Category: Business and Workplace
In his latest article, Winning the War for Talent 2.0 in Malaysia1, Professor Sattar Bawany of the Centre for Executive Education in Singapore comments:
“Lower your prices and competitors will follow. Go after a lucrative market and someone is there right after you, careful to avoid making your initial mistakes. But replicating a high-quality, highly engaged workforce is nearly impossible. The ability to effectively hire, retain, deploy and engage talent—at all levels—is really the only true competitive advantage an organisation possesses.”
I would hazard a guess that most of you agree with this statement. However, it’s what you do about it that actually makes the critical difference in your life and in the lives of the people you lead.
And so, what do you know?
Whether you’re big business or not, you understand that the workforce of today is not the same as that of yesteryears and that you need to learn how to adapt to that reality and engage with talent in a way that they can appreciate. Therefore, while it is important for you to pay attention to your strategic direction, the globalisation of your services, the need to constantly refine and develop your product and the ever-changing bottom line, you also need to place enough emphasis on the people front. The people you choose to bring in – these are the people who choose to work with you and for you.
Some of you have more resources at your disposal than others, but there is a lot that you can do to ensure you attract and retain good talent that isn’t contingent on the money you choose to throw at them or the size of your company.
There’s this ongoing debate around how the Gen Y ought to be managed, how they profess loyalty not unto their employer but unto themselves. I feel that at times, some of the emotion behind such debate is a little off center.
Those who are brought up in a different era will undoubtedly look at things in a different vein. Ultimately however, it should not matter if Gen Y want more autonomy, more information flow or more assignments that truly stretch. What matters is that you can’t force others into a box and make them into little mini-me’s. You can’t judge them according to the standards you grew up in. These differences in the workforce are the result of change, change that you have to accept is part and parcel of development, innovation and advancement. Change resulting from being in a different time and place, of the face of the market and of the pervasive influx of technology in your lives and the consequent ripple effects. Your job, as leaders, is to find a way to make things work, to make your organisations relevant and inspiring and to align the goals of your organisation with that of the individuals you seek to bring to it.
So, how do you find, retain and grow good talent?
1.Networking is critical to ensuring you are able to find good talent
You open yourself up to a bigger source of good talent, and one that is not entirely reliant on your efforts alone. Others are on a search similar to you. They will have different experiences, they may get burnt, learn a lesson or two and be willing to share their story. They may have some good experiences and be willing to let you in. But there is a real skill involved in networking effectively. For one, you need to integrate your efforts online and offline. Spread your reach. Secondly, if you want to be noticed and if you want assistance, the best chance you have is when you decide to focus on giving before getting. See how you can be of benefit to your network. Thirdly, developing your network goes beyond simply introducing yourself via social media or asking people to recommend you or give references. It involves real connection, one that is established at a deeper level and which makes it clear to the other party that you are not taking a copy/paste approach to developing relationships. With practice and driven by the value you can create for others, you may be able to reap rewards by establishing and maintaining your network.
2. Employment references are an important part of this process
Yes, there are limitations to the use of references. You are only likely to provide a reference from someone who is willing to provide a glowing report. The chances are high that you can get a friend or colleague to provide such references. Given these factors, you would therefore want to put in place systems that can overcome some of the limitations of the employment reference. For example, you could do a reference check on the person providing the reference : Is he who he says he is? Bottom line, you don’t rely on references exclusively.
3. You need to develop the skills to find the talent who aren’t looking for you
Let’s face it – if they are good at what they do, chances are they are gainfully employed, very much engaged and they are not looking to move. That is not to say that you have no hope of getting them over. Locating these great talent will take time and may not be smooth sailing but anything’s possible. Be careful though : you need to ensure, before you start, that you are able to make a compelling case for them to reconsider their options.
4. Can you identify good talent when you’re face to face with them?
This is both an art and a science. You need to know not just what to assess but how best to do so. As Carol Quinn argued, in The Truth in Interview Part I2,
“Applicants are learning more about getting a job than interviewers are learning about hiring”.
Skills in itself are not an accurate indicator of job performance. And at some stage, you might have come across the skilled applicant, who was able to outsmart the interviewer and present a picture of herself that, in the final analysis, did not match reality. The question therefore is whether, as an interviewer, you are able to ascertain what you need to look for and have the tools to do so.
5. Understand the importance of employer branding
You put all the things you need in place. You build up a picture of who, you as an organisation, are. You reach out on various platforms – website, social media, offline networks – to create and maintain this consistent image. You understand the value in doing this, you nurture this delicately and hope to build on your successes, layering on, significant ideas of who you are, as an organisation, hoping that it matches the impressions created in the marketplace.
6. You remember the team in place
You remember one thing : the talent you already have in place. These are your brand ambassadors and they too have their own network. You don’t lose sight of this fact as you work to ensure that the impressions you create about who you are, needs hold true internally, within the organisation as well. Failing which, disaster may strike.
7. Wherein lies your focus?
Finding good talent is impacted by your focus areas. Sometimes, it may be easy to forget that everyone brings something to the table. We may each have our weaknesses and no doubt, these should be addressed but the strength movement, is one based on sound principle. Marcus Buckingham, author of published bestsellers, ‘First, Break all the Rules‘ and ‘Now, Discover your Strengths’ is right in asserting that it’s far more about harnessing the best of what you bring to the organisation than addressing what is weak within the individual.
“Since the greatest room for each person’s growth is in the areas of his greatest strength, you should focus your training time and money on educating him about his strengths and figuring out ways to build on these strengths rather than on remedially trying to plug his ‘skill gaps.’ You will find that this one shift in emphasis will pay huge dividends. In one fell swoop you will sidestep three potential pitfalls to building a strengths-based organization: the ‘I don’t have the skills and knowledge I need’ problem, the ‘I don’t know what I’m best at’ problem, and the ‘my manager doesn’t know what I’m best at’ problem.”
― Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths
In the end, you take the best of what you have to offer and make that compelling to the talent you seek to bring in. None of this is rocket science. Talent management frameworks have their place and significance but this is about making real connections, about being human in how you treat people and in seeing the relationship for what it is.
If you can do that, if you can connect authentically with your talent, if you can make them see the vision you have for your organisation, if you can put this across well and see how you can align what you want to achieve, with the growth paths your people are on, that alignment will create a world of wonder, passion and engagement.
1 Appeared in the October 2013 issue of HR Matters Magazine
2 The Truth in Interview Part I
Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters Magazine, a quarterly print publication aimed at Human Resource professionals. She is also the co-founder and Programme Director at Flipside, a business services company with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, providing professional certification training. Here, she provides strategic direction as well as oversight on client training and corporate functional areas. Rowena blogs about developing habits, execution, growth and personal development. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her husband, two young kids and now, a newborn. Connect with Rowena at email@example.com.
Looking for a life-impacting role for HR? Explore the opportunity you can use to save lives and life styles. I am talking about the life skills and balancing of life decisions of both your employees and their spouses.
My mom’s cousin lost her husband in the last year. In her grief and lack of education, she ignored the opportunity to keep her insurance and other benefits going. She has now had a stroke and may need brain surgery. I don’t want to go into the healthcare debate; I want you to think about the people and the impact a little education and/or policy changes could make.
What if her insurance and benefits could have continued automatically, paid out of her survivor benefits? This could at least have happened for a reasonable “grief” period, when there are so many decisions to make.
Let’s go beyond insurance and jump to life skills discussion. Want to increase family engagement? What about addressing the often ignored factors of estate planning and organizational skills? 85% of households have one spouse solely responsible for bills and paperwork. How can you help employees and their spouses, regardless of which one is the household operator, understand the critical necessity of cross training or at least strong organization of these processes. It can be touchy, but in many cases, it would be very welcome to have tools and discussion facilitated.
This issue is gender and socio-economically diverse. Think about it. Think about your mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparent, spouse. Who is going to be impacted by a tragedy compounded by complexity of new skill requirements, or financial messes that have never been shared?
You can make a difference.
Lois Melbourne, GPHR, is co-founder and former CEO of Aquire Solutions, mom to one terrific young son and wife of co-founder Ross Melbourne. After entering a bit of a sabbatical life phase, she is authoring a series of children’s books about career ambitions. She maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development and is a speaker, author of industry articles, and an occasional blogger and networker. Connect with her on Twitter as @loismelbourne.
Success is the primary objective of every business. But what exactly is success and how is it measured? To many it’s determined by financial gain, and behind financial gain there is always one thing that has set the path – happiness.
With so much emphasis on profit it’s all-to-easy to lose sight of your employees, the backbone of your business. Contrary to popular belief, good business isn’t always about investing in products or services, but investing in people. So before you start analysing statistics to look for a magic formula, take a step back and ask yourself, “are my employees happy?”
Improving Employee Engagement
A hefty paycheck, light workload and long holidays won’t always yield positive results. On the other hand, incentive programmes, career advancement opportunities, and making sure good work doesn’t go unnoticed is directly linked to job satisfaction. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, conducted a study entitled, Does Happiness Lead to Success? She states that if you implement a daily dose of positivity, your employees will be more engaged and motivated, which will lead to better job performance, – “happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to work actively towards new goals.”
Implementing a “Happiness Strategy”
Whether you run a large scale corporation or small business, implementing a “happiness strategy” should be a crucial part of your business model. Google recognises the importance of balance between working and personal life and allows their employees to dedicate up to 20% of their time to a project of their choosing. This has resulted in innovations such as AdSense and GoogleTalk. While small businesses may not have the finances to make such bold investments, changes can still be implemented.
It’s no secret that healthy living greatly contributes to happiness. Coors Brewing Corporation reported a $6.15 return for every $1 that they invested into their corporate fitness programme. In addition, Currency Index reported a 43% drop on absenteeism during the 12 months following implementation of their employee fitness scheme. Again, while investing in an on-site gym may be out of reach for your business, allowing your employees to take a little time out of their schedule to exercise could significantly increase their productivity.
Make Happiness Your Priority
Happiness is often considered a by-product of success. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has a very different philosophy. Achor states, “Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.” His studies have concluded that happiness is actually the driving force behind success and has started sharing his theories with businesses throughout the world.
If you’re serious about long-term financial success, take a leaf out of Achor’s book and make happiness your priority. Start today. Before you dismiss your employees for lunch or send them home, take a few minutes out of your schedule to make the rounds and give them some positive encouragement. A compliment will go a long way.
About the Author: Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.
The stagnant job market hasn’t made it easy for companies to find top candidates for open positions. In reality, it is actually more difficult. For every open position it seems as though hundreds of applications come pouring in, but the applicant pool is often under-qualified. It’s understandable, many people with substantial skill sets are holding on to the job they have while they wait for the economy to stabilize. So, what can an employer do to up their value proposition and opportunity to recruit great talent? There are many ways to increase your chances as a recruiter. In addition to online searches and job postings, here are few tips that may help you out.
Remember it’s Not a One Way Street
If you have a position that needs to be filled in your company, waiting for the applicant to come to you may end up giving you more of the same, lots of resumes, but not the quality you’re looking for. Consider proactive recruiting. Take the initiative to go out and look for great candidates that will fit your company’s culture. In addition to keyword candidate reviews on web searches like LinkedIn, do some good old-fashioned networking. Ask other professionals you respect if they know of anyone they’ve worked with in the past that could be recommended for your open positions. Get the rest of your hiring team involved, and have them connect with their contacts for any leads on top performers that may benefit your company.
Don’t Forget Your Current Employees
One of the best ways to attract new employees is to have a company full of happy, motivated people who like where they are working. Loyal employees are not only more productive, but are also inclined to recommend other great professionals for open positions. Consider an employee referral program that is more than just the “submit a name of someone you know” process. Have them recommend the person for a specific position and tell you why they think the individual is a great candidate. Although some may think that employees will simply try to get all their “buddies” hired on, usually that’s not the case. Employees who take pride in their company won’t be inclined to suggest the candidacy of someone who would be a bad hire – they wouldn’t want to stake their reputation on someone they can’t get behind.
Consider the Décor
Seems like an odd consideration, but if you want to bring in the best, your first office space impression means a lot in the eyes of the ideal candidate. If that person walks through the doors and sees a dry atmosphere full of white walls, compacted cubicles, and unfriendly faces, they are going to have a hard time envisioning themselves spending 40+ hours working in your office space. When you’re trying to appeal to top job candidates, and also working to keep morale high for your current work family, consider the environment you are asking them to work in. Personalized work spaces where people can express their personalities help to create attachment and belonging, and that translates into satisfied employees. You don’t have to forgo a consistent office décor, just consider providing ways for individuality to emerge.
Know Your Candidates
Great candidates want more than just a high paying salary. They want a company that offers development opportunities, upward mobility, rightful recognition, and a balanced lifestyle. They also want to see passion throughout their potential new workplace, and want that passion to be in line with their professional aspirations. Before you pitch your company to a candidate, find out what they are really seeking from a new employer and what factors would actually be enticing enough to make the switch to your company. Make sure it’s a values match for both of you.
Get Everyone on Board
A disorganized management and/ or hiring team can be a big turn-off to any interested candidates. If a top candidate hears their potential position described one way, and then hears it described differently by another team member, they are going to become concerned about the legitimacy of the position you are offering.
Before you even begin seeking out ideal candidates, meet with your hiring team to make sure everyone knows just exactly what the position is you are trying to fill. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to explaining the expectations, duties, and potential opportunities related to the open position. That way when a potential top performer inquires about the position, further questions or concerns aren’t created.
Don’t sell your opening short by taking an applicant through the process because they seem “qualified” enough and you have pressure to fill the role. Top performers within a company drive innovation, can motivate current middle-of-the-road employees, and increase profitability. Taking the time to actually seek out and find the ideal candidate for each open position may take extra time and effort, but it is the most important role a recruiter can play. Get the right people on the bus. That’s what builds and sustains stellar companies.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans – Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
I have been in talent acquisition for almost ten years and have chosen to work in corporate recruiting. I often get asked the question, “When you can earn two to three times what you are earning now, why haven’t you gone out on your own and begun working with many companies instead of working within just one?” The answer is pretty simple. For positions within a services organization where talent is what we are selling to our customers, I just don’t believe in the external recruiting model.
With experience in both external staffing agencies and as a corporate recruiter, the corporate recruiting model in conjunction with a proactive in-house recruiting department has proven to impact overall business success positively, specifically in business planning, client acquisition, and building and retaining our company’s talent base.
Talent acquisition is a critical component of overall business planning in a services organization. If your company is exploring a new business venture, offering, or customer pool, it is necessary to determine not only what staff is going to cost in order to serve this niche, but also how readily available they are in your market. A business plan may not seem as strong after considering the staff complement needed to create and ensure continued success if unavailable or extremely overpriced. An internal recruiter can provide this expert, up-to-date perspective from his/her experience within the market and take into account the company’s challenges and opportunity to acquire talent to serve this business plan.
Client acquisition is another area of the business that is heavily influenced by a company’s chosen talent acquisition plan. An in-house recruiter can work with the new business departments to ensure that the company has the right talent in place as soon as the new client is acquired. The talent acquisition process takes nurturing of candidates that should occur far in advance of client on-boarding and working within the company, which gives you foresight that an external recruiter typically does not have.
Due to the often confidential nature of new business development, it is important that the recruiter has a strong relationship with the new business development team and that they have a vested interest in the company. Business development isn’t likely to be shared with an external resource that may be partnering with possible competitors in the same industry, potentially creating a delay in acquiring the talent necessary to make client onboarding successful.
Furthermore, internal recruiters have a much stronger ability to assess fit to-role simply through continuous exposure to the company. They have the benefit of working with all of the various hiring managers 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Through this close working environment an in-house recruiter has a much better chance of identifying which types of personalities and working styles will work well with each manager by observing how each hiring manager works with others inside of the organization. Adding one more personality into a team can completely change the functionality and dynamics of that team. When a company has chosen to go down the road of paying a 15% to 25% fee on first year annual salary with an external recruiter, there is most likely a pressing need for the role to be filled, and often hiring managers in a services organization don’t have the time to spend with external recruiters to describe all of the intricacies of the team to them. When working externally to the environment you are recruiting for, it is nearly impossible to know each hiring manager and how he/she operates within the culture and environment. Now, imagine the challenge of finding a solid fit-to-role once you begin hiring for several organizations with several hiring managers; the ability to keep up with changing environments, roles, and personalities becomes nearly impossible.
Undoubtedly, with a limited qualified talent pool available globally, recruiters must actively maintain relationships with qualified talent for future openings. This is another area that an internal recruiter can more effectively serve a services organization: targeted relationship management with potential staff for the company. The internal recruiter has greater knowledge of how the company can be a fit for the candidates and possibly alleviate pain points they may be experiencing in their current situation. It is key to recognize that the value proposition to various qualified candidates may change over time and it is imperative that an internal recruiter keep abreast of changes with candidates’ situations and changes within the company and how the two may be a fit at a later time.
Finally, retention in a services company is imperative with the product of the company being the knowledge that each employee carries. An internal recruiter has more of a vested interest in seeing the recruited candidate succeed and remain committed to the company. Not that the external recruiter doesn’t wish good things for the candidate, but he or she just isn’t there every day reaping the benefits or suffering the repercussions of the hire. Furthermore, the external recruiter reaps benefits in the form of 15% to 25% of the candidate’s first year annual salary, as long as the candidate has the one to three month tenure guaranteed in the contract. From a monetary standpoint, most often internal recruiters are not rewarded on a per hire basis. The paycheck they receive each week is in exchange for them continually serving the company that they are committed to, while external recruiters typically are serving many organizations at a time and are rewarded for each successful placement. If a hire from an external recruiter fails after the tenure guarantee, the recruiter is not responsible for the replacement; whereas, an internal recruiter is required to replace the hire regardless of the time spent in the role. You can see how one system is built to reward long-term employment, while the other rewards even with short-term tenure.
In conclusion, I believe an internal recruiting model versus an external recruiting one better serves a services organization. Internal recruiting more effectively serves the business in the areas of identifying the right talent for the company, targeted relationship management, retention, business planning and client acquisition.
Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.
When you have a team that’s running on all cylinders, it feels great. Your business hums along and everything is easier. But when you have that one employee who is just not performing, it can put a damper on everything. It’s harder to get momentum going for your business. Your confidence as a leader drops, which means you don’t close deals like you used to. It affects everything.
So what do you do? How do you handle that underperforming team member? We asked several business owners to see what their approach would be.
Assess the Situation
“I like to sit down with the employee to establish what the situation is. I point out the problem, offer words of encouragement, and let them know the business is counting on them. We are interested in their success and want to help, not just drive their performance numbers. I ascertain if there is something more they need from us and give them time to remedy the situation. Finally, I make a decision one way or the other. Prolonging this situation affects the morale of other employees.”
- Jim Newton, Philip James Salon
“It depends on the employee. First, we would look and try to see why they are not performing. If it is because they do not understand what is expected of them, their manager would review what is expected of them. Sometimes an employee needs a review and they become an asset to our company. Sometimes an employee does not work out in one department, but can work somewhere else, so if that is the case, we will give them a try answering phones or working in the store. If all else fails, sometimes an employee is just not a good fit for the company. If that is the case, it is better for both the employee and the employer to part ways sooner rather than later. Although it is not pleasant, eventually, it is better to do the right thing for your company and for the employee.”
- David Cohen, Moshells
Ensure They Have the Tools to Succeed
“My first inclination is reflection…have I provided the employee with the proper orientation, training, information to achieve the objective? If not, I make every effort to rectify the situation. If this isn’t the case, I speak opening and candidly with the employee, set dates with deliverables and monitor progress.”
- Mary Rownd, Interactive Project Manager, HIMSS
“Coach them. When someone is not performing, my first question is always to myself. “Have I trained them, given them all the tools and time to be successful?” Only after I have satisfied these questions will I consider a performance plan to set targets to help get them back on track.”
- Jeff Purtell, Chief Operating Officer, Acquirent
“Communication between employees and supervisors is always key in having a solid working relationship; doing it well gives the manager an opportunity to inspire and lead a team. At InterCall, we have a workforce that is all over the world, so oftentimes, employees and their supervisors are not in the same office. We use tools like audio, video and web conferencing, along with web cams, to put faces to names and voices. It really helps to establish and build a rapport, which enhances performance and allows you to do more coaching.”
- Rob Bellmar, Senior Vice President, Conferencing and Collaboration, InterCall
So, there are several approaches to handling an underperforming employee from business owners across industries. How do you handle it? What’s been effective for you?
About the Author: Brad Farris is the founder of EnMast, a community of business owners committed to being better leaders and growing better businesses. He is also principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, with experience leading businesses & business owners into new levels of growth and success. Through his work with over 100 Chicago area small businesses he has experience in guiding founders and business owners through the pitfalls and joys of growing their business. Connect with him on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The difficulty associated with maintaining a work-life balance certainly isn’t a new saga – in fact, it likely dates all the way back to the days of the caveman. That said it’s becoming a more prominent issue for the workforce and, consequently, a more significant focal point for those in HR. If employees are facing stress in one aspect of their life, be it work or personal, it’s likely impacting their other functions as well. And in a time when productivity and innovation mean the difference between being a leader or a laggard, most firms can’t afford not to acknowledge the challenges that most in the workforce are facing.
A recent Pew study found that 56% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers find balance their work with their family life is either somewhat or very challenging. Similarly, 40% of working mothers and 34% of working fathers always feel rushed. What do these statistics mean for HR? More than half the workforce is feeling the squeeze when it comes to time and flexibility.
But working parents may be more passive about their need for a positive work-life balance than those from Gen Y. Unlike their predecessors, Millennials are explicitly demanding flexibility. In fact, 69% believe that regular office attendance is unnecessary, according to a Cisco study. What’s more, according to findings from Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business, 75% of Millennials are unwilling to compromise on their family or personal values. As a result, young top performers are choosing work environments in which the benefits are less about pay and more about creativity, personal meaning and adaptability.
Nevertheless, as baby boomers retire in mass numbers, the two generations are very quickly taking over the entire workforce which means that hiring managers and executives have to take note.
Below is a quick run-down for auditing your firms’ current culture offerings in regard to work-life balance.
Use an anonymous survey to investigate the following aspects of your employees’ life:
- Stress levels and perceived causes (i.e., time, responsibilities, work load, etc.)
- Impact of stress on productivity
- Desired options for alleviating stress (i.e., increased time flexibility, telecommuting options, mandatory breaks/no-work activities, health promotion activities, etc.)
With the results of this survey, pinpoint the issues that your workforce is facing and subsequently engage an educated trial-and-error process for implementing successful work-life balance practices. Pursue a follow-up survey after 3-6 months to ensure that the changes being made are putting your organizational culture on the right track.
This type of proactive behavior results in a domino effect of positive impacts because in addition to improving the productivity of your workforce, there is also a direct recruiting benefit. Firms that adapt to the changing wants and needs of the workforce are naturally going to improve their employer brand, or their reputation among prospective employees. In time, this will not only increase candidates’ attraction to the firm, but it will attract those individuals with the best culture fit. What’s more, the sourcing process will be less complex, reducing both time to hire and cost to hire. While all of this takes time to develop, it’s a win-win for candidates and employers alike.
Experiencing this upward spiral of hiring benefits isn’t difficult, but it does require change. In essence, the essential components to this entire process are (1) acknowledging a problem faced by the parents and millennials in the workforce that is causing a noticeable shift in work culture demands and (2) accepting short-term costs for significant long-term gains.
About the Author: Greg Moran is the President and CEO of Chequed.com, an Employee Selection and Automated Reference Checking technology suite as well as a respected author on Human Capital Management with published works including Hire, Fire & The Walking Dead and Building the Talent Edge. Greg can be found blogging at disrupthr.com, on twitter @CEOofChequed and Google+.
You don’t have to be a woman to be a good human resources manager—but, according to research, you are more likely to be. Women are the ones most likely to bring emotional intelligence to the table, according to a survey of executives, and emotional intelligence is vital to HR. In fact, at least one study has shown that almost 90 percent of leadership success comes from emotional intelligence.
Wondering what exactly emotional intelligence is? Not sure why it matters so much in human resources? Let’s take a look.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Think of it this way: In a room full of people, those with emotional intelligence continually pick up social and behavioral cues that others miss. Did that girl really mean what she said about her job, or was she exaggerating? Did that guy want to leave early, or was a conflict brewing with another person? Noticing and then understanding these kinds of situations typically come more naturally to women, although men certainly are perceptive too in varying degrees. Such insights are particularly helpful in HR, where person-to-person dynamics, perceptions, and emotions play such a pivotal role.
How Does Emotional Intelligence Benefit an HR Manager?
In recruiting, hiring, managing, and working with personnel, emotional intelligence is so important that it may actually be the determining factor between a fine HR manager and a great one. As proof of that idea, consider the following benefits that come from emotional intelligence in HR.
An HR manager who understands the ways emotions operate is an HR manager better equipped to respond to an employee’s frustrations and concerns. Nobody wants to talk to an HR manager who belittles or ignores his or her complaints. When upset staff members come to an HR manager, they respond better to the person who shows empathy for what’s bothering them.
Because emotional intelligence means being able to discern the difference between real and fake behaviors, emotionally aware HR managers have a leg up in terms of perceptions. A manager who can tell when an employee is giving lip service is better able to avoid being manipulated or deceived.
Many, if not most, personnel conflicts happen because of misunderstandings. Being able to articulate emotions—both your own and your employees’—is incredibly helpful in working towards better understanding.
The truth is, managers’ and supervisors’ interactions with employees go a long way towards determining whether or not those employees are satisfied with their jobs and willing to stick around. HR professionals who can be both firm and caring build trust with their staff members. A happy staff means reduced turnover, which is good for everyone.
In your experience in human resources, have you seen ways in which emotional intelligence is an asset? What other benefits come to your mind besides the ones outlined above?
About the author: Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo credit iStockphoto
One year into my HR career I hired my first direct report. I formed the job description, posted it on a jobs site and reviewed resumes as they came in. I felt like it was a stepping stone for me professionally, and I looked forward to having someone to develop and mentor.
After interviewing candidates I ended up hiring a referral from a co-worker that was an ideal Specialist to assist my HR Supervisor role. I could delegate a project with general guidelines and know it would be a success.
Fast forward several months, and due to a restructuring I inherited another direct report that didn’t turn out to be as easy to deal with. Daily life in the office became a challenge, and since I was still fairly new to having direct reports I went to my manager for advice. For the most part I felt that we were on the same page, but when another member of the team brought to my attention possible wrongdoing by my direct report, I was surprised to learn my manager and I didn’t agree on next steps. Having been provided supporting documentation to the suspected violation, I was ready to investigate the issue and further discuss with my direct report. My manager, however, did not think it needed to be investigated at the time and suggested waiting to see what came of the situation.
After thinking it through and discussing with another trusted colleague I decided to go against my manager’s advice and address the issue at hand. Feeling that my own credibility was on the line if didn’t look into the matter, I was proud that I stood my ground and did what was right to acknowledge the problem.
You may find yourself in a similar situation where you are at odds with professional advice you were given. Take it into consideration, but also ensure that you fully research the topic at hand to ensure you have all necessary information. Discuss with your network to hear several other viewpoints, and if appropriate, consult your company’s policies and procedures. Trust in your analysis of the case, and go forward with confidence in your decision on how best to handle.
About the Author: Heather Rose, PHR is an HR Professional with over 6 years experience supporting top organizations’ HR functions. In addition to her career in HR, Heather enjoys writing about her life adventures, reading and traveling. You can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.
Photo credit iStockphoto
When it comes to maintaining order in the workplace, negotiating employee discipline can seem like a high wire balancing act. On the one hand, we need to retain authority and some modicum of control over subordinates, but at the same time, dealing with personalities is an inherently touchy issue. After all, especially in the case of a non-fireable offense, the point is rehabbed behavior and not resentment, right?
Moreover, in this day and age of rampant lawsuits and claims of workplace discrimination, even if you have at-will employees and independent contractors making up the majority of your workforce, you need to handle discipline delicately to ensure a safe and functional work environment for everyone.
So here are some things to keep in mind when navigating the potentially murky waters of maintaining order at work through employee discipline.
Keep the issue on a “Need to Know” basis
In high pressure environments where time and money are at stake, emotions run high. Accordingly, if you believe an employee is taking advantage of the company or otherwise not living up to his end of the bargain, it can be easy to fly off the handle without taking a step back to assess the situation.
Likewise, if an employee is approached from a place of accusation or similarly confronted by multiple parties, your actions can trigger a defensive reaction rather than a willingness to engage in a calm, problem-solving discussion.
Accordingly, do not discuss your concerns about your employee with anyone else before ensuring their involvement is absolutely essential or their knowledge of the situation is necessary. You cannot un-ring a bell so don’t sound the alarm lightly.
Stick to the current, relevant facts
Yes, that means you should incorporate all three when you address your employee:
- Current: Don’t bring past issues up that have been dealt with before, unless they are prior examples of the same type of behavior.
- Relevant: Keep the discussion centered on the task at hand and avoid incorporating unrelated information that has no bearing on the current situation.
- Facts: This is the most important aspect of your disciplinary action – do not mention feelings, thoughts or emotions at this point. You need to tell her what she has factually done or not done to warrant “the talk” and be prepared to back up your position with actual proof if necessary.
Once you have set the stage for the discussion, allow your employee to fully respond to the current, relevant facts you have presented.
Perception may be reality but that doesn’t make it true
It is often said that there are 3 sides to every story: mine, yours and the truth. Unfortunately, most of us stop the investigation after we mentally process our own perception of an event – what we see is what we believe is actually going on and we make assumptions about a person’s motivation for acting in a certain way.
However, one of the most important things to remember is that the way we perceive an event is not the whole story and we need more facts to truly, accurately and fairly judge a situation. Be willing to listen and do not enter into a discussion with your mind made up one way or another.
As a final note, by establishing clear and unambiguous guidelines and expectations up front, you can avoid many issues and misunderstandings before they develop into full-blown problems.
What are some of the ways you have effectively handled employee discipline?
About the Author: Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing (www.amsterdamprinting.com), a leading provider of custom and promotional pens and other promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison regularly contributes to the Promo & Marketing Wall blog, where she provides actionable business tips.