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HR Matters // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results
HR MATTERS Vol 9, Issue 6 - June 2012

I just came back from speaking at the SHRM Talent Management Conference where attendees gathered to discuss strategies related to employee retention. In my session on Running of the Bulls: How to Keep Your Employees from Stampeding Out the Door, I was asked some interesting questions. One in particular is worth sharing. A participant asked me how to quickly turn around the behavior of the poor performers they seemed to keep hiring so their top talent wouldn't be tempted to flee. Here was my reply:

"You don't have a performance problem, nor do you have a retention problem. You have a selection problem." I went on to explain work that I had done with a client in a similar dilemma, and what we did to rectify what seemed like a hopeless situation. In a nutshell, we focused on defining the competencies of their most successful people, and then we trained their hiring managers on how to select for success. The results still speak for themselves, as my client is saving millions annually now that they no longer are wasting resources on trying to fix people who never should have been hired. Business has also soared exponentially as a direct result of the increase in their reputation for outstanding products and services.

I can't think of one organization where people aren't part of the brand. Can you? As you read this month's article, think about whether or not your employees are helping or hurting your brand. We can help ensure your employees are contributing and not taking away from your bottom line. Call us today to find out how.

Are Your Employees Hurting or Helping Your Brand?

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson

I just spent four glorious days in San Diego, where I got to experience firsthand how your employees can help or hurt your brand.

In an attempt to reduce our stress levels, my husband and I decided to rely on taxies rather than renting a car. In theory, this sounded like a great plan. The reality was much different.

Every time I called the largest taxi company in the city, I was placed on hold for at least five minutes before reaching a customer service representative. Sometimes the wait was longer. Not the way to make a great first impression.

When I finally got through, I would request a taxi that accepted credit cards. Sometimes I would get one that did, and other times not.

A number of times I was asked by my taxi cab driver if I knew how to get to my desired location, even though the driver had a GPS in his cab. One would assume that a cab driver would be familiar with the territory he was assigned, or that he would at least use his GPS. Relying on the passenger for directions in a city known to be a tourist destination is a bit bizarre and certainly doesn't do much to instill confidence in one's brand.

Compare that to my experience at the American Craft Brewers Association's Annual Conference, where I was speaking. Every person on staff at the association was impressive. In spite of the fact that there were 4,000 visitors, each person I interacted with took the time to focus on me and make me feel as if I were the only person in the room.

I had the opportunity to meet a number of employees who worked in the craft brewery industry, and all were terrific ambassadors for their companies. If only I had time to sample all their beers.

The service personnel in every restaurant we patronized were fully trained and couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome. We will certainly remember and recommend these establishments to friends and family. I'm afraid that I can't say the same for the taxi company.

When you think about it, what is a company without a strong brand? Businesses without a brand have to work twice as hard in order to bring in customers. Many complain that they don't have the resources to hire quality personnel. That's just an excuse for being lazy.

It doesn't take more time and effort to hire and train someone who is the right fit for the job, but you have to know how to do this, and, more importantly, you have to care. At the conference, I heard several people talking about a big name company in their industry who was doing a poor job of hiring. They also mentioned how this company was treating their employees like dirt. They were chuckling amongst themselves as they discussed on how easy this organization was making it for small guys like them to take the lead.

At the end of the day, the biggest differentiator you have from you competition is your people. They are your brand. Perhaps it's time to reallocate your budget so you have funds available to invest in the one thing that really matters—your reputation.

© 2012 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.

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About Roberta Matuson

For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies and small to medium-size businesses create exceptional workplaces leading to extraordinary results. As a seasoned consultant, Roberta is considered a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty.

She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around and is a highly sought after speaker, consultant and executive coach.

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© 2012 Matuson Consulting. All Rights Reserved.