As we roll into December, your favorite retailers and mall destinations are stocking up on holiday merchandise, decorations, and preparing for the all-out Christmas blitz between now and the New Year. What may not be so obvious is how retailers are stockpiling another precious holiday resource: seasonal holiday workers. We see a major spike in candidate activity from late October through mid-December as our retail clients select a supplemental workforce to assist the mass of customers throughout the busy holiday season. On average, between 20%-40% of a retailer’s annual revenue is generated in November-December (some claim even higher percentages), so hiring a quality holiday staff can be literally a “life or death” process for the business.
To add a bit more intrigue to holiday hiring, retailers know that simply throwing a few extra warm bodies on the sales floor doesn’t make for a good shopping experience. In today’s competitive retail environment, the temporary holiday worker needs to be of comparable quality to the full-time employee to ensure sales are not lost due to less-than-stellar customer service.
So how do you scale regular hiring procedures to accommodate the addition of hundreds or thousands of holiday candidates? Without a talent science technology that can handle a huge volume of traffic, many hiring managers reluctantly trade quality for quantity. Conversely, with a tool designed to be flexible with your hiring demands, the same hiring process works when selecting holiday help just as it does earlier in the year. A process that helps you hire well in March should do the same—but at a higher volume—in November and December.
One company that epitomizes the need for seasonal holiday hiring is HoneyBaked Ham. The holiday ham specialty store, based in Alpharetta, GA, has beefed up (no pun intended) staff across the country in preparation for the holiday rush between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, its busiest time of the year. Corporate-operated HoneyBaked stores use PeopleAnswers to quickly select quality sales associates to handle the large lines that form during the days prior to family holiday gatherings. Robin Blanton, director of marketing for HoneyBaked Ham, said in a recent interview, "We've boosted our staff about 200 percent for the holidays. We started hiring in October, and have done lots of training for our new employees," she said. "We take great pride in being able to show each customer the very best HoneyBaked experience and meet their expectations when they order."
Read more from HoneyBaked CEO Chuck Bengochea about how 60 percent of HoneyBaked Ham’s sales are made in November and December, while another 10 percent of sales — from company-owned and franchise stores and from the Internet and catalogs — are made in the Easter season. Also see how one Birmingham, AL, HoneyBaked store is preparing to meet the holiday rush.
In a recent article that I read, CIO.com discussed the growing trend of accountability in HR and a move toward talent analytics. The article spotlights the hiring of professionals that bring with them a more scientific and analytical background. The piece goes on to say that more and more, companies are realizing that business results can be driven by efficiently utilizing data and talent. CIO.com suggests the trend points toward a greater implementation of analytics by HR, requiring a shift in the talent pool.
I would add that the power in leveraging data and talent, especially as it relates to HR, is when there is consideration given to both analytics and human behavior. Data alone can’t interpret complex human behavior. There must be additional consideration, and experience, applied to the psychology that inherently drives and motivates people. With rigorous application of analytics, it is possible to scientifically identify correlations between on-the-job results and human behavior patterns. This drives true value to the HR professional. As HR continues its journey to drive business value, the most successful teams will be the ones that look for unique ways to understand the complex three-dimensional patterns that underlie human behavior as it relates to job satisfaction, engagement and performance.
In our white paper, The 7 Misconceptions Regarding Performance Profiles, you will find several topical discussions that support HR professionals’ on-the-job need for practical knowledge in both data management and talent analytics. From job analysis, to performance metrics, to behavioral fit, it takes both data-crunching and behavioral science to successfully identify your next crop of employee superstars. Effective Performance Profiles combine these two disciplines by correlating performance with behavioral insights.
Click here to receive a free download of The 7 Misconceptions Regarding Performance Profiles. You can also visit our website to learn more or review client results.
Companies tend to hire for a specific position. Occasionally, a company will get lucky and find a good candidate for the role. But suppose that candidate was actually a better fit for a position they didn't apply for? Often, applying to several different roles within a company requires the candidate to take different pre-employment assessments. To apply for five positions, the job seeker takes five separate assessments specific to each role. Consider the advantage of the PeopleAnswers methodology, in which the candidate completes a single set of questions one time, and the results are immediately matched against five unique positions to determine where he/she is the best fit.
In this scenario, candidates are applying to "the company," NOT just to one specific role. In my previous blog, "HR Solutions: Getting to the Behavioral Core of the Matter," I discussed how behavioral values don't change over the short term. That allows employers to match a person's behaviors to multiple job profiles and find the job he/she is best suited for. This is done by leveraging performance data to identify the behavioral pattern most conducive to success for each individual role. In the end, it is not about the assessment, but about comparing the candidate's behaviors to the pattern of success driven by actual performance data. By accurately assessing the candidate, that same set of behaviors can be used repeatedly although every job represents a different set of target behaviors. That’s how we find the best match for a job, as well as get a peek into the future for succession planning.
A download of our white paper entitled “The Seven Misconceptions Regarding Performance Profiles” is available so you can dig a little deeper into how behaviors can be measured and combined with a Performance Profile to determine fit across multiple job openings while providing a wealth of knowledge and insight that impacts the entire employee life cycle.
A person with the right behavioral set is much more likely to stay on the job than a skillful person who hates coming to work. That is why behavioral fit to the job is so important. The core behaviors measured by behavioral pre-employment testing are part of our personality, intrinsic to who we are on the job and in our free time. We are not talking about being in a bad mood for a day or some other “emotional” mood swing; on the contrary, we are measuring core “behavioral dimensions” as I call them. These core dimensions are a big part of our thoughts, actions, and the outcomes we produce in a work environment, and they do not change in a dynamic way from one year to the next (as documented in the Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology*). Consider this: Skills can be taught, but behaviors are usually non-negotiable traits that a new hire brings to the table. I would rather train a great person to do the job than struggle with a highly skilled person who is a behavioral square peg forced into a cultural round hole.
*Specht, J., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2011). Stability and Change of Personality Across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five. Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology, 101(4), 862-882.
Every member of management that has direct reports will deliver a performance review at least once per year. Without an effective job profile that details relevant employee performance metrics, performance reviews with your employees are a missed opportunity to improve the team's productivity and morale. To ensure the best results, plan and execute your performance review properly so that the meeting is both productive and energizing. Here are a few tips to help your review go smoothly.
Deliver a Sandwich – As I've stated in previous posts over the years, I am a big believer in serving up a "positive-corrective-positive" sandwich. Point out a positive, then present the correction, and follow-up with a positive. It gives the employee a chance to hear the correction without making an immediate retreat behind a mental wall.
Comfortable – Make sure the place where you conduct your review is comfortable and away from coworker traffic. It is hard to hold someone’s attention with people swirling about. Additionally, people will open up more in safe surroundings. Also, be sure the session is an appropriate amount of time. Not too short, not too long. In my opinion, 10 minutes conveys a lack of importance. However, after 45 minutes the same voice can become like nails on a chalkboard.
Calm Atmosphere – Be sure to present the information in a calm and non-emotionally-charged setting. If you are emotional, the employee may become emotional. Remember your objective is to provide feedback for development. You want the information to be heard and incorporated. Keep in mind that emotions often restrict both listening skills and memory.
Relevant Examples – Use specific examples to support your points. Try to avoid bringing up old hurts or difficult issues unless it can be done in a productive manner. Presentation is the key. You can talk about almost anything if you present the topic in a non-threatening way. Additionally, be sure you have the facts when presenting an example. If the facts become twisted, the message will be lost and the learning point will not be credible to the employee.
Clear Message – Be sure your message is very clear. I like to use key tag words. Repeat the tag word throughout the session when referencing the topic. Upon exit of the session, ask the employee to repeat the key words of focus.
Deeper, not Broader – Most important! Present fewer topics, not more topics. I recommend two or three main points or themes. I see so many organizations come out with a 20-page performance review resulting in no change or improvement in behavior. The information can become overwhelming to the employee, resulting in a bad experience.
Your performance evaluation should be a valuable experience that supports growth throughout the year. A good evaluation "is the gift that keeps on giving.”
Do you know how to identify the future leaders of your company? Here are 5 top behavioral insights into successful leaders you need to know - Click Here.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share additional tips and comments below!
I read a Wall Street Journal article titled “What’s Your Algorithm?” which began with the words, “We are ruined by our own biases.” That statement rings true in all aspects of business, especially when talking about finding and hiring the right people for your company. Executives are feeling the pressure to show an ROI within the HR department, and big data is often the engine that drives a program's financial value. In response to this environment, Predictive Talent Analytics™ is quickly taking the place of "gut feel" intuition to reduce human biases in our decision-making. How can you leverage data and Predictive Talent Analytics to systematically hire the right employees?
For decades the standard approach for hiring was to base decisions on the collective opinions from a handful of subject matter experts (SMEs). The objective was to have SMEs determine what they “think” is needed to be successful on a particular job. Once collected, those opinions were the basis of all selection decisions. Fundamentally, the opinions were used to select a few different types of assessments and maybe create some interview questions, both of which would eventually be used to hire new employees. As expected, this process resulted in very limited success in hiring individuals who objectively produced more (based on data) and increased employee retention (based on tenure).
The best hiring decisions are based not on what anyone “thinks” is needed to be successful, but instead what is “known” to be successful based on actual non-biased data. In the world of Predictive Talent Analytics, data can be leveraged to provide companies with selection models based on actual data related to the position (not opinions). This process can be assisted by subject matter experts who provide information on the quantity, quality, and accuracy of actual job performance data. Then it’s the job of Predictive Talent Analytics to leverage performance data to identify the behavioral patterns most conducive to success in the specific position in the specific company. Gone are the days when you have to rely on a handful of opinions to drive your decisions. Instead, the scientific approach provides a probability model based on objective performance data that will factually deliver the candidate with the highest probability of success and longer tenure in the job.
Are you using Predictive Talent Analytics to reduce biases in the selection process?
Reebok knows a thing or two about Dream Teams. In 1992, it was the official sponsor of the original Dream Team—the Team USA basketball squad. Fast-forward 17 years—we met with Reebok executives in 2009 to help address several HR challenges. First and foremost, the retailing giant had high-volume recruiting plans to open more stores, but the application process was manual and time-consuming, which limited candidate pools and added pressure to fill staffing needs without ensuring fit.
Our partnership with Reebok has been a great success. Bringing Predictive Talent Analytics™ into an organization that has been paper-based is a dramatic change and Reebok took on the challenge with enthusiasm. The solution we deployed determines the unique behavioral makeup of each job candidate and compares them to a data-driven performance benchmark. The results of this comparison help Reebok identify candidates with behavioral attributes that support its unique culture and job requirements. Using this information and the Reebok-designed software workflow process in the stores, managers can make better, more consistent hiring decisions and get new employees on the job faster.
I had the pleasure of working with Bill Holmes, Senior Vice President-HR, Reebok International, on an article that outlined the company’s thought process and the task of getting buy-in from those in the field. You may see similarities in your organization as you read Talent Management magazine’s in-depth look at how Predictive Talent Analytics™ helped Reebok understand the behaviors most relevant to real-world performance in retail.
In the past, success at the executive level consisted of great intuition and risk-taking abilities—plus healthy doses of hope and luck. I’ve found that in today’s business environment, intuition and hope are being replaced by ‘Big Data.’ With the advent of affordable storage and data collection processes, organizations are able to gather large amounts of data and turn it into the fuel that drives a predictive decision-making machine. In my specific business sector, Talent Science™ (employee selection + employee retention + succession planning + coaching), successful strategies are not built on hope. Companies should—and can—leverage Big Data to predict success.
“But,” you might ask, “isn’t Big Data a topic for the IT department?” Generally speaking, yes, the nuts and bolts of gathering and storing data are the domain of IT. But the results of leveraging Big Data can impact every business unit: investors want higher profits, customers want better products delivered faster, and governments want business conducted within tighter regulations. With these demands in play, executives must predict market needs as well as determine how to meet them in a profitable way. Big Data is the predictive answer source that considers what’s happened in the past, what’s happening now and what needs to happen in the future.
I recently put my “Big Data” thoughts on paper to help business professionals get their heads around the concept and its potential uses like identifying, selecting and developing a cutting-edge workforce.
One out of four companies report that at least one bad hire cost them more than $50,000 in the past year. "Whether it's a negative attitude, lack of follow-through or other concern, the impact of a bad hire is significant," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Not only can it create productivity and morale issues, it can also affect the bottom line."
This data is excerpted from the CareerBuilder article What Bad Hires Really Cost Companies. The article lists 19 issues that typically contribute to making a bad hire. PeopleAnswers minimizes your probability of making "bad hires" and brings to bear science-based behavioral assessments to empower you to make the best hiring decisions.
See how many of the 19 issues play a role in your HR realm, then give us a call and see how we can help make 2013 a banner year for your company.
Back in the early days of PeopleAnswers, I would write departmental goals on my white board. It was easy to read and kept us organized as a department. After a few years, a few larger white boards, and multiple hires, I decided to write the goals on Post-It Notes and stick them to an adjacent wall. The goals were then broken down by company Quarterlies and specifically given to each employee in the department. So now the goals were individual goals instead of department goals. I guess as your company grows, you change your methods to fit your evolving needs.
Now I have a Post-It Wall in my office with all the Quarterly goals for my employees. It’s quite a masterpiece. At the very least, it’s a conversation starter.
I came across an article called “5 Tricks to Maintaining Your Momentum towards Your Goals” and saw that my Post-It Wall is a perfect example of the 4th trick (break down your goal into smaller parts). I also use the 2ndtrick (marshal your resources) because my employees’ skill level, experience, and work load will determine which Quarterly goal they are assigned.
I would add this tip to the list in the article, though: Make the goals motivational. I firmly believe that goals are best achieved when they motivate the person. Goals should take a lot of work, be challenging, but still be reasonable and attainable when a good work ethic is applied. If a goal is too easily accomplished, the person won’t have motivation and pride to complete it. If a goal is too difficult, you’re wasting your time and the employee’s efforts instead of actually achieving something. There is a careful balance involved in blending motivation with goal setting.
Readers, do any of you use Post-It Walls too? How do you keep your goals on-target and organized?