The holidays have arrived. What a wonderful time of year! Lately, I have been reflecting on the meaning of the old verse “for everything there is a season.” This oft-quoted saying reminds me that our lives are driven by a constant flow of change. I find that the key to my happiness and the health of my business can best …
For some time now, Frederique Campagne-Irwin of Her Corner has been challenging me to move TalentFront from a personality-driven business – selling oneself — to the next level of sustainability – selling a solution. I understood the concept, but I didn’t really understand what that meant, at a gut level, until I passed up an opportunity because I could not …
There is nothing quite like that moment when you find and extend an offer to the right candidate! You just know that bringing her on is going to have an awesome impact on your business and you can’t wait for her to get started. Only sometimes, that impact isn’t awesome. Sometimes when the new hire starts working, she doesn’t click …
Today few Americans know any veterans, other than those from the wars of WWII, Korea or Vietnam. Now since much of what we see and read is from the organizations seeking money for those who have disabilities, we tend to think far more veterans have problems than actually do. But the reality is that veterans make excellent employees. Plus veterans are more successful as entrepreneurs than those without military service. So think what they can add to any small business, non-profit or association. While older veterans are employed at higher rates than civilians, those veterans in their 20s and women veterans in general have had higher unemployment rates than civilians over the past decade.
Your organization could benefit from hiring veterans. They have excellent “soft skills” like the ability to work with diverse groups of customers or clients, self-direction, strong communication skills, and dependability–just for starters! Most have had supervisory roles early and all have had extensive training in both their work/career fields and interpersonal skills. Most also are used to doing whatever is necessary for the mission, not an “it’s not my job” attitude anywhere.
How do you find and hire a veteran successfully?
Many of the steps are the same as any other hiring. Small business owners tend to see the big companies and their well-publicized programs and assume that they need a big program too. But you do not. You need a little planning. And you will get far better results with less hassle than blasting your needs out on a job board or someplace like Craigslist.
Here is a simple plan to help you hire a veteran, or lots of them!
First, define the position in detail including both technical/specific experience requirements and those attributes that ensure success in your culture. This is critical to any hiring but also ensures you can evaluate potential veteran candidates effectively.
Second, think about your network. Do you already know any veterans? Talk to them and ask for their ideas and support.
Third, talk with the veterans’ representatives in your local employment services office. Many states also have programs like Virginia Values Veterans ( http://www.dvsV3.com ) to help you learn more about hiring veterans and helping them succeed. Both these organizations can assist you in effectively hiring veterans to meet your needs. In Alexandria, contact the Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center (Emily McMahan at [email protected]) for added ideas and links to local military transition offices.
Fourth, consider reaching out to volunteer organizations locally which work with veterans and informing them of your needs. Consider the local chapter of TeamRWB (http://teamrwb.org/) , local veteran Meet-ups, and others which focus on recent vets. And if you need recent graduates, check out local chapters of Student Veterans of America (http://www.studentveterans.org/)
Fifth, if your positions require specific training or certifications, understand that there are plenty of veterans who have these. There are specific programs to translate military experience into required civilian credentials and certifications. There are non-profit organizations and companies which provide specific training to veterans. I work with several. But a simple online search of what you need, such as energy + veterans or SAP + veterans or any specific credential +veterans, will lead you to resources.
Sixth, military members in transition do go through training about how to write civilian resumes. But the translations of titles, units, and boss’s titles are not really obvious. So when you are looking at a person’s resume, check out their achievements and perhaps training or certifications. If there appears to be an overlap with what you need, give the person a call and talk a bit about your needs and their work.
The right veteran will rapidly learn your organization and culture and make specific contributions to your success far sooner than you expect. If you can offer challenges and the opportunity for increased responsibility, you will find each an excellent addition to your future.
Patricia A. Frame is an experienced management consultant, HR executive, speaker, and author on human capital issues. She is known for her ability to address organizational goals and issues effectively and to create human resource management practices which support these goals without excessive administrivia. Patricia has advised executives and boards on a wide range of human capital and strategic planning issues. She has expertise in organization development, talent management, process restructuring, compensation, and training. She has worked with technology-based companies, government contractors, non-profits, associations, and retail operations. She advises small to mid-size organizations on ways to succeed and to help their employees thrive. Ms. Frame has given seminars for SBDC in recent years on the basic processes of HR management. Additionally, she generously provides one-to-one HR counseling once a month through Alexandria SBDC.
This week’s video blog is presented by Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources. Patricia is one of the counselors at the SBDC and specializes in HR and employment. In this clip, she discusses tips and recommendations for finding enough of the right types of people during the hiring process. If you’re interested in more… Read more »
This week’s video blog is presented by Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources. Patricia is one of the counselors at the SBDC and specializes in HR and employment. In this clip, she discusses tips and recommendations for finding enough of the right types of people during the hiring process. If you’re interested in more information about HR and employment issues, visit our HR & Employer Issues page. The Alexandria SBDC also offers monthly HR Counseling sessions with Patricia for businesses located in the City of Alexandria. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please contact Gloria Flanagan.
Dealing with performance issues is a critical component of any founder or manager’s job. Since this often involves conflict and difficult emotions, many people put this off. That often means they do not deal with problems until it is too late to effective solve them. Firing and replacing staff is disruptive and expensive at best. Often you can avoid getting to that stage by more effective performance management.
Remember: your success is directly related to the performance of your staff.
What causes inadequate performance?
Far too often, it is failures in the system rather than the person. Management experts from Peter Drucker on, list the most common causes of inadequate performance as:
* employee does not know what is expected
* employee does not know how to do the task
* work processes interfere with good performance
* feedback on actual performance quality is not given to the employee
* there is negative consequence for good performance
These issues must be addressed first if they exist. It starts with hiring the right person for the right job. Orientation to your workplace, systems, and expectations is important too. Looking regularly at how your processes and systems work to see that they are efficient for your current needs is vital. And so is regular performance feedback.
When an employee does not perform to expected levels, you can succeed in improving the person’s performance if you address the issue as quickly as it is first identified.
Here are some basics on how to do this well.
* accurately identify the problem and the behavior change you desire
* give specific details of the behavior that creates the problem and the impact of the problem on the function or business
* involve the employee and ask for his/her solution
Once the employee has accepted responsibility and you have a mutually agreed plan, be sure you follow-up to ensure it is working well.
On a regular basis, you can create the conditions that help all your employees succeed by your own behavior and practices. Demonstrate your commitment to helping employees succeed by actively soliciting their ideas for improvements and by encouraging them to grow and develop their skills. Model the behaviors you expect. Provide on-going feedback on results. Say ‘thank you’ when you mean it.
There are many ways to improve your ability to manage people effectively. Learning to communicate effectively and managing performance are critical first steps to your success.
Join us November 6, 2012 for a Brown Bag lunch on how to handle termination of employment issues effectively.
The economy is going up – except when it is going down. Are we in for another recession, a depression, or a boom? The political campaigns are in the negative, all attack mode and making many people more fearful.
But today came and you need to make a living, build your business, and grow.
Maybe you are fearful. You are swamped with so many ‘to do’ things. The things you know you need to get done. Those you keep meaning to do. And all the plans and goals you say you must define. If you could find the top of your desk or the bottom of your email inbox, you’d be delighted – for a day, maybe.
If customers are too demanding, you feel pressured by those expectations and wonder if you can sustain the demands and grow. If you do not have too many demanding customers, you feel pressured by the need to find more.
Right now a lot of folks wonder whether they can sustain their business dreams and goals. Many entrepreneurs and managers are hunkering down instead of inspiring and leading people.
And I am remembering a Wadsworth poem:
“ Tell me not, in mournful numbers
Life is but a dreary dream…”
It is from “A Psalm of Life” and very 19th century in tone but real too – you can find it here: http://bartelby.org/102/55.html
Do you know that there are studies which show that connecting to others, even electronically, raises levels of a brain chemical involved in feeling good? Just think, a nice cold lemonade with a business colleague could make both of you feel better! And if you used it to do some brainstorming about your business issues, so much the better. A series of notes to your connections to learn more about potential opportunity — and you are feeling better able to cope.
Organize. Whether you end the day by planning for the next or start the new day with 10 minutes to organize and plan, a small effort each day becomes a big goal achieved. Give yourself 10 – 15 minutes each day to move forward on one small step to a larger goal and see for yourself.
Need help? Bet you know someone else who does also and you can become peer coaches. Or you can hire a coach. Or an expert in a field you need to learn. Or talk to the Alexandria SBDC. Or undertake some online research to create your next step.
Buy someone you admire lunch and get a little mentoring on how they did whatever you admire them for. Or if you need a good swift kick, go read “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan. And I thought I had had some bad times to overcome!
You can create the future you want. And help the economy we all are a part of too. Are you in?
The smaller your organization, the more important each person in it becomes. Think a moment – what would happen if you just lost $5,000 or $10,000 tomorrow? Yet hiring and retaining the wrong person can easily cost you that in lost opportunities or time or energy quite quickly.
So, how do you ensure your staff are terrific assets?
Start with your hiring process. New companies often hire family and friends because they are ‘comfortable’ with such people. Small organizations often think of people as an expense to be minimized, rather than an investment in your success and future.
Look carefully at how you design a new job and hire for it. You do not need an elaborate job description or expensive search process. You do need to be very clear about the work that needs to be done and the experience, attitude, and knowledge actually needed to do it well. Where will you find such a person? How will you know? What will you pay for?
Many of us lose valuable employee productivity from the start, through bad assumptions and poor planning. Your new hire checklist – mental or written – probably focuses on things like keys and payroll and forms.
What you need is a new hire checklist that ensures you:
1. Reinforce why you hired the person: say what you saw in their experience, attitude, and knowledge which demonstrated their value to your organization.
2. Explain the basics of ‘how we work here’. What are your organization’s common habits and practices that a new person needs to know?
3. Define your vision and goals and relate to the person’s specific job.
4. Set the standards for behavior and high performance at the beginning. Have the materials and equipment each needs and someone to train them on any company specific processes. Be clear in explaining what the person needs to know to successfully do the job. State your expectations in terms of daily activities or weekly accomplishments. What goals do you want achieved in the first 3 months? 6 months? What standards does the person need to meet? Do you expect all calls/email to be answered within one business day? All customers to be greeted when they enter your store? Be clear about all those details.
5. Talk about how you like to work. If you expect employees to bring up problems immediately, say so. If you want them to try to solve the problem first or bring you a proposed solution, tell them. Do you do a weekly staff meeting or scheduled individual meetings? Do you prefer written or oral reports? Are you calm and deliberative? Creative and outgoing? Tell new people.
Not there with current employees?
You can change. Define your own processes and expectations and clearly communicate them to existing staff. Then, as you grow, do so with each new hire too.
Now, of course, the reason this does not happen all the time is that many of us expect others to know and understand our goals and standards. Magically, without our having to do the work ourselves to clearly define and articulate them! So your own performance is the first person’s to sort out.
But the value of doing so is an immediate boost to productivity and performance in your organization. Your staff will know how to succeed and how to help the organization succeed.
Patricia Frame is an experienced management consultant, speaker and author on human capital issues. Ms. Frame founded Strategies for Human Resources in 1993 as a consulting firm specializing in meeting the human resources needs of small to mid-size organizations.