Given today’s workplace demographics, turnover will be a large issue for the foreseeable future.  Turnover will greatly affect your business, your client’s business and your competitors.

How can you make turnover your competitive advantage? Every few weeks, we will add a short, easy-to-implement hiring idea. Each will be written to help you make hiring your competitive advantage.


Below is a list of the first 12 articles for your review.  

Several have been published in Real Leaders magazine & newsletter that goes to Young Presidents  Organization (YPO) +30,000 others.  I hope they can help you.

  1. Questions for Hiring Managers
  2. Hiring’s Weakest Link
  3. Politicians vs. Leadership
  4. Culture Fit & Manager Fit
  5. Remote Employees & Roto-Rooter
  6. Grateful Employees
  7. Choose 3 – 5 Characteristics
  8. Your Hiring Brand
  9. Thank You Ben Franklin
  10. Hiring is the Front Door
  11. How NOT to Hire “A” Players
  12. Who Are You Interviewing?


Questions for Hiring Managers

Yes, this is a difficult hiring environment, but quick decisions to fill job openings will have major consequences on your time while dealing with employee issues like engagement, absenteeism, workman’s comp cases, turnover and more.

Five questions to answer BEFORE you make any hiring decision.

  1. Will this candidate add talent to the team?
  2. Will the candidate take ownership of their job responsibilities?
  3. Will this candidate get along with the other team members?
  4. Can I manage this candidate?
  5. If hired, how will I help this candidate learn, grow, and succeed – quickly?

If you answer these questions honestly, your new hire will have a better chance of fitting your management style, being a productive member of the team, and embracing the company’s culture.  Additionally, you will have more time leading the team and less time trying to fix a poor hire.  Benefit: less turnover and more employee engagement.

Note: You can improve your hiring skills by writing your answers down and reviewing your notes in the future.


 Hiring’s Weakest Link

Does this sound familiar?

  • You have a “B” manager trying to hire “A” players.
  • Managers make their hiring decision based on the first impression.
  • Manager and candidate bond because of similar likes (i.e., sports, college football, etc.), rather than the candidate’s qualifications.
  • Manager says: “Please sit down while I read your resume.”
  • Manager hires based on “I’m a good judge of character.”

This happens every day – even in the best companies. Too often, well intentioned managers are the weak link in your hiring process.  And the cost is enormous – lost sales, poor customer service, safety issues, lower employee engagement, etc.

Training, while important, may not be the solution because most managers resort back to their old habits.  How to help hiring managers:

  1. Job descriptions are sooo yesterday!  Essential, but not strategic. They provide only basic info – work history, education and the job’s duties and responsibilities, etc.  Have the manager complete a Job Outlook form. Prior to starting the hiring process, capture the hiring managers’ strategic thoughts about the open position in writing and with their signature.
  2. Review your pre-hire assessments. Are you using yesterday’s tools for a vastly different business model (i.e., remote workers, Zoom meetings, work/life balance issues, etc.).
  3. There are two types of onboarding. The formal one is where the candidate learns about the company’s’ vision, mission, procedures, benefits, and products.  The informal onboarding is where the current employees teach the new person “the ropes.”  If not aligned, it will directly affect the new employee’s success with the company.


Politicians vs. Leadership

Politicians are not the best role models.  Often, they are self-serving individuals obsessed with their own job security. Social media lets us watch them say one thing and do just the opposite.  Rather than effectively lead, politicians simply call each other names. The world would be a better place if politicians remembered these leadership principles.

  1. Tunnel vision – do not surround yourself with people who only think like you. Add diversity to broaden your scope.
  2. Likeability – you cannot always be the nicest person in the room.
  3. Decisions – don’t let your ego get in the way of a good decision.
  4. Trust – if your team does not trust you, then you are just a bully.
  5. Followers – 20-30% of the people will follow anyone.
  6. Communication – talk is cheap – action pays the bills.
  7. Respect – it is earned over many years but can be lost in seconds.
  8. Leadership – lying and creating fear is not leadership. It is chaos.
  9. Courage – do the right thing. Make the tough decisions even if it means losing some of your status.
  10. Integrity – stand up for what you believe. Be the role model you want your children to follow.

Let’s hope more politicians remember that they are role models for current and future generations.


Culture Fit and Manager Fit

How many current employees would you rehire if the company or your department were started today?

Problem: Too many hiring decisions are based solely on job fit – the candidate’s first impression, number of years in the industry, worked for competitor, has a degree from a prestigious college or came highly recommended by a friend.  All valuable information, but job fit is not enough for today’s rapid-fire business environment.  Hiring is the front door to your future success™.

If you want to increase your employee retention and engagement you need more information.  Today, candidates must fit the job, the culture, and the manager.

For example: Does the candidate have the right attitude to fit your culture? Will this person be a good fit to your management style (i.e., micro-manager, dominating, affirming, etc.)?  Hiring decisions that are based on a person’s overall fit will benefit the company and the individual.

Three ways to tell if a candidate will fit your management style and your culture.

  1. Today’s candidates come prepared with standard, canned answers to the most asked interview questions.  Dig deep and don’t accept their prepared answers. Be prepared with behavioral based interview questions with several probing follow up questions.
  1. Scientifically based pre-hire assessments will give you objective 3rd party information about the candidate.  Your assessments should include a distortion scale to determine if the candidate is misrepresenting themselves.  Your  assessment should have company specific benchmarks, include interview questions, and have multiple uses (i.e., selection, promotions, career development, conflict resolution, leadership, etc.)
  1. Ask the candidate what type of manager he/she performs best with – dominant,  detail oriented, aggressive, etc.  Conversely, what management style most intimidates them?

Employees are looking for work/life balance, to be part of something bigger than themselves, to contribute to a worthwhile cause, and to be respected for what they bring to the job.  Hiring for job fit alone is no longer working.  Add culture fit and manager fit to gain a competitive advantage.


Employee Engagement & Roto-Rooter

Yes, that Roto-Rooter!  (I promise, this relates to hiring)

Recently, I had the company fix a clogged main sewer line.   Luckily, the problem was small, but the repair people reminded me of a valuable lesson.

While their machine was working, I asked the two Roto Rooter employees: “So, how long have you worked for the company?”   Their answer floored me.  One of the remote employees had worked for them for eighteen (18) years, and the other for twelve (12).  They were intelligent, professional, and capable individuals who spent years making their living unclogging drains.

Most people would not want their jobs.  Yet, these two men were proud to be working for Roto-Rooter.  I asked: “What makes the company so special?”  During our conversation over the next 10 – 15 minutes, they said:

  • The General Manager is honest, capable, employee focused and fair.
  • The company gives them the tools and the training they need to be successful.
  • The company communicates effectively and includes them in the company functions.
  • The pay and benefits are good.
  • The company keeps their service vans and equipment in good shape.
  • The company cares about them and respects their efforts.

I called the General Manager to congratulate him for having a work environment that the remote employees were proud of.  We talked for several minutes and then, I asked “where do you get your new employees?”   Without hesitation he said: “Almost 100% are referrals from our current employees.”

Unclogging drains is a dirty, smelly job with long hours and difficult weather situations. But Roto-Rooter in St Louis retains good people because they focus on doing the right things.  They treat their employees with respect.  The net result – a growing, profitable company with low turnover, an engaged workforce and good customer service.

Today’s employees are saying: “Validate me as a person or lose me as an employee.” Do you have a turnover problem?


Grateful Employees

CEOs are asking “how can we increase employee retention and engagement?”

Maybe that’s the wrong question.

What if you asked: “What are our employees grateful for?”

How would your employees respond to these statements?   
1.     I am respected by my boss
2.     My manager helps me to learn and grow
3.     I have the tools and the necessary training to succeed
4.     I am motivated to do my best
5.     I trust my manager and the company’s senior executives
6.     The company deals with employee issues honestly and fairly
7.     I am valued for my ideas, my talents, and my diversity

People stay where they are wanted, respected, and appreciated.  If you answer “Yes” to five or more – CONGRATULATIONS – your employees are grateful for more than just their paycheck.


Choose 3 – 5 Characteristics

If you started your company today, would you hire everyone currently on the payroll?

Your hiring managers and supervisors are the gatekeepers to your company’s future.  How can you give them the “keys” to be successful?  The keys are focus, ownership, accountability, and continuous improvement.

One way to help is getting everyone on the same page.

For example: developing a list of three to five overall employee characteristics you need to fulfill your Mission Statement.   Then, those characteristics are in front of every hiring manager for every interview and are included on the interview evaluation form.  Are your candidates matching the characteristics you need to reach your goals?

21 Sample employee characteristics – choose 3 – 5

Integrity Reliable Persistence Passionate Ambitious
Team player Self-starter Leader Independent Instills trust
Happy Focused Inspires others Problem solver Flexible
Effective communicator Positive attitude Seeks improvement Results oriented Strong work ethic
Achieves goals

This idea came from the CEO of a remarkably successful construction company. Once the company established their five characteristics, he had the list laminated, and he carries the list in his pocket every day.  When visiting the company’s branches around the US, he talks with the managers about the list.


Your Hiring Brand

Real-world examples of situations that are negatively affecting your Hiring Brand:

  • Manager turnover. A Midwest company hired a new Director of Human Resources whose LinkedIN profile shows six jobs in ten years.  How would you react to new policies or ideas if you thought the new person would stay only one-two years?
  • Abusive personality. A manufacturing company hired a new COO who quickly gained the reputation as “the screamer.”  Employees started voting with their feet and turnover became a serious problem.
  • Ineffective management. A large retail store had an employee that management called “the bitcher” because he never said anything good about the company.  Recently, he received his 10-year pin during one of their daily employee meetings.
  • Theft. An 800-person distribution company found that $60,000 had been stolen from their largest branch in an important market.  The branch manager, who had major contacts in that marketplace, was the chief suspect.   Three months after the discovery the Regional VP had not even investigated or discussed the theft with the manager.

Today’s employees are tech savvy and impatient with the status quo.   They respect people – not their title.  If management does not effectively deal with performance issues, they can expect to be trashed on social media.  That will have a lasting effect on your Hiring Brand.

How is your Hiring Brand?


Thank You Ben Franklin

Is your company or an individual manager’s reputation killing your recruiting efforts?

Potential candidates search the Internet and social media to learn what current and past employees are saying about the company?

If you want to enhance the company’s reputation, maybe Ben Franklin can help.  He asked himself two questions that shaped his view for day’s activities.

  • In the Morning — What good will I do today?
  • In the Evening — What good did I do today?

Judging from his personal success, and his efforts to help others, I would say this daily activity was successful.  Would managers look at their day’s activities differently if they asked themselves Ben Franklin’s two questions?

  • Would they look at hiring, motivating, and developing their team members differently?
  • Would they look for more creative ways to resolve employee issues?
  • Would they get valuable input from employees whose opinions had not valued before?
  • Would they ask more questions and make fewer demanding statements?
  • Would they foster a “we” workplace environment rather than a top down, I’m-the-boss attitude?
  • Would your employees be more respected for what they are “bringing to the table”?

These two questions can have a profound effect on employee selection, engagement, retention, and motivation.  Workplace acceptance and validation can have a positive impact on the company, the employee and their family, and the community.

We have the power to change the world – one person and one day at a time.


Hiring is the Front door to Your Future Success!

Today’s employees want to be validated for what they bring to the company. They want to learn and grow professionally, want more life-work balance, and a manager they can respect.   Importantly, they want to know they are making a difference and contributing to something larger than themselves.

Employees are far more open about their needs and will turn off  or turnover if those needs are not meant.  To meet these challenges, CEOs must look at the HR function differently.  A supportive role is no longer acceptable.  HR must have a seat where the strategic decisions are made.

HR is a supporting role if:

  • Your website identifies the key executives without including the head of HR.
  • Remote branches are “doing their own thing.”
  • HR is blamed for an increase in the employee turnover rate.
  • HR reports to the accounting or legal department.
  • Managers say, “we would have hired better if HR had gotten us better candidates.”
  • HR is not involved on the front-end of the company’s strategic decisions.
  • An executive drops a resume in HR’s desk and says “can you get the paperwork going? We just hired him/her, and they start in two weeks.”

If you answer “yes” to four or more, your company is at a significant disadvantage.  One way to gain a competitive advantage is by splitting the HR department.

  • Vice President – People and Culture – this includes the recruiting, leadership and talent development and onboarding. This is an executive level position with the person reports directly to the President/CEO.
  • Human Resources – Administration – reports to the CFO and includes the important support functions like benefits, payroll, compliance, etc.

Hiring is the front door to your future success.  Make sure it is working properly for today’s business environment.


How NOT Do Hire an “A” Player

Companies want to hire high impact “A” players.  To accomplish this goal, senior executives and HR have developed detailed hiring methods.  However, within the company there are always managers who want to short circuit the process.  There are no short cuts when hiring “A” players.

10 Ways NOT to hire an “A” player:

  • The hiring manager does not have a clear picture of the job’s current and future needs, challenges, and goals.
  • The hiring manager is unprepared or arrives late to the interview.
  • The hiring manager seems distracted, stressed, or impatient.
  • The hiring manager hires based on first impression.
  • The hiring manager is intimidated by the candidate’s qualifications.
  • The hiring manager is not an “A” player.
  • The hiring manager is living in a “that’s the way we have always done it” world.
  • The hiring manager has an antiquated “I’m a good judge of character” attitude.
  • The hiring manager talks too much during the interview.
  • The hiring manager thinks their current hiring skills do not need to be changed.

The world is changing at speeds never seen before.  Whole industries are experiencing revolutionary change.  Is the human side of your hiring process keeping up? Is hiring your competitive advantage?


Who are you interviewing?

I’m old enough to remember when resumes were virtually 100% accurate and gave the hiring manager valuable insight on a person’s qualifications.   Not so anymore.

  • Fake college diploma and transcript is a $1 Billion industry.

Source: the FBI

  • 41% of all interviews are decided on appearance alone.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily

  • 71% of all resumes contain fictitious information.

Source: SHRM

  • Candidate can search – “Best answers to interview questions.”

Results: Amazon – 96 books….Google – 13.2 million hits

  • Candidates have multiple resumes – each targeted to a specific job, company, or industry.
  • Resumes can be written by professionals who excel in making the person look like a sure fit to the open position.

Right now, the hiring process favors the candidate, and the pressure is on the hiring managers to upgrade their skills.  Make hiring your competitive advantage.