Archives for category: Human Resources

A mission in the businesses that I work with is to help create “Drama-Free work environments.” Perhaps the most critical element that impacts the potential achievement of this dream is the level of positive engagement between leaders and followers.

2017 engagement data reveals the following statistics:

  • 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged (Gallup)
  • Disengaged workers cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year (Mental Health America)
  • Only 16% of employees said they felt “connected and engaged” by employers (EmployeeChannel)
  • It can cost 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him/her (HR Dive)

Originally titled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Patrick Lencioni’s The Truth About Employee Engagement gives us three simple causes that impact the level of job misery, or phrased differently, disengagement.

  • Anonymity…people have a need to be known, appreciated and understood;
  • Irrelevance…fulfillment occurs when the work a person does matters, and makes a difference;
  • Immeasurement…if my performance isn’t measured, how can I know if I’m winning?

Leadership Challenge: as a leader, ask yourself (and for that matter, your employees!) whether any of these three causes exist in your work environment? If so, then there is a strong chance that both disengagement and drama are active participants in your current culture.

This becomes an urgent call-to-action to make improvements before you become a contributor to this alarming statistic…

  • 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable (HR Dive)

In reference to a prior blog on “The Review”, this process is often challenging and ineffective in terms of generating the desired performance improvement that Managers are seeking.

The traditional performance appraisal reviews past performance, and is often an inaccurate reflection of true performance due to:

  • inadequate preparation or effort,
  • poor documentation or record keeping,
  • any number of biases.

I believe that what really matters to is to provide your employees with input that leads to the development of their skills, which ultimately benefits them personally as well as serving the organization’s future.

There is much discussion in HR circles about eliminating the annual or semi-annual review process altogether. Such a change should foster more frequent conversations and updates about an employee’s performance, which is what most workers want.

ConstantONGOING coaching and feedback is one of the keys toward achieving continuous employee growth and development.

I’m not saying micro-management, but rather taking the time to ensure that every employee:

  • understands the clear expectations surrounding their role and responsibilities,
  • knows where they stand in terms of their performance,
  • and has a vision of how to grow and improve.


job search 2

Having spent time recently reviewing the plethora of information available regarding career search strategies, I’ve noticed some common denominators that are essential to a job seeker’s efforts.

Regardless of what your approach is, the following appear as consistent and universal actions:

1) Resume content and written communications must be flawless in terms of spelling and grammar.

2) Tailor your resume for the specific position being sought.

3) Whenever possible, include a cover letter which addresses how you will contribute to the hiring company.

4) Address communications to specific individuals (internet resources will allow you to impress hiring managers with this tactic versus using generic titles like “Dear Hiring Manager”).

5) Optimize the use of your professional network and relationships to get referrals, references and information about available positions.

6) Obtain knowledge in advance about any potential employer.  This is crucial in determining if you will enjoy a career there, as well as being a requirement during thorough interview preparation.

Implement all six and improve your chances of having your talent discovered!


Retaining your employees is step four in the ongoing Talent process cycle we’ve been discussing.

You’ve committed the resources to ensure you now have the right quantity and quality of people while providing the required training, development and coaching to promote their success.  So now, in this current state business world of job shopping and hopping, how do we get our team to stick around?

A 2013 article in Forbes noted that the average tenure of an employee in the U.S. is now only 1.5 years! The top six reasons that talent leaves their organization is:

  1. No Vision: this should be known and lived by everyone in any organization!
  2. No Connection to the Big Picture: what’s my purpose and why am I here?
  3. No Empathy: managers don’t openly communicate and listen to their people.
  4. No Effective Motivation: the false belief that financial compensation is a sufficient incentive to engage top talent and drive performance.
  5. No Future: a career path and succession planning is non-existent (reinforced in the introductory Talent “Four-Step” post)
  6. No Fun: this is pretty self-explanatory!

WOW…if this list doesn’t validate that people quit due to poor leadership!

Rewards, recognition, compensation and benefits are certainly important to retention, but perhaps even more essential are the six elements noted above.

If Human capital is indeed the most important asset of any business, than let this serve as an initial checklist of what to look for in your operation should you expect to retain your top talent.


Talent 4 step


In follow-up to steps 1 & 2 (planning and sourcing…earlier blogs), you’ve now armed yourself with the required high-caliber  human resource talent to get your business operating at the desired levels of proficiency. Hence, the focus turns to the development of those employees.

Talent development requires relentless communication, training, feedback and reviews directed at bettering the performance of individuals and groups in organizational settings.

Employee career growth is an ongoing effort, ultimately allowing every person in your organization to potentially achieve their optimal level of success.  This requires constant and consistent coaching with your team so there is never any question about where they stand, what they are doing well and what they need to improve upon.

“Performance evaluations” should not be a once-in-a-year event subject to the recency effect/bias!  Ideally daily interaction and feedback is optimal, even if brief…as long as it is genuine.

When running multiple locations, I implemented a monthly performance development review (PDR) which evaluated results, action items and areas of strength and opportunity.  Surely a quality leader can commit a few hours each and every month toward the evolution of their direct reports.

Talent 4 step


Once a talent strategy has been refined to understanding the quantity and quality of employees required to optimize results, a diligent sourcing process commences.

Uncovering and identifying ideal candidates through multiple recruiting techniques is an essential process often underemphasized.  The attraction, screening and ultimate selection of the most qualified talent can differentiate between good versus great companies!

Making an assumption that clearly defined human resource needs have been identified, and the corresponding job analysis and descriptions are completed, the various avenues for staffing candidates are extensive.

Primary sources would include traditional job-boards, internet aggregators, state workforce agencies, social media, “now hiring” postings, etc.

Personally, I have experienced the most success when using either:

  • my Linked-In network to seek out former associates or solicit applicants;
  • employee referrals, both internal (current) and external (former).

In either case, the benefit is that of having a known work history surrounding that prospect…past performance is a good indicator of future success.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to secure quality new hires from multiple resources, and to maintain an ongoing pipeline of applicants to assist with ongoing needs.

Talent 4 step

Talent 4 step

During the Talent “Four-Step” introductory blog, I noted the importance of human capital towards  achieving desired organizational goals and objectives.

The “plan” component of this Talent process cycle is the obvious starting point in determining the current and future staffing needs for your operations.  The human resource scheme must align with the overall strategic plan of an organization.

It seems that in our personal and professional lives, we tend to operate in a reactive rather than proactive, or properly planned, mode. When it comes to human resource management, this can lead to disaster in terms of productivity, growth and culture.

In leading a business, the talent strategy must identify exactly who will be required to optimize results, in terms of both the quality and quantity of employees.

Our next stop, a proper sourcing process, can then be developed based on the clearly identified people needs.