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5 Keys to Building A High Performing Team

The success or failure of every business depends greatly upon 2 factors:

  1. The product or service the business provides
  2. The team that provide the product or service.

But that’s not news to anyone. For years, CEOs, consultants, and HR managers have stressed the importance of building a strong team. 

While most people understand the importance of building great teams and how it impacts their bottom line, the process to do that seems to elude many. 

Here are five factors that can make or break a team, and what you can do to improve each one. 

Roles and Responsibility

When roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, each team member knows how they contribute. They understand their own value and can value the contribution of team members fulfilling other roles. 

If your team is struggling to understand their roles and responsibilities, a team conversation can help everyone gain clarity. 

During the meeting, identify the top 3-5 things that each member of the team is responsible for. Explain why each of these responsibilities is important.

Your team needs to understand how their roles fit together, and how their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks aid their team members and the company at large. 

When employees see the big picture, they work more seamlessly as a team. 

Purpose

One consistent issue found in underperforming teams is a disconnect in the strategic plan and an understanding of its impact on the organization. If your team does not understand how their contribution helps to progress the overall mission of the company, they may begin to feel as if they are simply going through the motions. At that point, team members may complete their necessary requirements, but will seldom go above and beyond for the team.

Take a step back and ask, “What is the purpose?”

What value does the team add to the organization? How can you communicate that value in a unifying message? What is the purpose of each team member? How do their goals, values, and development plan align with the overall mission of the organization?

As a leader, answering and understanding these questions can drastically shift the mindset and performance of your team, but only if it is communicated properly. Which brings us to the third component of high performing teams.

High-Performance Coaches

The leaders of your team are also the coaches. It is their responsibility to promote, develop, and reinforce positive performance. 

Align the purpose of the team and each member with the vision and goals of the organization. 

Coaches also directly intervene to implement positive teamwork processes and provide pertinent team updates.

If your team has been failing to perform at their highest potential, it may be a lack of sufficient coaching that is hindering the team.  

Trust and Familiarity

Managing a team that lacks trust in one another isn’t managing a team at all. It is managing a group of individuals, working on the same projects, often delivering mediocre results.

When team members are confident that they can trust and count on one another, morale and productivity increases.

Facilitating trust among team members begins with managing the workplace culture. In a positive culture, each team member is viewed as a valued asset. Infighting and gossip should be stopped before it gets out of hand. This can be controlled by establishing an open-door policy and creating peer mediation groups if necessary.

Team Norms

Norms are the set of unspoken rules that govern how people interact with one another. In personal relationships and interaction, it is common for these rules to remain unspoken but understood. In professional settings where multiple people work together, it may become necessary to discuss and agree on these rules with your team. 

This type of discussion should be had organically rather than a scheduled meeting. As a leader, you should ask team members to openly discuss how they feel about the interactions of a team. 

Prompt the team members with questions such as “Think of the worst team you have ever worked with and why the team was hard to work?” Also, ask team members to share their best experiences working with a team. 

This will open up a group discussion around the subject of what makes for good team experiences and what makes for bad ones. Keep track of any suggestions that your team makes during this discussion and help members clarify their expectations to one another. 

 

All of these crucial factors for establishing a high-performing team should be revisited often. Consistently reviewing these factors can help to keep your team performing at their highest potential.

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4 Recruiting Tips You Should Know

Recruiting the right people for your company is not a simple task. Finding the best possible fit for your company is not just a challenge, but a tremendous opportunity. To help streamline the process, we’ve put together a list of 4 recruiting tips. 

Consider In-House Candidates

When looking for someone to fill an open position, first consider any in-house potentials. This is a great way to provide an opportunity for promotion to your current employees. Plus, no one knows the goals and needs of your business better than your employees. Allow employees the chance to interview for the position. At the very least, it is an opportunity for you to get to know them better. This initiative will also boost company morale. 

Prioritize the Interview Experience

There are plenty of reasons why you should prioritize every candidate’s interview experience. For starters, you want your organization to maintain a positive reputation within your industry. Remember, this is the first experience the candidate will have with your organization. If done correctly, candidates see that your organization cares for its people as well as its potential employees. This is a powerful message to get across. This will also show your candidate how important a welcoming office culture is to your company. If you implement a positive interview experience, even candidates who are not chosen will have great things to say. The last thing you want to do is have a candidate leave with a negative outlook on your company. Regardless of pay or benefits, if you fail to treat a candidate with the same respect as you would an employee, you’re harming your company’s reputation. 

To ensure you are providing a quality candidate interview experience, review this checklist:

  • Provide an accurate description of the job before the interview
  • Arrive on time
  • Be prepared
  • Provide a proper introduction
  • Allow time for feedback
  • Thank the candidate for their time
  • Provide next step information

Require Relevant Assessments

Although you can use a resume to view a candidate’s skills, why not put them to the test? Have your candidates complete relevant tests or assessments before an interview. If you want to be certain your candidate has the necessary skills, ask them to complete the assessment at your office or online. Tests could be written or verbal. Be sure you provide clear instructions and indicate time expectations. There are a number of assessments currently used as a part of the employment process. Predictive Index (PI) is one example.

Value Time

Lastly, value your time as well as the applicant’s time. The recruitment process is a lengthy one. During the hiring process, check your emails or applicant tracking system for applications daily. You don’t’ want to take too long to let an applicant know you are interested. You also don’t want to wait too long to inform an applicant if you have chosen another candidate. 

Remember that competition for the best candidates is intense especially when unemployment rates are low. Every company has the same goal, to recruit the best talent available. Set yourself apart from your competition by following these recruiting tips. If you have any further questions about the recruiting process or need help assessing your current process, contact us today. 

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Common HR Mistakes to Avoid

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, especially in the workplace. However, HR mistakes can create major headaches. The HR department has several responsibilities to take care of to protect the company as well as its employees. While mistakes are inevitable, it is crucial for you to be aware of potential mistakes.

Poor Hiring Practices

Hiring is an essential part of a company’s success. The hiring process is long, complicated, and costly. Ensuring you put the right person in the right position can make or break your company. Be patient and make sure the person you hire is the best fit for the position. Keep in mind that interviewees are reviewing your company just as much as your company is reviewing them.

Lack of Onboarding Process

Make sure you dedicate time to your new employees. They need time to adjust and understand exactly how your company works. When there is not a set onboarding process new employees will never learn the ropes. This can cause both the employer’s expectations and the employee’s job satisfaction to not be met. Spend time welcoming and training your new hires.

Incomplete Employee Files

Part of avoiding HR mistakes includes keeping an updated record of employee documents regarding their work histories. Make sure you keep their personal documents in a separate folder from the work files because they contain private information that is not related to managing employee performance. Another common mistake HR managers make is not filing all valid forms that verify employee’s work eligibility and employee identity based on federal and state rules. 

Failure to Document Performance Issues

Don’t let performance issues go undocumented, this is how you avoid a lawsuit. HR managers should give employees time to improve their performance by bringing the issues to their attention during check-in meetings. These meetings should also be documented. When employees are let go it is crucial the HR managers have documentation of the lack of change and reason for termination.

An Outdated or Non-Existent Employee Handbook

Every business needs to have an updated handbook full of work policies. The HR department should be in charge of making regular updates to this handbook. Any policy changes must be communicated to employees regularly. Don’t go more than two years without updating your handbooks. Be sure to have your employees read and sign to confirm they acknowledge the information. A typical employee handbook includes compensation and benefits, code of conduct, nondiscrimination policies, employee guidelines and termination, and communication policies.

Lack of Training

If your business isn’t investing in employee training, you are one step behind. Providing employees with training opportunities allows them to increase their skills in their area of specialization. HR departments are not just supposed to train new hires but continue to ensure professional training for existing employees. This also helps your employees see their value to the company and increase their work performance. Regular performance reviews are necessary to ensure that the skills and growth opportunities are reflected in employees’ reports. 

If your HR managers are correctly doing their job, your employees will do the same. If you have questions or concerns about the role of HR or the consequences of a mistake, contact us today. We will work with your management team to get things back on track and ensure things are done correctly the first time.

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From Day 1 – How To Help A New Employee Adjust

As an employer, it’s important to capitalize on this opportunity to make new employees feel welcome, comfortable and included as a part of the team. Unfortunately, many companies neglect the employee onboarding experience, which can be a factor contributing to high turnover rates especially within the first few months of employment.  A well organized and structured onboarding experience can make a huge difference in creating the positive experiences needed to support quicker acclimation and increased retention.

As an employer, it’s your job to capitalize on this opportunity that only comes once during your employer-employee relationship, and make them feel welcome, comfortable, and included in their new environment. Many companies neglect this step of the employee onboarding experience, which plays a factor in the high rate of turnover from employees within their first six months of starting a job.  A well-performed onboarding experience can make a huge difference when bringing a new employee up to full productivity, and a positive experience on their first day will help keep them around for the long-term.

Prepare for their arrival beforehand.

Employee onboarding doesn’t begin on an employee’s first day – it begins the second they accept the job. Make sure they have a clean, fully-stocked workspace that provides everything they’ll need for the first day, including a desk, supplies, a company computer, and usernames and passwords. They will have a lot on their mind on the first day – make sure they don’t have to scramble or wait for basic necessities on top of it all.

You’ll also benefit from helping your hire prepare mentally. Prepare the newest member of your team by providing them with materials that help acquaint them with the company culture and get them to look forward to their first day. For example, show them videos of one of your favorite team-building activities. Send them information about the interesting perks provided inside the office.

Introduce them to the team.

Social barriers are the biggest obstacle a new hire will face when starting life with a new company. It’s natural for humans to observe their peers before engaging in social behavior, so don’t be surprised when your newest talent seems quiet at company meetings. Help them overcome their initial social anxiety by introducing them to the team, and letting them know that their input is welcome and encouraged. The quicker a new employee becomes acquainted with their peers and the expectations of the company, the quicker they’ll feel comfortable with providing you with the insight you hired them to give.

Don’t lose them in the “noise” on their first day.

As a business owner or hiring manager, you undoubtedly have a great deal of responsibility, as well as day to day competing priorities. A routine Monday can quickly turn into a pivotal moment for your business, and it’s normal for your otherwise open schedule to quickly fill with short-notice meetings or business emergencies.  You must account for this when planning your new employee’s first day.

First, be ready to greet them at the door when they first show up. Make sure your morning is clear enough to make an un-rushed introduction to the team, and provide a tour of the office. Don’t let an unexpected email or phone call derail you from giving them a warm, genuine welcome. If your attention is diverted or unfocused, you risk making your new talent feel unimportant or uninteresting. Once you’ve ensured they have everything they need to begin their work, check in with them throughout the day to see how they’re feeling. Show them that you’re a supervisor who cares.

Invest in your long-term relationship.

Onboarding is a process that doesn’t take place overnight. Make a good impression on their first day, and continue building on that relationship over time. Keep in regular contact with them to gauge their workplace satisfaction. If your workforce is larger and it’s not feasible for you to keep tabs on all of your hires personally, assign them a mentor to help them adjust to their new job. Starters tend to feel the need to overproduce and overwork to “prove” themselves to you. Having a more experienced peer close at hand can have a relieving effect on the stressed newcomer.

 

In conclusion, the first day can be a major source of stress for everyone involved – the new employee, managers, and even coworkers – but this doesn’t mean it has to be. Put in the work necessary to produce a positive experience for a new worker’s first day, and you’ll enjoy a much smoother onboarding experience as a whole.

As with everything in business, the “first day” onboarding experience is made more efficient with clearly-defined company processes. If you need help creating yours, get in touch with us here for a free first consultation.

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5 Tips For Writing The Best Resume With The Fewest Words

Whether you’re drafting a new resume or changing an old one, it might be tempting to write a resume that could be mistaken for a small novel. After all, this is an important document meant to list your achievements, work experiences and educational background. Shouldn’t that list be long? A document that proclaims your talents and accomplishments should not make a hefty thumping sound when it’s placed on your prospective employer’s desk!

However, depending on your career and the job for which you’re applying, a long resume could damage your chances of being hired. It’s important to keep your resume concise by including only the information relevant to promoting  yourself for the position. If you find your resume is filled with “fluff,” or information that serves no purpose other than to pad out the length of your resume, apply some of these helpful tips to hone your message and showcase your talents in a professional, to-the-point manner.

Make sure your resume passes the “skim test.”

Hiring managers review a lot of resumes. For any single position, based on the amount of public interest, he or she might read dozens or even hundreds of resumes. As a time-saving measure, most managers will first skim over your qualifications just to ensure they don’t waste time reading a verbose essay by someone who doesn’t even meet the job’s basic requirements. Because of this, your resume needs to be easy to skim through.

Take a copy of your resume and quickly scan over it. If someone were to only take a few seconds to read over it, would they know the most important things about you? Make sure that any qualifications that you think are especially important stand out on paper. Bold or otherwise set apart your skills and experiences that are listed as essential to the position. Further, you should write your introduction like it’s the only thing they’ll ever read. Ensure that it gives your “elevator pitch” and provides a clear picture of your abilities in a few sentences.

Keep it current.

As you continue to progress down your career path, you’ll find that employers care far less about what you were doing two decades ago than what you were doing in the past few years. You’ll often find that your earliest endeavors aren’t in line with what you’re actively pursuing today. If older positions don’t contribute to the job you’re currently seeking, leave them off the resume. Remember by eliminating irrelevant or unnecessary information, your most important qualifications become more visible.

Make updates to your resume that are specific to the job you’re seeking.

Even if you’re looking for a limited range of positions with relatively similar job duties, each hiring manager may be  looking for different characteristics, certifications, and experiences. Pay close attention to the jobs you’re applying for, and tailor your resume specifically to that position.

Does one employer seem more concerned about qualifications in technology? If so, draw more attention to the software and hardware you’re familiar with. Does one hiring manager value experience from one of your past jobs more than another? Flesh out your job description for the valuable experience, and consider minimizing or eliminating details about the less applicable job. Each employer will be looking for something different, so be sure to identify their biggest needs or concerns and address them with extra emphasis in your resume.

Eliminate unnecessary educational credentials.

It might make you feel nostalgic to include your graduating high school class on your resume, but do yourself a favor by keeping that in the past. It should go without saying that hiring managers care more about your work and professional experience than the activities you were involved with in high school. Unless an achievement propelled you toward your current goal or you are entering the work world directly from high school, the high school information is not needed.  If you have attained a degree that’s relevant to the position you’re seeking, include it by all means but be targeted in what educational credentials you list.

Be readable, not pretentious.

If you use big words to impress your potential employers, you’re more likely to give them a headache than a good impression. Again, this comes down to the fact that many hiring managers have a stack of resumes that reaches the ceiling. If your writing is bloated with esoteric industry terminology, unwieldy passive language (“this duty was handled by me”), or your resume otherwise looks like it was written with the aid of a thesaurus, consider simplifying or eliminating the content in question. Focus on the main objective of your resume, which is to present your qualifications as clearly as possible, not prove to your future boss that your minor in English is useful.

To recap, it’s not so much the actual length of a resume that determines its effectiveness, but the actual content. If you’re applying for a particularly ambitious post that’s the culmination of years of hard work, it may be necessary for you to write a 3-page resume if that’s what’s required to provide the full picture. However, for most applicants, less is more. Clarity is perhaps the most important quality of a successful resume, and it can only be achieved by focusing on selling yourself for the position and nothing else.

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Is “Do-It-Yourself” HR Really Worth It?

If you have or you’re starting your own business, it may be tempting to wear as many hats as possible to keep initial costs down, including a Human Resources hat. However, by doing this, you are missing out on the many benefits a human resources professional can add to your company.

If you’re trying to manage HR on your own, it’s important to understand what an HR specialist actually does. They are more than paper-pushers—they are very often strategists who impact the bottom line as well as promoters of people within the organization. When it comes to employment laws, staffing issues, accessing the latest in HR technology and innovation, and other HR-related issues, you’re going to wish you had an expert to guide you.

It may not make fiscal sense to you right now, but hiring an HR consultant will save you time—and money— in the long run. Here are a few more reasons you should get some help in your HR department:

You need help to recruiting top talent.
If there’s one thing you want, it’s probably highly-qualified employees. Developing a targeted strategy to find and attract these individuals can take a lot of time and effort. By using the services of a dedicated HR specialist, you can hand off this responsibility to a professional with the time and skills necessary to finding the ideal individuals for your business.

You want help with building “open door” communication processes.
It’s important to have someone in place to bridge communication gaps between company management and employees. Your employees need someone to turn to in order to voice frustrations with the company and report any wrongdoings. A lack of human resources help or a process in place to effectively communicate change, listen to concerns or establish basic work protocols can result in unhappy employees, which will most likely result in a drop in productivity, higher attrition rates and an impact to company revenue.

You need time to focus elsewhere.
As an executive or business owner, your time and effort is more than likely stretched across different departments. A quality HR representative can relieve you from the stress of HR responsibilities. He or she can reduce the amount of paperwork on your desk, develop essential processes to streamline employee issues, train and develop employees thus allowing you to devote your time to other key business priorities.

You plan on having more than 50 employees in the future.
We’re sure one of your goals is to grow your company, and you can’t do this without employees. If you already have, or are planning on having more than 50 employees, it’s absolutely essential for you to have HR guidance. Once your company hits that magic number, laws and regulations like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act kick in. It will be a relief to know you have an expert who can help you navigate these often complex legal matters.

If you’re a business owner, manager, or executive who often finds yourself doubling as an HR manager, seek out the services of a dedicated Human Resources consultant. Outsourcing your HR demands can lessen your workload and improve employer-employee interactions. Here at Cisso Bean and Dutch, we’d love to help you make more time for your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Sources

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-not-having-human-resources-18696.html

https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-signs-that-you-should-hire-an-hr-person.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/03/25/five-reasons-its-time-to-hire-an-hr-professional/#501fdc8275e5

https://workology.com/the-top-five-signs-you-need-an-hr-person/

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Why You Need A Mentoring Program

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.”
– Live and Learn and Pass It On: People Ages 5 to 95, H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, astronaut John Glen, Oprah Winfrey, and designer Yves St. Laurent have one thing in common: they all had mentors!

A mentoring program is the most direct way for experienced professionals to “throw back” their years of wisdom and knowledge to future, upcoming talent.

Some mentoring programs are informal in nature and others are more structured, but the components for all types are the same: to provide the opportunity for beneficial interactions of shared experiences and life’s lessons learned from the mentor to the mentee.

For the last several years, I have had the opportunity to serve through Auburn University’s AMPD Board as a mentor for students preparing to enter the job market. Most conversations have centered around building a great resume, marketing yourself, searching for jobs, transitioning from college to the working world, and preparing for job interviews.

However, some of the more meaningful conversations were those centered around time management and building leadership skills during college. During these conversations, I am often asked questions like, “What were your plans when you graduated from college?” and “Are you where you thought you would be?” You won’t find the answers to these questions in a textbook, showing again the immense value of a mentoring relationship.

Keep in mind that a mentoring relationship not only benefits the mentee but the mentor as well. Establishing a mentoring program could make your millennial employees stay longer with your company, decreasing your turnover rate. But don’t take my word for it.

According to Forbes and a study conducted by Deloitte, millennials planning to stay with their employer for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%). Contrast that with this stat: 66% of millennials expect to leave their current job in five years or less. Eighty-one percent of them are happy with their mentor. Among millennials planning to leave their employer within two years, only 61% were happy with the mentoring they received.

There are many different types of mentoring relationships. I encourage you to explore and figure out what works best for you, your company, and your employees. It’ll take some work, but it’s well worth the investment.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2017/01/27/make-2017-the-year-to-get-serious-about-mentoring/#13c3c8bbcea4

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf

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Talent Today and Tomorrow

2017 SHRM Talent Management Conference & Exposition

At the end of this year’s SHRM Talent Management Conference in Chicago, Illinois, there was no doubt in my mind that I would register for the upcoming 2018 conference which will be held in Las Vegas in Spring. Being in Human Resources leadership for much of my professional career, it is never easy to break away to attend conferences especially when the “day to day” responsibilities do not slow down and they definitely don’t stop. However, nothing takes the place of interacting with colleagues and industry experts who are experiencing the same challenges that you are. In addition, learning about emerging trends and issues and sharing best practices make these types of conference even more important.

There were three key general sessions this year which featured Molly Fletcher, Sports Agent, CEO and Author of A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; David Novak, Executive Chairman of Yum! Brands, Inc.; and, Frans Johansson, Innovation Expert and Author of The Medici Effect and The Click Moment (I bought both of these books as the presenter was excellent).

I attended several concurrent sessions (too many to highlight) but I especially appreciated the presentations by Shaunda Zilich, Global Employment Brand Leader at GE who presented The Changing Nature of Recruiting; Things are not how they appear” and Kris Dunn, Chief People Officer at Kinetix who presented “Seven Ways Recruiters Can Deal More Effectively with Difficult Hiring Managers. Both were great. Hope to see HR industry colleagues during the 2018 Conference in Las Vegas!