Find the Perfect Fit: What a Bespoke Employee Looks Like

A bespoke suit is one that is perfectly tailored to the person wearing it. It is, literally, made for that person, like the one I just recently bought. A bespoke employee is one that is the perfect fit for the open position on your team. How do you find the perfect fit when it comes to a new employee? With a bit of work and some diligence, you can find that bespoke employee.

What Does a Bespoke Employee Look Like?

You have an open position. You are ready to find the person to fill that position. How do you know which candidate is the perfect fit for your team opening?

  • This person has the social skills to work well within the team. No employee is an island. That person must work well within the team that already exists. He or she will be able to navigate many different situations using a variety of interpersonal skills, good communication, and emotional intelligence. This is critical for team building.
  • This person has a personality that will fit into the team and be good for the position. An aggressive person may not be the best fit for a laid-back team. A highly driven sales team might not be a good fit for a quiet, non-confrontational person.
  • This person asked the right questions during the interview. A good interview involves both parties asking and answering questions. The questions the job candidate asks will tell you a lot about their priorities and focus in life. If the candidate concentrates their questions on when the first raise or promotion will be, you might want to go to the next person on your list.
  • This person received approval from other members of your team. You should have at least two or three other people on your team meet and interview each job candidate. Their thoughts and reactions should count highly in your hiring decision. Hesitations and concerns can interfere with effective team building.
  • This person has the core competencies you need to fill the position. You need a well-defined job description to know what these are. But, don’t be hung up on a person having exactly the skill set you defined. If there are any minor gaps in technical or operational skills, those can be taught or gained through training.

Your bespoke employee is out there. To find that person, you need to know what you are looking for and take the time to find out which person best meets those requirements.

What No One Tells You About Following Up With New Hires on Week 2

Did you know that over 30 percent of people have quit a job before being there six months?

Some of the most common reasons cited include the following:

  • The job description was different from what the actual work entailed.
  • The new hire did not receive enough training.
  • The job environment was in no way enjoyable or rewarding.
  • There was no one to go to with questions or concerns.

Hiring a new person for your team is an investment of time, money and effort. How you bring that new hire on board plays a critical part in whether that person will become a happy, contributing employee or be gone in 6 months. Follow-up is critical for new hire success.

The fact is that many employers fail to follow up with new hires. They think the new person will come forward with any questions or concerns. If the employer doesn’t hear anything, the assumption is the new hire is doing fine. In fact, the new hire may already be looking for a new job.

Why two weeks is critical?

The first couple of weeks after a new person comes on board involves introducing that person to the team and getting him or her familiar with what is going on and the tasks assigned. By the end of the second week, the new hire should be somewhat familiar with day-to-day activities and the work environment. It is a critical time to follow-up with that new person.

Here are some questions to ask the new hire at the two-week follow-up:

  • What do you think about your new job?
  • What do you think about the organization?
  • What has been going well?
  • What has not been going well?
  • Do you have enough time to do your work?
  • Do you need any additional training to perform your job?
  • What don’t you understand about the job or the organization?
  • Is there anything you were told about the organization during the hiring process that ended up not being true?
  • Which co-workers have helped you most during the past couple of weeks?
  • Did your supervisor explain what is expected of you?
  • How well do you get along with your co-workers?

The goal is to find out if there are any dissatisfaction or problems emerging. How you address those concerns will be a turning point in whether that new hire is there in 6 months or not.

Getting Smart With Orientation

You spent time, money and tons of effort finding the right person to fill your open team position. You don’t want to waste this investment. That is why orientation is critical for transitioning this person successfully into your organization.

How can you get smart with orientation?

The first impressions you make with a new hire is important. It can make that person a contributing member of your team for years to come. An unhappy new hire is a great way to destroy years of teambuilding.

  • Send a welcome packet to the new hire before their first day. The packet should provide background information on the company and a welcome letter with the official start date and time. You can add any additional information you think would be best. In an ideal world, you should send the packet out two weeks before the new person arrives.
  • Be prepared before the new person arrives. Who will be giving the orientation? Who will give the tour? Does the new person have a place to sit and the equipment necessary for doing his or her job? Are all the orientation materials ready?
  • Have the orientation in a comfortable environment. The new hire is going to be nervous. Making the environment as comfortable as possible will make orientation go easier. Comfortable seating, refreshments, and frequent breaks are just a few suggestions.
  • Be honest about expectations and the reality of the job. For example, if your team culture is a half-hour lunch, but your employee handbook says an hour, be up front about it. You want to set the new hire up for success.
  • Don’t drown the new person with a ton of information. You may have a ton of HR information to impart, but do it in small doses. Give that person plenty of breaks throughout the day. Schedule a tour of the offices, take him or her out to lunch, and let them meet the important people in the company.
  • Don’t dump the person right into the job after orientation. At the very least, have the HR orientation in the morning, then let them go to lunch before starting work. The next day or next week would be better.

Take the time to plan and organize the way you will bring a new hire onboard. A smart orientation will make that person’s transition much easier. It will make teambuilding much easier.

Foolproof Tips to Build an Internal Support Network For Your Team

Does your team have a strong internal support network? If you have a team of three people all within the same space, communications and collaboration are not that difficult. However, larger teams, or those with members scattered in different locations, may have a tougher time. That is where having a strong internal support network becomes critical.

Tips for Building a Strong Internal Support Network for Your Team

Here are some team building ideas that will build the internal support network your team deserves.

  • Respect and acknowledge the members of your team. If someone on your team does not feel respected, that person will not perform at expected levels. Even worse, that person’s attitude can affect others on the team. Every member of the team should feel respected and have their accomplishments acknowledged.
  • Give your team members the tools they need. In today’s highly connected world, people have gotten used to instant and seamless integration of communications. The team should have tools immediately available to message other team members and to follow on-going conversations.
  • Make sure staff members feel comfortable with the internal support network. This means building the network from the bottom up instead of the top down. Executives should be part of the network, but should not dominate it or make it a place where regular staff members cannot communicate freely.
  • Encourage horizontal as well as vertical communications. Gaining support from colleagues is critical for a team member’s success. But, gaining support from those above and those below in the company structure is also critical. Communication is a cornerstone of success for all members of the team.
  • Preserve and strengthen relationships, even during times of high stress. A crisis can hit a company at almost any time. The strength of team bonds is going to be tested during those times. A business owner or manager needs to take an active role in preserving and strengthening team member relationships, all the time.
  • Build a library of resources. Does your team have common or repetitive tasks? Create a procedure or process for it. Are there minor problems that appear on occasion? Create a solution paper on it and make it available. Such a library will give your team the help it needs and will make operations go smoother.

You can use these team building ideas to build your internal support network. Which tip do you expect to use first? 

For more tips on building a great team click here! 

How to Get Your Team to Buy Into the Big Picture

One of the keys to your business success is getting your team to buy into the goals you have for the company’s future. When you get them on board with what you have envisioned, everyone will be working towards the same outcomes, which makes success much more likely. How do you get them to embrace that big picture?

How to Get Team Buy-In on the Big Picture

How can you get your team to embrace the destination you have for your company?

  • Be authentic. If you sound like a bad used car salesman when “selling” your vision, no one is going to buy in to what you are saying.
  • Be open and offer your team the full picture. Your team needs to know what your goals are, what part they play in that vision, and your plans on how to get from here to there.
  • Put things into context. How did you arrive at your goals? What is making you move in this direction at this time? The team needs to see the entire context to buy into what you are saying.
  • Tell the story of your company. There is usually a story behind any business. You need to be able to tell that story and tie your vision for the future to that narrative.
  • Connect to big decisions. Your overall vision may require making significant changes to your company, your customer base, your vendor list, or your product lines. Any major decisions you make should tie clearly into the big picture to make sense.
  • Define actionable next steps. Having a vision of the future is one thing. Being able to get there is another. Defining next steps shows you are going beyond the vision to taking action.
  • Acknowledge weaknesses and solve them. Your goals may have some obvious problems. If you ignore them, you are weakening your team’s ability to embrace the big picture.
  • Show confidence in employee abilities. Your team members are going to be the ones there to help you move your business towards that new destination.
  • Celebrate the plan. Your enthusiasm will translate into enthusiasm and positivity in your team. Make it a celebration and get everyone on the dance floor.

Sharing your goals is the only the first step in getting employee buy-in. You have to live the vision of them and be confident that your team can elevate your company to that vision. For more tips on how to have better team performance and a happier team click here. 

3 Essential Pieces to Building Your Culture

What is your business culture? It is the way your company operates and communicates both internally and externally. A healthy, forward-facing culture will grow your business. An unhealthy or fragmented culture will bring it down. How do you build the right culture in your company?

Building Your Culture

As a small business mentor, I recommend three things to build a forward-facing culture that everyone in the company embraces:

  • Align the culture with your core values. Your company reflects what is important to you. You want to go to work in a place that allows you to be authentic in everything you do. This creates a place where others can contribute freely. It also makes it easy to move the company forward.
  • Make open communication a priority. A healthy company is one where ideas are shared and discussed in an open honest manner. Everyone on the team should feel empowered to share opinions and feel good about doing so. An unhealthy company is full of secrets and gossip, both of which bring widespread negative consequences to the entire company.
  • Work as a team. You and your entire team are all working towards the same goals. You need to develop the idea of unity and community. Empowered team members will work together to support the company, the owners, the management team, and their co-workers. And remember to have fun along the way. A little fun will make even the longest work days easier to take.
  • If you have a company where your team loves to come to work, there are no heights you cannot achieve. It all begins with developing a company culture that is the envy of everyone else. It continues with careful monitoring and nurturing that begins with you.

What is your vision for your company’s culture? To learn more about building a better team click here. 

4 Handy Tips for Vetting Personal Recommendations

Vetting references is an essential part of the hiring process, according to business experts. It will give you a more complete picture of who this person is and how they might perform within your team. But, what is the best way to vet those references?

Tips for Vetting the References

Here are four tips that will help you get the best information from the references:

  • Get and vet the references before scheduling an interview. After you narrow down your resume pile to a few good candidates, request their personal references. The job candidates should not have any problems providing these promptly. After you contact a candidate’s references, you will know whether you want to take the next step and set up an interview.
  • Look for references from professional sources, instead of personal ones. The exception is if you are hiring someone who is brand new to the work force. Professional references are preferred because they come from former bosses, co-workers, or subordinates. These individuals will give you a good picture of the job candidate’s professionalism.
  • Use telephone contact instead of written. You can have a standard set of questions to ask each reference. With telephone contact, you can ask follow-up or clarification questions. If you requested a written reference, you are going to get a canned response.
  • Ask the right questions. You need to get information on this person’s work habits. Some questions to consider: What is his or her strongest quality? What is the weakest? How were her communication skills? How did he respond to criticism? Does she work well with others? Does she work better alone? Did you feel like you could depend on him? Would you rehire her? What else can you tell me? 

There is one thing to be aware of when vetting references. Many companies have gotten in trouble in recent years for giving former employees less than favorable reviews. So, in some cases, you may find a reference at a former employer is less than forthcoming with information. If you have this happen, ask the same questions as you would other references. Listen for what they are not saying as much as they are saying.

Taking the time to vet references will help you sort out good potential job candidates from the less than stellar ones. It is time well spent.

Where to Find the Best Employees

A few decades ago, the best place to attract potential employees was in the ad section of the newspaper. With the advent of the Internet, that gradually switched to online job boards. Today, if you want to attract the best employees, you need to go further and find them where they are.

Where to Find the Best Employees

Small business experts offer updated recommendations on where to find potential employees:

  • LinkedIn is the professional networking social media spot. You can network with people in your industry. Job seekers often post their resumes and profiles there to attract potential employers. It lets you see who is actively participating in industry discussions and who is contributing new material, both of which is a good sign for any new hire.
  • Industry panels/lectures are another place to connect with potential job candidates. Many times, the people in the audience are those who have already worked in your industry or are interested in entering it. Taking time to meet and greet as many people as possible, including panel members.
  • Virtual career fairs have become a growing trend in many industries. It is a live online event where job seekers can speak or message with companies who are looking to hire. The job seekers come prepared with resumes and are often ready to interview through Skype or other online channels.
  • Networking events are good for both job seekers and potential employers. The perfect candidate for your team may be standing just across the room. If that perfect person is not in that room, someone in that room may know who would be a good fit. Plus, as a bonus, the more you network in your business community, the more business you are likely to attract.
  • Using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are actually effective ways to attract job candidates. Your followers are already interested in your company and your industry. Let them know you have an open position available. You might be surprised at who knows who.

If you have one or more open positions, start venturing outside the job boards. You will find plenty of people who would be the perfect fit for your team.

5 Facts About Resumes

How many resumes did you receive last time you put up a job posting? In the past few years, many employers have been getting hundreds of job applicants for a single open position. Knowing some fun facts about resumes can make slogging through all of those resumes a bit easier.

Five Fun Facts About Curriculum Vitae (aka Resumes)

Here are five facts you might or might know about resumes:

  1. Only 35 percent of job applicants are actually qualified for the job for which they are applying. That means six or seven of the resumes you read are from people who could not do the job you have open. Talk about a waste of time.
  2. The average time spent reviewing a resume the first time is less than 30 seconds. When you’ve got 300 resumes to review, and a big client meeting later on in the day, you are going to scan each resume as fast as possible to see if that person is remotely qualified. Up to 80 percent of resumes are tossed after this first scan.
  3. In 2015, over 90 percent of resumes are submitted to potential employers via email or other electronic means. That is significantly higher than the 22 percent that were submitted that way back in 2000. What do you think of a job applicant who submits a paper resume instead of an electronic one?
  4. Adding a picture to a resume gives a job candidate an 88 percent chance of getting their application thrown out. Unless you have an open position for a model or actor, you probably don’t need or want to see an applicant’s face before the interview. 
  5. Resumes serve two purposes. They are marketing tools for job seekers. They are screening tools for potential employers. No wonder many resumes are mixed up, full of errors, and seem to have no structure. They don’t know what they are supposed to be.

Keep these facts in mind the next time you pick up a resume to review. It will bring a smile to your face and make the job a bit easier to take.

Supercharge Your Hiring Process

What do you need in a new hire? If you are like most businesses, your company needs the highest quality talent possible, hired quickly and efficiently. Now is the time to supercharge your hiring process to get those positions filled with the perfect candidates.

Supercharging Your Hiring

Business experts have several recommendations on how to take your hiring process to the next level:

  • Get your employees involved. If your team loves working for your company, give them an incentive to spread the word. You can set up an incentive program that gives them a reward if their referral is hired and stays for X number of months.
  • Set up an applicant tracking system that is available to potential candidates. If you have an open position, advertise it on your company website. Let applicants apply directly through the website and then track their application. If they are not hired, keep their information on file for future job openings.
  • Don’t compromise when it comes to quality. When you aim for high quality talent, you will attract those kind of applicants. You do this by having a detailed job listing that outlines the skill set and experience you expect from an applicant. The higher the quality talent you hire, the better candidates you will see in the future.
  • Go beyond the job boards when it comes to hiring. Job boards may snag you a few good candidates. But, most of the best talent is already employed somewhere else and may not be actively looking. You need to reach out and find these people via recruiters, networking and social media.
  • Create a talent pool. You are going to miss some of the best candidates out there if you only look for talent when you are hiring. These days, many of the most talented people only stay two or three years at a job. Getting your company on their radars can pay off when they are looking for their next position.
  • Nurture people in your talent pool. It is quite easy for potential hires to forget about companies that fade into the background. That is why smart business owners are constantly reaching out and updating those potential hires.

Supercharge the hiring for your next open position now, even if that job is not open yet. You will attract the best talent and the perfect candidate as a result.

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