Recruit Different

Experience can sometimes kill our workplaces. Not because people can’t be taught new ways of doing things, but because old habits die hard. Sometimes they don’t die at all.

When hiring for our companies, we tend to gravitate towards those that have been there and done it, in hopes that they can hit the ground running and cut our training/acclimation time half. This can work to our benefit, but also to our detriment when we have to “unteach” many of the negative behaviors they may be bringing with them from their previous employer.

soft-skills-1 I am not aware of a training program that can teach people how not to be an ass. Nor have I seen an effective curriculum that can help employees be compassionate, have common sense or fairness. Unfortunately, these are traits that our prospectives must already possess or are willing and able to get better at.

This raises the question, are we better off finding developmental talent or should we continue to recruit candidates that have been around the block? I say that this depends on a few things:

  • Do we need employees that will be primarily used for transactional work or do they need a certain level of expertise and hands-on experience?
  • Can the skill set that we need be taught…and do we have the resources to help them get there?
  • Does the experienced person’s knowledge and know-how outweigh our need for fit?

Having worked in several customer service environments, I remember looking through resumes and the hiring managers would get excited to see someone that had worked in very similar environments as ours. Unfortunately for us, while the functions they performed were similar to the ones we would have them do, our service philosophies were starkly different.

On several occasions we would have to remind employees that in our environment, Customer Service meant more than just getting clients in and out, it was about relationship, patience and problem solving. It wasn’t until we started hiring a few people from outside of our industry that we realized that we needed a certain type of person as opposed to certain past jobs and experiences. It turned out that these inexperienced yet quality individuals could learn our products, systems and processes in time as long as they had a core desire to treat our clients the very way they needed to be treated.

interviewInstead of looking for the person that has the most book knowledge, maybe we should recruit based on the right attitude and their aptitude to learn as shown by there career progression. Truth is, most “work stuff” can really be taught to anyone off the street. Think about that for a second…

Times up.

Maybe instead of focusing on the candidate that has all of the letters behind their name, we turn our attention to those that have the demonstrated character traits that we want or need in our workplaces. Maybe we take a look at where they’re going instead of where they’ve been. Maybe we should place more value on career trajectory instead of lateral career decisions.

I may be totally off base. I may be all kinds of wrong…but isn’t it worth it to your organization and clients to try something different..especially if you keep striking out by hiring jerks that are rude to your public, mistreat their coworkers, aren’t willing to listen to or learn from management, and are stuck in their same old non-productive ways? Recruit different and see how it works out for you. If it doesn’t, it’s more likely because they aren’t invested in once on board. And if that’s the case, maybe the candidates aren’t the problem.


ADApting To Employee Needs

Please visit Performance I Create for my new post on compliance and decency in the workplace.  Here is a sample…

ada“The very foundation of what HR professionals do is ensure that our organizations avoid risk and stay compliant to not only the policies that are established for the company but to Federal regulations and the laws of our particular States.

…compliance is not only about rules and requirements, it’s also about decency, advocacy and respect for current and potential employees and clients…”

Click HERE for the full article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Screw Your Pay Grade

When workplace responsibilities become “coastable”, employees often float under the radar until annual review time and ultimately retirement, all while abandoning their ability to be accountable. That lack of accountability, according to Paul Samulski, “diminishes execution and individual and team performance. It creates and reinforces a culture of blame. While everyone is busy pointing fingers, deadlines don’t get met, work remains below standard, and customers stay dissatisfied.”

When employees don’t take accountability, they complain. It’s everyone’s fault but theirs. They don’t want to do anything, but hate for others to be called upon to help. And when things go wrong and they are questioned, they give the infamous line…

It’s Above My Pay Grade
The ultimate cop out. This phrase makes me want to scream not only because it’s the worse excuse to avoid work and maintain the status quo, but because it’s always followed by a buck being passed. If this employee were denied an opportunity and told, “It’s above your paygrade”, they’d be ready to fight and then sue. But given the opportunity to slither out of working, it so easily flows from the lips.

This is why it’s common to see lower-ranking employees given more access and/or privileges by management than their higher-ranking counterparts because they:

  • Are trusted to actually do something with the access or information
  • Are willing to learn to get things done while taking chances and being resourceful
  • Are ready to take responsibility for their newly acquired skills and duties

Instead of spending so much of our attention on employees suffering from “It’s above my pay grade-itis”, spend more quality time in developing your more energetic and ambitious employees. The ones that will accept the extra assignments and go an extra mile or two or three. The ones that care about accomplishing the office or organizational goals and not just doing enough to cover their butts, collect a check and have health insurance. Either three things will occur with those “itis” stricken employees once the engaged ones begin to get the attention, praise and promotion:

  1. They will realize that it truly benefits them to buy-in and help the organization or office succeed.
  2. They will realize that there is no place for that their type of attitude and find employment elsewhere.
  3. They will continue to whisper, complain and be stagnant, only to end up working FOR the very employee that they once ridiculed and griped about. And if that employee was trained correctly, they will encourage them to come along for the ride or managed them right out of the building.

What Would Happen If…?
What would happen if…employees looked for and asked for tasks or projects that were “above their pay grades”? Our annual reviews would be full of examples and instances where we “Exceeded Expectations” instead of simply “Meeting”. We would build portfolios of skills that would make us more promotable.

What would happen if…managers stop creating and allowing a culture of blame to exist in the workplace? While they take the opportunity to identify and develop the willing talent, they must also create and foster an environment of accountability by not addressing mistakes as faults but manageable opportunities. When managers blame, employees blame. They didn’t start off disgruntled.

What would happen if…we stopped hiding our gifts and talents from our managers for fear of being asked to do more work? If we communicate and embrace our talents, we would more often find ourselves being asked to perform job duties where we operate in our gift….actually enjoying what we are doing! The fulfilling jobs can’t be offered if no one knows that those are where your strengths lie.

“Work for the pay grade you want, not for the one that you’re in.” – Justin L Harris, 2014

Recruiters Roll Cigars

I’m always asked why I’m so fascinated with cigars. While there are several reasons to enjoy a fine hand-rolled cigar, I have a love and appreciation for things of different types, backgrounds and origins coming together to make something beautiful. I admire the thought, the process, and the detail that contributes to the cigar experience.

I guess the reason I love them so is the same reason I love being a Human Resources Practitioner. Nothing gives me more pleasure at work than being able to bring multiple people together, with varying ideas and backgrounds, and to help forge them into a cohesive, functional, successful team. When it works well, when it’s seamless, the consumer looks past the different departments, levels or ingredients and can focus on the quality of what they are getting for their money.

I’m always amazed at how skillful and point-on many of my recruiting partners in crime are at seeking out and reeling in quality talent that fit their organizations. Like Master Cigar Blenders, they are able to take the vision and mission of the organization, communicate them, and come back with people (like tobacco) that can not only do the job, but that embody what the organization is all about. Leaving lasting impressions and creating experiences that foster loyalty and has their clientele coming back for more.

It’s in the Selection
tourThere are hundreds of tobacco types in the world, but only a select few are deemed worthy enough to be included in a fine cigar. It takes someone with a trained eye, a keen sense of taste and someone who knows the industry to select a leaf:

  • that comes from trusted growers = educational background and career goals
  • that is grown and processed according to company standards = business acumen
  • that is cured and aged properly = business and industry experience, knowledge and exposure

Putting It All Together
Just because the ingredients are good individually does not mean that it will all work together. It takes hundreds of combinations and trials to get the right effect and the proper balance. Improper tobacco pairings are nasty and harmful to a brand. Have you ever had a team of extremely talented individuals that just could not seem to accomplish anything together? While it seemed like a “Dream Team” on paper it became a nightmare in the meeting room. The pieces have to compliment one another and someone has to put those pieces together.

Anyone can bring bodies into the organization, but it takes a skilled crafts-person to identify potential, evaluate current cultural strengths and recognize organization needs to recruit the best individuals for fit, balance and for “taste”.

It takes a Master Blender of People, a skilled Recruiter, to select the best:

RollingFiller – mixture of leafs that make up the middle of the cigar – the front-line employees

Binder – leaf that holds the Filler together – much like managers and supervisors

Wrapper – most visible part of the cigar, the ingredient that gives it the most flavor – the face of the organizationthe Executive Leadership

…and bring them together to create a work of art. Your successful organization.

If you know of a company that is making a difference in their industry and the community …one that offers a wonderful product and an even better consumer experience…it starts with how it was blended. It starts with the skillful Recruiter. If you see a group of employees that just seem to click…seem as if they were just made for one other…leadership that stands out for the right reasons… it was not by accident, they were selected for fit and flavor by the company’s Master Blender, the skillful Recruiter.

Theirs is a behind the scenes, sometimes thankless job, but it is necessary and critical for us to be able to consume and partake in the things we enjoy.

Be sure to check out my CigaHr blog for info, videos and cigar reviews.

Prove Your Leadership Everyday

As my wedding anniversary approaches, I’m reminded of the day I proposed. It was awkwardly cute and simple. As the words were coming out of my quivering lips, millions of things were rushing through my head. Thinking well beyond how she would answer, my thoughts were centered on how I would fulfill the promises that I was making by asking that weighted question, “Will you marry me?”

What I was really asking was:

  • Do you trust me to attend to your needs?
  • Will you allow me the opportunity to have your back?
  • Can we freely share ideas in efforts to find the best solutions?
  • Will you build something great with me?
  • Can we fight to make things work, even when it’s hard?

And by saying yes, we made commitments to one another. Daily commitments to stay engaged with one another for life, not just until the wedding day.

After our employees say “I do” to us and our organization, do we stay engaged?

After The Honeymoon
How much work are we putting into ensure our employees still have that warm, fuzzy feeling after they begin working for us? After all of the courting, are we paying enough attention so that our new partners don’t feel relationship buyer’s remorse and second guess their decision. The five questions above should be asked in business relationships also because when employees begin to doubt, they are distracted easily…when employees are distracted, it’s hard for them to trust…when employees do not trust, they feel alone and unsupported…when employees do not feel supported, they no longer share ideas or contribute…when employees no longer contribute, they become disengaged and leave.

We ask and require employees to show us every day why they want to be here. They are made to prove it day in and day out, by:

  • being creative and finding new solutions to our old problems
  • showing that they care even when they’re tired, busy and burned out
  • always showing respect, even when it’s not shown to them

Are leaders holding up their end of the relationship? While we are demanding, are we showing daily that we are just as committed?

Rocket Science It Ain’t
Just like marriage, we tend to overthink how to keep employees engaged. When trying to make huge impact statements, we often overlook the small, simple and necessary things.

Fancy gifts for a spouse are nice, but did you look in her eyes when you said “I Love You” this morning? Raises at work are great, but do you know when your employee’s birthday is, or that their parent is ailing, or that little Johnny plays soccer?

Flying your spouse around the world is wonderful, but on your way home, did you stop and pick up his favorite snack, not because he asked for it, but because you just knew that he would appreciate it. Telling an employee “Good Job!” is great, but did you sincerely show interest and MAKE yourself available as a resource while they were sweating over a project?

When you walked down the hall asking employees, “How was your weekend?”, did you actually take the time to listen to what was said or did you respond generically and hurry to your office?

LeadershipEvery day, leaders must make a conscious effort to be engaged with employees. From this initiated engagement comes employee engagement. Should they just be happy to be there and employed? Maybe, but we asked them to be there so we must do our part in helping to keep them committed.

R&B star James Ingram gave the charge back in 1981, “Love them today…find 100 Ways. Ask her to stay…find 100 Ways”. While finding 100 ways to show appreciation would surely take quite a bit of time, energy and creativity, in a literal sense it is meant to inspire intentional acts of engagement. We yield our best results when we lead on purpose and when we are habitually good to the people we employ. Aristotle put it best when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do….”. Are you repeatedly proving your leadership every day?

Line Dancing To Success

I’m posting over at Performance I Create today about a correlation I found between business and a crowd favorite at parties and gatherings, The Wobble. It began when my colleagues and I were discussing how excited we are about the upcoming TN SHRM Conference (Nashville, TN, September 15th – 18th) and it gave me a different perspective on organizational roles.

Here’s a sample!

WobbleI’ve been in many a Wobble. And a successful Wobble can decide the fate of the party. It attracts and retains. It motivates and it teaches. It gets everyone to the otherwise empty dance floor and keeps them there when done right. It encourages those that have no idea what they’re doing to stay the course, resulting in mastery and fun.

Isn’t that what we want in our workplaces?

Please view the rest of my post HERE and please share.

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight!

Cultivating Potential

Today I’m posting over at Performance I Create, touching on the importance of promoting internal growth. Here is a sample…..

We all want our organizations to be successful. In our perfect worlds, employees are happy, money is coming in, our reputations in the community are in tact and we are leaving legacies.  But in the real word, we make inconsistent decisions on the fly. We play favorites depending on who’s involved and what can be gained.

Click HERE for the full article.  Enjoy and share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors all year long for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight!