Motivating Top Talent During Difficult Times

To retain your top talent it is absolutely critical to ensure they are motivated. In difficult times this is often not at the top of the list of the things the hiring manager or CEO is looking to accomplish. Most people are working long hours and doing the job of two people, stress is at an all time high, fear of layoffs is a reality, salaries are frozen, pay cuts have been implemented and forget about any bonus. For many companies this is their current culture.

So how do you motivate your top talent to reach the company's goals?

How do you keep them from contacting recruiters?

How do you keep them passionate about coming to work?

How do keep them engaged day after day?

The answer to all of these is “culture.” Even in difficult times top talent, by definition, will always rise to the occasion. They will always strive to be the best. If they don't, they aren't top talent. However, even top talent can burn out, get frustrated, not see the light at the end of the tunnel or wonder if they are really contributing.

It is the role of all CEOs and hiring managers to ensure these things don't happen. As an executive recruiter I have recruited thousands of candidates over the last 30 years. There seems to be a consistent theme what great companies do in difficult times to hold on to and even attract top talent.

The following are four areas companies must focus on to ensure they keep their top talent motivated.

1) Companies must have a performance based culture. Even in difficult times there must be clearly defined goals for the company. These goals must cascade down to your top talent. They must have quantifiable objectives that motivate them, so when reached, they feel a sense of accomplishment.

2) Dysfunctional Culture. Probably the biggest reason top talent gets nervous and begins to think outside your company. Do you know your company's culture? Can you define it? Will your executive staff define it the same way? Will the in-the-trench worker bees define it the same way? If not, this is the time to begin working on it.

3) Non-monetary rewards and recognition. The least expensive and least used method to retain top talent. So many times we've heard from candidates,”No matter how much I contributed, how many times I went above and beyond what was expected, or all the times I missed my kids activities, it always seemed just part of the job. Never even a thanks, appreciate the effort, even a small pat on the back.” Consider building a culture of rewards and recognition that makes your top talent feel appreciated. Top talent does not want to be taken for granted.

4) Consistent feedback. Similar to the above but more formal. This includes regular and structured 1-on-1 feedback sessions. Not passing in the hallway. Actually sitting down and focusing on them. Giving them feedback, encouraging them, listening to what their needs are (even if you can't meet them, just listening), taking an interest in their career and building a shared bond.

Consider these four things as a way to motivate your top talent. There are others and we encourage you to consider anything that will help you attract, hire and retain your top talent.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

 

Require A Homework Assignment Before Hiring A Candidate

When the pool of talent is narrowed down to the final two candidates, it’s time for the interview team to come up with homework assignments. An important predictor of how a candidate will adapt to your organization’s environment is to see an example of his or her thought processes, analytical skills, and problem-solving, up close and personal.

Effective homework assignments are projects of reasonable size and scope that involve one of the most critical accomplishments the candidate will have to perform once on board. The candidate should be given all the support he or she needs to adequately answer the question or complete the assignment. The candidate should then return to the interview panel and present results and conclusions, and lead a question and answer discussion based on the homework. No matter what functional area, homework should entail questioning, analysis, research, and a panel discussion with some form of presentation.

While homework assignments are “out there” in the hiring world, some candidates may object to doing what they perceive as unpaid work.

Most top 5% talent, because of their self-motivated nature, will be intrigued and embrace the challenge. But if they’ve had previous encounters with unscrupulous employers who actually do assign homework and go on to use candidate ideas (even though they did not hire the candidate) you’ll need to reassure them that you aren’t asking them to come up with the “right answer.” Instead, you are looking for a concrete example of their approach to problems, their analytical and presentation skills, and their ability to synthesize information.

The scope of homework should be appropriate; that is, you shouldn’t ask candidates to dedicate forty hours on nights and weekends to solving your most pressing problem as “homework.” Make it clear at the outset that the homework is not going to be as deep as the actual job, and that you aren’t looking so much for their answer as for deep insight into their thought and action processes.

Every key position you plan on hiring should require a homework assignment. If you need assignment writing help, some examples include, a sales presentation for all sales people, for financial positions consider giving them last year's and this year's budget and ask for their input, marketing positions ask for them to review your marketing programs or PR agreements, IT positions depending on the level can include coding examples all the way up to the capital spending on IT projects. The goal is to put them in the job before they come on board.

Related post: Where to find chemistry homework help?

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

4 Ways To Counter a Counter Offer

Counter offers should be expected, as nobody wants to lose their best people.  It is a lot easier to make a counter offer than to try to find a new person. Especially one that is top talent.

In some strange way a counter offer is a good thing. It signals that the candidate’s current company values them and they don’t want them to go. The hidden assumption in this is that the person is top talent. That is a good thing. The bad news is, now what? How should the new company handle the counter offer? Should they offer more money? Match the counter offer? Walk away and start the hiring process all over again? Negotiate with the candidate? There are lots of options, none of which are all that great.

Here are 4 ideas on how to avoid the counter offer.

1) The best way to handle a counter is by avoiding the candidate receiving a counter offer. It has been my experience that few companies ever discuss the potential counter offer with the candidate. It just never comes up. This is a mistake. The hiring manager should begin discussing the potential of a counter offer as soon as there is genuine interest in the candidate. This may be at the end of the first interview.

I have never yet heard a hiring manager say to a candidate, “We want to proceed with you and would like to bring you back to meet more people. I want to respect their time and yours. If we proceed, I’m curious as to how you will deal with a counter offer should your current company make one?”

This is important because now you are starting to tie the person down. Few candidates even think about the counter offer. By asking this question you are beginning the process of getting the candidate to commit to you. They are starting to put their word on the line.

After every interview you should continue to tie the candidate down by adding more ropes. Continue to bring up the potential of a counter offer. Before the offer is made, the hiring manager should once again ask the question, “We are going to proceed to the offer, however, before I do that I would like to understand more about how you will deal with a counter offer should it happen?” Follow up with, “ We only hire top talent. I view you as that and I know if you were on my staff, I would be concerned if you left. What will you say to the CEO when called into their office to discuss what it will take to keep you? What will your comments be?”

Once the offer is made you can add one more tie. “I want to make sure you don’t burn any bridges when you leave your company. What are you going to say to your boss when you give notice?”  What you are looking for is if the candidate left the the door open to a counter or are they telling their boss thanks for the time together, but my mind is made up; I’ve given my word and I’m completely committed to this new opportunity.

This may sound like overkill but it sure beats having to deal with all the issues if a counter offer happens.

2) Never get into a compensation war. You won’t win. If the candidate accepts more money now, they will never be satisfied. They are opportunistic and will leave you at the first opportunity they get  for more money or they will hold you hostage by constantly asking for more money.

We always recommend making your best offer and leave it at that. Let the candidate know you are making your best and only offer. Remove the chance of getting into a wage war. We have rarely seen them work out successfully.

3) Too often companies make an offer and that is the last contact with the candidate until they walk in the door two or three weeks later. This a a major mistake. Did you pick up on the word “major?”

For the next three weeks whatever energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and bonding that built up during the interviewing process begins to wane. The current company has all this time to express their love for the candidate, how much they appreciated their work, how much they will miss this person, and on and on.

You have to be in the game.  After the candidate gives notice you should contact them. Ask how it went and probe how they feel now that they gave notice? How did their boss respond to the news? The biggest thing to know, have they made the announcement to their team and the company? If they haven’t, or their boss asked them to wait until next week before announcing it to the staff, get ready, a counter is imminent.

The notice period is your opportunity to begin the candidate’s mind transition to your company. Meet with them, give them some work to start, invite them to staff or company meetings, include them in emails, and begin the process of putting them in their new job.

4) Understand exactly why the person wants to leave their current role.The real reason is rarely the first reason they give. Don’t accept the first canned answer. Probe to understand what is motivating this person to seek a new position. This is key if a counter offer happens.

Rarely will they tell you money. Usually it deals with some other reason, they are not happy in their current role, they lack career growth, the position isn’t challenging, their boss isn’t allowing them to take on new projects, or they have reached their limitations in the current company. Does your position address these issues? If it does, this is ammunition to use if a counter offer happens. You can now remind the candidate why they told you they are leaving. Since it wasn’t about money, how will a counter offer address their issue?

Since you asked the candidate in the interview why they want to leave their current employer and they gave you a bunch of stuff about career growth, and said that money wasn't the reason for leaving and then they accepted a counter offer based on money, chances are they lied to you.

Now you can respond, “We made you what we think is a good offer and our best offer. You indicated you weren’t leaving due to money and now it appears that isn’t the case. Our culture is built around high integrity, trust and values. It would be a good thing for you to accept the counter offer, as you probably wouldn’t fit in our culture.”

Even if you do everything perfectly, the candidate may fall prey to the counter offer. You are dealing with people and nothing is100%. All you can do is work to avoid the counter offer before it happens. Most of the time you will win, but not always.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this article.

Brad Remillard

Solving The NUMBER One Hiring Problem Can Be Done

The number one hiring problem is untrained people. Most people have never had any formal training on hiring. This is especially true in mid to small companies. Even many large organizations don't train managers on this topic. Some companies may provide interviewing training, but that is only one step in an effective hiring methodology. There is a lot more to hiring than just interviewing. For example sourcing top talent, you can have great interviewers, but if people aren't trained how to bring top talent to your table, then all interviewing will do is validate they aren't qualified. Your hiring process is still ineffective. That is just one example.

Many companies treat hiring different than any other process in the company. If most processes in a company were as poor as the hiring process, training would take center stage. Yet for some reason poor hiring is often accepted as the norm, when it doesn't have to be with proper training.

Most people learn to hire from the person that interviewed them. And the people that hired them learned how to hire from the people that hired them and so it goes back to Moses. We refer to this as the “tribal hiring process.” This is not a training program. Recently I asked about a hundred CEO's and key executives how many have actually sat in on interviews for the sole purpose of assessing/auditing the ability of their managers or peers to conduct a thorough in-depth probing interview? Less than 10% had actually done this. So most CEO's and key executives don't even know if the people they are relying on to hire are competent. Only in hiring would a manager not know if someone is competent or not.

To dramatically improve your hiring process involves two steps; first there are 5 key steps to every hiring process. So develop an effective hiring process that will work for your company. It must be able to put candidates in the job BEFORE you hire them. Second train your people to effectively implement the process. This should include an annual refresher or some sort of continuing education on the hiring process. Think what the ROI will be to your company if you only hired the best and hired them the first time. A small investment in training your people can accomplish this.

Making a bad hire can be costly, but rarely dramatically changes a company. Making a great hire can not only transform your company, but help ensure you reach the goals you desire for your company.

Join the other 10,000 CEO's, key executives, and HR professionals who have downloaded a FREE copy of our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE ebook.

Download our free hiring process assessment tool. It will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. Then fix the weaknesses so you can start hiring top talent. http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com/index.php/hiring-assessment-scorecard

I welcome your thoughts and comments

Brad Remillard

Technorati claim ZXWMWZR7BR8Y

You Can Shorten Your Hiring Process

Q. We are a mid-size company that doesn’t hire that often. It seems that when we want to hire it takes a long time just to find qualified candidates. Is there a way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone?

A. Hiring fast rarely includes hiring the very best. The best way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone is to have a pool of qualified people available when you need them. The problem is that most companies start the hiring process when they need someone, which often happens after one of their best people just gave notice. Companies then expect that at that exact moment in time a highly qualified candidate will also be searching, the stars will magically align and they should be able to hire this person. Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were looking, highly qualified candidates were also looking? It just doesn’t work that way. Most hiring processes are reactive. To change your situation your hiring process must become proactive.

Highly qualified candidates don’t search based on your hiring schedule. They search based on their schedule, so hiring can’t be a one time event that happens when you decide you are ready to hire someone. This option will only provide you the best available candidates at that moment in time. Companies that excel at hiring top talent know that hiring is a process and having a queue of qualified candidates is critical. Your hiring managers should always be on the lookout for potential people, even if your company only hires once a year. Every manager should have at least two or three potential candidates for the key positions in their department. This means that your hiring managers will have to dedicate at least some time each month to hiring. They should engage potential hires, identify who might be a potential hire, attend professional groups where these potential hires exist, respond to unsolicited resumes that have potential instead of deleting them, use LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates and follow up with potential candidates when contacted. None of these takes a lot of time to do, maybe an hour a month. These small things can dramatically shorten the time it takes to hire someone and also increase the quality of those hires.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this article.

Brad Remillard