First of all, you’re not alone! However, the question remains: Why are we unable to make great hiring decisions? The answer is simple: BIAS. Attracting candidates is easy today. Screening out all of the unqualified to discover a superior performer is the real challenge. This challenge also means we must look at the job objectively and eliminate any biases that keep us from selecting the best candidate.
We all see the world from our own viewpoint. This viewpoint is influenced by how we value experience, knowledge, economics, aesthetics, altruism, power and tradition. When we are confronted by a person who sees the world differently, our views could be called biases. Neither right or wrong, nor good or bad, biases are simply a reflection of our personal viewpoint. Oftentimes, this personal viewpoint is unknowingly injected into the hiring process even when it is not relevant to a specific position or to the organization itself. When this happens, it creates a barrier, preventing us from selecting truly superior performers.
Today we have laws that keep us from acting on our biases as they relate to gender, age and nationality, but there are still biases that get in the way. Many people are also unknowingly biased on experience, education and intelligence, and this keeps them from selecting superior performers. In addition, people bring much more to the job, including their passion, beliefs, personal skills and behaviors. Perhaps one of the most important personal skills is that of personal accountability, and most companies do not have an awareness of its importance, nor do they have a way to measure it.
Determining the ideal candidate for a position can prove to be not only the most frustrating part of the hiring process, but also the most difficult. Each person involved in the hiring process will have his or her own idea of what skill set, experience and education is required for the position. Job descriptions begin to assist recruiters, internal and external, in narrowing down the resume requirements. Meanwhile, the personal skills, behavioral style, attitude and motivations of the ideal candidate tend to be undefined and left up to the interviewer. This type of hiring process becomes subjective, rather than objective, and leaves all involved parties frustrated and with less than desirable results.
Typical hiring processes allow for little preparation time on the front end, with more time allotted for interviewing. This often results in a partially or even completely wrong hire, which, in turn, contributes to significant managerial time loss. By turning the process around, you will save time and energy, and improve your hiring decisions, therefore improving your bottom-line.
After years in the staffing industry and making internal hires, our Strategic Business Partner created the Ideal Candidate Form. This form, along with the patented job benchmarking process, has allowed us to achieve a 92% retention rate on the people placed using this process. Eliminating bias is the key to successful hiring. The only way to achieve this is through an objective process that looks at all aspects of the ideal candidate.
How It Heightens Disengagement and Costs You Millions
Dysfunction in a team will usually result in poor performance and inadequate productivity, but the effects of team dysfunctions on the employees themselves just might be far more serious and much more costly.
When a team becomes dysfunctional you can expect disengagement to follow as individuals may lose sight of team goals, not understand their role in the team and wait for direction to make any progress. Statistics say that the average employee is disengaged two hours each day. Could dysfunctional teams be contributing to disengagement in your organization? If so, just how does it affect your bottom-line?
Disengagement is not a small concern. Take, for example, a company with 100 employees who work full time at an average wage of $25 per hour. What is disengagement costing them? The productivity they could be losing due to disengagement is worth an estimated $1,200,000.
Determining the cost of disengagement within your organization is an important step in tackling this talent management burden. Then, consider implementing organizational and team multi-rater surveys that give everyone in the organization the opportunity to speak up and help you determine the real root of disengagement. Perhaps it is dysfunction in a team, job misfit, mismanagement, lack of motivation or other personnel-related issues. No matter what the cause, identifying it, addressing it and implementing a solution will make a dramatic difference on your bottom-line.
In Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he tells a tale of a firm’s executive team struggling with utter dysfunction. Ineffective communication, multiple egos, fear, office politics and judgmental attitudes were all contributing to the absence of dynamics and poor performance.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Have you experienced a dysfunctional team in your career?
If yes, you are not alone. Most everyone has either been a part of, observed or even faced the challenge of leading a dysfunctional team like the one Lencioni describes. In fact, he says, “Teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”
How We Either Survive or Succeed with Adaptive Behavior
Like President Obama, most of us have various roles in our lives in which we do have a public image. At the current moment, you may be in any combination of roles, such as a spouse, parent, executive, volunteer, student or mentor. In each role your adaptive behavioral style will likely change to fit the situation and its demands. Still, you will consistently maintain the same natural behavioral style, or the real you.
Adapting to Survive or Succeed?
While your natural behavioral style is your true identity, it is not always the behavior we create for others to see. In fact, our adaptive behavior is more observable because we will often make changes to either survive or succeed. Whether the change is dramatic or slight, knowing why the change is occurring is important. Most often, those changing to survive will tend to follow rules and regulations. On the other hand, those changing to succeed will tend to adapt to the behaviors called for by the environment.
Your Public Image at Work
Think of situations where you have to be more conscious of adapting your behavioral style on the job. Maybe it is when you speak publically, are faced with quick decisions or have to comply with strict rules. Do you feel stressed, exhausted and uncomfortable?
It is important to understand how your natural and adaptive behavioral styles are affecting your work. A simple assessment and review of your personal results is a great step toward harnessing your natural behavioral styles for improved communication, productivity, teamwork and overall enjoyment on the job. Then, you can uncover even more about your personal strengths by assessing personal motivators, skills and emotional intelligence.
If performance management sounds complicated, you’re right. It is complicated because it plays a big part in the success of an organization, and anything with a high value isn’t easy. It requires focus and commitment, and it isn’t the same for every employee. So what is the good news? Take a look at the things you can do to make the role of performance management more effective and less complicated:
- Work closely with the company’s executive or management team to create a clear picture of what your employee’s job is responsible for and how it fits with the company’s overall strategy. Document the results and refer to the job’s key accountabilities often.
- If possible, conduct a job benchmark to get a true, unbiased representation of the job’s requirements for success so you can coach the employee in a way that matches these job requirements.
- Share and discuss this information with the employee to be sure you both understand the job in the same way.
- Use a personal assessment to uncover the employee’s behaviors, or how they communicate and go about the work, as well as what motivates them to take action. Understanding this from the beginning, rather than waiting for time to tell, will make performance management more effective and enjoyable right from the start.
- Implement 360 degree assessments that utilize questions based on the same areas measured in the personal assessments. This feedback will allow you to consider others’ perceptions and how they compare to the employee’s self-perception.
- Rather than a project management tool that tracks assignments you have given your employee, try a system that puts them in the driver’s seat. As the employee submits their own game plan for approval, they are learning how to prioritize their responsibilities in a way that fits the company’s overall strategy.
Once you have identified the right role of performance management in your company and have found ways to integrate each area of management into one, complete process, positive results will be seen at every level in the company.
How Assessment Results Boost Retention and Increase Performance
Managing employee retention is one of the biggest challenges many companies face. With so many employee retention strategies out there, it is often difficult to determine which one will work for you, your company and more importantly, your employee. The good news is, improving employee retention doesn’t have to bee as hard as you might think, but it must be something that is a concern from day one, not when you start to feel an employee slipping away.
When you consider the employment cycle from beginning to end, it is apparent that training and on-boarding is the most crucial aspect of retention. A company can hire the best candidate who is destined for success, but it is up to the employer to give them the training, attention and motivation it takes to build a dedicated superior performer. Without it, the employee is not likely to build a strong connection with their new employer and will quickly feel under-appreciated, unimportant and simply lost in the shadows of the organization.