Reducing Turnover Without An HR Department

Question:  We have a lot of turnover, what would you suggest to help reduce it? We don’t have an HR department.

In our experience, turnover generally starts with a bad hire. A bad hire often starts by not properly defining the job and limited sourcing techniques that don’t bring the best candidates to you. One or both of these can result in high turnover and correcting them can dramatically reduce turnover.

Changing the job description might help. Most job descriptions are not actual job descriptions. Most are simply a laundry list of a person’s skills, experiences, required behavioral traits, and a few words about the job’s routine duties and tasks. A real job description defines the results you expect this person to deliver in order to be a top performer. We call them Success Factors. In other words, what are the factors this person needs to deliver in order to be successful? They must be measurable and time based. It isn’t about their skills and experiences, it is about how they use their skills and experiences to achieve the results you want. Defining the results you expect is the first step.

Many company’s main strategy for sourcing candidates is posting ads on the job boards. The ad tends to be a long list of demands the company wants the candidate to possess. Advertising 101A tells us that advertising is about the person you want to engage. Advertising is not about you. Few job ads are about the candidate’s motivation. Why should they get excited about coming to work for you and your company? A list of the duties and tasks they are already doing isn’t all that inspiring. When you advertise, think about what will motivate a candidate enough to reply to your ad. What will get top talent so excited that they will put together a resume just to come to work for you? Start advertising with the candidate’s motivation in mind and your pool of candidates will expand.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

A+B+C = Top Talent. Defining A,B,C.

Top talent = doing the right things, the right way, the first time + ability to get the most from others + intuitive ability to think and work strategically.

Looking deeper into this equation:

A) Do the right things, the right way, the first time deals with the tactical functions of the job. The basic blocking and tackling associated with every position. If a person can’t do these basic functions then everything else is irrelevant. This includes prioritizing the functions of the job or department, dealing timely with the day-to-day issues that arise, eliminating and filtering all the background noise and distractions that come up and ensuring that the job gets done, on time and correctly the first time.

B) The ability to get the most from people begins to separate talent. This deals with not only the ability to manage but also lead. There are hundreds of book on this so I’m going to deal with a very narrow difference between managing and leadership – responsibility and authority.

Managing isn’t as difficult, when as a manager you have responsibility and authority over people. People may not want to do what you need them to do, but often will for fear of the consequences if they don’t. For example, not receive a full bonus, receiving a poor review, risk being fired, lower pay increase or some other discipline. None of these are positive, but the job gets done. At some point your people  will either give up or leave if pushed to far. For this example managing is about fear. How many people in your organization manage this way? I don’t see this meeting the qualification in this equation. In fact, I suggest this is why many people are not and will never be top talent.

Leadership clearly involves managing. Top talent understand this. They are able to get the most out of people and push people beyond what the person thinks they are capable of doing. One aspect of leadership is responsibility without authority. Fear is removed from the equation. Now people do things because they are motivated to perform and want to do the job. It is getting a person you don’t have authority over, that is already working 50 –60 hours a week to do something for you which you have responsibility. Leadership is more about motivating, encouraging, rewarding, respecting, challenging, liking, and communications so everyone understands, than it is fear. People have demonstrate time and time again just how they will exceed everyone,s expectations when they have a leader, instead of a manager.

C) The ability to do A and B  may make a person above average talent, but I don’t think it makes them top talent. C is the area that takes talent to the top level. The intuitive ability to think ahead, anticipate issues, strategically think, see the future and define it, take the theoretical and move it to reality, deal in the vague world of reality, rely on intuition to make correct decision without enough data, respond quickly to crisis without throwing gas on the crisis, use the power of B to rally people, all while improving the department or business. It is this unique set of traits that are hard to define, but everyone knows them when they see them. It isn’t just raw intelligence, although that doesn’t hurt, as much as a blend of intelligence, common sense and intuition.

Interestingly the company’s culture and environment can influence these. That is why someone maybe very successful in one company but not in another.

In order to hire and retain top talent you must first have an effective hiring methodology. One that addresses each of these three. In our experience most companies don’t have a hiring methodology that address all three of these. Most do a good job on A, a fair job on B, and a terrible job on C. In fact, C is rarely addressed in any depth.

Does your hiring process deal effectively with each of these? Are the people involved in hiring properly trained to probe and explore these issues? Do they even agree on these issues? In most companies the hiring team doesn’t even define the culture that same way.

Hiring top talent will never be successful until your organization prioritizes hiring. Once it becomes a priority, an effective hiring methodology for attracting, hiring and retaining top talent will arise.

Want to assess your hiring process. Download our FREE 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. How does your company rank on these critical points? CLICK HERE to download.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Who Is Responsible For Hiring Top Talent In Your Company?

Was your answer HR or the hiring manager?

I typically ask this question in our hiring workshops, seminars and Vistage presentations to CEOs and key executives. The answers are generally either HR or the hiring manager. Both of which I disagree with.

I believe hiring top talent in any organization falls squarely on the CEO's desk. The CEO is responsible for all activity that takes place in the company. Just ask those CEOs in jail who tried to claim ignorance, or the  “I just didn’t know it was happening” defense. Too bad for them as they should have known. That isn’t to say that CEOs can control every activity. They can’t. Every company has or has had a wild employee that says something stupid or does something stupid, however, the company is still often held accountable for the actions of this one employee.

Remember Management 101A, you can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility. The buck still stops at the CEO’s desk.

This is why I’m rather surprised when CEOs answer this question HR or hiring manager. They may have the authority for the activity around hiring, but the CEO sets the tone, priorities, importance around hiring, and who will be hired. Like everything else in the company, when the CEO sets high standards of performance the employees tend to accept and even expect that level of performance. This includes hiring.

The CEO has the ability to determine the quality of people that are hired into the company. The CEO can define top talent for the company, departments, or positions. The CEO can make hiring top talent a priority in the company. The CEO sets the tone and importance for hiring in the company. It is the CEO that has the ability to get everyone focused on where hiring falls on the list of priorities. It is the CEO that has the megaphone to drive this point home. It is the CEO that has the ability to hold HR and hiring managers accountable for hiring top talent. It is the CEO that ultimately controls the training budget for hiring, enabling these employees to learn how to make great hires.

So what are some of the practical things a CEO can do to ensure hiring top talent?

  1. First and foremost, build a culture that includes hiring top talent. Do this by re-enforcing it in the values of the company, discussing it at staff meetings, promoting it in the company newsletter, and on a regular basis emphasize how important hiring is to the success of the company. Few companies do all of these on a consistent basis. Many do it once or twice a year, mainly as an after thought. Hiring top talent should never be an after thought.
  2. Train your people in hiring. Most employees, especially in small companies, have never had any training on hiring. They do their best to hire the best, but that doesn’t mean they are skilled at it. In fact, many are intimidated by the hiring process and just as many actually find the hiring process as painful as buying a new car.
  3. Encourage your people to always be looking for top talent. Top talent isn’t always available when you need them. The CEO should encourage all employees to be on the look out for future talent, especially when there isn’t a need.
  4. Incorporate referring and hiring top talent into the performance management system. Set goals for referrals and reward those managers that maintain a queue of potential employees that can be hired.
  5. Build into your hiring manager's schedule time to meet with potential employees, participation in trade or professional associations, and other community activities. This should be less than 10% of their time.
  6. Build a website that speaks to future employees, the way your current website speaks to customers. The first place candidates go to research a company is the company's website. Yet few websites really engage future talent. Most are not candidate friendly and less than 1% have any significant “WOW factor” for candidates coming to the company's site. Add employee testimonials, have the CEO do a 2 minute video talking about the company's vision, how the CEO values employees, promote your employee friendly culture, the importance of hiring only the very best and the CEO's personal commitment to all of the employees.

Hiring top talent doesn't have to be a time consuming effort. It is in most companies because they are only consumed with it when they need to hire someone. It does have to be a consistent effort though that consumes a small percentage of the hiring manager's time each month.

If the CEO set raises the bar on hiring top talent, the employees will follow and most will jump over the bar.

You can determine if your company's hiring process is effective at hiring top talent by taking our Hiring Methodology Assessment. It is FREE to download. CLICK HERE.

Want to make your company a candidate magnet with a great website? Read this short eight hundred word article with some great tips to building a  candidate friendly website. CLICK HERE.

Finally, download this culture assessment to determine whether or not your culture will attract top talent. CLICK HERE

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard


Too Much of a Good Thing?

How do we “balance” work hours, career advancement, family and relationship needs? This seems to be a perennial topic of discussion. We want it all. Despite our technology, things don't seem to be getting any better on the time management front. Now, instead of one partner trying to balance demanding activities, we have both partners in a family struggling with time management.

And here's the confession: I've never really had a problem with balancing work and life demands. I believe this attitude, one of not feeling out of balance, is due to the fact that I've been lucky enough to always enjoy my work. As a result of loving my work, I can count on just two hands the number of days I've wished I could stay home; and that's out of more than 32 years in the semiconductor industry at four different companies. Those “bad days” were either because I had to discipline one of my employees or because I had “messed up” and expected to be in trouble myself. In short, the only days I didn't want to go to work were the days when there were personnel issues.

I'm convinced that if we are doing the work we love, then there is no such thing as imbalance between work and lifestyle from our own point of view. Now that's not to say that we shouldn't be aware of and perhaps adjust the time spent between career work and time needed to attend to important personal relationships. There can be too much of a good thing. And that's also not to say we won't feel some pressure to prioritize a bit differently than we want to. What I am saying is that we won't feel the need to escape to some exotic retreat to regain our energy. Work is not a burden when you love what you are doing.

I don't want my comments to be misunderstood. I'm pretty sure my family would say that I spent too much time working and that I didn't get the priorities right much of the time. Also, I do believe in vacations, sharing parenting and home responsibilities – I'm sure I didn't get that time allotment totally right either. Still, I don't see the problem with not wanting to leave for vacation because work is exciting, interesting and challenging. Once on vacation though, it's time to wind down and be fully present for loved ones.

So in my mind, this “life-style” versus “work focus” balance thing is more of an issue of being fully present in the moment than forcing an arbitrary segmentation. It's about making sure we don't overdo a good thing. When at work, be fully present to work. When at home, be fully present to home and family. When at play, be fully present to play.

I'm still at it today. I have no intention to retire in the normal sense of that word. I hope to continue working until I can no longer physically and/or mentally do so. I love what I do and can't imagine not contributing to the business world in some meaningful way. For me retirement is doing what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I guess I'm retired! How about you? Will you retire to the rocking chair? The golf course? The tennis court? Or will you keep on working at what you love?

Finding life balance starts with hiring and retaining top talent. Download our FREE chapter on sourcing top talent from our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” CLICK HERE to download.

Is your culture a culture that top talent will thrive in? Download our FREE culture assessment tool to determine if all of your team would describe your culture the same. CLICK HERE to download.

About the author

Dave Kinnear is a sought after Business Advisor and Mentor. He works with highly successful executives through one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings. Individuals who are presently running successful businesses and executives in transition work with Dave to ensure meeting corporate and/or career goals. Through his affiliation with Vistage International, Dave convenes and facilitates Advisory Boards comprising Business Owners, Company Presidents and Chief Executives dedicated to becoming better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results.