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Romancing your new talent

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romantic-sun-drink-date-large

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and while many of you will be focusing on what to get your loved one, or where to book dinner reservations, it’s important you show a little bit of love to your employees. Especially new ones.

Hiring the right talent provides an organization with a competitive advantage in the marketplace. And, chances are, if you are part of a thriving company you already know this. But, if things seem flat and less than stellar – your talent could be the issue.

In our experience, companies that know how and are committed to hiring the right talent are rare. Most companies struggle to find the right talent, and as a result lose a significant opportunity for growth.

According to a survey by Career Builder, more than 50% of hiring managers have felt the negative effects of a bad hire. This can be anything from morale problems to major financial losses. Some companies have reported taking a $50,000 loss on replacing a key person within the organization. In fact, the average cost of a bad hire can cost up to 30% of that person’s first year potential earnings.

Finding the right people for the job is incredibly tough. It’s tough because what prospects tell you is simply their own version of the truth. The human mind is quite a mystery, even for the best trained of us. Add in people’s personal motivations, family and financial situations, and especially egos, and you have quite a difficult course to navigate.

Chances are you’ve mistakenly hired the wrong person, but how often have you struggled to bring in the “big fish?” The person that could be a complete game changer for you. You aren’t alone. And this happens because hiring managers are too concerned with making sure the person has all the “qualifications” rather than the grit and passion to do a remarkable job.

How do you right the ship? For starters, you need to ditch the checklist for people. The analogy of hiring and dating is nothing new, so by putting it within the context of dating, would you bring a checklist of all your qualifications that must be met with you on a first date? Probably not.

When you interview someone, and more importantly, when you hire someone, you need to stop viewing it as a contract to do work. It’s not. What you’re doing is entering into a relationship with someone, and you need to impress him or her if you want the relationship to work. You need to romance them.

 

Get yourself in shape

Make sure your company is in top-notch shape to attract the best candidates. This includes having a clear story, a great brand, and a culture that you can speak to in a compelling way. Your story should not just tell what you do and how you do it, but WHY you do it.

Don’t falsely assume people just want to work at their company. It’s a bit of a brazen approach – and one that will get you in trouble. Hiring managers forget people have options, and the best candidates have a lot of them, and often from companies who have a clearly defined story and culture. Once your story is in place, take some time and make sure you know who you need to hire, what you want them to do, how you will measure him/her, and how you will compensate this person.

Then…

 

Make them fall in love

You’ve told your story, you know what you’re looking for, and you’ve done a great job qualifying the candidate. With this done, now is the time to put your sales hat on and sell the fact that your company is the BEST opportunity out there. Before making your offer, make sure the candidate is excited and will say yes. Just as people say no to marriage proposals, candidates turn down job opportunities all the time. The perfect person should love your company as much as you love them. Believe me, you don’t want a one-sided relationship. It is exactly what leads to a bad hire.

But how do you do this?

Remember, the little things are extremely important. Walking the candidate out, shaking their hand, and introducing them to others around the office goes a long way. After the fact – connect with them on LinkedIn, show them you’re invested. You Facebook friend a person after you meet them in a social setting, show the same courtesy in a professional manner.

Make your interactions positive. From the first interview to the last, and the offer to the negotiations, the candidate should always feel as though they’re making the right decision with you.

And, finally, show some love! Once you’re romanced your prospect into a hire, have your team send out a congratulatory email or make a phone call to welcome new members to the team. This will go a long way to making the person feel right at home.

There are no tricks to find the right person. It’s mostly about being a thoughtful and caring person throughout the process. Romance is important, people will fall in love with you if you have all the right things in place. Make the experience one to remember.

Now, I know Valentine’s Day is a few days away, but you don’t need a dozen roses and a box of chocolates to secure the best possible talent.

 

Misti Aaronson is the COO and a partner at entreQuest. She utilizes her talents and expertise from working with countless organizations to help businesses grow through expert talent acquisition, growth methodology and development of their teams.

Posted in Employee Experience, Relationships, Talent, Talent Acquisition, Talent Brand | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An artistic vision for 2016 like you’ve never seen before

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eQ Paintings

I’ve heard of writing down goals and visions before, I’ve even done it myself. But before recently, I’ve never painted them. Yes, painted. I painted a vision for 2016. It was part of an experience we all participated in at eQ this past month for our yearly kickoff. It was a tremendously liberating experience for me.

Plutarch wrote that, “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” I’m no artist, by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, my greatest artistic achievement up to this point was color by number. But this was different. For us the exercise was all about impact. We were told to paint how we envisioned having an impact, in any sense of the word, in the year to come. My deficit of artistic creativity aside, it was truly remarkable, I could really feel the poetry of the exercise. I felt closer to my vision in a way I’ve never experienced. It was an expression of hope for 2016 that words just cannot capture.

What further resonated with me was everyone at eQ was tasked with this, because everyone is capable of impacting the world in a substantial way. It truly doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you stand in your company, whether you’re rich or poor, or even if you’re known as a charitable person or not. Impacting people’s lives is an intrinsic part of human nature. We may not always be cognizant of our behavior, which impacts lives, but it’s there. All those random acts of kindness – that’s impact on a small scale.

And it was impact on this scale that was the concept behind my painting. I have always been an ardent believer in the ripple effect. You know – one small act of kindness, one gracious deed can echo throughout the lives of multiple people. Internally at eQ, the ripple is a profound understanding that little acts can truly be great. To attest to the words of Mr. Dryden from the great movie Lawrence of Arabia, “Big things have small beginnings.”

That’s my vision for 2016, and it’s one I share with a lot of my colleagues. To cast stones and create ripples that impact the lives of people in any way possible. It’s imperative; absolutely imperative we start taking this stuff seriously. Meaningful change starts with all of us.

I think it’s time you put down the pen and paper, and start painting. Only then can you capture the silent poetry of how you can be an integral part in changing the world.

 

If you’d like to see an in-depth look at our impact paintings watch this video of the event, or see our Facebook page for more pictures.

 

As eQ’s Writing Specialist, Eric Stewart works his creative magic to tell eQ’s story by putting our Team’s concepts, ideas, and methodologies into words!

 

Posted in Culture, Goals, Vision | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to prepare for time away from work

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Out of Office

Returning to work after an extended period away from the office is challenging, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. My recent leave from the workplace was due to the birth of my first child. Although my period away from the office was a few months, it’s helpful to prepare for returning to work even if you’re gone for a week on vacation.

Preparing for parenthood was an exciting time. There are many things you might do to prepare for a new child, and getting organized at work is one thing that may get overlooked until the last minute. It’s important though to get yourself organized on the frontend of your time out, rather than have a sluggish start and pick up the pieces when you return. Here are a few tips I followed to help make returning back to work a smooth and seamless transition for the entire team:

Organize. In the weeks leading up to your leave, clean out your inbox. Once you return to work you will most likely be knee deep in emails and if you already have a system in place for sorting through content, it will make it easier to sift through the new messages. Same thing applies for your desk. While you are out, the company may move seats or may try to find something at your desk. Returning to work with a tidy desk and little clutter will also give you peace of mind. You may also want to create a spreadsheet with all your passwords. This saved me a lot of time from clicking on the “Forgot my password” link, and it also help your colleagues if they need to access something on your behalf.

Communicate. This may be an obvious one, but it’s important to communicate to your vendors, partners, and clients about your upcoming leave. If someone on your team is taking over a relationship in your absence it’s important to make an introduction 2-3 months prior to your expectant date of leave. Your client will be confident the company has prepared and will give both the client and your teammate time to adjust to the new relationship while you are still available to help with the transition. Plus, if you’re preparing for a child like I was, your little one may decide to come early, so the more time you have to prepare, the better.

Create a plan of action. Don’t assume everyone is aware of your full scope of work. In the months leading up to your departure, create a list of things you manage, update, prepare, organize, or whatever it may be. Then work with your leadership team to determine who on the team will manage your responsibilities.

If your leave is medical – understand your benefits. If you’re preparing for a baby or for a surgery you will be inundated with paperwork to complete at the hospital. Save yourself from being overwhelmed by understanding your medical benefits prior to having the baby or operation. Most companies can provide you with the form to be completed prior to your procedure. Have as much filled out and take it with you when you go to the hospital and have someone else scan it to your employer once the baby is born. Same thing goes for any forms needed for disability. It’s also helpful to understand the payment terms of your disability plan prior to being on leave.

Most importantly, enjoy every moment you’re away. Recuperate, relax, and refocus … time really does fly!

 

As Talent Consultant, Jessica Drew focuses on finding the right candidates to fit our clients’ needs. She works with our clients to understand the exact skills and attributes that would fit with the cultural climate and their environment.

Posted in Motivation, Strategy, Success | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your meetings feel ineffective because they are ineffective

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Coffee Meeting

“Please, for the love of humanity, not another pointless meeting.” At some point in the last 30-days you’ve uttered some form of those words. We all have. The statistics don’t lie.

Atlassian recently published data suggesting half (yes, HALF) of all meetings are thought to be a waste of time by at least someone in the room. The average employee sits in on 62 meetings a month, or 31 hours of meetings. That’s a whole lot of wasted time. It’s nearly two whole workdays you spend in frivolous meetings. And yet companies still blame lost productivity on Facebook and texting.

Atlassian estimates US businesses lose $37 billion in salary due to unnecessary meetings. Which, for some of you may not be surprising, given how many meetings are forced upon you on an average week.

But how do we change this? How do we reclaim our time from unnecessary meetings?

Awareness is huge. Often, we aren’t fully aware just how precious time is. When scheduling meetings, we don’t stop and think about the schedules of the people we’re inviting to the meetings (other than “they have an opening in Outlook”). Everyone’s time is valuable, and when we put that knowledge into practice we can be consciously aware of whether or not a meeting is a waste of time for someone before we even invite them.

Agenda’s are key. Don’t let the first five minutes of a meeting be the first time the attendees see an agenda. Send an agenda out with the invite, or at least a day in advance to the meeting. It allows everyone to prepare for what’s to be discussed and gives the group an idea on what to expect. Knowing what is going to be talked about will majorly cut down on time spent trying to bring everyone up to speed.

Put down the phone. Phone and laptops alike are a major distraction for everyone in the room. Make sure the people in the meeting are only using their technology if it’s absolutely necessary. Atlassian reports 73% of people do other work in meetings, which hampers their engagement and only drags the meeting out longer than it needed to be. So, for the sake of everyone’s time – put down the phone.

Invite the right people. Having the wrong people, or even too many people in a meeting can lead to distractions, over communication, and increased confusion. Just because you’re working as a team on a particular project, doesn’t mean the whole team needs to be present for every meeting. This is a big part of awareness – knowing who, and who doesn’t belong.

Email can be a savior. If you’re looking to share a particular update or get a progress report on a project, a meeting may be a waste of time. Send an email to the necessary people, or use a collaborative communication tool like Slack. We’ve all been in a meeting before where we thought the entire thing could have been said more effectively in an email.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” Shakespeare was on to something with this one. Just because you have an hour of time scheduled, doesn’t mean you have to use the entire hour. It’s okay if you end 15 minutes early. In fact, most people would probably thank you. Give back some time if you can.

Take notes and recap. It is always helpful to assign someone to take notes during the meeting and send them out to everyone shortly after the meeting. This is helpful for people as a reminder of what was discussed, and will bring people up to speed if they missed the meeting.

Meetings shouldn’t feel pointless and ineffective. It’s on all of us to be aware and be engaged in the process. By doing so, the number of “waste of time” meetings we find ourselves in will significantly drop. Let’s stop having ineffective meetings.

 

As eQ’s Writing Specialist, Eric Stewart works his creative magic to tell eQ’s story by putting our Team’s concepts, ideas, and methodologies into words!

Posted in Meetings, Strategy, System of Management | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s your impact?

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Be The Change

Afjsdkfsdkhf oops! My eyes haven’t quite adjusted from the chair massage I just had.

It’s Friday at 1:00pm and that’s right, my employer sponsored the opportunity for me to enjoy 15 minutes of relaxation in the middle of my workday. The fact is, our office believes in a holistic approach to the employee experience and I could not be more grateful. It’s part of what hooked me. We practice what we preach. With the Information Age came the tough conversation with how to set norms with work and life. Truly it’s not about balance any more as much as it is about harmony. If we don’t sync the two and cast light on both facets of our life, the two will be at odds and put YOU in flux.

So what exactly is the relevance of employer generosity, community consciousness and work life harmony? Let me ask you, how are your all-hands meetings run? Or do you call them town-halls? Staff meetings? We hold company meetings on Fridays. Long ago we declared Friday to be a day for eQ – it’s our time to reflect, focus, and imagine. By dedicating a full day to introspection and strategy, we breed collaboration and creativity. Most recently we churned out the newest hashtag #betterate which so beautifully blends our iterative approach and our continual journey to become better.

While sitting around the conference room table, we shared our gratitude for our clients, each other, and the community. The marketplace trends point to a millennial workforce that is attracted to companies committed to social impact. This correlation supports the fact that a mindful company’s economic impact is directly tied to the kind of talent it’s attracting and retaining, specifically the growing majority of people born between 1980 and 1999 who care more about aligning with organizations that are committed to making a difference.

Wondering how your company compares? Are you doing it right? What is your organization’s stance on causing a positive ripple in the community? To arrive at the answer – start asking good questions. Go to your colleagues, your employees, and find out why they joined? Why they stay? Pay close attention to what they say to determine what they’re thinking and feeling. What can you learn from their insights? What themes pop up? What are you not hearing?

Take it all in and think about how you can perpetuate either the social responsibility or honor it in ways you have yet to. Need some ideas, check out Global Goals to learn about the 17 worldwide sustainable goals, which the eQ team is committed to tackling along with brilliant minds and creative companies across the planet.

If impact isn’t a major player in your vision for the future – then you’re at a huge disadvantage.

 

Alexandra Wieland is an Associate at entreQuest and works closely with all eQ team members to provide employees and clients with remarkable experiences.

Posted in Impact, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, for God’s Sake! – Come to grips with the fact that it’s time to part ways

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Crossroads

Over the years, I’ve worked hard to provide good counsel to a myriad of smart, talented, and successful leaders. One of the areas of greatest consternation we’ve encountered together is getting the leader to come to grips with the fact she already knows: it’s time to let someone move on to discover their next great adventure. For many reasons – some well-intentioned, some of avoidance, and some just flat out denial, otherwise deft leaders flip, flounder, and risk flopping by not dealing with members of their team who no longer merit inclusion.

What’s interesting is that the leaders I’ve worked with almost always know what they should do … they’re just not ready to make the necessary move and do it. My aim in this blog is to help leaders to recognize that they should act to exit someone from their organization and to do so now. Don’t wait any longer.

Here are some of the critical indicators that it’s time to make a change:

Uncertain Value—We know what the person should be contributing, but we’re not realizing the appropriate return on the expectation. The jobholder can’t tell us how he or she creates value nor can others. You’re left constantly wondering what is their value add to an organization, and that’s never a good place to be in.

Resistance—This comes in two varieties:

1. The person is not with your program – no matter how many times and ways you establish the behavioral expectations of what good looks like, the individual does not show up and engage in ways that are consistent with them; and

2. Everything in dealing with this person requires too much effort, including having to be too tailored to their particular mindset so as not to cause greater friction and the resistance that stems from it. If you’re walking on egg shells just to avoid resistance – it’s not a good sign.

Negative Ripples—Pay attention to what others are saying about working with the colleague in question and how they act in his/her presence – especially those who’ve earned your trust and respect because they ARE what good looks like. When your people start complaining or acting like there’s a difficulty with a particular individual then it’s time to take action. One bad apple can really spoil the whole bunch. Of course, we also need to know what our clients think as well.

Compare and Contrast—PBS’ Sesame Street has the “One of these things is not like the other” song and game, and it’s time we all start singing it again. When you assess folks on your team and you think of the people bringing it at a high level every day and doing so in ways that look, sound, and feel good, you then have a picture of what everyone should be giving you now or progressing to that level. Anyone who isn’t and doesn’t seem likely to – when you’re honest with yourself – is someone you should be preparing to exit.

I’m not a cold-hearted person, just the opposite. When you don’t fit and thus can never really excel in an environment, it sucks, for both parties. As the “bad fit” you’re unhappy and unfulfilled in that position. You’re probably trying, but it just isn’t working. The great country singer, Ray Price, crooned, “Please release me, let me go…” We should take his advice and help people find the right place for them. When we do that, we’re more respectful of them, of the team that is performing, and of our clients.

The thing is that we KNOW all this … and yet we delay, we rationalize, and we emotionally contort. I’ve learned to be far less patient with this process and reflect my honest reaction nakedly back to my clients when I hear all of this: “Oh, for God’s sake! Listen to what you’re saying, get out of your own way, and do the right thing…for everyone.” It’s better for everyone.

 

Jeff Lesher, Principal at entreQuest, blends his deep knowledge of organization design, human capital, and leadership with a pragmatic approach drawn from his own business experience and eQ’s philosophy to help eQ’s clients focus on their core purpose and move people effectively to action.

 

Posted in Alignment, Awareness, Coaching, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Sorry Charlie, no golden ticket here.”

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Chocolate bar

No matter what you think, and no matter how hard you wish it, no one is ever going to hand you the keys to your own chocolate factory.

Yeah, no duh.

But, for whatever reason, you still believe it’s going to happen. And by denying it you’re only continuing to deceive yourself. Little do you know you’ve believed this your whole life – and it’s time to get your head out of that Disney fairytale.

A few weeks ago, eQ CEO Joe Mechlinski shared that, “happiness is not the goal.” But, why then, when you ask most people what they want out of life, they provide you with an answer as canned as sitcom laughter? “Happiness,” they’ll tell you. But why then, if happiness is not the goal, do we consistently benchmark it as such?

Because you’ve been fed a lie that happiness is, and always should be, the goal.

We’ve been led to believe, ad nauseam, success (i.e. wealth and physical items) will bring happiness. Think about it, what would make you happy right now? Money? Car? House? Job? All of it leads right to an empty, superficial understanding of happiness.

But we’re still waiting for our golden tickets. We still get in line and wait for the newest iPhone, TV, or luxury car. Like Charlie, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, we unwrap chocolate bar after chocolate bar searching for our golden ticket … but no one is ever going to hand you the keys to your own chocolate factory.

The real problem is our expectations. We have an expectation; rather we think we have an entitlement to be happy. We go out in life looking for the golden ticket and when we come up “empty-handed” we’re pissed because that was the key to our happiness. We expected to get everything we wanted, and when we don’t – we label it a failure.

You may be aware Denmark is consistently listed as one of the “happiest” countries on earth. You may also be aware many accredit this to their healthcare system, their high standard of living, or their elevated level of equality. But the underlying reason they top the charts is because they manage expectations better than any other nation – especially better than the United States.

Take for example the tradition of making New Years resolutions. We set our expectations for the entire year on the very first day of the year. It might sound reasonable, but it’s not. Of the millions of people across America who set New Years resolutions or goals, only 8% achieve them, so good luck with that. The success rate will continue to hover in the single digits until we dramatically alter how we set our goals.

Most people set very measurable goals, which is part of the problem. The top three resolutions people make each year are:

Lose weight
Get organized
Save more/make more money

When you fail, and statistically speaking you will likely fail, it will be because of how you set your expectations. You wrongfully associated losing weight, getting organized, or making more money with an increase in your personal happiness … but as I already mentioned – happiness is not the goal.

The goal is purpose.

More specifically mission, impact, and purpose. These three elements, when applied to goal setting, go well beyond the delicate façade of simple, measurable indicators. How? Because they’re lasting indicators. Losing a few pounds or growing revenue is a fleeting acquisition, but defining your purpose, creating a mission, and implementing enduring impact will carry well into the future.

We’re too busy looking for happiness in all the wrong places; we’re too busy looking for shortcuts. Happiness is not the byproduct of tangible metrics like we think it is. Instead, it is the intersection of an intentional mission, impact, and purpose that result in true personal happiness.

From purpose springs abiding happiness … for those of you looking for an easier route – sorry Charlie, no golden ticket here.

 

 

As eQ’s Writing Specialist, Eric Stewart works his creative magic to tell eQ’s story by putting our Team’s concepts, ideas, and methodologies into words!

Posted in Alignment, Strategy, Vision | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are you ready for the talent hunt in 2016?

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Fox hunting

I just recently read an article that one of the top 5 things employers need to focus on in 2016 is candidate experience. No longer do employers have the upper hand in the recruitment process.

Top candidates are going to be tougher to hire than ever as more and more companies are looking to grow. Additionally, candidates are no longer scared by the economy and are eager to leave their current jobs for greater pay elsewhere. Candidates are also more willing than ever to leave their current job for a company with a better reputation or culture, even if that means their pay will stay the same or even lessen.

So, employers MUST step it up! If you want top talent, you’ve got to pull the trigger to hire when you see the talent you want. That could mean hiring even when you don’t have the budget to hire. That could mean hiring the first candidate you meet in an interview process without comparable candidates. That could mean being more open-minded to salary, remote work flexibility, relocation packages, etc. That could even mean creating a brand new position out of thin air for the right person.

With all of this in mind, employers need to be more cognizant than ever about the candidate experience. If a candidate has multiple job opportunities, and you drag the interview process along, you WILL lose that candidate. If the person greeting the candidate in your reception area is rude, disheveled, late … that could kill the deal.

Presentation is incredibly important for candidates. You’d be surprised how often interview rooms are cluttered and disorganized. On top of that, companies often don’t have trained, polished representatives conducting the interviews. More times than not, it is just some person from the department being hired for, and they likely don’t have the skills to be conducting interviews.

It’s 2016 – you need to be prepared to answer questions about your company’s culture, vision, and values. You need to prioritize the needs of the candidate, not just your own needs. As an interviewer you have to be able to explain the potential career path for the candidate and explain it in an enticing manner. This includes following up when you say you will in the recruitment process. You definitely don’t want to leave the candidate hanging. Candidates are calling the shots more than ever these days, and you need to make the best impression you possibly can in the recruitment process.

In the intense talent hunt we have ahead in 2016, there is no doubt that when you find the candidate you are looking for, you must move swiftly and be confident in your hiring decisions. The day and age of taking months to find the “perfect” candidate is long-gone. If you don’t pull the trigger to make an offer, your competition will!

 

As a Talent Consultant, Daley Navalkowsky focuses on finding the right candidates to fit our clients’ needs. She works with our clients to understand the exact skills and attributes that would fit with the cultural climate and their environment.

Posted in Hiring Best Practices, Talent, Talent Acquisition | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s time to stop being afraid of performance reviews

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Performance Review Cartoon

Like the cartoon, most people don’t look forward to performance reviews. In fact, in the hundreds of companies we’ve studied, and the thousands of employees we’ve surveyed and with whom we’ve spoken, easily over 60% of them (the review givers and review receivers, alike) express the review process and experience in their organization misses the mark.

We hear things like:

• “I fill out a form, get a score, and never hear anything about it again.”

• “I have to spend 3 hours preparing for each review. Then, another hour doing the review. Then, another hour following our internal process filing the documents. I’ve got 7 direct reports. I lose almost a full week!”

• “I don’t get any feedback that is useful to me. I spend a bunch of time cataloguing all of my accomplishments, so I can justify what I think I deserve in a raise, and then we see hardly any increase, if we see one at all. It seems pointless.”

With the above sentiments coming from the workplace, is it any surprise that 70% of the workforce continues to be disengaged? Here are a few of the elements Gallup explores when determining the disengagement levels in organizations:

• There is someone at work who encourages my development

• In the last 6 months, someone has talked to me about my progress

• My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person

For these (and 9 other) very straightforward points about engagement, 70% do not answer in the affirmative.

The severity of this issue seems pretty clear to us: In over six of 10 cases, neither employee nor supervisor is highly engaged in the critical process of performance reviews and feedback. In over seven of 10 cases, employees (which includes managers and executives) are disengaged, and of the seven, over 20% of them are actively trying to do harm to the organization. Staggering. Unacceptable. We should be ashamed.

We can do better. You can do better. The good news is we are going to give you a blueprint to get started on the path to better.

The overarching principles to success when it comes to creating a passionate, highly engaged company include:

Create a clear and compelling vision of the future. Yes, creating and executing an effective performance cycle starts with vision. Without clarity, it is tough for people to get inspired by, or committed to a common cause (think about Tom’s, or Zappos, or Warby Parker. Employees and customers alike rally around and behind their vision).

Make the vision come to life – every day! Having a vision doesn’t move the needle at all if you don’t make it part of everyday life in your organization. This includes connecting it to role descriptions, making it part of team meetings, including it in 1:1s (what did you do this week/month/quarter that helped us get closer to our vision?). Highlight team members who exemplify the attitude and behaviors needed for your organization to consistently win.

Make performance a regular dialogue, not an annual event. If you want your team to know you are serious about performance, contribution, learning, development, and growth, then show it. In a robust system of planning and engagement, regular 1:1s (weekly or every other week are solid cadences) and team meetings are part of the fabric of the organization. In these sessions, part of the dialogue should be about how individuals are performing against their goals (and the goals should link back to the organization’s big picture goals and strategies), what they are learning along the way, where they are having successes, where barriers exist, and where they need help (needing help is not about being a victim. Top performers often figure out ways to get past barriers on their own. As leaders, we want to understand how, so we can replicate this across the workforce). Performance reviews (which we recommend occurring semi-annually), then become more summative with a very brief look back, and become more about looking forward to what the team member will achieve in the next period of time, and how she will hit those goals.

Make performance conversations just that. In performance related conversations, keep the focus on the individual’s performance, not on the performer herself. This is a small and critical distinction. It isn’t about who they are, but rather about how they are showing up, and how that connects to what the organization values most in the given role. That is the focus.

Put in the damn work! Too often, we hear managers and employees say how busy there are, like it is some badge of courage or honor. Guess what? Everyone is busy. You aren’t special in that way. The question is – are you and your people serious about high performance? If so, dedicate the time to development – as an individual, colleague, and as a leader. After all, if you don’t care enough about your own development to make it a priority and regular topic of discussion, why should anyone else? As a leader, if you don’t make your people’s development and progression part of a regular dialogue, why should they commit themselves to you, your team, and your organization’s cause? (Remember the research that shows that employees quit a boss, not a company. If your people aren’t engaged, consider what you are doing to change that, as opposed to pointing the finger at them, only).

Join us in being part of the movement in creating a workforce that is 70% engaged, as opposed to the other way around.

 

Andrew Freedman, Managing Partner at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.

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How company culture translates to success

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Startup 2016

It’s 2016, so it’s pretty hard to plead ignorance to the importance of company culture at this point. Although, that’s exactly what a lot of companies still do today. They offer up excuses like, “I work in industry X, there’s no place for culture there,” but they couldn’t be more wrong.

The thing is – you have a company culture whether you like it or not. “No culture” is still culture. It’s a very bad one, but it is still culture nonetheless.

And then there are the people who are somewhere in between, those who recognize company culture is important, but don’t recognize just HOW important it is. There are many who argue culture is the single most important factor for the long-term success of a business.

I’ll repeat that, because it bears repeating: Culture is the single most important factor for the long-term success of a business.

Your culture speaks louder than any other aspect of your business. A remarkable company culture acts as a magnet for top talent. It will do more for you than any advertisement will ever do. Why? Because you can fake an advertisement, but you can’t fake culture. A strong culture will speak volumes for your company, and ultimately word will get out about the exceptional environment you have created. At this point, it won’t be long before people are seeking you out. It builds a sustainable network of people who know and love your company for what you do.

Not only does culture attract – it retains. If you create an outstanding environment for people to work in, they will want to remain in that kind of environment. Poor culture is often sited as one of the main reasons people leave a job or company. It’s an intangible perk an organization can create, and its impact goes well beyond the addition of a few more dollars in someone’s paycheck. In fact, that’s typically the solution of a company with a weak culture. They throw more money at an employee and hope they stick around for a little while longer. Most places are able to offer an employee more money, but not everyone can offer you a quality culture.

It’s hard to maintain a successful company if you can’t attract and retain the right people. We’ve been saying it for years at eQ: your people are your most important asset. Culture translates into success, not just because it distinguishes a company from the rest of the pack, but because a remarkable culture attracts remarkable people, and isn’t that who you want working for you?

It’s 2016 … it’s time culture becomes THE priority.

 

As eQ’s Writing Specialist, Eric Stewart works his creative magic to tell eQ’s story by putting our Team’s concepts, ideas, and methodologies into words!

 

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