Why do managers hold on to bad hires for so long?

I’ve been very public about my philosophy on hiring. I do not hire to fire. In no way do I hire someone thinking “I can’t wait until the day I fire them!”, I don’t think any of us really think that!

I hire someone believing that with the right training, development, and support, they will be wildly successful! I own at least half of that equation, the person I hire owns the other half. Many times it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The problem with my philosophy is “Sunk Cost”.

Sunk cost is an accounting philosophy that means a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. So, you’ve already sourced, recruited, and trained an employee. You’ve gone beyond training working to develop them. All those costs are now spent.

BUT – because you’ve ‘invested’ those costs into an employee, you are less likely to let them go believing you are more likely to get a return on those costs. In reality, there is absolutely zero evidence that shows you’ll get any return for future investment into that employee, but we really struggle to give up on them based on what we’ve already spent.

This is super common in the management of people resources!

Well, I’ve already dropped $50K into Tim, I guess another $10K isn’t that bad. When in reality that $10K is actually way better spent on another employee, and you fire Timmy!

I’ve known about Sunk Cost for a long time, but now there is actually scientific evidence to back up the fact we should be firing failing employees sooner:

“Sunk costs are irrecoverable investments that should not influence decisions, because decisions should be made on the basis of expected future consequences. Both human and nonhuman animals can show sensitivity to sunk costs, but reports from across species are inconsistent. In a temporal context, a sensitivity to sunk costs arises when an individual resists ending an activity, even if it seems unproductive, because of the time already invested. In two parallel foraging tasks that we designed, we found that mice, rats, and humans show similar sensitivities to sunk costs in their decision-making. Unexpectedly, sensitivity to time invested accrued only after an initial decision had been made. These findings suggest that sensitivity to temporal sunk costs lies in a vulnerability distinct from deliberation processes and that this distinction is present across species.”

This scientific study showed both humans and rats basically do the exact same thing. If we feel we have already invested a ton of resources in a task, we are more likely to continue pursuing this task even when all the evidence to that point has only shown failure!

This is Poor Performing Employee Management 101!

-You hire an employee.

-The employee gets trained and should have the skills to perform the job.

-The employee doesn’t perform the job, so you give more resources to help get them up to speed.

-The employee still doesn’t perform.

-The manager decides not to terminate the employee, but to continue to give more resources and chances.

Why do we do this?

You hired 3 employees before the failing employee and all three completed training and did the job successfully. We know the process works. So why do we not fire the employee?

Sensitivity to Sunk Cost. We are as dumb as rats when it comes to investing our own resources into failing employees. We act the exact same way!

It has nothing to do with the employee and our desire to give everyone a fair shot (I don’t hire to fire). It has everything to do with our own internal drive of not wanting to lose, what we feel we’ve already invested, even when all the data tells us future investment is akin to burning a pile of cash.

So, don’t hire to fire, but also don’t be as dumb as a rat and not fire someone who shows you they can’t and won’t do the job you hired them to do!

In HR (and life) the story that wins becomes the truth!

In HR we hear a lot of stories.

We love to tell ourselves we are hearing the truth from one side and a lie from another side, but the reality is both sides are stories with a little truth and a little lie built-in. We then ‘measure’ who we feel is telling more truth than lie, and that side becomes the full truth.

Throughout history, this plays out. The winners of war decide what the truth is, not the losers. One side is good and righteous, one side is bad and evil. Before the war, both sides were just trying to make it through the day and make their society better. Truth.

We fire someone because they harassed another person. That person is a bad person. The person who got harassed is a victim and is a good person. The problem is, that’s not really reality, is it? Many times the person we fire is actually a pretty good person and the victim is a piece of garbage. But, the winner gets to decide the role they want.

We fire an employee because we are told by their manager that they are not performing well. We trust our manager. We have to it’s what our structure is built on. If we didn’t then what are we really doing? The employee claims they weren’t trained properly, they weren’t given good direction, they were put in a position to fail. You’re fired, you’re a bad employee. You lose, you don’t get to decide the truth.

It’s one major reason why I tend not to really care that a person was fired from a job. The reason probably matters. I don’t want to hire someone who embezzled from their former employer or some other major offense, but if it’s performance, let’s talk. I’m willing to talk because I know there are always two sides to the story. It just happens that this candidate lost their last story, but they might win the next.

It’s important as HR pros and leaders we understand this concept, not just for hiring, but also that we understand most times we don’t deal in complete black and white wins and losses. In HR we deal in the middle, in the gray. Once we make a determination, we are making a determination of ‘win’. We are validating one story over another. We like to tell ourselves and our leadership that this one story is the truth, but it’s really just another version of a story.

So be careful this week as you decide which stories will win and which ones will lose. Truth can be a pretty powerful thing even when it’s just a story.

Want to Recruit Better? Hire more Recruiters and less Recruiting Managers!

 

Take a look at what’s happened in healthcare over the past 40 years:

 

In the healthcare industry over the past forty years, there has been a 2000% growth rate in the number of “Administrators” in healthcare, which the number of Physicians has remained relatively flat. Now, some of this growth in administration could be that for decades prior there might have been a lack of proper administration and some of this growth is just catching up, but 2000%!?

And we wonder why the cost of healthcare in our country is out of control!

Healthcare isn’t the only place where this happens! The more successful an organization is, the more mid-level management hires increase. So, in times of prosperity, we tend to want to surround the worker bees with tons of management “help”. Our organizations get bloated with none productive hires all hired believing we’ll make those who actually produce more efficient and effective.

We do this in talent acquisition, a ton!

I get asked by HR and TA executives frequently about hiring recruiting leadership. Recently, I spoke with a CHRO who was struggling to attract talent and fill positions and I asked her to give me their TA structure. “Oh, we have a Director of TA, a Manager of TA, and a Recruiter.” So, you can’t hire, but you’ve got two TA leaders and one person actually doing the hiring!?

I told her to fire the director and the manager and hire 4 more recruiters and let the team of 5 recruiters work the openings. I was exaggerating a little, but she got my point. Positions don’t get filled by managing them to death. Positions get filled by recruiters generating activity that leads to filling positions.

Of course, great leadership can help any function be more effective, but having leaders for the simple fact that we believe someone or something needs to be “managed” is short-sighted at best, and destructive at it’s worst. I’ll always choose a flatter structure over empire-building any day of the week. Give me some soldiers and let me fight!

The problem with hiring non-productive employees is what we’ve seen in healthcare. Once you get one administrator/manager every other employee wants to do the same thing. “Wait, I can get paid more and not have to actually produce!? Yes, please!” And soon you have a 2000% increase in hiring folks who don’t actually see patients, who don’t fill positions, who don’t make the donuts.

 

Why Aren’t You Celebrating When You Make a Hire in Recruiting?

When I was a brand spanking new recruiter right out of college something amazing would happen every single time we made a placement. Now, granted, this one in an agency environment, and we were kind of a small business, startup, but if we (not I, but anyone on the team) made a placement we celebrated!

Now, I’ve heard of TA shops where they ring a bell or play a song, or something like that. NO, I’m talking about closing down the office and popping a bottle of champagne that usually turned into other drinks, and coming to work the next morning with a slight headache, celebration! Doesn’t that seem crazy now, in the world we live in!? I know high-volume recruiters who are making 15 hires a week or more! That’s a lot of champagne!

It might not be popping bottles, but we should still be celebrating!

Let’s be honest. Currently, for almost all recruiters, we are on a treadmill and it doesn’t look like that treadmill is going to stop anytime soon! If there was ever a time to celebrate a hire, filling a position, it’s now! I had a TA leader tell me last week that she has never been more stressed in her career than she has been right now, and over the past 6-12 months. The job is non-stop, and not trying to sound too life-coachy but we have to stop and enjoy our successes!

So, what can we do to celebrate filling a position(s) on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis?

  1. Acknowledge those fills as a true success. Period. Because here is what happens. We start off a meeting by saying, “Hey, I just want to recognize Mary because she made four fills last week and that’s just awesome! Now, let’s talk about the 660 openings we still have open!” That is defeating. Try and separate the success conversation from the rest of the work conversation.
  2. Have a senior-level executive, above the hiring manager, send notes of thanks and encouragement. We many times feel like second-class citizens in recruiting. We hear the hiring managers and their bosses talk sh*t about us in meetings. It’s our fault that these positions aren’t getting filled and because of that, they are failing. Actually, it’s all of our fault, but they love using that excuse. If senior executives recognize and celebrate the successes of the recruiting team, it goes a long way. It goes even longer if they actually understand their role in this failure!
  3. Have a Hiring Manager who just had some great fills happen, come buy lunch for the recruiters. Yes, it’s the job of TA to fill jobs, but if you’re a hiring manager and you want great recruiting, recognize and thank your recruiters, often. It’s a super hard gig right now. They will appreciate you.
  4. Have the CEO send a company-wide note or video recognizing an individual recruiter who has gone above and beyond to get positions filled. Share the stories. Yes, this makes this one recruiter feel special, but it also signals to the company how important recruiting is right now for our entire success.
  5. Don’t allow you and your recruiting team to be victims or use victim phrases or behaviors. Yes, we are in a difficult spot, but we are here together, and the only way we’ll get out of this, will be together, as one. We support each other, always. We only talk about our team and the teammates on our team in positive ways. We help each other, unconditionally. In times of crisis, victim mentality kills recruiting teams faster than anything. I’m not asking you to be “Polly-Ann-ish”. I asking you to understand where you are and do not allow outside forces to pull you apart.

Also, ring the bell, buy cupcakes, take the team down to Dairy Queen for an hour, do crazy stuff that shows the organization that a hire was made, and goddammit, that is important to recognize and validate!

Recruiting is hard. Life is hard. What makes it all worth it, it to feel valued. Valued for who you are, and the work you do. To have some enjoyment amongst the chaos. To feel supported by peers, and support them back. It doesn’t take much, but it does take something.

Keep grinding out there people. I see you! And once is while, Pop a Bottle of Champagne and Celebrate!

7 Very Short Rules For Being Better At Recruiting!

Over the past few months have had dozens of conversations with Talent Acquisition leaders across America. From SMB to Enterprise, all types of markets, and all with basically the same kind of problem. The need to get better at recruiting, and the need to do it very quickly! (By the way, I actually wrote a book on how to do that! Duh!)

The reality is, none of these folks wanted to read my book (TL;DR). Okay, actually, some have, but they still wanted those silver bullets. Yeah, yeah, I can read the book, but “really” just tell me what I need to do right now to get better! We are desperate to hire better, NOW!

Very Short Rules for Better Recruiting!

1. You must advertise your jobs.

No, posting your jobs on your own career site doesn’t count! Also, this isn’t free. Quality advertising that gets results will cost some money. Also, just posting on job sites, for most, will not be enough. Job sites are for people looking for jobs. The best organizations advertise to people who are not actively looking for a job, and those people are not on job sites.

2. Stop working on requisitions for Hiring Managers who are not “immediately” ready to hire.

Your team already has limited capacity to recruit. You don’t need to be messing around with openings with a hiring manager who is unsure. “Well, just leave it open. Maybe someone will apply.” No, it’s canceled, when you’re serious about hiring we’ll re-open that position and make a hire.

3. If a job is always open, it’s never open.

No one wants a job that is always open. There is a problem with that job. Why can’t you fill it? Why is it never closed? “But, Tim, this is a greenfield position!” Stop it! Think about this from a candidate’s perspective and the recruiter’s perspective. A candidate doesn’t want a position that never closes, and a recruiter doesn’t want to work that position. Plus, it’s very difficult to get both recruiter and hiring manager ownership over a position that never closes. If you have openings that never get filled, there’s a bigger issue at play.

4. It’s not Quality or Quantity, it’s both.

When it comes to measuring a recruiter’s activity and performance, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. We need both. You must work through enough candidates to get both a certain level of quality and enough quantity to meet the obligations of the job. We don’t have a quality issue, because every one of our recruiters would only send high quality. Not having enough quantity then becomes a work effort issue, that can be solved in a number of ways.

5. If your recruiters aren’t using your old ATS, they will not use your new ATS.

We buy technology because we truly believe it will make our TA team/process better. Thus, if they are not using our technology, there is a belief that they are better than your investment in technology. So, you must assume that this will happen with any new technology you buy as well. In my experience, this actually happens in about 90% of cases. It’s not a technology issue, it’s an adoption issue.

6. You must know your own baseline recruiting capacity, then improve upon that.

Yes, I can tell you how many reqs, on average, a recruiter can effectively carry. Also, that number is basically meaningless to you. Your team, your leadership, your technology, your market, is different than everyone else. Continuous improvement of yourself, should be your true measure. You only know if that is happening, if you know your baseline performance.

7. Stop doing anything that doesn’t lead to or help you fill jobs.

Most of my job, as a recruiting consultant, is not about finding out what you’re not doing, but finding out what you are doing that you should stop doing. 100% of the time I find recruiters and recruiting teams doing things that have very little to do with filling open requisitions. While, organizationally, those things might be important stuff. Functionally, they are a waste of time.

Bonus Rule:

If you have recruiters who love to administer your recruiting process, but they do not love to actually recruit, you have two options: 1. Fire them; 2. Move them into Recruiting Operations if you’re an enterprise-size shop. You need recruiters who recruit, not ones who talk about the process. We do not have the time nor the resources to carry non-recruiting, recruiters on our teams. FYI, letting them go, won’t hurt your capacity, they weren’t really recruiting anyway!

What are your favorite recruiting rules for being better at recruiting? Share in the comments so we can all get better together!

If you can Recruit, you can Recruit!

I grew up and lived most of my life in Michigan. There are so many things I love about living in Michigan and most of those things have to deal with water and the 3 months that temperatures allow you to enjoy said water (Jun – Aug). There is one major thing that completely drives me insane about Michigan.  Michigan is at its core an automotive manufacturing state which conjures up visions of massive assembly plants and union workers. To say that the majority of Michigan workers feel entitled would be the largest understatement ever made.

We have grown up with our parents and grandparents telling us stories of how their overtime and bonus checks bought the family cottage, up north, and how they spent more time on their ‘pension’ than they actually spent in the plant (think about that! if you started in a union job at 18, put in your 30 years, retired at 48, on your 79 birthday you actually have had a company pay for you longer than you worked for them. At the core of the Michigan economy, this is happening right now and it’s disastrous! Pensions weren’t created to sustain that many years, and quite frankly they aren’t sustainable under those circumstances. Seniority, entitlement, I’ve been here longer than you, so wait your turn, etc. are all the things I hate about my great state!

There is a saying in professional sports – “If you can play, you can play”.  Simply, this means that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how much your contract is worth. If you’re the best player, you will be playing.  We see examples of this in every sport, every year. The kid was bagging groceries last month, now a starting quarterback in the NFL!  You came from a rich family, poor family, no family it doesn’t matter, if you can play, you can play. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pretty, ugly, not-so-smart, if you can play, you can play. Performance in your specific field of play is all that matters. A few year back the NHL released this video supporting the LGBTQ community (if you can play…) –

This is why I love being a recruiter!  I can play.

Doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing it.  Doesn’t matter what education/school I came from.  Doesn’t matter what company I work for.  If you can recruit, you can recruit. You can recruit in any industry, at any level, anywhere in the world. Recruiting at its core is a perfect storm of showing us how accountability and performance in our profession works. You have an opening – and either you find the person you need (success), or you don’t find the person (failure). It’s the only position within the HR industry that is that clear-cut.

I have a team of recruiters who work with me. Some have 20 years of experience, some have a few months. The thing that they all know is if you can recruit, you can recruit. No one can take it away from you, no one can stop you from being a great recruiter. There’s no entitlement or seniority – ‘Well, I’ve been here longer, I should be the best recruiter!’ If you want to be the best if you have to go out and prove you’re the best.  The scorecard is your placements. Your finds. Can you find talent and deliver, or can’t you? Black and white.

I love recruiting because all of us (recruiters) have the exact same opportunity.  Sure some will have more tools than others but the reality is if you’re a good recruiter you need a phone and a computer, and an ability to connect with people. Tools will make you faster, not better. A great recruiter can play. Every day, every industry. This is why I love recruiting.

What if you’re just average?

At some point in our little journey on this big floating rock we discover something about ourselves.Some of us discover we might actually be pretty good at some stuff and being good at that stuff actually has some value, so for all intensive purposes, if you’re one of these people, you kind of won the game!

First, congratulations. I’m truly happy for you.

Second, don’t get too cocky. The thing you might be good at is for some reason people find your appearance pleasing. So, you won by having strong appearance DNA. It’s not like you’re a brain surgeon or a popular influencer or something. You’re just good looking and food doesn’t make you fat, or maybe it does and that’s why people like you, who the hell knows why anyone wins the game anymore.

Some of us will find out we’re just average. There is actually nothing overly special about who we are and what we do. If we are lucky we’ll find another average person to fall in love with us, and we can average children, and hang with average friends, do average stuff on the weekends. Life doesn’t suck, it’s “fine”.

A few of us will find we basically suck at almost everything. Life is hard for those who suck. As the saying goes, it sucks to suck. That’s life, some great ones, a bunch of average ones, and few sucky ones. The problem with life is most people think they are either great or above average. No one thinks they suck (okay, some do, but properly medicated and with the right therapy that usually goes away), and almost no one thinks they’re average.

What do we do when 80% of those people we know don’t know they’re average?

I mean, I usually just tell them straight up after about three or four gin and tonics. Look dude, I love you, and that’s my own downfall, but you’re average. I mean, we can still hang, because I’m only slightly above average as compared to you, so we’re cool. That mostly doesn’t work, which is why I write on this blog and don’t hang with real friends, but in the end, I think those people who I wanted to be my friends will value straight-shooting.

I read this week that for every $1 I spend, that’s like Bill Gates spending $2.8 million dollars. If Bill Gates spent $1 million dollars per day, it would take him four hundred years to spend all of this money. Even after the divorce, or maybe even more with the divorce, Bill won the game.

$1 to $2.8 million puts into perspective the difference between average and great. It’s not just Bill is probably slightly better than you and me. He’s on a different planet! In fact, he could actually be on a different planet if he wanted.

We confuse being slightly above average, or even just better than the crappy person working next to us, that we must be great. But, just because you’re the tallest of the seven dwarfs doesn’t make you tall. The only way this concept works is if you’re slightly better than someone you know is great, not average or below average.

Every single generation has an issue with being average. We don’t want to be labeled as average we want to be extraordinary when 80% are just plain ordinary. I think this is mostly due to how we define average. The actual definition is: “a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number.”

What does that mean? It means if we lined up a hundred people you would be number 50, or 49 or 51-ish. Basically, there would be 49 people better than you and 49 people worse than you. You’re in the middle. For those of you who are a middle child, think of it as your older sister is better than you, but you are better than your younger brother. Middle children tend to have better insight into the concept of being average.

Embrace Your Averageness!

Here’s the thing, being average has its perks! The Perks of being average:

  1. No one really expects anything from you. At best, the only hope is you just don’t screw stuff up!
  2. It’s super easy to keep your job when you’re average because all the focus goes to the ones that suck, and all the hard, important work goes to the ones who are great.
  3. Average people tend to live a happier life because of the lower expectations people have towards them.
  4. Being average, and embracing it, opens you up to way more friends and people to hang out with since most of the world is average. If you believe you are superior, it’s really slim pickings when it comes to folks you want to hang out with!
  5. The selection of mates for romantic relationships really increases! I mean imagine all those people with hickies you can choose from when you set your sights appropriately!

So, what if you’re just average? Well, you are. Or statistically thinking, you are more likely to be than anything else. And that’s okay. I mean, unless, you truly want to be great.

9 Types of Employee Recognition That Suck!

I run a small business.  When I need to know something, I usually reach out to my employees and find out what they think.  It’s not some big fancy ‘research’ survey with thousands of responses, but it’s real.

Recently, I wanted to know what people might want in terms of a recognition award.  Ironically, what I found goes against some big fancy research done by recognition companies who are in the business of selling the crap on the list below, crazy how that works in the research game! Anywho, what I found wasn’t surprising to me.

Here’s the list of the Top 8 things my employees don’t want when it comes to Recognition Awards:

1. Anniversary Pins! If you give me one of these I will stick it back in your eye! “Hey, Tim, Thanks for 10 years! Buddy, here’s a pin!” A What!?!? I’ve given you ten great years and you’re giving me a pin. Is this 1955?

2. A Plaque. Or any other kind of trophy thing. If I wanted a trophy to show me that I’m a salesperson of the year, you hired the wrong person. JayZ said it best “we can talk, but money talks, so talk more bucks”.

3. Corporate logo wear. Giving out corporate logo wear as a form of recognition screams you have executives that haven’t actually spoken to an employee in the last twenty years!

4. A watch. Wait, if it’s a Rolex, I’ll take a watch. If it’s a Timex you better ‘watch’ out, I’m throwing it at someone! Nothing says we don’t really care about you like a $50 watch with it engraved on the back ‘You Matter! 2019!’

5. Luggage. The ‘experts’ would like you to believe that your employees would really ‘appreciate’ luggage because it’s an item they don’t normally like to spend their money on. The reason why people don’t like to spend their money on luggage is that it gets destroyed after one trip through O’Hare! That’s just what you want to see coming around the luggage carousel – “Hey, look, honey, it’s your employee of the year award all ripped up and stained”. Sign and symbols.

6. Fruit Baskets. First, most people don’t want to be healthy or we wouldn’t have the obesity problem we have in our society. Second, people like chocolate, candy, salty snacks, and diet soda. If you want to send food, send food they’ll actually eat!

7. A Parking Spot with Their Name On It. This goes bad two ways: 1. I drive a $100K Mercedes and you don’t, now you know I drive a better car than you and it’s awkward; 2. I drive a beater and I’m embarrassed to let everyone know I make so little I can even afford a 2014 Chevy Cobalt.

8. A Hug! Wait! I totally want a hug! Just not a creepy hug. You know what a creepy hug feels like when you’re about 13 seconds into it and the other person won’t let go! But nothing says “we recognize you” in the totally wrong way, like inappropriate hugs at work!

9. Anything Virtual! Get the hell out of here with your stupid virtual card and virtual balloons! Or a virtual Zoom high five. No one wants virtual recognition, they want some tangible and real.

What do employees want?

Well, that’s an entire post by itself, but my 20 years of HR ‘research’/experience shows people want their peers and leaders to appreciate their efforts. Nothing says ‘we truly care about you’ like having one of your peers tell you in some sort of way. When teams can do that, they become special! It might be a quick handwritten note, a face-to-face meeting in the hall, etc. It really doesn’t matter the avenue of how it comes, it just matters that you have the culture that it does come and it’s encouraged to keep coming.

The Future of Work, Is More WORK!

I’m sure you’ve read an article or listened to a podcast in recent weeks that had something to do with “the future of work”. It’s a hot topic to talk about, primarily because it’s all just a big fat guess and the best content is content where I just get to tell what I think will happen, but really have no idea for sure.

When I take a look at the HR technology landscape this week at The HR Technology Conference and see the tech that is hitting the market around work and performance, I think the future of work is actually just more work!

When I say ‘more’ work I really mean “More” work! Much of the technology that is being created and launched around HR Technology falls into a few buckets:

  1. How can we make workers more efficient at what they are currently doing?
  2. How can we monitor workers on what they are doing (tracking)?
  3. How can we leverage A.I. to do certain tasks workers are doing right now?

Don’t get me wrong, the technology doesn’t scare me in the least, I think it’s amazing, but the reality is much of it is designed to help us humans reach our full potential. If my couple of decades in HR has taught me anything it’s that very few of us humans want to reach our full potential!

Reaching your full potential means you are working really hard!

I have a great story about working in a union job the summer I first got out of high school. My Dad got me the job working in a grocery warehouse picking orders to be delivered to supermarkets. The warehouse just implemented a new software system that tracked the productivity of each worker.

Basically, I would be given an order and the system had estimated how long that order should take for me to complete. If the order was complex I got more time, it is was simply pulling a full pallet of one type of item, I might only get ten minutes or so to complete, some orders were estimated to take 75+ minutes to complete.

The union had negotiated that I only had to work 77% of the time. Yes, you read that correctly! If you added up all of my order minutes, in theory, to keep my job, I had to be 77% efficient. So, in an eight-hour shift of 480 minutes, once I reached my 369.6 minutes of work, I could actually just stop. In fact, I was encouraged very strongly by my union brothers to stop at the exact point!

Now the “new” computer system didn’t account for the extra effort. So, if I had an order that was supposed to take 60 minutes, but I worked really hard and completed it in 45 minutes, I just earned myself an extra 15 minutes. By the end of the summer, I was efficient enough in getting orders completed that I spent about three hours a shift playing cards with my union brothers in the back of the warehouse until my shift was done!

The new HR Technology that is in play right now, based on AI and machine learning, would have made these corrections individually within a few shifts, knowing I could do that work more efficiently than another person and soon my orders would have been adjusted. The technology would have ensured that my ‘extra’ effort turned into my normal effort.

We already know that my warehouse work will be replaced by robots, so my example is already dated. But what about that office job? Will a robot replace you? No, not right away, we are a ways off from that, but that same AI/Machine learning technology will track and measure everything you do and soon you will feel as busy as ever, because ‘down time’ is unproductive time and the tech can compute that!

The future of work is more work.

 

From Great to Crap is Mostly a Management Failure

Can we all agree that we hire someone our thoughts are that this new hire can only get better. We think this person will be great when we hire them, and we expect them to only get better. Is this true? Or do you feel when you make an offer to a new hire this person will be a piece of crap you’ll one day fire?

If this is the case, when an employee turns into garbage we must accept the fact this it is mostly our doing as leaders. Somewhere along the line, we failed this person. We hired potential to be great and we did not help this person reach their greatness.

Where do we fail as leaders when someone goes from Great to Crap? 

– We failed to truly assess this person before we hired them. We thought we were hiring great, but we didn’t do enough due diligence to truly understand this person’s skills and motivations.

– We failed to onboard this employee thoroughly to set them on a path for success. To prepare them for our culture and norms.

– We failed to train and develop this person in a way that would assist them on their path of success within our organization. To give them the skills needed to succeed in their role.

– We failed to define, accurately and clearly, what a ‘great’ performance looked like in our organization and in this role.

– We failed to lead them to a performance that would guarantee their success. We allowed their performance to slip into negative territory and not help pull them out of it.

As a leader, we fail our people constantly. Should we talk about how employees fail us? We could, that’s what we usually do. We find every excuse in the world to tell ourselves how a great person turned into a piece of crap when the common denominator was our leadership. It’s not us, it has to them.

They fooled us in the interview.

They lied about their past performance.

They embellished their skill sets and motivations.

They didn’t do the work necessary.

It’s them, it’s not us. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Well, anyway, I gave them the exact same thing I’ve given every hire before them.

Maybe they needed a bit more than all the hires. Maybe they needed something less, but different than the other hires. Maybe a one-size-fits-all training, development, performance doesn’t fit every size.

Okay, Yes, there is dual ownership over failed hires

That means, if someone has failed, under your leadership you must first look inward to what part you truly owned. What you didn’t do to help this person succeed. I’m depressed after every single termination I’ve done in my career because I know somewhere along the line, I failed as a leader. There was a point where I could have made a difference, and instead, I made an excuse.

I become a better selector of people and a better leader if I internalize each failed hire and try to better understand the part I played in this failure. Did I hire someone who had fewer weaknesses, but no real strengths? Did I believe that giving this person the “same” was good enough? Did I see this person start to fail and not address it immediately believing that a “great” leader would not micromanage and give this person freedom?

Great to crap isn’t a one-person journey. It takes a lot of failures and people to make a great person into a crappy hire. What role did you play in your last bad hire?