Performance vs. Seniority–How Do You Promote Employees?

businesspeople walking on a busy exchange

When it comes to promoting employees, many people think it is as simple as choosing the most qualified person available.

However, promotions often aren’t as easy as they sound. That’s because qualifications can be measured in many different ways, with two of the most common ways being seniority and performance.

Unfortunately, the difficulty of choosing between seniority and performance doesn’t stop there. Employers can get caught between the two, because each measurement has its own merits: would you rather pick the employee who “knows the ropes” and has a good standing with just about everyone in the office? Or would you rather promote the relative newcomer who shows promise but still has to establish him or her self?

As such, we wanted to help guide you through the conversation by giving you the pros and cons of each. For today, we’ll start with the pros and cons of seniority. Take a look below:

Pros of Seniority

  • A more formalized structure. One advantage of promoting through seniority is that it’s a good way to maintain consistency in how you organize your company. In turn, employees have a better understanding of what it takes to get promoted, and a sense that if they “pay their dues,” they will move up the ladder.
  • A better understanding of the company culture. Employees who have been with you the longest will most likely have a better understanding of the company culture. As such, you know they will be able to abide by the culture as they step up to their new position, as well as impart/maintain the culture to those beneath them.
  • Established loyalty. Another thing to consider about promoting through seniority is the obvious track record the employee holds in regards to loyalty. For the employer, that means peace of mind when they know that they’re promoting someone who is less likely to move on, since they’ve already been with the company for so long.

Cons of Seniority 

  • Seniority doesn’t guarantee quality. Sure, they’ve been part of your company the longest, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’re qualified for the position. This is perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of promoting through seniority. Frankly, it is a pretty big disadvantage to make a gamble on when it comes to choosing who will fill your next leadership position.
  • Lack of creativity/innovation. Though not always the case, there is the likelihood that those who have been with the company for a while may not want to change things or have the capacity to innovate. In turn, their newfound leadership role may lack the creativity and innovation of their newer counterparts.

Check back on Monday when we’ll give you the pros and cons of promoting based on performance. In the meantime, what do you think about the seniority vs performance debate? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: W2 a-w-f-i-l via photopin cc

Employees: How to Have a Successful Exit Interview

two suits walking down a street

Over the past few days, we’ve gone over the much debated exit interview, focusing on employer’s side of things and helping folks decide whether or not the exit interview is the right tool for them.

Since the employee’s perspective is just as important in the exit interview as the employer’s–they are, after all, the ones being interviewed–we thought it would only make sense to talk about how you can successfully “exit” your job as you move on to the next step in your career.

Take a look below:

  • Be honest, but not brutal. Honesty is essential when it comes to having a successful exit interview. However, try to keep your level of honesty in check. There may be plenty of things you’d like to say about a colleague or supervisor, but it is better to stick to the facts and leave the colorful complaints out if you want your criticism to be taken seriously.
  • Keep it professional. You may be leaving your job, but that doesn’t mean your former employer will go away for good. Avoid going too over the top with negative criticism. There is no need to beat down on your former employer and let them know everything you hate about them, especially if you still want a recommendation from them. Keep things professional unless you want to kiss that recommendation goodbye.
  • Explain the good and the bad. When it comes to being criticized, employers are no different from you. Try to mix things up when giving them feedback. Mixing in the good and bad can help to soften the blow of your criticisms, as well as prevent your employer from thinking you are just jaded and bitter about them. In turn, they will be more likely to accept what you’re saying rather than shrugging it off as pointless banter.

Exit interviews may not be the highlight of your career, but going into one with a positive outlook and a sense of professionalism is a great way to tie up any loose ends and ensure that you are ready to move on to the next step in your career

Have you ever had an exit interview? What advice would you add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: K.G.23 via photopin cc

Exit Interviews: Are They Worth the Time, Money, and Resources? (Part III)

speed interviewing

Over the past few days, we’ve been discussing the practice of exit interviews.

As we mentioned, the world of HR is pretty divided when it comes to implementing exit interviews, which is why we’ve decided to outline the pros and cons in order to give you a better idea of what you should look for when deciding if exit interviews are right for you.

Now that we’ve gone through the pros and cons, it only makes sense for us to go a little more in depth with a few tips on how to run a successful exit interview, as well as several alternatives should you decide to go a different route. Take a look below:

Exit interview tips 

  • Mandatory but not pushy. If you want to conduct exit interviews, then it is best to not make them optional. More often than not, your employees probably won’t want to go through the trouble of an exit interview.

    That being said, don’t be pushy when it comes to administering the exit interview. Not only will it leave a bad impression on some employees, but it’s most likely not worth it if they come into the interview with a bitter mindset (especially those who already quit on the spot).

  • Who’s conducting? It’s best to leave the exit interview to HR or a third party. While it might sound like a great idea to have their supervisor conduct the interview, if the supervisor had something to do with a person leaving, a third party will help lead to a more productive and honest exit interview.
  • A “no repercussions” policy. Make it clear from the beginning that there will be no repercussions for what they say in the exit interview. This will give them the peace of mind that they won’t miss out on their next job due to a bad recommendation, as well as hopefully give you the honest feedback you want.

Alternatives to the exit interview 

  • The exit “conversation”. If you like the idea of exit interviews but find the formalities a little too much or disingenuous, then you might want to consider the exit conversation. This casual approach helps to ease the tension because of its informality, allowing you to gain valuable, honest insights, and prevent your employee from thinking they’re just part of the “big data” now. 
  • The follow-up. This one comes from Humetrics CEO and TLNT contributor, Mel Kleiman. Mel suggests waiting until your employee is settled into their new job before you contact them. If they find that their new job is less than satisfactory, simply checking in and letting them know they’re missed may persuade them to come back.
  • Re-recruiting. If you don’t like the idea of dealing with employees after they’ve left, you should try convincing them to stay while they’re still an employee. Re-recruiting is a great way to prevent turnover because it tells your employees that you are looking out for their best interest even before they consider leaving.

Are exit interviews worth it or would you rather choose one of the alternatives above? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: Samuel Mann via photopin cc

Exit Interviews: Are They Worth the Time, Money, and Resources? (Part II)

entrance to old employer

Yesterday, we started our series on exit interviews.

As we mentioned, take a survey among the HR world, and you’ll find that opinions over the merits and disadvantages of exit interviews run all over the board. As such, it can be hard for those outside of the debate to really make an educated decision on whether or not exit interviews are right for them.

That’s why we thought we’d give you a brief guide on the matter. We already talked a little bit about the pros, so to balance things out, we thought it would only make sense to give you the cons as well. Take a look below:

The Cons of Exit Interviews 

  • Misleading feedback. In a perfect world, all the feedback we would get during an exit interview would actually be useful. Unfortunately, though, that isn’t always the case. 

    Even though your employee is leaving, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be honest and straightforward with you on the time they spent working in the company. In some instances, this can be because they’re afraid of how it will affect your future recommendation, or perhaps because they’re just too jaded/burnt out and don’t feel the need to go through the exit interview process. 

    As a result, you’ll most likely get answers along the lines of “everything was great, it just didn’t work out” to “I hate this place and would never consider working here again,” both of which provide little to no concrete feedback that you can actually use to improve your company.

  • Shows lack of foresight. Another issue that is raised when it comes to exit interviews is that it shows a lack of foresight on the part of the company. It’s obviously much too late to actually do anything to keep your employee from leaving, and taking the time to prevent future hires from going down the same road seems like a disingenuous effort to tie up loose ends on the part of the former employee. 

    As a result, you end up actually putting your employer brand at risk in some cases. Those who are strongly against exit interviews believe that a proper strategy should’ve been put in place way before the employee ever thought of leaving, which in turn would’ve most likely prevented the turnover from ever happening, saving you the trouble of dealing with any exit interviews.

On Tuesday, we’ll go a little deeper into exit interviews and give you some tips on how to conduct them, as well as alternatives you can take. In the meantime, what do you think about these cons? Are they valid? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Exit Interviews: Are They Worth the Time, Money, and Resources? (Part I)

highway signs on a grey background

When we think about what goes on in the world of HR, we tend to focus on the hiring, recruiting, and managing aspects of the department.

But there is a fourth element to HR that we tend to neglect. We are, of course, talking about the importance of how a company and their HR department handles when an employee leaves or wants to leave.

One way to handle employee turnovers is by conducting an exit interview. However, take a look around the web, and you’ll find dozens of opinions on exit interviews that sway from calling them a super valuable tool to something that isn’t even worth mentioning.

To help you navigate the conversation, we thought we would go ahead and outline some of the pros and cons associated with exit interviews. For today, we’ll focus on the pros of exit interviews. Take a look below:

The Pros of Exit Interviews 

Check back tomorrow when we give you our cons list on exit interviews. In the mean time, what do you think are the advantages of exit interviews? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

3 Ways to Keep Employees from Working Excessive Overtime

Stressed man sitting at his desk

Yesterday, we gave you three reasons why you should be concerned about employees working excessive overtime.

As we mentioned, we don’t think overtime is necessarily a bad thing–we all have to do it every once in a while–but when overtime begins to become a normal part of our routine, that’s when we see a lot of problems arise.

To help you prevent that, here are three ways you can keep your employees from working excessive overtime. Take a look below:

  1. Have realistic work expectations. Be reasonable when putting together projects. As much as we’d love to have everything put out at a lightning-fast pace, it’s just not always possible. In addition to that, forcing your employees to speed up their work can lead to less than desirable results. In most cases, quality trumps quantity, so be sure to divvy up the workload fairly, and allow a reasonable amount of time for completion.
  2. Put a cap on overtime hours. You may also want to consider putting a cap on overtime hours. Putting a detailed policy in place that they can reference can help to ensure that employees don’t overdo it when it comes to working overtime. This is a much better option than making them or your supervisors guess as to how much overtime is too much overtime. Some companies put the cap at a monthly rate, while others choose to do so annually; choose whichever is right for you. 
  3. Hire more employees. If business is booming but workloads are getting excessively heavier, then you might want to consider hiring a few extra hands to even things out. While it can be hard to match staff levels to the work demand, sometimes it is a must. Plus, every big company started somewhere, so don’t be afraid to let your company grow!

Don’t fall prey to the vicious cycle of excessive overtime. Making sure that your employees are well thought of can do wonders for your company. Not only will you have happier and healthier employees, but you’ll also have a more productive and efficient workforce–and that will help you on the road to running a successful business.

Have any tips on avoiding excessive overtime that you’d like to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Concerned About Employees Working Excessive Overtime

two men talking over a blueprint

For most employers who put their employees on salary, overtime seems like a gift because it’s free work.

Sadly though, this isn’t always the case. The reality is that overtime can lead to a lot of problems for employees and in turn, end up being a major pain for the employers when things go south.

To be clear, we’re not saying all overtime is bad. Every once in a while, we might have to come into the office on the weekend, especially when a client needs something right away, and that is perfectly okay. But when overtime becomes a weekly, or worse, daily ritual, we begin to get a little concerned.

Today, we are going to give three reasons why you should be concerned about employees working excessive overtime. Take a look below:

  1. Overtime can lead to burnout. Consistent overtime can lead to burnout pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Not only is this bad for productivity, it’s also really bad for your employees’ health. In turn, you run the risk of running some of your best employees into the ground, which will most likely lead to higher turnover rates and a narrowing of your talent pool.
  2. Overtime can be a poor reflection of your company. Sure, you may find an employee here or there making up for lost time because they had a little extra on their plate that week, but more likely than not, if your employees are clocking in an excessive amount of overtime, then it has more to say about your company than about them. 

    Excessive overtime can have a number of sources, whether it’s from poor communication, a poor organization system/method, hiring managers neglecting to hire employees with a good work ethic, etc. But all in all, it means that your company as a whole isn’t efficient enough, which in turn affects your productivity as well as your employer branding.

  3. Overtime can lead to employee dissatisfaction. Above all, overtime is terrible for employee satisfaction. No one wants to feel like a slave to their job, and no one feels it more than the person who is obligated to come in every weekend or stays a few hours later than the rest of their co-workers.

What do you think about overtime? Do you find yourself or your employees doing it frequently? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via photopin cc

Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part III)

man working on his cell phone

Over the past few days, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of soft skills. In part one, we explained what soft skills entailed and why your employees need them. And in part two, we gave you a few tips on how to screen candidates so you can find those great employees with exceptional soft skills.

To round off our series, we thought it would only be fair to talk about soft skills from the employee’s perspective. So without further adieu, here are a few ways to improve your soft skills, as well as how to properly showcase them during the interview process:

How to improve your soft skills 

Keep your attitude in check. People who possess exceptional soft skills do very well under pressure, so you always need to maintain your composure. Taking a few minutes each day to sit back and reflect on the day, your actions, and others’ responses to your actions help you become more self-aware, making it much easier for you to prevent any unwanted breakdowns.

Network. Networking is also another a great way to hone in on your communication skills. Take the time to branch out and talk with others; having that kind of exposure can help broaden your thinking skills and sense of perspective–an important asset to have when working/leading with a diverse group of peers.

Put yourself out there. Putting yourself out there can help give you a significant confidence boost that is necessary for great decision-making, innovation, and leadership skills. We’re not saying you should take unnecessary risks, but when coupled with a sense self-awareness that allows you to know your limits, you can really push your career in the right direction.

How to showcase your soft skills in an interview

Communicate. Interviews are all about effectively communicating why you’re qualified for the position, so it should come as no surprise that you need to show that you can communicate well.

As such, you need to make sure you come to the interview prepared to answer any questions thrown at you. The best approach is to use concrete examples, and when you do, to make sure they’re concise and to the point. Just because you can ramble on about a subject doesn’t make you an effective communicator, so keep it short and sweet.

Focus on values/work ethic. Though it might not seem obvious, employers do take cultural fit into consideration. Make sure you take the time to emphasize how your values match that of the company you are interviewing for. Showing them how well your work ethic meshes with their own is a great way to stand out amongst your competitors. 

Be confident, positive and focused. Provide specific examples of how you’ve proved yourself to be a leader and decision-maker in your jobs past. Showing that you’re confident can go a long way when it comes to making an impression on employers.

That wraps up our series on soft skills! Are there any tips you’d like to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: Stephan Geyer via photopin cc

Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part II)

collaborating on a project

On Friday, we started our discussion on the importance of soft skills, explaining what soft skills entail and why your employees need them.

As we mentioned, soft skills are essential to your employee’s success in the company. However, they are usually neglected when it comes to the hiring process.

As a result, you end making the gamble between choosing a good employee and a great one, which is definitely a detail we don’t think you want to miss.

To pick up where we left off, here are a few tips on how to screen candidates so you can find those great employees with exceptional soft skills. Take a look below:

Stress the importance to your HR team. First things first, before you begin screening for soft skills, you need to stress the importance of them to all of your recruiters/hiring managers. As Lou Adler–contributor to Inc. and CEO of consulting firm The Adler Group–argues, Let’s stop calling them soft skills. The squishiness of this minimizes their importance. Instead, let’s call them non-technical skills, which we couldn’t agree with more. 

Don’t leave soft skills for last. Despite the old adage “save the best for last,” you really should put soft skills at the top of your list. Consider screening for soft-skills early on in the hiring process either by dispersing them throughout the interview or opening the interview with a focus on soft skills. Chances are, a majority of your candidates will be qualified on the technical side of things, but out of that group, not all of them will have the all-important “non-technical” finesse you are looking for.

A “soft-skills-focused” interview. Alternatively, you may want to consider assessing soft skills in a separate interview. In the past, we’ve talked about assessing for cultural fit in an interview all on its own, and since assessing cultural fit has to do a lot with matching the values of candidates with that of your own, non-technical skills can fit right into those values.

There are plenty of ways to go about assessing a candidates soft skills, whether that means mixing those questions in with your inquiries on technical skills, incorporating them into your cultural fit assessment, dispersing them throughout both, or even assessing them all on their own. The opportunity to evaluate them is certainly there–it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up our series with a post that focuses on how employees can improve their soft skills. In the meantime, how do you evaluate a candidate’s soft skills? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific via photopin cc

Soft Skills: What Are They and Why Do Your Employees Need Them? (Part I)

communicating on a project together

When it comes to assessing the qualities and skills of candidates, we tend to usually focus mainly on the technical side of things. Are they proficient in the software we use? Does their education match up? Are they skilled in using/learning new technology/programs?

Once we square those facts away, only then do we start to consider qualities like personality, communication skills, work ethic, and the ability to work with others–though more often than not, this part of the interview is pretty brief and seems more like an afterthought.

In turn, we end up losing out on learning about some pretty important, if not essential, skills that can differentiate between a good employee and a great one.

We are, of course, talking about soft skills. And despite their unassuming name, they happen to make a pretty big impact when it comes to a business’ success.

To get you better acquainted with these skills, we thought we do a little series on them. For today, we’ll be focusing on what soft skills entail.

So, what exactly are soft skills?

“Soft skills” is an all-encompassing term that deals specifically with a person’s personality traits, and soft skills are meant to complement a person’s hard skills (i.e. technical skills). When broken down, soft skills refer to a person’s attitude, communication skills, ability to work with others, critical thinking skills, and work ethic.

Why do my employees need great soft skills? 

Basically, the reason why employers should look into a candidate’s soft skills is so they can judge whether or not that person is a good fit into the company culture. On one hand, while we want our employees to be infinitely qualified for the job on the technical end, we also want them to be able to work with others and be able to perform the tasks that they were hired for efficiently and effectively. 

All in all, soft skills will make your employees better–better communicators, better teammates, better decision makers, and better thinkers. Those who possess soft skills tend to have the ability to manage themselves, making for a more productive work team, and allowing you as a leader to have more time to concentrate on the bigger issues in the company.

Check back with us on Monday when we give you some tips on how to find candidates with exceptional soft skills. In the meantime, how much emphasis do you put on soft skills and why? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: pennstatenews via photopin cc