Sunday, January 27, 2008

Factors Affecting Willingness and Ability


Factors Affecting Willingness

Factors Affecting Ability

Opportunity for Advancement

Career Path


Job Design/ Learn New Skills

Personal Traits & Interest

Knowledge & Skill Mastery

Company Management

Engaged Heart

Engaged Mind

Based on the previous blogs, this chart models the impact that the three key retention factors have on employees. If they do not have an opportunity to advance then they will not be as inspired to work their hardest. If their job is not designed to take advantage of their interests then they will not be as willing to do the work well. Company management must engage the employees' hearts (to increase the employees' willingness) and minds (to increase the employees' abilities).

They Stay or Resign Because of the Leaders

Because it is in both the top three reasons that employees stay and leave, opportunities for advancement are critical to manage. Employees are more willing to be engaged when they understand and can participate in managing their own career path. Employees who have high performance ratings are able to take advantage of lateral moves and promotions. Managers should also be aware of external barriers to performance that can rob employees of the ability to perform and increase their frustration. Leaders who engage their direct reports in the employee development processes help their reports create and manage their own careers. Leaders who leverage situational leadership skills drive superior performance, which creates more opportunities for their high performing direct reports.

Engaged employees are more likely to join your company and then stay if they have challenging work that allows them to test and develop new competencies. Competencies affecting commitment include those that are interpersonal and intrapersonal in nature, including the ability to learn (which is a strong predictor of future leadership potential). Competencies that affect capability include knowledge, technical skills, and ability.

According to every contemporary piece of research on why great performers become disengaged and leave companies the number one reason is consistently a bad boss. Leaders that engage the hearts and minds of their direct reports keep their top talent or help their best employees move up the organization. They engage their direct reports’ hearts by building a sense of deeper purpose, building relationships amongst team members, and appreciating both what was done and how it was done. They engage their direct reports’ minds by providing autonomous work environment in which each employee can take credit for his/her own success.

Why Employees Stay, Why Employees Resign

What attracts and retains employees?
79% stay because of opportunities for advancement
69% stay because their job is redesigned
65% stay because they are learning new skills in their current job

Why do employees resign?
56% leave because they are dissatisfied with company management
56% leave due to inadequate opportunity for advancement
50% leave due to dissatisfaction with pay
“Strategic Rewards” by Watson Wyatt, 1999

Friday, January 11, 2008

Employee Referral Programs

Pro: Top performers should bring in other top performers because birds of a feather flock together.
Con: Not everyone is a top performer. Top performers may be unwilling to refer others because it would reflect poorly on them to bring in a poor performer. Poor performers will refer a lot of people just for a little extra money or to surround themselves with their friends at work.
Strategy: Ensure that employees know that anyone who gets referred is a reflection of the employee who made the referral. Actively request referrals from your top performers, especially when there is a specific opening you want them to help you fill. You may want to provide some meaningful financial incentive if a referred candidate is chosen and stays with the company for more than 90 days. If that same new hire is rated as a top performer at the end of the year you should give the referring employee an additional bonus.

What the Web Says to Your Recruits

Any candidate that is worth considering should be Googling your company. What will they run into? (You better run that query right now yourself to find out.)
  • Is your company the first link (below the sponsors) when the query is run? If not, why not? If the candidate is a top performer then she or he is in high demand and will want to go to a company that is legitimate. Not being the first link when your own company name is Googled starts to raise some questions that you will not be given the opportunity to answer.
  • What are 3rd party sites (e.g. blogs) saying about you? If a potential customer has ever asked about you in an industry-related weblog then your potential hires are going to see what people have said about your company. It may not be fair if competitors have posted some of the answers, but that is the reality you are faced with. Dig at least ten search results pages deep and click through each link to see what threaded discussions include your name and how this reflects on your company. If you find dirt, you should create a plan to tackle that dirt. You might also want to create a strategy to mitigate future dirt.
  • What are your employees writing about you? These are the search results that potential employees are going to give the most credence to. If you have poor management in place you will definitely want to scour the web for opinions on those people. If you are serious about attracting the absolute best people to work at your company or on your team... manage the bad leaders out or help them improve IMMEDIATELY.
  • Many people indicate who their employer is on their social networking page (e.g. LinkedIn or FaceBook). What type of people they are in the outside world may become transparent on those pages and affect how a candidate views your entire workforce. Again, it is just a reality that people have lives away from work and are allowed to do all sorts of fascinating things and have all sorts of unique interests, just hope that those things are all legal and not too divisive.
  • Finally, has any unscrupulous blogger or webmaster included your company's name on a webpage that is just looking for some easy money via pay-per-click advertising? I have worked for companies that found their name on pages that were covered with links to all sorts of explicit materials. Set up a Google daily news alert with your company's name to see where your name pops up and report those sorts of false pages immediately. I have always found that and other are very quick to take those pages down.

There are obvious steps that you can take to present the benefits of working for your company. Have a great website with at least one page devoted to educating potential employees about some of those benefits. Give candidates a sense of 'a day in the life' of an employee in the job that they are interested in. Make the first two steps in the application process extremely easy and intuitive. Treat each candidate as if they are a potentially lucrative customer. Be polite, responsive, and appreciative of the applicant's time. Encourage employees who love working for you to spread the word. Be vigilant and act on negative press immediately.

Why do I end up hiring poor performers?

Resume writers write great fiction.
Interviews are a superficial and biased selection tool.
Candidates only let you see what they want you to see.
Performance is one organization does not often translate to another.
You focus on fit for the job and ignore fit for the culture.

Why Can't I Find Top Performers?

Top performers have lots of options.
There are very few really great employees.
Top performers are not looking for a new job (unless they are starting their own company).
Top performers want to be with winning companies and surrounded by other top performers and supported by great leaders. Is that your reputation?