Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!

Step 1 of 4: High Performance Teams

Farmer plowing in Fahrenwalde, Mecklenburg-Vor...

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Make recruiting a process that is structure and tracked

What would you think of a farmer who decided to skip all the plowing and sowing and jump right into harvesting?   You’d think the farmer was deluded and crazy?  How can a crop be harvested if the seeds were never sown?  How can crops grow if the soil isn’t plowed and watered?  It would be insanity to think a farmer could go straight to harvest without doing all the things necessary to cultivate their crop.

This is how many organizations approach recruiting.  They have a critical opening and suddenly they want to harvest top talent.  Like the farmer they too need to cultivate the talent pool and sow their employment brand long before they start to harvest.  This means that recruiting has to be a process that is incorporated into the overall company culture .  It has to be an ongoing activity that is measured and tuned.

Here are some simple ways high performing organizations sow seeds and cultivate a healthy crop of top talent:

  • Promote their company as a highly desired place to work
  • Create relationships with potential employees as early as high school
  • Advertise their jobs to attract top talent rather than screen out applicants
  • Profile key jobs
  • Establish an ongoing relationship with a niche search firm

Of course, there are variables specific to every organization.  But the faster companies begin to cultivate their talent pool, the faster they’ll have the right people to hire.

 

Four Easy Steps to High Performance Teams

Now that football season is underway we will be hearing a lot about high performance teams.  The time, resources, expense, stress, planning, and practice that NFL teams use to build a winning season is frankly amazing.  Millions of dollars are on the line.  Jobs are on the line.  The health of some of the most physically fit athletes in the world is on the line.  Teams go to great effort to build a high performance unit to take them to the “big show”.

Businesses have no less at risk than NFL franchises.  They might not have the same players or the same resources, but they have to build high performance teams.  Fortunately you don’t need the resources of an NFL organization!  Here are four easy steps any company can take to get huge pay-offs from their corporate team.

1) Make recruiting a process that is structure and tracked.

2) Be extremely selective with who you hire.

3) Align training with business priorities and coming trends.

4) Give employees a career instead of a job.

Over the next several weeks I’ll expand on each of these steps.  In the meantime, start examining the way you attract employees and how you can improve that process. That alone might get you to the playoffs!

Hot in the Shade

Have you ever experienced a day of 115 degree temperatures?  That’s how I spend the past weekend while at a national lacrosse tournament in Towson, MD.  The combined heat and humidity created a heat index in excess of 115 degrees!  To say it was miserable would be an understatement.  It’s a wonder more players didn’t collapse on the field.

The experience taught me two things; 1) the human body’s ability to produce perspiration is endless and, 2) no matter how many tents, shade trees, umbrellas, misters, etc…. you can’t escape that kind of heat!  As the day wore on the heat began to impact the quality of play on the field.  Players started to make decisions out of expedience and fatigue rather than skill and experience.

This is also how a lot of hiring managers approach their open positions.  The heat of the open seat becomes so hot that they make poor decisions.  If their bench strength is shallow or if they don’t practice the habit of always looking for top talent, the heat will beat them down.  The hotter it gets the more likely they will compromise their judgment and instinct.   This is exactly how “miss-hires” happen.  The overheated urgency to find a body, anybody, causes short circuits in the hiring process.

Managers can provide some always present shade when they approach recruiting as a process and not as an event.  This is especially important today as the search, and need, for top talent is getting hotter.  Managers who have a system to constantly identify and attract top talent will avoid the oppressive heat caused by open seats.