute phone review of how to use ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION in finding your next hire, shoot me a note through LinkedIn that you would like to take advantage of our “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent review”, and we’ll set up a quick 15 minute call where I’ll show you 3-4 ideas you’ve probably not thought of yet to find that ideal candidate.

Barry Deutsch

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In Your Last Interview – Did You Measure Initiative?

Employees With Initiative Hit the Bulls Eye All the Time

Employees with initiative hit the bulls eye all the time. Frequently, they exceed your targets and expectations. Is Initiative one of the major areas you focus on in an attempt to hire top talent – great employees – outstanding performers?

We’ve discovered that INITIATIVE is a primary element of success.

Top talent has extreme levels of initiative:

They anticipate what needs to be done

They go above and beyond the call the duty

They are proactive

They are step ahead of their peer group

They don’t wait to be told what to do

 

Who do you have on your team that demonstrates initiative? What if you could get another one or two? Measuring initiative is actually quite easy.

Initiative is a life-long pattern of behavior. You don’t wake up at 25, 32, or 47 and suddenly declare that you’re going to be proactive for the rest of your life.

The candidates who have it will share example after example with you in the interview. The ones who don’t – they’ll struggle to come up with a few substantive examples.

As many of you know, I coach high school girls basketball. We can predict the future success when a freshman (freshgirl?) enters our program from middle school/junior high. What is this one trait that separates average and mediocre performance from exceptional? You guessed it – initiative.

Have you ever played a high school sport or had children that played a sport? How do most kids treat their high school sport? Like a part-time job. They clock in seconds before practice starts and clock out seconds after it’s over. What do the very best do? They consistently show up early and stay late to work on their skills and competency.

I can observe a freshman for a few months and predict with a high degree of accuracy what she’ll be like 4 years later on our varsity team if she sticks it out for 4 years. How can I do this? By observing initiative that is an obvious pattern of superior performance. She may lack the skills, strength, and knowledge when she enters our program, but by the team she’s a senior – she’ll be a rock-star – primarily by applying herself at a much higher level than her peer group.

You can easily see this among potential applicants – regardless of the level of the job. Initiative is that one trait that acts a multiplier. Individuals without the right experience, education, missing skills, and lacking knowledge – can frequently overcome those deficiencies through initiative.

Do  you have good examples of members of your team demonstrating initiative? Do you believe this initiative is a one-time anomaly OR a pattern of consistent behavior?

This is the one trait that stands “head-and-shoulders” above other success-based behavioral traits. We find it in all top performers and we find it missing in average and mediocre employees. This is why we consider the “INITIATIVE” question to be the first question in our 5-core question interview approach.

To learn more about our 5-core question interview approach, and specifically in measuring initiative, please feel free to download one of the audio programs from our extensive library of Internet Radio Programs. You can view the different free audio programs on hiring and retaining top talent by clicking here.

Barry Deutsch

What Percentage of Your Hires Don’t Live Up to Expectations?

Over the last 15 years I’ve presented to well over 25,000 CEOs and senior executives. One of my favorite questions to ask is:

Of all the hires you’ve ever made, what percentage hit or exceeded your expectations? What percentage missed missed your targets?

Almost all these CEOs and Senior Executives claim that if they were hitting 50% they feel they would be doing a great job. Most readily admit they’re somewhere around 25%-33%.

Amazingly, this statistic is borne out through a lot of the research that has been done studying the accuracy of interviewing. Most studies, at best, show successful hiring less than 50% of the time.

Does this sound dysfunctional? Why do you except results in hiring that are basically random?

We call this CRAPSHOOT hiring since the success rate is essentially equal to rolling dice on the craps table in Las Vegas.

Rolling the Dice during CRAPSHOOT Hiring

You don’t accept this level of random results anywhere else in your business. Why then do you accept in when it comes to hiring? You would never accept random accuracy and results in the payroll checks you write or the invoices you send to customers. What rationalizations do you use to justify accepting random hiring results among your team?

There are many reasons that hiring fails in the vast majority of companies. However, the one that stands above all the rest is that the person or team conducting the interview lacks the skills and knowledge to do a decent job of interviewing.

In most companies, hiring and interviewing is not a process. It’s a set of arbitrary events predicated upon each individual executive or manager. Each one does it differently based on their life experiences.  This random, arbitrary, and poorly trained effort leads to random results.

Another one of the questions I pose in my workshops, seminars, and hiring manager training is:

When should you make a hiring a systematic and rigorous process – not unlike any other key process in your business?

The intuitive answer to that question is RIGHT NOW. Reality then sets in and you recognize that to move hiring from a random effort to a systematic, rigorous, and reliable process requires behavioral change among your executives and managers. Putting forms in place, sending managers to training, and giving out a list of questions to ask in the interview (this would actually exceed what most companies do) is not enough – you actually have to change the hiring behavior of executives and managers that when it comes to hiring adopt the philosophy of “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.”

When will stop accepting poor hiring decisions in your organization – hiring people who either can’t deliver your expected outcomes or can’t fit in the culture of your business? When will you become so disgusted with your current approach to hiring that you’re finally ready to implement best practices to raise hiring accuracy? Discover some of the most common best practices in hiring and the most common mistakes by clicking here.

Barry Deutsch