Basic Common Sense in Generating Smiles Through-out Your Workforce

Are your employees smiling or frowning?

As an Executive Recruiter, Trainer, and Hiring Process Consultant, I have the privilege of visiting over 50 companies a year and getting to know their executive and managerial teams. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years.

That’s a lot of companies.

Is Your Culture De-Motivating?

I am dumbfounded why so many company environments and cultures are de-motivating. Many company environments and cultures could be described as painful, suffocating, soul crushing and (insert here any word or phrase that conveys negativity).

These company executives then ask me why they are having so much difficulty in attracting and keeping great talent at every level. Duh!

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can climb out of the pit of a dysfunctional and de-motivating culture. It starts with the people who are in charge of managing others in your company.

I was reading one of the blogs we’ve identified as part of our best practice collection on workplace issues, The Smartblog on Workforce.

Smart Blog on Workforce - articles on how to motivate, engage, and retain employees

A guest post caught my eye talking about such fundamental basics in motivation that I wanted to slap my forehead.

Fundamental Elements of Motivating Employees

Sometimes, companies make the process of motivating employees, engaging employees, hiring and retaining great employees – for too complex and difficult.

The guest author was Arne Nathan, who publishes his own blog titled “The Arte of Motivation“.

Let me summarize a few key points that Arne made in his guest post.

  • Welcome Employees Every Day
  • Follow the Golden Rule
  • Explain “why”
  • Catch People Doing Things Right
  • Ask Questions and Really Listen to the Answers
  • Be Fair These simple guidelines or elements could transform your culture. Some of my clients instill these behaviors in their managers and executives, embed these core motivating concepts in the fabric of their culture.

Tough Questions Regarding the Motivation of Your Employees

Here are 6 tough questions that might cause you to lose a few hours a sleep. Are you asking these questions in your company? Is one of your key executives asking these questions? If no one is asking the questions, your culture might be headed in the wrong direction?

  1. Are your managers and executives required to demonstrate competency in a comparable list to the one described above?
  2. Do you train your managers and executives in how to motivate, such as applying the golden rule, or teaching them to explain the “why” of their directions/requests?
  3. What techniques do you use to teach managers and executives to catch employees doing things right?
  4. Listening is one of the most important skills a manager or executive can possess. Do you continually train around deep listening skills?
  5. If you did a 360 review, would your managers and executives get high marks for motivating or would they be tagged as de-motivating?
  6. When was the last time you gave your culture/environment a check-up from the neck up? Is it possible that there is a disconnect between how you perceive the culture and how your rank-and-file perceive it?

Implications for a De-motivating Culture and Next Steps

I’ve been crying “wolf” for sometime about the coming wave of turnover most companies are about to face as the job market begins to reverse itself from an employer’s market to a candidate’s market. We’ve got about 6-12 months before the shift occurs.

Are you ready for some of your best talent to bolt once more jobs start to open up? Now might be the time to revamp your culture and environment so that you can emerge from the recession with a highly motivated workforce.

Starting right now – what’s your first step?

  • Shoot me a note or fill out our contact form and ask for one of our audio programs on motivating and engaging your workforce.
  • If you’re a member of Vistage or TEC, have your Chair book our “You’re the Person I Want to KEEP!” Speaker Program.
  • Review the wealth of information in the Vistage Library on Culture, Motivation, and Employee Engagement.
  • Create an action plan to improve one dysfunctional element of your culture.
  • Take our Culture Survey.
  • Conduct a 360 degree review of your management team or do a employee satisfaction survey.
  • Join our LinkedIn Discussion Group for Hiring and Retaining Top Talent and benchmark yourself against some of the processes, tools, and methods other companies are using to motivate and engage their employees. These are but a few of the hundreds of things you can start to do to create a motivational foundation within your company to begin to create a passionate and engaged workforce.

To read the full article by Arne Nathan, click the following link:

How good managers keep their workers smiling | SmartBlog on Workforce

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Download our FREE Culture Assessment to discover what your culture says about your company – and your ability to hire and retain top talent (There’s a little humor built into the assessment).

Your Hiring Process Shouldn’t Resemble A Rodney Dangerfield Comedy Skit

Rodney Dangerfield's most famous line "I get no respect" is similar to most experiences candidates have in the hiring process

We all know the comedian’s most famous line : “I get no respect.”

Many candidates might say the same thing about the way they are treated in the hiring process by hiring managers and human resource professionals.

I recently wrote on our Vistage Leadership Community Blog an article about candidate respect. Our Vistage Leadership Community Blog is where we highlight some of the very best bloggers, writers, and experts on the Web regarding Management and Leadership, particularly those specializing in Hiring, Human Resources, and Recruiting.

Many of you might know that Brad and I are two of the most popular speakers and resources for the Vistage/TEC Community, which focuses on improving the lives and effectiveness of their members and their companies. You can learn more about Vistage/TEC by checking out their amazing site by clicking here (don’t forget to read my latest blog posting on their homepage in the Buzz Blog).

Why is Candidate Respect Important?

I came across this great post on candidate respect on the Human Resources site.

About Com Human Resources Blog

The primary point that the blog author, Susan Heathfield,  makes in her post, is that candidates deserve a response and they deserve the right to know where they stand in your hiring process. They especially deserve the right to know on a timely basis if you reject them.

She claims — and I agree 100% — that the candidates you reject deserve the same courtesy of notification as the candidates to whom you are offering the job. Communication should be respectful, courteous, empathetic, and responsive.

In thousands of conversations with candidates, we have discovered a general level of dismay, anger, and frustration with most human resource departments and hiring managers. Susan sums it up best by stating:

Among job searching candidates currently, their biggest complaint is the disrespect with which they are treated by HR offices. Unfortunately, no communication appears to be the norm.

This issue of candidates NOT getting enough respect from a company during the hiring process piqued my interest so strongly that I’m going to run a survey of how candidates are either respected/NOT respected during the hiring process. I’ll run the survey through our LinkedIn Discussion Job Search Discussion Group.

Here Are Some Painful Questions About Your Hiring Process:

Do you have a procedure or policy to ensure that candidates are treated with respect in your hiring process – even those whom you reject?

Has every one of your hiring managers and human resource professionals been trained in how to legally and respectfully reject a candidate?

Do you have a guideline or checklist of steps in how to treat candidates at various decision points in your hiring process?

Do you solicit feedback from candidates about how they felt they were treated in your hiring process?

Do you monitor the dialogue of candidates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media/networking sites as they post on-line about their experiences with your company through your hiring process?

Are you creating a positive vibe about your company and brand through your treatment of candidates in the hiring process – OR – are you damaging your company’s reputation and brand image due to negative experiences.

The Implications of Mistreating Candidates For Your Open Positions

In over a 1000 searches stretching over the last quarter of a century, and in the research preparation to write our popular book on hiring, You’re NOT the Person I Hired, we found that companies can significantly improve their local image as a desired employer or they can damage their reputation to the point that everyone knows to stay away.

Providing a timely and respectful communication to candidates you reject in the hiring process is one small element of an overall approach to NOT mistreating candidates. Respecting candidates include:

How you greet them when they arrive for the interview

Offering a glass of water/cup of coffee

Not subjecting them to an inquisition or interrogation during the interview

Explaining the interview process and steps

Ending the interview on a upbeat note by sharing a positive factual comment (no matter how deep you have to go to find one). VERY IMPORTANT step! Not ending the interview by saying something positive will lead the candidate to leave the interview and justify why they don’t want to work at your company (by the way – they’ll be sure to tell everyone they know why your company is NOT a good place to work).

What are you going to do to ensure your hiring process does NOT mistreat candidates?

To read the entire article on candidate respect from About.Com’s Human Resources Blog, click the following link:

Candidates Deserve Respectful Communication

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Have you given your hiring process a check-up recently? Download our 8- Point Assessment to determine if your hiring process is capable of hiring top talent consistently at all levels by clicking this link.

photo courtesy of ibtrav

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


Losing a Top Candidate – Perception is The Only Reality. Lessons learned from 20 years on the front lines of the talent wars.

You rarely lose a top candidate at the end of the hiring process. It’s usually in steps taken along the way. In this case the client made a series of seemingly small mistakes that resulted in the candidate declining to go forward. It started simply by the hiring manager keeping the candidate waiting 30 minutes, then, he compounded the problem by not being prepared for the interview. “He didn’t seem to remember much about my background”, the candidate later confided in me. Despite the rocky start, the candidate returned for a series of additional interviews with other members of the management team. All went well, but the last interview was to be with a senior manager who was on a sales trip in Europe. No problem, we would arrange a phone interview. Week one resulted in no interview being arranged. It wasn’t until week two that the senior executive could “make room on his calendar” to call the candidate. The executive was 30 minutes late making the call and it lasted only 30 minutes. (Eight or nine time zones difference and he couldn’t find 30 minutes on his calendar for two weeks?) Finally, the client told me that all of the executives were very excited about the candidate and they wanted to move forward with an offer. I was told to inform the candidate that an offer would be sent to him “in a week or so”, as soon as the hiring manager could get all of the required approvals. At this point the candidate declined to continue. “To me, a hiring process is a reflection of how a company operates and makes decisions. I didn’t like what I saw.” The candidate took a job with a much larger company which had moved faster and more efficiently than this client.

Lesson learned: The best window any candidate has into the culture of an organization is the way it goes about the hiring process. If your process isn’t tight, professional, organized and strategic, top quartile candidates will go elsewhere, and they may tell their friends about their experience. One bad hiring process can equal two problems, the loss of a top candidate and a bad public relations moment.

Check your culture by downloading our Cultural Assessment. CLICK HERE to download a free assessment.

Is your hiring process effective at attracting top talent? Our 8-Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. CLICK HERE to download a free scorecard.

Mike is the founder of Hagerthy & Co, an executive search, training and consulting firm. For information on how to arrange for their complimentary Hiring Process Assessment go to:

Letting Employees Go Is A PR Event

Most have heard that hiring is a PR event. You should make sure that, whether you hire the person or not, they leave your company wishing they got the job. That way, they will speak highly of your company to others that might want to work there. This is especially true in small industries and communities where everybody knows everybody else.

The last thing you want is people telling future potential employees how bad the company or hiring manager was when they interviewed and that they would never work for that hiring manager or company.

Not good PR if you plan on attracting top talent to your company. In fact, a great way to ensure top talent will work for your competitors.

I don’t think some (not all) companies or managers recognize the same principles apply when laying people off or even firing them.

Well they do, and I can  demonstrate this, because I recently encountered bad PR. Twice.

First example

I was recruiting for a Regional Director of Sales in the upper northeast. Because of the weather, it isn’t easy to relocate people there.  The company was in a very niche industry, and because it was a senior level sales job, industry experience was important.

It didn’t take long before trouble set in. Did I mention the reason for the opening was that the previous person was fired? Apparently, the manner in which the person’s boss fired him was at best inappropriate and at worst down right wrong and disrespectful.

The fired employee had spread the word about his treatment all around, stating what a jerk this person was to work for and how he badly he treated people. He also took the time to go into great detail about how he was fired. Now, what I heard when I tried to recruit people was, “I’m open to talking as long as it isn’t for X company working for X?” WOW, what a way to start a search in a small industry in a small geographical area.

This all happened because the VP didn’t see firing as a PR event. The best way to fire someone is to make them think you are doing them a favor, not by degrading them, surprising them, or throwing them out of the building. This VP took a bad situation (firing someone) and made it worse by the manner in which he did it. If the VP had done it correctly, he would have still reached his goal of letting the person go, but he also could have set himself up as a person that cares and people want to work for.

Second example

I live in Orange County, California. Most people think it is part of Los Angeles. It isn’t. For such a large area, it is actually its own community. Large enough to get lost, but small enough that people get to know people. There are so many networking groups that it is literally hard to plan an event because the first thing that comes up is, you know XYZ networking group meets then. At almost any time day and night, every day of the week, some group is getting together. Some groups have attendance in the hundreds and some have less. Regardless, there are a lot and this is how people get to know people in Orange County, California.

At a recent event I noticed a lot of people were saying, “Did you hear about ABC Company and how they did the RIF?”  RIF stands for reduction in force, or in plain English laid people off.  This was the buzz while people were standing around talking before the meeting started. Apparently, some of the people that got laid off were at the meeting and telling horror stories about how the company treated the employees they let go. Many of whom had been with the company for some time.

How many other meetings do you think these people attended in the next week and started telling the same stories? Not to mention all the people at the first meeting perpetuating the stories to their network, colleagues, friends and family. We used to say, this is how rumors start. Now we say this story is going viral. It won’t be long before this company’s reputation precedes them. When the economy shifts, and they need to hire people, it will not be easy.

All because they didn’t think of letting people go as a PR event. An event that impacts the company’s reputation and how it is viewed in its industry and community.

If you found this helpful, please forward it on to others so they will be helped. You can email it to your team, forward it to your network, post on Linkedin or company Web site. Let's help everyone build teams of top talent.

You can join our Linkedin Hiring and Retaining Top Talent group where there is a lot more information on this and many other topics. There are also discussions and on-line articles. CLICK HERE to join and participate.

Our 8 Point Hiring Process Assessment Scorecard is available to download for free. Try taking this and learning if your hiring process is designed to attract, hire and retain top talent. CLICK HERE to download your scorecard.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions.

Brad Remillard