Recruit and Retain Talent
Is Our Culture Off Track?
What are the signs of a workplace culture in need of shifting? Are you noticing a disconnect between what leaders are trying to accomplish and what employees are internalizing? We recommend 6 actions to stop doing and 6 actions to start doing to positively accelerate your culture.
Are We Over-Generalizing the Term Micromanagement?
When we think of micromanaging, it typically has a negative connotation. But the reality is, extra supervision and coaching are sometimes necessary before some individuals are ready to leave the nest. What can leaders do to help employees feel supported, rather than micromanaged?
Find the right candidate in a remote environment
You're ready to start talking to candidates for your open position, but it's got to happen virtually. What does it take to create a successful virtual interview process that leaves candidates and team members feeling positive about the experience?
Develop a Personalized Onboarding Agenda for New Hires
As new employees join our organization, it’s helpful to develop a personalized onboarding schedule for their first few weeks on the job. A comprehensive onboarding experience prepares the new employee thoroughly for their new role.
Invest in an Onboarding Experience
You’ve examined the resumes, conducted the interviews, and selected the most talented individuals to add to your team. When their first day arrives, how can you ensure an onboarding process that will be supportive, engaging, and reflective of your organization’s culture and values is in place?
Let Service Standards Lead the Way
In this video, Dan explains how his human resources and leadership teams use their standards of service in their hiring and evaluations. When we use the standards of service excellence to evaluate potential candidates, we are more likely to hire a person aligned with our culture and committed to our values.
Be the Organization Individuals Want to Work for
Organizations that are known for being "Best Places to Work" benefit from their reputation with higher quality candidates and better retention of high performing employees. Great workplaces aren't built with flashy benefits, they are cultures of collaboration around a meaningful mission able to engage and inspire employees.
What Makes Employees Shine?
When we establish recognition systems in our organizations or on our teams, we focus on employees by understanding what makes them shine and what keeps them engaged. A culture of recognition is powerful and contagious. What can you do to incorporate recognition as a habit for your team?
Address Employee Needs & Ideas
When an employee reveals a needed resource, barrier to a process, or an idea for improvement, leaders have the responsibility to act on that information. Following-up and following-through after conversations or receiving feedback from employees builds trust and increases engagement and productivity. For this leadership challenge, determine follow-up actions to take as the leader after each leader connection scenario.
Connections Require Follow-Up
Scheduling and conducting monthly connection conversations with employees is a giant step towards increasing engagement on your team. Just as important as the conversations you’re having, is what you do with the information you collect. How can we ensure employees know they’re supported?
Are Your Employees Excited to Get to Work?
Disengaged employees cost the American economy billions per year in lost productivity. Employees can become disengaged when they're made to feel like they're not listened too, valued, or appreciated. To keep people engaged, leaders must remind them of the meaningful outcomes they help to create.
Is Your Team Engaged?
Sustaining high levels of employee engagement can be achieved by building relationships, affirming the individual’s value, removing barriers, and providing development and growth opportunities to employees. Use the following questions to analyze the employee experience for your team.
Engage Teams While Improving Processes
One of a leader’s greatest responsibilities is to ensure teams are engaged and productive. People are motivated to increase productivity when leaders take time to get to know them personally, make them feel comfortable, and help remove barriers in the workplace.
What makes you happy?
Most employees start work with passion, excitement, and willingness to take on new challenges. Over time, some employees may find themselves in a rut, dreading going to work each day. As leaders, it’s critical to work with employees to link their job roles with the mission of the organization and their internal passions.
Become A Lighthouse for New Leaders
As you notice employees who are committed to your team, it's important to think about the future of the organization. Do you foresee any open leadership positions? How can you help develop the skills your aspiring leaders possess to fill any upcoming voids in the organization?
Do You Know Who Your High Performers Are?
Identifying the performance levels our team members allows us to tailor our support specifically for them. The differences between high performers and low performers may seem simple, but it's possible that some low performers on your team are disguised as high performing individuals. How can you tell?
How Do We Really Know They're on Board?
All team members crave alignment to the overall direction of the organization to accelerate performance. People are counting on leaders to model the right behaviors, including the organization's most senior leader. It's the responsibility of this senior leader to engage employees, by keeping all of the executive leaders aligned to the goals, and to address any behavior that may be out of line.
Is the manager the problem?
A bad manager can leave talented employees dreading work and using company time to look for employment elsewhere. Identifying managers who aren't aligned to the organization's goals and providing them with additional support can save your organization's hardest working employees from working for your competitors. Employee engagement starts with the leadership team.
How do I connect with employees?
Leader connections provide employees with opportunities to give feedback and contribute to decision-making. In this video, one Human Resources employee catches her leader up on process improvements, professional development, and a colleague who has been especially helpful.
Build positive and productive thinking
The way leaders construct questions will either open or narrow minds. To get more of what we want out of our teams and increase positive outcomes, it is important for leaders to ask questions that encourage high levels of reflection and creative thinking.
How do you move an elephant?
Building connections with the work and people in an organization inspires team members to achieve the mission. An effective approach to guiding behavior and building meaningful connections is to recognize individuals for displaying the characteristics and actions that will move the team to success.
People appreciate being appreciated
Any organization committed to recruiting and retaining top talent must learn the art of appreciating that talent. Top companies realize this, so it's no surprise that employee recognition programs are quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of talent management.
What is the ideal praise to criticism ratio?
Only positive feedback can motivate people to continue doing what they’re doing well, and do it with more vigor, determination, and creativity. This article cites several studies about the need to provide a greater amount of positive feedback to offset criticism.
Accountability starts with knowing staff levels
Conducting performance conversations forces leaders to think through the performance of each team member. In this video, Superintendent Shelly Mize explains how the performance conversation process has helped her organization differentiate staff performance and apply appropriate support.
Why do I need to know staff performance levels?
Providing feedback to appropriately support varying performance levels requires assessment of employee performance. Placement on a performance curve helps a leader consider the different levels of staff performance and the type of performance conversation needed to guide improvement.
How do I manage employee non-compliance?
Conversations with employees about lack of compliance require a specific leadership skill set. Developing skill in having non-compliance conversations is key to effective leadership. Addressing issues of employee "will” and “skill” helps achieve organizational results.
Keep standards at the forefront
While the ultimate goal is for standards of service excellence to walk the halls and not just live on the walls, visually displaying standards builds awareness of what is expected. This example from the School District of Menomonee Falls is a visual representation found in every building and office. The image is also incorporated in slide decks for training sessions, district updates, and on the website.
Once is not enough.
A single communication of standards is not enough. Systematically keeping standards of service excellence at the forefront reinforces understanding and helps employees see how they impact the daily work. This email message is an example of an organization’s process for highlighting one standard each month and clearly connecting the behavior to the workplace.
Low-cost, high-impact gratitude.
Embedding gratitude into your daily work begins with intentionally noticing actions and behaviors that are aligned to the mission and values of your organization. In this article excerpt, Quint Studer discusses how thank you notes can help sustain operational excellence and explains how to hardwire the process.
The High-Stakes Impact of Failing to Re-recruit
The research from this educational context is certainly transferable to any sector. In this article, we learn how a simple question could have convinced an irreplaceable employee to stay. Top performers are more likely to stick with leaders who actively re-recruit them.
What do I say to my top performers?
A re-recruitment conversation is one of the easiest ways to retain a high-performing employee. The High Performer Re-recruitment Conversation Template guides leaders through the structure for this dialogue. During the conversation, this tool reminds you to tell them specific ways their contributions are valued.
High performers want conversation.
Re-recruitment of high performers requires intentional and thoughtful dialogue. Melissa Matarazzo leads a re-recruitment conversation with a high-performing employee, JoAnn Sternke. The conversation begins with gratitude and progresses to defining opportunities for advanced contributions.
Keep track of the good stuff.
Starting a meeting with a Manage Up and other wins is great way to build a positive culture. What if you can't remember if you already recognized the person at the last meeting? The Manage Up/Reward & Recognition Tracking Form helps leaders keep up with who is being recognized on the team and the good work being done.
Can I make people want to be better?
Managing Up is a behavior that is essential for reducing anxiety, building teamwork, and eliminating a culture of negative communication. The practice of managing up paints the receiver and sender of the positive communication in a positive light. It also encourages more of the right work and behaviors we want to see in our organization.
Communicate expectations and recognize good work.
How we communicate matters. Modeling positive and respectful communication sets the example and expectation for how to communicate and interact in our organization. When leaders model the way and manage up people and their specific actions, we communicate our expectations, while recognizing good work.
Track employee retention conversations.
The 30-Day and 90-Day Conversations reinforce that leaders are committed to retaining the new hire. These conversations build an engaged workforce culture and are most effective when incorporated as a step in the formal on-boarding process. The tracking form validates the employee-leader connection.
Reduce turn-over by asking the right questions.
Learning the culture of the organization and how to be a successful member of the culture can be a difficult path to navigate for new employees. The 30-Day and 90-Day Conversations help us build trust and develop a strong relationship with our new hires. Create consistency by following these general implementation guidelines.
"If I hadn't asked, I never would have known."
Having 30/90-day conversations with new employees is a practice that should consistently be carried out. These conversations are important for engaging the new hire. They are also valuable for you, as a leader, to gain a new perspective on your organization and make changes to better your organization.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 30 days
The 30-Day Conversation is an opportunity to give feedback and increases a new hire's success. These five questions inform areas where you might provide support and establishes a positive relationship with the new employee. The 30-Day Conversation sets the stage for on-going communication.
Questions to ask new employees after the first 90 days.
The 90-Day Conversation continues to build the relationship established during the 30-Day Conversation. These questions are designed to harvest wins and identify process improvement needs. Why not get recommendations from those doing well?
Key words for the critical first days of a new hire.
To build relationships, some of the best leaders intentionally make solid connections with their employees. This is especially important when employees start a new job. Effectively engage, recruit, and retain new-hires using 30 & 90-day conversations.
Are my meetings effective?
With the number of hours we spend in meetings, it's important to make sure the time is well spent. We have identified several key components for an effective meeting. The Effective Meeting Checklist & Reflection gives leaders an opportunity to validate the use of each component and overall use of time.
Getting value out of short, frequent meetings.
A huddle is a short meeting strategy designed to communicate essential information to support the team's productivity. A huddle meeting aligns teams around key strategies, outcomes, and key words for organizational messaging. Use this meeting agenda template to get the most out of your team huddle.
How can I make meetings more meaningful?
Experience and research tells us employees in all levels of an organization spend valuable time in unproductive meetings. We've developed several strategies to use prior to, during, and after meetings to improve the flow, increase the impact, and reduce wasted time.
Stop the Meeting Madness
We spend a lot of time in meetings. In fact, our research has found that some of us spend as much as 50% of our time just attending meetings. While they are a great way to keep teams connected, wouldn't it be great if we could structure these meetings to be more efficient and effective to give us more time back in the day?
Harness the Power of Feedback
The better we communicate results, the greater opportunity we have to create a team approach to problem solving. We train leaders to share results with employees, celebrate the wins, and ask for input on ways to improve. The Survey Results Rollout process teaches leaders to develop key words and actions for facilitating a Survey Results Rollout meeting with their team.
Help everyone connect to the big picture
High-performing organizations make a real commitment to employee communication, not only at the department level, but also at the administrative level. This allows employees to hear key messages, be informed on key issues, and focus on what they can do to improve.