Category Archives: Recruitment

Top 5 critical skills in shortfall

The Kelly Skills at Work 2010 study uncovered a serious skills  shortage in the Banking and Finance Sector in the Asia Pacific region.

The five skills most in demand are also those considered most critical for mid to senior level managers across all industries.

Of all organisations surveyed,  88% said the shortage of staff with the right skills had a negative impact on their ability to serve clients.

As the FOFA reforms come into play for those readers giving financial advice, we will begin to see the real impact of this skill shortfall in terms of client attraction and retention.

If you’re an employer, you will find it increasingly difficult to identify and hire people with these critical skills.

The top 5 critical skills in shortage are:

1.  Communication including the critical abilities to

  • build long-term, successful, professional relationships with clients, in addition to selling a product or service and
  • communicate complex financial concepts to a non-finance audience in a simple and tactful way.

2.  Problem solving and decision making required for

  • complying with high levels of regulation and
  • dealing with environmental uncertainties.

3.  Strategic thinking to

  • assess multiple external factors and
  • develop and evaluate options.

4.  People Management with the ability to

  • lead, motivate and inspire and
  • ensure teams have the right balance of skills.

5.  Technical skills

  • relevant, up to date and transferrable knowledge and
  • an ability to deal with more sophisticated products and markets.

What has been your experience?  Have you suffered a skills shortage crisis?  Have you found effective ways of dealing with the skills shortage?  What are your plans for the future?  Please share your thoughts below.

 

 

Three things you should know about yourself

…and anyone you employ!

Talking to a client yesterday about the potential to promote a staff member, I was reminded (again) of the power of awareness of our strengths and limitations.  Whether you’re hiring new staff or developing existing staff, positive change has to start from a point of knowledge and acknowledgement.

Even if you have a strong intention to improve, unless you know what’s holding you back it’s very hard to move forward.  But how do you find out?

One way is by objective assessment.  Here are three examples of  important leadership competencies we can measure for you: 

1. Strategic Judgement = the tendency to have a balance of traits necessary to discern pertinent information and formulate an effective strategy. 

This competency is made up of essential traits: Analytical, Analyses Pitfalls, Research/Learning, Intuitive, Collaborative, Self-Improvement, Systematic; desirable traits: Experimenting, Persistent, Certain, Pressure Tolerance, Optimistic, Planning, Self-Acceptance, Relaxed, Open/Reflective; and traits to avoid: Blindly Optimistic, Impulsive, Skeptical, Defensive, Dogmatic, Easily Influenced, Fast but Imprecise, Precise but Slow.

2. Interpersonal Skills = the tendency to have a balance of traits that relate to effective interaction with others. 

This competency consists of essential traits: Diplomatic, Helpful, Optimistic, Outgoing, Assertive, Frank, Influencing, Self-Acceptance, Self-Improvement, Warmth/Empathy, Tolerance of Bluntness; desirable traits: Flexible, Collaborative, Open/Reflective, Manages Stress Well, Relaxed; and traits to avoid: Defensive, Blunt, Dogmatic, Harsh, Dominating, Authoritarian, Permissive.

3. Provides Direction = the tendency to manifest the traits necessary for a leadership role. 

This is a combination of essential traits: Want to Lead, Influencing, Takes Initiative, Wants Challenge, Enthusiastic, Self-Improvement, Planning, Persistent, Pressure Tolerance, Public Speaking, Self-Acceptance; and desirable traits: Experimenting, Flexible, Frank, Handles Conflict, Helpful, Precise, Organised, Relaxed, Risking, Systematic, Tolerance of Bluntness, Warmth/Empathy.

Do you already know all this about yourself and your team? 

Would it be useful for you to have this information before making recruitment, coaching and promotion decisions?  What else would you like to know?

It’s surprising, but we can get all that information – and much more! – out of one short online test.  If you haven’t tried the assessment for yourself yet, it may be time to click here to register for a free trial.

The five step skills shortage strategy

One of the constants in running a business is the challenge of attracting and retaining high quality staff.

We have seen businesses opting to improve productivity among existing staff and control their recruitment budgets since the GFC hit Australia.  At the same time, unemployment is staying low and the number of jobs advertised is slowly rising. 

A recent report by Hudson found that around 44% of employers still find it hard to source candidates with appropriate skills.  The war for talent continues!

Add to this the estimated cost of losing an employee at 70-150% of their salary and you can see why it’s vital to get the right person the first time.

What can you do to win in a talent war?

 

1.  Upskill existing staff.

Or hire for attitude and train for skill.

2.  Only use advertising that attracts the best people.

Include role and salary details, company name and location, benefits (including training).  Tell what it’s like to work for your company and why they should want to work for you.

3.  Follow a transparent and structured process. 

Candidates will recognise your level of honesty, fairness, consistency and flexibility in the recruitment process.  Delivering in these areas will help you stand out from your competitors for limited talent.

4.  Use a variety of sources of information. 

Combine different ways of assessing candidates to ensure you get all the information you need to make your decision.  Take the time to introduce them to the team or involve a peer in the interview process to confirm cultural fit.

5.  Get help. 

Unless this is something you do every day consider getting help form a recruitment consultant who knows your industry.  A good consultant can quickly identify ways to inprove your skills shortage strategy.

Turn your ‘better than nothing’ into ‘really something’

A comment by a client yesterday started me thinking about our willingness to settle for less than ideal when we could be seeking the best. 

With a little extra effort when recruiting staff, your business results can be ‘really something’ rather than ‘better than nothing’. 

First, some research on recruitment in small to medium enterprises…

The SME Boardroom White Paper released last week showed that the primary method for recruitment, used by 71.9% of SMEs, is to advertise the position themselves. Other sources of new recruits are business and personal referrals (57.8%) and staff referrals (40.6%).  What’s your method of choice?

Also contained in the White Paper is information about what SMEs look for when recruiting.  The main thing is attitude (78% of respondents).  Cultural fit (39.1%) and technical skills (34.4%) are also important. The survey didn’t ask how SMEs assess these requirements.

If you advertise directly and recruit for attitude, you will need a process that is efficient and effective.  Here’s a short summary of the steps you’ll need to take before you can make an offer to the new recruit you’re looking for:

  1. Define the role – job description, including talks and responsibilities
  2. Define the technical requirements – skills, qualifications, experience
  3. Define the ideal personal attributes –  attitudes, values, work preferences, cultural fit
  4. Advertise appropriately to attract good candidates
  5. Receive applications, read all cover letters and resumes
  6. Screen applications to determine technical requirements are met
  7. Create a shortlist
  8. Conduct behavioural interviews – consistent, relevant questions
  9. Assess job fit and cultural fit
  10. Reference checks, other pre-employment checks

All the same steps should apply, except for advertising, when your candidates come from referrals. 

Are you going through all the steps? 

If you would like a copy of our detailed Recruitment Plan, just let us know.  We are here to help you find and keep your dream team.

And remember, as Jim Collins said in Good to Great (2001), “When in doubt, don’t hire – keep looking”.

The one thing you need to know about performance…

…and retention.

Warning:  What you are about to read is so obvious you’ll wonder why you haven’t already used it in selection and performance management!

Enjoyment Performance Theory states that an individual will perform more effectively in a job if that individual:

1. Enjoys the tasks required by that job;

2. Has interests that relate to the position and

3. Has work environment preferences that correspond with the environment of the workplace.

Assuming a person has the skills and experience necessary for the job, enjoyment of the various aspects of the job is a significant predictor of higher performance.

Because we tend to do the things that bring us pleasure and avoid things we don’t enjoy, we tend to do the things we like more often.  As we do those activities more often, we get better at them and our improved performance adds to our enjoyment of the task.  A virtuous cycle, if you like. 

Conversely, because we will be less inclined to do something we don’t enjoy, we fail to improve in that task and the lower performance reinforces our dislike of the activity – a vicious cycle.

Harrison Assessments’ 20 years of research has proven that employees who enjoy at least 75% or more of their job are three times more likely to succeed than employees who enjoy less than 75% of their job. That makes understanding factors related to work satisfaction vitally important for making the right hiring decisions, motivating employees, and retaining top talent. 

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So how do you apply the theory to your team? 

Surprisingly, very few behavioural assessments or personality assessments measure work satisfaction, even though it is critically important to do so. As a result, assessments are limited in their ability to determine motivation or forecast whether an individual will prosper and stay with the company.

The Harrison Assessment questionnaire is designed to predict performance, work satisfaction and retention. This is critical when selecting new staff and also enables companies to motivate people and increase their performance by assigning the roles and responsibilities that give them the highest degree of work satisfaction.

To find out more about what we can do for you with Harrison Assessments, visit our website or contact us!

Can you deliver on your Client Value Proposition?

When you make a promise to a client, are you confident your staff can – and will – keep it?

Many businesses, especially in financial services, struggle to identify and define their client value proposition (CVP).  The AFA 2010 White Paper provides valuable insights from consumer research. 

One area covered in the research was ‘loyalty drivers’.   The responses to the question “Which of the following are important for choosing and staying with a financial adviser?” were:

  • Your adviser takes time to listen/explain things to you – 82.5%
  • Your adviser is available when you call and/or returns calls promptly – 75.7%
  • Your adviser resolves account issues/questions quickly – 66.9%
  • Your adviser proactively manages your account and/or suggests changes – 65.8%
  • Your adviser is affiliated with a reputable organisation – 43.7%
  • Your adviser is calls you on a regular/ongoing basis – 35.7%

(263 respondents, multiple answers allowed)

The first four are clearly the most important to the financial advice clients surveyed.  All four depend on you having the right people in the right roles.  These services are all time-consuming and unless you can rely on your staff, you are bound to under-deliver and disappoint.

Having staff who can deliver on your promises is a combination of your recruitment, selection, induction, training, performance management and coaching practices.  Any weak points in these practices will carry over into how you’re perceived by your prospects and clients.

Some questions for you:

  1. Are you confident you can deliver these loyalty drivers on a consistent and regular basis? 
  2. How much will you achieve if you don’t have skilled and productive staff to back you up? 
  3. How would you cope with client disappointment?

As you reflect on the answers and how they impact your CVP, we are here to help.  Extensive experience in people management, many year’s coaching financial advisers and cutting-edge tools mean we can identify issues quickly and set you on the path to your CVP goals.  Contact us here.

Postscript:  I recently left my financial planner because they provided only one of the above loyalty drivers.  Can you guess which one?  Hint:  Being affiliated with a reputable organisation is not enough on its own!

Overcoming deception

We are often asked by recruitment consultants and employers if it is easy to ‘cheat’ on the Harrison Assessment. The short answer is “no”!  The following article, from Dr Dan Harrison’s ‘Best Practices in Talent Assessment’, explains why HA is different.

One of the biggest challenges of any behavioural assessment is to determine how truthfully the person has answered the questions. How can an assessment determine if the person has given truthful answers?

There are several important interconnected ways to overcome the problem of untruthful answers.

1. Forced ranking

Many personality assessments attempt to determine this by offering to answer seemingly opposite options along with an additional answer option called “in between.” If there are too many answers of “in between,” the results are considered invalid. While this may provide a slight indication of answer reliability, it is an extremely weak method. In many cases the most truthful answer may in fact be “in between.” Therefore, this method is not reliable.

It is best to provide answer options that need to be ranked rather than rated or scored. Forced ranking requires the person to designate their priorities.

2. Cross-referencing

HA uses computer cross-referencing to reduce the time required to complete the assessment. HA uses the same cross-referencing to determine if the person’s answers are consistent with themselves. If a person answers untruthfully when ranking a large number of statements, it is extremely difficult to maintain a high level of consistency. Even if the person were to remember all the rankings exactly, it would still be difficult to meet or exceed the consistency requirement.

Each statement appears two times and each time it appears it is ranked against other statements that are completely different. To maintain consistency, the person would have to mentally perform thousands of cross-references. If the answers are more than 10% inconsistent, HA considers that either the person has not paid sufficient attention to the answers or has deliberately attempted to deceive the assessment. In either case, the results are not considered valid.

3. Positive options only

Harrison Assessments has further mechanisms that prevent and detect deception. The questionnaire only includes statements relating to positive behaviours. Therefore, all of the statements are generally perceived as desirable. In addition, even if the person attempts to give the desirable answer, their own behaviour patterns dictate which answers they consider desirable. For example, if a person tends to be very frank and direct, they will consider this tendency to be their virtue as well as a desirable answer.

4. Paradox

The HA system includes a further layer of lie detection by analysing the paradoxical relationships between the behavioural tendencies. Through such analysis, negative behaviour patterns can be determined without asking any negative questions and without the person having the slightest awareness that they have revealed their negative behaviour. If the person attempts to deceive the assessment, the negative behavioural patterns will become more exaggerated making them appear as poor candidates.

Would you like to experience the assessment for yourself?  Please click here or call us to request a free trial.

Five reasons interviews often miss their mark

Research shows that if you use an interview as your main decider, you have only a 14% chance that the person you choose will perform well in the role!  Today’s article by Dr Dan Harrison explores why.  

Given that we continue to use interviews, it’s in our interests to make them as effective as possible.  Our webinar TOMORROW will show you how!  Book your place today: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/917745616  

Why are interviews so poor at predicting job success?   

In the past, interviews have been used as the primary means assess attitude, motivation, and job behaviour. However, even if interviewers are extremely intuitive, there are many reasons why accurately assessing job behaviour with a normal interview process is nearly impossible.

1. The interviewee aims to tell the interviewer what he/she thinks will be viewed as the best response. The interviewer aims to determine how much of what the person is saying reflects genuine attitudes and behaviour and how much is related to just trying to get the job. This in itself is extremely difficult to resolve in the short period of the interview.

2. Interviewers are biased. Research clearly shows that interviewers routinely give favorable responses to people who are similar to themselves, and less favorable responses to people who are different from themselves. In the end, the result is very likely to come down to how well the interviewer likes the candidate rather than how well the candidate fits the behavioural requirements of the job.

3. Some people are skillful at being interviewed. However, being skillful at an interview usually does not relate to job success and therefore it often confuses the interviewer into thinking that such skillfulness will relate to job success.

4. Interviewers do not have access to a real behavioural success formula. There are dozens of behavioural factors that either promote success or inhibit success for any one job. Interviewers rarely have access to a job formula that identifies the behavioural success factors, weights the success factors against each other. And formulates how different levels of these success factors impact job performance

5. Even if the interviewer has access to such a formula, the interviewer would need to accurately assess specific levels of each applicant’s behaviour for each of the job success factors.

Many interviewers claim insights into the personality of applicants and certainly some interviewers are quite perceptive. However, predicting job success is an entirely different matter. It is not sufficient to perceive a particular quality of a person. Rather, the interviewer must be able to accurately assess the magnitude of each of dozens of qualities in relationship to a complex formula of behavioural requirements for a particular job. This is nearly an impossible task without the aid of significant research and tools.

Assessment research shows that interviewing has a moderate ability to predict job success. However, this doesn’t mean that interviewers can predict job behaviour. The moderate ability to predict job success comes as a result of exploring the candidate’s resume, previous experience, education, and job knowledge rather than the interviewer’s ability to predict job behaviour.

Should you be asking THAT question?

When interviewing job candidates, we all have favourite questions we always like to ask.  The effectiveness of some of these questions is questionable, to say the least.  

As candidates, I’m sure we’ve all heard some screamers. I thought asking a person what car they drive was pretty poor, until someone told me they’d been asked “If you were a car, what sort of car would you be?”.  This question would give a good indication of the person’s imaginative powers, but little or no information about their ability to do the job.  

Another favourite is “Where do you want to be in five years’ time?”.  If you have heard that one before (who hasn’t?) you can imagine how common it is and how easy for a candidate to prepare an impressive answer for when you ask them!  

The ability to do the job, along with attitude, are the key things you’re looking for in your intervew questions. Any question that does not give you more information on ability or attitude is a distraction from the main game and may even land you in hot water.  

Here are some examples of interview questions which may be asked with the best of intentions but may be inappropriate:  

1. Where did you grow up?

2. How old are your children?

3. When did you finish high school?

4. What does your wife/husband do for a living?

5. How long do you plan to work before you retire?

If you have asked any of these, or similar, questions in the past, my advice is to consider a new approach to how you interview. We will be talking about the traps to avoid in our next webinar on 25 August. Register here to learn more: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/917745616

Banking on your reputation

If your chances of being hired or promoted – or winning a new client – depended 20% on your qualifications and 80% on your reputation, would you need to change your behaviour?

I’m sure for most readers, the answer is ‘no’ because you are already aware of how important your reputation is to your success.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the things, beyond honesty, that contribute to a good reputation.  If you’d like to know more about how to get more insights into a person’s reputation, read this post.

These are our top five factors contributing to a high personal approval rating:

1.  Valuing others for the relationships you have with them, not just for what you think they can do for you.

2.  Positive interactions and communication with peers, managers, suppliers, clients and competitors. 

3.  Congruence or acting in ways that are consistent with your values and the values of your organisation.  This is ‘walking the talk’.

4.  Delivery – doing what you said you’d do, even if it will cost you.  Corollary:  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

5.  Consistency in how you act in the full range of situations you encouner in life and business.  People like to extrapolate from how they’ve seen you behave in one instance to how you will approach other situations and if you’re not consistent you’ll cause confusion, which can be damaging for you.

As an employee, consultant or adviser, be aware of how all these factors contribute to your reputation and the reputation of your organisation.

As a manager, you could use these five factors as a checklist when assessing candidates for employment or promotion, as you go through your interviews, reference checking and staff development processes.  Lack of clarity on any one of these factors is a signal that you may need to do some more research before making your decision.

Remember “You can’t build your reputation on what you’re going to do.”  (Henry Ford)

Taken any shortcuts lately?

Preparing for the ‘Recruitment and Selection Essentials’ workshop later this week started me thinking about the shortcuts we sometimes take when recruiting new staff. 

Often this is because we’re in such a desperate hurry to get somebody (anybody?) onboard that we are willing to take a risk or two.  

Here are some suggestions for minimising the risks: 

Do have a systematic way to compare candidates in terms of the essential and desirable criteria for the role.  This will save you having to plough through each resume to find vital information in the early stages and make it easier to pick your top candidate(s).

Don’t brief a recruitment agency or write an advertisement until you know exactly what you’re looking for.  Clarity on this one point will save you time and money – every time.

Do conduct phone interviews in the first instance.  This is becoming more common and can save both you and your candidates a lot of time.  By having a few ‘make or break’ questions, you may find you have reduced the number of people to be interviewed face-to-face.

Don’t employ anyone without first checking their credentials.  You may be aware of a case before the NSW Supreme Court.  The investment manager for Astarra Funds Management, Shawn Richards, claimed to have both a degree and experience when he had neither.  If you don’t check, will your reputation survive a fraudulent employee?

Do always check the references given to you by candidates, even if it takes some time and trouble.

Don’t feel you have to stick to checking just the referees you have been given.  Recent supervisors and peers may be able to provide you with more information.  

Do spread your net to other people in the industry who might know the candidate and ask them for their feedback.  Your industry contacts can also save you time in identifying likely candidates.

Do find out as much as you can about the potential employee through pre-employment assessments and checks.

Taking shortcuts can result in getting lost! 

Implementing these simple guidelines will save you time (and money) in the long run.  More importantly, they will reduce the substantial risks to your business and reputation of employing an unsuitable, unqualified or unreliable staff member.

 

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
By Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
By Benoit Ribe, HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead, employee and team development sessions."
By Shaun Stanfield, Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet

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