Archive for July 2011

Use Job Accountabilities During The Selection Process For Better Hires

July 31, 2011

In her book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, Leigh Branham lists the causes workers quit their jobs as:

  1. Job not as expected
  2. Job doesn’t fit talents and interests
  3. Little or no feedback/coaching
  4. No hope for career growth
  5. Feel devalued and unrecognized
  6. Feel overworked and stressed out
  7. Lack of trust or confidence in leaders

#1 and #2 are a result of not using a job accountability or job definition document in the selection process.  If you don’t have the open job clearly defined before talking to candidates, your are doing them (and you) a disservice.

Share the job accountabilities with candidates early and often (we suggest before the first phone screen).  Thoroughly cover the job accountabilities during the first face-to-face interview.  Share the job accountabilities with reference checks when vetting candidates.  Review the job accountabilities with the candidates one last time before sending the job offer.  Candidates should have little doubt what is expected or whether the job interests them before they accept the position.

Some experts estimate the cost of a poor hire to be two to three times their annual salary.  The cost of developing job accountabilities and using them is nominal.  Empower your selection team to use job accountabilities during the hiring process, and you’ll experience better hires.

Don’t Let Travel Schedules Preempt Your Regular One-on-One Sessions

July 24, 2011

If you or your organization claim “our employees are our greatest asset”, you should be doing regular one-on-one sessions with your direct reports. There is no better way to maintain those valuable “assets” than weekly one-on-ones.

When you or your direct report travel, you might skip the one-on-one sessions.  Don’t do it; conduct the sessions by phone instead.  It is important for the one-on-one meeting rhythm to be maintained.  Remember one-on-ones build relationships and trust.  Productive relationships and enduring trust stem from predictability.  Rescheduling one-on-one sessions because you or your direct report are not in the office, disrupts this crucial rhythm.

Remember, whether it is you or your direct report who is working remotely, maintaining a consistent, predictable rhythm to communications keeps the empowered momentum going.  The purpose of one-on-ones has always been centered around the needs of the direct report; aren’t they more likely to have increased communication needs when you are not physically together?

Empower Your Direct Reports With Positive Feedback/Reinforcement

July 15, 2011

It’s easy to forget the power of positive reinforcement, especially with direct reports who have worked with us for a long time.  We often treat new employees differently because we realize they need feedback relative to the extent to which they meet our expectations and because we are so excited to have this new employee.

It struck me the other day, as I was working with our dogs how we can re-engage or accelerate the performance of existing direct reports with an increase of positive feedback.

With a pup much praise and positive reinforcement needs to be lavished – much for the same reasons you do with a new employee.  What I didn’t expect was that as I issued an enthusiastic “Come” to the pup, and gave him much attention and praise when he obeyed, the other dogs realized they wanted a piece of the attention.  The otherwise lazy or inconsistent responses to my commands by the grown dogs were replaced with consistent and energetic desires for praise.

I’ve now replaced my apathetic responses to the grown dogs good behavior with more enthusiastic praise and have found their level of energy, promptness, and willingness has increased consistently.  Additionally, all three are feeding off the others’ responses and praise.

Empower your direct reports to accelerate performance by recognizing good performance with sincere positive feedback.

An Excellent Example Of Empowerment

July 11, 2011

Below is an exemplary story from Michael Lewis’ book Liar’s Poker on how empowered leaders can change a company.

In 1968 Lewis Ranieri was a sophomore English major when he took a part time job on the night shift in the Salomon Brothers mailroom at $70 a week. His wife lay ill in the hospital, and the bills simply accumulated. Ranieri needed $10,000. He was nineteen years old, and all he had to his name was his weekly paycheck.

He finally got up the courage to request A LOAN from a partner at Salomon whom he knew only VAGUELY. The partner told Ranieri that the hospital bill would be taken care of. Ranieri thought that meant it would be deducted from his weekly paycheck, which he couldn’t afford, and he began to protest.

“It will be taken care of,” the partner repeated. Salomon Brothers then paid the $10,000 bill racked up by the wife of the mail room clerk with three months’ tenure.

There was no committee meeting. The partner hadn’t even paused before giving his answer. It was understood that the bill would be paid, for no reason other than it was the right thing to do.

The act moved Ranieri deeply who went on to become vice chairman of Salomon Brothers. He is considered the “godfather” of mortgage finance and and in 2004, Ranieri was considered by BusinessWeek one of the greatest innovators of the past 75 years.

Empower your leaders to do the “right thing” and you’ll both be successful.