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Is Your Business Starting to Turn?

Posted by: Mary Gorski Posted Date: 11/05/2009

This is way premature but let me be the first to say it: “congratulations!  You just survived the longest and deepest recession in 60 years.”   How do you feel?  

Unfortunately it doesn’t quite feel like the recession is over, unemployment rate is still high, consumer spending is still down.  But there are some glimmers of good news, the Dow Jones is approaching the 10,000 mark, the housing market has stabilized (maybe) and some segments of business and industry are reporting an upturn.

Is your business starting to turn?   If you are like most businesses, you are still going to be very cautious about adding expense or making investments.  Hopefully the day will come when you will need to increase your staff to keep up with demand.  You probably are going to grow but do it “leaner and meaner” than before.  Maybe some of your competitors have dropped out, providing you with some nice opportunities.

What is the most effective and productive way to add employees?  The answer is simple- hire the right people. Companies hiring now or in the near future will probably have access to one of the largest available talent pools in recent memory.  Hiring the right person should be a snap, correct?  Actually no, even with a huge selection of talent out in the market place, if you are going to use the same techniques for employee selection as in the past, your chances of hiring a star performer are no better than before. 

What are the traditional methods of pre-employment selection?   Select a small group of candidates by weeding through resumes, bring the selected group in for a series of interviews, then call a few references and select the one you like the best.  Congratulations, you just hired someone who is great at writing resumes, doing an interview and has some nice friends for references.  Unfortunately, none of that has anything to do with whether that person will make an outstanding employee; in fact there is an 80% change he won’t be.

What makes and outstanding employee?  Someone who has passion for her work, has values that are compatible with the work environment and has the aptitude to learn and excel.  The only way you will find that person is to use objective, effective pre-employment selection systems that go way beyond the tradition hiring. This is not some new cutting edge methodology, it is tried and true.   Pre-employment selection systems work, as studies show that the chances of hiring an outstanding employee are 4 times greater than traditional hiring methods.

If you are ready to hire, let us know.  We can give you the tools to do it right.

Wrong Person –Wrong Position, the result is poor productivity

Posted by: Mary Gorski Posted Date: 04/18/2009

One would think that one would not have any troubles finding outstanding performers when hiring in a recession.   While it is true that the hiring manager will end up with a much larger stack of resumes than before, finding the outstanding performer could be even a greater challenge if the right techniques are not employed.

If you are using traditional hiring techniques, then only 15% of the people you hire are going to end up being superior performers.   Can your company afford this kind of ratio? 

Let’s examine the traditional hiring techniques a little more closely.   After posting, or advertising for the position, you end up getting a bunch of resumes and applications.  Someone sifts through all the resumes and by some criteria, pulls out the resumes that there might be interest in.  Usually at this point one is looking for key education or experience items that are part of the job requirement.  The job requirements were probably established by the manager or front line supervisor.  Usually job requirements are specific experiences and education levels. 

Next the list of candidates are brought in for interviews.   Usually several people in the company are performing the interview, sometimes there might be a team or group interview.   Through this process, the one or two “best” candidates are selected and there may be another step such as reference checks and another interview session, perhaps with a senior level executive or the business owner. If everyone “likes” the candidate- and the reference checks out okay- you just made a successful hire.

“Successful” being that this person has less than an 80% chance of being a superior performer.  What is wrong with this picture? 

First let us start with requirements- unfortunately when companies write job descriptions and requirements they do not detail out the attributes that are really needed to perform at superior level.  Most of the time these attributes aren’t known.  Requirements usually translate into education or job task experiences, but these rarely relate directly to the person’s ability to do the job, and certainly doesn’t relate to the ability to be a superior performer.

Second, let’s talk about resumes and interviews.  Most of the times the selection process will pick the “best” resume writers and the “best” interviewees.  Again, unless the job is a professional resume writer, this has very little to do with how the candidate will perform on the job. 

Third, reference checks; well even the most unqualified candidate will probably be able to find a couple of people who think they are great, including previous supervisors.  The best you can find out from a reference check is if the candidate is a complete idiot- those are ones that give you references that will tell the truth about them.

The entire process is will assure a success rate of 15%, and statistics prove it.  What is better?  Consider the statistics below:

  • When you add “background checks” to the process you increase the success rate to 26%
  • When you add “personality & behavior” to the process you increase the success rate to 38%
  • When you add “mental abilities” to the process you increase the success rate to 54%
  • When you add “interest & motivators” to the process you increase the success rate to 66%
  • When you add “job matching” to the process you increase the success rate to 75%

In other words, companies that consistently use scientific based assessments for their hiring process will end up with a workforce where 75 percent are outstanding performers.  That’s how you increase productivity.

More information on hiring assessment tools.
Next week’s topic- Communication.
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Getting the Most out of Your Workforce in a Recession

Posted by: Mary Gorski Posted Date: 03/25/2009

The recession is here and it’s the worst economic situation we seen in 30 years.  Everyone is cutting expenses and trying to survive the next few months.  You need to cut costs, but….the last thing you want is an unengaged, demoralized workforce.  They are most likely carrying an extra load due to the reduced staff, and they will be the ones that you need to transition back to prosperity.  There is less business out there, but the same amount of competition, you are going to have to be cheaper, better and faster in this new reality.  Now more than ever, you need an engaged, productive work force. 

 

Doing things the right way is critical, but you can start by fixing 5 problems that kill productivity.  Before you can begin the path to having a highly engaged, productive workforce- you have to fix these problems:

  • Bad Supervision:  The number one reason given for people leaving their job is their supervisor.  Poor supervision kills productivity.
  • Wrong Person –Wrong Position.   According to the latest statistics, less than 19% of your workforce falls in the “outstanding performer” category.  The number one reason for this is that the persons skill set and aptitude doesn’t match the job.  You certainly aren’t hiring as much now, but it will be absolutely critical to bring in outstanding performers when you do.
  • Not Communicating.  People need to hear good news and bad; by not communicating, you are leaving your employees in the dark.  The best way to engage your workforce- communication.
  • Not training.   Your people need improved skills to do more for you, you may postpone that off-site employee retreat, but you can’t afford to have your organization stagnate in a pool of mediocrity. Employee skills need to be continuously upgraded so your company can face an even more competitive environment.
  • Not Measuring Performance.  Sure with the reduced sales numbers, you may have to revise goals, but if you aren’t measuring performance, you aren’t managing.

 

MG Assessments has the assessment tools to address all of the above situations.  In the next few weeks, I am going into more detail on each of the above problems and give you concrete advice on how to fix them.

 

Next week’s topic: The supervisor.

Would You Recognize a Good Sales Person if She Walked in the Door?

Posted by: Mary Gorski Posted Date: 02/12/2009

Would you really know a good sales person if you met one.  The answer is probably no!  Everyone looks good at a job interview, but the key to really discovering who will make a great sales person starts with objective assessments. 

Unfortunately many leaders today, believe that their “gut feel” will guide them to make the best hiring decisions.  Have you ever heard this?  “I like him!  He reminds me of myself!”  Well of course he does your sitting right in front of him and he is reflecting back what you want to hear. 

There are a number of misconceptions about what makes a great sales person; some people mistakenly rely on their prejudices:  Slightly dishonest, aggressive, back slapping, greedy.  Well you might be surprised to hear what the experts say about this:

Most outstanding sales people have the following traits:

1) They are listeners, not talkers. Successful selling requires knowing a customer’s needs. Great salespeople encourage customers to talk about their needs. They then listen carefully so they can connect their product’s benefits to those needs.

2) They possess a strong work ethic. Successful salespeople work hard and sales superstars know there is no substitute for this. They prospect more often, make more calls, talk to more people and make more sales presentations than their coworkers.

3) They are exceptionally honest. Because many customers think a sales person is a backslapper, even unethical, they look for dishonesty in every sales situation. One whiff of it, and they dismiss the company and its products. Above all else, successful salespeople maintain their integrity.

4) They are self-confident. Rejection is more common in sales than success. The best salespeople are able to set rejection aside and move on. They are persistent. They look for new solutions. They refuse to give up.

5) They are enthusiastic and passionate. Always in a positive mood, super sellers choose to focus on the positive rather than drag themselves down with the negative. What’s more, they are genuinely excited about their company and about selling its products and services.

Quite clearly, finding people with these characteristics—those that will become your top performers—require a lot of attention.   Using behavior profiling and testing will help you find that next superstar.

Next Week: How much money are you losing because of your sales force?

Pre-hiring Sales Assessments

Posted by: Mary Gorski Posted Date: 05/30/2008

Is your sales team truly prepared for today's sales environment?  Want More Sales? Build Business Acumen...

If you asked your customers what they expect from your salespeople, what would they answer?

Years ago they'd most likely say, "sales people need to know their products inside and out so they can make appropriate recommendations." These days, however, customers go to the Internet for most of their product information making "product knowledge" ancillary in the selling process.

More recently, they might have answered that they expect salespeople to "understand the problems I face and recommend solutions." Now, like product knowledge, this expectation is also passé.

So what does your customer want?

Studies show that today customers want salespeople to know their business – and more specifically, to understand what drives their business.

Your customer wants more than conversation about features and benefits, problems and solutions. He wants his salesperson — his consultant — to understand the results he seeks, the strategies he uses, how he measures success, and especially his company's business environment and its competition.

In other words, he wants a salesperson with business acumen.

MG Assessments, LLC | 13701 Duluth Drive |Apple Valley, MN  55124 | Phone: 612-810-1293