Interviews: Why Do You Interview?

Interviewing candidates is an essential component of the hiring process. If executed well, it helps you to determine if the candidate fits well into your organisation, whether their experience, skills, and personality match the job description and so forth.

An interview is a meeting between an employer/HR profession and a candidate face to face, telephonically or virtually. It occurs in the form of an in-depth conversation where the two exchange information to determine whether they both meet each other’s requirements.

Goal Of The Interview

It is important to ensure that you’re well informed and equipped with the most effective methods to conduct interviews. The goal of the interview is not just about skills and qualifications; but also about a number of well-rounded factors such as:

  • To be able to predict or estimate what the candidate will do in a given set of circumstances.
  • To identify the skills and attributes the candidate brings to the job.
  • To see and assess how well they will fit into the organisation, in addition to  their personality traits, etc.

There is more that goes into an interview than actually sitting down with the candidate and having a conversation. You need to understand that candidates either meet with you after their normal work hours or have to lie to attend interviews – this is the norm.  

A great employee doesn’t just fill a slot on the organisation’s chart. A great employee solves at least one critical business need. So while credentials, qualifications, and experience are important, thus as an HR professional, never forget you’re not hiring for a position; you’re hiring for a result.

 

Candidates Are Also Interviewing You

Always remember that the interview is not only about candidates. Candidates are also interviewing you; hence effective interview methods are of the essence as they enable candidates to determine whether their skills will be put to good use and if the company culture is conducive for their career prospects and overall employment needs.

It is mandatory for you to prepare tremendously, from the interview technique to use, to drafting comprehensive structured questions, doing thorough research on the candidate before the interview commences. Avoid ineffective interviews in the form of common mistakes such as:

  • Interview being canceled on the day which leads to Brand damage.
  • How you show up to the interview. Are you engaging and listening?
  • Scrambling for candidate’s CV and information as you have not adequately prepared for the interview etc.

Final Thoughts On Why You Interview

Preparation is key. You should have a clear objective of how and why your company handles the interview process, and once you have identified a comprehensive structure, execute accordingly. Thorough preparation will help you get the best out of the interview.

 

That said, what is your organisation’s objective when doing interviews? We would like to hear from you.

Why Don’t Companies Get Succession Planning Right?

Succession planning is a key aspect of human resource management, and when done effectively; it enables your organisation to identify, develop and retain talent, which in turn prevents business interruption.

Succession planning is a process that ensures that you have adequate skills being developed within the organisation to move into more senior roles in your organisation. It is done to identify and develop new leaders and prepares employees to be well-equipped with the necessary skills and competencies so that when senior positions become available in the organisation, they’re able to meet the job description requirements.

 

Why Companies Don’t Get Succession Planning Right

There comes a time when positions become vacant within a company as a result of promotions, resignation, retirement, etc. However, as unavoidable as this may be; a lot of companies still don’t get succession planning right. This could be attributed to a number of factors which we explore below.

Lack Of A Tangible Succession Plan

If you want to get the best of something, a tangible plan is a perfect start. It informs how to tackle the how what and why. Your plan is very important in determining what you intend to achieve. An effective plan requires extensive research to guide you on how to go about, and what process to use. The plan must be aligned with the roles that you will need to fill.

To avoid disruption in your business and your company’s overall productivity, ensure that you have a comprehensive succession plan in place to help fill vacant positions with ease. For example, you can start by researching how other companies in the market are doing it, and then customize accordingly based on what works for you. Speak to experts in this field etc.   

Lack Of An Integrated Systematic Approach

Lack of an integrated systematic approach within your organisation affects how you handle succession planning because you cannot track where you need to focus or not. Developing an integrated systematic approach enables you to check your plan’s progress.

Failure To Identify Potential Talent

Lack of a tangible plan affects the process to identify potential talent within your organisation because you failed to plan properly thus a ripple effect on other processes. Identify talent with leadership potential then look at critical roles to match them with. Your succession plan should be targeted at leveraging these two aspects.

Failure To Commit To A Succession Plan

Having a succession plan is one aspect but adhering to it is where most companies fail to get it right. You may have an impeccably detailed plan on paper and still fail to get succession management right; because you are not executing it effectively. In order to ensure that your execution is aligned with the plan, commit to regular reviews of your succession plan, update it should any changes occur and communicate it to relevant stakeholders. You can also reinforce it through other avenues such as  performance management, training and development.

 

Final Thoughts On Succession Planning

To avoid business interruptions within your organisation during a critical time, you need to start preparing today by incorporating succession planning into your human resource strategy. Schedule regular follow-ups, keep reviewing your plan and make it work for you.  

 

How is your company managing succession planning? We would be glad to hear your insights in the comment section.

How To Manage Non-Performers

Performance is undoubtedly a critical factor in the workplace for all employees irrespective of their job level or position in the company. How performance is managed affects productivity and business growth; and the success of your business depends on the performance of your employees.  As a manager, performance management forms a huge part of your job; however, managing non-performers can be a challenge, especially when their under-performance persists.

 

Non-performers are employees whose performance is lacking. It can be traced through their behaviour and performance history in the organisation.

In today’s competitive business market, you cannot be reluctant on non-performing employees as this could have severe consequences on your business and even normalise under-performance in your company.

What You Need To Ask About Non-Performers Within Your Organisation

The age-old issue of non-performers needs to be looked at differently. The reality is that a person’s CV becomes outdated within 3 months of them joining your organisation – so you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know enough about your current staff?
  2. For those that have been with the organisation – are they now feeling “stuck”’ within the same role that they have performed for year upon year?
  3. Are you doing enough to keep staff engaged?
  4. When last did you run a company engagement survey?

 

Underlying Reasons Why Employees Underperform

There are many reasons for non-performance, and more often than not, people are underperforming because they feel the lack of reward and recognition for what they are doing. It could also be that they do not understand the bigger strategic picture of the organisation so they feel disconnected from its core.

 

If you believe you have real non-performers, ask the questions above to be able to address them effectively. Perhaps start by asking your staff if they feel connected.  Do they have a voice? Are they on the same ’’boat’’ regarding the strategic intent of the company – what do they want?

How To Handle Non-Performers

Once you have identified the cause of your employees’ non-performance, apply measures to deal with the problem. Here are some techniques you can use to handle non-performers.   

 

  • Assess employee’s performance behaviour, identify areas that need improvement and provide training accordingly.
  • Communication and feedback on where they need to improve are vital. Refrain from generic feedback, customize the solution to solve the problem – be clear and specific.
  • Sometimes a non-performer needs to be mentored or coached or upskilled. Have a conversation with them – don’t avoid it.  By engaging first – you may be able to turn a non-performer into a top performing staff member.
  • Keep tracking their performance. When poor performance is not addressed for a long period, it can turn into a major issue so regular tracking helps you to look out for areas that need improvement and you can address them sooner than later.

 

Final Thoughts On How To Manage Non-Performers

 

It is key to have a regular transparent feedback system and stay eagle-eyed at all times. You should not wait for the scheduled company performance reviews as the issue might require urgent attention, and failure to do deal with it efficiently may affect your business. Having regular checks and addressing them immediately will help you understand, and look at managing non-performers not as a challenge but as an opportunity to coach, mentor and develop your employees.

 

What mechanisms are you using to manage non-performing employees within your organisation? Share with us in the comment section.

Comprehensive Ways To Ensure Effective Training And Development

Training and development are fundamental for both your employees and organisation as they impact performance and growth. It is one of the most effective and practical ways of investing in your employees; and if done correctly, it leads to employee empowerment, employee engagement, and high employee retention to name a few.

Training refers to the process designed to acquire knowledge, enhance skills and improve performance. It can be done in numerous ways such as the traditional classroom style or in a more experimental form and virtually.

Development is described by Allen Comm as more expansive and focuses on employee growth and future performance, rather than an immediate job role.

It is crucial for your training and development to have context, and be aligned with where your employees are lacking, or where they need to upgrade their skill set. It should either address a performance gap or expand their knowledge and better their skills.

 

Effective Skills Training & Development Methods

To improve effectiveness in your employees and your organization, always remember that how you execute training and development matters.  Let us take a look at training and development methods to learn how to use them effectively.

Experimentational Learning

Experimenting as a form of learning allows for mistakes and improvement without affecting performance.  For example, if you are a technology company, experimenting, and testing products before they’re released into the job market is an experimental learning exercise, and can be used to better understand how your product works, whether it’s user-centric or not and how to improve it.

A research report about millennials in the workplace by ROAM Jobs consisting of BrighterMonday (East Africa) and Jobberman (West Africa) portals, found that most millennials prefer experimentational learning as a medium of training.

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a medium that involves more than one individual in the process of acquiring knowledge. It is effective as it enables your employees to be more engaged and interactive as they share ideas and maximise on each other’s skills.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a process where employees with more experience and knowledge share their expertise and guidance with less experienced employees in the form of structured advice. It involves advising, guiding, supporting and teaching. An effective mentoring program is invaluable as it allows employees to share knowledge and skills which helps foster career growth. For example, you can use mentorship programs within your organization where you pair experienced employees with junior staff on a continuous basis like monthly or bi-monthly.

 

Coaching

Employee coaching is a scheduled process that comprises of on-going sessions with a focus on your employees’ strengths and performance. Coaching plays a pivotal role in maximizing employee potential because it empowers them to be the best performers they can be through transparent feedback mechanisms that inform employees’ of their contribution to the company. This in turn helps to inspire and motivate them to acquire knowledge, polish their skills and improve their performance.

Final Thoughts On Effective Training & Development

Training and development should not be a mere buzz phrase in your organization but an on-going process hence how you execute it is crucial. A comprehensive skills development plan as part of your strategy is imperative in ensuring that effective methods are used to empower your employees with new knowledge, skills, and overall development.

 

What effective ways is your organisation using to manage training and development? Tell us in the comment section below.

 

 

 

Employee Development: Are You Investing In Your Staff?

Employees are your most valuable resource, and investing in your talent is crucial for sustainable business growth and success. Without your talent, even the most sought after modern technology would not function. This is why it is essential to invest in them.  Your employees’ contribution reflects on the failure or success of your organisation.

Employee development is a process that enables employees to acquire knowledge and enhance their skills.  It can be conducted in the form of online courses, feedback sessions, fellowships, mentoring and coaching, workshops among others. Employee development builds employee morale, potential and drives performance.

In order for employee development to work effectively, it needs to be a continuous process within your organisation, and generally part of your company culture.  

Your Staff Are Your Biggest Asset

On any given day, your staff remains your biggest asset. In order to grow your staff’s capabilities and skills, you need to invest in them.

One CFO once asked the CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us? The CEO responded: “what happens if we don’t and they stay?’’

Your biggest monthly expense in any company is the cost of staff. If you owned an asset, equal to the salary bill monthly – you would most certainly keep that asset painted, serviced, etc – yet why is the development of staff seen differently? The answer most HR professionals give is,  “we are not sure what to spend our money on – we also need to see a return on the investment we put into our staff’’ – and this is the conundrum most employers face when they talk about developing our staff.

 

What You Need To Understand

  • You first need to understand what needs to be developed. Holding one-on-one meetings or surveys to understand where your employees are lacking is a great start as opposed to waiting for performance reviews.   
  • Do you actually have a clear view of this? Once you receive feedback from your employees, identify and prioritise what needs to be addressed.
  • Do you actually know the impact it would have on your business if your employees’ skills are lacking? Understanding the impact allows you to draw up a tailor-made plan to address the problem.

Understanding and unpacking these elements gives you an overview of what you need to look at first.

Final Thoughts On Employee Development

Employee development is a continuous process. Think of it as a lifestyle or culture within your organisation; this is why you should create a development-friendly environment that encourages your staff to continue developing their skills.

 

What are you doing to invest in your employees’ development? We would like to hear from you.  

Growth Culture vs Performance-Obsessed Culture: Which One Is Ideal?

Recently on our reading desk, we found an informative piece of work by the Harvard Business Review about growth culture vs performance-obsessed culture; proposing that it is essential to create a growth culture, not a performance-obsessed one – and we couldn’t agree more.

Growth Leadership Network describes growth culture as one where each interaction and every moment is seen as an opportunity for presence, learning, contribution and excellence.

Performance-obsessed culture focuses on high performance, business goals, ratings and results. It is all about the outcome and less attention to the process of how people get to perform.

However, a serious issue that continues to plague the workplace is the obsession with performance and this often subdues your growth culture. You need your employees to perform but what measures have you put in place to ensure that they grow as expected? Let us take a look at growth culture vs performance-obsessed to learn which may be ideal for your organisation.

 

Why Performance Culture May Not Be Ideal

Creating a performance-obsessed culture may not be the best option as it is neither healthy nor sustainable.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a true growth culture focuses on deeper issues connected to how people feel, and how they behave as a result. HBR further adds that such an environment allows people to build their capacity to see through blind spots; acknowledge insecurities and shortcomings rather than unconsciously acting them out; and spend less energy defending their personal value so they have more energy available to create external value.

For any culture to thrive, there ought to be underlying factors that enable it to materialize effectively. The same goes for growth culture. HBR identifies four components of growth culture and emphasizes that building a growth culture requires a blend of individual and organizational components such as:

  • An environment that feels safe,  where leaders take responsibility for their shortcomings.
  • Dedicated focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency.
  • Time-limited manageable experiments with new behaviors.
  • Continuous feedback across the organization through shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

What Culture Should Your Organisation Focus On?

You should strive to have a growth-oriented culture as the foundation of your organisation.

A well developed growth culture fosters a conducive environment that allows every employee regardless of their job level to flourish, which in turn drives performance.  Growth and performance should not be mutually exclusive. They work simultaneously when well-balanced.

How is your organization managing growth culture?

Is Your Management Performing?

The term management, according to Management Study HQ, is defined as a set of principles relating to the functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling, and the application of these principles in harnessing physical, financial, human and informational resources efficiently and effectively to achieve organizational goals.  

 

Management plays a significant role in your organization’s overall well-being, that’s why it should be handled with caution to avoid inefficiency. As management, one of your most important roles is to offer feedback, guidance, and support to your employees. Ineffective management leads to less productivity and low employee retention among other implications.

 

There are a number of factors that could result in your management style having  a negative impact on your employees and the organization as a whole. These factors are, but not limited to: using the same approach on all your team instead of focusing on a customized individual approach, or  lacking listening skills, lack of transparency or that you’re a poor communicator and inconsistent.

 

Effective Management Is An Art

Years of research have indicated that for the most part, people leave managers, not companies.

Effective management is an art – and in many cases, needs to be developed. BUT, what if you already have management in place, and are at a loss as to how to improve your layers of management within your organisation?

 

How To Avoid Poor Performance From Your Management

If you are struggling with identifying why your management is not performing, at TATC, we look at the critical areas of management and uncover what is missing – to enable you, to clearly articulate the areas of development required. The areas we look at are as follows:

  1. At the management level, are you able to deliver work against a tight deadline through your team?
  2. Are you working to improve the quality of your team’s output?
  3. Are you able to motivate your team effectively?
  4. Can you set a clear direction for your team?
  5. Are you staying customer focused?
  6. Are you able to work with other cross functions in order to achieve company strategy?
  7. Are you able to inspire your team in order to generate relevant innovations that you can support and implement?

 

Final Thoughts On Management

As mentioned above, effective management is an art that needs to be developed; just like performance reviews for non-management employees, the same should apply to management.

A thorough management development framework should be part of your company’s strategy.  It is pivotal to consistently and regularly keep developing and assessing your management staff, as their influence impacts their subordinates and the entire organization’s performance and success.

How has your experience in ensuring high performance among your team been so far? We would like to hear from you.

Why Do Your Team Leads Fail?

Team leads are individuals within the team, entrusted with driving team performance while guiding and motivating their teammates to meet shared goals. These individuals echo the team’s tone to management and also they act as a bridge between the team and higher level management.   

The role of team leads is to guide and motivate team members to perform while you, the manager focus on developing important ways to move the business forward; but not all team leads fulfill this responsibility.

Team leads are your first level of management, and the transition is often difficult, from that of an individual team member to manager – and the essence of management which is probably the hardest job, is where your team leads most times actually fail.

Not Everyone Is A Manager

Management is a very complex process and not anyone can be a manager. For example, your sales rep may be good at all things selling and still fail to lead the team when assigned a managerial role.

Understanding that not everybody is supposed to be in management is key. There are technical specialists, who are exactly that, specialists in their own field, and do not want the burden of the management of others. Your team lead may be immensely experienced and exceptionally good at their individual tasks and yet lacks management skills to guide others.

How To Avoid Your Team Leads Failing

If you are struggling with identifying why your team leads fail, the first step is to clearly, from the outset, understand who has the potential to be a team lead. These aspects can be identified through TATC’s assessment process.  Once you can identify the potential for management, TATC can comprehensively unpack the developmental areas required before the individual takes on the role of the team lead.

With regards to the development of your team leads, particularly staff that is already sitting in the team lead role, TATC also offers tailor-made solutions targeted at specific areas that need to be developed as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.

Final Thoughts On Team Leads

It is important to understand that as a manager, you can not do everything yourself. Hence, this is why it is important for you to delegate using team leads.

However, ensure you delegate tasks diligently based on not only skills and experience, but also leadership and managerial capabilities. Ensure that the individual you select as team leader has what it takes to accomplish their tasks and manage others simultaneously.  

 

Do You Know Why Your Sales Team Is Not Performing?

Sales is the backbone of a company. Businesses depend on their sales team for growth, survival and sustainability. The sales environment is highly competitive; your team may have some exceptionally qualified sales professionals but still fail to perform because the deciding factor remains behavioural since qualifications do not determine that they can sell. What distinguishes your top sales professionals who stand out from those who don’t is their behaviour.  Managing your sales team’s behaviour effectively is fundamental – it helps you to understand the types of salespeople on your team. A consistent structured behavioural management culture that focuses on improving performance, is a great starting point to get the most out of your team.

According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), there are five different types of salespeople namely: Relationship Builders, Hard Workers, Lone Wolves, Reactive Problem Solvers and Challengers. HBR’s research further found that Challengers absolutely dominate as selling gets more complex and, 54% of all star reps in a solution-selling environment are Challengers. Do you know what type of salespeople you have?

 

Focus On Results Than Sales Behaviour

The main reason why your sales team is not performing is because of the common mistake of prioritising results over sales behaviour.  When managing sales, sales managers tend to focus on results and forget about behaviours that influence sales. Technology has presented effective systems such as CRM, and through seamless use, you’re able to observe sales behaviour and measure in real time – that way you know what to address by carefully identifying and focusing on the necessary results you want to monitor, and then determine what behaviours will push those results.   

Overall, it is imperative to constantly lookout for obstacles affecting your sales team’s performance by leveraging comprehensive and consistent behavioural management strategies to improve team performance and attaining both personal and organisational goals. Your behavioural management should also focus on producing sales professionals who are Challengers because as per research, they outperform all the other types.

 

Need Help With You Sales Team’s Performance?

Research available to us at TATC allows us to identify the gaps within your sales teams, providing you insights into developing the skills that Harvard Business Review have identified to take your sales team to the next level. For more information you can contact us here

 

How Your Organization Handles Performance Management Matters

We recently came across a very insightful article by Forbes on LinkedIn titled, ‘Stop Tracking Employees And Start Inspiring Them’. Interesting? This had us thinking – how are African companies handling performance management?

Organizational culture is an important component of a workplace and is directly linked to factors such as performance management which it can greatly influence, both negatively or positively; hence how organizations conduct performance management matters because it impacts employee engagement, retention, productivity, and the company’s brand reputation as a whole. This is why traditional systems need to be revised and replaced with new customized methods that ensure performance evaluation is conducted in an efficient and effective way.     

Traditional Appraisal Systems vs Effective Evaluation Systems

Traditional appraisal systems are rigid and tend to focus on ratings and shortcomings without providing necessary resources for improvement thus undermining personal growth.  Yet, effective evaluation systems are learning-oriented, they delve into how to give and receive feedback through mediums such as coaching and mentorship. In turn, these elements create a conducive environment that allows employees to learn and flourish. Even in the current digital age where technology is revolutionising the workplace; the human resource still remains fundamental in achieving organizational success, therefore, effective performance evaluation systems ought to combine employees’ personal growth and organizational mission – because when executed rigorously, both employees and the organizations benefit significantly.

Healthy Regular Feedback Systems

Performance evaluation should be done comprehensively through healthy feedback systems that empower, inspire, lead and motivate staff as opposed to using holistic traditional methods. Inspired staff are more likely to be engaged and productive so how performance evaluation is conducted is pivotal. Secondly, it is important for feedback to be done regularly unlike once or twice a year because having such regular reviews is more effective and engaging. According to Forbes, “An overwhelming number of companies review their people infrequently, usually on an annual basis, and in a way that is not engaging or effective. Yet, engaging employees is crucial, especially with today’s multi-generational, technology driven and app savvy workforce.”  Further to this, a study by ROAM Jobs, which comprises of BrighterMonday (East Africa) and Jobberman (West Africa) portals, found that millennials prefer regular frequent feedback as a way to keep them productive.

Final Thoughts on Performance Management

In conclusion, performance management should always be connected to the company’s strategy and treated as an on-going learning opportunity that encompasses a tailor-made approach as opposed to a one shoe size fits all controlled by traditional performance evaluation methods. It is not just about filling blank spaces on an appraisal form and ratings; but more about how evaluation is done; how feedback is conveyed and received, and how knowledge is shared.  A more regular and frequent feedback approach is advisable alongside leveraging the technology revolution for effective and constructive performance management.

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