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Does Your Business Culture Encourage Innovation?

Any business must regularly contend with a variety of competitors. To stand out in a crowd of companies fighting for customer and investor attention, organizations must have something unique. As innovative as a business owner is, it can never hurt to have a full team of creative individuals pitching in to offer great ideas.

Encourage Ideas

Brainstorming sessions are a great way to put your team in action. It's important to note that in a brainstorming session, no idea is a bad one. All ideas should be noted and considered. If employees feel as though their ideas are always shot down, they'll eventually stop providing them. 

Reward Innovation

Find creative ways to acknowledge those who come up with great ideas, and make sure those rewards can be passed along. It's important to find a way to encourage your employees to work as a team, rather than to compete for an extra bonus or a day off. Something as small as a lunchtime party after a big project is completed can create a more positive work environment.

Be Open

Almost every manager on the planet claims to have an "open door policy," but few make their offices warm, comfortable places for employees to visit. A culture of innovation is not something that can be forced. It just is. It starts from the first time an employee brings an idea to you and continues as you listen to each idea and offer positive reinforcement. This is just as important when an idea is bad as it is when an idea is great.

While every idea won't be a winner, it's possible to accept employees' ideas and encourage more, even when you don't actually use each idea. By creating and maintaining an innovative culture, you'll ensure your business's long-term success, while also maintaining a positive environment for your workers.

Stop Making $50,000 Hiring Mistakes

I wanted to pass on this blog post from Debbie Fledderjohann, a partner of ours.

Mis-hires are expensive and disruptive. Contracting is a great alternative to relieve near-term pressure so you can, as Jack Welch says, Hire slow and fire fast.

Enjoy…

-Phil

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to hiring, those mistakes can be quite expensive.

Citing a recent CareerBuilder survey, J.J. Keller reported that 69% of businesses experience bad hires. Forty-one percent estimated the cost of that bad hire to be at least $25,000 while 24% stated that it cost them more than $50,000.

It's more than just recruiting and training costs employers need to think about when considering what a bad hire costs their company.  According to the survey, some of the biggest costs come in the form of lost productivity and the negative impact bad hires have on other employees and clients.

So why do so many companies make this costly mistake? The survey found that the biggest reason, given by 43% of the respondents, is the need to fill a position quickly.

By Debbie Fledderjohann, Top Echelon, adapted from their article at Top Echelon Contracting.

Why Talent Management Skills Are Essential to Your Business’s Success

Why Talent Management Skills Are Essential to Your Business’s Success

People are at the heart of every successful business. Good leadership is a known predictor of success, but a company that truly moves forward has more than that. Once the surface is scratched, a leading business also has an enthusiastic, skilled team supporting it. Businesses must learn to attract and retain the best employees in the market in order to thrive.

 “A” Players

In his book Top Grading, Brad Smart distinguishes between A players, B players, and C players. He estimates that A players produce up to eight to ten times more than those at the B level. Failing to recognize this serves as a detriment to the many organizations that risk losing those coveted A players.

Businesses should strive to attract as many A players as possible, rewarding and recognizing those team members regularly. In order to do so, businesses may be required to pay a little more for their positions. But it will also allow an organization to stock its team with a smaller group of A players, rather than a large group of B and C players who bring very little value to the organization.

Don’t Make Snap Decisions

The process of hiring someone new can be so time-consuming and tedious, it’s natural for managers to want to speed through it. But with such an important decision, it’s important that leaders take the time to find the right person. The hiring process should be thorough and involved, with multiple team members weighing in on the decision. At the end of it, managers should be certain they’ve found the right person.

Businesses must also be unafraid to dismiss someone if performance levels are low. Set expectations high from the outset and hold employees to it. If they fail to deliver, leaders should use a professional performance management system to improve, discipline, and eventually terminate the employee if necessary.

With the right hiring practices, businesses can achieve their goals and enjoy a positive work environment. By shooting for A players, companies will find they’re no longer wasting time on inefficient employees.

How Goal-Based Hiring Improves Your Odds Of A Great Hire

Job plans and performance evaluations now make up the backbone of every successful organization. Yet for many organizations, hiring practices still rely on outdated methods that grade a person on background rather than ability. In fact, a glance at the average job opening announcement shows this dedication to skills. "Three years or more of marketing experience in the corporate office of a national retail chain," for instance. Only a handful of people fit that criteria, but does it mean those people can do the job?

Defining Goals

Every organization is looking for a team that can help drive it in the right direction. This means meeting the business's goals and objectives with a unified mindset, while also contributing to a positive company culture. But choosing someone who has demonstrated multiple years in a similar position may not lead a business to the right person to accomplish those goals.

Before beginning the next round of hiring, Lou Adler recommends taking a step back and defining six goals for the positions. These goals should align with the organization's mission and help drive the company in the direction it needs to go. These six goals should be non-negotiable, with candidates who lack the ability to perform those tasks scratched off the list.

Performance-Based Questions

How is it possible to define a person's ability during the job interview process? Performance-based questions can bring out those abilities. Instead of asking a candidate general questions about past duties, interviewers can ask for specific instances of a time when the interviewee was tasked with completing something similar to the goal described. "Tell us about a time when you had to complete a project on deadline," for instance. These questions help distinguish between the skills a person has and how that person uses those skills under pressure.

Rather than trying to match skills with a person's basic job duties in past roles, interviewers will have more success by looking at that person's abilities. As Adler says, it is far better to have someone who can deliver results than someone who merely possesses a list of documented skills.

What 15 Top Tech Entrepreneurs Say About Startup Hiring and Culture Fit Assessment

When a business chooses a new hire, that person is becoming a part of the team. Often hiring managers spend so much time focusing on finding the right fit for a specific job, they lose sight of the big picture. But for companies of all sizes, it’s crucial to always ensure a candidate is a good fit for the organization, as well as the current job opening.

Through utilizing cultural alignment strategies, startups can implement hiring processes similar to those used at some of the biggest, most successful companies in the world. Here are a few tips from top tech entrepreneurs to help small businesses make sure they hire the right candidate at the right stage of the company’s development.

Robert Scoble, CEO, Rackspace

Scoble is straightforward about his cultural alignment strategy. He believes in the advice recommended in Robert I. Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule, which helps entrepreneurs learn to filter out those who might be toxic to an organization.

Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Culture is so important to Zappos, the company requires a second round of interviews solely dedicated to culture fit during the hiring process. Through performance reviews, Zappos also eliminates any employee who emerges as a poor culture fit at any stage of employment. His primary tactic is to look for and prioritize candidates that use "we" and "our" statement in regard to past work history versus "I" and "me" statements.

Dave Carvajal, Former Co-Founder, HotJobs

For startups, Carvajal says the answer is in determining its “cultural DNA.” By taking the time to first understand the personal DNA that makes up an organization, leaders can be more effective during the interview process.

Andy Jassy, Senior VP of Web Services, Amazon.com

In an interview with Gigaom, Jassy cited six major things he seeks in potential hires: intelligence, stick-to-itiveness, big vision/big energy, willingness to debate, people who listen, and startup DNA.

Mark Castleman, CEO, Vobi

Knowing oneself and making clear, unemotional decisions is the key to success in hiring, Castleman believes. True hiring talent comes from experience in both hiring and firing and, unfortunately, this means leaders must sometimes learn through trial and error.

Michael Hughes, VP of Community Development, CoFoundersLab

For startups, Hughes feels it’s more important to provide a simple problem and see how a candidate solves it, rather than going solely by a person’s past experience.

Greg Waldorf, Former CEO, eHarmony

Waldorf sees career progression as an important factor in finding a good candidate. Too many startups focus on finding someone who has an equivalent position, but he has found the best candidates are the ones who have achieved substantial upward mobility.

Jonathan Brill, Startup Specialist

Finding a good candidate is similar to finding the right spouse, Brill believes. He recommends spending as much time as possible with a potential candidate and, at the end of it, ask whether or not that person could run the place for a day while the boss is away.

Nathan Brown, Director of Information Technology, Care.com

Brown has six criteria he uses when seeking a new employee: don’t hire out of desperation, never ignore a red flag, personality fit matters, skill sets are sometimes less important, involve team leaders in the process, and interview all potential internal hires before an offer is made.

John Greathouse, Entrepreneur and Investor

Greathouse’s unique approach paints great hires as bank robbers in the early days, spending most days helping business owners “plan the heist.” As a business grows, business owners should look for ATM operators in order to find reliable employees who will provide stability.

Bryan Beal, Angel Investor

When hiring, entrepreneurs should rely heavily on their network initially. Beal believes referrals are essential, especially if they come from colleagues who are familiar with the hiring manager. Once your first key players are in-house then resource outside your network.

Tom Katis, Founder, Voxer

The hiring process will never be perfect, Katis says. For that reason, he believes it’s important that entrepreneurs be ready and willing to quickly remove someone who isn’t working out.

Rob McClinton, VP of Sales, Cyber2Media

McClinton has observed that most of his best hires have had three things in common: an entrepreneurial spirit; honest, straightforward answers to interview questions; and passed interviews with multiple people in his organization.

Erica Friedman, Information Ninja

Any hire of Friedman’s must be able to contribute real thoughts that move the conversation, business, and team forward. Idea people or negative thinkers have no place on a business’s team.

Chris Rickborn, COO, BoomTown

When he was COO at Unrabble, Rickborn described several things he looks for in a job candidate. Among his criteria was a startup mentality—anyone working for a startup should think like a startup, including an ongoing willingness to pitch in.

Over time, entrepreneurs learn to phrase interview questions properly to get the information they need. By following the advice of these 12 experienced professionals, however, some entrepreneurs may be able to more quickly learn to spot someone who isn’t the right fit.

 

 

Philip Foti

CEO Atavas Technical Staffing

www.atavas.com

IT Leadership Survey : 73% of Companies Plan More Tech Hiring in 2014

A national survey shows tech hiring isn’t getting any easier and may get even harder this year.

Surveyed hiring managers and recruiting professionals to find 73% of them report their companies plan to do more hiring of tech workers in the next several months. Nearly a quarter of all the survey respondents said their tech hiring would be “substantial.”

Lured by more pay, the number of professionals switching jobs is growing. More than 40% of the survey respondents said they’ve lost tech staff in the last six months. That compares to just over 30% who said that in the spring survey. The number one reason for the job changes: pay, reported three-quarters of the survey participants.

Making clear just how challenging the recruiting environment is for companies seeking tech workers, almost 6 in 10  said they’ve had to leave to positions vacant because of their existing salary guidelines. And a third of them have had offers rejected.

 

John Zappe

We surveyed over 100 CIOs. Here’s what they said about IT Hires…

What Trait Do CIOs Value Most in their IT Talent?

In a recent poll surveying over 100 CIOs on their priorities in staffing decisions, Atavas Technical Staffing found that 63% of CIOs tied employees’ success to their Emotional IQ–or “EQ”.
 
These CIOs agreed that the EQ of IT talent affects both on-time and on-budget delivery of projects and success in infrastructure. 
 
The CIO respondents say that lack of “EQ” (Workplace Competencies) is at the forefront of the  challenge in their war for talent, second only to Technical Competencies (Hard skills). 
 
Why such a radical shift in priority? 
 
Your Employee’s “EQ”. Your Success.

According to research (and common sense), the ability to make successful hiring decisions can often make or break an executive’s longevity in his or her job. The CIO role is fraught with internal and external political pressure, and CIOs accordingly have a higher turnover rate than their peers in other executive roles. (CIO Magazine.)
 
But few realized how critical staffing quality “EQ” talent has become to their personal and career success.
 
The Quality of Your Decisions

Clearly, the strength of your decisions and decision-making capabilities plays a major role in your success.
 
CIOs have come to the realization that soft skills at all levels in the workforce are just as important as hard skills to long-term success, and that finding IT talent with both qualities can be daunting.
 
My IT staffing company, Atavas, is finely attuned to this challenge to execute a recruitment and screening methodology that will help you bridge the EQ/Skills Gap in your existing staff and future recruits.
 
To get more insights from future surveys like this and learn how other leading CIOs are thinking about IT talent acquisition, enter your email address and subscribe to The Sword Blog.

Stop Making $50,000 Hiring Mistakes

I wanted to pass on this blog post from Debbie Fledderjohann, a partner of ours.

Mis-hires are expensive and disruptive. Contracting is a great alternative to relieve near-term pressure so you can, as Jack Welch says, Hire slow and fire fast.

Enjoy…

-Phil

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to hiring, those mistakes can be quite expensive.

Citing a CareerBuilder survey, J.J. Keller reported that 69% of businesses experienced a bad hire in 2012. Forty-one percent estimated the cost of that bad hire to be at least $25,000 while 24% stated that it cost them more than $50,000.

It's more than just recruiting and training costs employers need to think about when considering what a bad hire costs their company.  According to the survey, some of the biggest costs come in the form of lost productivity and the negative impact bad hires have on other employees and clients.

So why do so many companies make this costly mistake? The survey found that the biggest reason, given by 43% of the respondents, is the need to fill a position quickly.

By Debbie Fledderjohann, Top Echelon, adapted from their article at Top Echelon Contracting.

Stop Clients from Making a $50,000 Hiring Mistake