Archive for July 2017

Opinions Are Not Feedback

July 28, 2017

When asked what they would like more of their supervisor, most workers want additional feedback.  Leaders are generally pretty good at giving positive or affirming feedback (though most leaders could give it more often).  However, many leaders make a mistake when giving course correction feedback by offering opinions instead of describing observed behaviors.  When giving negative feedback, recount the behaviors actually observed.  Five common behaviors for feedback are:

  1. The Words They Said – “Tim, I appreciate your candor but calling Steve a ‘jerk’ makes you appear unprofessional to others.”
  2. How They Said Them – “Sally, I’m concerned that when you yell ‘WELL, GET MOVING THEN’ at Mike, he and others hear that as an aggressive, condescending comment.”
  3. Their Facial Expression – “Lisa, you have gained so much admiration through your work efforts but rolling your eyes when Kay gives her report chips away at all the professionalism you’ve worked so hard to personify.”
  4. Their Body Language – “Carl, I’m grateful for your passion but slamming the door when Diane leaves is an improper behavior.”
  5. Their Work Product – “Barbara, I’m happy you completed the report on time but the spelling errors reduce your credibility.”

Leaders who empower their direct reports by giving productive, actionable course correction feedback based on observed behaviors and not opinions are more successful.

Candidate Assessment Results Can Be Used After The Hire Too

July 21, 2017

Many companies use behavior assessments and skills testing in their selection process.  These crucial instruments assist hiring managers in differentiating among candidates and making the best hire.  However, once the offer is made and the candidate is hired, the assessment results are often filed away and rarely referenced again.

Reviewing the results with the candidate during the on-boarding phase provides them with some personal development guidance. Candidates never score perfectly on their assessments, so understanding where they scored low allows them to address their shortcomings and pursue job-specific learning.  At the very least, the new employee knows their new leader doesn’t expect them to be perfect and intends to provide support in areas that could otherwise be liabilities.

Additionally, the new hire’s direct supervisor can benefit from using the assessment results. The reports can give the supervisor tips for how to motivate and give feedback to the new hire. The results also let the supervisor know when to add support and when to stay out of the way to accelerate the new hire’s performance.

Leaders who empower their new hires and their supervisors with the new hire’s assessment results will experience more success.

Make Recruiting Everyone’s Responsibility

July 14, 2017

When leaders are asked what their greatest talent challenge is, most will say it’s finding “good people.”  Regardless of the economic conditions, hiring managers can never find enough top talent.

Human behavior dictates talented people normally hang around other talented people.  If there are top performers on a team, there is a very good chance they know other stars and some of those stars could be the “good people” hiring managers are trying to find.

Google is known for attracting and hiring great talent. In their book How Google Works, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg describe Google’s approach:

“… why let only recruiters handle recruiting? If everyone knows someone great, why isn’t it everyone’s job to recruit that great person?

The simple way to keep recruiting in everyone’s job description is to measure it. Count referrals and interviews. Encourage employees to help with recruiting events, and track how often they do. Then make these metrics count when it comes to performance reviews and promotions. Recruiting is everyone’s job, so grade it that way.”

Leaders who empower their top performers to recruit other top performers will successfully find “good people.”

Let The Selection Process Be An Evaluation Tool

July 7, 2017

What if there was a way to know before someone was hired how well they respond to emails, manage timelines, and coordinate meetings? A good selection process can do just that.

Most selection processes include email communications, assessments/tests, and reference checks. Observing how candidates handle those steps and the space between the steps can give hiring managers great insight into the candidate’s ability to handle certain situations.

When hiring managers send emails to candidates (like a core values email screen), they should ask the candidate to respond in a particular way (i.e. “short and to the point” or “as if you were replying to a customer”) and watch how the candidate follows those directions. When hiring managers ask candidates to take assessments or tests, they should ask that they be completed by a set date or ask when the candidate expects to complete the task; then watch to see if the candidate finishes by that date/time. When conducting reference checks, hiring managers want to ask the candidate to arrange the meeting times between the hiring manager and their references to see how well they coordinate the meetings.

A candidate may do very well in their interviews and have all the right skills, but if they don’t follow directions, meet deadlines, and setup meetings well in the interview process, it’s unlikely they will do much better after the job offer.

Empowered hiring managers use a selection process that challenges candidates to perform business basics and experience better hires.