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ALIGNMENT … RETENTION … PROFITABILITY
With all of the talk out there in regards to “Talent”, finding “Talent”, being the “Talent” and defining “Talent”, I question what is it exactly that companies are looking for. I can locate a hundred articles written on any of topics, they all sound the same. Are we suffering from a skills shortage? Yes. As a manager in several different industries, I can tell you first hand, it’s hard to find both skilled AND unskilled labor. We all, as management professionals, deal with those realities every day. Throw into the mix the ideals and expectations of the people we want in the teams that we build. It doesn’t sound like anyone has figured it out to date, I speak with CEO’s, President’s, VP’s, HR managers and yes candidates, the people we are hiring. No one is on the same page. No one.
What have I learned? We are all idealists, both as candidates and as employers. It is truthfully the age old story of romance, falling in love with your soul mate. We all want the perfect employees that match our job descriptions, company mission statements and core values; we want to fall in love. I know it sounds ridiculous but seriously I’ve heard it all. Companies trying to redefine what they are looking for in a perfect employee based on the fact that they need to sometimes look outside of their given skills to find a match. The caveat here is, we say that initially then … inevitably at decision or crunch time, it still comes down to education, experience and what impression that candidate leaves with us.
I’ve read many articles and have heard from HR professionals, try and look at the big picture and “forget about this “GUT” thing”. Well, I challenge you to find someone who wouldn’t tell you that trusting their “GUT” is what has made them successful. “GUT” plus common sense, no romance involved just plain old good judgement. No one seems to write about that anymore. In life and in business, my money is still on “GUT”. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet. It’s the times that I have ignored my precious old friend, inevitably I stumbled into trouble.
CHOOSING … It kind of feels like desperation in no uncertain terms, on everyone’s part. Desperation in companies to build high functioning, performing teams with the dream characteristics of the super human employee. Here’s a note to consider, they don’t exist. There are some candidates out there that might come really close, but they are few and far between. When they do come along, companies aren’t willing to pay what they are worth; companies still want a Mercedes Benz for the price of a Chevy Cavalier.
You’re asking how I know this. Years of management for companies that don’t understand that they have to align their actions and their ‘REAL’ environments to what they are actually portraying in their job descriptions in attempting to find that “diamond” when searching for new employees. The latest thing is slapping an MBA on their qualifications but then wanting to pay them $35,000 for what is realistically a junior role. Again … align your actual roles with realistic expectations of what you can afford and what your company and environment can actually deliver. A company has little chance of success long term in hiring an MBA for a junior role, because trust me; they will be looking for a more lucrative role the minute they sit down at their new desk in your company. The minute they sit down. You are really just a temporary parking place. You may have fallen in love at first sight and won the prize, but divorce is impending, and it’s not going to be a long marriage. Your retention rate of holding onto “A” game employees in a “D” game environment is going to continue to rise, because you CANNOT provide what they really need. Note here: Don’t pout when they walk out the door, you are actually responsible for your own demise. Yes be accountable for the message that you are putting out there and make sure that you can live up to the image that you’ve sold yourself as.
This is going to sound harsh, but wake up. If it is your HR manager or recruiter that is creatively weaving a story for your job descriptions and job advertisements, keep it real. Sure sell yourself, but make sure you can deliver.
If your company wants the “A” team, then it’s time to get into the game. Old school compensation plans, company culture, old boys club, and minimalistic cultures and work environments are out the door. It’s time to pull your socks up, roll your sleeves up … and any other cliché that applies. I still find it humourous that there are companies that are still sticking to two weeks of holidays when you start with a company, no matter how much experience you are bringing to the table. This is never more important than if you do not have the available cash to pay your star employees the going rate or a higher rate for their brilliance. You better start getting creative with your compensation plans, your work culture and your praise.
People, employees, employers, we are all the same at the end of the day; we want to enjoy our lives which includes work, and family. Heard of work-life balance? You can ignore that phrase all you want, but that phrase is not only here to stay but it’s going to become even more paramount in retention strategies, recruitment strategies and candidate expectations than ever before. Why? The working world is making a shift, employees are standing up and saying, “No, I cannot work 16 hour days and use my weekends, I have a spouse and children and I not only NEED to see them, I WANT to see them!”
Sure there are many people that don’t care, family life isn’t as important as work, or the almighty dollar, some have just followed along in their parents work shoes and figured that it’s just the way that it’s done. More people are striking out on their own because many companies are not in alignment with today’s needs of society or their employees. There are company’s out there that exceed everyone’s expectations of going over and beyond in the way of maximizing their production in the way of employee satisfaction. Why? Because … they have aligned themselves with the new market requirements.
ALIGNMENT. I think alignment comes hand in hand with a realistic look at who you are as a leader, who you are as a company and who you are as an employee. If you don’t really know who you are on any of these levels, you better start to find out.
ALIGNMENT, one of the reasons why there is a rift between C-Suite, management and the underlings. Figure out why that is hurting your bottom line. You cannot succeed as a company if parts of your train are all trying to go in different directions. Think of it this way, if you hook the train up, all the cars going in the same direction and you put a big strong engine in the very front of that train, YOU WILL SUCCEED. I guess yes, it does come back to that old saying from that children’s book, the name is escaping me, but all I can hear in my head is, “I think I can, I think I can”. EVERYONE needs to get on the train, find a seat with a view and enjoy the ride. Working 16 hour days and not seeing your families, whether you are the CEO or working the mail room, is NOT how people want to live anymore.
ALIGNMENT. As the CEO, do not assume that your employees don’t want to go home and see their families and forget about their jobs at 6 pm. The more you take family and home-life away from your employees, the less productive and happy they become. Then … yes they become resentful. Then … in comes dissension … little black clouds start floating around your office and everything becomes a dark shade of gray.
ALIGNMENT. As a company, figure out who you are. Be authentic. Yes, companies have to be authentic as well. Think carefully about that jacked up job advertisement that your recruiter or HR person wrote for you. You better be able to deliver. The promises that you made in those interviews stating that although it’s not in the contract, your company believes in training and professional development, be true to your word. Be authentic, have integrity and first and foremost, remember that when you are true to your word, you are rewarded with loyalty and productivity. It’s at this point, and yes I have heard this many times, “we can’t afford training for our staff” I’m here to tell you that you can’t afford not to invest in your employees. Contrary to popular belief, people in all shapes and sizes want to be challenged and they want to grow on some level, it keeps them alive and ENGAGED. Yes, you need to have engagement in your workforce. What’s your thermometer test in your own company for ENGAGEMENT? It’s not an overdone word because companies generally still haven’t figured this out. The one’s that have are wildly successful.
ALIGNMENT. Figure out who you are, then live it. If you want engaged employees, then figure out how to do that, quit ignoring the issue, and figure it out. The secret here is once you’ve done that piece of homework, not only have you given yourself and your company clear expectations of what you really want for your employees and your company, the rest will follow. You exude your goals and expectations; you will attract and RETAIN the same kind of people, employees that truly are engaged.
ALIGNMENT. That old saying, that’s becoming a new saying again, “Put out to the universe exactly what you want, align yourself with that, that the rest will come to you” If you believe it, you live it, then you become it. Be authentic. BE ALIGNED.
Am I passionate about this? Absolutely. I don’t want to see company’s fail miserably at employee retention and happiness, I want the CEO to go home happy knowing that their company is thriving, cutting edge and is aligned in all ways. Think out of the box. Create a work culture and environment that oozes alignment in company and employee satisfaction. Create compensation packages that prove to your employees that their life at work and at home does matter to you. If it doesn’t, it should. Here is your wake up call.
I heard companies actually say to me in recruiting meetings, “And… when you’re interviewing candidates, make sure you weed anyone that starts spewing that work-life bullshit, we don’t want any of THOSE types here. We don’t believe in that garbage”. Truth. I’ve heard it over and over and over again. Get you heads out of the sand. If you don’t start doing your homework on that “garbage” and how you can start initiating it into your work culture, you will be left far behind in the game of prime employees and are setting yourself up for the “D” grade employees. Anyone else is going to find a better landing place. The other thing I might say as a life coach, to that owner, VP, Pres, manager or HR person whose mouth that came out of … better take a hard look at their own life and what they are sacrificing for their job. My guess is they gave up their work-life balance and their families a long time ago.
ALIGNMENT. If you want happy and productive employees, then value what they bring to the table. Value that your employees have a life outside your office. Happy employees are productive employees and productive employees mean efficiency and profits for the company. See … there are many positive results to paying attention to some of these seemingly small details. Note to those companies that don’t value a child’s school concert or presentation to your employee that is a parent, it matters to them. Figure out at way.
ALIGNMENT means that you speak your own truth. If you are a company that doesn’t care about any of these values, then you will attract the same. In the end, you will be building just a workforce, punching a clock. Trust me, those types of employees do not care, they will toss you aside when the something better comes along without hesitation. You can’t seriously expect that if you invest nothing into your employees that they should give anything in return? Really? Again, give your head a shake.
That’s what I’m here to do, help you and your company on all levels of ALIGNMENT.
ALIGNMENT = GOALS = CREATIVITY =ENGAGEMENT =PRODUCTIVITY = RETENTION = PROFITABILITY
It’s a real and raw process. In becoming ALIGNED, it means digging deep into WHOM you REALLY are looking at some really ugly truths as to WHAT you are, nothing a little organizational analysis can’t find out quite quickly. An unhappy work force is only too happy to chat about it. As all else, crap flows downhill, crap coming down from the top, creates crap at the bottom. So if the changes in alignment come from the top, everyone on the mountain will follow suit, let go of your EGO and make a change.
Maybe your C-Suite is ready for an ALIGNMENT … a reality check … it’s time to get your act together. If you want to know what’s wrong with your work culture … look into yourselves and then let’s fix it. Maybe your workforce is ready for and ALIGNMENT as well … maybe it’s time to clean house, get rid of the dirt, the gray clouds, the obstructing mess and start building new. However the alignment in your company needs to happen, get it done, sooner rather than later. Your lack of retention of your employees is COSTING YOU MONEY, costing you money in continually recruiting new employees, terminations and resignations, HR issues and grievances, in training and development. The key point is, those of you that say they don’t have the money for training and professional development for their existing employees, start calculating how much it’s costing you in lost time, and revenue in continually training new employees. Let’s be straight, it’s not their learning curve that’s steep but your own. Be accountable for your own short comings and stop the bleeding.
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Let me not be judged by what I have and have not accomplished but by the remarkable children I have raised. Mother, Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, Designer, Artist.
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