The HR Department of the New Millennium

Four Skills to Compete in the New Hiring Landscape

By Magi Graziano 

Magi GrazianoThroughout the last decade it has become painfully apparent that while most CEOs recognize there is a drastic talent optimization problem, they have absolutely no idea how to fix it, nor time to take it on alone. Most CEOs address people and workforce issues like a hot potato—they want it off their plate immediately. This is where the twenty-first century HR (human resources) professional steps in.

Today’s budding HR professionals have a whole new set of concerns that set them apart from previous generations. The human resources departments that remain from the twentieth century are ill-equipped to manage the scaling concerns of the twenty-first century enterprise.

In the early days of business and industry, human resources emerged as the answer to increasingly challenging and demanding labor relations’ problems. But what fundamentally worked in the pre-information age is grossly ineffective for optimizing the workforce of today’s wisdom age.

Today’s human resources teams must grow beyond what HR requires. They must develop themselves and their teams into savvy business professionals who leverage talent, optimize people at work and deliver tangible returns on their ‘people program’ investments.

Whether you are a seasoned professional on the ageing side of a successful career, or a newcomer entering the field, it is imperative that you gain the knowledge to address today’s workforce challenges head-on and strategize winning solutions that reduce or remove these constraints from adversely impacting the business.

By learning these four imperative skills, you position your business to compete in today’s hiring landscape.

1) Develop an Executive Summary: The first skill you will need to develop is the ability to write an executive summary. You must evaluate the major workforce challenges to your specific business faces and outline your plan to rectify them. If you do not establish a stout plan to address these issues your business almost will face an uncertain future. How do workforce gaps and frequent turnover impact the customer experience, employee partnership, innovation, and the business’s’ bottom line? As a businessperson specializing in hiring, you need to know how to communicate both written and verbally, in a way that can be heard.

2) Learn the Importance of Utilizing Big Data: The second skill you need to develop is the ability to resonate with, speak into and listen from data. Big data rules today’s world, and understanding it and how to make it work for you is imperative to your success. Sorting critical data from superfluous data is another key to getting your point across and keeping your audience’s attention.

In order to catch the ear of people who can solve a problem from a strategic and financial point of view, you need to speak to them in a financial and strategic manner.  This means you need to be able to read a profit and loss statement. You need to understand the total cost of labor and staffing in your company. Most decision makers in business have a strong preference to evaluate propositions through three-to-four salient points grounded in accurate, relevant data. To speak with someone who understands and responds to data, you must elevate your ability to think from data and make recommendations that speak to improve the data.

3) Cultivate Confidence: The third skill you need to continue to develop and nurture is your confidence. Standing for stronger people-optimization in the workplace and human systems transformation is a pretty big stake in the ground. If not you, who? Someone needs to keep people present to the commitments around the workforce.  Most managers in most organizations fall astray from their talent optimization commitments as soon as the pressure of another commitment overshadows it. Without someone standing for—and in some cases fighting for—doing the right thing and making people and talent a companywide focus, your competitive advantage initiatives fall out of existence. It takes confidence and stamina to create sustainable change; it takes a continual, unwavering commitment, sometimes in the face of no agreement—and that takes confidence.

4) Find Comfort in the Questions: The fourth skill you need to improve is your ability to be comfortable in not having all of the answers. Curiosity is a major strength of people who succeed in the new HR world. Having all the answers and knowing how things are going to or not going to turn out is a trait that no longer serves the business professional of the twenty-first century. In today’s world, curiosity, agility and creativity are how you win.

Fostering a workplace of collaboration and innovation begins with you. You need to be the change you want to see. Facing problems with an eye on understanding the systemic impacts on the business and the people in it opens you up to hear from people you might not otherwise hear from. Inviting ideas and solutions from your team gives you a much wider perspective and develops your balanced decision making skills, which are a requirement for a twenty-first century business professional.

While on the surface if might not be obvious, but the keen HR professional is the key to the successful evolution of optimizing people at work. Every business, in every industry needs someone in HR focusing on the future of people and talent optimization. From reducing unwanted employee turnover and filling the leadership gap to hiring better and transferring today’s knowledge to tomorrow’s workers, the right HR pro doing the right things, affects every single strategic lever in a company. The effective attraction, engagement, and optimization of high-quality people in any organization, may be as—or more important—than your services or products themselves. Therefore, the right HR pro is just as important as the right coder or right sales rep—choose and develop your twenty-first century HR team wisely.

Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of Conscious Hiring® and Development, a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert and author of The Wealth of Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Magi provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than twenty years’ experience as a top producer in the Recruitment and Search industry, she empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the daytoday operation. For more information on Magi please visit www.keenalignment.com.

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Protect Your Company From Bad Employees

By Mike Campion

How much of a negative impact can the bad apples in your organization have? Are having no bad employees a realistic goal? First things first: What is a bad employee?

  • Is it just someone who is bad at their job?
  • Takes too much time off?
  • Has a penchant for punching other employees?

While none of those are ideal, they all focus on actions and results instead of the root cause.

Instead of trying to create a comprehensive list of “do’s and don’ts” for your employees to ignore, start at the foundation: Your Core Values.

A bad employee is anyone who does not love and live your company’s core values.

Discovering your core values is an action in—and—of itself, but when you have a set of “rules” to run your company with, you will find that the people who line up with those rules, don’t tend to violate the “dos and don’ts” of your company.

Luckily, you have the keys to the happy employee kingdom. Get ready to discover the three steps to protect your organization from the wrong employees:

Step 1—Stop Bad Employees From Showing Up: Pre-framing is extremely important when weeding out potential problem employees. How an employee is first exposed to your company is key. Consider the following two examples:

  1. A current employee tells his friend, a prospective employee, “You should apply at my job; the place is so disorganized, we could get away with anything.”
  2. A prospective employee comes across your website and thinks, “These are my people! I love what they are all about, I wonder if they are hiring…”

When you feature enough of your core values on your website, in your hiring ads, phone systems and your current employees become evangelists for your mission, you position your company as the right place for the right employee. Whenever, however a prospective employee becomes aware of your company they feel like they have finally found their tribe. This alone will dramatically increase the quality of your applicant pool. Which brings us to…

Step 2—Stop the Wrong Employees From Getting In: Once you have laid the foundation in step one, the job of keeping bad employees from infiltrating your organization is half done. All you have to do is make sure that your company is actually living and breathing the core values that brought prospective employees to you in the first place.

So many employers focus on job history and/or technical ability. Both offer good insight, but are only relevant with employees who have the same core beliefs as you do. Hire for attitude, train for skill.

If your company is passionate about outstanding customer service, it is eminently possible to teach an employee how to serve a customer. It is a fool’s errand to teach him to be enthusiastic about customer service. Your life and profitability will improve exponentially when you are in the business of stoking your employees’ passions and values. You are not in the business of convincing people to do something they don’t want to do or believe something they don’t want to believe.

Craft your interview process around the values that attracted your prospective employees. Once that is a match, job history and ability to do the job at-hand come into play. An unintended consequence of passionately living your organization’s core values is an extremely attractive community. This can make employees that aren’t a good fit work even harder to get in, even when your pre-framing and interview process is core valuesbased. Time for the big guns…

Step 3—Get ‘Em Out: Creating a core valuesdriven culture not only naturally repels the wrong employees; it strongly attracts the right employees. They feel “at home,” like they have finally found something special. They don’t want to leave. They stay longer, work harder and enjoy their jobs more.

The flip side is that people who are not a core value fit feel out of place. They don’t fit in. They don’t understand why everyone acts so differently. They discover that the amazing community that attracted them to your company isn’t for them. More often than not, they wander off into the night on their own free will.

When you do have someone that doesn’t get the memo, and needs a little help recognizing they aren’t a fit, you will weed them out by systematic recognition and application of your core values. Examples of core values being either applied properly or ignored or mishandled are common topics. Decision making conversations regularly start and end with your core values.

Those who don’t “get” your values will stick out like a sore thumb. When you see that is the case, have a conversation. Refer back to your hiring process. Verify they share your company’s values. If they do, their behavior will follow and all is well. If they don’t, it’s time to help them transition into a company that is a better fit.

It can sound like an overwhelming prospect, but integrating your core values into your company is like pushing a flywheel. It takes a lot of energy at the beginning, but when it gets spinning, it creates a tremendous amount of power on its own. Not only will keeping bad employees out of your company help your bottom lineit will make your life and your employees lives far better.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard?. A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first 18 months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit www.mikecampion.com.

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Five Secrets to Find and Keep Top Notch Talent Without Breaking the Bank

By Mike Campion

Mike CampionDo you have employees that you constantly need to coddle, cajole, and cater to? Are their needs and wants constantly changing? Do you feel like you can’t afford to pay what it takes to get—and keep—top talent employees?

You are about to discover five actionable strategies to help you find—and keep—the best employees without spending the GDP of Uzbekistan in payroll. Fear not, none of the five strategies is about base salary, benefits, or bribing.

Think more effective and less expensive. Imagine your company as the sole provider, the sole source of something special that your employees are desperately looking for and can’t find anywhere else.

Secret #1, Build a Community, Not a Workforce: Chances are you are not hiring people for their first job. Some are even coming from a job they hate. A job that paid the bills and nothing else. Invite prospective employees to join a community- not to sign up for another less-than-fantastic job.

When you create a community of people with shared values that care about each other, the tendency to steal, quit, come in late, complain, whine, or partake in other non-superfantastic behavior decreases exponentially.

  • Typical Employee/Employer Workflow
    • Step 1: Comply with these many rules
    • Step 2: There is no step two
  • New and Improved Community Deal:
    • Step 1: Build an appealing community
    • Step 2: Invite talented amazing people into that community
    • Step 3: Reinforce what it looks like to be a good community member
    • Step 4: Live happily ever after

Secret #2, Provide a Sense of Purpose: Once you build a community, your team will have a sense of belonging. Supercharge that with a sense of purpose and your organization becomes extremely sticky to top talent. People desperately want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Something they believe in.

Your employees and potential new hires desperately want something bigger than themselves to belong to. Provide that for them and unleash the floodgates for an avalanche of talent at your doorstep.

Don’t be fooled by the old, “Sure that works for brain surgeons, but MY business is different…” nonsense. Whether you own a cleaning company, an industrial fasteners plant or any other business that doesn’t feel like you are changing the world, the only reason you are in business is that you provide value to the people you serve.

If you are categorically closed to the idea that your business changes lives, adopt a cause. Become active in your community, give to a charity- do something as a team that creates value and gives everyone a reason to bound out of bed and be excited to get to work day-in and day- out! If you aren’t careful- you just might find yourself addicted to making the world a better place.

Secret #3, Offer Experiences Over Expenses: Do you have a trip that you took as a child that you still look fondly back on? A holiday that you will never forget? A vacation years ago where everything went wrong, but you and your family still talk about it?

Salary and benefits are commodities. A sense of purpose in a community of people you care about are not. A study by Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.

Shared experiences build bonds, families, communities, and companies. Don’t just hope these experiences happen- create them!

  • Have monthly events
  • Rent a bounce house
  • A dunk tank employees can dunk management in
  • Comically oversized sumo suits employees can battle to the death in…
  • Anything to help create experiences for your employees to build that community.

Don’t keep the fun to yourself. Invite employees’ families, customers, prospects, prospective employees, even vendors! All of this creates an environment your team is proud to be a part of and makes it very difficult for them to leave.

Secret #4, Appreciation: This is your secret weapon. Not only can it be had for the low, low price of zero dollars, it can be the most valuable. Even better- it can be a ton of fun.

Once you have built a community that the members are proud to be a part of, working towards a worthy goal and experiences that bond everyone together, your employees will crave recognition from you and the community.

When you have events give awards. Lots of awards. Not just the typical performance based awards—award for everything. Enjoy a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Best looking family
  • Best hair
  • Customer favorite
  • Most likely to win at arm wrestling

Small things like this make big differences in employee’s lives and their contribution to your organization. Few things are more rewarding than seeing awards given and pictures taken of you handing an employee an award proudly displayed in homes years later. Let loose, use your imagination and love on your people and you might just be surprised that you are the one that gets the most benefit.

Secret #5, Put a Bow on it With Core Values: Core values are your secret sauce to attracting top-level talent without breaking the bank. Not an old school string of meaningless words displayed on a plaque at your front office. Three to four key beliefs; summed up in a word or two each. The guiding principles that provide your company’s special brand of awesome.

Shared core values are the rules your company lives by to accomplish that community. They are a golden thread that runs throughout your company.

  • Employee hiring ads
  • Your website
  • Your interview process
  • Your employee review process
  • Your on-hold music or script for your phone system
  • Who you accept as customers, vendors and employees

Core values are the final secret that brings the first four all together and gives them power.

It is impossible to get people to act outside of their true beliefs for an extended amount of time. It is far easier (and more enjoyable) to help people live out your mutual shared beliefs and values for the benefit of a shared larger purpose.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard? A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first eighteen months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit www.mikecampion.com.

Transform Walking Dead Employees into Raving Fans, Without Paying More

By Mike Campion

Mike CampionHave you ever had a company outing at a golf course? Ever have one end with an “invitation” from the local authorities to vacate the premises? Would you feel that outing was a total success? Want to find out how you can do just that and have it be a total success? Here’s how:

If you’ve been tasked with hiring, developing, and keeping top quality talent on a budget for any length of time, you know engaged, committed, and talented people are crucial. You may even have dreams of talented, honest, hardworking employees ready to give their left kidney for the good of the organization. You imagine them sitting at home wishing the weekend weren’t so long so they can get back to work for your company.

More often than not, that dream ends with a Monday morning bucket of ice water to the face as you return to find the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Your team appears to slog through the office: mindless, uninspired, and drained of all energy. There has been no zombie apocalypse, but your entire staff seems plucked from the cast of The Walking Dead.

You know that committed, talented, engaged people are the lifeblood of your company. But how on God’s green earth do you find these unicorns and keep them fired up, committed, and on point? You are in the right place dear reader. Here are three keys to do just that:

Key #1- The right people come because of who you are, not what your compensation package looks like: It is so much easier to attract people who share your values than to hire first and convert later. Be clear about who you are and what you believe and you will attract the right people. Just as importantly, you will repel the wrong people who end up making your life miserable.

Before you can hire based on your core values, you need to define those values and communicate them in word and deed until you and your employees are saying them in your sleep. If you asked your employees “What are our core values?” today, how many different answers would you get? If that answer is anywhere north of one—keep reading.

Here are some fun ways to communicate your core values to your employees, prospects, customers, vendors, and the community at large:

  • Company parties
  • Your Interview process
  • Email signatures
  • Business cards
  • Voicemail/ phone system recordings
  • Hiring ads
  • Hiring an airplane to skywrite them over your office every other Thursday…

Too much on the last one? Good catch—back to filling your company with amazing employees.

Key #2 – Not only do you have to clearly understand your company core values, you must be able to communicate them clearly and consistently: Do your employees come to you with some questions you have answered dozens of times? Does fear of a bad decision hold you back from freeing them to be more independent? Do you want them to figure things out for themselves?

Often, employees make what seems to them a small mistake from their perspective, yet you lose your mind. Why is that? Generally, they have violated one or more of your Core Values. The problem is, they didn’t know it. Your job as the leader is to communicate those values early and often.

Next time an employee comes to you with an idea or question, don’t answer it. Ask a question instead:

  • Does this idea fit into our Core Values?
  • How can you best reflect our Core Values based on what you just told me?
  • Which Core Value comes to mind first in dealing with this?

Key #3 – You can’t just talk the core values talk. You have to live and breathe them. Even when your employees get sick of hearing them: Start consistently asking these questions instead of providing answers. Your staff will become more independent, stop asking the same questions over and over, and become better decision makers.

Imagine it was you and your company’s outing was ended abruptly by being kicked off that golf course. Imagine the ability to see that not as a bad day. To realize that you provided your employees and their families with stories for a lifetime. Arriving at work tomorrow not to find the walking dead, but to find a community. A special place in the world where your people are raving fans.

You offer something they have never had before. More than a paycheck. Community. A sense of belonging. Of purpose. Something special that none of you could have built alone.

You have the keys to the kingdom! Clarify your core values, communicate them early and often, and try not to be thrown off any golf courses.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard?. A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first 18 months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit www.mikecampion.com.

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Are You Aligning Your Training Goals with Your Business Goals?

Four Keys to Establish Congruency

By Cordell Riley

Cordell RileyThere are really two types of training. The first and most basic centers on teaching employees to improve their performance of required skills and tasks. The second type does that too, but produces far more transformational results, because it also teaches skills and behaviors that align with larger company initiatives and goals.

A way to illustrate this point is to envision a golf caddy as a trainer. That caddy can walk the course and hand his golfer one club at a time and say, “This is the best club for this shot.” That might improve the golfer’s game. But what if the caddy added a higher level of information by giving perspective on the overall layout of the hole, the potential hazards in the path and even a strategy for playing the entire course?

Similar lessons apply in many settings. Do you want your son or daughter’s piano teacher to only teach the mechanics of pushing down a key, or to give an overview of a piece of music? If you are hiring a landscaper for your yard, do you want to discuss only one plant, or do you want to collaborate on an overall, transformational plan?

Given choices like those, of course you prefer the bigger picture. But how do you do that in planning your company’s training process? Here are four important steps to take.

  1. Define and Keep Your Most Important Objectives in Mind: Are you striving to create a company known for delivering superlative customer satisfaction? That is a great objective, but reaching it means defining specifics that can get you there—what you would like your training to achieve.For example, you could plan to train your phone reps to resolve 90% of all complaints during customers’ first calls. Or you could focus on training those reps to deliver the kind of care that gets 90% of callers to report that they are “extremely satisfied” on post-call surveys. When you define goals, you can design training that achieves them.

    Another way of stating this principle is, “begin with the end in mind.” That means understanding the bigger vision of what you would like your organization to become, then defining specific training steps that can get you there.

  1. Break Down the Silo Walls: Trainers are often brought into different company sectors and encouraged to stay in them. They might teach only skills for servicing or installing products, providing customer service, preparing food, or selling on the retail floor. But what if your trainers thought outside the silos and delivered valuable things that result in improvements across your entire organization?One way to reach this objective is to initiate discussions between your training team and the people who create marketing and advertising, manage your supply chain, oversee your online presence, and more. The more disciplines you invite into the process, the more likely your training team will find ways to make the training process more encompassing and effective.
  1. Don’t Create Training in a Vacuum: Whether your training team works in-house or you use an outside training development company, make sure to engage them in conversations regarding company collateral. This should include everything from company quarterly reports, relevant trade publications, news stories about your organization, press releases, and all other pertinent documents you can provide. Do all those materials suggest any untapped opportunities to align your training specifics with larger trends, goals, and initiatives?
  2. Tie Your Training to Measureable Metrics: It is essential to develop a set of clear metrics to measure before and after training. It is the only way to understand what your training has accomplished and how much closer you are to meeting your goals.

Here are some suggestions for developing metrics that don’t just gather data, but reveal deeper progress:

  • If your vision is to become a leader in customer service and retention, you can survey customers before and after your employees have gone through the training program. You should ask them about their overall satisfaction with their last purchase, the likelihood they will recommend you to other customers, and other factors.
  • If you want to gain maximum value from a limited-time offer and offer training to support that goal, your goal could be a certain percentage of sales improvement among employees who took the training. Measure and report on those results after the training has been delivered.
  • If you are implementing HR training in an effort to increase employee retention and become an “employer of choice” for job-seekers, you can measure retention rates before and after training and survey employees on metrics like, “I see a clear career path if I remain employed here” or, “I understand the criteria that my supervisor and company use to evaluate my performance and progress in the company.”

If you ask a group of businesspeople to define what training is, chances are that most of them will say something like, “Training is a process that teaches people the skills they need to do their jobs better.” Of course, that is true. But if you then go on to ask a series of deeper questions like, “Wouldn’t you like your training to build a workforce that builds your brand, helps your company achieve its mission, and communicates what you stand for to the world?” many of those business people should enthusiastically reply, “Yes, we would!”

As you launch new training initiatives or refine those you already have, keep those larger issues in mind. The better you can align training your business goals, the more successful you can become.

Cordell Riley is the founder and president of Tortal Training, a leading provider of training solutions in the franchise industry. Cordell is a 20-year franchise veteran and a Certified Franchise Executive. Before joining Tortal, Cordell was with Driven Brands in various Operations and Training roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He currently serves on the Educational Foundation for the International Franchise Association. For more information on Cordell Riley, please visit www.tortal.net.