Did You Get the Employee You Wanted?
You just spent six months and thousands of dollars to hire that new senior vice president. Here it is a few months out, and you’d like to know if you got a truly quality person.
On the surface, it might seem impossible to assess something as subjective as quality in another human being. But an increasing number of companies are establishing metrics to help them assess both quantitative and qualitative aspects of a new hire’s performance.
Gerry Crispin is a principal in the international staffing firm MMC Group. "I think one of the key problems that most corporations face is defining what quality really means," he says. "Quality is a measure of ‘did I get what I wanted?’ "
Among those that are assessing quality, the systems in place vary from gut instinct to research-based questionnaires. Experts agree that either the recruiter or the hiring manager must define quality, establishing some kind of standard against which to judge the employee.
At Health First, an integrated delivery health-care system in Melbourne, Florida, senior vice president of human resources Robert Suttles uses the Q12, a tool from The Gallup Organization that assesses both new managers and established ones. Q12 questions differentiate highly productive work groups from others." More than 500 corporations worldwide now use the tool as a barometer of quality in their workplaces.
Q12 information tells Robert Suttles of Health First how well a manager is doing in creating the right work environment for her team. Compensation is partially tied to the results of the survey. "The benefits for us are enormous," he says. "Where we have high scores, turnover is low, the group under that manager is more productive, more profitable, and we have higher customer satisfaction."
First, however, a structured plan is created, with certain deliverables–which Ellinghausen calls "integration goals"–for the first 3 to 6 months of that executive’s tenure. For a new head of research and development, for example, goals might include visiting all his major research sites and meeting with key members of the executive committee within 6 months. About 90 days into the hire, the executive meets with his direct reports and talks to them about who he is and why he joined the company. Then for the next 3 or 4 hours–while he is out of the room–that group works with facilitators to develop questions for the executive.
Typical questions developed at that meeting ask what the executive looks for in his people, how he operates, what his goals for the job are and where he sees the organization going, Ellinghausen says. "It’s a dialogue that helps the organization say to this newly hired executive: ‘Here are things you will need to be aware of to be successful here.’"
A year ago, Bristol-Myers also began to judge the quality of new and existing executives by looking at 7 core behaviors that tie into the company’s culture and its pledge to "enhance human life." Six months into their tenure, new managers are assessed on their previously established integration goals as well as these core behaviors.
The metrics of caring
Sue Stephenson, senior vice president of human resources, says the company uses assessments of customer loyalty to determine the quality of new and existing employees. Results come back to human resources on a monthly basis by hotel and department. A housekeeper’s quality, for example, won’t be judged only on the person’s work ethic or ability to be part of a team. "We also look at things like caring," says Stephenson.
Results have been "tremendous," she says. Year-to-date, Ritz-Carlton has achieved "top box"--the top box on the customer survey, indicating the highest satisfaction level--76.3% of the time. "That’s up 4% from last year," Stephenson says. "Most hotels don’t get near that result." Much of that success is attributed to both the after-hire assessments and a rigorous selection process.
It’s much more common to use rigorous selectivity in hiring than in after-the-fact assessments. Ritz-Carlton has in place a QSP--"Quality Selection Process"--that lays out explicitly what is expected of new hires, so that when they’re assessed, they know on what criteria they will be judged. "Much of our focus is on the selection process, what talents they bring to the table," says Stephenson. "For instance, you can’t teach someone to smile."
Just the beginning
from Workforce Management Online, October 2003
Name That Christmas Carol!
The first 10 readers who submit 90% of the correct carols will win a prize.
1. No Crying He Makes
Send your answers firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, the 1st 10 readers to answer the most numbers correctly win!)
* The Talent Economy magazine interviewed Carolyn B. Thompson for an article "Learning Your ROIs: When it comes to training and development there is little question that they are worth the cost." Read the November 2003 article by Ian Palmer athttp://www.talenteconomymag.com.
* Pete Van Dyke, Pastor of Canyon Lake Community Church, e-mailed
SYSTEMS, INC. helped him turn his annual presentation to the
congregation into a lively story:
* Janet Long, PinPoint Mortgage, gave Carolyn the 2004 George W. Bushisms calendar with the words: "I hope this doesn’t offend you."
Are You Working With A Genius? — Tips to Happily Get the Most
How to Happily Get the Most Out of Your Geniuses
1. Treat them as friends & take interest in
2. Set up reward systems other than managerial advancement.
3. Create internal franchises.
4. Make them in-house consultants.
"These types of employees need to believe in the cause, and in the integrity of the person leading the charge," Raza says. "They need to understand in their own language how what they do figures into the larger context of the company."
Raza involves his technical talent in nearly every aspect of the company's decision-making process. At Raza Foundries, top performers from every department sit in on at least 80% of high-level business meetings. Human resources is even instructed to use engineering lingo so procedures and policies seem more nerd-friendly.
Once you create that environment, Raza says, all you need to do is get out of the way. And it's vital to keep your own ego in check. "Sometimes even I only understand 50% of what they say," Raza says. "The important thing is that you listen."
Detrimental to your genius employees is the practice of rewarding top performers by giving them more managing responsibility. Many geniuses aren’t suited for managerial chores but still need to be rewarded for their contribution. One answer is to create career pathways designed specifically for your superstar talent.
Another option is to treat them as in-house consultants, who participate in the decision-making process but have little responsibility for overseeing others. Yet with some employees, the opposite approach might work. Todd Duncan, CEO of the Duncan Group, a sales-training consultancy in Duluth, Ga., advises managers to give their rainmakers a staff of their own -- creating an "internal franchise." Give your star a staff and a budget, and let him loose. The sense of ownership, Duncan says, can be a powerful motivator, pushing people to modify their behavior and tap their abilities.
Excerpts from Inc. Magazine article 5/03.
Most of what we learn, we learn from other people -- parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, playmates, cousins, Little Leaguers, Scouts, school chums, roommates, teammates, classmates, study groups, coaches, bosses, mentors, colleagues, gossips, co-workers, neighbors, and, eventually, our children. Sometimes we even learn from teachers and trainers!
At work we learn more in the break room than in the training room. We discover how to do our jobs through informal learning – observing others, asking the person in the next cubicle, calling the Help Desk, trial-and-error, and simply working with people in the know.
Formal learning - classes and workshops and online events - is the source of only 10% to 20% of what we learn at work.
Several years ago the late Peter Henschel, then director of the Institute for Research on Learning, raised the important question on this. If ¾s of learning in corporations is informal, can we afford to leave it to chance?
If you agree that the answer to Peter's question is no, here are some suggestions for organizations seeking to boost results by focusing on informal learning:
Streamline the informal learning process
Help workers learn how to improve their learning skills
Create a supportive organizational culture
Excerpts from Jay Cross’ 5/16/03 session at eLearning Forum.
Workforce Magazine describes 4 trends that’ll change the way you retain employees:
Employees Have Been Having a Tough Time
Even when the economy eventually recovers, experts say, pervasive dissatisfaction and anger aren’t likely to evaporate. Only 25% of workers feel a strong attachment to their employers, and 4 in 10 feel trapped in their jobs, according to Walker Information, an Indianapolis-based research firm. Walker vice president Marc Drizin says employee loyalty was on the decline even before the economy stalled, and that pattern is likely to continue. "I think most organizations still don’t understand why you need to be good to your workers," he says. Employers who ignore workplace discontent run the risk of periodic productivity slumps as skilled staffers depart for higher-paying positions whenever the labor market surges. Smart companies that make employees feel valued will gain a crucial competitive edge.
2 You Need Defined Benefit Plans
Attracting the best and brightest employees in the future will become nearly impossible without a defined benefit plan. Stewart Lawrence, a senior vice president of The Segal Company in New York, predicts that companies without retirement plans that provide guaranteed benefits will be passed over for employers that do. "Employees now understand the volatility of defined contribution plans and are looking for a balanced program with both the upside potential of a defined contribution plan and the mitigation of downside risk of a defined benefit plan," he says.
Major employers such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Cisco Systems currently don’t offer defined benefit plans because they have been able in recent years to recruit and retain effectively without them. This will no longer be true. As the workforce ages and labor shortages increase, Lawrence says, companies will have to offer retirement plans that provide a floor level of retirement income.
3 Freelancers & Consulting
Companies need a way to control costs and increase flexibility. Corporate workplaces will evolve into a continually shifting mix of employees and freelancers, "to the point where it will become difficult to distinguish one from the other."
That may lead to profound changes. Company health plans may begin to disappear, as workers on the move opt for their own portable health coverage, possibly subsidized by an employer. "Companies may not be hiring people for jobs," Dan Pink, co-author of Free Agent Nation, says. "Instead, they may be saying, ‘We definitely want this person around for 10 years to accomplish these particular tasks, and after that, we’ll see.’" The concepts of retention and career development, he says, may be supplanted by an emphasis on maintaining long-term connections to workers who manage their own rise, moving in and out of corporate positions with increased freedom.
4 Pay for Wellness Performance
Instead of waiting to pay for the treatment of sick employees, some employers will soon turn to the concept of wellness management--with a twist. The process, which is handled through an outside organization to preserve privacy and HIPAA compliance, begins by having employees and their covered spouses take a voluntary health-risk appraisal each year. These questionnaires identify factors that lead to such chronic diseases as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes, which can account for 20 to 35% of a company’s medical expenses, Lerche says. If the appraisal identifies 2 or more risk factors that point to a potential health problem, the employee or spouse is a candidate for health coaching with a nurse, health educator, dietitian, or exercise physiologist. The coach sets up a plan for the health risk and keeps track of the employee’s progress via weekly phone calls. The incentive for the employee is a reduction in insurance premium payments--$55 instead of $75 per month, for instance, Lerche says. And if the employee stops participating, the insurance discount can be suspended until he gets back on track.
"Too much of what we do is a short-term approach," he says. "50% of disease is ultimately preventable," and this approach can head off many major health problems.
"It’s for the employer that has low turnover, wants to invest in employees, and wants to see to it that they’re productive and in good health" in the working years ahead, Lerche says.
Excerpts from Workforce Magazine 6/03.
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TO DO THIS MONTH/CONFERENCES TO
December 7-10, 2003
Workplace Learning Conference, "Advancing Adult Work-Based Learning: Building a 21st Century Community of Practice", Chicago, IL, http://www.workplace-learning.net
December 8-10, 2003
American Society of Association Executives Management & Technology Winter Conference, Washington, DC, http://www.asae.org
FEBRUARY 2, 2004
Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day! Use this day to begin making your organization so attractive to your employees that they’ll never want to leave! Sponsored by CBT Recruitment & Retention Consultants, a division of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Get ideas by e-mailing TSI@trainingsys.com.
February 23-25, 2004
The 2004 Outsourcing World Summit, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Lake Buena Vista, FL, http://www.CorbetAsociates.com/special_invitation
March 1-3, 2004
Training Magazine’s 27th Annual International Training & Online Learning Conference and Expo, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA, http://www.vnulearning.com
March 8-10, 2004
SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.,
March 22-24, 2004
SHRM Global Forum’s 27th Annual Conference & Exposition, Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort, FL,
SPECIAL HOLIDAY VOLUNTEERING/GIVING
Faith in Action. To locate a group near you log on to http://www.faithinaction.org, then click on "Find a Local Program".
Gifts that Give Back:
M.A.C.’s Viva Glam Lipstick Quad ($28, http://www.macaidsfund.org) go to the M.A.C. AIDs Fund
The Bombay Company’s limited-edition teddy bear ($18, http://wwwbombaycompany.com) benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Peet’s on Earth Coffee Sampler ($26, http://www/peets.com) supports Coffee Kids, Global Education Partnership, and TechnoServe (a group that teaches entrepreneurial skills to those in developing countries)
UNICEF offers a wide range of goodies (like a fitted tee, $15) to support humanitarian aid to children in about 160 countries, http://www.unicefusa.org/cards
Organ Donation. For information on transplantation or to learn how to become a donor, visithttp://www.kidney.org or http://www.childrenskidneydisease.org
RED DRESSWomen’s Heart Disease Awareness Pin. Order from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.health/hearttruth.
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