Monthly Archives: December 2018

7 Secrets To Employee Retention That Will Maintain Loyalty

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Developing a culture and work environment where employees are motivated to produce their best results and want to stay for the long term, is possible. As an employer, it takes the finely tuned combination of a progressive approach and participation in the race to an ever changing finish line. According to strategic planning consultant Leigh Branham, SPHR,

“88% of employees leave their jobs for reasons other than pay”

The consequence of successfully retaining staff over the long term is substantial to your company. If you’ve done the maths, you’ll have already calculated these statistics. What are key secrets to improving the rate of retention within a company and how can you develop sticking power with your staff?


Something as simple as making a change to a person’s job title can provide adequate incentive for staff to feel rewarded and recognized. A professional focused on climbing the career ladder will appreciate the opportunity to enhance their job title whenever possible.

As an example, someone with the job title “Marketing Manager” may leap at the opportunity of making the change to “Vice President of Marketing”. A modification to the scope and responsibilities of the role may or may not be associated, depending on the nature of the title change.


Proactively recognizing an employee’s readiness to perform a wider scope of duties and willingness to gain increased responsibility is one of the ultimate ways to reward an employee. Importantly, discussion about such change need not be limited to the annual review process.

Top performing staff, even new hires, are hungry to climb the career ladder and can often be enticed to jump ship if they‘re offered a more compatible work culture and environment elsewhere. To avoid this occurrence, regularly assess the progress and accomplishments of employees and track the personal and professional goals of each. Working hard to continuously improve the quality of your communication with employees will encourage them to have frank and honest discussions with you in an environment where they feel safe to do so.


When it comes to allocating work among employees, consider how the allocation takes place. It’s an easy trap for managers to continually assign the latest and greatest projects to their top performing staff, thereby not affording other staff the opportunity to learn new skills and develop in their practice.

Mixing up the combination of employees who work on each project allows them to build relationships with people whom they may not ordinarily come into contact with. The more connected people feel within an organization, the stronger relationships they foster and the greater the loyalty they will develop.


Encouraging staff to participate in opportunities for further education demonstrates that your company recognizes the value of education and learning new skills. If financial restraints limit your company from funding external staff development, consider permitting time-off for the purposes of dedicated study leave. Engage your tribe by providing them with opportunities for education as a team through in-house training and continuous education programs within the broader workplace.


Employees want to work for a company that recognizes the responsibilities they hold outside of the workplace. Believing their manager appreciates the work they do and trusts them to get it done, no matter the timing or location, is key to improving morale in the workplace and subsequently retaining staff for the long haul.

Employees are continuously expressing the significant value they place on flexible work practices and this is particularly the case when it comes to young people. They want to work for an employer who believes in their ability to act in the capacity of a successful independent professional. In turn, they expect to be trusted to work remotely on occasion and to manage their own time effectively.

“You’re no longer getting a nine-to-five, clock-in, clock-out worker. You’re getting someone who considers your brand an extension of her own personal brand.”

Parents with children, both male and female, also appreciate the benefits of flexible work practices. Having the flexibility to structure start and finish times around childcare responsibilities is just one example. Employees with elderly parents and carer responsibilities appreciate the option to work remotely during times of emergency or when needing to take elderly parents to medical appointments, for example.


Hiring from within promotes authentic opportunities for progression and provides a genuine career path for employees. It enables your company to:

  • Provide motivation to existing staff who recognize they may not need to look elsewhere in order to advance their career.

  • Retain valuable skills and all the training invested into individuals over time. Ultimately, this has direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

  • Retain high achievers who want to know they have a future with their employer. These types want to work for successful companies where they can step up the corporate ladder.

Promoting from within also entails discussing short and long term goals with employees and identifying how these align with what the company has to offer. Regular meetings to discuss such ambition are essential for keeping this dialogue open. Where possible, promotions should be generous and publicized across the organization to provide staff with recognition they deserve.


Something as seemingly simple as showing employees respect can go a long way towards creating a culture where people want to work and fostering the loyalty that makes them want to stay. As the saying goes, “People may readily forget the things that you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.” When you think back upon your working career, many of the memorable moments are probably the result of negative things your manager has said or done.

“If managers make it a priority to show outward respect for employees on a regular basis, it will lead to a strong and enduring workplace culture as well as positive experiences and memories that they will never forget.”

These are just a few of the many ways you can foster a culture that embraces the value of employees within your workplace. While an increase in salary is undoubtedly appreciated by most employees, there are also an unlimited number of other ways to incentivize staff. The most important method of implementing retention strategies that add value to the particular demographic of individuals in question, is to simply ask.

Top 10 Worst Interview Questions

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We’ve all been there: when preparing for an interview, the first place we’re likely to go is Google. “Typical interview questions”, “most asked interview questions”, “how to answer interview questions”, etc.

But here’s the problem: a lot of these questions are ineffective.


These commonly asked questions are ineffective and don’t provide opportunities for candidates to reveal what they’re truly capable of. Common questions, like “What is your biggest weakness?” create common responses, which benefit no one.

How do you know when you’re asking useless interview questions?

Here’s an easy test: next time you’re interviewing a candidate, ask yourself, “What exactly is the candidate supposed to say?” With the above question, do interviewers really expect candidates to provide a soliloquy of their biggest weaknesses and shortcomings? Chances are, 99% of candidates will attempt to present to the interviewer a semi-weakness that ultimately ends up being a strength.

This serves no purpose except maybe to see if the candidate took any time at all to prepare for the interview. You can achieve that while also gaining more valuable information about the candidate by asking better questions.


Question #1: Tell me about yourself

This question is often used to identify personality traits of the candidate, but here’s the problem: this question is just too vague. To fully understand the personality of a candidate, the question needs to be more specific. Instead of asking the candidate to talk about themselves, ask them about their hobbies and how they relate to the company’s industry.

For example, if a graphic designer is applying for a job at a gaming company, it would be pertinent to ask questions like “What’s your favorite video game art and why?” Then, follow up by asking them what they would do differently. The interviewer could also inquire about the types of games the candidate has recently played as a way of measuring how engaged they are with the gaming industry as a whole.

Question #2: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

While not exactly a downright horrible question, it shares some of the same problems as the previous example: it’s just too vague and generic to inspire an interesting answer from the candidate. Ask this question and you’re likely to get a rehearsed answer which will necessitate further questions to get a more detailed response.

Instead, ask the candidate to elaborate on a specific skill, project, or responsibility listed on their resume. This not only allows your candidate to paint a more complete picture of their experience, but it also allows you to distill any strengths or weaknesses as they go into more detail.

Question #3: Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Asking a candidate this question is akin to asking a high schooler what they want to be when they grow up: you might get a decent answer, but chances are, the person is not likely to be 100% sure.

Many employers use this question to see how interested the candidate is in staying with the company over the long-term; however, many candidates will respond by declaring that they would indeed want to be working at your company.

These sorts of answers are more than likely to be a ploy: sure, they may really want to work for your company, but who’s to say for how long? If it’s loyalty that you seek from the candidate, you’ll get a better idea of how long they will stick around by looking at their work history.

Question #4: What is your current salary?

Ask this question and the room is bound to go dead silent. This question almost always makes for an awkward situation, not to mention it is illegal to ask in some states now.

Instead, ask what their desired salary range is. This will give you a better idea if you and the candidate are on the same page.

Question #5: Why should we hire you?

This type of question elicits a canned response.

All candidates will respond to this question by presenting as many unique value propositions about themselves in the most positive light possible, which in the end, doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

Question #6: Tell us about the type of person you’ve had the most trouble communicating with.

This question will only force the candidate to speak negatively about an individual, or, provide a response like “I get along with everyone”.

Instead, ask the candidate to describe a situation where they had to work through a difficult problem with a team, and encourage them to provide as many details as possible. This way you get to the root of what you are asking (how the candidate deals with tough people situations) without making your candidate feel like they can’t be honest without seeming like a poor team player.

Question #7: What would your last boss say about you?

Ask this question and you’re likely to be bombarded with a series of generic accolades: hard worker, smart, quick thinker, team player, reliable, and on and on.

Simply put, no candidate is going to tell you what their bosses would say about them; instead, rely on the responses when checking the candidate’s references. Although references are also fairly biased, they are usually less prepared for these questions than a candidate. making it easier to tell through inflections in tone or stumbling over words whether they are being truthful.

Question #8: Why have you been unemployed for so long?

There are a bevy of reasons as to why a candidate might’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, and none of them are worth talking about. All that matters is the candidate’s experience, skill set, and how they handle the interview; there’s really no need to dig into personal matters 99% of the time.

Question #9: Why do you want to work here?

Experience, money, opportunity—these are all answers that make an appearance here, and for you, the interviewer, these give you nothing.

Why else would the candidate be sitting before you? They are there to better themselves and to make a living, and you can help both them and yourself by avoiding these types of time-wasting questions.

Instead, ask them what they find interesting about the company or what they look for in a company culture. This way you can see how much time (if any) they spent preparing for the interview and if they are even interested in the company/space and are not solely applying just to get a paycheck.

Question #10: Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

While asking this question might reveal character flaws, you’re still unlikely to receive an honest answer as to why a candidate was let go from a previous employer.

Additionally, this question may inspire the candidate to speak negatively about a previous employer, which can bring about unwanted awkwardness and hostility during the interview.

You can get the same information in a more honest fashion by simply going through a candidate’s resume and asking them about their role and thoughts about each one.


As a final thought, remember that the goal of an interview is to gauge how a candidate might help your company become more productive and a better place to work. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for general questions designed to gauge a candidate’s “workplace fitness”; but this does mean that all questions asked should inspire the candidate to provide you with unique and honest answers.

5 Essential Steps To Building An Effective Talent Pipeline

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The stability of your current and future talent is a major indicator of your business’s success. Businesses need to define, attract and develop the right mix of critical talent to support and their growth. Unfortunately, many businesses wait for employees to quit before searching for replacements. This reactive process sets them behind on finding the best talent for their newly vacant positions.

To ensure a flow of the right talent for these roles, businesses need proactive talent pipelines. This means maintaining a continuous stream of growth with candidate relationships. Why is this important? Because it means you’ll have an ideal candidate ready to fill the gaps in your business when you have someone unexpectedly quit or if you suddenly achieve levels of growth you weren’t previously prepared to handle.

Flipping the point here, a lack of proactive recruitment and sourcing can compromise your existing team and limit company growth. No matter which industry you’re in, it’s critical to have a talent pipeline or candidate relationship framework in place to support your hiring needs. Here are some essential steps to build and optimize your talent pipeline:

1. Plan

To build an effective and proactive talent pipeline, it’s essential that recruiters understand their company’s strategic direction both in terms of current needs and plans for growth. Before building a sourcing and recruiting plan, it’s important to understand which roles are critical to reaching your business goals. Take time to map out where your hiring needs are and where you expect them to go to gain visibility for any future growth and expansion plans or planned projects. Analyzing both the future needs of your business and the key roles that will aid in reaching these goals will help you prioritize where to focus your hiring efforts.

Another important consideration to make is employee departure. What would happen if your key team members ever decide to leave? What if they leave mid-project or mid-quarter? These topics will reveal any gaps in your current talent pipeline and will help you map out your succession planning strategies.

Identifying immediate areas of improvement like sources of hire, turnover rate by department, open jobs vs. filled positions, time to hire and the offer-to-acceptance ratio and leveraging these metrics helps measure the success of your current talent pipeline plans. For example, say you find some great candidates, but your offer-to-acceptance ratio is low. You may need to rework your package offering or employer brand to increase those numbers.

2. Attract Talent

This step focuses on creating an employer brand to help potential candidates choose you as a target employer. With regards to employer brand, one important thing to note is the drive and motivation of the talent coming in. Ever hear the phrase “too much of a good thing can be bad?” It relates to employer brand because sometimes having a great employer brand can attract talent that is interested in your culture, but not the work you do. With a great employer brand comes the need to make sure the talent you’re attracting actually fits the scope of your work and your firm’s needs.

Your employer brand describes what kind of employment experience you offer, but also how it relates to the work you do. Just like your internal corporate values, your brand won’t be for everyone. Instead, it should inherently attract those who relate to it and encourage others to look elsewhere. You can also apply for employer awards (such as the Best Places to Work) to help build your brand.

Another aspect of attraction is reaching out to future employees in order to expand your potential talent pool. Some companies have gone to extremes to do this. Many businesses rely on a push strategy for recruitment by listing roles on job boards or actively contacting talent on LinkedIn. Attracting the right people through a pull strategy reduces the time your teams need to spend actively finding talent to fill your pipeline.

3. Assess Candidates

There are many simple, customizable assessment instruments that can supplement management’s judgments with quantitative

data regarding a leader’s performance and values. Multi-rater approaches are the most valid and help to overcome resistance by the person being rated. Quantitative data helps you validate nominations to your high potential pool. For example, a “micro-manager” may be very successful when working with subordinates; however, in a peer group of other managers, the peers may rebel against the micro-managers style.

Do not compromise your standards when you are identifying future leaders for your company or hiring frontline employees for that matter. Conduct periodic reviews of your talent to ensure that your plans are on track and the right people are still being developed and rewarded appropriately. Use this review process to help design individualized development plans for your high potentials.

4. Train and Develop

Building your talent model pipeline isn’t just about finding the right people — it’s about the ongoing development of your teams to put them in the best position for success. After you’ve identified assessment criteria, you can build a dedicated program that will address any skill gaps and provide ongoing training opportunities for development. This could include internal and external coaching, cross-functional experiences and internal assignment opportunities both nationally and globally.

Your business can have multiple programs, such as regional or global leadership development programs, or dedicated executive training programs. Regardless, ensure you develop a brand and identity for your program, and communicate it widely so all team members are aware of the initiative. This program also serves as a great selling tool to attract future talent to your business.

5. Monitor Efforts

Finally, you must evaluate the effectiveness of your talent pipeline model and identify future areas of development. Set KPIs for different areas and monitor outcomes to measure success. It’s important to note some KPI’s are based on metrics while others are based on soft skills. Show the effectiveness of your employer brand can be measured by the interest you receive for available positions, while development programs can be measured by employee turnover rates. Review your outcomes on a regular basis. We recommend at least every six months, but adjust the timing to fit the needs of the business.

Additionally, be sure to identify who the top talent is and reward them accordingly. Tell your top performers who they are, thank them for their contribution, give them exposure to your top management and ensure that they are challenged. Non-cash forms of recognition can serve as a powerful retention tool.