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Happy Employees are More Productive

August 12, 2015

Ways to keep employees happy

Whether you are an entrepreneur managing a startup, or a well-established business, it’s hard to ignore the growing evidence of big value from happy employees. Recently researchers at the Harvard Business Review analyzed hundreds of studies and concluded that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves.

In a study of service departments, Harvard researchers, Jennifer George and Kenneth Bettenhausen found that employees who score high in life satisfaction are significantly more likely to receive high ratings from customers. In addition, researchers at Gallup found that retail stores that scored higher on employee life satisfaction generated $21 more in earnings per square foot of space than the other stores, adding $32 million in additional profits for the whole chain.

For companies, happy employees mean better bottom-line results. Employees who score low in “life satisfaction,” a rigorously tested and widely accepted metric, stay home an average of 1.25 more days a month, a 2008 study by Gallup Healthways shows. That translates into a decrease in productivity of 15 days a year.

The challenge is to find the best way to keep everyone on your team happy and productive.happy employee happy customer photo

In sunny SWFL, small business owners have the benefit of great weather and access to many activities, products, and services that can be used in their employee motivation and recognition strategies. Some require some investment, but that is often returned by boosting the company’s productivity and, consequently, bottom line.

– Offer Flexible Work Options

Fortune 100 companies that have moved to a flexible work model that allows participating employees to set their own schedules as long as their work is consistently finished on time, report productivity increases of anywhere between 30% and a staggering 60%!

– Recognize Success

Encouraging high performance can sometimes be as simple as rewarding it. Programs such as employee-of-the-month or other initiatives that recognize and reward high-performing employees with gift certificates to local businesses like Massage Envy Spa not only make the worker feel more satisfied with his or her job, but they also set an example for other employees and encourage them to work harder.

-Invest in compensation packages

One of the most traditional and commonly used tactics for increasing employee satisfaction and retention is ramping up compensation packages. This can involve raises, bonuses, or enhanced benefits such as matching 401(k) contributions, transportation reimbursement, health insurance, and vacation days.

-Invest in corporate culture

Creating a strong corporate culture not only creates better work results, but also creates loyalty towards the company and accountability towards each other. There are numerous simple ways to accomplish this such as recognizing employees on their birthday or bringing in lunch to the office. However, a lot of companies are taking it to the next level by hosting events within the office and participating in events outside the office. Creating an in-house wellness fair is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle, but if that’s out of your scale, even bringing a massage therapist for the afternoon to do chair massage is an inexpensive way to help the whole office relax a little. Other great ideas include corporate outings such as an afternoon at a baseball game, a paintball outing, forming a company sports team, or participating in company-wide fitness events such as a charity run, which improves employee health, facilitates corporate bonding, and benefits the community we live in. Using company leverage to gain “deals” for their employees is another great (and often free) approach. Many service providers such as fitness clubs, Massage Envy Spa, and many more are willing to provide discounted services when structured as a “corporate membership” which can be setup quickly and easily with no administration or ongoing cost to the employer. After all, healthy employees are not just happier employees—they tend to have fewer sick days and are more focused.

Whatever the strategy, small business owners are encouraged to pay attention to the happiness, well-being, and motivation of their staff. Productive and satisfied employees represent more than just good management practices—they are a crucial element to a successful business.

Please become a fan of our Facebook and Twitter pages and/or call us at 239-851-6906 if you need to know more now!

Be sure subscribe to our blog if you haven’t already done so. To learn more about creating a successful hiring system, visit Hiring-Solutions.com

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Key Traits of Highly Successful Retail Sales Associates

March 20, 2013

helpwantedHelp Wanted:

“Now hiring friendly, outgoing and enthusiastic people who enjoy working with customers and creating high customer service levels.  If you like being rewarded for doing things the right way, strive to achieve high standard of accomplishment and want to be part of a valued team, apply here.”

Picture this—You’ve written your ad, successfully gathered resumes of qualified candidates who appeared friendly, outgoing and enthusiastic during the interview process.  You’ve narrowed the group down to 3 who have a good attitude, good communication skills, some professional knowledge, and have passed the reference and background checks.

  • How do you know they aren’t faking it?
  • How do you know they will close sales at 25% consistently?
  • How do you know they will be reliable?
  • How do you know they will believe and uphold your Vision and Values?

Adding employee testing to the hiring process provides additional objective information that should reinforce  and be consistent with the information you have already compiled for the candidate—or not.  Any inconsistencies are a huge red flag that require further due diligence.

For the Retail Sales Associate position, the tests we recommend are The Insure Survey, Sales Plus, and Johnston Index from The Hiring Suite.

The Sales Plus Retail Selling test measures three key traits and three key skills for retail sales performers and compares candidate scores to those of top sales performers across all types of retail sales.  This test is scientifically designed to detect untruthful responses and provides a Distortion scale which measures the truthfulness of the responses.

The Insure Survey measures integrity, reliability, work ethic, and attitudes toward substance abuse and also has a Distortion Scale.

The Johnston Index measures basic learned skills in Problem Solving, Math, Vocabulary, and Spelling.

In reviewing the candidate’s scores in each measured trait, skill, and aptitude, the scales should be prioritized in order of importance to the position.

For example, in order of importance, the Sales Plus benchmarks for a Retail Sales Associate are:

  1.  Sales Skills 18 – 23
  2. Customer Sensitivity 19 – 23
  3. Organization 17 – 23
  4. Motivation 15 –  20
  5. Competitiveness  12 – 22
  6. Marketing Knowledge 14 – 27

The scores for the Insure Survey and Johnston Index scores should be high, or at least, average.

We have conducted several studies for different clients to create benchmarks based on the Sales Plus scores of the top performing Sales Associates in that organization.  The advantage of customizing the profiles to each individual job description and company is that it will reflect the job description and the company culture and values.  Because High Performers come in a spectrum, there is no one score that is perfect. Each Top Performer is a combination of the mix of scores within the benchmarks and will be more successful in some job environments than others.

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Using a tested profile like the one above, makes it quick and easy for owners and managers to determine if a candidate will be successful in your company.

The Hiring Solutions Employee Testing program will help you screen out candidates who don’t fit your job description or company culture.  Our customized programs will take you from hiring one new employee to training a whole department or company using validated assessments to provide in-depth, accurate information about personality traits, behavioral style, integrity, work ethic, substance abuse issues, aptitude, and outside and retail sales skills.

Contact Hiring Solutions today to see how we can help you solve all your HR problems! Visit our website for more information!

Maryanne Preston
Hiring Solutions, Inc. 
239-851-6906
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Top 7 Reasons To Get Rid of a Bad Employee

June 22, 2012

If your company is larger than 10 people, there is a really good chance that you have at least one bad employee.

It is a fact of managing people that not every employee will be excellent at every job. The first challenge is separating your employees into the following groups: star players, good employees, and bad employees.

The cost of keeping an inefficient or ineffective employee on the payroll goes beyond the frustration you feel when he/she does not properly execute a task. The bad employee, their co-workers, and your company’s ultimate success are all part of the equation that affects your bottom line.

  1.  Keeping a bad employee on staff not only hurts your company, but it hurts that person as well.  It is likely that this work related stress infiltrates the employee’s personal life.
  2.  If you replaced your bad employee with someone as good as your star player, you would have more time to spend with your good employees and star players and become a better manager.
  3.  If you replace your bad employee with someone as good as your star player your team will know that good performance is recognized and appreciated and that you value them more than the trouble maker.
  4.  If you replace your bad employee with someone as good as your star player your team’s production can double or even triple.
  5. Like the bad apple in the barrel, the bad employee is toxic within your company.  Strong negativism, a poor attitude, backbiting, and incompetence can spread quickly within any organization.
  6. Despite the best efforts of co-workers to resist the negative traits, these traits are contagious and can severely hurt or even kill a company.
  7. A manager who sincerely cares about the people he/she is managing and is willing to take action to help an employee move on to a job where they can be a star player or good employee is a better manager.

Even if you have ignored a bad employee and the negativity has spread, you can correct the problem.  Get rid of your bad employee and hold a meeting with your remaining staff.  Identify the obvious key reasons for the dismissal and give them an opportunity to ask questions.

NOTE: It is very important that you do not bash the bad employee in this meeting. Be respectful of him/her as a person and let your remaining staff, who may have an after-hours relationship with him/her, know that you hope he/she quickly finds a great job where he/she can excel.

Although it is a fact of managing people that not every employee will be excellent at every job, you can prevent the problem in the beginning by using a hiring system that includes online assessments that enable you to hire honest, productive employees that fit your company culture.

The Hiring Solutions Employee Testing program will help you screen out those  bad candidates.  Our customized programs will take you from hiring one new employee to training a whole department or company using validated assessments to provide in-depth, accurate information about personality traits, behavioral style, integrity, work ethic, substance abuse issues, aptitude, and outside and retail sales skills.

Contact Hiring Solutions today to see how we can help you solve all your HR problems! Visit our website for more information!

Maryanne Preston
Hiring Solutions, Inc. 
(239) 851-6906

Better Communication Equals Better Sales

March 12, 2012

Hiring Solutions is here to help you select your employees and teach them skills to become a strong, high producing team.  

In this space we bring you tips, advice, Do’s & Don’ts and all kinds of valuable information to help save you time, money and headaches with your employee hiring! Please, read on!

 
Would you change your behavior to achieve more sales?

If the answer is YES, keep reading.

In a conversation with a local business owner, he told me he felt that a big reason his sales representatives lose a sale is that they don’t listen. I suggested that a “Selling With Style” training program would help them win in sales and also achieve a greater degree of success in their personal and professional lives.

Specifically, this two-hour program, or a similar program for non-sales employees, called “Dynamic Communication” helps the owner or manager and his team:

1. Understand the benefits of applying a behavioral communication model.
2. Understand their own behavioral design.
3. Recognize, understand and appreciate others’ behavioral designs.
4. Adapt their behaviors for enhanced communication, understanding, and relationships.
5. Identify behavioral styles by observing tone of voice, words, body language, and pace.

Target Training InternationalPrior to the scheduled program, the owner and his team each completed the TTI Success Insights™ Sales report. This 23 page computer generated report gives Sales professionals and their managers a broad understanding of their natural sales style. The software analyzes and details the type of product they prefer to sell, how they handle sales presentations, as well as how they close and service their accounts.

At the training, each participant received a customized in-depth workbook that included the Sales Team Behavioral Style Guide, a DISC clue guide, a Behavioral Selling Skills guide, a Behavioral Skills Body Language Guide, and a DISC stress cube. I reviewed the value of applying a behavioral communication model to sales presentations, helped them understand their own styles, recognize and appreciate other’s behavioral styles and create strategies for sales presentations based on the behavioral design of their prospects.

When the training ended, they had identified the behavioral styles of current prospects, vendors and associates and created specific sale strategies for each. Months later, I checked back with the owner, and he confirmed that they were still identifying prospects by behavioral design and using the workbooks to identify the correct words and statements that would influence their prospects to buy.

Because they were listening to their prospects, their closing percentages had increased significantly.

To learn more about communication style, take the Success Insights assessment, or to book a Dynamic Communication or Selling with Style workshop, call Maryanne Preston at 239-851-6906  or Maryanne@Hiring-Solutions.com  Visit www.Hiring-Solutions.com

Persistence – How to Hire Great People

November 3, 2011

8 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL HIRING!

It’s no secret that hiring is one of the biggest challenges of managing and growing a productive team. So why do we chronically underestimate the time and energy that we need to dedicate to this crucial task?  Business owners frequently minimize the importance of hiring. It’s a “tertiary task” superficially unrelated to client work, and often triggered under duress: a huge new client project to ramp up for, the opening of a new office, or the exodus of a few great employees. For this reason, hiring often takes on a stressful tone and is executed hastily. Yet no decision can have a bigger impact on the direction of your work and the long-term success of your business.

Hiring exceptional people allows a leader to set strategic direction and then hand over incremental decisions to smart, capable team members.  Letting people in the organization use their judgment turns out to be faster and cheaper – but only if you hire the right people and reward them for having the right attitude.

The trick is uncovering those talented and trustworthy people – and knowing what they look like when you find them. Here are a handful of tips:

1. You cannot clone yourself. One of the first obstacles in expanding your team is rewiring your brain. Subconsciously or not, you may be fixated on looking for someone with the skills, mannerisms, single-minded passion, and other useful qualities that mimic your own. Instead, look for a cocktail of complementary skills to balance your weaknesses. Seek a foundation of rudiments and a likeable and hard-working personality. There is no one who loves your work more than you.

2. Persistence is golden. There’s a rule of thumb called The Rule of 100. Assume you’ll need to make contact with 100 people in order to find 10 prospects to narrow to a pool of 3 great matches. Sometimes this is an overestimation, but the point is that finding the right person is usually a matter of persistence. Don’t stop looking if you’re having trouble finding the right fit, just keep looking.

3. The best resource is your personal network. Hands down the best source for locating a person that fits you and your company is your circle of contacts. It’s your job to communicate effectively to your network by being clear about what you’re looking for and the context of the hire. It helps to be specific when approaching your network to give them information that’s easy to act on.

4. But… don’t forget to look beyond your network. It is a common strategy (and a common mistake) to stick to your personal network to find quality people. Go beyond your circle of contacts. Make a list of people and companies you respect or admire and reach out to them for assistance. Always ask who you should speak to next to continue to expand your network concentrically outward.

5. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior… but it’s not always obvious. Often a person’s interests are found in the seams of their resume or professional trajectory. Find out about hobbies, art projects or groups they started outside of work. This type of initiative will provide insight into how well a person works independently and if they’re prone to turning ideas action.

6. Use “critical incident interviewing.” This is an interview model that queries specific past events as a basis for discerning a person’s capabilities. It’s all about cascading questions. Start by asking about an incident, then peeling back the layers to evaluate the person’s thought process, judgment, and how he or she deals with a situation.

For example:

  • “Tell me about a time you disagreed with your supervisor on a creative issue.”
  • “Walk me through the problem.”“What did you do about it?”
  • “What led to that decision?”
  • “Why do you think that was effective?”
  • “What was the outcome?”

7. Assign homework. After a series of interviews, it is common practice for companies to assign a phantom project or problem to solve. Some even hand off a client assignment and compensate potential employees for their work. There’s no better way to predict performance than by having the opportunity to evaluate the work directly and get a feel for a prospect’s style and habits.

8. Do great work and make great stuff… so the best people find you. It’s no surprise that the best companies always have the easiest time hiring. That’s because people are clamoring to work for them. Strive to do mind-bendingly great work and the hiring will take care of itself!

Interview Questions–Do You Have a Clue About Which to Use and When?

July 25, 2011

Hiring Solutions is here to help you simplify your HR process and improve your hiring results! In this space we bring you tips, advice, Do’s & Don’ts and all kinds of valuable information to help save you time, money and headaches with your employee hiring! Please, read on!

Interview Questions–Techniques and Strategies

The whole point of the interview in the hiring process is to learn if your candidate matches your job description. How much information you receive and how useful that acquired information will be in making an employee-related decision depends, largely, on the effectiveness of your questioning techniques. Ineffectively worded questions can have as great an impact as effective questions.

An effective interview will include five types of questioning techniques:

• Competency-based Questions
• Open-Ended Questions
• Hypothetical Questions
• Probing Questions
• Closed Ended Questions

Competency-based questions should take about 70% of the interview. A competency is a skill, trait, quality, or characteristic that contributes to a person’s ability to effectively perform the duties and responsibilities of a job. Competency questions delve into the candidate’s tangible or technical skills, their knowledge, behavior, and interpersonal skills.

Tangible skills demonstrate what candidates have done in past jobs, if they are staying technologically current, if they can balance multiple projects and if they have the specific skills need to accomplish the duties of the job. The question should relate a specific situation that will occur in the new job to a similar situation that occurred at their previous job. For example, “At our company we have inventory/sales report deadlines four times a month, when you were at ABC Company, what kind of deadlines did you have and how did you handle them?”

The candidate’s knowledge includes what they know and how they think. Create questions about situations that demonstrate project-management skills, problem solving abilities, decision-making skills, focusing ability, time management and resource management. For example: “When you were at ABC Company, how many projects/clients did you manage per week/month and how did you schedule your time?”

When the candidate talks about specific situations that occurred in the past, you can observe their behavior (how they acted under certain conditions) and their interpersonal skills (how an applicant interacts with others). Did they demonstrate active listening skills, self control, and respect for other’s views and feedback? Can they interact effectively with others and do they have conflict management skills?

Competency-based questions draw from the candidates past experiences and behaviors and relate them to specific requirements, responsibilities, or parameters of a given job-related situations. When you are very specific i.e., using the previous company’s name, mentioning a specific type of situation, and using the name of the supervisor/manager/owner of the previous company, the candidate is more likely to be truthful because they assume that you personally know the manager/owner and you will be calling him/her to verify the story during the reference check.

Although 70% of your interview questions should be competency-based, the other 4 types of questions are important and should be used appropriately during the interview to maintain control, verify information, and put the candidate at ease.

Check back here to learn more about when and how to use the other four questioning techniques – open-ended, closed-ended, probing, and hypothetical, as well as, the questioning techniques to avoid.

Please become a fan of our Facebook and Twitter pages and/or call us at 239-851-6906 if you need to know more now!

Be sure subscribe to our blog if you haven’t already done so. To learn more about creating a successful hiring system, visit Hiring-Solutions.com

We help you hire great employees!

 

Bad Candidates — How Do You Know Who They Are?

June 27, 2011

Hiring Solutions is here to help you simplify your HR process and improve your hiring results! In this space we bring you tips, advice, Do’s & Don’ts and all kinds of valuable information to help save you time, money and headaches with your employee hiring! Please, read on!

Bad Candidates — How Do You Know Who They Are?

A client asked me recently – “Why are so many of my candidates failing the basic employee assessment that measures reliability, work ethic, integrity and attitudes towards drugs?”

These are the people who are unethical, immoral, and untrustworthy and yet never experience any remorse. 

A growing body of evidence suggests that those people are able to disengage their moral compass and consciously forget information that would otherwise limit their inappropriate behavior.  They rationalize what they are doing in a way that lets them off the honesty hook.

These people – white and blue collar – live and work in every system and organization – finance, politics, healthcare and education.  Our society has become inundated by the dishonest and untrustworthy.

That is why so many candidates are distorting (lying) on their assessments.  It gets frustrating when all you want to do is hire a good employee.  But the alternative is worse—hiring a bad employee

So having a good hiring system in place is key to building a good team. It is easy to be influenced by a candidate’s great interview skills, and experience and skills that you need.  The objectiveness of assessments, background checks, and reference checks balance a glowing interview and enable you to screen out those who are unethical, immoral, and untrustworthy even though you can’t tell by looking at them.

The Hiring Solutions Employee Testing program will help you screen out those unethical, immoral, and untrustworthy candidates.  Using The Insure Survey early in the hiring process will immediately screen out bad candidates and save you valuable interview time.  For under $25 you will know if the candidate is lying and their attitudes to substance abuse, integrity, reliability and work ethic on a scale of 1 – 9.

Our customized programs will take you from hiring one new employee to training a whole department or company using validated assessments to provide in-depth, accurate information about personality traits, behavioral style, integrity, work ethic, substance abuse issues, aptitude, and outside and retail sales skills. Contact Hiring Solutions today to see how we can help you solve all your HR problems! Visit our website for more information!

Maryanne Preston
Hiring Solutions, Inc. 
(239) 851-6906
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