Workforce Management 12/16/08: One might think lousy economic conditions would make companies more selective during recruiting. Instead, employers appear content to endure poor performers rather than take a chance on unknown commodities, a new survey suggests. Caliper, a management consulting firm in Princeton, New Jersey, finds that nearly seven in 10 employers find it easier to manage “the devil they know” than to take risks on hiring unknown new people. A mere 31 percent say the opposite, according to Caliper’s survey of 190 U.S. hiring managers from various industries. Caliper says the results underscore employers’ need to move beyond surface qualifications and rely more on behavioral interviews and personality assessments when making hiring decisions. (emphasis added)
This survey nearly gave me The Big One! While I definitely don’t downplay the effects of this devastating economy, the idea that 70% of company’s have been shocked into “enduring poor performers” is extraordinary! In a previous posting (“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” -12/3/08), I wrote about the opportunity this economic downturn gives to companies to improve their Workforce. Let me again emphasize that now is the time for action in the workplace. The excuses that there is no time or there is no need to work on the issues that, in the long run, will dramatically improve performance and profitability now ring hollow. Rather than be paralyzed by the challenges of the present and the fear of the unknown future, company leaders need to improve their competitive position in the marketplace of the WorkQuake© by taking the following actions:
Ø Purging “The Others” from the organization regardless of their seniority or position.
Ø Creating an Onboarding Process that immediately puts replacement Employees (and there will be new Employees hired by the middle of 2009) on the path to becoming Core Employees, uses personality assessments and includes members of the Work Team in the interviewing process.
Ø Developing a Continuous Operational Improvement Program (C.O.P.I.) that challenges Employees to make operational changes and rewards them for doing so.
Ø Creating a Pay for Performance System that financially rewards based on meaningful contribution and not just for showing up.
Ø Putting in place a Quarterly Employee Improvement Review System, based on the development of an “Ideal Employee Profile”, that objectively ranks Employees and results in a Personal Action Plan for turns each Employee into a Core Employee.
Ø Instituting a comprehensive Training Program to improve Communication, Conflict Resolution, Team Work, Performance and Decision Making/Problem Solving at all levels of the company.
The transitional period of the WorkQuake© of the Knowledge Economy offers companies that see in every challenge the opportunity to improve a distinct competitive advantage over those that only see the abyss – but only if they take advantage of each opportunity by taking action.
The Bottom Line is: “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edward Demming.