Archive for the ‘Hiring’ Category

Staff turnover for any organization has a tremendous cost. According to Leigh Branham in The 7 hidden reasons employees leave: How to recognize the subtle signs and act before it’s too late, the top seven reasons why people leave jobs are:

  • Reason #1: The job or workplace was not as expected.
  • Reason #2: The mismatch between job and person.
  • Reason #3: Too little coaching and feedback.
  • Reason #4: Too few growth and advancement opportunities.
  • Reason #5: Feeling devalued and unrecognized.
  • Reason #6: Stress from overwork and work-life imbalance.
  • Reason #7: Loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.

Notice that none of these reasons have anything to do with salary.

The implication for leadership is clear. New order leaders must:

  • Build cohesion
  • Inclusion must become the norm
  • Attend to the needs of multiple stakeholders
  • Change the organization’s perspective from one of deficit-thinking to one of abundance and compassion

Take away: What is one small thing that you can do today that will put your organization on the path to building an environment where people are honored for their personhood, valued for their contributions, and coached to succeed?

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customer-serviceWhy is it that we never speak of customer service in our nonprofit work? Be honest, when was the last time you heard someone refer to increasing customer service, or customer satisfaction? I can’t remember one time.

What does this say about how we view our clients, particularly for organizations that don’t sell a service like hospitals, arts and cultural nonprofits.

The Ritz-Carlton has made a brand out of exceptional customer service. Matter-of-fact, they won the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award twice (I am a Baldrige examiner). They have something to teach every organization about customer service.

Diana Oreck, vice-president of The Leadership Center for the Ritz-Carlton shared some of the company policies in employment and customer. Listen to what she said, how can you apply it to your organization? If you charged for your client services, would you have any buyers?

  • Good customer service is like poetry in motion, Oreck said.
  • And customer service starts with proper training for all employees.
  • The service philosophy is so simple, but many companies are giving it lip service, she said.
  • It all starts with hiring the right people. The Ritz has an elaborate interview-testing method that was developed specifically to identify personalities that are “customer-focused.”
  • Communication with customers is a necessity, she said.
  • Happy people spend more money, Oreck said. Verbiage is important. We use customers’ names. It’s important. And we want them back. How many companies blow it in the last second when dealing with customers?
  • Perhaps listening to customers is the most useful tool.
  • If you receive a complaint, own it, she said. Then resolve it to the guest’s satisfaction. While service is declining in other industries, we have continued to increase business and offer guests unparalleled customer service. This can only be done through highly trained and motivated employees.

Let you organization’s ego “hold it’s breath.” What can you learn from her comments?

Source: Shottenkik, J. (2005, April 6). VP of Ritz-Carlton speaks at Oklahoma City leadership program, says success hinges on good customer service. Journal Record, 1.

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Hiring is one of the hardest parts of managing a team. A lot is riding on the initial meeting, and if you’re nervous or ill-prepared—or both—it can make you do strange things. The following mistakes are all too common, but they’re easy to avoid with some advance preparation.

  1. You Talk Too Much
  2. When giving company background, watch out for the tendency to prattle on about your own job, personal feelings about the company, or life story.

  3. You Gossip or Swap War Stories
  4. Curb your desire to ask for dirt on the candidate’s current employer or trash talk other people in the industry. Not only does it cast a bad light on you and your company, but it’s a waste of time.

  5. You’re Afraid to Ask Tough Questions
  6. Interviews are awkward for everyone, and it’s easy to over-empathize with a nervous candidate. You’re better off asking everyone the same set of challenging questions—you might be surprised what they reveal.

  7. You Fall Prey to the Halo Effect (or the Horns Effect)
  8. If a candidate arrives dressed to kill, gives a firm handshake, and answers the first question perfectly, you might be tempted to check the imaginary “Hired!” box in your mind. But make sure you pay attention to all his answers, and don’t be swayed by a first impression.

  9. You Ask Leading Questions
  10. Watch out for questions that telegraph to the applicant the answer you’re looking for. You won’t get honest responses from questions like, “You are familiar with Excel macros, aren’t you?”

  11. You Invade Their Privacy
  12. First of all, it’s illegal to delve too deeply into personal or lifestyle details. Secondly, it doesn’t help you find the best person for the job. Nix all questions about home life, gender bias or sexual preference, ethnic background, age, and financials

  13. You Stress the Candidate Out
  14. Some interviewers use high-pressure techniques designed to trap or fluster the applicant. While you do want to know how a candidate performs in a pinch, it’s almost impossible to recreate the same type of stressors that an employee will encounter in the workplace.

  15. You Cut It Short
  16. A series of interviews can eat up your whole day, so it’s tempting to keep them brief. Judging candidates is nuanced work, and it relies on tracking lots of subtle inputs. An interview that runs 45 minutes to an hour increases your chances of getting a meaningful sample.

  17. You Gravitate Toward the Center
  18. If everyone you talk to feels like a “maybe,” that probably means you aren’t getting enough useful information—or you’re not assessing candidates honestly enough.

  19. You Rate Candidates Against Each Other
  20. A mediocre candidate looks like a superstar when he follows a dud, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best person for the job. Evaluate each applicant on your established criteria—don’t grade on a curve.

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