Tag Archives | star quality team

How long do you keep a job?

how long do you keep a job?

That’s the biggest question being asked by both employees and employers alike: how long do you keep a job? What’s normal in this day and age? If you would have asked 20 or 30 years ago, the answer would have been: “You keep a job for 20-30 years.”

So, how long do you keep a job?

Let’s analyze this from two perspectives: the employee and the employer.

Employee

As an employee, it’s typical for an employee to take a little while to get used to their job (3 years to be exact, but we’ll talk about that a little later!).  When you first get hired, you may notice that the first 6 months or so of your job are really unproductive. You are trying to grasp the systems, organization of the company and so much more. It’s difficult to jump into a job at 100% efficiency.

But as an employee, it’s reasonable to expect for you to work in multiple companies throughout your career. It’s even expected for someone to have multiple careers throughout their lifetime. But how long is an appropriate time for you to stay at one job?

First, it’s important for you to realize how expensive you are as an employee. Through searching, hiring, training, mentoring, and investing time and money into you, a company expects that its investments will return a profit. Simply put, you should stick around as long as you are providing more value than they’ve invested in you.

The company that has hired you has essentially invested in you. They are looking for their return on investment (ROI). Of course, they are going to have bad investments (i.e. anyone who leaves before 3 years) and really good investments (i.e. anyone who stays with the company 3+ years).

Employer

As an employer, you’ve probably realized that there is one thing that you can’t avoid: humans. You buy from them. You sell to them. You work for them. And you hire them.

Humans are an integral part of business and life. Nowadays, using only resumes to screen candidates for jobs is a thing of the past. LinkedIn, although it may not be the best platform, has become the Facebook for resumes.

how long do you keep a job?

LinkedIn

Have you ever searched for employees through LinkedIn?   There’s always that person who first looks like a great candidate. They’ve worked in prestigious positions in reputable companies, BUT then you find your eyes focusing on the time spent working there. 3-, 5-, 9-, 15-months… It’s safe to assume that there is something wrong! Whether it is the employer just not liking the employee or the employee being extremely fickle, it’s easy to assume that if someone has a work history like that, you should run in the opposite direction.

That’s not to say that you should automatically run the other way if a candidate lists 4-6 jobs for only a couple months. Analyze their age, stage in life (recent college graduate?), and type of position. Particularly with internships, the average time spent in those positions are 3-4 months.

Be aware of what their LinkedIn profile looks like. It could be your biggest indicator of likelihood of that candidate lasting at least 3 years at your organization.

3-Year Breakdown

Let’s digest what we’re calling the 3-year breakdown!

Year 1

The employer will lose money on an employee during the first 6 months of their job. The employee is training for the position, getting used to the culture and way of doing things, and trying to provide some value. It is acceptable to assume that you will lose money during those first 6 months of an employee’s job.

During the second half of the first year, the employer can expect to break even. Hopefully by this point, your employee should be feeling comfortable and is actually helping the company rather than costing you money. If you’re still losing money through the 3rd and 4th quarter because of a new employee, it’s probably okay. Every employee and every organization is different.

Year 2

Thankfully, you won’t be losing money into Year 2 after the hire of a new employee. By now, the employee should be earning the company revenue to cover his/her salary plus some for the company to reinvest. Most employees, however, continue to flirt with breakeven.

Year 3

By year 3, your employee should be excelling in the company. At this point, we come to a critical decision point: the employee leaves (by their choice our yours) or the employee continues on with the company. It’s important to get to at least year 3 to ensure that you’ve gotten value out of your hire – watch that your revenue increases with the hire.  All things being equal, you should expect to see higher profits due to good hires.

If you haven’t, then you’re employee either left early or you made a bad hire.

How do I hire a star-quality team?

It shouldn’t take you til the end of Year 3 to determine whether or not you made a good hire. Do a better job during the hiring process to know who and what you’ve hired.

It all starts with who you are attracting to your company. Try to attract star-quality candidates. Describe the type of team that you would deem star-quality in regards to your organization. Hold fast to those bullet points that you’ve created as a type of criteria when recruiting.

Still having issues figuring out how to recruit star-quality candidates to build your team? Download the free 5 guiding principles for recruiting a star-quality team. A bad hire could be catastrophic to your company. Hire star quality candidates today!

how long do you keep a job?

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Hiring Expectations for Recent Graduates

employer's expectation

It’s the first week of May which means that caps will soon be flying in the air and college graduates will be entering the workforce.  What these new workers may not know is that employers often have an unspoken expectation that graduates arrive job-ready on day one…

Sounds pretty reasonable, right?

But with advances in technology, many “entry-level” positions of the past have been automated.  The result – fewer opportunities for new graduates to get in on the ground floor of an operation and learn the ropes. Instead, today’s graduates are expected to hit the ground solving problems rather than spending time getting their feet wet.

Oftentimes, graduates make academic decisions in order to increase their chances of securing the perfect job. With $1.3 trillion (and growing) in student debt, graduates are faced with the decision of whether or not to incur more debt to comply with increased expectations of employers.

What should be the employer’s expectations of those newly graduated job candidates?

Hiring Expectations for Recent Graduates

Accenture, a consulting firm, provided research and insights on college graduate expectations of employment in 2015. The results show that employers’ expectations and young people’s assumptions are not line.

College Graduates & Young Adult’s Expectations

An average 69% of college graduates believe that they need more post-graduation education or training to land their dream job. This could include, but is not limited to, earning an MBA, getting further certifications, etc. In addition, 77% of college graduates expect their future employers to provide additional training.

(Are you hiring new college graduates? Download our exclusive 5 guiding principles for building a star-quality team here.)

If you or someone you know is a recent college graduate, it’s imperative that you prepare based upon the employer’s expectations. While roughly 57% of employers provide on-the-job training, graduates should prepare for transitioning into the workforce as well as acclimating to the high standards expected.

(Know someone graduating this May? Pass this tip sheet along to them!)

Employer’s Expectations

Almost half (43%) of employers do not provide on-the-job training. Instead, these employers expect for these graduates to know everything. I suppose it makes sense to expect a 22-year-old who has invested $100,000 (give or take) into their college education to have the knowledge, capabilities, and resources to succeed in a position without any training, right?

My involvement with the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship as a lecturer has taught me that graduates need training. Some of the students I work with have had numerous internships at prestigious organizations, but they still require on-the-job training (it could even look like a mentorship). But no organization is the same. Each potential employee that you hire has to learn the systems, the culture, and more importantly, how to be successful within your organization.

There are two things that employers can look at: skills and talents.

Skill [skil]: the ability to do something well; expertise

Talent [tal-uh nt]: natural aptitude or skill

I can teach skills, but I can’t teach talent.

Here are a few expectations I have of all employees (including new grads):

There are appropriate expectations for any job, but it’s important to analyze the expectations that you have and the consequences they may create. An employer should focus on how to discover the natural talents that a job candidate has than to teach skills and further develop their talents.

Employee Turnover

Employee turnover accounts for the cost of acquiring, maintaining, and firing/resigning an employee. There are also costs in every stage in sustaining an employee within your organization. This includes employees that quit, are let go or retire.

Considering employee’s compensation,  your investment in your human capital, training, hiring, benefits, and so much more, it’s no wonder that the #2 reason why businesses fail is because of employee turnover!

While there is no perfect equation to calculate an organization’s employee turnover,  it can roughly be calculated as the number of employees who have left divided by the total number of employees in that segment (# left in time period/# total employees in segment.) For example, if Company A lost one of its fifteen employees in one year, then its annual turnover would be 6.67% or 1/15.

No matter how you calculate employee turnover, it’s important to keep your expectations of your employees (including your new grad hires) reasonable. If you’re not careful about how to care for your team, then your employee turnover ratio will go through the roof.

Hiring a Star Quality Team

There are many factors that go into running a successful company. Hiring a star quality team is essential to grow your company. For most organizations, people are at the root of the company’s success. Whether you own a mom & pop restaurant, manage a local hardware store, or own an oil & gas equipment manufacturing company, your team is vital to your success.

employer's expectationEven though the price of oil is slowly climbing up after it’s long economic downturn, fewer professional jobs are available during this time; however, the demand for talented candidates remains high. This becomes a cyclical issue that you as the financial leader, CEO or decision maker will have to continually face.

Unfortunately, universities fail to efficiently train students to transition their school-based skills and talents to the workforce. Until universities transition students into employees, hire based on the potential for the employee to grow.

(Are you trying to build a star-quality team? Download our free, exclusive 5 guiding principles for building a star-quality team here.)

Hiring Expectations for Recent Graduates, employer's expectations

Hiring Expectations for Recent Graduates, employer's expectations

Accenture 2015 College Graduate Employment Research

 

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Can You Grow a Company With Only “A” Players?

"A" Player

LeBron James: hate him or love him, you have to admit that he’s a talented basketball player. When he started out his career in Cleveland, he was a promising player. Unfortunately, his gifts were too much for the team since there wasn’t a support system to cultivate his “A” player qualities. After 7 years, James move to Miami to play for the Heat. Almost overnight, LeBron became a national champion, not just an MVP.

Can You Grow a Company With Only “A” Players?

First of all…

  1. There are not many “A” players to select from.
  2. If you can find an “A” player, you can’t afford all of them.
  3. Not everyone can be an “A” player.

The brief answer to that question (can I grow a company with only “A” players?) is no. If you had only “A” players in your company or organization, nothing would get done due to ego, competition, lack of compensation, etc.

When I first started The Strategic CFO, I thought to myself… “I’m going to hire people like me.” I quickly figured out that a company can’t grow if it’s comprised of the same type of person or the same level of skill.

What made the difference?

The organization made all the difference. It is absolutely imperative that you have an organization that is set up for success.

Optimize the employees that you have currently. While they may be “B” players, it is your responsibility to set them up for success. Put in procedures and systems for them to succeed in their own capacity.

Do I Hire 1 A Players OR 2 B Players?

It depends. Oftentimes, you have to assess the person’s motives. Is the “A” player just looking at the position you’re offering as a stepping stone or a long-term commitment?  If it’s the latter, you might want to think long and hard before hiring them.  High turnover costs more than you may realize…

Remember, “A” players are expensive. What would be better for your organization?

What I’ve learned in my own company as well as through working with clients is to hire people with talent. I’m not necessarily looking only for “A” players, but also “B” players that are willing to work and learn and invest in their company.

Regardless of your decision, you must optimize the talent you’ve hired and retain that talent for your organization to be successful. The Number #2 reason why businesses fail is because of employee turnover.  In my experience, “A” players are in greater demand and, consequently, have more opportunities to jump ship.  Investing time and resources to nurture and retain loyal employees with talent is often a better strategy than filling your bench with superstars.

(Are you trying to build a star-quality team? Download our free, exclusive 5 guiding principles for building a star-quality team here.)

 A few months back, we posted a blog about how when there is a recession, fewer professional job are available. Oftentimes, when companies are scrambling to fill in empty key positions, they hire anyone. This is one of the major mistakes that companies make!  Decide what you’re looking for and make the right hire the first time. Hiring just anyone because you need someone right away can cause huge problems down the line.

What are Your Expectations?

Steve Jobs once said, “I’ve learned over the years that, when you have really good people, you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B-grade work.”

As a leader, it is crucial that you set your standards. I’ve always found that by having “A” player expectations, “B” players are able to rise to the occasion. For example, I could hire the best sales and marketing intern money can buy. But I don’t. I hire for talent, not specific skills.  The intern may not have the experience or the skills, but if they have the drive to succeed and the talent to adapt, I’m willing to invest in them.

Demand talented people. Know that talent is more valuable than skill. You can easily teach skill, but you can’t teach someone to be talented.

What Can They Do vs. What They’ve Done

Are you hiring because of what is listed on their resume or are you hiring because they have X amount of potential to grow and add value?

Enterprise, the car rental company, hires trainee managers at around $40,000 a year. While their pay isn’t comparable to other car rental companies, their expectation is that you will be promoted within 9-12 months. They specifically hire people that they would love to have as their manager. This is why Enterprise dominates the car rental industry and is continuing to grow.

Enterprise knows that they can’t afford the “A” players, but they can mold and transform those “B” players to be successful. And every year, their sales increases. This is just one example of how a company can grow without hiring only the “A” players!

With oil prices slowly crawling up from a low point in February, this may be the right time to start growing your business. While the economy can be volatile at times, it is smart to prepare and structure your business to withstand storms.

Download our free whitepaper 5 guiding principles for recruiting star-quality team today to start building the team your company needs to grow.

Lead Magnet - 5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team

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A Players

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Recession = Fewer Professional Jobs Available

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past 15 months, then you have probably noticed that the decline in oil prices has resulted in many Houston businesses experiencing symptoms of an economic recession. What does a recession mean for you? Historically, recessions equate to reduced availability of professional jobs.

less professional jobsWhile the effects of the free fall in oil prices may have not spilled over to your economic sector yet, banks are already restructuring the troubled loans of oil and gas companies. This could result in more layoffs in the energy sector. In addition, it will likely impact other industries as well.

But even greater than the oil and gas industry, we’re seeing international economic upsets in China, Latin America, and in other areas of the American market economy. Some are expecting to see in 2016 a recession greater than that of the 2008 recession.

How Most Companies React to Recessions

Most companies without effective leadership would begin to cut the upper management who complete the 20% of the work. This leaves the lower level employees that complete 80% of the work. Many of our clients lay off the CFO and other “non-essential” leaders within the company. Why pay $50,000-$100,000 more for an employee when they only complete 20% of the work needed? Fewer professional less professional jobsjobs are thus becoming available because those positions are now deemed obsolete or as overhead.

Companies are removing experienced professionals from their positions due to their higher cost. Therefore, we tend to see many “battlefield promotions”. The military coined this term as a promoted soldier due to the death or injury of a senior officer.

Like in the military, employees are often promoted during a recession not necessarily because of their skills. But because their supervisor left or was laid off. CEOs or hiring managers feel that if these employees can do 80% of what their manager did, then asking them to do the whole job isn’t too much of a stretch.  While they might have the talents to succeed, they may not have the skills needed to complete that last 20%.

One way a business can protect itself from such a situation is by making a practice of hiring star-quality team members. These members can rise to the occasion when faced with rough economic times.

NOTE: Want some guidelines to develop a star-quality team? Download the Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team to make sure your team can adapt in rough economic times.

Fewer Professional Jobs Available

As difficult as it is for those receiving battlefield promotions to get up to speed quickly, the fired managers face an even tougher challenge. Suddenly, there are more qualified candidates in the marketplace than there are positions available and fewer professional jobs available. The available jobs have been filled from within through battlefield promotions.

Highly-experienced individuals found that they have to take positions they are overqualified for at reduced pay.  This is where the value of the network you have built (or will wish you had built) really pays off.  Your connections in the marketplace can mean the difference between securing a desirable position, or settling for what you can find.

When looking for a job with limited openings in the marketplace, find an organization where you fit and can provide value.  Even if that means taking a pay cut, the money should come when things turn around.

Hiring & Restructuring Human Capital

Regardless of how this emerging recession is impacting your organization, realize that the #2 reason why businesses fail is employee turnover. Think about it. The costs associated with replacing an employee include: hiring, interviewing, on-boarding, training, mentoring, and waiting approximately 6 months before they find themselves accustomed and productive in your organization. The hiring process is getting longer and thus, more expensive.

As you’re building a new team or assessing your current employees for possible battlefield promotions, consider how you can build a star-quality team. A star-quality team will carry your company through tough times. Assess your current employees as if you were hiring them for the first time. If a battlefield promotion is necessary, who will rise to the occasion and provide the most value to your company?

In tough times, companies generally try to run leaner.  There are ways to do more with less and to measure the productivity of those limited resources. If you’ve exhausted all resources within your organization, then look at how to hire the right people to build your team.

Check out the guidelines that The Strategic CFO uses as we advise our Retained Search clients to help find the perfect fit. Click here for your FREE download of those guidelines.

less professional jobs

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Do Job Titles Matter?

Many of you will recognize this video clip from the classic comedy Cheers where Woody, intending to ask for a raise, gets tricked into accepting (actually demanding) a job title instead.

Do Job Titles Matter?

So, do job titles matter?  Under what circumstances would a sane person accept a title in lieu of a raise?  You might be surprised…

Early in my career, I was working for a company that was facing bankruptcy.  I knew there was no money for raises, so instead I asked to be named CFO.  Due to its financial distress, I saw that my days with the company were numbered.  I realized that having “CFO” on my resume would make me more marketable when it came time to find my next position, so I gladly accepted the title.

In a sense, job titles are currency within (and outside of) an organization.  Your title may not completely capture the work you do, but it can give you a certain implied authority.  For instance, most bankers have the title of Vice President.  Why is that?  Most likely, it’s because the title of Vice President instills a certain sense of authority and confidence that clients want their banker possess.

Downside of Titles

One of the downsides of titles for the company is that they can’t be taken back easily.  While employees will likely understand the necessity for a pay cut in tough times, taking away a title isn’t as understandable or easy to do.  For example, we had a client who was looking to grow their accounting staff.  They had an employee who had been given the title of CFO, but was really functioning as a Controller.  This employee was very good at their job, but wasn’t really what the company needed in a CFO as it was growing.  The quandary they faced is how to bring in the person they need, but not step on the toes of the loyal employee they wanted to keep.

The downside of titles for the employee is that they can be limiting.  Many CFOs these days are seeing themselves working more and more in operations, particularly as organizations get flatter.  Should these CFOs want to make the transition over to operations, they could face issues that “they need to stay in finance where they belong”.  Not having a title can be freeing as it can allow you to use your talents in the company where they fit best, not where they’re expected.

So do job titles matter?  The answer is – it depends.  What do you think about job titles?  Leave us a comment below.

When you are hiring, determine which candidates fit your company. Download and access your free white paper, 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

Do Job Titles Matter, job titles

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Dealing with People Problems

A wise man once said…

“Life is simple, people complicate it.”

The same wisdom holds true for business.  If you take a look at the biggest headaches that you have to deal with on a daily basis, chances are good that the majority of them have to do with people.

Dealing with People Problems

So what’s a company to do?  Here are a few suggestions for how to solve some common people problems in your organization.

Identify Your Culture &  The Traits of Your Top Performers

ritz carlton credo

This Ritz-Carlton Credo identifies a culture of service. “Service” is the common trait among all their people that the company will look for when hiring.

Who are the most successful people in your company? What do they have in common?

Truly successful organizations have a common trait that they look for in prospective employees and foster in current employees. This trait is defined by the culture of the organization.

The Navy Seals value perseverance above all else. For Ritz Carlton, it’s service.

Identifying your company’s culture and nurturing those traits that support the culture is critical to building and maintaining a winning team.

Fewer, Better People

With the prevalence of technological advances across all industries, many routine jobs are being automated. A typical reaction to this trend is to reduce headcount.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted this very fact:

Mr. Siu [the researcher referenced in the article] thinks jobs have been taken away by automation, more than by outsourcing. While some manufacturing jobs have clearly gone overseas, “it’s hard to offshore a secretary.” These tasks more likely became unnecessary due to improving technology, he said.

While automation almost always leads to the need for fewer people, it’s important for businesses to realize that the people they now need are different. They need people to analyze, not just input, the data.

Right People, Right Jobs

Are there some people in your organization that you feel aren’t living up to their potential? Perhaps the problem is one of fit. Even the most talented employee is limited if the work they are doing isn’t the right fit for them. Consider moving these people to a part of the company where their gifts would be better utilized.

You might be surprised that your accounting manager has a passion and a talent for marketing that isn’t being tapped into. Be open to allowing your best people to take on tasks outside of their job description.

Hire for Talent, Train for Skills

Obviously, hiring the right people in the first place eliminates a lot of headaches. Problems arise when a business doesn’t carefully define what the “right” person looks like. Often, they get caught up in a particular skill set they believe a job requires. Then they lose sight of a better indicator of success – talent.RI-MYUNG-HUN

Talent is that innate quality that transcends skill. It’s something that a person either has or doesn’t have.

You can’t teach talent. Look around your organization for those people that everyone goes to when they need something done. They are the ones with talent.

“I can teach anyone to play basketball. I can’t teach tall.”
—John Wooden, legendary basketball coach

Need help minimizing people problems by hiring the right people? Download our “5 Guiding Principles for Recruiting a Star-Quality Team” below!

dealing with people problems

dealing with people problems

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The 3 Most Important Interview Questions

important interview questionsPreparing for a job interview can be intimidating. What should you wear?  Will you be able to find the place?  How early should you arrive? But probably the most terrifying concern of all is “What questions will they ask?”.

3 Important Interview Questions

Bernard Marr wrote a great article on LinkedIn that can help take some of the stress out of preparing for your next interview.  He contends that most interviewers are really only trying to establish answers to 3 key questions:

  1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
  2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
  3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

Aside from that one oddball interview we’ve all had, most interviewers truly want to get a sense of who you are, why you want the job, and how you’ll fit in.  They may come at each of these questions from a variety of angles, but all paths of inquiry really lead back to these essential issues.

To learn more about what’s behind each of these questions as well as the ways an interviewer may ask them, check out Bernard’s article here.

Download and access your free white paper, 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team to determine which candidates are the right fit for your company

important interview questions

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