Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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5 Tips for a Productive and Profitable Year

IdeaHow profitable will your business be this year? It all depends on what you are willing to do to make it so. Begin with this:

1. Focus on employee retention. If you do only one thing different this year, it should be this. Companies are wasting millions of dollars every year on talent acquisition, when instead they should be focusing on the retention of their top people. In conducting research for my book, Talent Magnetism, I interviewed dozens of magnetic CEOs and executives who shared their proven strategies for engaging the minds and the hearts of their employees.

What they all had in common was their never-ending commitment to employee satisfaction. Notice how I didn’t say customer satisfaction. That’s because they know that it’s impossible to have high levels of customer satisfaction, and therefore repeat business, with a workforce that is even slightly disengaged.

Here’s what I mean by this. I experience happiness every time I stay at a Kimpton Hotel. Everyone at the hotel treats me like I’m a royal guest. I’m given the keys to the minibar and never receive a bill. I’m upgraded (at least it feels that way to me) to a room that’s larger than many suites that I’ve had at other hotels. I’m truly welcomed. I asked the former President and COO Niki Leondakis of Kimpton Hotels why I’m treated better at a Kimpton, than anywhere else. Here’s what she said. “Without employees, a hotel is nothing more than a building with rooms”. She went on to explain how Kimpton has very low employee turnover. “We hire great people and we trust they will do the right things when it comes to taking care of our customers.” Kimpton employees feel good about their work and the way they are treated. Can you say the same about your employees?

2. Pay for results. If your HR team has convinced you that it would be unfair to give a high performer a raise because they’ve only been with your firm for several months or they’ve told you that for legal reasons, it’s best to wait until everyone is reviewed prior to rewarding a particular group of people, then it’s time to fire your team.

Companies spend so much time covering their butts, that they often forget why they have these policies in place. Last time I checked, it was to reward specific performance. However, over the years it’s become more and more apparent that most reward systems aren’t working.

Dare to be different. Reward those who are doing a great job and let the others quit or show them the door yourself. Doing so will make room for you to hire those who are much more productive.

3. Trust your people. Everyday I see examples of company’s that don’t trust their people to do the right thing. They’ve buried these people in so many layers that it may very well be the spring of 2020 before we ever see or hear from them again.

It’s been about a month now since my husband and I made our first call to Sears regarding a warrantied item. I won’t bore you with the details, but what I can tell you is that we’ve had parts shipped to our house twice and three service calls of about two hours a piece to repair a dehumidifier that retails for $199. Seriously folks, wouldn’t it have been less expensive and better for the customer if Sears had simply replaced the machine? I’d like to tell you this story has a happy ending, but last we heard, our “dedicated customer service rep” Justin, was somewhere in the bowels of the organization researching a part that is no longer made, and we are still without a dehumidifier.

4. Shed the excess weight. I’m not talking about the extra layer that may be hanging around your waistline, although it’s probably a good idea to vow to get healthier this year. I’m specifically talking about the people in your organization who should have been let go a long time ago.

Here’s an example that may be near and dear to many of you. I was at a gala event in Atlanta where I was talking with Subway Founder, Fred DeLuca, when another CEO joined our conversation. This CEO was proudly sharing with us how low employee turnover was in his company. He then confessed that there happened to be one area where this was not so. He followed up by saying that he knew the problem was the manager and that eventually he had to do something about it.

Let’s make today the day that you deal with matters that are weighing down your organization. You don’t have to go it alone. Feel free to call me for a lifeline.

5. Go after the best; leave the rest. There is no reason that you can’t have a top-notch team. I’m guessing most of you know who the top performers are in your industry. Now is the time to start building a relationship with these people so that you can eventually get them to consider switching teams. Now before you tell me this is unethical, I would ask you to consider the following. If their employer was doing such a hot job of focusing on employee retention, these people wouldn’t even consider talking to you. Which brings me back to point number one.

We are more than half way through the year. How it ends will depend on what you do today.

© 2015 Matuson Consulting LLC. All rights reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson, who is known globally as The Talent Maximizer®, is the President of Matuson Consulting (www.matusonconsulting.com) and author of, Talent Magnetism (Nicholas Brealey, 2013), Selecting for Success: The Complete Guide to Hiring Top Talent, and Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, Talent Maximizer.

Posted in Productivity, Profitability

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The Truth Doesn’t Hurt: It Actually Helps

Telling liesI’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line we were taught that telling the truth can be hurtful. Of course there are times when this is true, but in most cases it’s not. Here’s what I mean by this.

I sure as heck wish my former boss would have told me exactly what he was thinking so that I had a chance to improve, before he decided that I needed to go. But alas, he chose not to and as a result I have no idea how I went from Difference Maker of the Year to someone who was discarded. If only he had told me the truth. I could have changed how things ended or at a minimum, I would have learned from my mistakes.

I coach a lot of leaders who have a difficult time giving their employees honest feedback. That is, until I remind them that it’s better to be respected, than loved. Most then make the necessary shift to be what they intended to be. A thoughtful leader who cares enough about his people to tell them the truth. Can you say the same?

Follow me on Twitter @matuson. Sign up to receive my monthly newsletter, The Talent Maximizer.

 

Posted in Management, Performance Management

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The State of Uncertainty

IMG_7704I used to be able to answer the question of whether I was coming or going with absolute certainly. These days, the answer depends on our giant to-do list of items needed to be completed, prior to moving into our new home. The list is supposed to be decreasing, but most days it seem to be increasing.

So far I’ve called my moving company three times to arrange three different dates to move over a three week time period. My WSJ is now being delivered to my new place, even though I’m not there. My kids have said goodbye to their old school and cannot say hello to their new school until we are in our new home. We are living neither here nor there. We are living in a state of uncertainty.

The state of uncertainty is a a state where employees often reside. They have no idea if they are coming or going. Their boss doesn’t tell them much, so they have to fill in the blanks on their own. It’s a horrible way to live.

Are you the reason your employees are feeling stressed out and may be thinking of leaving? I now have a few spots available in my coaching programs. Luckily, location doesn’t matter, as I’m neither here nor there these days, but I’m available via SKYPE, everywhere!

Posted in Coaching, Retention

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Why Being a Best-Kept Secret Isn’t Great for Business or Hiring

Surprised young man wearing a pith helmet and holding binoculars, isolated on white

My husband and I were just let in on a secret that very few know about. There is a coffee shop in our town that is now serving a four-course dinner, once a month, and the food is to die for. So you are probably thinking, what’s wrong with that? The problem is that only half the tables had paying customers, which leads me to believe this model is not sustainable, as you can’t run a business for very long when you are merely breaking even. You have to get the word out in a big way.

I see the same thing happen with companies that are far superior to many of the so-called “Best Places to Work” organizations. They are top employers, yet no one knows about them. When it comes to attracting candidates, reputation matters. If you are great, shout it from the rooftops or at a minimum, list on your website, the reasons your company is worth further consideration, so that you are no longer a best-kept secret.

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Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention

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The Perfect Employee

Looking for jobThe perfect employee doesn’t exist. Yet companies everyday are searching for what many are calling the perfect candidate. The ones that fare the best are those who hire Mr. or Ms. Perfect for right now. They hire the people who fit their needs today, rather than those who may grow into jobs that may very well never exist. They understand that the employee/employer relationship is fluid and that one day, the employee will depart. They treasure the relationship while it exists and wish one another well when it ends.

Are you in search of perfection? Would you be better served if instead, you brought your search back down to reality?

For a limited time only, take 86% off the price of the the Kindle edition of Suddenly in Charge! Download today.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention

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How to Dramatically Accelerate Your Hiring Processes

Has this ever happened to you? After months of begging your boss to let you add another person to your staff he finally agrees. You know you need to get this position filled before he has a chance to change his mind. No problem. The economy is still shaky. Still more candidates than positions.

You spend the first week putting 110% of your energy into your recruitment efforts. You post your job on recruitment websites, notify some long lost recruiters of your needs and tell a few friends about this great job opportunity. By week three, the resumes are pouring in. If only you had time to examine them. Note to self–take resumes home over the weekend to review. The weekend turns out to be perfect  weather. You give yourself permission to join some friends on a weekend bike excursion. You’ll get to those resumes next week.

Next week turns into two weeks. You ask yourself, “Gosh darn, why is my voice mail always full? Why won’t these recruiters stop leaving me messages? And why the heck does my boss keep piling projects on my desk? Does he really think I have the staff to do all of this?”

After weeding through the pile of resumes, you contact candidates who fit the bill. By the time you reach them, half are no longer available. You schedule the remaining applicants for interviews.

The perfect candidate has been found. You will call her references this week and extend an offer sometime next week. You finally call the candidate to offer her the job only to find out she accepted another position last week.

Back to square one. You ask yourself, “What could possibly have gone wrong?”

Lots. Here is some advice to help avoid another head on collision.

Standing still is not an option-Good candidates go fast, even in a down economy. While you are carefully maneuvering through the selection process, other hiring managers are passing you in the right lane. When it comes to recruiting, step on the accelerator, not the brake.

Stay focused-The only piece of the recruitment process you can control is yourself. Set your course and go full speed ahead.

Build relationships before you need them-Recruiting is a relationship business. Find a handful of third-party recruitment firms that you trust and build the relationship.

Return calls promptly-This will prevent your voicemail from overflowing. Not to mention, it is just good manners.

Every now and then, hiring managers need to make executive decisions. Give yourself permission to make this a priority. Put other work on the backburner and focus on the task at hand. After all, summer  is right around the corner and you certainly don’t want to be stuck in the office, behind piles of work, while everyone else is on the beach.

Only 3 days left to sign up for my free teleconference on Ten Ways to Hire Top Talent in Under Forty-Five Minutes. Register Now!

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention

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Free Teleseminar! Ten Ways to Hire Top Talent in Under Forty-Five Minutes

Musical chairsFree Teleseminar-Ten Ways to Hire Top Talent in Under Forty-Five Minutes

In 10 days or less, I’m going to be offering a free teleconference on Ten Ways to Hire Top Talent in Under Forty-Five Minutes. Why the short notice? Because I want to show you that time isn’t your enemy—Inertia is. Join me for this free 45-minute teleconference, which will be jammed packed with ideas and tips you can use to get the right people in the door now!

 

You’ll learn:

Timeless tips for talent acquisition
How to identify and quickly remove barriers that are preventing talent from reaching you
What today’s talent is really seeking (Note: It’s not what you think.)
How to prevent others from poaching your people
Why talent magnetism trumps recruitment every time

Register Now!

Posted in Talent Acquisition and Retention

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How To Avoid Winding Up On “The Hit” List

exhaustedIn some industries, like film and music, ending up on the “hit list” is a good thing. Fame and fortune are bound to follow. Unfortunately, winding up on the “hit list” as a manager is an entirely different story.

In the movie, “Horrible Bosses,” three friends devise a plan to rid themselves of their bosses. This idea seems to resonate with many, as the film had a strong showing at the box office. Here’s why.

Bad bosses are all around, which means there is a shortage of role models for those interested in becoming a boss that others admire. Don’t despair. There are ways to make it into the Good Boss Hall of Fame on your own. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Get a life-Bosses who have nothing better to do than work assume that everyone around them is in the same position. If you take the time to get to know your people, you will see that most have a life (or at least they are trying to have a life) outside of work. Good bosses assign work with realistic deadlines. They then get out of the way and allow employees to manage their time.

Hold people accountable-Despite what you may think, the best bosses aren’t the ones who let people get away with murder. They are the ones who hold everyone to the same standard. Good bosses provide ongoing positive feedback. They also provide immediate guidance when workers appear to be going off track.

Be consistent-Bad bosses get their reputation for being psycho because of erratic behavior. One day they are the kind to those around them and the next day their evil twin takes over. Employees who work for inconsistent bosses, waste time and energy coming up with contingency plans in case the evil twin wins out that day. A good boss is even tempered. His people have a pretty good idea of which personality will be showing up on any given day.

Establish a harassment free environment-It should be a no brainer that the boss doesn’t hit on an employee, but sadly this is not a lesson that everyone has learned. Sexual harassment isn’t about sex. It’s about power. Leaders who inspire others to follow are more powerful than those who manage through fear. Set the example. Now matter how tempted you might be, don’t mix business with pleasure.

Control your anger-Being a boss in these tumultuous economic times is stressful. But that doesn’t give you the right to run around the office screaming at everyone. Learn to manage your stress. You can do this on your own or if need be, seek professional help. Good bosses are known to keep their cool, especially when the heat rises in the organization.

Be generous-Good bosses are generous with their time and do their best to reward those who have proven they are worthy of more. Budgets may be tight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find non-monetary ways to show your gratitude. You can do this by accommodating scheduling requests, allowing valued employees to home office several days a week or by acknowledging employees in front of valued customers when they do something right.

Be empathetic-Good bosses recognize that even their best employees may go through troubling times, which will impact their work. Look for signs that may indicate that something may have changed for your employee. Perhaps your most reliable employee is now showing up late for work. Or your happy-go-lucky employee no longer smiles. Acknowledge this shift and share resources, such as the phone number to your Employee Assistance Plan, to demonstrate that you are genuinely concerned about their well-being.

No one said playing the lead role of boss would be easy. But with practice, and some coaching along the way, it won’t be long before you are thanking the academy for your nomination into the Good Boss Hall of Fame.

Take advantage of my summer time special on coaching. Mention “Summer Special” and I’ll add an extra month of coaching, at no additional cost. Contact me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to learn more.

Posted in Coaching, Leadership, Management

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Sometimes The Problem Is You

businessman hiding face not my faultYesterday, the WSJ, in an article titled Outdated: The Plain-Vanilla Accountant, featured three companies that were in desperate need of accountants. The US unemployment rate for accountants and auditors is 2.9% in the first quarter. That compares to an overall jobless rate of 5.4% in April. We can all agree that it’s tough to find people these days. In particular accountants. But what if the problem isn’t the economy? What if the problem is you?

One of the companies featured in this story is York Telecom. I was intrigued by the comments made by their CFO, Judi Pulig so I hopped on over to their website to see what they were doing to attract talent. I searched high and low for their jobs page, at least three times, and came up blank. A career page…yes. A listing of job openings…no. Now I may have very well missed this. If I did, then you can bet others are missing this as well.

“It was a struggle to find people who are qualified,” notes Pulig. Indeed, I’m sure it is. By why make a difficult task harder? Stop blaming the economy and start paying attention to the details. A few simple changes, such as actually listing your job openings on your website, can vastly improve your odds of filling your jobs.

Order a copy of my latest book, Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts the Best.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization

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How To Impress Your First Boss

As I drove through town this afternoon, I saw another group of Smith College graduates ready to take on the world. How fortunate for today’s grads to be leaving school at a time when there are actually jobs. Congratulations to all of you who have just graduated and landed your first “real” job. Here’s my advice on how to impress your first boss as you go out and make your way in the world.

Show up on time. You are in the big leagues now. This means that showing up for work on time is not an option. It’s a requirement. And when I say showing up for work on time, I mean being at your desk, Starbucks in hand, prepared to begin work at the time you and your boss agree you’ll begin your day.

Dress appropriately. I know you are probably rolling your eyes wondering why I would even have to remind people to dress appropriately. It’s because I’ve seen a lot in my day and some of it isn’t pretty, especially as the summer heats up in the city. Dress conservatively on your first day of work. If you are a guy and you don’t know if ties are required, bring one along so that you can put one on if you notice that more of the guys are wearing them than not. If you are a woman, select an outfit that will work, if by chance your office is in a church.

Don’t be the first one out the door. You may indeed be the smartest person in the room, but that still doesn’t mean your legs should be flying out the door the moment the clock hits quitting time. Before leaving, always ask your boss if there is anything he or she would like you to do, before you pack your things and exit.

Be aware of your surroundings. The world of work looks nothing like the world of education. You’ll quickly learn about expectations in the workplace by being aware of your surroundings. For example, take note of your bosses interaction with others. Does your boss appear to be a bottom line kind of guy or does he prefer to have all the background information. Can’t figure it out? Then ask.

Be resourceful. You were hired because you impressed your boss during your interview. Don’t stop there. Be resourceful. Share  ideas you’ve come up with that will make life easier for your boss.

Be respectful. Your boss isn’t your pal, even if she is a year or two older than you. She is your boss. Treat her with the same respect that you’d treat someone higher up in the organization.

Manage yourself. Your boss has a full plate. Your job is to be an asset. Not a burden. When you make a commitment to your boss, do what you say you are going to do. If you are unable to do so, at least let your boss know ahead of time so she is not surprised.

Manage your boss. The idea of managing your boss (also known as managing up) is a topic that is rarely taught in school. That’s why I wrote the book on managing up in the top down world of business. The book is called Suddenly in Charge. Even if you are not in management, be sure to get a hold of a copy and read the section on managing up. Once you acquire this skill, you will be impressing bosses for years to come and who knows, one day you may indeed be a boss.

Sign up for my complimentary newsletter, The Talent Maximizer.

 

 

Posted in Careers, Managing Up, Millennials

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