When employees make costly mistakes ….

As bosses and executives, we do our best to ensure our employees are given the tools they need to do their job well (e.g., computer, desk, policy manuals, etc.).  However, non-tangible aspects of a job can be roadblocks to their successes (e.g., limited people skills, lack of discretion or business savvy, inability to work well with boss and co-workers, inability to plan properly or make decisions within appropriate timeframe, etc.). These aspects of poor job fit can devastate profitability. Moreover, how you handle these occurrences may help your employees learn from their mistakes and ultimately make or break your own career.

First and foremost, use scientifically validated assessment tools for hiring, coaching and managing your employees for success. Good job fit most often reduces the chance of costly mistakes on the job. [Contact JLSeibly@gmail.com for further details.]

Gossip. Everyone does it, but unfortunately, there is no way to know who else is listening. The people seated at the next table in the coffee shop may learn invaluable information that they can use to get a competitive lead with a prospective client, or even proprietary information for product development.  It is imperative to periodically remind employees of their confidentiality agreements and advise them of the sensitivity of the information they may possess.

Zero tolerance. When major errors in judgment happen, it’s best for all employees to know proper protocols and be empowered to implement them immediately, such as contacting the boss, the appropriate human resources executive and/or company attorney.  Do not be fooled into assuming theft, harassment or safety violations won’t happen on your watch.  If the unthinkable does happen and someone is killed or hurt on the job, damage control will fall to you.  What if key employees leave due to a perceived hostility in their work environment, or your company files for bankruptcy? These unfortunate occurrences quickly and irrevocably change your daily reality and do not bode well for your career or the company’s reputation. 

Finesse is necessary.  Handling delicate issues can be a challenge for everyone. Every company has a client or vendor, business associate, or business partnership that didn’t work out due to ethical reasons. Unfortunately, some employees may not understand the significance of these unwritten no-no’s (e.g., don’t do business with, etc.). Empower your employees to navigate these no-win issues knowledgeably and work with them to minimize the impact and fall-out.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

What if your boss is wrong …

What do you do when someone says something untrue? What if that someone is your boss?

Pick your time and place. Many professionals have inadvertently sabotaged their own careers by telling a boss s/he is wrong — in front of others. It is better to wait until you can have a one-on-one meeting. Be sure to prepare the facts in a manner that your boss will appreciate (e.g., written, numeric, graph, articles, etc.).

Be willing to step in professionally. If you see someone is about to sign a contract or make an agreement, and you know the facts are incorrect or have changed, take action. Be willing to stop the meeting and ask for a confidential conversation with your boss and/or management team.

Let it go. Understand that no matter what the facts are, some bosses make their decisions based upon their gut feelings. It won’t matter what you say. They are going to do what they want to do — without regard to your input or feelings. Handle the fall-out graciously when that happens. It only takes a couple of negative outcomes for an astute boss to start listening to your recommendations. 

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Warren Buffet had it right:

“In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But the most important is integrity, because if they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.”

He went on to summarize his lesson: “When you hire someone to run your business, you are entrusting him or her with the piggy bank. If these people are smart and hardworking, they are going to make you a lot of money, but it they aren’t honest, they will find lots of clever ways to make all your money theirs.”

Consider these facts:

In retail: Employee theft is estimated to be responsible for 47% of store inventory shrinkage.That ‘s over 17 billion dollars per year! Employee dishonesty is the greatest single threat to profitability at the store level.

It’s not all money and goods: A recent national survey found that 59 percent of employees who quit or were laid off or terminated in the last 12 months admitted to stealing company data, and 67 percent admitted to using their former employer’s confidential information to find a new job.

Banks and Credit Unions: The banking industry reports losses of over one billion dollars annually because of employee theft, greater than the amount taken in bank robberies many times over.

Lots of ways to do it: Faking on-the-job injuries for compensation, taking merchandise, stealing small sums of cash, forging or destroying receipts, shipping and billing scams, putting fictitious employees on payroll, and falsifying expense records.

Across business types: Security experts predict that up to 30 percent of the nation’s workers will steal at some time in their career. Difficult economic times, lack of salary increases and the threats of downsizing and cutbacks make it even more tempting for employees to help themselves.

This threatens your existence!  It is not unusual for a small business to be bankrupted by one employee’s theft . The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that small businesses suffered a median loss of $100,000!

You just won’t know: On average, it takes 18 months for an employer to catch an employee who is stealing.

How can you protect your business?

As devastating as these possible losses are, two simple and inexpensive processes, inserted in your hiring system, can dramatically reduce the possibility that you will experience them:

Perform background checks before you hire. While background checking is far from flawless, it’s a valuable tool to learn about past problems and possible risks–and it doesn’t cost much!

Use an honesty-integrity assessment. A valid, predictive honesty-integrity assessment will help you avoid hiring someone likely to cause you this kind of problem–again, it doesn’t cost much!

Combine these two tools to help protect yourself from mostly preventable business disasters!

To learn more about using background checking and honesty-integrity assessments in your hiring process:   Contact JLSeibly@gmail.com. We’ll show you the tools, explain the low costs and high benefits, show you real-life examples of how they work, and arrange a demonstration, if you like!

Written by John W. Howard, PhD

Sources of statistics

Contact us for further information:

  • For a brief description of all our systems and tools, click here.
  • For a flash demo of our simple and affordable online hiring and recruiting solution, click here.
  • For a flash demo of our online performance management system, click here.
  • For information on our simple, affordable online HRIS, click here.
  • Or, for more information and a custom solution for your business, call or email!

Are you a Pouncer?

Many bosses love to just saunter up and start talking about job performance. Unsuspecting employees experience this as being pounced upon.  You’ll know you are a pouncer if your employees seem to run for cover every time they see you coming their way!

You may believe this type of management style can be good for morale, but in truth it only alleviates your own boredom and maybe lessens your frustrations with the ongoing challenges of working with people and/or systems.

Employees will make mistakes.  This is a truism. If they are not periodically making mistakes, they are not growing with the business. But if employees are making the same mistakes over and over, it’s time to review their performance and put them on a plan for improvement. Usually training is missing, or they are in the wrong job. No amount of finger-pointing or complaining will fix these problems without tactical and/or strategic intervention.

Don’t expect your employees to take the blame when you make an error. It’s up to you to apologize and work with your employee(s) to clean up issues.  Learn to laugh at yourself. Have compassion for others. Take responsibility and be accountable to get a problem handled quickly.  How you handle setbacks is an example that your employees will mimic.

Walk it out. Write it out. Talk it out.  It can be lonely at the top. If you are someone who lets your frustration get the best of you, regardless of the reason, take time for yourself. Get enough exercise. Keep a very private journal (not at work). Hire a coach for confidential conversations that will reduce your stress level and stir up solutions.  Simply talking out issues can help you resolve them quicker and improve your management style.

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Do your clients think you are inaccessible?

Ridiculous you say?  Hhhmmm…

  • Does it take several phone calls to get in touch with you? 
  • Does it take longer than 24 to 48 hours to respond to your voice mail messages or emails?
  • Do you normally use the excuses “I’m too busy.” OR “I don’t have the time?”
  • If so, you probably do not know this Law of poor customer service:
    The longer it takes for you to return a call or respond to an email, the more the issue will grow exponentially larger.

 Try this instead:

Treat your phone and email with reverence. Phone messages and email messages from clients and prospective clients are the life blood of your business. Prompt responses are a good opportunity to enhance the value you provide to your clients. It’s also a great way to up-sell and cross-sell any additional products and services that they may need, but do not realize you offer.

All clients are important. Rank ordering clients as to whom you will contact based upon revenues will work only until you lose the BIG client. Then, you’ll need to re-group and try to re-capture smaller clients who found excellent customer service with your competition while you focused on the BIG client.

Keep meetings. Continually canceling, not being prepared, and not taking responsibility for ensuring the client feels valued are good excuses for your clients to seek out other vendors. It’s easier and less expensive to keep good clients, then to go and find new ones.

Blitz them with customer service. We falsely assume, with devastating results, that everyone knows how to be a good representative of the company. Train all employees to be on the same page, and work together for the benefit of the client. Contact me for details … it will save you many clients! JLSeibly@gmail.com

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Which assessments = hiring success?

A business owner recently made a typical statement about whether or not a  candidate possessed the required core values for a job.  “I’ll simply ask her if she has integrity, work ethic, and reliability, and if she does drugs. Then, I won’t need to use an assessment!”

Huh?  Over 71% of people lie in their interviews and on their resumes. Why would this person be the exception?

Scientifically validated assessments have been a continuing debate for several decades. It can be difficult to discern from among offerings of over 3,000 publishers, which tools are available and to understand their inherit differences. The issue here is that thousands of test publishers do not go to the expense and trouble to validate and test for discriminatory impact. This shortfall is compounded by the hundreds of thousands of users who don’t follow assessment directions accurately. 

The following are key points to consider when selecting the right tools required to hire the right person.

Not all assessments are created equal. Using the wrong tool, or no tool at all, is like tossing the dice and hoping for the best. Some tools are incredibility accurate, while others are simply fun to use in a seminar type setting.  The problem is we often don’t understand the difference, and end up inappropriately choosing the fun ones for hiring purposes. Legally, you need to use the tool that has a window of predictive validity of more than several months.

One assessment can not address everything. There are different types of assessments; each validates specific areas:

  • Skills Tests – measure actual competency within a particular skill set
  • Core Values Assessments – gauge integrity, work ethic, reliability and attitude towards substance abuse. 
  • Job Fit Assessments – ascertain a candidate’s ability and commitment to get the job done in the manner you desire.

Passing one of these does not mean the applicant possesses everything else required to best fill the position. For example: although applicants have successfully completed skills and core values assessments, they may not have the interest, thinking style or core behavior to do the work.  The reality is, the candidates may not have the willingness to do a good job – although, they may have the skills.  Measuring these key factors is the purpose of job fit tools.

Assessments help you find and hire the qualified people. Using an interview process alone is only successful in one of eight hires! When you employ an objective process and hire the right person, it will make a significant difference in your own success, and your company’s bottom line. 

How do you find and select the right assessments?

Insist on having the Technical Manual. It will describe precisely how the assessment has been validated, and how it has been tested for discrimination. It will also provide further information about study size, validation and reliability processes – important determinants.  Predictive validity is the key!  Are the results valid for a few months or five years?  If the provider is unable or unwilling to provide a Technical Manual, move on to another provider.

Review key determinants.  The Department of Labor offers a publication on use and selection of assessment tools. They list 13 key determinants of whether an assessment is appropriate, and its proper use.  Contact me for a copy of this publication. JLSeibly@gmail.com

Still in doubt? Ask the provider for a copy of their attorney’s legal opinion.  Many sales people will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know. Get the company’s legal counsel to provide a written outline of how the tool works and how it can be used. Have your own attorney review for clarification.

Employers need to hire the right people the first time to turn their companies into profitable ventures. It makes good business sense to ensure successful hiring practices.  Contact me today to discuss how you can use scientifically validated assessments to improve your hiring success. JLSeibly@gmail.com

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Bosses! Come down to reality!

Are you a business owner, executive or the boss?  We all need a reality check from time-to-time. Do you believe projects could be completed quicker if only they would do it your way? Do you expect more from others than you do from yourself?  Are you intolerant of others’ mistakes? Yet, harder on yourself?

Here are three easy ways to get real and get results:

Come into alignment.  Get on the same page with your employees regarding the expected results. This is critical for ensuring agreement. Then, have them put together an action plan and review it with you before they start!

Be the coach.  Don’t micro-manage the process. If the process is not moving forward as discussed, or it has hit more than one bump, you may need to step in. Review the thought and action processes. Correct inaccurate assumptions and negative attitudes. Be aware that many people have a hard time addressing the details of a project, particularly if the process is not working the way they envisioned it would.

Manage results.  Have short weekly reviews. What worked? What didn’t?  Be specific and stay away from the why’s. Create a plan to address issues and acknowledge successes. The key is to fine-tune and move forward. Above all, do not let set-backs stop you.

As the boss, your job is two-fold:

  • To manage major blunders and the hiccups that occur along the way.
  • To recognize and reward great progress.

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Confidence vs. Bravado

Strong leaders recognize that their self-belief starts from within. They are responsible for their actions and words.  They develop a natural and positive self expression, a genuine confidence that is not false bravado.  They meet challenges by sharing their ideas and solutions without blame, judgment or criticism.  Others are comfortable following their lead, and wish to follow the leader’s example of developing a clear compass for achieving great results.

1)Leaders make mistakes. When they do, they quickly apologize and don’t nitpick the facts. Then, they simply follow through and deliver the newly negotiated agreement on time.

2)Experience is the key to understanding. Everyone has thoughts, opinions and feelings about a situation or person — normally a reflection of their unconscious biases. Conscious recognition and experience require taking responsibility of one’s own perception, and developing compassion for others. Compassion does not imply agreement, but it does develop the depth of soul needed in a true leader.

3)Leaders are able to work with a wide variety of people and situations by relying upon their strengths, and managing their own weaknesses. Leaders who stay focused on the human and material sides of a project are able to elicit the best in others.  They are developing breadth in their own skills and the skills of others at the same time. Their success is repeatable.  They enjoy celebrating their successes, and the outstanding results of others.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Break ‘Through’ Performance

  • Do you make changes due to boredom?
  • Out-talk others to get your own way?
  • Focus solely on the facts or your feelings to make decisions? 

Many will say, “Of course, everybody does.” These are the normal methods to handle people, systems and issues.  But the same old habits limit your job satisfaction and your ability to achieve outstanding business results.

The world of work is changing.  It requires a new level of performance to recognize new opportunities that meet the needs and business goals of your customers. 

Recognize old habits. They have become your blind spots and are getting in your way.  When you move out of your comfort zone and take the appropriate action(s), new habits will be formed.  Work with a coach to customize solutions that work for you!

Take focused action now.  Busy work is simply your excuse to avoid doing what you know you need to do to achieve the results you say you want.  Work your plan.  Include others and their ideas. Handle the details and make those hard decisions.  Want results? Take focused action.  Now.

Hire a coach.  Many business professionals want to be top performers and enjoy peak performance.  Yet, they hit a wall and slug it out alone. A coach helps you recognize blind spots and stop recycling the same old information in a mental monologue. These insights, when put into action, make you easier to work with, keep you in focused action and have you elicit the best in others.

Break through performance requires out-of-the-box thinking via the synergy of you and your coach.  Recommit to your own success.  Hire a coach and enjoy your new results.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

#1 Energy Zapper!

Our excuses!  It takes the same amount of energy to entertain the chatter about why you shouldn’t need to do something, as it does to simply get it done.  It’s amazing how much time we waste looking for excuses.

Want to be more effective?

  • Schedule
     Use a calendar or Outlook, schedule time to get the task done, and honor it as an appointment with someone important. 
  • Do or Delegate
    Just because you don’t want to do it, doesn’t mean others may not welcome the opportunity.
  • 20 minutes
    If you’re still finding excuses, set a timer for 20 minutes. Focus on the task during that time and see how far you progress.

 © Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010