by Sherry Jordana (All rights reserved 10-26-12)
Many of us can recount happy memories of working our hearts out and achieving our very best with a favorite sports coach, dance teacher and the like. Yet relatively few can describe a similar experience with a boss. That seems a little unfair. The favorite coach often pushed us hard to perform, pointed out our weaknesses, and left us physically exhausted. Bosses, on the other hand, are often encouraged to be nice to us, give us an appropriate amount of work, hear our needs and in general “boost” our morale all by themselves. Why is it then, some of our happiest experiences were with a tough coach?
Dan Pink describes in his book “Drive” that, especially for those in non-routine and complex work, people feel inspired to perform at a high level when intrinsic motivators are present: two of these are mastery (getting increasingly good at something), and purpose/value. A favorite coach probably created an environment where these conditions were present. And in the workplace, great bosses do too. Here’s some of what they do:
1. Pick the right type of goal
In my dance class, if I see a really advanced dance step, I will probably watch but not try. It looks too hard and I have no place to even start. On the other hand, if I’m put through endless drills on ridiculously easy steps, I’ll get bored and check out (it’s easier to leave the dance class than the job). Make sure that work goals and responsibilities are challenging enough to be stimulating, but not defeating. Look for opportunities to stretch people in their performance: (for instance working with a new software, achieving a reasonably higher sales quota, running a meeting alone).
2. Give feedback in balance.
Back to the dance class: I get a steady flow of feedback, both positive and corrective. This is how I grow and learn. Feedback also let’s me know I’m valued, that it is important for me to perform well. At work, remember to give regular feedback that includes both “what you’re doing well” and “what you need to correct”. I recently heard a respected leadership author (and others) suggest a ratio of 5 positive feedback comments to 1 corrective; seems a bit high to me, but how about even 2 to 1? For most managers, that would be an improvement.
3. Give feedback on behavior, not traits.
Amazingly (or not) I really appreciate corrective feedback from my dance teacher, but am not so thrilled if I get it at work. One of the main differences is the teacher is focusing on my movements (behavior) and bosses often focus on judgments (opinions about the behavior). A comment such as “You’re not trying hard” doesn’t help much and makes people defensive. “Two project deadlines were missed last month” gives you a starting point to talk through to solutions. Make sure your corrective feedback starts with the person’s behavior or actions.
4. Teach people new important skills.
I love to learn new dance steps, and I love to learn new skills related to my profession (it’s that mastery thing from Pink). Look for opportunities to teach people what you’re good at, or arrange for them to learn from others. Expose them to fresh or new ideas. Find out what people want to learn, and set them up for classes, or learning on the job. Make sure that what people are learning will be used now or in their future career; learning is inspiring when it has a purpose and usefulness (re-read Pink).
5. Be optimistic and uplifting to be around.
We look to our coaches to help us through the struggles as well as the celebrations. Be optimistic, speak well of others, and project confidence that things will turn out well. If the department is going through changes, describe your vision for the future and then help people get there.
Like the coaches, great bosses know that not everyone will have the talent or produce the necessary results in the end, and perhaps some hard choices will have to be made. But they do their part to ensure they have brought out the best in each and every one.
“When not in dance classes, Sherry Jordana is an HR Consultant in the SF Bay Area specializing in leadership and organizational development.
Hi, I’m Connie Hampton here at Hampton and Associates Scientific and Executive
Search Services. Today I’m reviewing a book by my friend Toby Freedman called Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development.
She describes each of over 100 positions, talks about what each one entails and describes career tracks, typical days, pros and cons, salary and challenges and what you need to excel in each. She talks about how they all fit together in a company.
I highly recommend this book for both job seekers and for HR people who need to write position descriptions for hiring – especially if a particular role is new to you.
Have you seen this?
While this article is about hiring a software programmer, the same is true about hiring a recruiter or sourcer.
1. Pay as you go for milestones
2. Make sure that you both understand who is accountable for what and when
3. Make sure you have a backup plan
Do you do this when you are using outside help for your recruiting needs?
When the economy slows, so does hiring. Hiring managers, CEOs, Boards of Directors all need to get more done for less cost and either downsize or ask their current employees to shoulder a greater workload. When everyone agrees that someone MUST be hired, for whatever reason, HR frequently gets asked to do so, but “don’t use an expensive recruiter!”
Hiring is NOT like ordering a mail-order bride from Eastern Europe or a book from Amazon. Even though we have social media like LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever the latest one is, people are not commodities and are the only “product” that can, and will, say “No”. Even the desperate, unemployed person can and does have choices. And you don’t actually want to hire a generic employee – you need someone with the right skills and abilities who actually wants to solve the problem that made you need to hire someone in the first place.
Recruiters are people who have made a career of finding the most qualified and interested people for their clients and supporting the introduction and exploration of the fit between the two.
+Lisa Sterling +HR Bartender / ITM Group +Sharlyn Lauby
Ultimate Software: Wrap Up from #UltiConnect 2012 – Talent Management is a Journey not a Destination
One of the definitions that has always perplexed me is talent management. If I talk to a dozen people, I’ll get several different answers about what talent management is and its individual and its individual components.
Lisa Sterling, director of people engagement at Ultimate Software, brought the concept of talent management into focus for me during last week’s Connections 2012 conference. She defined talent management as the umbrella covering talent acquisition, on-boarding, performance management, compensation, succession planning and career development. More importantly, she defined it as a business process not an HR process….
Lisa puts it very succinctly. But can the epiphany discovered in high-tech be translated into the world of biopharma? Are the demographics of retirement as true here as in high-tech? How will the current underemployment of PhDs affect the future of biopharma companies? How will the underfunding of creativity affect talent management?
- How Social Tools Are Changing Performance Management (clixto7.com)
- HR Still Struggling to Be Strategic (ere.net)
- Succession Planning is so Boring! (hr.com)
Recruiters, like attorneys, can be very expensive if you don’t know exactly what you need from them. But you get much better results when you do.
1. Get a job description from each of the stakeholders: direct supervisor, department head, VP and even the co-workers or those who will be the new person’s direct reports
You need to be sure that all of these people have the same idea of what the new hire will do. If not, take the time now, before you spend any time or money on the search to make sure that they all agree on the basics. Also make sure that this is really only one job and not three. A recruiter can and will do this for you if there needs to be an external consultant to get everyone on the same page.
2. Find out what 5 things your hiring manager(s) will want the new hire to accomplish in the next 6 months.
These things will attract the right people and, hopefully, discourage the people who are not qualified. People today want to know that they can do what you most need to have done and that they will learn something in the process.
3. Use your social network to see if you already know or are connected to the person you need to hire.
LinkedIn is certainly one go-to spot, but there are many others. Are all of your top performers on LinkedIn? Are you Linked to each of them? Are you a member of the appropriate LinkedIn groups for your industry and for the kind of person that you need?
You can do the same in Facebook, Viadeo, Spoke, etc.
4. Ask your top performers who they know who can do this job.
Employee referral programs are at least as effective as job postings in filling a job. The danger here is getting a group that is too homogeneous and that you will lose the creativity of diversity.
5. Post the job and see what you get.
Only about 10% of jobs are filled through postings and you always get huge numbers of “What were they thinking when they applied?” applications and resumes. Sort through them and make sure the ones you pick meet the requirements in the job description.
If you can find the right person with all of this, great! If not, or if you need a more confidential search, then now is the time to hire a recruiter.
A good recruiter will need the top two items and there is no point in hiring one if you can get the right person from the next three. But, if you are running out of time and still have not found your new hire, you may want to hire a search services professional to cast a broader net or sort through that stack of resumes. Contract recruiters are one option, virtual and unbundled search services consultants are another. I’ll do another post about the similarities and differences in another post.
What do you do when the hiring manager comes to you and says: “We need an X as soon as possible!!!”? I’d love to hear your stories!
- What can you expect from a full retained search firm? (sfbaybiorecruiter.wordpress.com)
An EVP is an Employee Value Proposition. This is the reason that someone would choose to work for you, keep working for you, be motivated and stay engaged. Adrienne Fox wrote “Make a ‘Deal’” in the January 2012 issue of HR Magazine about just this concept.
Adrienne talks about an articulated, well-thought-out, employee value proposition which is consistent with the business strategy and practices and how well it correlates with financial performance and recognition as a “great place to work”. An EVP describes the “give and get” between the company and the employee from both sides of the equations. A good employee value proposition defines what is great about your company and, while it should be used in your employment branding and recruitment, it really defines and builds your “corporate culture” – the “deal” you have with your employees and which they have with you. She quotes Jason Jeffay, Mercer’s global leader of talent management in Atlanta who says that your EVP won’t need to change if it is “aligned, authentic and aspirational”.
What struck me, as a recruiter, is how this is what I need to know in order to attract and “sell” the best candidates on your critical open positions. Even with so many people out of work, the best and brightest are usually employed and not looking, or they are “picky” about the companies they want to work for. I find this especially in the life sciences/biopharma space. The added factor is the science and how open the company is to fostering learning and development.
She also quoted a study that asked both the senior management and the rank and file employees if the companies they worked in had a formal employee value proposition. Guess what! The senior management said no or that it was informal, but the individual contributors said yes and quite formalized.
Do you know what your EVP is? Do your employees?