Make Every Hire Count

Make Every Hire Count

Pretend for one day you're Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. You awaken one day (Friday, March 9) tied for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Your team is also in the midst of its longest home winning streak in quite some time.

So you take what seems the most rational course. You extend the contract of your president of operations, David Kahn.

Now I know there's much, much more that went into Taylor's decision here, but you get the point. As owner, Taylor must decide whether or not to renew Kahn's contract, and he did just that.

At this time of year, many sports teams are making personnel moves similar to Taylor's.

On the same March day of Taylor's announcement, for example, headlines indicated that the Minnesota Wild will stick with GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo. The Twins had signed a contract with pitcher Glen Perkins. And the Vikings will stick with Christian Ponder as quarterback, passing up on bidding for Peyton Manning.

So what would you do if you were in Taylor's position? Or if you had to make personnel decisions for the Wild, Twins or Vikings?

I must confess I'm relieved that I'm not faced with these personnel questions. In the ultra-competitive sports world, these decisions become monumental. The right people in the right jobs or positions at the right time bring wins and big money.

But the same is true in the business world, which is also ultra-competitive these days. Just as in sports, the right people in the right jobs at the right time bring success and profitability to organizations.

Why then do so many businesses delay in assembling a solid team — especially when any delay can seriously hinder the execution of even the most well thought-out strategy?

For some, it's a matter of not knowing where to start and so they do nothing. (They should work to understand their jobs, assess their current talent and identify their gaps.)

For many, however, inertia sets in when faced with filling the gaps they identify.

Yet plugging holes in your workforce with the right people is the secret ingredient to business success.

Four options, then, for filling roles in your organization:

  1. Build. By this I mean developing your internal talent. Building has several advantages. Foremost, it helps you develop a cohesive culture and sends a strong message to your people that you are committed to them. It also mitigates risk because you know the employees you are developing, and they know you. Last but not least it speeds the transition.
  2. Bounce. By this I mean moving people to jobs more suited to them. In other words, stop using talent in obsolete or redundant jobs; also stop using those people who don't fit well in the jobs they have been asked to fill. Using this option, you might have to bounce people from the organization altogether.
  3. Buy. By this I mean recruiting outside talent, which is often an expensive, slow and risky process. For it, you might even have to involve recruiters. With or without them, however, this process requires due diligence, which takes time. And even with due diligence, it's difficult to predict whether an outside hire will achieve success in your organization.
  4. Borrow. By this I mean procuring contingent or contract labor. This is a particularly good option if you need help now. Plus it's highly flexible and you can "try before you buy."

Which is the right talent acquisition approach for you?
Making this determination depends on supply and demand, your experience, and your internal resources.

Regardless of the option you choose, however, go slowly. Do not shortcut your selection process. Take proper measures to ensure candidates have the basic skills to do the job. Also make sure they fit the job and your organization's culture.

Because believe me, "bad employees" – the ones you don't see eye to eye with for whatever reason – are never worth filling a position quickly.

Indeed, even temporary hires can cause havoc and disruption in the workplace if they don't fit.

Here's the bottom line…
Your workforce –as with any professional sports organization - is a crucial investment. Just as sports teams owe it to their shareholders, fans and team members to find talented players and coaches, you owe it to yourself and everyone in your organization to make every hire count.

Tips: Three Steps to Creating a Healthy Work Environment
No matter how well you implement the search process to fill holes in your workforce, your new employees – heck, all your employees – will perform the way you envision only if you provide a healthy work environment.

Now I'm not talking healthy in the sense of lots of fresh air and clean surroundings (although that's always a good start). I'm talking a psychologically healthy environment that provides recognition for exemplary performance.

How do you achieve this kind of environment?

Here are three elements of a healthy environment with tips to help you implement each:
1) Open Communications
In today's economy, those who prosper share information with those who can make effective use of it. Where information is not shared, suspicion, mistrust and resentment grow. Thus:

2) Attitude of Cooperation
In developing cooperation, consider anything that makes it easier and more practical to work for you than for anyone else. Thus:

3) Atmosphere of Trust
If you want people to trust you with their jobs, careers, and development — their very lives — you have to trust them. Believe me, no one is more flattered than when they are trusted implicitly. Thus:

Your Solution Toolbox: A Tool to Help You Keep Your Workplace Healthy

Measuring What Matters

Building a psychologically healthy environment requires skilled front line managers who understand the dynamics of their relationships with their workers.

Can you see that if managers recognize where their perspectives are similar and where they differ from their subordinates, they will also more easily identify areas they need to develop? And, don't you think that they will then more likely complete appropriate manager training and strive to become more competent managers? Me too.

A suggestion then: Use Profiles Managerial Fit™ to determine supervisor-subordinate compatibility.

Profiles Managerial Fit™ is a manager assessment test that measures critical workplace compatibility factors between managers (executive, director, supervisor, team leader, etc.) and their employees.

Understanding this compatibility will help your managers work more effectively with your employees and keep your workplace psychologically healthy.

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