Monthly Archives

March 2017

Employees aren’t mind readers – 6 tips for early performance intervention

By | Recruitment, Retention

ic-stock-image-432176378245429887_7392189-300x300A prospective new client told me last week that they may need our services as the person they have recently hired is a “dud” and they may need to let him go. This jolted my curiosity, as after 6 weeks in the role it sounded like they had already made their decision. This must be major. What had he done? Stolen the petty cash, spoken inappropriately to other staff, upset a client, given a false referee?

There were lots of wishy washy comments about him not being ‘strategic’, delivering a report that wasn’t up to standard, he was keeping very much to himself and overall “just not fitting in”. In all honesty, it was a verbal dump – the client was clearly letting off steam and venting frustration because they thought they had hired a star and where was the star performance they expected?

The realist in me kicked in – it’s been 6 weeks! It takes time to learn a new way of doing things. It takes time to get to know people. It takes time to build confidence in a new environment and depending on people’s personalities, it can appear to take even longer. But more than this, it takes a good leader to communicate expectations and give effective feedback.

“So how did he respond when you gave him this feedback?” I enquired, “is he willing to change his behaviour?”. This was received with more woffle and side stepping explaining that he hasn’t had a formal review as yet and what’s the point, we can see that it isn’t working! Agghh! People are not mind readers. People don’t know what you are thinking or feeling, unless you tell him! Bitching and whinging about what you are not getting is not going to change their behaviour or improve their performance. The only chance you have to improve performance is by giving feedback.

In this case, the client appeared resistant to give this feedback, as a lot of people don’t like giving bad news, especially to a new recruit. The flip side of this is actually a worse problem – having to let someone go, telling the team, the impact on morale, the headache of having to re-recruit, the time and emotional investment … the list goes on and on. Instead, having a 20-minute conversation discussing expectations and progress could turn the whole situation around. Imagine feeling clear, delighted and that you are both on the same page after all.

Quick tips for early performance intervention:

  1. Set a regular meeting to review expectations and performance
  2. Give specific examples where behaviour isn’t where you want it to be and be clear about how it needs to look next time
  3. Give specific examples of where things are going well
  4. Ask the employee how they think they are going?
  5. Agree to required actions to review at next meeting
  6. Ask the employee what is their understanding of what is now required (this is a communication check to ensure you have been clear in your expectations)

I rang the client today to see if he needed my services to replace his ‘dud’. Funny thing is that after having a chat, it seems that things are better and he might just work out after all……

Are you worried about someone’s performance? Are you feeling frustrated a leader isn’t delivering to your expectations? Ask yourself, when was the last time you ‘checked in’ and clarified your expectations and gave specific feedback?

 

Recruiting an Executive? Don’t make this mistake

By | Executive Search, Recruitment

Are you about to recruit your next Executive? Don’t make this mistake when outsourcing to an external Consultant or Recruiter. There are a number of key factors to ensure the role is filled with the best candidate from the market. How will you trust that your Consultant will find that needle in the haystack and the very best person available for your vacancy?

There are a number of key factors that clients should consider such as:

  • Reputation / brand
  • Track record / expertise
  • Cost
  • Consultant relationship
  • Methodology / offering
  • Value-added services

What sets Consultants apart is not the shiny brand or website, not the long list of placements, or the most competitive bid. The real difference is the Consultant’s ability to manage, negotiate and consult through what is a very emotional, intuitive and onerous process. A Consultant’s ability to read people, situations and solutions is paramount. This becomes even more crucial when conducting executive search. Your Consultant needs to know when to push you and your board to move faster, to make a decision, to challenge your thinking, question your assumptions and ensure you have your eyes wide open to all the positives, as well as development areas or concerns.

On the candidate side, the consultant has the responsibility to build a relationship, get inside their head, know what makes them tick, know when they are holding back, know when to put pressure on, when to take pressure off and ultimately how to manoeuvre the candidate through what can become a competitive bid process.

This was the case I heard this week.  A friend of mine was going through two different recruitment processes for two different roles. They were neck and neck in terms of his level of interest and in terms of where they were both at in the process – both second interview with each respective panel. He was equally interested. He was equally committed. What got him over the line? The relationship with his Consultant and their ability to move fast and to run a true executive process, rather than a transaction-based recruitment process. There were phone calls, consultation, probing questions, availability and check ins over the weekend (both Saturday and Sunday), which resulted him taking that job at 9am on the Monday.

The other firm was rushing at the final hour with final reference checks and testing, then knocking off at 5pm Friday and said “talk to you again on Monday”.  While they were enjoying their weekend, the other Executive Consultant was doing the deal – keeping the board and their candidate informed to enable them to have a signed contract on Monday morning.

There is a difference between executive search and contingent or main-stream traditional recruitment. It doesn’t only lie in the fees (which may seem an attractive proposition when comparing proposals), it lies in the firm’s ability to run an executive search process that goes far beyond ‘filling a job’.

In the highly skilled area of executive search, you don’t often see what goes beyond the fine print of the proposal: it’s the nuts and bolts, it’s the people skills, it’s a Consultant’s ability to earn trust and go beyond the shiny, slick proposal with pages of placement history, to embody warmth, trust and competence to negotiate the finer points that will ultimately result in a win for all parties involved.

How will you choose your next Consultant?