Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

Whoa! Unemployment Rates Hit A New Low

Hiring Talent When Talent is Scarce

I keep wondering how low the unemployment numbers can go. Apparently they can go a lot lower than anyone thought! Today’s Washington Post reports that the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in a decade, as the economy added 211,000 jobs in April. The U.S. job market is stronger than it has been in years. That’s great news for job seekers and not so great news for employers who are struggling to fill key positions, or any position for that matter.

Here’s some of the advice I’m sharing with my most successful clients.

Go Get ‘Em. A lot of executives that I work with have a pretty good sense of who they’d like to add to their team. The problem is they are being too passive. Some are hoping and praying these people will respond to their job postings while others are delegating the hunt for talent to HR. Let me ask you something. Let’s say you are not really looking for a new job. However, today you receive two calls regarding job opportunities. One is from Bob in HR and the other is from the president of a company. Which call might you return? I’m betting it would be the one from the president.

Hiring managers should proactively reach out to those they’d like to hire. Now let’s say the person you are reaching out to is not ready to make a change right now. My experience has shown me that talented people hang out with other talented people. I’d suggest asking the following question: Who do you know that might be interested in an opportunity like this? Or, if you’ve done your homework prior, and you’ve checked out their LinkedIn profile and connections, you could say, “I noticed you’re connected with Sam Jones, Martha Smith and Mary Mobley. Would you be willing to make an introduction to these people on my behalf?” Now don’t act stunned when they actually say yes!

Seek out the Underemployed. Few people go to college with the idea that when they graduate, they’ll be working as a barista at their local coffee shop or working on the floor of a retail store. However, it happens.  People quickly discover that student loans must be paid, regardless of one’s income. Let me tell you. These are the people you absolutely want to hire. They’re responsible and willing to work hard on your behalf. And if you are lucky to snag one of these individuals, they’ll remain loyal to you for years to come.

Leverage your network. I bet you right, now there are a ton of people in your network who know of others actively seeking new job opportunities. Now clearly they aren’t going to be offering you the names of people who might be a great fit for your company, if they don’t know you are in hiring mode. Pick up the phone and ask for their help. And while you are at it, be sure to offer to return the favor.

Keep your foot on the peddle. The moment you decide you are going to hire someone, you need to keep your foot on the accelerator. I’ve seen too many false starts that result in frustration and empty chairs. To do this, you’ll need to shift your mindset from, “Do I really have to do this? I really don’t have time for this.” to “There’s nothing more important than finding the right person for the position I’m trying to staff.”

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

You’re Kidding, Right? 50% of New Hires Fail

Newly hired employee packing personal belongings in box

Read this before you make another hire.

I wish I was kidding! Organizations have thousands of business processes, but I doubt that you’ve ever heard of a single process that has a 50 percent failure rate, that has been completely ignored. The recruiting process often has a failure rate of 50 percent. And I’m not just talking about this occurring at just one level of the organization. It’s happening at every job level from hourly employees, supervisors, managers, and even in the executive suite.

Here’s what’s being reported by independent sources, which is consistent across the board. The numbers don’t lie.

 

  • 46 percent of all new hires fail within 18 months (Source: Leadership IQ.)
  • 40-60 percent of management new hires fail within 18 months (Source: Harvard Business Review.)
  • Nearly 50 percent of executive new hires fail within 18 months (Source: The Corporate Leadership Council.)

There are many reasons why this is happening and those reasons vary by organization. Case in point. I was hired by a client who was experiencing 50 percent turnover in their sales organization. They estimated this churn was costing them over $2M a year. My client assumed they were experiencing a retention problem, when in fact the real cause of their problem was their recruitment strategy.

With my help, they discovered they were looking for talent in all the wrong places. Sure, they’d get these people to accept their offers, but within 18 months, their newly hired employees left for greener pastures. This epic failure was causing both angst and a ton of money. They implemented my recommendations and within a year’s time, their turnover was sliced in half. In real dollars, this equated to an additional $1M dropping to their bottom line, annually.

Many of you are so used to the high levels of employee turnover and disruption, that you’ve accepted this as your new reality. If you want to know exactly what this is costing you, then use my proprietary employee turnover calculator.

I can assure you that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re willing to invest 30-minutes of your time, I’ll provide you with a fresh perspective and some ideas that will help provide you with clarity and peace of mind on this critical issue. This one’s on the house! No fee.

Let’s start a conversation. Call me directly at 617-608-3633, or email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to schedule a call for next week.

Posted in Employee Turnover, Hiring and Recruitment, Performance Management, Profitability, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

Why SNAP Employees Need to Snap Out of It and Get Real

How to Manage Your Life and Career

Congratulations to all of you Snap employees on the success of your Initial Public Offering (IPO)! Many of you are now wealthier than you ever thought was possible, at such a young age. I too was in your shoes and have some advice to share, as I look back at my time living the IPO dream.

At the age of 24, I was promoted into a director role in my company. Along with my promotion came something called stock options. Two years later, my company went public. I knew that was a good thing, but at the time, I was a bit naive. I learned a lot along the way that I’d like to share with you.

Let’s talk money, since money makes the world go around. You’re probably going to be tempted to buy some big ticket items like that BMW you’ve had your eyes on or going on some fancy vacation in Bali that will cost you more than this month’s rent. Step back for a moment, before blowing all your new found wealth.

I’m all for treating yourself to celebrate your good fortune. Just don’t spend it all in one place. I had stock options, just like you, and was smart enough to put money away for events that I had no idea would be in my future. For example, I used some of that money to fund my son’s college education. (Did I mention at the time of the IPO I was single and had no children?) I also put a down payment on a condo, a number of years later, that eventually tripled in price. Keep in mind that having money, gives you lots of choices that you might not have had prior to this IPO. The less you put away now, the fewer choices you’ll have in the future.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I know what it’s like to get caught up in the excitement of having stock that is highly valued. However, a lot of IPOs flame out as quickly as their stock prices rise. Take a portion of your shares and as soon as you are able, cash them out and diversify your portfolio. And don’t forget to put some of your earnings away, as Uncle Sam will want his share.

Life as you know it at work is going to change–dramatically. Pre-IPO, your company was able to spend money on niceties and takes lots of risks. Not so much anymore. They now have a boss to answer to by the name of Wall Street. Every quarter Wall Street will be asking the question, “What have you done for me lately?”

This means you can pretty much wave goodbye to the culture that attracted you to the organization in the first place. It’s not going to change dramatically over night. But it will change and if you’d like to remain employed there, you’re going to have to change as well.

You’re going to have a lot of new people to deal with–One hundred and forty-six of them to be exact. Much of the cash that’s been raised through this IPO will be used to fuel business growth and hire the staff that can move the organization forward. As of this writing, you’ve got 146 job openings listed on your website. I suspect that number will rise. Every new hire will impact your organization’s culture. If you’re one of these people who don’t like change, then I suggest you exit stage left.

Your opportunities to be a VP just went down the drain. Now that Wall Street is watching, all hires into the executive suite will need to have credentials that are public company worthy. It may be time to return to school at night for your MBA or find a company that is still willing to give someone without public company experience a seat at the executive table.

You’re going to have to grow up quickly. Behaviors that might have been considered acceptable when you were under the radar screen can now get you into lots of trouble. Say for example, you used to share information about what was going on in terms of revenue or company strategy with your girlfriend. No big deal pre-IPO. Now if you do this and your girlfriend decides to purchase or sell Snap stock, you could find yourself on the front page of the WSJ for insider trading. Or worse, in jail.

You’re going to have to learn how to contain your excitement so that you don’t inadvertently put yourself in a situation like the one I just described. Yes, sadly you’re going to have to be a bit more reserved.

Office politics is about to get a lot worse. Before you went IPO, chances are that you had access to resources without having to go up three levels to make a simple purchase. That’s all about to change. Those who master the skill of office politics, which I write about in my book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, will still get the resources they need and will most likely thrive in this new iteration of your company.

I can tell you this from my own experience. Most people never get an opportunity like this. Don’t blow it. Now’s the time to be generous with others and share some of your wealth. Sock away money for your future and remember, just like Snap, all of this could disappear tomorrow if you aren’t mindful of what you do today.

© Matuson Consulting, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Careers, Current Affairs
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Unfiltered Truth

The truth will set you free

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We have hundreds of pictures of a house project that went south, so I guess you can say that a million words can be used to describe the nightmare we’ve been living over the past two and half years.

In October of 2014, we entered into a contract with 11 Development, LLC, a real estate development company based in Newton, Massachusetts that was founded by its President, Scott Shuster. You would think by now, we’d be done, but we’re not. We’ve been lied to more times than we can count and Shuster continually refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for the egregious mistakes that have cost our family considerable stress and money to fix. Included in these mistakes are the discovery of a lack of a footing and a host of other problems too numerous to name.

Throughout the building process, we pointed out numerous construction problems and asked, no begged, Shuster to allow us to bring in contractors of our choosing to rectify these problems. Time and time again he refused. So here we sit. Shuster is hiding behind what he calls a warranty, which basically means he wants the right to fix the things his team has tried to fix multiple times. We’ve asked him nicely to release the escrow funds so we can finish the work properly. Again, he’s refused.

We’ve recently discovered that we are not the only customers to be living out this nightmare with him. He settled a previous case, which came with a non-disclosure clause, and another real estate lawsuit is brewing elsewhere. A homeowner, living in a project that was built the same time as ours with the same contractor, experienced similar problems.

Here’s the thing. It’s easy to let someone like Shuster bully you, as he’s exceptional at wearing people down. But here’s the advice I tell my clients, that I’m now taking myself. The only way people can take advantage of you is if you let them. Shuster can use all the scare tactics in the world. However, we know the truth. And as you know, pictures do not lie. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any help to you. I’ll keep you posted, as the drama continues.

Posted in Customer satisfaction, Musings
Tagged ,
Leave a comment

3 Ways Women Can Transform Themselves Into Magnetic Leaders

Women and Magnetic Leadership

Lots of women are good leaders, but how many are magnetic leaders? Apparently, not enough. No matter how far female leaders may have come in terms of leadership, we still have a ways to go.

In a recent Gallup poll, it was reported that Americans still prefer a male boss to a female boss. The report, part of Gallup’s weeklong Women and the Workplace series, used data from Gallup’s work and education poll. It found that 33 percent of the people polled would prefer a male boss. Twenty percent would prefer a female supervisor, down slightly from the previous year, where that number was 23 percent.

It’s time for women to take their rightful place as the kind of leaders employees love to work for. Here’s where to begin.

Many leaders think they are magnetic when in fact, they are anything but. In my forthcoming book, The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits (Taylor and Francis, 2017), I talk about seven traits that are common among magnetic leaders, as well as examples of people who personify (or personified) these quali­ties. Here are three.

1.    Authenticity

Magnetic leaders don’t try to be someone else, nor do they change who they are based on office politics. They are true to themselves and are honest in their dealings with others. They are not afraid to share their mistakes or shortcomings. Warren Buffet is an authentic leader who speaks openly about his $200 billion mistake buying Berkshire Hathaway.

In particular, young leaders find it challenging to find a leadership style that fits them like a custom made suit. Instead, they emulate the behavior of managers they work with, without knowing whether or not those leaders are held in high regards by others.

My advice to you is to stop trying to be someone you are not and instead, attempt to be the best version of yourself. Will everyone like you? Probably not. Will they respect you? Most definitely.

2.    Selflessness

Nelson Mandela immediately comes to mind when I think about inspirational leaders who are selfless. Leadership is a service business, and service comes with sacrifice. Mandela made many sacrifices so that others could advance, including giving up power. When elected president of South Africa, he refused to serve more than one term because he believed that a swift transfer of his authority was in the best interest of post-apartheid South Africa.

In the world of business, it’s fairly common for people operate with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. That’s actually good news for you, as you can easily stand out in the crowd. The next time you have a decision to make at work, think about what’s in the best interest of your people. Then do it, even if that means sacrificing your own needs for that of your people.

3.    Strong communication

Magnetic leaders communicate frequently and clearly. They speak their minds, even if it makes them unpopu­lar. When they are forthright with their opinions, such people often become even more magnetic.

Oprah Winfrey is a great example of a leader who is a strong communicator. In fact when she speaks, she moves markets! Who could forget Oprah Winfrey’s holiday list of favorite things? The mere announcement of an item would result in products flying off the shelves. Winfrey’s strong communication skills have inspired people around the globe to be a better version of their self. She is truly a magnetic leader.

Female leaders (and their male counterparts) can learn a lot from Winfrey. When she communicates, she does so with conviction. She rarely goes off message and she listens as intensely as she speaks. Of course she’s had years of practice. However, she had to have started somewhere. Let today be the first day of your voyage towards becoming a more effective communicator.

I’d be lying if I told you becoming a magnetic leader would be effortless. There are times when you will question why you have chosen to go on this journey and then there will be moments when you will know, deep down inside, that the work you are doing on yourself will have an impact on others for years to come.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Maximization, Women in Business
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

5 Mistakes Leaders Make When It Comes to Promoting High Potentials

There are two moments that stand out in the minds of experienced leaders. They are the first time they promoted someone into management and the day they had to tell that person, “Things aren’t working out.” But what is most troublesome to these leaders is the fact that they know, deep down inside; this person never had a chance.

Here are five common mistakes leaders make when it comes to promoting high potentials and what you can do to avoid disaster the next time around.

1. Promoting the Wrong Person

You promoted your top sales person into management based on performance and he is failing miserably as a leader. Revenues are slipping and the sales team is ready to bolt. You made the deadly mistake of assuming that excellence in one job would easily translate into superior performance in another, even though the skill sets required of each job are drastically different. Don’t be so quick next time to promote your best technical person into management, unless he clearly demonstrates he has the skills and the desire to successfully take on the role of a leader.

2. Too Much Rope

You had high hopes for this individual, as did everyone else. So you left her alone to do her thing. In retrospect, that was your first mistake. You gave her too much rope and she hung herself. Next time, let the rope out slowly until such time as this person has demonstrated they are ready to fly solo.

3. Assuming Your Newly Promoted Leader Will Pick Things Up Like You Did

You learned the hard way how to manage and you didn’t turn out so bad so why shouldn’t your new protégé learn the same way? Business is challenging enough in today’s tumultuous economy. Maybe this isn’t the right time for your sink or swim approach to management. The next time around, try coaching your new manager and swimming besides him, before throwing him into the deep end of the pool.

4. Failure to Provide Feedback

You figured she’d know exactly what you expected, even though you never clearly defined your expectations. Heck, your family members have figured this out. But you forgot to consider that unlike your wife, this person couldn’t read minds. In the future, outline the objectives and metrics and make it a point to check in weekly to ensure your new manager remains on track.

5. You Never Bothered to Re-staff Her Position

Your shining star was so great that she could do the work of two people. That may be fine when your work is tactical. But how can someone successfully lead, when they can’t lift their head up from their own desk long enough to engage with their people? Succession planning is your job. Have someone ready to fill the shoes that will be vacated, before promoting your next employee.

As leaders, it’s your job to identify and nurture high-potentials and to help them successfully assimilate into management. Learn from your mistakes so that next time you can say, “I’m really glad things are working out so well.”

© Matuson Consulting, 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Could you or someone you know benefit from participating in a jammed packed leadership session to help successfully transition from manager to magnetic leader? Grab an online seat for Move Up/Manage Right. First 5 people to sign up receive a complimentary 30-minute phone coaching session, following the completion of the course. Mention LinkedIn and I’ll throw in an additional coaching session! I’m available to deliver this program on site as well. Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to schedule a date.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®.

Save

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

How to Refrain From Being a Demanding Boss

How to Avoid Becoming a Demanding Boss

Today’s WSJ featured an article titled, How to Manage a Demanding Boss. The advice given to employees of demanding bosses requires employees to do whatever is necessary to work around bosses whose behavior is doing more harm than good. I wish the Journal instead had published a piece on How to Refrain From Being a Demanding Boss, as a story on this topic might get some bosses to examine their behavior more closely and consider making some much needed changes. Here’s what I wish the author would have written.

There is nothing wrong with being a boss who demands excellence from his or her people, but not when doing so forces employees to sacrifice their own life for that of the company. Here’s an example of what I mean by this. Asking employees to promptly respond to emails and texts 24/7 just because you’re the boss and you think you can make these demands will no doubt come back to bite you. If employees see no demarcation between their work and personal life, then no doubt they will use what is supposed to be their work time to handle personal matters, which they no longer have time to do after hours, because you are intruding on their personal time.

So the next time you are about to demand an employee to work well past quitting time or to come in on weekends, ask yourself the following? Is this really necessary? If you have to think twice, it’s probably not.

Get my newsletter, The Talent Maximizer® delivered right to your inbox. It’s jammed packed with tips on how to maximize your talent!

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , ,
Leave a comment

Employees Have Dreams Too

Ready to Live Out Your Dreams?

Who could forget Martin Luther King, Jr’s., “I Have A Dream” speech? Yet everyday, we forget that employees have dreams as well. Here are but a few of the dreams that employees everywhere are having.

A better life. Who doesn’t dream of having a better life? Yet as I look at the world of work from the other side, I see that for most this dream has become a nightmare. Demanding bosses, 24/7 scheduling and little care for the human side of business has resulted in a life that few would describe as better.

A boss that doesn’t micromanage. In my executive coaching practice, micromanagement is one of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients. Ironically, my clients are many times the biggest offenders. It would be a dream come true for many, if those in management roles would allow the people they hire to do their jobs with little interference.

To enjoy time outside of work. I did something very strange this weekend. I didn’t do any work all weekend. And guess what? Life as I knew it got a heck of a lot better. I gave my mind some much needed time off and focused on having some fun. Sadly, many workers don’t feel they have the luxury of completely ignoring work and enjoying themselves when they leave the workplace. Their dreams of having a balanced life feel out of reach to most.

Interesting work. No one dreams of landing a boring job, yet often times that’s exactly what happens. I’ve worked some really boring jobs in my lifetime, yet some great managers made these jobs a lot of fun. Think about what you can do to add some joy back into the workplace, so your employees can once again dream.

To be paid what they are worth. Companies are using the wrong metrics when it comes to pay. They are looking at what they are currently paying people rather than what people are currently worth. Pay people based on the value they contribute to the organization, even if this means adjusting their salaries upwards or downwards annually.

Respect. Employees everywhere dream of being respected, yet there appears to be a shortage of respect. That’s the only reason I can think of as to why you wouldn’t give this to the people that work for you.

I’ve had the pleasure of helping many leaders achieve their dreams of becoming magnetic leaders. What they all had in common was their desire to improve. Are you ready to live out your dreams? Call me at 617-608-3633 or email Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to begin.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , , , ,
Leave a comment

How to Maximize Talent and Productivity

How to Maximize and Optimize Team Performance

I was recently asked by a CEO as to what I thought were the key qualities in maximizing and optimizing talent. I thought sharing my answer would be helpful for those of you who are looking to increase productivity and profitability in your own organizations, which is probably just about everyone!

First you have to make sure the people you hire are talented or that they have the potential to become top talent. If you are unsure, then you probably have some people who should probably no longer remain in your employ.

The key to maximizing and optimizing talent is the creation of a workplace where employees love to work and customers love to do business. This doesn’t require a Google-sized wallet, nor crazy perks that really don’t work.

Focus on the leadership in your organization. I write about this in my new book, The Magnetic Leader. If you’ve had the pleasure of working with a magnetic leader, you know how powerful their pull can be. You’ll do whatever they ask (and most times you’ll do this without waiting to be asked) and you’ll remain by their side for years to come. When you have magnetic leaders, the optimization of talent occurs naturally.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create an incredible workplace that attracts the right people to your organization, email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and I will send you one of my most requested articles on 30 Low Cost Ways to Show Employees They are Valued.

Save

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment

How I Became An Expert In the Workplace, Courtesy of Bill O’Reilly

Expert on Sexual Harassment in the WorkplaceI didn’t set out to be an expert on sex in the workplace. It happened by circumstance.

In early 2004, I was invited to appear on The O’Reilly Factor, which airs on the Fox News station. The topic was sex in the office. Bill asked for my opinion as to whether or not I thought sex was happening in the office during work hours, as well as after hours. We also discussed sexual harassment in the workplace. What I didn’t know at the time was that the producer, who brought me on the show, was allegedly being harassed by Mr. O’Reilly.

Fast forward six months later, and Bill’s producer, Andrea Mackris, was accusing him of sexual harassment. Obviously, Bill didn’t listen to what I had to say. We never really learned if Bill was guilty or innocent, as he settled with Ms. Mackris for what is rumored to be a number well into the millions.

As the years have gone by, I’ve been called upon for comment when another story on sexual harassment breaks . I have no doubt  today will be no exception, as the New York Times just released the following breaking news: “Fox News Settled Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly, Documents Show.

The story about sexual harassment that former Fox employee Julie Huddy tells about her experience with Bill O’Reilly is remarkably similar to the accusations Mackris made in 2004. The fact that Fox news has turned an eye away from O’Reilly and permitted this behavior to continue is disheartening to me.

Fox isn’t the only workplace where sexual harassment is taking place. Sexual harassment is prevalent in workplaces across America. Cosmopolitan conducted a survey in 2015 of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees and found that one out of three female employees has experienced sexual harassment at some point in their work lives.

I’ve conducted enough sexual harassment investigations to see first hand the damage that occurs when someone is sexually harassed in the workplace. And if you think there is no such thing as same-sex harassment, think again. Same-sex harassment is equally as cruel and damaging.

My goal is to see my role, as an expert on sex in the workplace, become extinct. It’s my hope that in my teenage son and teenage daughter’s lifetime, they and their colleagues will be free to come to work everyday without having to worry about someone sexually harassing them in the workplace. This will only happen if companies take a bold stand and have a zero tolerance policy on harassment for all.

Posted in Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
Tagged , ,
Leave a comment