Talent Management – On Boarding

“On-Boarding” is an integral part of hiring.  It plays a huge role in the orientation andRed n Black Dragon retention of new talent.  Consider:

  • 20% of turnover occurs in the first 90 days. And it takes about the same time for a new hire to be initially successful on a position.
  • Half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months.

Reasons: for early departures:

  • Job content – responsibilities differ from expectations.
  • Interpersonal conflict.
  • Lack of training and thorough indoctrination. Examples of half-baked manager guidance take the form of: “jump right in there”, “it’s a test by fire”, “Ah, you’ll figure it out”, “Get out there and get “em”, and similar.
  • Feeling not part of the team. It takes more than just initial introductions to “internalize” and make a new resource a productive player on the company team.

Your business can hire (and pay) an “on-boarding specialist”.  But that is a transferring a critical process to another business and will likely destroy the internal ownership necessary to make a solid on-boarding process a success.  If you do the hiring, you should develop and own the process.  There is a plentiful supply of resources, advice, and software out there to help build your own on-boarding process and most importantly make that new talent ecstatic about the decision to choose your business over the competitors.  Hey, word travels at light speed,  at the speed of texting – social media!

Pro-active on boarding includes:

  • Orientation to the company and its legal, policy and value norms.
  • Clarification of job responsibilities.
  • Understanding of the company’s workplace culture.
  • Introduce / explain connections inside and possibly outside the company, connections critical to success on the job.

And remember the importance of the employee’s workspace the first day.  It needs to look like the office, cube, or space of an efficient, experienced professional.  The “newbie” should be given an orientation of the space and equipment.

Notwithstanding model details, the overall model or plan needs to span a minimum of 90 days, better yet the first year.  On-boarding plans would vary in complexity, depending on the employee’s level in the organization.

Process models will not assure success.  It is the immediate manager who needs to own and drive the process and include and leverage other organization managers and departments to ensure a successful first year.

“Onboarding starts with satisfying the most basic of Maslow’s psychological needs: belonging” — Jay Alan Samit, dynamic entrepreneur and intrepreneur,   http://jaysamit.com/about/

**** S&E ****

Talent Management – Recruiting and Selection 

(Assumes a list of candidates has been managed to a reasonable number for final vetting)

If you are vetting a truly high-potential candidate, chances are you are not the only company on the list, and, chances are you may only have one shot.TM Process

And consider that recruiting and selection share some common factors that are keys to landing the candidate. Factors like “Face of the Company”, “Speed”, “3’s should not be selecting 1’s and 2’s” (abbv.  3’s> 1’s &2’s).  Other factors include “Differentiation”, “The Plan”, “Competency Interviewing”, “On-boarding” and “Who’s on the team”.

“Who” is on the evaluation team is critical.  Each manager or professional who interface with candidates IS the FACE of the Company.  Make sure the team can represent the company … the object is to have the candidate thinking, “I would love to work for him/her”!  So consider if your performance system is 1 = Excellent and 5=, well not so good, then you want only 1 and 2 performers interfacing with candidates.  The process is to evaluate candidates, and I would suggest 3 performers can’t evaluate level 1 and 2 talents.   Ultimately the objective is to so differentiate your business that candidates will eliminate your competitors as employers.

“Competency based interviewing” has taken some shots lately.  I yet view it as a great evaluation tool.  The value in using this form of evaluation, along with others, is that it is a way to discover strengths and weakness in candidate behaviors.

To clarify, for our purpose here there are two kinds of competencies.  Functional Competencies (skills – technical knowledge used in engineering, IT, HR, Finance, etc.) and Effectiveness Competencies – which are behaviors.

Functional Competencies are skills that are related to and lie within specific functional areas such as engineering, materials and logistics, human resources, supply chain management, finance and so on.  A functional competency in engineering would be hydraulics, in human resources – compensation, in finance – understanding financial statements and so on.  Some Functional Competencies are common to all functional areas – Microsoft Word and Excel would be examples as would project management.

Effectiveness Competences (EC’s) are OBSERVABLE behaviors such as adaptability/flexibility, honesty, professional presence, hard work, integrity, communications, leadership, business acumen, influence, analytical capability, judgment, and so on.  When you work with a peer, boss, or any employee for a short period of time you can easily observe their behavior.  You will know if they have professional presence, if they work hard, if they are analytical, if they are adaptable and an effective communicator.  EC questions are often used as a basis for interviews as they reveal important behaviors. There are many sources of lists of competencies, as well as sample behavioral interview questions on the Internet.

EC’s are critical career makers (or breakers) as they are observable by any level of co-worker, open doors (professional presence), impact co-workers careers and daily work environment (compassion, talent management, leadership, team work), are a factor in  the ability to learn (listening) as well as have others learn from you (patience, understanding), display your energy and enthusiasm for your work and your company…  in a few words, EC’s make or break more careers than technical knowledge (functional competencies). They are excellent forecast factors of a professional’s future capability in higher-level positions.

On-boarding is critical, but we’ll save that for a later posting.

This posting on this topic could run on forever.  If you want to improve your hiring and selection process, take a look at why people turn down job offers.  You can easily obtain a list and know what avoid, what to focus on, and how to improve your process.  And if you pay attention to the dates of the articles, you will find that business has been repeating the same mistakes for a very long time.

***** S&E *****

“A Deadbeat in Singapore”

I had finished a successful seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My customer’s Red n Black Dragonheadquarters (for this purpose “EDO” company) was based in Singapore.  I had the standard, signed consulting agreement and contract in place that I used with all customers.  EDO was a repeat customer with which I had no prior issues.  The contract required 50% of the professional fee wire transferred to my bank account in the US, two weeks prior to the work, with the balance to be wired to the account one week following the completion of the seminar. The customer wired the front end deposit on time.

Weeks passed after the work was completed and despite emails, calls, and registered letters I never heard from EDO.

So I contacted a former executive colleague who lived in Singapore seeking a reference for a reliable, trustworthy collection firm.  She was able to help, providing what turned out to be a great collection company to work with, DebtCollection.com.sg.  I hired the company.

I sent the firm the necessary information and they accepted the case.  I had my final payment in three weeks.  I called the firm to ask how they turned around the payment so quickly.  They said that letters, calls, and a face-to-face meeting with EDO yielded no results. So they parked their vehicles, which had the “DebtCollection.com.sg logos on the doors, in front of the homes of the EDO’s board of directors.  The collection company had the payment within 24 hours. The cost to me was 15%, well worth it just thinking about the embarrassment of EDO.

“Ya gotta love it”.

**** S&E ****

Notes from establishing and running my own business

One year after I retired I was missing my professional work in Human Resources (HR).  I did not want another full-time job, wanted to work when I wanted to, and wanted to do what I enjoyed.  And, I was missing the professional relationships I enjoyed throughout my 34 years of corporate work.

Consulting was the answer.  It fulfilled all of what I was looking for and, I could choose and concentrate on the “parts” of HR I liked and leave the rest behind. What I liked was teaching others — managing talent, leadership, workplace culture, coaching, and analytics, and travel, particularly international travel. So I opened my own one-person teaching consulting firm and enjoyed the work for more than 7 years. It was a profitable venture.

It was a lot of work to set up. In short,

  • Create an identity and logo for the firm,
  • Create the legal entity; a LLC was appropriate for the firm,
  • Setup up a website; design business cards,
  • Register the firm with the local, state and federal agencies for tax purposes,
  • Create a financial records and reporting system,
  • Create a flexible consulting agreement model
  • Establish a dedicated bank account,
  • Create the seminar summaries, materials, slides, business cases, evaluations, and group exercises used in the seminars.

Preparation for each seminar required about 15-20 hours to include necessary research.  I did no marketing aside from using social media to let businesses know I was out there and ready to go.  As it turned out most of the work was international in nature with customers paying professional fees, travel and accommodations.  The customers handled the local logistics for the seminars.

Why did I close my firm after 7 years?  As the years progressed it required more and more time to prepare materials as not being active in the industry (retired) required more and more research.  So when it approached the point of more work than I wanted to do in retirement, I closed the firm.

I would recommend it to anyone who has the initiative, fortitude, creativity and drive to start and run your own business!!!  Very rewarding!!!

**** S&E ****

Log Entry No. 281 “Hoover”

“Log Entries” are a collection of very short stories from non-occasions and special

Red n Black Dragon

occasions, stories of mostly family incidents, all true.   Everyone has stuff like this in their history, mostly shared in conversation; few take the time to record these precious moments of humor, bizarre behavior, and sometimes bad judgment and stupidity.)

It was no different than what thousands of parents do.  Junior wants to go to college or technical school, driven by the parents who say without further education he’ll be living under a bridge.  Plans are made, housing is found (if not on campus, some dung hole apartment shared with best buds), and the new freshperson gets deposited in the new digs at an institution of higher learning (that is an assumption).  He wouldn’t be there if his friends were not there.

So junior and three of his friends move into this hovel that has a United States Postal address.  And slowly but surely the stories start rolling out.  You are familiar… kegs, Mad Dog 20/20, Boone’s Farm, grain nights, heaving out back, and on occasion, a few tidbits about further education, very few.

So on one evening, and this does not have to be a weekend, junior and his friends are well oiled up, one known as Urge, all partying hard.  The time moves on and Urge heads up to the second floor sleeping quarters, it is early AM.  Urge is always a target.

Unbeknownst to Urge, earlier in the evening, the house Hoover canister vacuum, a behemoth weighing as much as a full size bowling ball, with an operating decibel level of 130+, was strategically placed in Urge’s bedroom closet.  Urge did not deal with hangers.  He liked piles, so the Hoover was easy to conceal under mounds of Urge’s clothes.  To power the beast the vacuum’s cord was connected to an extension cord.  The extension cord was wedged between the carpet and baseboard, out of the closet, and down the stairs into the living room.

The plan:  Wait for Urge to pass out.  At that point the Hoover, in Urge’s closet, would be energized from the living room where his roommates would await the reaction.  At the least, a promise of side-splitting laughter, and at that, they were not disappointed.

Urge is upstairs, out cold.  The roommates plug in the Hoover’s cord in the living room, and the beast erupts.  They wait for the cussing and footsteps on the second floor, and just as quickly, unplug the vacuum.  Urge is in a stupor, footsteps back and forth, on the second floor, he can’t locate the problem, then silence.  Urge is back in the rack.  The boys are howling. Repeat.  Plug in the Hoover, wait for the reaction, unplug the Hoover, and wait.  More howling.  On the third electrification of the Hoover, Urge is out of bed in a flash, not to be fooled again.  He locates the vacuum under the heaps of clothes in the closet, rips it out of the closet, and the roommates take cover as the Hoover does an aerial, down the stairs, into the family room and front door, accompanied with the appropriate collection of vulgarity.

Late in 2017, 1.5 decades after the above story, Urge overdosed after a few years of struggling with an addiction. We loved Urge. So kind and considerate.  Funny.  Smart.  So many memories, at our various homes and on vacations. We laud the person he became!  He was a fine person.  His “person” was not defined by the demon he dealt with in those last years.

**** S&E ****

Talent Management

In the coming posts we’ll address the ever popular subject of Talent Management, that is, Capturing Talent and the many facets of Retention.  And the two share some common elements which you will find in the discussion.  As hard as one might want to draw a line between the two there are factors that overlap.  And as you read the discussion on this topic you might want to keep in the front of your mind that failure to attract and retain talent and critical resources can always be tracked to a management failure of some sort.  Process is important.  And, when the process fails it is usually on management’s shoulders.

In the end, the company needs to significantly differentiate itself, so much so that it eliminates other competing companies from the mind of the candidate.  No easy task considering the opportunities to screw up the recruiting and retention process.

As future posts discuss this topic, if you are looking for reasons why key resources quit the company, just consider why they stay and then consider the opposite.  For example, departures can be caused by lack of opportunity, poor communications, lack of challenge on the position, less than professional supervision, lack of career discussion and planning, lack of development and training and so on.  These factors cause departures, as well, are keys to retention. Get them right and retention probably won’t be a significant issue.  I used this graphic in seminars to capture some of the key factors:

TM image from IHRCC

They will be discussed in upcoming posts.

 ***** S&E *****