The Pay-to-Quit Program

Managers need to create incentives that will encourage employees to reveal their true levels of motivation. One such strategy is to offer employees money to resign voluntarily — the so-called Pay-to-Quit strategy. Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, was the first to employ the strategy, making what has become known as “the offer”: a bonus for new hires to quit following a four-week training … [ Read more ]

Ask New Employees for Critical Observations

Ask new employees to keep a diary of observations from each meeting and each day during their early employment period. Then set up a time for them to make a presentation to you, or perhaps you and your leadership team, about what they’ve learned, what didn’t make sense, what they have seen done differently in previous jobs, and so on. This gives the new person … [ Read more ]

Shift to a Skills-Based Approach When Hiring

companies are starting to be more intentional about hiring for a candidate’s future potential, not their past history. But it’ll be a long road. Our traditional recruiting processes still place an emphasis on certain types of education, experience, or personal referrals that can lead to a homogenous workforce.

Start by rethinking your job descriptions. Focus on the results you’d like to see, rather than the type … [ Read more ]

Learning to Say No: The MSPOT

The single best tool I have found to help unlearn the yes-man ways of a startup CEO is a single-page document we call our MSPOT. With it, we articulate our Mission, the constituencies we Serve, the Plays we’re going to run this year, the plays we are going to Omit, and how we will Track our progress.

The most painful portion of that document are the … [ Read more ]

A Better Employee Suggestions System

AT&T has built a digital infrastructure enabling all employee suggestions to be logged online. A small, dedicated team regularly reads and triages the suggestions, sending each promising one to a designated leader or expert who is obligated to consider it and respond. Employees can see the progress of each suggestion and log comments. Other companies have developed systems that enable employees to “vote up” or … [ Read more ]

Why You Should Interview People Who Turn Down a Job with Your Company

Successfully competing for top talent involves both selling jobs to the best candidates and retaining the highest performing incumbents. In order to be seen as an employer of choice with a compelling value proposition for employees, many companies measure turnover and conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback about the experiences people had working there and the reasons why they’re leaving. But a … [ Read more ]

Stay Interviews

There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

Apply Principles of Customer Experience Design to HR Practices

Applying customer experience strategy to employee experience begins with needs-based segmentation, grouping employees into clusters based on their wants and needs.  Most companies organize employees in standard groupings like job title, rank, department, business unit, or geography. But just as customer experience design requires a more nuanced understanding of customers than simple demographics or economic value, employee experience design should be based on employees’ drivers … [ Read more ]

Reverse Mentoring: Putting Personal Advantage to Collective Good Use

To address inequality of opportunity, we need to acknowledge and address the systemic advantages and disadvantages that people experience daily. For leaders, recognizing their advantage blindness can help to reduce the impact of bias and create a more level playing field for everyone. Being advantaged through race and gender come with a responsibility to do something about changing a system that unfairly disadvantages others.

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Use … [ Read more ]

Hire to Train

Here’s the good news: The new, bigger role of learning allows you to save money in hiring. When I launched my first company in 2008, one of my first hires was a CTO. I chose an experienced developer who was in huge demand and was an expensive hire.

I also hired an entry-level employee who demonstrated enormous potential and ambition, although he had only rudimentary development … [ Read more ]

Entry Interviews

Too often, managers don’t know enough about what work people enjoy. It spills out in exit interviews — a standard practice in every HR department to find out why talented people are leaving and what would have convinced them to stick around. But why wait until they’re on their way out the door? Instead, use entry interviews. In the first week on the job, managers … [ Read more ]

Surveying Your Employees about Your Strategy

Involve a larger part of the organization in a discussion on how the company is doing on strategy and execution. Like the annual employee survey, organizations should take the pulse around the most important strategic topics. Such a survey provides powerful insights about how well your employees — the people who know the company best — think it is positioned for success, how well they … [ Read more ]

Assess Your Organization’s Bureaucracy Mass Index (BMI)

An excess of bureaucracy costs the U.S. economy more than $3 trillion in lost economic output per year. When you look at all 32 countries in the OECD, the cost of excess bureaucracy rises to nearly $9 trillion. To dismantle bureaucracy, the first step is to be honest about how much it’s costing your organization. These costs fall into seven categories:

  1. Bloat: too many managers,

[ Read more ]

Have Teams Complete a Charter Before Starting a Project

It’s perilously easy for corporate innovators to skate past the why and the how, particularly those working in new-growth groups or incubators. One mechanism some companies use to deal with this problem is to have each team complete a charter before it starts to work, detailing the project’s strategic intent (the why), specific goals (the how), strategic options that are on and off the table, … [ Read more ]

Clawing Your Way Back from a Discount

Retailers typically follow one of two approaches on price promotions: They’ll discount that PDA to $349 for awhile and then bump it all the way back up to its regular price of $499, or they’ll tout their “everyday low prices” and leave it at $449 indefinitely. But a third tactic beats both, new research indicates.

A store can generate more revenue after a $349 promotion by … [ Read more ]

What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You

A survey evaluating a team’s performance can be a powerful tool for making that team more effective. And the first message that consultants and HR professionals often communicate on these surveys is: “To ensure that the team gets the best data and feels protected, we will make sure responses are confidential.” The widespread assumption is that if team members know their answers are confidential, they … [ Read more ]

Lunch Roulette

Breaking down functional silos is key to everything from encouraging communication to building valuable connections to sparking innovation. But, as we all know, bridging interdepartmental chasms is far easier said than done. Fortunately, some companies are starting to come up with creative solutions. Take, for example, Lunch Roulette, a new concept being used at the U.S. arm of pharmaceuticals manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim (BIPI).

Like many good … [ 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 ]

Making Onboarding Work

When bringing a new employee onto your team, the experience of current employees can be extremely valuable, particularly those who themselves were recently the new kid on the block. Ask your current employees what they wish they had known sooner. Brainstorm a list of buzzwords and acronyms. And ask current employees what their plans are to help the newcomer get on board and up to … [ Read more ]

The 24 Hour Rule

Ford has put a rule in place. It says: ‘You have 24 hours to take a new and emerging issue, try to understand it and see if you can resolve it yourself. After that, you have to go public with it.’ It’s an escalation process. Because with a lot of these issues, we can solve them pretty quickly by applying the intellect we have in … [ Read more ]