Tying it All Together

No good HR process occurs in a vacuum.  For instance, valid selection techniques impact recruitment strategy (are we bringing in the people who can do the job?) and training (what are the skills and abilities we’ll hire for and which ones will we develop?).  The common thread of all effective HR initiatives is a solid analysis of the job.  Whether it’s developing a competency model or conducting a job analysis, identifying the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics is the key first step.  This information feeds into your recruiting, selection, training, development, compensation, and performance management programs.

It’s no surprise that this kind of analysis is not done enough before new initiatives are rolled out (since job analysis is so important to legal selection systems, it’s an exception).  When you do analyse jobs, be sure to keep your eye on how the data will impact the other HR areas.  Doing JBL Flip 3 Review so will lead to a more thorough analysis and keep you from having to do it twice.

In the next post, I’ll talk about linking strategy to the job analysis process to ensure even greater value.

For more information on pre-employment testing, skills assessment, and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

Leaving so Soon?

While the heated talk about a “war for talent” has come back into vogue, retaining people (good, bad and indifferent) can be a struggle.  In analyzing your turnover situation, it is critical to look at 3 factors for people leaving:

  • External.  These include things that are out of your company’s control, such as a change in a person’s family situation.  Outside of moving your business to an area where these things don’t happen (for instance, not locating near a military installation where transfers are frequent), there isn’t much you can do about these external factors.
  • Involuntary Turnover.  Involuntary means that you are firing people for poor performance or other job related reasons. If this is a big driver of your turnover you should take a closer look at your recruiting and selection practices so you can improve the quality of your hires.
  • Voluntary Turnover.  This occurs when employees are choosing to leave you.  Voluntary turnover is much more damaging to you business because, unlike involuntary turnover, you are losing talented people.  This even happens in a bad economy and you need to be prepared for it.

Reducing voluntary turnover (VT) takes some work and there are many proposed methods of doing it.  One train of thought is to use exit interviews to find out the reasons why people are leaving.  A good thing about conducting exit interviews is that some of those who sit for them are likely to give you a treasure trove of information.  If you do exit interviews, consider ways to administer them anonymously to improve response rates and reliability.  Be sure to track information by work groups, departments, etc.

Others think that exit interviews are a waste of time because it is hard to get information from most of the people who leave (afterall, what’s in it for them?).  For those willing to be interviewed or fill out a form, there are also questions as to whether the information is reliable (some people may want to be nice just to avoid a confrontation, others may have an ax to grind).  Those opposed to exit interviews suggest that if you have open communications with your employees and/or pay close attention to your engagement survey results you can proactively address VT (hint…if you have high VT, look at the survey ratings of satisfaction with supervisors/ managers first).

 If you go the communication/survey route, establish which issues are truly related to turnover (hint—look at responses relating to supervision).  Just because people are dissatisfied with the food in the cafeteria doesn’t mean that are going to quit over it.

For more information on reducing turnover and employee engagment, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

360 Degree Feedback

I am often asked to help companies implement multi-rater (aka 360-degree) feedback.  This is a process where a person rates him/herself on a set of competencies along with his/her direct reports, boss, peers, and sometimes customers.   Theoretically, seeing information from each of these perspectives provides the person with the insights required to improve.  Before implementing a multi-rater feedback process (MRFP), you should consider these four issues.

1.   Insight, while necessary, is not sufficient to bring about change.  You can’t have a successful MRFP without post-feedback development opportunities available and a way to measure changes in behavior.

2.   There are two serious methodological flaws with most MRFPs that you need to address.  Among them are:

  • Do You Really Know What You Are Measuring?  No matter how well thought out your competency model is, or how behavioral your items are, most MRFPs can be boiled down into 2-3 elements of performance: Halo, Management/Leadership, and Technical Skills.  Halo is when a person who is well liked get high ratings in a lot of areas because s/he is well liked (the opposite can also occur).  What’s the best way to avoid halo and measure more distinct competencies?  Ironically, use fewer items.  This reduces rater fatigue and allows them to focus more on key elements of a person’s behavior.
  • What Do You Get When You Mix All Of the Colors Of the Rainbow?  Gray.  Since we love bottom line numbers so much we like to give an overall score on MRFP dimensions (usually an average of the different rating groups).  However, by doing so you are killing the best part of your data.   For example, by averaging Bob’s delegation scores, you get a meaningless number that masks the most important ratings from his direct reports who know best whether or not he delegates effectively.  Be sure to provide feedback based on rater group, at least for key items where one group will have more insight than another.

3.  Be clear on the goals for your process.   For example, is it to develop your top talent or increase the skill level of poorer performers?  The ugly secret of doing assessment for training and development purposes is that it tends to benefit those who need it the least.  Top performers get better while the lower performers view the process as a reminder of their flaws.  For poorer performers you should consider a more objective process that does not rely on sources of data that have existing prejudices (real or perceived), such as an assessment center.

4.  Whatever you do, don’t make an MRFP part of your performance management system.  It ruins the objectivity of the ratings and focuses people on the process rather than using the results.

For more information on 360 Feedback, leadership, skills assessment, and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

Setting and Managing Expectations

Listen, no one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job.  Organizationally, it makes sense that employees who don’t see any opportunities to advance or use their skills in the future are going to be less satisfied and turnover at a more frequent rate than those who do.  Those of you who manage in environments that have large spans-of-control know what I’m talking about.

What’s worse than not providing people a chance to move up?  Apparently, giving them skills that they aren’t going to be able to use.  See here for the journal write-up and here for the Wall St. Journal interpretation.  The authors report that those given training for skills they don’t think they would be able to use on the job are more likely to turnover than those who do think they will be able to use the training.

After getting past the concept of why organizations are providing training when people can’t use it (talk about a waste of money!), the bigger issue is why those companies are not doing a better job of explaining why the training is going to be relevant.  There’s a big payoff when it’s perceived to be, so why not be more explicit?  HR can show a lot more value when it does so, even if to say, “When we provide training to people and they know how it relates to their job, they stay longer.”

So much HR success relies on setting realistic expectations.  Conducting an employee engagement survey?  Don’t ask questions about things you are not going to change.  Want to help improve performance?  Have managers work with people in setting realistic performance goals.

For more information on employee engagement and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

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