Employees that feel appreciated are more willing to work together, support you and stick out the tough times versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
It’s 5:05pm and you’ve been rushing to get a document done for a very important client that is overdue and the client has already called 3 times looking for the ETA. You finally finish, after laboring for hours, and rush down the hall to your assistant’s office to ask her to print it off and overnight it.
The office is dark…the computer is off…she has left for the day. You didn’t realize it was past 5pm. Not to be deterred you venture into the supply closet to find an overnight envelope and can’t find either. You have no idea what your online log in is and end up driving to an overnight drop off location that is still open which results in your being late to your daughter’s dance recital…frustrated and stressed you are rehearsing the “talk” you are going to have with your assistant about leaving without checking in to make sure you don’t need anything else at the end of the day. You aren’t asking her to stay late. But if she just would have let you know she was leaving you could have asked her for the information to overnight the document and saved yourself all the pain.
In the morning, you walk in; shoulders set to let your assistant know what happened. You walk in to her office and start with “we need to talk…” She bursts into tears and says she can’t believe you could think she isn’t supportive of you after all the lunches she has worked through and times she has stayed late and that you never point out anything she does well…and only point out the mistakes.
You feel unappreciated…she feels unappreciated…what now?
We read a fascinating book a few years ago, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. When sharing this blog with a colleague, she informed us Gary released another book titled “The 5 Love Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” which is now on the top of our must read list. Without reading Gary’s take on this topic, we believe that there are also 5 OFFICE love languages and the importance of understanding each others. Love, in this context means each person shows up at work most days with an authentic sense of empowerment, appreciation, connection and could honestly say “I truly love this place and the people I work with!”
The premise of “The 5 Love Languages” is that there are 5 ways that people communicate love. And that most ‘relationship problems’ are simply because the people involved are speaking two different love languages and not recognizing the language of the other. So, both are trying so hard to show love and both are feeling unappreciated and unheard. The book outlines when you speak to someone IN their love language, they become happy, secure and fulfilled in their relationship with you and a lot of frustrations and resentments go away. They are willing to face problems head on without wrapping them in sheets of drama and emotion which allows them to support you because they are confident in their relationship with you.
The 5 languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Gift Giver
3. Acts of Service
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch **Note, for the office we’d replace this with eye contact, not checking your iPHone and email while they are speaking and actually put whatever you are working on aside and lean in forward with general interest and presence.
We believe that the 5 Love Languages can solve many office ‘relationship’ problems such as the often too real example shared above. In this example, I’d venture to say the assistant’s language is Words of Affirmation and the boss is Acts of Service. If the boss routinely verbally affirms his assistant when she does good work she will feel confident in their relationship and that he values her as part of the team. If the assistant routinely supports the boss with the things he asks, like checking in before she leaves, so he isn’t left to blunder through an unfamiliar task alone, he will feel appreciated by his team for how hard he works too.
The disengagement in Office Love Languages is often the very reason certain incentive programs or perks do not seem to get the response the entrepreneur anticipates. If you have a team member who feels you never listen, never make time for his or her questions and never stop to train them how you would like certain things done and their language is Quality Time – they need these things to feel appreciated and confident (which we will be so bold to say is 95% of your support team’s Office Love Language). If you are bonusing a team member with money but their love language is Words of Affirmation, they may not be that responsive to the bonus set out. And if they are, it will have a short shelf life because their “Love Language” is not being fulfilled.
The more you speak your team’s Office Love Language and let them know what makes you feel appreciated, the more willing you all are to work together, support each other and stick together versus slipping into resentment and irritation.
A team member who feels appreciated and “loves” their job and the people they work with is the team member that will stick with you in good times and tough times.
To help identify your Office Love Language, have each person on your team list out 5 things you did for them that really made them feel appreciated and respected. And you do the same! Your Office Love Language needs to be met too. From that, you can see the things that resonates with each person and which Office Love Language speaks to them!
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Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
The Dread of Interviews is the Magic of Getting the Candidate to Talk.
While we have two favorite questions that usually do the trick (shared below) the magic of a productive interview is getting the candidate to reveal a glimpse of their true self, not their interview facade. The $10,000 question is HOW?
If your interviewee is a clam shell it could be their personality of just nerves. Here are two replies you can use to open them up and begin to peel away the layers of the onion.
1. “Tell me more about that.” Example: You asked “What made you decide to obtain your paralegal certification?” She replies, “I found it interesting.” You can reply, “Great, tell me more about that.”
2. “What does that mean to you?” Example: You asked “what are you looking for in a job” and they reply “growth opportunity.” You can reply, “Ok, tell me what growth opportunity means to you.”
An alternate way to get them to open up when it doesn’t feel appropriate to respond with one of these questions is to get them to elaborate using these prompters, “That’s interesting and what would have been possible had you had all the resources to complete that project?” or “What would that look like to you in an ideal situation?”
Once you get them talking, you can go a bit deeper to really see their attitude, mindset and the way they view and operate in the world:
• If they view things positively or negatively. Is every comment how something negative happened or is it positive addressing possibility?
• If they are comfortable backstage or front stage. Are their examples administrative, behind the scenes stories or do they involve front stage activities? This is crucial to select the person who will fit the role you are hiring for. A candidate can have an impressive resume and still not be a fit for what you are looking for.
• The first impression that will impact your clients. Again, a resume can’t talk…your interviewee can…and as you get them talking pay attention to if you really enjoy interacting with them. Not only do you and your team have to work with this person everyday but your first impression will also be your client’s first impression. Too often we “work too hard” to make ourselves like a candidate and give them a pass on negative impressions…but our clients won’t. In addition, our clients won’t see our new hire every day to give them a second and third chance to redeem their first impression.
Once they start talking, your interview shifts, as it should to be more about the person and less about the resume. (Same thought process we share with our clients, that planning is about people not documents. So is hiring.) You can have 50 resumes of qualified candidates with the skill set you need. It’s finding the right fit, and that’s what the interview is designed to do. Unqualified candidates should not make it to the face to face interview phase with you.
If you aren’t sure how to go about determining “qualified” candidates or simply want to hand over this extremely time-intensive part of the hiring process, consider our Smart Hire Solution™ service. In this process we help you identify exactly what the role is you are hiring for, craft an appropriate ad designed to weed OUT unqualified candidates, review resumes, conduct telephone interviews, reference checks and ONLY THEN do we provide you with a debrief of only the best of the best for face to face interviews—where you will walk in fully equipped with the comprehensive Ultimate Smart Interview Questions™!
What are some of your successful Interview Questions?
If you want to receive our two favorite interview questions, email email@example.com.They aren’t “magic questions” but they are darn close!
I want a long term job. I want a capable employee. Do you know the secret to hiring and training?
Since the clock turned January 1, 2012 we’ve literally sifted through over 250 resumes and conducted over 50 phone interviews. EVERY phone interview we conduct the potential candidate declares with such commitment “I want a long term job; a place I can plan to retire from. I don’t want to keep jumping around anymore but it seems every company I’ve been with there is a lay off on the horizon.” The flip side is EVERY attorney says “Please find me someone who will last this time. I don’t want someone looking for a flop house until the economy turns around.”
We have been scratching our heads, why is there such a disconnect? The potential employee and the employer both want the same thing but can’t seem to solve this issue. After talking to attorney and team alike in the past few weeks we feel what is not working is the commitment and investment on attorneys end. The attorneys do not know enough that they need to stop. Slow down. Spend time with their brand new investment, the people they hire. After doing an analysis of the past employees that have left or have been let go, this is the common theme…consistently. The attorneys want instant results and they forget that the investment is an actual relationship. They forget there is a learning curve and a small consistent investment of time where they are present and committed to listening is truly the 1st small step. And this definitely is the “magic ticket”. Were not placing blame on the attorneys, we’ve been trained that if you hire good people they should come with batteries included and not need so much time and attention.
In July 2011 Molly hired a new employee for MPS to take on the role of “Event Coordinator”. This is the 3rd person she has in this role in less than two years. She decided something had to shift, why this wasn’t working—they had systems, employee manuals, training videos, etc. She wasn’t sure what but made the commitment of spending 90 minutes a week, every Tuesday from 9-10:30 and from there she found (and created and systematized) the “secret ingredient” to not only keeping but empowering team. Just 6 months later this new employee has not only stayed put but she has been promoted within the company and her replacement starts in just two weeks.
If you would like a copy of “How to effectively train, keep and grow a new employee” email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s the fastest way to get everyone on the same page. To enroll your team in our next 12 week telecourse training program based off the #1 AMAZON BEST SELLER book, “Don’t be a Yes Chick: How to Stop Babysitting Your Boss, Transform Your Job and Work with a Dream Team Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Spirit in the Process” beginning April 10th email email@example.com.
What has worked for you in keeping and growing your team?
Hiring, firing, team training and building – Oh My!
We are huge advocates of knowing every person on your team’s “Top Three Most Important Activities”.
Yet even we were shocked at how often this critical key came up in every single conversation we had this week with small businesses that were seeking support with their team. Can you immediately identify what the top three most important activities of each and every one of your team members are? If you asked them, would they have different answers than yours? If you are hiring, do you know the three most important activities of the role you are hiring for? Do you know your own?
How Important Are Your Most Important Activities?
a. Hiring. So often the hiring process is approached with a broad brush and we allow the resumes to drive the process. Ads are usually vague with respect to the position. They say “receptionist”, “administrative assistant” or something of that nature which can be a very different role from company to company. Then it lists specific skills needed, like “proficient in Microsoft Office” or “Professional written and verbal communication skills”.
Then resumes flood in and we get captivated with certain ones and let that drive the process. The big miss here is that there can be a fantastic person, with excellent skills and experience, which is not the right fit for what is needed based on the “Top 3”. And we end up with a great document drafter who resents the interruptions of a ringing telephone (hello, cash flow!) in a position that requires invariable phone work and client service.
Before you can even run an ad, you HAVE to know what the three most important activities of every role is in your business. Otherwise, how can you effectively know what kind of person you are attracting into a role?
99% of team members you end up having to let go is not because they weren’t proficient in a certain computer program. It’s usually because they aren’t a “fit” or have social or communication issues. The top three activities help you identify what the right “fit” is.
b. Firing. We had a great call with a company this week that is on the fence about letting a team member go. They’ve decided to give her 30 more days then make a determination if she stays or goes. We’ve all been there and know what agony this situation creates. The elements that initially contribute to the decision process are typically even muddier. It’s so easy to get lost in the details of “business” analysis of the person and their performance. What we really need to know to be able to effectively utilize that “30 day last chance” time period is to know the person’s top three most important activities and be able to measure if they are completing these activities to satisfaction or not. They may be great at other things, but if those things are the top things we NEED from this position, it isn’t going to work.
c. Planning the week. It’s so easy to let the incoming appointment requests, the emails and phone calls we receive dictate what we work on each week. Instead, we MUST make sure we, and our team, are working on their top three most important activities each week…first and foremost. Yes, we understand the motto “the client comes first” and they are conditioned for immediate response. However, if the crucial activities of your business aren’t being addressed proactively, there is going to be a downfall somewhere and usually will wind up back on your desk. If your support team member’s most important activity is making follow up calls to prospective clients to book appointments and they instead are stuck in the vortex of filing and organizing because their personality is to be in a production role and not on the front lines connecting with people with compassion and empathy you are soon going to be without new revenue in your pipeline!
These are just three areas that we see the top three most important activities be a crucial factor. If you AND your team TOGETHER can’t immediately state their top three most important activities then spend some time in your next team meeting clarifying this. It’s the fastest way to get everyone on the same page and seal up any holes in the activities where time is being spent. To enroll your team in our next 12 week telecourse training program based off the #1 AMAZON BEST SELLER book, “Don’t be a Yes Chick: How to Stop Babysitting Your Boss, Transform Your Job and Work with a Dream Team Without Losing Your Sanity or Your Spirit in the Process” beginning April 10th email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else do you think is key to hiring, firing and team training?
Team member cries…attorney gets annoyed… then feels bad. Repeat cycle. Sound familiar?
It’s unnecessary, ongoing torture because in this scenario the attorney isn’t going to change and the team member needs to find a workplace that is more in tune with her emotionality. A place where she can thrive not feel attacked. So what do you do? You fire and rehire.
We got a call from an attorney this week sharing the following all too common situation. “Shelia walked into my office this a.m. with welled up eyes – I know she needs to go but….” Many of you are nodding your head up and down saying “I KNOW!!”
We’ve seen it one too many times for many reasons. The silence of never addressing this situation, once and for all, is in stereo as we exit the “old” and enter the “new” year. The attorney is being held hostage by the guilt because while Shelia isn’t a great fit they know if they are willing to be really honest with themselves they would say out loud “I know I did not give her all the direction and attention she needed AND I am not only worried what she will say in the community about me but also about having to go through the firing and hiring process again. I know I will have to stretch and do it differently next time. I have no desire (or time) to spend time with the team. Can’t I just find someone who can come in and get the job done without all the questions and drama?”
Our response: Well, Option 1 is reactive. You do have a better chance of ending it WITHOUT her trashing you in the community and feeling awful about it by letting her continue to collect evidence everyday why you guys aren’t a great fit. She already told you she isn’t happy and is bitter and resentful and one day either you or her lose your cool and end in quitting or firing in anger. Not a matter of IF, just when. We don’t really recommend this route.
Option 2 is proactive. “Listen, Shelia this really isn’t a natural fit – I didn’t do everything possible to help you with the direction and attention you seek in a place of employment. And in all honesty, I don’t know when that will occur. I don’t want you to be unhappy. Let me provide you a letter of recommendation, and a severance package if you are willing to work on an exit strategy for the work in progress.” Or something like that. A proactive end to the situation.
Every time we see an attorney take Option 2 he or she comes back EMPOWERED vs. DEFLATED.
Unsure if you are falling into Option 1 or ready for Option 2? We have a Smart Fire Solution™ Package that guides you to the resolution of firing with the Least Amount of Suffering While Keeping Your Integrity, Compassion & Sanity. If you are anguishing over whether to fire a “good enough” employee, The Smart Fire Solution™ will get you to a place of facts without emotions. It will support you in your current situation while providing you with a systemized employee firing process that allows you to authentically take action today. At the same time it leaves the employee “ok” because it was handled with integrity…and YOU will be energized.
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