Solutions for Your Most Important People Problems

We have a simple mission:  We increase your profits.

We help businesses increase their profits, by reducing their people costs. Our clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and retain and develop top performers.

We offer tools and systems that improve:

  • Selection of honest, hard-working employees, who show up for work, avoid substance abuse, are less often absent or tardy, and perform!
  • Performance of sales people and other employees.
  • Retention—Keep your good people.
  • Placement—Ensure that each candidate/employee is in the right job.
  • Promotion—Avoid “promotion failure” due to the Peter principle.
  • Coaching—Get the most out of your people resources.
  • Career development—Give them a reason to want to stay with you.
  • Motivation—Do you know what “makes them tick”?
  • Teams—Function and balance. Where is your “operator’s manual”?
  • Customer service—Is there anything more important?
  • Management—People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Fix this.
  • Recruiting—Maximize your candidate pool, manage it efficiently.
  • Performance Management –Turn this into something productive!

Our tools are scientifically designed and validated. We customize the measures to reflect the needs and values of jobs in your company.  Each assessment has been tested to ensure compliance with EEOC and Department of Labor standards; use of our tools may provide a positive defense against claims of discrimination.

Brief Overview of Selected Tools 

iApplicantsTM Online Recruiting and Hiring System

Developed entirely from input provided by companies like yours, iApplicantsTM is a complete, affordable, efficient, intuitive, and easy to learn applicant tracking and management system. Automatically post your jobs to a wide selection of free internet job boards, track your applicants in ways that make sense for you, e-mail selected candidates from within the system. Ask job-specific screening questions to quickly weed out those who don’t meet minimum requirements, and use any of our assessment tools automatically as part of the application; it’s all here. Designed for companies with 20 to 2,000 employees, it includes powerful reporting functions (including tracking EEO information in the background), application and resume search functions, and much more. No setup charges, no long-term contracts, and you can be an expert in less than an hour.

Step One Survey II®

This is a pre-employment screening assessment, designed to increase your probability of only hiring people likely to become “good employees” in the general sense. It measures your candidate’s attitudes toward 4 critical components of workplace behavior: Integrity, Substance Abuse, Reliability, and Work Ethic. Results show how your candidate compares with the general US working population. Consistently applied in a wide variety of work environments, the SOS has demonstrated dramatic effects of reducing turnover, absenteeism, tardiness, on-job injuries, vehicular accidents, and jobsite theft. It is designed to be completed by your candidates pre-interview, and provides a structured interview guide to enrich the information usually available before an employment decision is made. The measure is available in English and Spanish, and is easily completed over any internet connection, or in booklet form. Scoring and reporting is nearly instantaneous.

ProfileXT®

The ProfileXT answers “the astronaut’s question”—Does this candidate have the “right stuff” for your job?  A “total person” assessment with a myriad of uses, the ProfileXT is used for selection, coaching, training, promotion, managing, succession planning and job description development. Using 20 different scales, it measures the job-related qualities that make a person productive – Thinking and Reasoning Styles(5 scales), Behavioral Traits (9 scales) and Occupational Interests. (6 scales). A separate Distortion scale provides a measure of the quality of information in the assessment. Proper use of the ProfileXT will help you put top performers in each job, maximize their performance, and keep them with you longer.

Profiles Sales Assessment™

Combining the power of the ProfileXT with a set of 7 Critical Sales Behaviors, this assessment predicts and supports job-specific sales success. Used in sales selection and in sales management, this powerful tool will help you hire or promote top performers, place them in jobs where they can perform at top levels, motivate and manage them to produce even more, and keep them longer—because they fit their job.

Customer Service Profile™

Worldwide, up to two-thirds of all customers leave due to poor customer service. When you hire employees using our Customer Service Profile, you populate your organization with people who will increase customer satisfaction, reduce complaints, build customer loyalty, increase sales and make significant gains in profitability. This tool assesses the attitudes and customer service characteristics of existing employees and new job candidates. It gives you the critical information you need to hire people with good customer service skills, improve customer service training, and increase overall customer satisfaction.

Management Development Program

This is a combination of tools, applied in a systematic annual cycle to:

  • First, measure each participant’s competencies in 8 major areas and 18 subcategories critical to management performance. (Checkpoint 360 Assessment)
  • Second, improve competency level in the areas identified as most critical for each participant’s job, and offering the greatest opportunity for significant gains. (SkillBuilder Units.)

Unlike most management assessment programs, ours not only identifies skill sets where each manager (according to themselves, their supervisor, their peers, and their direct reports) needs improvement, it provides a system to directly and efficiently improve those skills. Training is individual, self-paced, practical, and essentially provides on the job training in the specific skills needed, providing lasting change in manager behavior.

All of these tools can be used separately, or in powerful combinations based on your goals and needs. With the exception of the Step One Survey II (restricted to use pre-employment), all can be used with either job candidates, or with your existing employees. Let us help you increase your profits by reducing your people costs! We provide solutions for your most important people challenges.

(C) Jeannette L. Seibly, 2008

Are you looking for “green” hiring tools that save time and money?

 

http://www.trackingapplicants.com/seibco.html

Developed entirely from input provided by companies like yours, iApplicantsTM is a complete, affordable, efficient, intuitive, and easy to learn applicant tracking and management system. Automatically post your jobs to a wide selection of free internet job boards, track your applicants in ways that make sense for you, e-mail selected candidates from within the system. Ask job-specific screening questions to quickly weed out those who don’t meet minimum requirements, and use any of our assessment tools automatically as part of the application; it’s all here. Designed for companies with 20 to 2,000 employees, it includes powerful reporting functions (including tracking EEO information in the background), application and resume search functions, and much more. No setup charges, no long-term contracts, and you can be an expert in less than an hour.

Measure Sales Success During the Interview, Not After

Selecting sales candidates who can actually sell is a huge challenge for any employer.  Even if they sold the same or similar products or services for your competitor, it doesn’t mean they can adequately sell for you. 

 Many times future employers are “sold” or mis-led about an applicant’s sales abilities when:

  • They have very good verbal skills (does not mean they have the personality and/or interests to deliver the results);
  • They appear to be good team players (many good sales people are not); or
  • They are able to sell themselves (does not mean they can sell your products or services).

The following interview metrics do not eliminate the need to use valid and objective assessments that actually (and legally) measure your candidates’ true sales capabilities (think, learning style, core behaviors and occupational interests). These questions simply provide you additional information to ensure you’re getting a true sales person, and not a “marketing-type person” who relies upon others to sell and close the deal.  Your sales people create your company’s reputation, now and in the future.

  • What was your candidate’s quota for his last employer(s) – did s/he hit it?
  • What was the average size deal?  (Dollars and re-sales)
  • Did s/he make President’s club or receive other industry recognized “acknowledgement.”
  • Does s/he have inside vs. outside sales experience?   Which did they prefer?  Why?
  • What were the number of cold calls, conversations, presentations, etc that s/he made daily and weekly?
  • What was his or her close ratio? (How many presentations vs. number of actual sales?)
  • Where did his or her leads come from – were they generated by the person or were they given to them by others in the company?
  • What were his or her day-to-day activities, including time at the desk and time in front of the potential customer?  Or, in front of current customers, up-selling or cross-selling?
  • What formal sales training has s/he had?
  • What tracking system did they use to keep stats on lead generation, lead conversion, and repeat business?
  • Do they plan their work and work their plan, effectively?   How do they know?
  • If they were to describe a sales person, what words would they use?  (Remember, you’re looking for the positive attributes, not the age old “snake oil” descriptors.)
  • If they were to use one word to describe his/her customer’s experience of working with him/her, what would that word be?

© Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, 2008

Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo, is a nationally recognized coach, who has helped 1000’s of people achieve unprecedented results.  She has created three millionaires.  You can contact her:  JLSeibly@gmail.com OR http://SeibCo.com  Jeannette is also the author of “Hiring Amazing Employees.”

 John W. Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers. He may be reached at 435.654-5342, OR JWH@prol.ws

Erasing Racist Graffiti And Tracking Down The Unknown Artist

Finding graffiti on company property is, at the very least, a sign that someone is disrespecting company property.  But if the graffiti consists of racial slurs, then it becomes a form of racial harassment.  An important step to putting a stop to workplace harassment is interviewing and disciplining, as needed, the harasser.  So what is an employer to do when graffiti is done covertly and the perpetrator is unknown?  Just because you have a difficult task ahead of you doesn’t mean you don’t have to try.

Bottom line: If management-level personnel are aware of the existence of harassing graffiti, and there are no sufficient investigatory or remedial measures taken, then the employer risks intervention by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and may ultimately be held liable in court.

ANONYMOUS HARASSMENT STILL MUST BE INVESTIGATED

Employers are expected to make a good-faith effort to track down the harasser, beginning with a prompt investigation.  Even if your investigatory efforts don’t yield any definitive results, you can document that you tried.

             •           Interview possible witnesses and targeted employees.  Also speak to other shift leaders and department heads.  You may be able to uncover information outside of the shift or department that is directly affected by the graffiti.

             •           Use common sense to find leads.  For example, review work schedules to see who was on site at the time the harassment occurred or determine who has access to the area where the graffiti appeared.  You could even try to compare employees’ handwritten records against handwritten graffiti.

             •           Offer a “carrot” to anyone who provides information that successfully leads to discovering the harasser’s identity.  The “stick” alternative: Announce that bonuses or raises will be eliminated in order to pay the cost to clean/repaint/replace defaced items or to pay for a full-time security guard if the harassment continues.

             •           Consider hiring an outside investigator.

REMEDIAL MEASURES COUNT, TOO

Even if you are unable to determine who the graffiti artist is, you need to do what you can to stop the harassment. 

Remove the graffiti as soon as the investigation allows.  (Just don’t make the mistake one employer did and order the target of the harassment to clean it up!)  Before removing the graffiti, “don’t forget to take pictures and document the time and date,” advised Jeannette Seibly, Human Performance Coach and Consultant, SeibCo, LLC (Highlands Ranch, CO).  This may help you identify the guilty party in the future.

Reaffirm your employer’s commitment to upholding its anti-discrimination policies.  Send out an e-mail or hold department meetings, and reassure employees that the company is working hard to ensure nothing like this happens again.  Review the company’s anti-discrimination policies, and remind employees to immediately report the appearance of offensive graffiti and any other signs of harassment to HR or to their managers.  Also require supervisory personnel to report graffiti that they see immediately.  Do not wait for an employee to complain about it before acting.

Be very clear that anyone who participated or aided in the harassment will be terminated, as will anyone who participates in any future acts of harassment.  Seibly recommends zero tolerance.

Consider installing surveillance measures (e.g., video cameras, spyware).  Consult with Legal to see whether it is doable.  Even setting up “dummy” video cameras in plain sight of employees (who’ll think the cameras are real) may effectively curtail misbehavior.

 Provide anti-discrimination training.  “Make sure all employees, supervisors, managers, and executives attend,” said Seibly.  “This will send a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

AN UGLY TRUTH

 Racial graffiti is not uncommon at worksites around the country.  One reason, according to Seibly, may be generational differences.  “This is the first time in U.S. history that all four generations are in the workplace at the same time,” she noted.  “With younger employees in the workplace, it’s important to remember that their view of ‘harassment’ is different than the older employees….  In many areas of the U.S., the younger generations use racial and gender slurs as part of their normal conversation.  They don’t think about it.  They don’t have a broader perspective that their words carry weight.”

Seibly strongly recommends ongoing training as a way to “get everyone on the same page” regarding what is acceptable at work and what is not.

Reprinted with permission from Personnel Legal Alert, © Alexander Hamilton Institute, Inc., 70 Hilltop Road, Ramsey, NJ 07446.  For more information, please call 800-879-2441 or visit www.legalworkplace.com.

HIRING in the New World of Work

Written by Jeannette L. Seibly & John W. Howard, PhD

As businesses move into the New World of Work, the challenge has been–and continues to be–our hiring practices!  With the economy finally moving forward and all four generations of workers in the workplace at the same time, it’s imperative that your hiring systems and tools be updated, and represent the best practices available.

Unfortunately, many still endorse some of our old stereotypes about age and work. Consider these stereotypes:

  • Younger workers have more energy than older workers!  (Energy in the workplace has been measured across a broad sample of the workforce, and turns out to be a stable characteristic of individuals, and independent of age.)
  • Older workers are more prone to take time-off, perhaps due to personal, medical or other needs.  (Again, not true – studies have shown just the opposite to be true. Older workers are less prone to take time off, for whatever reasons!)
  • Older workers can’t or won’t learn new skills. (Those over 50 are proving their ability to learn new skills by becoming the fastest growing group of Internet users!)

It’s time to transform our old thought processes and discard some of these conscious and unconscious myths.  Remember, neither conscious nor unconscious discrimination is legally defensible!

Myth #1:           We can hire anyone to do anything.

Perhaps because of our egalitarian underpinnings, we believe in the illusion that we can coach, train and motivate anyone to do anything (despite ample and personal experience to the contrary). Before investing in training, it’s wise to measure and understand whether your candidate for training—including candidates for a new job—has what the astronauts called, “The right stuff.”

Try as you might, train as hard as you know how—you will not succeed in teaching pigs to fly; they simply lack the “right stuff” (namely, wings!)  No matter how motivated the trainer and the pigs, eventually such an effort will just irritate all concerned.

Myth #2:           I’ve always relied on my gut.

While using your “gut” or “intuition” can feel like the right thing to do, it’s far from statistically accurate, and not legally defensible.  Ultimately, our gut feelings are based upon past experiences; we may be trying not to hire the same (unsuitable) person we did before, or trying find someone as great as the person that just left for a better job. Unfortunately, the evidence is compelling that our intuition doesn’t do a very good job of it. People are like icebergs: You only see the tip, the part they wish to show.  You can’t see the 75% that is covered up that will make or break their success in our business.

We rely on our intuition to evaluate interviews, and then base the hiring decision on that evaluation. A study at the University of Michigan concluded that interviews only improved your chances of making a good hire by 2%!

Myth #3:          We simply hire and fire until we find the “right one.”

In the meantime, the other “right” ones have left!   The cost of finding great talent has gone up, quality and customer relations have declined, and your bottom line has been severely impacted!  It’s time to great real about finding the right person for the right job, and help your company accelerate its growth. A detailed analysis of a motel’s operations in a mid-sized American city demonstrated that a “wrong’ hire cost the company $7,200 from the bottom line.

Myth #4:          Any assessment tool will do.

Why don’t more of us use scientific assessments to improve our hiring (and reduce failures and turnover)? Part of the answer lies in lack of education on what is, and how to use, qualified scientific assessment tools.  While the Department of Labor’s recommendations are clear regarding pre-employment tests and tools, many employers disregard common sense and rely upon assessments that don’t comply with employment laws. These compound your risks, rather than reducing them.

While part of our reluctance lies in spending any money to improve our antiquated hiring processes (after all, “Bad hiring decisions” almost never appears as a line item on an accounting document). We argue it will take too much time and energy “to make any changes right now.”  When you recognize that the costs of hiring mistakes are killing you, that you can change course, and that the rewards are well worth the trouble, you’ll change.  Will you change, though, in time to save your company’s opportunities to enjoy great talent, bottom line, customers and reputation in the marketplace?

Myth #5:          We’re already doing the best we can.

 Part of the problem of poor hiring lies with inadequate tools and systems: One comprehensive study of the hiring process indicated that, if an interview is your only tool, you have only a 14% chance of making a good hire. Add good reference checking (and we all know how difficult that can be), it may raise your success ratio to 26%. If your goal is to beat one out of four odds, you need better tools!

Fortunately, the science of assessments has produced increasingly useful tools to add to the art of hiring. While no assessment, or even a combination of assessments, guarantees success, the same study showed that use of personality, abilities, interests, and job matching measures can raise your success rate to 75% or better. Equally important, valid assessment tools in all of those areas can be applied for well below 1% of the projected cost of a bad hire.

Also, using on-line applicant tracking systems not only turns your hiring process “green”, it expands your applicant pool (making it easier to find the right candidates), saves overworked HR people a great deal of time and energy, and helps avoid hiring someone who looks and talks a great game, but can’t play it to win for your business.

© Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, 2009

Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, We improve your bottom line!   Contact SeibCo, LLC @ 303-660-6388, OR JLSeibly@comcast.net  Jeannette is also the author of “Hiring Amazing Employees.”

John W. Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers. He may be reached at 435.654-5342, OR JWH@prol.ws

Learn Lessons from the Gossip Mill

Gossip has its merits. It keeps people attuned to issues and concerns not otherwise expressed by formal methods of communication. For bosses, it’s a great way to get the pulse of a company while achieving retention and productivity goals. For employees, it’s critical in understanding the unwritten practices and policies of any organization.

However, by its inherent nature, gossip has negative impacts on individuals, groups and companies, and can strain or destroy relationships. People are naturally more likely to spread the negative aspects of what a company or individual has done than the positive ones. It’s impossible to eliminate gossip as long as people use it as a way to vent their frustrations with a person, situation or event; use it as a favorite pastime; or use it as a reason to connect with others and hurt anyone they see as “competition.”

Some people mistakenly believe that if gossip doesn’t matter to them, it shouldn’t matter to others. Handled incorrectly or not at all, gossip can ignite into something explosive that can lead companies to close their doors, good employees to depart for competitors, careers being sabotaged, and the creation of sacrificial lambs. Falsely believing that people shouldn’t be talking about “inside” issues won’t stop the gossip. In some cases, it can actually fuel it! It’s time for an intervention of good PR!

How can you use gossip to promote a positive workplace, while keeping your customers and employees happy and satisfied? How do you effectively handle the inevitable gossip that every company and organization must contend with, both internally and externally?

Talk with people, not about them.

Too often when things don’t go right we immediately seek to blame someone, whether warranted by facts or not, and let others know. Or we hear something and immediately call our closest friend or co-worker to tell them. That’s how most gossip gets started and then escalates. Avoid this problem by talking directly with those involved to get their version of events and focus on the facts. Normally you’ll find that while part of the rumor may be true, it usually is not as detrimental to the project or person(s) involved as it would initially appear. Then, you can bring everyone involved together to discuss a win-win outcome, deal with perceptions and create a positive process or system to move forward.

Be responsible for the words you chose to describe an issue or person.

Usually, they are more reflective of how we view our own weaknesses. A boss was lamenting how an employee was not being “collaborative” in his efforts to work with the group. In fact, the employee was simply being outspoken about a long-term issue and expressing his willingness to address it with others. The boss felt that everyone should be solely focused on their own work and not getting involved in everyone else’s job. Because of his incorrect use of the word “collaborative,” other employees were confused and feared losing their jobs for collaborating – or maybe for not collaborating. The company continues to struggle to retain key employees and provide quality products and services to their clients, uncertain whether to get involved to resolve issues or not.

We as human beings love to be offended!

And, we retaliate by spreading gossip about how someone offended us, when in fact they may have been simply making a statement or agreeing with us. A woman shared her experiences as a boss and the amount of turnover she had dealt with recently. The employee she was speaking to indicated that yes, in fact, she had heard about the turnover and the boss’ struggles. The boss was offended that the employee agreed with her and passed her over for a promotion, even though she was most qualified for the position. The boss told others that the employee would not make a good team player.

Find out the facts!

Too often we automatically respond to situations based on how we feel in the moment. Sometimes we feel the need to defend something we have said or done that was misunderstood by others. It may be too late, as the damage is done. Normally, anything can be resolved through effective communication and persuasive listening. It takes a willingness to really hear about others’ perceptions of the situation and clarify the facts. Only then can you move forward within the context of the company’s vision and values, and make a commitment to the welfare of the team.

A new boss once inherited an employee he did not like. The employee had many more years of experience than the boss, so the new boss felt intimidated. While working on a project, the employee complained that there were some ongoing problems that needed to be addressed. The boss then heard from others that they didn’t believe there were any ongoing problems, and that they didn’t wish to work with the negative employee! The boss then used this information to terminate the employee. The boss was uncomfortable learning how to build a team in an environment where employees didn’t automatically and simply agree with one another. Unfortunately the issue hasn’t gone away, and the rumor mill has labeled the boss’s team a “bad group to work with.” That division of the company will soon be closed down since they are not longer profitable.

If there’s an elephant in the room, address it!

It won’t go away on its own! Organizations have lost huge numbers of members, customers, employees and revenues by not addressing ongoing concerns. Companies have lost great employees and lots of money because it failed to handle issues effectively, or because of the proverbial “skeleton in the closet.” These types of things will eventually come back to haunt you if they are not addressed effectively. Even if it doesn’t seem like a problem to you, someone may see it as a problem, or make it a problem.

A female employee complained about her new female manager to the point of taking a different job with a male boss. However, that didn’t stop her from continuing to complain about this female manager, who was dealing with liability issues her predecessor hadn’t handled well. Eventually the female manager left, after filing a lawsuit for harassment. When the employee was finally asked why she kept complaining, she stated, “I just don’t like working with women bosses. And, I liked my former male boss better.” Usually when there is a spark, a fire will follow. Many other harassment suits followed and the company’s assets were sold.

Get everyone on the same page by helping them understand the bigger picture (vision) as well as the steps needed to achieve it (action plans).

Remember this is a process, not an event. Hire a facilitator to help everyone – executives, managers and employees – work through issues, particularly those that keep reoccurring. Be committed to handling other issues that will arise, as well. Train everyone to handle both the ‘people and material’ side of meetings.

Have your managers and executives work with a coach or mentor.

A third party can help support them in developing the competence and confidence to address concerns and opportunities that arise, as they arise. What they learn can be as simple as how to communicate with others, how to be heard by others, how to resolve conflict confidently, and how to be “politically correct.”

Don’t rely solely on email to convey important messages or resolve conflict.

The average person has the reading and writing ability of a sixth grader. As a result, messages can easily be misread or misunderstood due to varying education levels, reading and writing capabilities and/or the cultural definition of words. For example, you may interpret this article one way and focus on something in particular, while others may focus on something else of importance to them. Each reader will then convey to others their belief about whether this article was of value to them or not. A rumor has been started!

Be responsible for what you convey to others.

Too often we believe that it is others’ responsibility to understand what we meant, even if it’s not what we said. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. Take time to check with the listener to hear what they’ve heard you say. The difference will be amazing.

Summary

There’s no getting around the fact that there will be gossip in almost every organization. How you use that fact, how you approach communicating with your staff, and how your company handles gossip, will have a huge impact on the success of your organization. Don’t make assumptions about how people receive and perceive information about the organization, the staff, and their own personal role, duties and performance. Taking a few very effective steps can significantly cut down on a lack of information, as well as miscommunication and misunderstanding that can start the gossip mill churning, fueling wild speculation, drama, hurt feelings and resentment.

© Jeannette L. Seibly, 2006-2007

 Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, we improve your bottom line!   Contact SeibCo, LLC @ 303-660-6388 or JLSeibly@comcast.net.  Website: http://www.SeibCo.com

HIRING MYTHS — What you don’t know can cost you!

The challenge and cost of a hiring mistake is one of the most-discussed, most frustrating, and most misunderstood problems that our businesses can face.

If you do not know what a single hiring mistake is costing you, take the annual salary for the position and multiply by 2.5.  This number represents productivity loss, recruiting and hiring cost, training cost, liability, unemployment, and the other 101 hidden costs that we usually try not to think of, or may be aware of, when we lose an employee.   

Hiring mistakes often begin with our believing in “hiring truths” only to find that in reality they are “hiring myths!”   When we hire someone who does not fit the job, we have already begun an almost inevitable course that will end with failure—and another hiring casualty.

Myth #1:        We can hire anyone to do anything.

We believe in the illusion that we can coach, train and motivate anyone to do anything.  Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world.  People come into our companies with their own “version” of how to do something and whether or not they will.  Sometimes we can train them in “our” way; many times we can provide surface training.  It’s what’s underneath (a.k.a. core behaviors, thinking styles and occupational interests) that can keep them from doing the job as it needs to be done.

Myth #2:        I’ve always relied on my gut.

While using your “gut” or “intuition” can provide insight, it’s far from a perfect science.  Usually, our gut feelings are based upon past experiences; we’re trying not to hire the same (unsuitable) person we did before, or find someone as great as the person that just left for a better job.  People are like ice bergs: You only see the tip, the part they wish to show us.  However, we miss the 75% that is covered up that will make or break their success in our business.

Myth #3:        We simply hire and fire until we find the “right one.”

In the meantime, the other “right” ones have left!   The cost of personnel has gone up, quality and customer relations have declined, and your bottom line has been severely impacted! 

Myth #4:        Any assessment tool will do.

Why don’t more of us use assessments to improve our hiring (and lower turnover)? Part of the answer lies in lack of education on the topic—not many of us have even attended a single seminar on use of scientific assessment tools. Part lies in reluctance to spend any money on new processes. Part of it, frankly, is the already overwhelming load we place on the people who are doing the hiring—they are untrained.

Fortunately, the science of assessments has produced increasingly useful and valid tools. While no assessment, or even a combination of assessments, guarantees success, the same study showed that use of personality, abilities, interests, and job matching measures can raise your success rate to 75% or better.

© Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, 2006

 Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, We improve your bottom line!   JLSeibly@comcast.net 

John W Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers.  jwh@prol.ws

EMPLOYEES ARE OUR GREATEST ASSETS

OR?  Are they?  As business owners we continually hope for a perfect world where all employees have integrity, are loyal and fit perfectly into any role the company requires.

Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world.  People are unique and bring with them varying experiences, backgrounds, education and other credentials.  They also bring their own set of learning abilities, interests, and personalities!

Do we intentionally hire people who are not assets in our business?  NO!  Then how do they get hired?

We have relied on traditional hiring practices as a means of filling jobs with productive people that can cost upward to 5 times a person’s salary.

Did you know…

           …63% of all hiring decisions are made in the first 4.3 minutes of an interview?

           …Over 50% of all the resumes have false or misleading information on them?

 …to determine technical competency and interpersonal skills, we rely on interview questions such as: “What book(s) have you read recently?”  “What famous person would you like to go out to lunch with and why?”

…business owners spend more time purchasing a $35,000 piece of equipment than hiring someone at a salary level of $35,000?

How do we stop the insanity of continuing to use the same or similar counter-productive methods while expecting different results?

First and foremost, we need to get ourselves out of the way.

The problem is that we think we know enough.  After all, we have worked hard and are successful.  We believe anyone with enough drive and savvy can do what we do.  Many of us, in our efforts to be fair, expend our energies on training or coaching people to change, to fit the job.  We even try paying people more money to be productive and effective.

A better return on investment would be to discover smarter ways to screen, interview, assess, and make the right selection in the first place.   We’ve used the excuse that we’re doing all we can do legally!  However, there are a lot of gray areas in the hiring process that can legally work!

Second.  When we are hiring people, we need to be clear as to our own strengths and weaknesses.

When we hire people to do marketing, sales, and/or servicing of our clients, there is a risk that they may form stronger relationships with our clients than out company has formed. Problems may occur when this employee leaves. 

Be clear and specific about what you do best or dislike doing.  Stay in contact with your clients and/or prospects in a manner that supports them and your employees while sending a message that you care.  Having Non-Compete Agreements may help but too often they provide a false sense of security. 

Third.  Take the time to determine exactly what you need. 

Be open to restructuring or creating a job that will support your vision and mission of the company.  You may find people who have skills that can support your company, but they may not fit the traditional definition for the particular job you were looking to fill.

Fourth.  Establish a consistent procedure, and then follow it regardless of the person! 

The Director of Worldwide Security for a Fortune 500 company once said, “If the company has followed all their own written procedures, by the time final clearance for hiring is issued, there’s a .001 chance of finding out something that people didn’t already know!”

Many companies, in the hiring process, become attached to a person with whom they “connect.”  They lose their perspective when they do not follow their own policies and want to solely follow their intuition.

When we follow a well-defined selection process, we discover more about the person and they learn about us.  We are open to gathering more information by listening to others’ input (e.g., our employees, partners, customers, etc.).  We realize that there are times when our sole instincts are not the best guide.

If she or he is the right person, they will appreciate the time you have invested in determining whether or not they fit the company and job.   That starts the process of developing loyalty.

Fifth.  Be professional. 

Develop interview questions based on finding out “Can the person do the job?”  “Will the person do the job?”  “Does the person fit within this company?” 

Focus on what experience, education and background they have.  What skills can they bring that will resolve problems and issues we are experiencing in our company, industry, and/or profession?  Will they support our style of business?  Will they be:  Team-focused?  Highly competitive?  Capable of going with the flow?  Innovative?  Able to follow well established procedures?

Conduct reference checks, employment verifications, background checks, and core-value testing as well as personality and job fit assessment to ensure that your perceptions of the candidate are realistic, not idealistic.

The bottom line question for our business to truly be successful with each employee:  Is this truly the right person, in the right position, to create the right result for my business?

Fitting people into the right job reduces people-problems and provides businesses with people who are productive in jobs they love.  It supports a profitable vision of “employees are our greatest assets.”

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, PhD, 2005

Jeannette L. Seibly, Principal of SeibCo, LLC specializes in straight talk with immediate results and has been particularly successful in coaching and training business owners, their executives and managers, to achieve unprecedented results.   JLSeibly@gmail.com

John W. Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers.  jwh@prol.ws

Making Decisions Simple

Yes, I will.  No, I won’t.  It seems easy to make those statements.  Yet, many people have a hard time making decisions that work for them, or on behalf of their internal and external customers.  How do you make it easy by taking into account the facts, as well as the “feelings” of others when making decisions?

1)  Be clear as to the specific request or issue.  Make it as objective as possible.

 2)  Write out a “Cheat Sheet” or list of any specific criteria you want to have, or needs to be included in the result.  (For example, when buying a benefit policy, have a list of specific items that the policy must have before you buy it.)

 3)  Review any written company policy or procedure regarding the specific issue, or items. 

 4)  Ask boss and co-worker if there is a different practice in place.  And, ask their opinion about your pending decision.

5)  Make your final decision based upon the facts and doing what is the right thing to do.

6)  Communicate this decision in a manner that is respectful and considerate of the person or persons involved.

Making decisions is never easy.  And, making decisions based upon your feelings will only provide inconsistent decision making, and possible legal liability.  Making objective decisions requires that you objectively look at the facts, while reviewing your policies and procedures.  Additional research (people, internet, library, etc.) may be required.

If you don’t believe the objective outcome you reach is the right thing to do for the other person, make appropriate requests to your boss for an exception.  Always remember, there will always be additional facts available or pending; and therefore, it will never be perfect.  Your job is provide your company and your client (internally and externally) a win-win outcome.  How well you communicate your decision is everything.  If it is not communicated appropriately, it may not occur as a win-win for the client or other person.

 ©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2007

Company Ethics – Walking the Talk

“Integrity is how you act when no one is watching, when no one knows what you’re doing. It’s always telling the truth, clearing up misconceptions or partial truths. It’s never knowingly hurting anybody or anything. Integrity is keeping our commitments.”– Steven W. Vannoy

Integrity and ethics provide the legal, financial, environmental, safety, community and customer relations, and human resources fabric of a business. These decisions naturally and profoundly impact the future of the enterprise, and the future of its employees, not just the present situation.

Most companies claim that their “Number One” asset is their people, yet spend more time and effort in buying copiers, printers, or laptops than on selecting, managing and developing people! It is a common and unfortunate ethical disconnect with their stated mission and values.

Your employees, and the manner in which they are treated, are clear reflections of your company’s ethics and integrity. “Walking the talk” includes your hiring, selection, and leadership development practices, and how you value your employees.

Personal integrity focuses on individual values, and is reflected in the way each person handles his/her own life. In a healthy business environment, professional integrity must also be considered. This requires deeper and broader examination, since decisions and actions impact a range of others (employees, stockholders, investors, customers, suppliers, vendors). In the past decade, the public has seen the disastrous effects of questionable professional ethics. Consider the costs of integrity deficits: “It won’t matter as long as no one finds out.” “The numbers can be made to reflect what I’m saying.” “We can cover the losses before they become public.” Ongoing court cases remind us how deeply such ethical lapses can get leaders, and employees, into life-destroying trouble.

Ethics and integrity are a two edged sword; positive values pay off. Recently, an association awarded a business owner “Leader of the Year.” Subsequently, they discovered he didn’t qualify. (The business owner let them know, after finding out his employees had submitted the data.) The dilemma, since it had already been made public: “What do we do?” They acknowledged the business owner for his honesty (his business increased), and then awarded the correct person her award. Their members use this as an example of how to handle mistakes with integrity and honesty.

When employers hire people, they also hire the person’s personal values. Merging corporate culture into personal ethics can be complicated if the two don’t match. Assessing prospective employees for integrity and ethics should be an important step in selection. Appropriate assessments can help clarify for business and candidate, how well they will fit within your company–and how happy each of you will be with the match.

If you are a business leader, one easy and elementary example of integrity is being on time for meetings. If you’re continually late, others will believe these meetings are of little importance, no matter what you say to the contrary. (Think, you’re not “walking the talk.”) Another example is failing to return phone calls after you’ve left a message on your voice mail indicating that you return all calls within 48 hours. Do these seem unimportant? Remember, exceptions and inconsistencies loom large to those around you.

When employees, and customers, are at odds with a company’s ethical standards and policies, they see it as a direct reflection on management.

Ethical leaders take the pulse of how others see them: Are they competent in communications, problem solving, planning, implementation, human relations? Are they perceived as fair, ethical, honest? Multirater assessments, executive coaching, and valid assessments of strengths and weaknesses help insure that these pulse-takings are grounded in reality.

Ethical organizations take time to communicate and reinforce their corporate values consistently, and clearly. Ethics and integrity are incorporated into daily meetings and dealings with others. They steer a course that is above reproach, even if unpopular. They do what they say they will do, at the promised time. They work hard to select and hire people with personal integrity, which fits well with their business integrity.

The cost of the alternative: A candidate went through the interview process with a business, who promised to contact her regarding their decision within two weeks. Two weeks came and went; no phone calls, nor were calls returned to the applicant when she initiated contact. The candidate, being of an enterprising nature, went to work for one of their clients. A few months later, her new employer was selecting vendors for a highly desirable contract. Not surprisingly, the first business was not the selected supplier. When asked why, the former applicant gave a simple reason: If you cannot make a simple phone call to a potential employee, how will you handle more difficult issues ethically, and with integrity?

Remember, highly ethical companies “walk the talk!”

© Jeannette L. Seibly & John W. Howard, 2006

Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, we improve your bottom line! JLSeibly@gmail.com 

John Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers. jwh@prol.ws