Posts tagged ‘management’

Punk Rock Pixie Strikes Again

My favorite HR blogger by far is Laurie Ruettimann of Cynical Girl fame.

Today she talks about avoiding HR.  She’s right.  By the time you get to HR, things have often gone too far to fix.  And HR people really don’t want to manage your employees for you.   We’re happy to teach you how to manage better, hear your ideas for solving problems, and help you with your management strategy.  But, we don’t want to do your job for you.

HR’s true function should be focused on workforce planning based on company goals.  We are advisers, coaches, and yes, enforcers.  But we hate the enforcing part.  We’d rather help you prevent the pain in the first place – which explains why we get cranky when you want us to clean up your mess.

So, check out Laurie’s tips for avoiding HR.  They might change your world.  Or at least your day.

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January 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Understanding The Role of Assessments – 9 to 5 Guest Post

This is a complete re-post of my interview with Aimee Fahey on her Ecogrrl Consulting blog.  Thanks, Aimee for a great topic of discussion!

 

Today I’m excited to welcome back Pamela Moore of Compass Human Resources for another guest post.  You may remember her fantastic guest post last year onnegotiating pay.  This time around, I wanted to get her recommendations for those who are hiring managers, and want a little help in answering that age-old question, “but how will I KNOW if this person will fit with our team?”.  While we don’t have a crystal ball in the HR world, there are a number of great tools that can provide greater insight into your candidates that you are considering hiring, and I’ve asked Pam to tell us more.

Psst – to the job applicant…this is great insight into the hiring process!

Why should I consider using assessments during the interview process?
The best candidates know how to perform well in an interview.  They also know how to put together a great resume – or hire someone to do it for them.  Having an expert recruiter designing behavior-based interview questions can mitigate some of that.  However, interview questions simply can’t get to a few things:

  • How will the person react under stress?
  • What kinds of situations will cause them stress?
  • How emotionally stable are they?
  • What is their management style?  Not what they say – what they actually DO.
  • What values drive their choices?
  • Do they have issues with authority?

Assessments can be extremely helpful in getting to the things that are below the surface.

Are there any legal issues I should keep in mind?  Aren’t personality tests illegal?
Assessments aren’t illegal providing you can show that they are relevant to the position, are administered consistently, don’t inadvertently discriminate, and are administered by a professional who uses them in a variety of situations and can interpret them well.

Use a well-known assessment with scientific data behind it.  There are a lot of shady assessments out there that measure things not relevant to work.  Many of them have very little data compiled to support their results.  Do your research.

There are a ton of assessments out there – how do I know which one is the best?  What do you recommend?
Which assessment you use really depends on your needs.  I have used several:  Myers-Briggs, Personalysis, DiSC and Hogan. Each looks at slightly different things.

  • Myers-Briggs is a true personality assessment.  I find it works best in a clinical atmosphere.  It’s difficult for participants to apply to work situations.  Also the reports and output are structured differently depending on which consultant you work with.
  • Personalysis is used to assess communication styles.  This works great for teams because 90% of the issues I see in ineffective teams are caused by poor communication. The reports are very visual, which participants absorb well.  I probably wouldn’t use this for selection, though.
  • DiSC is a work style assessment.  It will vary slightly depending on the person’s role and how long they’ve been in the role.  The results you get at hire may not be the same in six months.  This tool is great for both individuals and teams.  It’s very visual and easy for participants to apply.  I’ve seen it create a common language for team members that makes it easy for them to talk about interactions.  Creating a team composite report is very easy and extremely useful.
  • Hogan is a personality and behavior assessment.  It measures some things that other assessments do not:  emotional stability, personal values, etc.  It provides a level of detail that is very useful when working with high-level employees.  Also, Hogan is one of the few legally defensible tools out there.  It has been scientifically proven to have predictive validity.  Hogan can be used for both individuals and teams, and they offer a report specifically for selection purposes.

In my business, I use DiSC for non-managers or first-time managers, and for teams.  I like Hogan for experienced managers and executives.  Because these tools can be used for so many related purposes, they give you high value for your money.

Should the rest of my team do the assessment?
If you’re building a new team, you might wait until the team is built to have the existing employees complete the assessment.  However, if it’s an established team, you may want to do it before the new hires come on board.  Then you have the ability to do a team facilitation that will help everyone come to a common understanding of styles, needs, and team dynamic.  This can prevent a lot of turmoil as the team grows and changes.

What is the best stage during the recruiting process to administer assessments to my candidates?
These assessments are not free.  You will pay for the assessment and the consultant’s time to analyze results.  Have a budget ahead of time.  In order to keep costs down and to avoid assessing people who may not truly be viable candidates, I recommend doing assessments before final interviews.  Assessing two or three candidates that you feel strongly about is most effective.

However, you should be sure to let candidates know at the beginning of the recruitment process that finalists will be asked to complete an assessment.  Normally, the recruiter tells me who the finalists are, and gives me their contact info.  I then send the assessment to them and the results come back to me.  I analyze the results, then meet with the hiring team to review them.  We talk about the pros and cons of each candidate’s profile in relation to the job description.  They can then construct final interview questions designed to delve into any areas of concern.

The assessment should be just one item used to make the hiring decision.  Interview questions, resumes, etc should also be used. Candidates should not get a copy of the assessment results.  That is part of the job file just like the interview questions and selection criteria.

I’ve never done these before – how hard is it to interpret the results?
Good question.  Some hiring managers think that because they have taken a particular assessment themselves, that they are qualified to interpret them too.  That is NOT the case.

In order for assessments to hold up as a legally acceptable part of the hiring process,they need to be administered by an expert – someone who uses them as part of their work, who has gone through the education process offered by the assessment organization, and who has experience using them in many different situations.

In the case of DiSC and Hogan, there are combinations of traits that indicate very specific behaviors/styles.  The average person would not be trained to recognize and interpret those subtleties.  Hogan actually requires consultants to be certified in order to administer their assessments.

Want more information, sample assessments, or help in choosing an assessment? Contact Pam directly at: pam@CompassHumanResources.com.

January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Free Tool for Successful Onboarding

How important is a good onboarding plan to your organization’s success?

According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, it’s critical.

Consider these statistics:

  • 25% of new employees leave in the first year
  •  Only 66% of employers include training in onboarding
  •  Only 41% have new hire workplace meetings
  •  Only 39% include milestones and goal setting

A comprehensive, well-constructed onboarding plan can make a huge impact on the success of your new employees.  That translates to increased productivity and retention.  When you weigh the cost of onboarding with the potential cost of replacing employees, it becomes an easy choice.  Replacing an employee can cost up to twice their annual salary.  Onboarding doesn’t have to be expensive – it just has to be well-planned and well-executed.

Our new Onboarding Worksheet provides you with a template for including all of the critical elements:  training, goal-setting and communication. It’s fully customizable to fit your specific program (but we’ve filled it with examples to get you started).  If you want added depth and strength in your plan, Compass offers Onboarding Services as well.

Additional Information:

Employee Turnover Caused by Bad Onboarding

How a Solid Onboarding Process Can Help You Improve Employee Retention

August 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Compliance Notice – Seattle Paid Leave Law

Employees working in Seattle?  This post is for you.  If you have at least one employee working at least 240 hours in a calendar year, you will have to begin complying with the City of Seattle’s new leave law.  The law takes effect on September 1st.

Here are a few highlights:

  • All employers with Seattle employees – regardless of company location – need to comply
  • Employers with all-inclusive PTO plans don’t have to provide additional leave.  (although plans without carryover options might need to adjust)
  • Employers need to post a notice to employees of their rights under the law (a poster should be available prior to Sept, check the Seattle site)

Here is the accrual rate chart.  If your PTO plan already offers at least this much time, you won’t need to change your accruals.

Employer Size Accrual Rate Based on Hours Worked within Seattle, Beginning on First Day Worked Maximum Hours
5-49 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 40
50-249 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 56
250+ full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 30 hours worked 72

 

Our Resource page has links to both the Regulations and the FAQ sheets.  The FAQ also includes contact information for questions regarding implementation.

Jackson Lewis LLP wrote an excellent article about the law on their blog here.

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Learning Opportunities

It’s a busy week at Compass, and one of the things that’s been occupying me is looking over all of the summer learning opportunities.  There are a few that are worth checking out, especially if you’re in the Pacific NW.

  • BOLI (Bureau of Labor and Industries) has their August Event Calendar available.  This is great for HR Managers, or anyone responsible for employment compliance.
  • Oregon OSHA also has summer educational events of various types.  Did you know that organizations with as few as 3 employees need to be OSHA compliant?
  • Idea Learning Group has a fantastic Train The Trainer program open for registration.  If you’re not familiar with them, you should be.  They are fun, dynamic, and very in tune with best practices.
  • Last, but by no means least, is the ASTD-Cascadia annual conference.  The event is back in Portland for the first time in 3 years.  And it’s been re-structured as a one-day event to accommodate all of our busy schedules.  This is going to be one of the best events this year!  Note for HR professionals:  most sessions are eligible for HRCI credit!

That should keep you busy for a little while.  Happy Learning!

August 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

HR Metrics Calculators Available Now

Two of our favorite metrics calculators are now available on the Resources page:

Why do I like these two in particular?  They help HR professionals justify the initiatives that they propose and illustrate bottom-line results in financial terms.

HR professionals should know how much profit is generated per employee.  That’s where Human Capitol ROI comes in.  This metric is necessary when making decisions about adding more employees.  Will a new division be able to make a profit if it employs a particular number of people?  Will laying off part of the workforce really impact the organization’s financial situation?

In order to make the case for employee retention strategies, it’s important to be able to compare those costs against the costs of losing existing employees.  Many leadership teams don’t truly understand all of the costs involved in replacing employees who leave.  Now you can show them!  Use the Turnover Cost Calculator to determine exactly how much it will cost to replace any position in your workforce.

These worksheets are downloadable in Excel format so you can save them on your own computer.  Special thanks to SHRM for making these available to the public.

July 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Insider Tip: What I’m Looking for During an Interview

Today I am very happy to introduce you to my colleague Aimee Fahey.  She’s an HR professional specializing in talent acquisition.  She’s here today to give us some insight into what’s going on in her mind during the interview process…

There are soooo many articles out there about interviewing.  And yet there are soooo many people flubbing interviews in ways I think are so often preventable.  So, as someone who’s conducted hundreds and hundreds of interviews both by phone and in person, here are some insider tips on what drives us recruiters nuts, what makes our eyes light up in happiness, along with some other things to think about.

Remember, interviewing is a lot like dating.  You don’t need to be perfect but you do need to put your best foot forward.  Let us see who you are – this is not a trick (eventually we’ll find out who you are!).  Follow up without stalking.

Do your homework.  Hello…this does not mean just a quick scan through our website.  What stands out about our company to you?  Have you read articles about us? Bring your notepad with your prepared questions (oh, you better have questions at the end, folks), and feel free to take notes during the interview.  I love to know someone has paid attention and is interested in retaining what we talk about.

Understand our product/service.  Can you describe the product we are selling or the service we provide (or both)?  I’m amazed at how many people just apply for the job and even with time to prepare for an interview, often can’t tell me what my company’s product is that they’d be expected to sell/develop/operate/market.  If you applied for the job, you better have known what you were applying for.  Speaking of this, also understand the job. Do NOT ask the interviewer to “summarize the position” – you should already have this information!!  Instead, ask for clarification on something about the job – show you were paying attention when you applied, and are curious to know more.

Articulate your interests.  What are you passionate about and how does it tie in to this job, this company?  What in the job posting stood out and why?  Avoid cliches.  Don’t tell the interviewers that you heard we’re a great place to work if you can’t name that person who knows this for a fact, otherwise it actually comes across sounding artificial.

Know your strengths.  Be able to communicate why you think you’d be a good fit for the job (without being cocky).  What have former bosses and coworkers said they like about you?  This is a great precursor to the reference check.  (I’m thinking, is the candidate self aware?  Cool.)  PS – Remember, you can say you’re great without saying you’re the best.  Anyone who says they’re superior kinda freaks me out.

Be genuine.  I’ve got a pretty good BS detector.  Recruiting is matchmaking – I need to understand who you are so I can assess if this is a good fit.  And you’re not doing anyone any favors if you’re artificial in any way.  And guess what?  If you’re real, I’ll be real.  Try to develop a rapport with the recruiter, hiring manager, whoever is interviewing with you.  Be courteous to every single person you encounter during the process.  Be aware of stereotypes – i.e., salespeople, try not to sound too slick.  Techies, show you can talk to more than just technical people.  Don’t be fake, be self-aware.

Understand your own opportunities for growth.  While I’m not sure how many employers still ask the ‘weakness’ question directly, they’ll often try to get at it in a different way, where you know by the question they want to hear where you are not perfect.  So, with this, do NOT do a “negative that is really a positive”.  People, we’ve heard it all before and it’s, well, nauseating to listen to a candidate say “I just work too hard,” “I’m too hard on myself,” or “I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”  Instead, think about a great learning experience where you overcame a weakness – now That is cool.

Don’t waste your time or ours. This is not a Vegas poker game.  If someone asks you your salary requirements, don’t say “negotiable” or ask “what is your range?” Soooo passive aggressive.  Give them a range rather than a minimum, but do give them some numbers.  We all know that, duh, you’d be happy with a million bucks, but in the meantime, give us the range you can live with. If you have questions, ask them.  Express your concerns.  Be honest.

Under no circumstances are you to ask about benefits, paid time off, stock options, parking, etc.  If you are offered the job, you can ask those questions then.  In the meantime, as Archie Bunker would say, stifle it.  We want to know you’re interested in working for OUR company in THIS job, not when you can take your next vacation.  And along this tangent, while it’s OK to ask about the general career path about the job, please don’t ask me how soon you can be promoted. I’m here to fill This Job.

Don’t burn any bridges.  You never know who they know, or how they might cross your path in the future.  Be kind, be respectful, be considerate.  Treat the interviewer as you would like to be treated. Go for the good karma.  Thank them even if you withdraw or don’t get the job.  Ask for feedback if you don’t get the job.  If a candidate is cool, but not a fit for this role, I’ll often either keep them in mind for a different role, or refer them to companies who I think they might be a better culture &/or technical fit for.  A little goes a long way.

Got more questions?  Want to learn more?  I’d love to hear from you!

Aimee Fahey is an HR professional who loves bringing people and companies together through her work in recruiting, human resources management, career coaching and community partnerships.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her “9-to-5” column on her blog, EcoGrrl.

June 13, 2012 at 11:25 am 2 comments

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