Tag Archive for: workplace

Chris Kolenda: A tool for Recruiting and Retaining the Right Talent

A tool for Recruiting and Retaining the Right Talent

Thank you for your replies on the topics you want me to address. The most popular thing on your mind is recruiting and retaining your top talent, so I’ll give you a powerful tool to help you do that.

The Great Resignation (or Great Escape) has receded, so fewer people are job-hopping, which means that quiet quitting and disengagement are rising. 

I recently spoke with a CEO, who we will call Fred. He is facing a staggering sixty percent turnover rate among recent hires, which suggests they are attracting wrong-fit candidates.

Fred has very high standards because his employees do grueling and dangerous work. His hiring process focuses on the nature of the work so people know what they are getting into. What they don’t know in advance are the strict standards that drive them away.

Fred’s not about to change his standards; his safety record is terrific. He needs to be more explicit about his expectations in the hiring process.

The pressure gauge is an excellent tool for spotting right-fit talent because it helps people see themselves relative to your essential standards.

State your standard in the X so that Y format, so people know what behavior you expect and the WHY – the results and outcomes – the standards promote.

For example, ACME expects employees to show up on time, in the proper uniform, with their equipment ready (the WHAT) so that they can respond immediately to calls and not waste time getting their act together or placing themselves or others at unnecessary risk (the WHY).

The pressure gauge, see the visual below, prompts you to outline what awful and acceptable looks like so prospective employees can determine whether to opt in or out, and you strengthen accountability among your workforce.

The green area represents acceptable: on time (8 am, clear head, proper uniform, ready equipment).

The yellow area denotes lackluster: showing up at 8:01 or later, missing uniform or equipment items, or unserviceable equipment, for example.

The red area symbolizes excessive pressure that damages the team: bullying, belittling, or abusive behavior, stealing or sabotaging equipment, showing up drunk or high, etc.

Chris Kolenda: Pressure Gauge Diagram

Fred now has a clear visual representation of his standards and what behaviors are unacceptable. Prospective employees can discuss where they see themselves, and Fred can ask questions to determine their willingness to buy-in. The clear visual also helps his current employees stay on track and ensures Fred provides the resources and support people need to succeed.

Create a pressure gauge for your standards. Better yet, ask your employees to co-create it so they have even more buy-in. Accountability is much easier when people voluntarily promote standards. Your retention improves because people value being around those who share common standards.

How’s this process working for you? Email me to let me know.

This tool and other visuals give you a conscious process you can teach, assess, and improve. 

Most leaders use unconscious processes that work to varying degrees. You cannot teach, evaluate, or improve an unconscious process, so people get frustrated and leave. 

What would be the impact if you had more tools like this one? The best places to find them are in my trademarked programs Becoming a WHY Leader® and Building an Inspiring Culture®. 

Becoming a WHY Leader® is a video-based program that moves you from being a “Hands-On” to an “Eyes-on, Hands-Off” leader, which is necessary if you want to lead multi-unit organizations and inspire people to contribute their best to your team’s success. 

Do you want to create a culture where people voluntarily meet your standards and expectations? Building an Inspiring Culture® is a video-based program that outlines the process for doing so. 

You can engage in these self-directed programs at your own pace and order. Do you want to improve your self-awareness or strengthen buy-in? Go directly to the module you want, watch a short video, and apply the process visual to get results immediately.

Each program retails for $997 or $1450 for both. 

For the month of April 2024, I am offering lifetime access to you for $297 each or $397 for both.

You can enroll in one or both of them using these links:

Becoming a WHY Leader®: https://sla.circle.so/checkout/becoming-a-why-leader

Building an Inspiring Culture®: https://sla.circle.so/checkout/building-an-inspiring-culture

Bundle It! Get both programs for just $397: https://sla.circle.so/checkout/why-leader-and-inspiring-culture

Do you want to license these programs for your organization? Email me, and we’ll set up a time to discuss.

Chris Kolenda: How to help your employees build resilience and improve their mental health: One size does not fit all

How to help your employees build resilience and improve their mental health: One size does not fit all

Mental health is finally a workplace topic of conversation, and it’s a welcome change. 

No one deserves to be put through psychological abuse such as belittling, bullying, and gaslighting, and leaders have an obligation to handle those who use such tactics. 

Life outside work also creates emotional taxes that people may carry into the workplace. The result can include adverse reactions to triggers that damage relationships. Wouldn’t everyone be better off if someone feeling extreme duress took a mental health day instead?

At the same time, employees in chronic mental health crises exhaust their co-workers, and leaders with fragile mental health may shut down or become abusive. 

There’s an excellent chance that you are not a trained therapist, and you might be wondering what you can do when one of your employees struggles on the job to cope with setbacks or uncertainty.

The key is to provide the proper scaffolding so they can move forward.

The chart below can help you provide actionable support for people in duress. The vertical axis represents their locus of control. Some people have an internal locus of control: they believe their actions are primarily responsible for the outcomes they experience. Those with an external locus of control believe that factors outside their control are responsible principally for outcomes.

The horizontal axis depicts flexibility: constant versus adaptable. Constant people tend to have deep convictions that guide them through the world, whereas adaptable people roll with the punches regarding matters beyond their control. A constant person may attribute the weather to divine intervention, while the adaptable person says there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

Constant people with an internal locus of control take responsibility and maintain their convictions through difficulties. On the downside, they can drift into Master of the Universe mode and have unrealistic expectations about their ability to control outcomes. They can beat themselves up and demoralize their teams when things don’t work out. Help them see that they cannot control outcomes, but they can control their inputs and processes. COVID, global supply disruptions, inflation, AI, and other externalities drastically affected outcomes. Those with sound processes rode the waves successfully.

Constant people with an external locus of control often go with the flow, believing fate controls their destiny. This can calm them in the face of uncertainty. However, they can shatter when something goes awry because they think luck, karma, and divine guidance are against them. You can support them by identifying small action steps they can take to move forward and gain momentum.

Adaptable people with an external locus of control are great at contingency planning. They can see the risks and opportunities from outside forces and create Plans B, C, and D to mitigate the downsides and seize opportunities. In the face of uncertainty and ambiguity, they can dither in paralysis by analysis. You can help them move forward using a simple, effective decision-making process (and here, too).  

Adaptable people with an internal locus of control tend to show resilience in the face of challenges because they believe they can problem-solve and innovate to make the best of any situation. However, they can heighten others’ anxiety by ruminating out loud or spitting out new ideas at a machine gun rate of fire. Get them to explain their priorities and describe their game plan, and encourage them to stick to the new idea long enough to see it through. 

This process also works for managing up, so you can help your boss get unstuck and back into action.

What topics do you most want me to write about? Send me an email or comment and let me know.

Chris Kolenda: McCarthy’s ouster shows that Americans can find common ground

McCarthy’s ouster shows that Americans can find common ground

Getting people to find common ground seems more challenging these days, given 24-hour cable news, social media outrage, and polarization. 

These challenges can also enter the workplace, creating obstacles to buy-in, innovation, and change.

If you are experiencing similar frustrations getting people on board with new ideas, the recent U.S. House of Representatives drama can provide you with a productive way forward. 

Eight angry Republicans united with the Progressive Caucus and the rest of the Congressional Democrats to oust Representative Kevin McCarthy from his role as Speaker of the House.

Although the parties involved rarely agree on anything and base their fundraising strategies on demonizing the other, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder to remove the Speaker.

Chaos brought them together. 

The eight Republicans were appalled that McCarthy created a bi-partisan agreement to fund the government until mid-November. The Democrats view chaos across the aisle as a way to improve their 2024 electoral prospects in hopes they can regain the majority.

McCarthy, for his part, failed to create a goal more compelling to the Democrats, who were his only hope of retaining the Speakership.

He did not need to create a power-sharing agreement. Continued funding for Ukraine might have been enough to sway eight Democrats or more to keep McCarthy in the saddle.

Here’s what this episode means to you.

The key to gaining buy-in for change is to begin working from where people agree and working together on ways people believe they will be better off. 

Your employees will not believe a lecture on why a certain change makes them better off; they have to come to that conclusion themselves. 

Employees have strategies to thwart change. They can slow-roll implementation in hopes that the change comes off the rails. Telling you what you want to hear and doing what they want to do instead is another common approach. Sabotage works, too.

You need people’s active support if you want change to stick.

Here’s an approach you can use.

  1. Develop a goal that enjoys common ground
  2. Collaborate on options to achieve the goal
  3. Have your direct reports identify how they will be better and worse off in each option, and develop strategies to mitigate or offset the disadvantages
  4. Choose the option that best makes the people involved better off

The option might not be perfect in your eyes, or even optimal, but you will gain people’s active support and reduce or eliminate passive resistance.

If you are ready to gain greater buy-in and accountability, consider joining one of my programs or schedule a call with me to get started.