Sep 09

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Lower your employee turnover rate with this advice

prevent-employee-turnoverYour company probably can’t afford a high turnover rate or new employee training costs, especially on a regular basis.

However, if you don’t know why most workers leave their jobs, you could be making some crucial mistakes that will hurt your company’s productivity — and its bottom line.

Watch out for these most common problems employees point to when they quit:

“I never felt appreciated.” Job dissatisfaction is the number one reason why good people quit their jobs. Any time your workers feel unhappy, undervalued or unappreciated, they will soon leave. Good idea: Poll your staffers at least once each year about their job satisfaction. Ask them to give suggestions that will improve their job situation. Be sure they are able to answer your questions anonymously.

“I wasn’t challenged.” Most skilled employees want to feel as though they are solving problems and continually learning. Once the challenge is gone, your staff will soon get bored with their positions. Try this: Identify high performers early on in their tenure at your company. Then listen to and implement their ideas, and ensure they have enough responsibility.

“My company was a sinking ship.” Your employees must believe that their jobs will be there — despite the economy’s ups and downs. Also, you want them to respect your corporate culture and public image. If your employees lack confidence in your company’s future or think your culture lacks respect for others, they will move on to a better environment. Action plan: Create a quarterly report that shows your company’s market strength and outlines what employees can expect from you as the economy ebbs and flows.

“I couldn’t get along with my coworkers.” Try as hard as you’d like, but even the best corporate culture won’t keep a staff member happy if she is the odd girl out with her coworkers. Small personality differences can lead to huge arguments between mismatched employees. Better: Consider workers’ chemistry before you team them up. For instance, an aggressive employee isn’t the best match for a passive employee. Test your staffers’ chemistry by teaming them up for a short-term project before you ask them to work on something long term. You can also try team-building exercises to help everyone work together in harmony.

“I wasn’t paid well enough.” Surprisingly, pay isn’t the top reason workers leave their jobs, but it is a factor. Your employees must feel that they are adequately compensated for the work they perform if you hope to keep them satisfied.

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Sep 02

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Hire the right consultant

hire-consultantSure, most consultants honestly want to help you lead your company better — but many don’t live up to that desire.

You can avoid the messy fallout of hiring the wrong consultant for your company by watching out for these red flags.

The consultant isn’t listening. You can spot a poor listener a mile away. He doesn’t ask questions about or request examples of your problems. He also jumps to promote his skill range rather than highlighting the ones relevant to your problem.

The consultant’s credentials don’t match your needs. Before you sign a consultant contract, you must ensure his credentials are the perfect fix for your problems. Evaluate consultants by asking for this information:

  1. The names and credentials of those who will do the work.
  2. Their companies’ history.
  3. Their perspective on the issues you face.
  4. What work they will perform or information they will provide.
  5. What information you must provide them.
  6. An outline of realistic timelines.
  7. References from their clients.
  8. Their fee structure and guarantees.

The consultant fails to follow up with you, even before he has the job. Your consultant should be in constant communication with you. If he goes days without checking in with you, you can rest assured that he’ll behave the same — or worse — after you hire him.

The consultant is inflexible with solutions. Your consultant is supposed to provide you with solutions that you can implement. That means he must be willing to adjust or even toss out any ideas that you don’t feel are a good fit for your company. If he balks or bucks, you know you’re talking to the wrong partner.

Bottom line:Stay on top of any consultants you hire, even if they pass the tests above. Just like any employee, a consultant can easily lose focus and become a detriment to your team.

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Aug 19

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: 3 steps to smooth the hiring process

business-interviewDespite how well you understand the job roles in your department, it’s still a daunting task to hire a new person who must fit well on your team and bring something new to your company.

Caution: Myriad new local, state and federal laws now govern how you must conduct interviews, as well as how and when you can fire an employee. This means you must get the interview process right so that you don’t have to worry about hiring the wrong person.

You can simplify the interview process without worrying that your company will wind up on the losing end of a lawsuit, says employment coach E.C. Pressler. He suggests you follow these steps:

Step 1: Stick To The Facts

Your interviews are meant to determine whether candidates have the requisite skills, interest and motivation to do the job, as well as candidates’ ability to learn the duties of the job and accept direction.

How? Conduct all interviews in a quiet place that will allow you to pay full attention. Avoid asking questions not related to the job. Paint an accurate portrait of the job your candidates will perform. You should keep the discussion focused on the job, working conditions, benefits and the company.

Step 2: Use Your Notes To Decide

During your interviews, make sure you jot down candidates’ answers to tough questions. After the interviews, refer to your notes to determine which candidates fit the position and its requirements. You can use these notes to defend your choice should the need arise.

Step 3: Write Down The Why Nots

As you wade through candidates, make notes about why each one is or is not the best fit for your team. Note whether the applicant made disqualifying statements or expressed disinterest in parts of the position.

Next step: Keep a record of your notes along with the candidates’ resumes so that you can prove your due diligence if an applicant tries to cry foul.

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Jun 24

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Things to consider before you hire a temp

Temporary workers can seem like an easy way to get help in your department, but there can be drawbacks. Read on for the things that you should take into consideration before you call a temporary-employment agency, from Patricia Schaefer:

  1. Training. If the temp is new to your company and the job, you will need to spend time training him for the job he’s been hired to do. This takes time out of your schedule or the schedule of the worker that will have to train the temp. You’ll also need to be prepared for any mistakes that usually occur once the temp starts the new job.
  2. Morale. If you keep the worker on for a prolonged period of time, but still as a temp, you may run into employee-relations and morale issues, says Schaefer. A temporary employee working alongside permanent employees might get disgruntled if he doesn’t have the same benefits as your permanent hires who are doing the same job.
  3. Safety. Studies have shown that on-the-job injuries are higher in frequency and severity with temporary workers, warns Schaefer. You should never leave a temporary worker unsupervised for long periods of time until he has shown you that he can do the job safely.
  4. Legal Issues. You must make your contract and the work situation very clear to the temporary worker. He should understand that he is not a permanent employee and is therefore not eligible to receive the benefits of permanent employees. But treat him with the same amount of respect you give your other workers.

Hiring a temp doesn’t mean all drawbacks for your department and your company, says Schaefer. There are good aspects of utilizing temporary help.

Temps can be a great help and relief when you’re suffering from a short workforce due to illness or maternity leave. They are also generally cheaper than permanent hires. Hiring temps can also be a sort of dress rehearsal for permanent hire. You can see the temp’s abilities and test his work ethic before you decide to hire him permanently. This is a bonus you can’t get from permanent hires, because you assess them based on interviews.

If these benefits outweigh the negatives, give your staffing agency a call. If your company is concerned with a few or more of the negatives, you might want to stick to your permanent hires for a while.

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