Not All Reference Checks Say Good Things – 54% Have Received Bad References

I was recently facilitating our, You’re NOT The Person I Hired, workshop with CEOs and key executives. As is often the case, the subject of reference checking came up. Most in the audience tended to agree that checking references is a waste of time. After all, candidates only give references they are sure will say positive things about them. Don’t you agree?

Then a CFO sitting in the back raised his hand to disagree. He told the story of a controller he was about to hire near the border in Texas. This was a difficult position to fill as there were a lot of specific requirements. Finally, after an arduous search he found his person. She had all of the qualifications and most importantly he really like her. The final step was to conduct a few reference checks. She handed him a list of 30 references. WOW he thought, this person really has a lot of people willing to vouch for her.  Then he picked 5 of them and started calling. The first call was to a former boss. He introduced himself and explained that he was calling to conduct a reference check on Mary. The line went silent. The pause was so long that he thought they were disconnected and asked if the reference was still on the line. The reference replied yes and then stated, “Mary gave me as reference? I can’t believe it. We fired her because she stole from us. She did pay us back but she stole from us.” Now there was silence from him. He didn’t know what to say or how to respond.

This is just one of many examples of what can happen on a reference check and why you should always perform your due diligence. Granted, this may only happen once in your career, but in this case the once may have saved the company thousands if she has stolen again.

I have conducted thousands of reference checks in my 30 year career as an executive recruiter. I have learned that more often than not someone will give me a reference they expect to be positive and it turns negative. It is for this reason that I always check references. Like the CFO in this example, it has saved me from making some big mistakes. It only takes one bad reference to realize that catching that one person was worth all the others.

If you have stories or experiences regarding strange things that have happened when you have conducted a reference check I would love to hear about them and share them with others. Please take a moment to tell others your story.

I conducted a poll on LinkedIn in which 54% replied that they have had people give them a negative reference. This goes to show that even though the person giving the reference expects a positive reference they often don't get one

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

 

Using Non-Monetary Rewards to Retain Top Talent Part 2

Part One listed four of seven things companies can do to retain their top talent without spending a lot or giving increases in compensation.

The first four from Part One are:

1) Verbal Praise

2) Achievement Awards

3) Learning and Development

4) Fun and Recreation Events

Each of these can be done at the department or company level.  Each demonstrates a culture that rewards people for outstanding effort, provides a positive culture, and a culture that signals respect for the employee.

The last three are:

5) Company Wide Attention This is a step up from department rewards and recognition. This is at the company level. It is great to be honored or recognized by one's boss, however, when it is by the CEO or at a company level it is a completely different experience. Examples include, recognition in the company newsletter or on its Website, the up front parking space, a picture on the Wall of Fame, recognition at the annual staff meeting, a medal of distinction, any seemingly small thing for exceptional performance, for performing beyond the call of duty or an event that demonstrates extra effort.

It is often these small things that have the biggest and lasting impact.

6) Impactful and Meaningful Work This is one of the biggest reasons top talent contact executive recruiters. Top talent must be constantly challenged. They want to know what is expected of them. When clear direction is consistently lacking, they become frustrated and disengage. However, when top talent have a target to hit they will not only engage but strive to hit the bull's eye.

Giving your best people additional  challenges doesn't mean you have to constantly be expanding their responsibilities. There is a lot of  ground between saying, “That is your job and that is all there is.” to time-to-time challenging them with a special project, taking something off of your desk and giving it to them, allowing them to serve on an ad hoc project, stretching them with some strategic thinking, or involving them in an inter-department project. We find that all it takes is as little as 5% of top talent's time to be focused on impactful and meaningful work to make a difference.

7) Feedback This seems so obvious but many managers fail to do it. This is not the “good job” feedback discussed earlier. This feedback is at a much higher level. This is feedback that all top talent want and few get. This is what we call, 1-2-1 time. These sessions can be as short as 20 minutes a month. These 1-2-1 sessions focus on their growth, on improvement, build rapport, show genuine interest by the manager, and give time to demonstrate a personal interest in that individual. In our experience, when a manager takes the opportunity to conduct a 1-2-1 on a regular basis, the employee feels a part of the organization. They have the opportunity to be involved in the department, they can give and get feedback, participate, and be heard by their supervisor.

The 1-2-1 can be one of the most powerful experiences for an employee and their supervisor and it can be done in just 20 minutes a month.

Doing one or all of these seven things can dramatically impact your department or organization. In these difficult times any one of these will cement the loyalty of those top performers to you and your company. They will stand by you in difficult times and excel in great times

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

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Using Non-Monetary Rewards to Retain Top Talent Part 1

As a recruiter for almost thirty years, I have interviewed and spoken with thousands of candidates.  More often than not, compensation isn't the reason we are able to get them interested in a new opportunity. Most of the time compensation is a secondary concern. In fact, both myself and my partner, Barry Deutsch, have a long standing policy that if compensation is the issue, we will not work with them.

With our candidates, their primary concern is focused on non-monetary issues. Most of the time it evolves around their boss or the company. This is not to say compensation isn't important to them, but it isn't the primary motivator to listen to a recruiter.

The reverse is also true. When potential candidates decide not to listen to a potential opportunity, it usually isn't because they feel they are overpaid and that no other company will pay them as much. Rather it is generally that they have a great relationship with their boss and love working at the company.

After listening to so many potential candidates turn us down because they were so happy working where they are, we have come up with 7 things  these companies consistently do to create a culture that retains their talent. You don't have to do all of these, but if you aren't doing any of them you might want to reconsider.

1) Verbal Praise – These companies give what we call, “Standing Ovations” for outstanding performance. They take the time to recognize when someone goes above and beyond the call of duty. They also give praise  or even a simple thanks when someone does a good job. This is sincere praise and thanks, not just given as a matter of fact.  The contrast is a culture in which the employee's performance  is viewed as, “just doing their job” or “isn't that what we pay them to do.”

2) Achievement Awards – Another form of praise. These achievement awards are earned. It is not about sooner or later everyone will get one, so everybody feels good. That loses all of their meaning and significance. These awards take different forms in different companies. Some examples include a reserved parking space, employee of the month, a trophy prominently displayed in the person's office, certificates, mention in the company newsletter, a pin handed out by the CEO, lunch with the CEO and executive team, take a break and cake on Friday afternoon, etc.  The important point is that the employees appreciate the recognition and don't take it for granted.

3)  Learning and Development – Top performers want to continue to learn and develop their skills. Does your company encourage on-going learning for your employees? This might include giving them some time off to attend classes, bringing a topic expert in to speak to a group, allowing them to attend a workshop, have an on-line training program they can complete, or encouraging involvement in professional association and trade associations. These types of programs generally don't take a lot of time or can be performed outside of working hours and the ROI to the company can be huge.

4) Fun and Recreational Events – My daughter works for a private university. They recognize that they don't pay at the industry level. They overcome this in many ways, but one way is that either her department or the administrative team will do some fun thing that takes an hour or two. Some examples include, a putting contest in the office, a picnic at the park for lunch,one time her department took off an hour early to go see the filming of the Tonight Show, they went bowling during lunch time, they will take a few minutes late in the day and play a game of charades or Pictionary, etc. These are just fun things that make it a great place to work. To the workers this is worth making a few dollars less because they enjoy the people and their efforts are recognized.

Part 2 will cover the final three non-monetary rewards you can do to retain your best 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

Which of Your Employees Have a Miserable Job?

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

One of my favorite books, is Three Signs of a Miserable Job, by Patrick Lencioni.

Have you read this book yet? Every CEO should make it required reading for their management team.

Here’s an excellent YouTube Video with Lencioni talking about the book:

Here’s my homework assignment for you: Take an excel spreadsheet, list every employee in your company, and categorize them into one of the three main categories for a miserable job that Lencioni refers to in his book.

  • Anonymity: People need to be understood and appreciated by someone in a position of authority
  • Irrelevance: Everyone needs to know their job matters to someone
  • Immeasurement: Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves

That’s the easy part, the next part is then put action plans together to overcome these miserable elements of jobs in your company. Are you to this challenge?

You might say to me:

‘I don’t have a need to go through this with my employees. Our productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness is good enough. We don’t have to go through this time-consuming, painful process, to figure out what’s wrong with our jobs. If any of our employees don’t like their jobs, their welcome not to let the door hit them on the way out.

 

Should Employees Be Engaged and Satisfied?

I’m curious how many CEOs really believe that statement. Oh, no one raised their hands. Here’s the irony: The vast majority of CEOs don’t perceive a problem. Then why are the vast majority of your employees turned off, dissatisfied, disengaged, and are ready to look for a new job? Almost every study over the last few years indicates employee satisfaction has dropped to historical lows compared to the Great Depression.

What’s the risk of having employees feel like their job is miserable? What’s the risk of having disengaged, unhappy, dissatisfied, unmotivated employees?

The risk is a tolerance for “it’s not my job”, errors, customer dissatisfaction, turnover, poor performance and execution, below industry average levels of productivity, and a dysfunctional culture that permeates every element of your business. Wow – I depressed myself just making that list.

 

Create An Engaged Workforce of Happy Employees

When should you start to care about how your employees feel about their jobs? Should it be when you want to grow your business by $250,000 next year, or $22 million over the next 3 years?

If your approach to business is “it’s good enough”, then take no action.

If your approach to business is along the thoughts of Jim Collins in Good to Great, I challenge you that this could be one of the greatest areas for operational performance in your business over the next few years.

What are your thoughts? What’s your experience in implementing actions to overcome the 3 primary elements of a miserable job?

Barry Deutsch

PS – Take our FREE Culture Survey to get a quick grasp on how your employees might perceive your company and whether there is a risk of them being miserable. Click here to download the Culture Survey. This was one of the key chapters in our award-winning and best-selling book, titled “You're NOT the Person I Hired.”

If you would like to discover how to hire and retain top talent, we've made You're NOT the Person I Hired, available for FREE in an electronic version. To download your free copy of the book You're NOT the Person I Hired, click this link, or click the button below:

Download our FREE e-book - You're NOT the Person I Hired

 

Stopping Recruiters From Taking Your People

Q. Our industry is one that is actually growing during this recession.  Some of my people are getting calls from recruiters offering them new positions. We can't afford to lose anyone at this time. Is there any way to keep recruiters away from my people?

The short answer is no. Good recruiters are as good at their job as your best people are at theirs. Recruiting your best people is what they get paid to do. However, they don't offer your best people a new position as you state. They only offer them a potentially better opportunity. Maybe it is better, maybe it isn't. Determining that is what the interviewing process is all about from a candidate's perspective.

You can't stop recruiters from calling your people, but you can make your people recruiter resistant to a large degree. The best way to stop recruiters is by making sure that your best people don't want to leave. I have made thousands of recruiting calls in 30 years as a recruiter. Employees that really enjoy their work,  the company they work for, and respect their boss, generally thank me for calling and then turn down a new opportunity to move forward. Why?

I have discovered that the best way to defend against recruiters is to make sure you continually provide your employees with three things; 1) The opportunity to always be learning. Top talent require this. 2) Belief that they are a making an impact. Top talent don't want to just perform busy work. They want to know that their work is meaningful and impactful. 3) They are growing and becoming better. This requires a boss that they respect and that is willing to take the time to understand their needs. A boss that is willing to challenge them and makes sure year after year that they are better at what they do than the previous years. Most people don't leave a company, they leave their boss.

If you ensure that your employees are learning, impacting your company, and have a boss  they respect, you will also stop recruiters. A byproduct of this is that your company will get a reputation as a great place to work so finding new people will also be easier.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives, and HR professional 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 this free assessment of your company's hiring process to see if your company will attract top talent. http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com/index.php/hiring-assessment-scorecard

I welcome  your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard