Communications and Messaging Guidance for Your Managers

I’m a big believer in teaching leaders to fish. That’s why we’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders … that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders … [ Read more ]

Don’t Leave the Interviewing to the Bosses!

In every interview I’ve ever had with another company, I’ve met my potential boss and several peers. But rarely have I met anyone who would be working for me. Google turns this approach upside down. You’ll probably meet your prospective manager (where possible—for some large job groups like “software engineer” or “account strategist” there is no single hiring manager) and a peer, but more important … [ Read more ]

Onboarding Program for New Executives

Bank of America … has created an onboarding program for executives one to two levels below the C-suite. The program aims to ensure that the new executives understand role expectations, quickly develop a network among key stakeholders, build relationships with their team, and learn from other leaders what it takes to succeed, especially in their particular role. To achieve these objectives, the program must transfer … [ Read more ]

Recognize and Make the Most of Linchpin Roles

Not all roles are created equal. Many companies don’t take the trouble to understand which are their linchpin roles—as distinct from high-performing or high-potential people. These are roles that have a big influence on the customer experience or that provide critical support or coaching to employees who shape the customer’s response. Given scarce resources, targeting these roles can be an efficient way to raise employee … [ Read more ]

Switch Roles for Longer Staff Longevity

To foster staff longevity, organizations can arrange for group members to switch roles with one another. Google, for example, encourages employees to leave their positions and take on “bungee” assignments for three months to one year in different areas of the company. Employees can acquire new skills and find out whether they like a new job (or are good at it) before committing to it. … [ Read more ]

Job Hopping and Internal Job Fairs

It’s important for senior leaders to find a way that people can share information in reasonably efficient ways. I really like the example of Salesforce under Steve Greene and Chris Fry — they had a policy where engineers were free to change jobs within the company. So, every four months they’d have an internal job fair, like a bazaar with booths, where people would walk … [ Read more ]

Using the Net Promoter for Measuring Employee Engagement

Just as the Net Promoter approach has strong descriptive and predictive power with customers, it works just as well in the realm of employee engagement. Loyalty leaders measure engagement by asking a handful of simple but predictive questions: Would you ask your friends and family to work in this company? Why? And would you recommend our product or service to your friends and family? What … [ Read more ]

Reward and Recognition Program Ideas

The size of your organization and the age of your workforce dictates which type of rewards and recognition program works best. One organization improved motivation and almost eliminated turnover by creating a family environment including special incentives.

Every year employees celebrate their work anniversary with a cake and receive $100 for each year employed made out in a check.

Twice a year employees’ children receive a … [ Read more ]

Two-Tier Performance Appraisals

Some innovative organizations are using a two-tier performance appraisal. One appraisal assesses how a person “manages”–did they get work accomplished in a timely manner and achieve their performance goals? This assessment determines the leader’s bonus. The second appraisal assesses the individuals leadership ability–how well did they develop, motivate and engage their people? This determines whether they get promoted. So someone may be … [ Read more ]

Create an Alumni Network for Your Company

Talented people have so many opportunities that you can’t keep them forever. But even if they stop working for you, they can work with you. But how do you build a network that works? Here are a few tips.

1. There’s more than one way to network. An alumni community can be either an official company initiative or a grassroots effort. It comes down to ownership. … [ Read more ]

Create Targeted Recruitment Approaches for Different Profiles of Applicants

A warning to senior executives of companies across industries: Your recruiters could be repelling your best job applicants. They’re providing the same recruiting messages to all candidates. But the reality is that not all applicants are looking for the same things. So companies must create distinct, targeted recruitment approaches for different profiles of applicants.

Applicants with advanced educational degrees, for example, are attracted to specific attributes … [ Read more ]

Secret for Hiring Self-starters: Try Before You Buy

Prudential’s recruiting method, called the Career Development Program, allows people to stay in their current jobs throughout six months of training — mostly online, and at the candidates’ own pace — to earn the professional designations required to become a certified life insurance agent and financial advisor.

Prudential launched the CDP in 2009 as a small-scale experiment, but it’s worked so well that it’s now the … [ Read more ]

Pick and Mix Benefit Options

Studies have shown that staff at different stages in their career favor different benefits, for example younger staff may tend to favor cash rewards rather than pensions. Companies can overcome these discrepancies by developing flexible “pick and mix” benefit options. An example of this is a points based system where staff at different levels qualify for varying levels of points; these points can … [ Read more ]

Have Every New Employee Do Customer Support for Two Weeks

Have every new employee do customer support for two weeks. The first week is a typical “first week at a new company” which includes a formal day of orientation on the first day. The next four days are structured around on-boarding the person and getting them involved in their role and their team, but not too deeply. This allows there to be a “break in … [ Read more ]

Letting Employees Choose Their Next Assignment

Managers of a product team at Microsoft offered employees the chance to pick their next assignment, rather than having the leaders hand down those decisions. In this case, to retain top talent in a competitive market and to boost employee satisfaction, team leaders pitched their projects to employees, allowing them to evaluate the opportunities and chart their own course. Some managers worried that participants would … [ Read more ]

A Better Approach to HR

Formerly, when operational people in the business units at Devon Energy did a search for a new employee, HR would hand them a list of candidates. It would be their job to decide which candidates to see and to sell the candidates on Devon.

Now, we in HR sit down with the business leader and talk about the need, and the strategy to fill the need. … [ Read more ]

Encouraging Independent Projects at Work

I would have a policy like Hewlett-Packard had when I worked there, before starting Apple. They encouraged you to work on little inventions of your own, and you would get some financial support from the company to build them. The company benefits in two ways. You’re becoming better at designing things for the company because you’ll force yourself to learn ways to solve your own … [ Read more ]

Commuication Summaries on Friday

Send out a Friday email with “good news” from the week, highlighting the achievements of each of your team members. If he/she is willing, go even further and have the CEO speak to the team every Friday on hot topics, concerns, achievements.

Encouraging Mentoring

At McKinsey mentoring is regarded as a vital part of the development culture but is still not as common as it should be. To encourage it, several McKinsey offices now ask all associates at regular intervals which partners they view as mentors. Although a small number of partners were named by as many as a dozen associates, most partners were surprised to find that fewer … [ Read more ]

Safeguarding Knowledge

Retirement represents the loss of a worker with the skills needed to perform a specific job. It may also represent the loss of crucial knowledge whose value to the organization extends far beyond the worker’s individual position.

Freightliner, a large truck manufacturer based in Portland, Oregon, has anticipated this dual risk. It set about assessing the extent and severity of the risk, focusing on employees who … [ Read more ]