All posts tagged: Strategy

Eliminate This Common Issue That Undermines Effective Recruiting and Hiring

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Most leaders agree that implementation and follow-through are required for business success. Organizations that execute their well thought out plans succeed, those that don’t fail. So why don’t people follow through on plans, especially for something as important as recruiting and hiring the right people? The answer may be staring you right in the face.

Take a look around your office or cubicle. Do the same when you get home tonight. When’s the last time you paid attention to the art or decorations you’ve put up at your home or office? Not just a quick glance, but really taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of a piece or remembering what attracted you to it in the first place. Most people admit that the only time they take notice is when someone asks them where they acquired a particular object or its significance. Simply put, after a while everything blends in, even things that are especially meaningful to us.

This is commonplace blindness. Once we get used to something, it becomes commonplace. We stop noticing it.

Smart product manufacturers understand commonplace blindness, which is why they change their packaging from time to time. They want us to keep paying close attention to their products. Last year, I remember seeing a soft drink can that had the colors of a well-known competing product. Just above the label on the can were the words “Great new look. Same great taste.” Did the new packaging work? It got my attention enough to mention it here.

Commonplace blindness happens every day in organizations across the globe, and it’s not only the art that’s being overlooked. Those signs espousing your recruiting best practices haven’t been noticed in months. The hiring process document that you ask people to keep on their desks is collecting dust. The interview checklist that was put on tablets for convenience is ignored after just a handful of meetings. Seeing these items becomes part of the routine. These items blend in, causing us to take them for granted and stop paying attention to them.

Leaders often have to remind people to do the very things noted on the walls, process documents, or screens because of commonplace blindness. The cure is relatively simple: change the packaging. You do that by altering the look, location, or liability.

You can alter the design, color, or formatting—the look. Moving the location, just like moving furniture, often recaptures attention. To shift the liability, delegate responsibility to team members for regularly modifying the look or location of key items of workplace significance.

What happens when organizations counter commonplace blindness by changing the look, location, or liability? Check out these recent successes:

  • A large tech company all but eliminated turnover during the first 90 days of employment as interviewers consistently followed every written step of the hiring and interview process.
  • A boutique ad agency tripled its flow of top talent when managers remembered to follow their proven and well-documented recipe for writing job posts.
  • A mid-market staffing firm doubled the number of candidates placed on assignment each week when staff stopped overlooking the very simple and powerful workflow for taking and validating job orders.
  • A global manufacturer sourced more quality candidates than they needed for hard-to-fill roles when the talent acquisition team stopped relying on their memory and followed their checklists for tapping into all of the streams of talent.

You’ve worked hard to build a company with hiring processes and interviewing systems that drive your business. By avoiding commonplace blindness, you’ll have your recruiting and hiring best practices doing what they are supposed to do.

Scott WintripEliminate This Common Issue That Undermines Effective Recruiting and Hiring
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Build and Maintain a Strong Staffing Leadership Team

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podcast-sleeveSuccess in the staffing and recruitment business hinges on leadership. Yet, building and maintaining a strong leadership team is a constant challenge for many firms. In this conversation with Lisa Maxwell of Gerard Stewart, you’ll hear concrete advice and actionable steps that will strengthen your executive leadership team and also boost the quality of your entire firm’s management.

Scott WintripBuild and Maintain a Strong Staffing Leadership Team
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Leading Change: How to Go from Being an A-hole to an A-Player

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podcast-sleeveEvery leader has to drive some type of change from time to time. Because changing things makes people uncomfortable, it’s common that leaders are viewed negatively, even when whatever is being changed is in the best interest of everyone. In this podcast, I walk you through three simple change management steps. By following these, you’ll no longer be seen as an “a-hole” and instead be viewed as an A-player by the very people impacted by change.

Scott WintripLeading Change: How to Go from Being an A-hole to an A-Player
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The Emperor Has No Talent

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We’re just days into the year and some organizations are off-track. They’ve set goals, and they’re already behind. Why? Their “Emperors” have no talent.

The Emperors in this case are leaders in companies and organizations. They crafted brilliant plans for the New Year. Unfortunately, they forgot an important fact — you must have enough talented people to execute your plans to reach your goals.

Not having enough qualified people always undermines strategic goals. How many people are enough? Take a moment to answer these three questions:

  1. Are our goals the same, bigger, or smaller than last year?
  2. Has the quantity and quality of our talent pool improved, stayed the same, or decreased?
  3. Based upon the answers to the first two questions, what gaps exist between our goals and the people we have to reach them?

If, in answering these questions, you’re one of those Emperors who has no talent (or not enough of it) don’t fret. You’ve spotted the problem early. By taking immediate action to close the gap you’ve identified, you’re less likely to get sacked or, even worse, having people calling for you head.

Scott WintripThe Emperor Has No Talent
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How to Avoid Being an Employment Commodity

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How to Avoid Being an Employment Commodity
Here’s a fact about the jobs at your company that you may not like: they’re a commodity. You might think that what you have to offer is unique and the position you’re filling is like no other. You may believe your work environment is novel and the culture you create in your workspace is special. While this is partially true, in that every company is slightly different, I propose a thought experiment.

For a moment, try seeing things from a different angle. Flip your perspective one-hundred eighty degrees and see things from the perspective of the job-seeker.

ChoicesJob-seekers—your candidates—typically pursue more than one job opportunity at a time. They have to, in order to increase their chances at being hired. They can’t put all their eggs in one basket. They send out multiple resumes and cover letters every week. Sometimes they’re looking at dozens of jobs with the exact same title, all at different companies. They scan employment sites and read scores of job postings with nearly identical language. Every company tries to add their own flair to their blurbs, but to the candidates, they all start to run together.

It doesn’t stop there.

The rest of the process follows a pattern. Email resume, receive response. Exchange emails and possibly phone calls. Then comes the interview: leaders ask a series of questions, which the candidate answers. The questions don’t vary much, and the people asking them tend to dress and act the same. The jobs even look alike, too. They involve similar tasks often done in standard cube farms. Employees use similar technology and software from one company to the next.

For the candidate, all the jobs become a blur. All the interviewers start to sound like the adults do to Charlie Brown and his friends: wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah. Like it or not, that exceptional position at your extraordinary company is a commodity.

Now, let’s flip the perspective back to you, the employer.

You can avoid falling into the commodity trap by adopting sound strategies to separate yourself from the masses. A growing group of savvy business leaders are differentiating their organizations by combining shifts in business practices with better approaches to hiring and employee engagement. Two innovations gaining great traction are The Quid Pro Approach and Micro-Niching.

Quid Pro Quo: Value Where it Counts

Companies are learning to leverage their value by charging more and subsequently re-investing in their employees. Leslie, founder and managing partner of a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, cites this strategy as central to his company’s success. “Because our service offering is higher, the price point is as well, and honoring this assures a better match between a prospective client and our company.”

Leslie’s firm provides finance and accounting support services. Their quid pro quo approach to service value has led to dramatic and consistent growth and an impressive repeat business rate over the past five years. By reinvesting a significant portion of these gains back into the company-especially in enhancing best practices and improving technology-customers and employees benefit from the marriage of an on-demand, responsive service with a user-friendly approach to customer interactions. Their current paradigm includes client counseling, which leads clients to better returns in their business endeavors, and focuses on career development for staff, which, in turn, drives productivity and improves customer service.

Value offerings such as these, combined with a willingness to charge for this increased value, positions firms like Leslie’s to create custom service packages for potential clients, thereby expanding both what and how much they buy. The practice of escalating value for an escalating price not only creates more options, but also puts Leslie’s competitors on the back foot. They now struggle to compete with the new and interesting bundles her company offers. The end result is a firm that has the financial resources to hire great people, invest in their development, and cultivate a culture that retains top talent.

Micro-Niching: Niching the Niche

Working within a niche is a time-tested strategy that many business leaders believe has helped reduce commoditization. This is true to a certain extent, but there’s a catch: many know about it and many do it, which means its effect has become diluted. The ability to create a distinct option that buyers view as one-of-a-kind requires more than it used to. It requires a renewed focus, a sharpened vision, and a new approach.

Michael, the CEO of a UK-based human capital management organization, has successfully met the challenge of refining and deepening the niche-based approach of his company. Michael is a leader in what’s called Micro-Niching.

“We have reshaped our company to have clearly defined divisions of specialization that are led by industry experts,” Michael says. “They have been tasked with not just creating their own areas of expertise, but also in developing independent cultures representing the sectors they support.”

These Micro-Niching initiatives mean that the distinct brands are now situated to corner their respective markets with increasing efficiency and effectiveness. As their level of knowledge and engagement deepens, Michael’s team creates lasting client relationships and delivers targeted value unparalleled by traditional niche providers.

“In a relatively short period of time, we have increased margins and improved our productivity,” Michael reports. “The longer-term effects include a much better market presence as we have been able to position our brands more clearly in the market, becoming de facto thought leaders in the process. People are clamoring to work for us.”

In a short period of time, his company has grown substantially and he’s had to hire dozens of new people. The company’s prestige and unique position in the market makes it relatively easy to attract top-shelf candidates for all his new positions.

Creativity: The Anti-Commodity

What Quid Pro Quo and Micro-Niching have in common is creativity. To return to the thought experiment from earlier for a moment, creativity is what will make your company stand out from the dozens-scratch that-the hundreds of job postings a job seeker sorts through every day. For the employer, creativity separates a run-of-the-mill company from the pack when competing for customers and top talent. Creativity counts, now more than ever. An entrepreneurial spirit in companies both large and small fuels profitability and attracts top-talent. Add hefty doses of inspiration, and your organization and the jobs you offer become unique. People will want to work for you. Value them. Show them how you do it. In turn, they’ll value you. If you do, they’ll choose you over your competitors. Remember: no one wants to be a drone in a cubicle.

Scott WintripHow to Avoid Being an Employment Commodity
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Time Kills Brain Cells, Not Deals

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageIt’s been said that time is not on our side. The latest stats back this up. According to the Dice-DF Vacancy Duration Measure, time-to-fill has risen to its highest level in 15 years.

The problem is not capabilities, as there are more of those today than 15 years ago, especially the added efficiencies through technology. Nor is it available talent, as competent recruiters can always find someone to do the job.

The problem is process―most hiring managers (and their staffing and recruitment vendors, if they are using them) are not working a process that allows them to hire in an instant. Yet, these very same hiring managers can buy many things they want, when they want them, from services like iTunes, Amazon and GrubHub. Needs are always more important than wants, which makes this all-time high of time-to-fill even more baffling.

Time is clearly not on the side of anyone who recruits or hires. It makes people scared, scattered, scurried, and, sometimes, even stupid. Too much of it allows them to over-think and under-perform. This causes real harm as jobs go unfilled, backlogs increase, overtime grows, efficiencies plummet, customers complain and revenues and suffer.

Staffing and recruitment services, in particular, have a unique opportunity to make their buyers smarter by helping them engage in a nimble process where they get the talent they needed yesterday right now. There is lots of talk about differentiation amongst people in the staffing business; here’s one that’s not only distinct, different and powerful, but also solves the problem of out of control time-to-fill.

Scott WintripTime Kills Brain Cells, Not Deals
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The Year to Come

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageGiven that how we invest our attention, time, and energy each day is a choice, I offer the following Wintripisms as suggestions for the coming year:

  • Those who pay the least demand the most. So, when choosing customers in 2015 pick the best so you can leave the rest.
  • Avoid implementing permanent solutions to temporary problems. It’s a great way to avoid regrets later.
  • If you want something different, do something different. Then keep doing what’s different if you expect it to stick.
  • Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean. It’s a wonderful way to give honest feedback, informed advice, and be direct with communication.

I wish you, your colleagues, and families a safe, joyous, and prosperous New Year.

Scott WintripThe Year to Come
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