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Do you have sparkles in your eyes?

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

sparkle1by Marjon Oosterhout
Passion for Talent

Read Marjon’s bio on the HR Performance Sites website

A few weeks ago I attended a fantastic performance by an amateur symphonic orchestra.

Later I learned they practice a whole year for this one event .

They don’t get any monetary reward for this, on the contrary they have to pay for their own instruments.

I asked a friend, who also plays in an amateur orchestra, what drives people to make such an extraordinary effort?  His response: “pride in their orchestra and passion for the music”.

The question that came to my mind is do we understand what drives our people in the workplace?

My belief is that also at work people want to be proud of their team and organization and they prefer to do something they have a passion for.

I’m not suggesting people will work without a fair remuneration, but I belief the impact of financial rewards is overestimated. In many corporate settings I have been part of discussions around resourcing challenges and most of the time the money aspect was thrown in as the first resolution.

I haven’t been part of too many conversations where appealing to pride and passion were discussed.

In addition there is research that shows that employee’s affiliation, emotional connection and pride with the organizations they work for are eroding.

In a time where people are a scarce asset that feels  like a dangerous trend.

What would it take to bring back the pride and passion for the organization and to tap into the energy and commitment people are putting into activities like the orchestra? I don’t have the answer, but I know when people have “it”;  these people have sparkles in their eyes when they talk about work.

I recently coached a young executive, Bert. He wanted help in making a career decision.

As he talked about one job option he used rational arguments and explained the positive impact this role would have on his future career. When he spoke about the second option, he started by saying that role wouldn’t  give his career an equal boost and his current manager had advised against it.  He continued to explain what the second role was about and I noticed the energy and sparkles.  I reflected this back to him. He smiled and said “I think deep in my heart I know what I should go for”.

I’m curious what decision Bert will make about his next role and career. I just hope the organization will recognize what drives him and respect his choice.

Particularly in our current context,  where so much discussion is taking place about greed of certain people at the top and  the extraordinary high remuneration packages I would like to see the discussion about passion taking over.

Are you aware of what drives the pride and passion of your people? Is your organization open to ambitions and aspirations that are different from the “norm”?  Do you recognize the sparkle in people’s eyes or the lack thereof?

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“Where Are the Princes? – Some Are Outside Eating Stupid Cake”

April 22, 2009 Leave a comment

 crowd

by John Wentworth
Wentworth Recruiting
See John’s bio on the HR Performance Sites website

“Well, here’s a new and different problem,” Jim thought to himself. Jim was the Director of Recruiting for Acceleration Service.

The recession was raging and there were plenty of people looking for work. One of Jim’s divisional recruiting managers, Sarah Plentic, had just hung up from a conversation with Jim in which she expressed her glee about the number of candidates she had for a job.

“I KNOW we can find enough good employees in such a big group,” she nearly sang.

“Whew. A recruiting manager who is not complaining about a shortage of candidates. That’s refreshing.”

Jim’s reverie did not last long. The next day Sarah called again. “They all flunked the test,” she groaned.

“All of them?”

“Every last one,” she said.

“What happened?”

“I told you. They all flunked the test.”

“But why?”

“How do I know? They all ate stupid cake before they walked in, maybe.”

“Well, at least we can win an EEO claim since we flunked everybody.”

“Swell. I still have 23 new jobs to fill.”

This really was a pretty high-class problem to have. Jim had been fighting his divisional recruiters, and some managers, for over a year to get an “evidence-based” selection process in place. He could have written a thick and heavy book about all the reasons he heard about why they should not employ a more accurate screening process. “It screens out good people.” “It’s voodoo. It doesn’t work.” “It’s too expensive.” “It takes too long.” “There aren’t enough candidates.” “It’s too much work.” “It’s too bureaucratic.” Just thinking about all the complaints made him tired.

But he and science had prevailed and the result was lower turnover and higher productivity. Recruiting cost a little more but that cost was more than offset by the reduction in the cost of dealing with employee relations issues and replacing employees who turned over and training the new ones to productivity. They had not put a dollar value on the additional productivity, but it had to be a lot. In the end, money was saved.

But the dark side of good screening was the number of frogs you had to kiss to get a prince. Some will turn into princes and some will not. But how do you know from a distance? And how do you know where they are?

These were now Sarah’s problems. She and Jim put their heads together and came up with a plan.

They looked at where their good employees had come from: what companies, what kind of companies, through what strategies and what sources. At first the results did not make any sense.

There were clusters of people who came from the same companies. These people accounted for about a third of their top performing employees in this job. A lot of the not-so-good employees came in clumps, too, but from other companies. Others had come one at a time from one company, another from another company.

They found that a very high percentage of their candidates for this job came from newspaper ads and postings on the Internet, but not many of those were in the high performing group. These were the recruiter’s nightmare, in fact: candidates who consumed a lot of time and effort but did not, in general, get hired or, if they did, did not perform that well.

Others came from individual referrals, some employees, some candidates.

And, most confusing of all, some of their best employees just walked in.

“What does this mean?” Sarah sighed.

“Let’s look at the clumps,” Jim said.

What they found was that employees from certain companies did well at Acceleration. They also found out that one of their recruiters was very assertive in asking new hires from those companies to go back and tell others how good it was at Acceleration.

“So our recruiter uses every new hire as a source,” Jim said. “We just need to keep targeting those companies. There is a reason that the people who have moved to us made that decision. We just need to figure out what they are saying, make that our message, and direct it toward those companies. As they fill themselves up, we take them out.”

“Cold and cruel,” Sarah commented.

“We are better businesspeople than our competitors,” Jim said. “They select well but don’t do what it takes for the new employees to develop loyalty. We do both.”

“I’m glad I’m on our side!”

Many of the high-performing Acceleration employees who were not in clumps had passed through the hands of a different recruiter. That person did not send them back to recruit their former employees.

“If we asked them to, I bet we’d get a lot of hires,” said Sarah.

“I’ll not bet against you,” agreed Jim. “In fact, I’d like to look at the walk-ins. I bet you that they are from some of the companies we are not farming.”

“And,” said Sarah, “I’d put one more bet on the table. I bet that the new high-performing employees who came from individual referrals are either tied to one of these feeder companies or are tied to one of our current high-performing employees.”

When they went back and dug a little deeper, they won all their bets.

“And last,” Jim suggested, “let’s stop advertising and posting. It’s just a waste of money.” Everyone agreed.

* * * * *

It was not all smooth sailing. While Sarah filled all her jobs with a very high proportion of strong employees, not all the companies from which they attracted new employees accepted their fates calmly. Acceleration got phone calls from a couple of HR directors. Even one CEO called Acceleration’s CEO demanding that they call off the dogs. They did, but the word had become institutionalized at these companies and the referrals continued to flow. Fortunately, Acceleration had so little turnover in this job that once they filled up they could only thank the people who inquired and keep them on file for a rainy day.

What Jim enjoyed most, however, was hearing from some of his employees that they had been approached by an employment agency to move to one of the feeder companies. First, Jim was very happy that they were not interested in leaving. He thought that Acceleration was a great place to work, so was tickled that others thought so, too.

Second, Jim chuckled when he thought about Acceleration having not spent a dime on agency fees. They had done it will their own people. When he got a little firm with the agencies counselors who called, they confessed to Jim, telling him that they had been directed toward Acceleration by a couple of the feeder companies.

“It’s all about having a good product, knowing where to sell it and how to sell it well,” Jim explained to the division’s general manager. “Sarah went the extra mile to find out where the good candidates are. She found them and attracted them. She sent them back for more. The word spread. The people who joined us were treated well and they reported that to the folks at their prior employers, so more came.”

“What did this cost us?” inquired the general manager.

“Less than you were spending before. In this round, you hired two out of three you interviewed. Sarah had some serious efficiency going. We spent nothing on agencies and stopped running ads about half way through. So far none of the new hires has turned over, so that means the managers like their work and they like working for us. And that department’s productivity is climbing.”

“I’m glad we are through the big push. I didn’t love the calls I got from the companies you were raiding.”

Jim just looked at him.

“But I’m not complaining!” the GM said.

Jim smiled.

BPO for the Rest of Us: Outsourcing and Offshoring for Smaller Businesses

April 15, 2009 1 comment

By Matthew Regan
Principal, Predictis LLC

Read more about this author on the HR Perfomance Site website

worldOutsourcing for the Small to Mid sized Business
Outsourcing and off-shoring have become buzz words in the business world over the past 10 years, as one large business after another chooses to place certain operations, often IT functions, into the hands of competent offshore partners in India, China, the Philippines, or increasingly, a number of Eastern European countries. The broad acceptance of this strategy, along with the overall maturation and improvement of the quality of offshore solutions has created a thriving worldwide industry and brought this once atypical approach into the mainstream. The general impression is that a true “outsourced” solution is meant for a large organization, one that has thousands of employees spread all over the globe. We feel strongly that this is not the case, and that the small to mid sized company can be ideally suited to an outsourced solution, if that solution is targeted, focused and organized around those unique requirements. In this discussion, we will focus on two specific deliverables that are particularly applicable to the small to mid sized business, IT infrastructure support and business process outsourcing, which provide excellent examples of offshore or outsourced opportunities.

IT Infrastructure Management
The decision to outsource any of the responsibilities of your IT department to an offshore or onshore partner begins with the goal of cutting costs in your organization. Reduced costs is a powerful incentive on its own, but the decision to seek an outsource partner can bring other important improvements to your organization, and should not be overlooked. While we begin with the reduction of costs across the organization, we will see that the tangential benefits can make a compelling case for considering the outsourced solution on their own.

Reduced Infrastructure Costs
Many of the costs associated with the IT department in a typical small to mid-sized business emanate from the misallocation of human resources. IT infrastructure operations is usually the stepchild of the IT department in these organizations. Often, companies attempt to underpay for infrastructure managers and overpay for application developers, under the logic that developers are more strategic and valuable to the firm. While this may be true, the result is that in most cases the infrastructure management is non-existent, and the high priced application developers are thrust into the role of crisis management when systems inevitably fail. Effective project management and delivery of IT infrastructure is a luxury that these firms don’t feel that they can afford. An outsourced solution provides the smaller organization a shared resource for quality project management, allowing the smaller company improved skill levels at a lower cost. Over time, Over time, a forward looking infrastructure outsource relationship can move your organization away from a reactive position to a proactive one. Most good IT infrastructure managers know that 80% of system failures are due to recent changes or updates to the system. Effective change management is the key to improving uptime and lowering the overall cost of operations, as downtime requires the deployment of expensive resources. Your outsource partner should commit to producing a strategic plan with detailed suggestions for workforce training, hardware replacement, network connectivity improvements and software purchases that will serve to drive down infrastructure costs. Further, when benefits of scale are available to be passed along to their clients, they should be happy to do so. The overall costs of running a network have decreased dramatically over the past decade, as hardware and software prices reflect the general commoditization of the industry. If your infrastructure costs have not declined along that same time period, it may be because no strategic plan has been created that focuses specifically on infrastructure optimization.

Productivity
As we begin to investigate the tangential benefits of an outsourced solution that go beyond direct cost savings, we start with increased productivity a benefit that moves far beyond the IT department. A predictive approach to network infrastructure maintenance and service will lead to improved uptime, leading to far fewer instances of interruption of productive labor, certainly. But beyond that, underutilized resources in the technology group can focus on their strengths, and not spend a considerable amount of their time
on tasks for which they are overqualified. In a well functioning organization, technology and business strategy should be closely aligned, so that strategic decision making can
be done in concert with your key technical resources. Unfortunately, in many small to mid-sized businesses, IT departments have little time for strategic plans and find themselves bogged down in the tactical issues in maintaining the IT infrastructure. There may be no greater benefit to your organization then an optimized use of your valuable resources.

Lower Costs for Vendor Services
The typical small to mid-sized business supports a technology infrastructure that has been put in place over time, with myriad vendors, contracts and agreements in place in a piecemeal fashion. Very few IT organizations have the bandwidth to audit, catalogue and review all of their vendor agreements and service contracts in a proactive way. Even fewer have the ability to leverage shared services in order to receive favored status in those negotiations. An outsource partner is organized around the idea of shared services, and can take advantage of scale in order to achieve preferred treatment in hardware, software, services pricing and delivery, sourcing of telecom, database and security services, advantages that should also be passed along to their clients.

Expert Networks
Choosing an outsource partner means choosing an expert network. Competencies outside of your existing technical staff’s knowledge base, emerging best practices, and rapidly changing areas of IT are made available to your organization through an outsourced partnership. Just as services are leveraged, industry knowledge is everaged in order to bring the latest developments in the rapidly changing world of information technology. Storage, security, virus protection, compliance and audit requirements and new hardware and software are constantly being updated and improved, and your decision to tap into an expert partner allows a small to mid-sized business to access the latest developments in the IT industry. Overall, the choice of an effective outsourced partner can provide benefits throughout the small to mid-sized business. Unfortunately, until recently, outsourced solutions were not designed at an appropriate size for these businesses. The typical outsourced IT solution was a vast and expensive proposition, which was targeted at the largest companies with thousands of users. At the lower end, IT consulting firms that focused on smaller companies  exclusively worked on the highest margin application development business and did not bother to establish relationships with credible outsourced partners. Changes in delivery along with then general acceptance of the practice throughout industry have made the delivery of appropriately sized solutions to the small and mid-sized business community a reality.

Business Process Outsourcing
The most common outsourced solution, software application development, has evolved to the point where a cost effective solution is available to any sized organization, and even smaller businesses have begun to avail themselves of the arbitrage in salaries that make an offshore solution a money saving approach. At the largest companies, however, a much more significant development is underway, as they take the evolutionary step of standardizing and optimizing many of their day to day operations and tasks with an eye towards moving those processes offshore. The genesis of Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO, is one that most small to mid sized businesses may find harder to get up and running in a satisfactory manner. For the smaller business, while software development outsourcing has made inroads, the movement towards outsourcing particular business processes has not taken root. This is interesting, as a software development project can be an extremely complicated undertaking, and it would seem counterintuitive that this would be the task most commonly off-shored. The reason is that these projects can be isolated and clearly defined, while business processes and operations are more tightly woven into the firm, and often those responsible for operations processes have multiple roles to play within
the organization.

The true value of off-shoring particular business processes goes beyond the cost savings that may first come to mind when considering such an approach. The evaluating, standardizing and optimizing of processes and operations, combined with a tactical delivery and measurable metrics is the special sauce that moves the solution from the realm of simple cost savings to one that provides improved performance and delivery at a reduced expense. Key to the success of an outsourced process solution is the movement away from the notion of replacing employees with cheaper offshore resources, but instead identifying tasks that can be effectively delivered as transactions offshore.

In many cases it provides the ability to deliver services that were previously considered uneconomical or deliver current services at a quality level that may have been uneconomical. This includes the ability to provide certain services like technical drawing or legal review overnight or even in real time. In other cases it can include sales support, in the form of proposal writing or background research on the prospect Large organizations have realized cost savings along with operational improvements across the board, and have moved effectively to identify particular processes and functions that can be moved off shore. For the small to mid-sized business, putting an offshore solution in place becomes a far more difficult task than taking advantage of turnkey solutions such as software development. Some of the hurdles that need to be cleared include:

• Identifying particular processes within the firm that lend themselves towards an outsourced solution, as opposed to those that may not.

• Documenting specific tasks along with metrics, in such a way that an outsourced partner can meet your particular requirements

• Identifying appropriate offshore partners and negotiating service level agreements and contracts effectively

• Creating metrics for monitoring delivery and success In designing an effective and successful offshore partnership, it is important to find a differentiated approach that meets the very specific needs of small to mid sized businesses is imperative. An ideal partner will approach the task from a process optimization point of view, and leverage an extensive network of offshore alternatives to create a solution that provides a higher quality product at a reduced price point. Key to this approach is a thorough review of existing processes and operations as well as a delivery based upon transaction pricing, as opposed to a large contract outsourced approach. The successful partner will identify your key deliverables, improve, enhance and standardize them, and then find the ideal partner to deliver them at a unit cost, so that the metrics for success are easily identifiable and quantifiable.

Recruiting as a good marriage… the courtship continues…

April 14, 2009 Leave a comment

by David Bush
Professor at Villanova University
Read more about this author on the HR Performance Sites website

When we hire a new employee to fill a key role, the hiring process has “only just begun”. It is not enough to create a financial transaction with legalistic documents that explain mutual responsibilities.  There is a process that sociologists call acculturation in which the new hire goes through a period of learning the culture and policies and procedures of his or her new workplace. When it is done well, a long and fruitful relationship may develop, characterize by trust and mutual respect and high productivity.  When it is done poorly, both the employer and the employee may feel betrayed and begin the unpleasant steps toward either voluntary or involuntary termination of the relationship: the employment version of divorce.

In the Dilbert cartoon, the female HR administrator is handing large yellow binders toward the new hire and says, “Stand in the hallway and read these binders. If you learn anything, forget it, because knowledge isn’t rewarded around here.”  Such a scene is guaranteed to elevate turnover.  And unfortunately, many organizations who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in identifying and “courting” a top talent with great potential to increase corporate productivity routinely destroy the relationship that your company has so carefully created.

Those of you who have invested in the struggle for top talent realize that the loss of that prize potential can be very costly whether in the first 6 months or in the fifth year.  Brad Smart asserts that the replacement cost can be as much as 14 times the first year’s annual compensation.

The courtship with the talented employee enters the on boarding phase as soon as the offer is accepted, although any device used to preview the position can be seen as the start of learning about the culture and the citizens of the organization.  It is the start of relationship development that leads to inclusion and engagement, that sense of belongingness that was important in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

An example of such a technique is the four-minute video produced by an HR leader at the Cheesecake Factory.  Job seekers are viewing the four-minute video at a rate of about 40,000 per year. At this delightful restaurant chain this is the beginning of the courtship.  In 4 minutes a candidate has some basic idea of the work culture.

The video also introduces a number of the key people in the organization and gives some background on the origins of the business.

A model for excellence in the development of on boarding can be found at the Ritz-Carleton Hotel Chain.   They have received recognition from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and from Stephen R. Covey of Seven Habits fame, this benchmark organization for on boarding and its customer service culture has a division that will provide on boarding for other organizations. I have long been impressed with their simple statement that: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”

The ROI for these on boarding efforts should be a rather straightforward calculation using Jack Phillip’s procedures.  The payoffs are a higher percentage of very engaged employees and acceleration to high levels of productivity.

Insure that the on boarding process includes (1) openly addressing potential employee concerns, (2) plenty of time to insure thorough coverage of all issues, (3) lots of material on corporate web sites that include e-learning modules that allow access from home and encourage family members to learn about the company as well, (4) have all managers deeply trained in coaching and mentoring skills and provided with development plans for the initial two months, and (5) track the mentoring progress for the first quarter of employment.

Successful courtship, however, must go beyond the honeymoon described above.  Whether we call it mentoring or coaching, the support and guidance of company leaders will insure that optimal development of our valuable talent will maximize the retention of that which we have selected so carefully. Our goal should be to retain and develop high quality people.  In doing so our employees will become assets in which we have invested and from which we can compute the return on that investment.  And if we do it well we will be rewarded with a long and mutually satisfying relationship.

Corporate Services: Where Human Resources and Wall Street Meet

April 8, 2009 Leave a comment

by Matt Regan
Managing Partner and Director of Brokerage Services
WR Hambrecht + Co.

wallstreet1
HR Performance Sites article & bio
Corporate Services, broadly defined, is the service offered by registered brokerdealers that assists publicly traded companies with affiliated shareholder transactions and other associated brokerage functions. These services have become more important over the past decade, as employee stock option (ESOP) and employee stock purchase (ESPP) plans have become standard fare and an integral piece of the compensation structure of most publicly traded companies. Human resource departments have been forced to get themselves up to speed on the intricacies of equity compensation, and have discovered that a level of familiarity with retail brokerage services is now standard.

In the most effective companies, when an ESOP or ESPP is put in place, a captive partner is chosen that will become integrated into the record keeping and reporting functions that surround the exercise and purchase of company stock. A level of expertise and technology is required to handle these functions so that employees can efficiently and accurately effect a cashless stock option exercise and comply with both company rules and regulations as well as with federal and state tax codes. As employees typically receive Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) rather than Non-Qualified Stock Options (NSOs), a familiarity with the reporting requirements is essential to passing along the preferred tax treatment to the optionee.

Until recently, brokerage firms handed these responsibilities off to traditional brokers who charged full commission rates to effect these transactions. Originally, equity compensation was a benefit that only the “C” level executives participated in, and the full service brokers saw the business as a great entre to well-heeled clients. As the employee stock option business matured, however, the business has migrated towards a lower cost, turnkey solution, one that benefits a company’s entire employee base, rather than one aimed at only highly compensated executives. As stock plans have been become broadly available as a standard form of compensation, the brokerage solution has had to accommodate the business on a larger scale. The introduction of scale to the business has moved the required function from the desk of a full commission broker to a more standardized and streamlined processing center that has access to employee grant information, company blackout periods, vesting schedules and expiration dates, online reporting
tools, and dedicated personnel that focus solely on this critical function.

At the same time, certain core competencies that may not be present at every discount brokerage firm need to be addressed. SEC reporting of executive purchases and sales, lockup expirations, the creation and maintenance of 10b5-1 selling plans, the processing of restricted stock sales and the handling of large block transactions all need to be handled effectively by your captive brokerage partner. Companies typically look to their captive as a conduit for information on trading activities and large purchases and sales of their company stock and use often effect stock repurchase plans through this channel. While these may seem far removed from the human resources functions, they are critical needs that must be addressed competently by your captive.

As the equity compensation business has grown, vendors servicing the space have proliferated commensurately. Today, a number of very competent and helpful software solutions exist that handle the record keeping, accounting and reporting functions involved in the maintenance of a broad-based employee stock option plan. Very specific rules regarding accounting standards and requirements, specifically around the various models used to value employee option grants exist, and every employer who uses equity as a component of compensation needs to be well informed of those regulations. Further, taxation differences vary by country and the classification of the reward, so adherence to GAAP as well as IFRS accounting standards is crucial to remaining in compliance. When choosing a captive broker to handle the exercise of the stock purchases and sales, it is important to find one that supports the particular record-keeping software that you are using, even if that solution is Microsoft Excel.

A competent and effective captive broker should also offer the following to their corporate clients:
• Extensive experience in Corporate Services
• One point of contact for company administration
• Dedicated service team
• Uniform procedures & fees
• Flexibility and Open Architecture
• Institutional liquidity
• Expertise in Stock Options Business

In addition, most captive brokers will provide ancillary services such as online discount trading, wealth management and investment advice, and reinvestment vehicles including cash management options such as money market mutual funds with check writing and debit card access attached. Companies should seek a partner that can meet the brokerage needs of their entire employee base, not one that only caters to the executive suite. When seeking a captive broker, be sure to kick the tires on service levels and responsiveness, because like any HR service, the largest players lack the single point of contact that ensures a true partnership. The ideal partner will be one that combines a high level of familiarity with the intricacies of the corporate services business with the responsiveness and service levels that you require.

Customer Service: Your Lifeline in the Crisis

April 7, 2009 1 comment

lifepreserver

by Nicolette Wuring
Founder
Customer Management Services

See article & bio on the HR Performance Sites website

Also featured on The Reputation Garage blog

As your management team works its plans to manage the current downturn, it’s worth remembering that we are all at once suffering a financial market crisis, a world economic crisis, a management crisis, an ethics/values crisis, and a crisis of changing consumer purchase and lifestyle priorities.

First and foremost this crisis is about trust, and trust is earned and lost by people. Over many years businesses became so short-term profit-focused that the managers, employees and even customers became just variables in the profit equation, traded off as assets or liabilities, not as the human beings they are. “Customer right sizing” is but one of hundreds of examples of this. In too many cases the “right” was for profits, not the customer. And the customer knew this and promptly withdrew credits on deposit from the company’s earned trust bank.

Or consider the CSR paradigm “People – Planet – Profit” that is widely promulgated here in Europe. Most corporations have not only been short performance on the planet-side, but also on the people-side. This has accelerated the profit collapse.

The BIG question for industries and companies is how to become profitable again? The answer for 2009 is that you must get much better at finding ways to keep your customers by earning their trust. Relationships develop between people, not between “corporations” and “customers.” That’s where the customer facing people in organizations enter into the equation.

A good starting point is to answer the following questions:

1) Do we have a strong level of “earned” trust among our customers?

2) Can we quantify it?

3) Do we have strong managerial and operational competency to build trust through our customer-facing operations?

4) Have we set the right goals to drive trust, and are the right metrics in place to track progress?

Customer Service, Customer Care, Customer Operations, you know, all those people who manage the trust you build in your business cannot be treated as dehumanized robots, as ‘human doings’, managed at a task level for their quantitative results. One of management’s top priorites right now is to boost their role as the window to ‘the corporation’, representing the organization. The bottom line? You must find ways to help your organization to better interact with customers as human beings. That is how you will earn trust and improve your relationships.

How are you holding up in these economic times?

April 1, 2009 Leave a comment

HR Performance Article and Author Contact Information

thinking1

David Armstrong
President
HR Performance Sites

I think relationships are revealed during hard times. It is sometimes surprising to me the strength and weakness of my different relationships, these are the times to keep your eyes wide open. A business that did the small things over the last few years will benefit now. When business has less money and higher expectations, they go to the vendors/people they TRUST. If you delivered on your promise, likely you are on the short list, which is getting even shorter. People are self-interested first, always. Couple that with ethics and it is called capitalism. It is not a bad thing. If you have had a long term view in the past, stability and the future look good, even optimistic. My advice is this. Work hard and tell the truth, you will get it back. If you let greed and leverage take over your business, your culture, your style, that will come back too. Take this period in time to reflect upon your business, your past and then take action forward to improve your impact; regardless of your starting point.

John Wentworth
Founder
Wentworth Recruiting

Doing well or not in econimic hard times is determined well before the hard times arrive. If a company has a compelling product that is fairly priced and strong relationships with enough happy customers, it will win the competition for whatever crumbs the economy leaves lying around.
If one positions oneself where there are lots of crumbs, or even an entire cake, this good planning will be rewarded.
Our clients are diverse and loyal, so we are surviving while others in the recruiting/search community are disappearing. We are anxious for revenues to get better, but grateful for every dollar our clients pay us.

Bryan Crawford
Operations Manager
Total Loyalty Solutions

Our company is doing pretty well as a whole. Advertising and marketing budgets have been cut substantially, however email marketing continues to prove itself as a very inexpensive, yet effective marketing tool. Compared to direct mail, radio, television and billboard, email marketing is an instantaneously quantifiable measuring tool. As soon as the email is sent, you know if someone opened it or not. If you are using the email to coupon, or discount your product, the business owner knows if the email offer was redeemed. If your business is slow on certain evenings, and you see a spike on those evenings after your email is sent, you know it was effective.
I do not believe the economy will rebound very soon. With that being said, businesses need to continue to advertise as inexpensively and efficiently as possible. Email marketing is the solution to that problem.

Michele O’Connor
Marketing
GoliathJobs.com

I am holding up well, never missing my morning exercise. No matter how stressful a day can be exercise makes it tolerable and surmountable! Our company, GoliathJobs, has weekly roundtable meetings to discuss optimum ways of saving our clients (employers & recruiters) money. It is very efficient at a time when efficiency and savings are tantamount for our clients. In terms of our staff, we continue to hire interns throughout the country. It is a great way build a workforce of bright-eyed motivated employees that are usually hired full time post graduation. There is a considerable cost savings from hiring interns that have already been trained and learned your culture as well. We recommend the same to our employers & recruiters.

Eric Herrenkohl
President
Herrenkohl Consulting

I would say that our business is holding up well, but only because we have been willing to respond to what the market is saying. Right now, we are seeing significant interest in our systems and tools for helping sales organizations to increase closing percentages and increase the number of strong prospects for their services. We are seeing decreased interest in general executive coaching and organizational development programs and solutions.

Joseph Murphy
Co-founder
Shaker Consulting Group

The need for next-in-class candidate evaluation methods has placed great growth demands on our company. As candidate volume increases, and the need to stand out in the talent attraction space becomes mission critical, more brand conscious companies have turned to us for help. I am coping through the use of strong project management, streamlining our development methods, and creating realisitic expectations on delivery cycles.

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