If you surveyed all business leaders, I believe most of them would say they want their employees to thrive and succeed. Aside from my optimistic view that most leaders want the best for their employees, there is also a practical side to employee achievement — successful employees equal successful businesses. Additionally, successful businesses create jobs, which means hiring more employees. It’s the occupational circle of life!
However, employee success doesn’t happen by accident. And not knowing how to help employees grow and develop — or not making it a priority — is where some companies stumble. Just like you have to plant flowers in good soil, ensure they get enough sun, and water them regularly, your employees need the right elements to help them grow, flourish, and reach their potential. If the thought of cultivating talent in your company feels daunting, here are 5 steps to help you get started.
Understanding your organization’s needs can help target your efforts in developing your personnel. What are your strategic goals and priorities, both for the short term and the long term, and what is your game plan for achieving those goals? What kinds of employee talent are required to accomplish these business plans? Once you have this mapped out, you can determine the resources you currently have and the gaps that need to be filled.
Now that you know where you’re going, you must figure out who is going to get you there. Some people will immediately spring to mind in terms of their skills, knowledge, and experience, but don’t overlook the employees with great potential.
To uncover those hidden gems in your organization, consider conducting performance evaluations more frequently than once a year. According to Demetria Miles-McDonald, founder and CEO of Decide Diversity, “[Annual performance reviews are] very misleading as to who's going above and beyond…If you're doing performance reviews on a more regular basis, like quarterly or even monthly, and it doesn't even have to be something that's super formal, then the chances of you identifying someone who is a high potential employee definitely increases.”
These performance evaluations can also illuminate the career paths your employees might be well suited for as well as the opportunities for upskilling that will enable them to progress. Additionally, professional development assessments can help steer your performance conversations to make them more productive. Understanding an employee’s intrinsic behavioral traits and motivators can add depth to your discussions and specificity to the employee’s development trajectory.
Sporadic or one-off training sessions aren’t usually effective at facilitating ongoing talent growth within your organization. Employees often forget what they’ve been taught soon after the session, especially if they don’t have ways of practicing and honing what they’ve learned. And sending personnel to an occasional webinar or class does not send the message to them that your business is truly committed to their growth. To achieve effective and sustained employee development, you must weave continuous learning and development into the fabric of your company culture.
LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky says, “I truly believe that your next top employee is most likely your current employee. And if you focus on skills and understand the skills of your existing workforce, and where you need to go as a company, there’s a huge opportunity to help your top talent find different roles inside of your company instead of learning and leaving.”
A great way to show leadership’s commitment to cultivating talent is through experiential learning — learning by doing. An example of this is delegating responsibilities and projects to personnel to give them opportunities to handle tasks that are new and different from their daily work. Rather than viewing it as simply getting work off a manager’s desk, delegation should involve discussing assignment parameters, clarifying expectations, being available for guidance, and providing feedback. While the tasks should not feel overwhelming, they should stretch employees and help personnel enhance their knowledge and capabilities.
Another example of experiential learning is what LinkedIn calls “tours of duty.” These are rotational assignments given to employees, which in turn, fosters the growth of new skills, experiences, and the chance to explore different career paths.
As employees become more comfortable and confident taking on new assignments and responsibilities, it’s valuable to give them the chance to take calculated risks, try new methodologies, and even make some mistakes without feeling they will be penalized. While it’s important to establish the boundaries employees should work within from the start, offering reasonable autonomy can further develop their independent decision-making skills.
Coaching and mentoring employees is an essential component to cultivating your workforce’s talent. Providing personnel with opportunities to take on new responsibilities or assignments won’t get your staff (or your business) far if there is no one to offer meaningful feedback, provide necessary guidance, and give encouragement. An effective coaching and mentoring relationship is a partnership in which the coach or mentor is invested in the employee’s growth and success and the employee benefits from the coach/mentor’s experience and insight. It facilitates two-way communication: the employee freely discusses their aspirations and the setbacks they’ve encountered, and the coach or mentor guides the employee in working through challenges and celebrates their successes with them.
If you want to cultivate talent in your business, Omnia is here to help! Our independently validated behavioral assessment can give your business data-based insights on what drives, motivates, and challenges your staff. And understanding your employees is the key to unlocking their potential. Contact us to get started!
If you are one of the millions of March Madness viewers, you’ve seen the coaches on the sidelines – suit coats and ties flapping, shouting their heads off, sweating and clapping. You might have thought, wow, that job looks stressful! It’s easy to forget that what we see broadcast is the tiniest little part of coaching. It comes after countless hours of working with the players. It’s when the coaches have to let go and see if all their work paid off.
If you’re a manager, you get this. Sure, people are probably not placing bets on how well you and your team are going to do (I hope!), but the pressure is there just the same. You may feel like doing some clapping, flapping, sweating, and shouting yourself. And when you step back and let your staff perform, you might feel like you’re in the spotlight, too. And yes, that can be stressful! Remember, like those NCAA head coaches, you are not alone. They have a cadre of coaching staff, and you have The Omnia Group!
Coaching is more than training. A person who has been trained to play basketball knows the rules of the game and some of the skills, but they are probably not ready to jump into a Division 1 game. They need to know how to perform individually, how to work with their teammates, how to perform against certain teams, and how to adjust based on changing circumstances in the game. A great coach will prepare them for that, taking a different approach with each player, with the understanding that personalities and skill sets are not all equal.
To know how best to coach your performers, you must know who they are – their strengths and weaknesses and their preferences. A behavioral assessment, like the Omnia Assessment, is an excellent tool to help you understand an employee’s coaching needs. When you know, for example, a person’s communication style, you can adapt the way you approach them. Someone outgoing and expressive likes to brainstorm, talk problems through, and learn in a socially interactive way. Someone more reserved likes to explore information on their own first and learn as much as they can via playbooks or online training before trying to put things into practice. Are they ready to dive right in, or do they want to approach a skill more cautiously? Do they need unexpected variety in their coaching, or do they learn best when they know exactly what to expect? Knowing all these things can keep you from wasting valuable energy on a method that isn’t quite doing the job.
Even the most solitary of jobs involves some interplay with other members of the company. When coaching, you need to consider how well the team members work together. Do one person’s strengths complement another’s? Is one inclined to take on too much and another inclined to take on too little? If so, adjustments will be needed to ensure the work is equitable, everyone is pulling their weight, and mistakes aren’t being made because someone is overextended.
A good coach understands that different levels of preparation are needed depending on the situation. If the workload changes dramatically depending on the season or the date, you need to prepare your team to pace themselves and manage their efforts accordingly. If some work requires assertiveness or more readiness to smooth things over, you need to prepare your employee to identify that and respond.
At Omnia, we’re all about coaching. We have tools specifically designed to give you, the manager/employer, insight into how to coach your people to perform at the top of their games.
Have more questions or want to dig deeper? Reach out to your Customer Success Manager. They are always ready to stand on the sidelines, shouting and clapping, with you!
When you hire someone, you want to be sure that they'll do well in their new role. You invest too much time and money to end up with someone who can’t fulfill their responsibilities. But you can’t rely on first impressions or feelings of rapport to identify A-players. Instead, you should use several data points to support your hiring decisions. That’s where cognitive reports and behavioral assessments come in. We’ll share why and how you should use them in tandem when you evaluate candidates.
Before we go any further, let’s define cognitive ability. Cognitive ability is what your brain is capable of doing. It’s the taking in, organizing, processing, and applying of information. You see it in action when you:
While this ability gets partially determined by genetics and can be influenced by outside circumstances, like injury or illness, it can be developed and refined over time. You can improve your cognitive functioning by practicing self-care, reducing stress, and doing activities that exercise your brain, like reading or completing puzzles.
Cognitive ability plays a significant role in determining whether someone will succeed or fail in their position. If the capacity is there, the employee can complete their work effectively and make valuable contributions to the company. It’s also an indication of the candidate’s ability to learn, adapt, and grow. But, if the cognitive ability isn’t high, they may struggle, feel overwhelmed, and likely will not be as productive nor pick up new concepts quickly.
The good news? You can prevent that unfortunate scenario by incorporating a cognitive assessment into your hiring and promotions process for necessary roles.
A cognitive report will tell you if a potential candidate has the cognitive ability to fulfill the responsibilities of a given position. The report should describe their capacity to:
Once you have the assessment results, you can decide if the candidate can handle the position as advertised.
Behavioral assessments also take a deep dive into each candidate’s brain. But, instead of illustrating their aptitude, they reveal their tendencies, preferences, traits, and motivations. The assessment should answer whether a candidate:
With the results in hand, you can determine if their personality would be an asset or a hindrance to them in the target role.
You understandably want to make your hiring process as simple (and cost-conscious) as possible, so including multiple assessments might seem counter-intuitive. But, we invite you to think a little longer-term. Matching the right candidate with the right position will have major benefits, including reducing costs related to turnover, hiring, and unmotivated staff.
Putting the insight from these assessments together gives you a complete picture of the potential team member. You’ll know what their brain is capable of — and how they tend to work. That knowledge can help you make the right hiring decision the first time and manage the new hire effectively once they’re on board, saving you untold dollars, hours, and aggravation.
While you may be convinced that you should give these assessments to job candidates, you likely have no idea where to start. That’s where we come in. We’ve developed a cognitive assessment and a behavioral assessment that are proven to provide the information you need to make wise hiring and management decisions.
Our assessments are simple, and candidates can complete both of them in less than 30 minutes. You’ll receive instant results, so you don’t have to delay your hiring process. If you’d like additional insights, our analysts are available to provide verbal consultations as well.
Want to learn more? Contact us today!
Your hiring process is the gatekeeper for your organization. It lets in top talent and blocks out less-than-ideal candidates. But, you must have the right components in place for it to work properly. Scientific and objective measures like cognitive and behavioral assessments can strengthen your hiring process so that only the best-suited professionals make it into your organization.
Have an article-specific question or want to continue the conversation? Now you can! Contact the author directly through the short form below and Tonya DeVane will respond to your query. If you have a more general question please use our chat function, call 800.525.7117, or visit our contact us page and we'll have a subject matter expert answer your questions.
Welcome to Camp Omnia. This month we’re embarking on a learning journey to help improve yourself and your team. You know, just like summer camp ought to be.
While there aren’t any ropes courses, trust circles, s’mores, or singing Kumbaya, (though we fully support the team efforts), we have packed this camp with valuable information that will stay with you long after the fireflies have dimmed, and the summer heat fades into a crisp fall.
What’s summer camp without badges? Each week of Camp Omnia is devoted to a specific topic affecting performance in all industries. Bonus, you can earn merit badges with each week’s topic. You’ll receive a bonus merit badge by participating in our Camp Omnia: Ask the Experts webinar!
Week 1 – June 7, 2021: Earn your Retention Merit Badge
Week 2 - June 14, 2021: Earn your Selection Merit Badge
Week 3 - June 21, 2021: Earn your Team Dynamics/Conflict Resolution Merit Badge
Week 4 - June 28, 2021: Earn your Self-Awareness Merit Badge
Interactive Webinar June 15, 2021: Camp Omnia: Ask the Experts
Our presenters, aka Omnia Camp Counselors, work closely every day with clients in various industries, including financial, insurance, manufacturing, staffing, and many others. We wanted to present a fun, engaging series to help spread the knowledge.
Our experts have over 80 years of combined experience in employee selection and development. They also have diverse backgrounds, from being small business owners to leading large corporations. If you have a “people problem” chances are they’ve seen it.
Keather Snyder, Chief Revenue Officer, is a leader in helping organizations improve and optimize their talent selection, development, and company culture. For over 25 years she’s sold and built global sales teams, created innovative marketing strategies, and led exceptional client delivery and professional services organizations.
Wendy Sheaffer, Chief Product Officer, has over 20 years of experience helping companies hire the right person the first time, manage more effectively, and build high-performance teams using everyday tools and behavioral concepts.
Tonya Devane, Senior Client Advisor, has over 20 years of experience with hiring and developing an A-team. Her specialties include coaching and consulting in leading, engaging, and retaining teams in various industries, including insurance, financial services, staffing, and healthcare.
Join us June 15, 2021, and ask whatever is on your mind. We’ll focus on selection, retention, team dynamics, and the importance of self-awareness, but we’re open to all topics. As always, you can contact our experts directly by calling 800-525-7117.
So, let’s get to it and kick off our summer camp series with the curiosity and enthusiasm we’ve been building up all year. We’ll skip the trust falls and go straight to the good stuff.
Continuing our series on performance management, we turn our spotlight to The Advisor. Like the Analytic (and all other personality groups), Advisors have specific behavioral traits and preferences that are the most comfortable for them. While they can show any behavior necessary to do a job for a short time, the core traits of the Advisor personality group require the least stretch. This is where the similarities between the Analytic and the Advisor end. In almost every other way, these two personality groups are polar opposites.
The Advisor has tall Omnia columns 2, 3, 6 and 7. Translated into English, this means members of this group tend to be risk avoidant, outgoing, systematic and autonomous. They love to be around people, and they can almost always make time to interact with coworkers, customers, management, vendors and most people they see. As extroverts, they get their energy from these interactions, and they want to help pretty much everyone they meet, which is where the title Advisor comes from. This personality type solves problems by talking things through, thinking outside the box and using creativity. They are more focused on the big picture than details. They make excellent coaches, trainers, counselors and, you guessed it, advisors.
Advisors are one of the few groups with some built-in conflict among their own columns. Unless addressed through specific training and management techniques, this conflict can create some interference regarding their own contentment in a role as well as posing some performance challenges.
Conflict: Advisors are people pleasers (column 2) who want freedom (column 7). Advisors don’t like to make waves, but they can bristle at having their every move orchestrated. What happens when a manager gives them specific, step-by-step instructions to follow? Advisors could feel contradicting needs to be trusted to innovate and to avoid a confrontation. Depending on whether the need to please or the need for autonomy is stronger, this problem could play out in a couple of ways.
Possibility 1. The Advisor does things as told, feels stifled and unhappy, and eventually becomes disengaged.
Possibility 2. The Advisor says she will do things as told, but then does what she wants and hopes it’s not that big of a deal in the long run. This person’s mantra may be “Ask forgiveness not permission.”
Another potential challenge area involves the combination of persistence (column 6) and independence (column 7). Once Advisors figure out how they’re going to do something, they can and will do it just that way forever. People with a combo of columns 6 and 7 are dogged in their attachment to their systems and routines. You could even call them stubborn. They need time. Time to plan and prepare and time to get used to new ideas. But they also need to understand when pivoting to new processes is nonnegotiable.
Now for the good news: These conflicts are manageable using the following steps, and they are worth managing, because with a contented Advisor who uses effective routines, you are likely to have a loyal, empathetic, diligent employee who can patiently develop beneficial relationships for your company and put customers, coworkers and outside contacts at ease.
The best training for Advisors is informal and interactive with a schedule they can review in advance. When possible, make sure there is extra time in each training segment in case it runs long due to expanded discussions of topics. Advisors are comfortable shadowing people so they can see duties in action and ask questions.
During training, make any critical procedures clear and reiterate the need to follow them. But consider allowing opportunities for innovation and creativity. For example: the format of a client call may be set in stone but the way the Advisor delivers the information has some wiggle room.
Highlight standards for accuracy, compliance and timeliness during training, and make sure the Advisor knows he will be accountable for meeting those standards.
Above all, Advisors need people contact. Make sure whatever position they are undertaking has some regular and appropriate interactive elements to it. If the work itself tends to be solitary and isolating, consider offering the Advisor a chance to take part in meetings, group projects, networking events or phone calls. Being able to factor in “people breaks” during the day will help with overall motivation.
Meet with them to devise plans for limiting distractions and mitigating errors in their results. Working in solitude and focusing on details are not strengths for Advisors but solving problems creatively and building work systems are. By collaborating on quality assurance strategies, you can engage them in planning for their own successes.
Whenever possible, ease them into changes. If you need them to do things differently, provide advance warning and regular reminders of an upcoming change. Offer reassurance, since change can be upsetting, and encourage them to verbalize concerns as well as a plan for incorporating the new process or responsibility.
Check in periodically to make sure everything is being done as expected. Compliment efforts and successes publicly and frequently. Advisors are motivated by praise and like knowing they are appreciated and helping the team.
Personality data is a great way to facilitate performance discussions. Here are some general tips for management to consider when reviewing the performance of an Advisor: Set performance reviews at regular, predictable intervals. Seeing a performance review on the calendar helps the Advisor plan and prepare and offers a reminder to be as conscientious as possible. If you need the Advisor to do something differently, be highly specific about what and how; make sure there is no room for misinterpretation. Also outline the consequences of not following through. Set follow up meetings to verify improvements are being made, and make sure consequences are carried out if necessary. But praise improvements whenever you see them.
To thrive in an increasingly competitive market, your company needs every employee to contribute and carry out their responsibilities. When that doesn’t happen, it’s up to leadership to help that team member get back on track. Today’s blog explores performance improvement and why it’s vital to both employee and organizational success.
Before we put performance improvement under the microscope, let’s give the term a working definition. For the sake of simplicity, performance improvement is the act of addressing an employee performance problem. Problems can range from being chronically late to breaking company rules to turning in shoddy work.
There are many reasons why a team member may be struggling to perform at work. Some of the more common explanations include:
To be effective, any performance improvement measure should uncover and account for the reason behind the problem. Let’s take a closer look at why performance improvement matters to both the employee and your organization.
You need to take quick action when one of your employees is struggling or falling short of your expectations. If you let the problem drag out, it might send the signal to that worker (and others!) that the performance or behavior is acceptable. Before you know it, you could have a whole department of slackers (or disengaged workers) on your hands. The negative impact on productivity could cost the firm an incalculable amount of money and cause the organization to fall behind in the market.
Plus, allowing a performance issue to fester is doing the employee a disservice. While there are exceptions, most professionals want to do well in their roles. They want their leaders to help them improve so that they can be successful in their careers. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to guide them.
Performance improvement is usually a process. For relatively minor infractions like tardiness, you’ll probably want to follow progressive steps like:
For serious issues, such as workplace violence, it’s appropriate to skip straight to ending the employee’s employment. Make sure to obtain the exact performance management policy from your company’s HR department before taking any action.
Since it’s the most labor-intensive and longest-term step in the performance improvement process, let’s discuss how to create an effective performance improvement plan.
An effective performance improvement plan is an official document that clearly spells out:
To make sure the employee has the greatest chance of success, be sure to review the plan with them carefully. Ask them for their questions and concerns and consider them. Most importantly, as their manager, uphold your end of the bargain. Do what’s promised in the document to support their efforts.
While a performance improvement plan can help your employee correct an issue, the annual review process likely doesn’t help them perform better. In fact, according to Workhuman®, 55% of workers surveyed shared that their yearly review doesn’t help them achieve more in their roles. That’s because the appraisal lacks context. Neither the manager nor the employee can accurately remember something that happened months ago. Any possible teachable moments are long forgotten.
Many employers seem to realize the ineffectiveness of delivering employee feedback through an annual review. Based on the same survey, the number of firms conducting this type of appraisal has dropped significantly over the last several years. In 2016, 82% of employees said that their company completed a yearly review. In 2019, that figure was just 54%.
Your company may still require these annual appraisals. But, you can do more. Meet with your team members often. Give them positive feedback and constructive criticism whenever it’s warranted. Let them know that you’re available for support. You’ll be able to nip performance problems in the bud quickly. Plus, your team will respect and trust you, leading to greater morale, engagement, and retention.
To make the most out of any performance improvement conversation you have, keep these tips in mind:
Remember: Up until the point of termination, a performance improvement meeting should involve a two-way dialogue. The goal is to maintain a mutually beneficial employment relationship whenever possible.
Employee performance problems are often caused by low motivation, ineffective supervision, or worker-role mismatch. The great news is that these situations are entirely preventable. You just need to know each team member’s strengths, preferences, and innate traits.
But, how can you obtain this information pre-hire or in a timely manner? That’s where Omnia comes in. Our sophisticated and robust behavioral assessment is easy to administer and unlocks deep employee insight. With one simple test, you’ll learn what each of your team members (or potential team members) are good at, how they like to be recognized, what motivates them, and more. That way, you can lead them accordingly and reduce the chance of encountering performance concerns.
Your company’s performance improvement program plays a crucial role in your firm’s success - and your employee’s success. Designed and implemented well, it will help struggling employees meet and exceed company standards. Your organization will run well, and your workers’ career prospects will broaden.
Contact us today to take your performance program to the next level!