Retention & Succession Planning

Hiring on Experience, Firing for Behaviour

We hire for qualifications and experience and we fire for behaviour.

It’s extraordinary how often we ignore this maxim.

Think of your friends for example: how did they become friends?

  • Did you get buddy buddy with Fred because he has a BCom and 10 years of experience?
  • Do you go book clubbing with Thandi because she’s an advanced Excel user and a SixSigma Black Belt?

Probably not. You make friends on the basis that you get on with each other. This doesn’t mean you have to be personality, interest and character clones. Not at all. I have friends who are extroverted, noisy and drink too much (Ed – yes, we know who you are!). I also have friends who are thoughtful, reserved, patient and independent.

So why do we ignore this at work?

It makes sense for recruiters and people managers to sift through CVs for qualifications, experience and technical competencies. Then, after shortlisting, to have a deep and long look at behaviour and track record. If you hire, develop, promote and retain people who don’t fit their jobs and/or their teams from a behavioural point of view, you’re looking for staff turnover, frustrated teams and lower performance.

The good news, of course, is that we have the tools to measure behaviour in a simple and easy to understand format at R4,750 per person. How does that stack up against the costs of excessive turnover, dysfunctional teams, conflict and sub-optimal performance?

Let me know if you’d like to find out more. I work remotely via Zoom anywhere in the English speaking world. Just yesterday I worked in Johannesburg with a client in Cape Town on Zoom to define the performance and capability requirements for a new role in the business.

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10 Tips For Better One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings are an excellent way to keep abreast of issues affecting your team, share information among staff, and maintain employee engagement. The key factors to successful individual meetings are planning, interaction, and expectations. Below is a roundup of the best tips you can use to have a more successful feedback session with an employee.

tips to better one on one meetings

  1. Recognize Success. Recognizing employees and their achievements sends the message that you value the employee’s skills and do recognize when they succeed. Positive feedback lowers employee turnover by one-third. Additionally, it motivates staff to address deficiencies in other areas.
  2. Set An Agenda. Creating a framework for discussion keeps the meeting focused and efficient. Ask your employee for input on subjects and issues to include. Share your own ideas prior to the meeting and you both will be more prepared. When you’re more organized entering the meeting, it results in more useful conversation.
  3. Keep It Steady. One-on-one meetings are an opportunity to share and recognize successes as well as failures. By meeting on a regular basis, staff will not perceive these meetings as purely punitive when things are going wrong or fall prey to an inflated ego when things are going well. Instead, one-on-ones will cumulatively be viewed as collaborative meetings that check in on the state of progress, whether good or bad.
  4. Anticipate a Course of Action. With a knowledge of the content of the meeting, bring action items for ongoing work as well as plans for existing issues. Leave room to set parameters for success that will engage an employee to contribute and perform in positive directions.
  5. Establish Common Ground. Opening a meeting with a discussion about how a staff member feels about work sets a more personal tone for the meeting. Also, it is particularly helpful if you go first. Staff engagement begins with the personal; people feel things about their work and their environment that affect their performance. Keep the discussion work-focused rather than on personal matters outside of the office, but you can take a more informal tone at this point in the check-in.
  6. Review Objectives. Employee performance has an impact on three levels: the individual, the team, and the company. Helping the employee understand their role in performance objectives and the part they play for the company engages them and focuses on achievement. Reviewing current and new objectives that are necessary for success produces forward momentum on growth, both for the employee and the company.
  7. Acknowledge Challenges. Recognizing that tasks and objectives present difficulties motivates staff to overcome them. Mentoring staff for the growth of skills as well as achievement of goals increases engagement by reminding employees that their success is the company’s success and vice-versa.
  8. Maintain Accountability. Employees still have to perform, of course, and setting out timeframes remains an important component for goal-setting and achievement. Remain involved throughout the process, however, rather than wait until completing a task becomes a problem. Helping staff with course corrections before a failure occurs makes accountability more about caring than punishment.
  9. Sum It All Up. End meetings with a discussion and review of expectations for performance as well as for the next one-on-one meeting. Ensure that the employee understands the goals and timeframes. Make sure you leave room for questions and encourage the employee to bring up any last concerns or comments.
  10. Keep Momentum. Schedule your one-on-one meetings on a regular basis that maintains timely communication and leaves room for adjustments on work performance. Every business is different so you may need to adjust the schedule of your meetings accordingly.

Establishing a regular schedule, whether a daily stand-up or a monthly, longer sit-down, make one-on-one meetings part of the team process for success. They are no longer random or anxiety-producing events in the work routine, and can instead be used for the benefits of engagement and performance.

By keeping lines of communication open and establishing a framework for the communication to take place, you will improve employee morale and engagement. Additionally, these check-ins help employees value their own success, and they feel that they are a part of the greater goal of the company’s success.

Guest article submitted by Rae Steinbach

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.@araesininthesun

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