Is Your Job Analysis Process on Auto-Pilot?

A funny thing happened on the way to school last week.  My son, a high school senior, was getting ready for an awards event.  Before leaving he asked me to tie his tie for him.  Putting a tie on is something I’ve done almost every morning for more than twenty years.  You think I could do it in my sleep by now.  But I couldn’t!   First I tried to do tie it standing in front of him while it was around his neck.  That was strange; I’d never done it before from that perspective.  Then I tried to tie one around my neck, over my own tie, while standing in front of his mirror.  For some reason that was even stranger.  It took me almost fifteen minutes before I could get it tied.  For years I put on my tie in the same room, at the same time, in the same mirror, the same way for so long.  Now I was out of my element, in a new environment, and I couldn’t do it.  The entire process was on auto-pilot and when something new came along the process broke down.

The same thing can happen if your job analysis process is on auto-pilot.  When a job evaluation has been done the same way for so long it becomes ineffective.  Companies that want to attract top talent must transcend the tradition of writing job descriptions.  Today’s talent will not come to your company when the human resources process for job evaluation is a cut and paste operation.  The HR job description from four years ago is not the same as a true performance based job analysis.

The process of job analysis consists of several steps (see my related post The Pros  & Cons of Job Analysis).   If you think your job analysis process is on auto-pilot, take a fresh approach.   Start with your HR job description.   This will have all of elements of what a person needs to have to do the job.  But the job analysis process goes well beyond writing job descriptions.   The next step is to understand what a person must do to be successful.  This can be different from the HR job description.  Would you rather have a person who has done the job successfully in the past or someone who has all the job description requirements?  Most Strategic Employers would take the former, even if person didn’t have all the requirements in the HR job description.

Take your job analysis process off of auto-pilot.  Begin the process of job analysis with what someone does to be successful, not what they need to have.


The Number One Way to Fail at Motivating Employees

Are you still Fishing for employee motivation?   This was a popular employee motivation strategy several years ago.  There are lots of books on Amazon.com that will teach you about how to motivate employees.  Every business wants good employee relations and a happy, productive workforce.  Strong and positive employee morale is necessary for optimum productivity.  I can’t think of any client who has told me they didn’t want high employee satisfactory.  All companies work hard to motivate employees.

Corporate leaders and business owners have a lot of reasons to know how to motivate employees.  High levels of employee engagement make their jobs easier.  They want less stress in their employee relations.  They have profits to increase.   They want to sharpen their competitive edge.  They want to keep costs low and productivity high.  They want to generate more revenue.  They want, they want, they want…   Are you reading this?  They want to motivate employees for all their corporate reasons and this is why most companies fail in how to motivate employees.

Employee motivation, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and employee relations will never improve if it is all about what the company wants.  No one is going to work to make the company better or to reach company goals.   Organizations will fail if they believe a slick, new “program” is the way to motivate employees.  Employees will only be motivated when they know what’s in it for them.   They will increase productivity only when their needs are met.   Incentives to motivate employees must be tied to what they value and desire.  Strategic employers know this.  They work hard to understand what makes their employees tick.  Only when employee values are linked to motivating incentives will companies succeed.

Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!

Step 1 of 4: High Performance Teams

Farmer plowing in Fahrenwalde, Mecklenburg-Vor...

Image via Wikipedia

Make recruiting a process that is structure and tracked

What would you think of a farmer who decided to skip all the plowing and sowing and jump right into harvesting?   You’d think the farmer was deluded and crazy?  How can a crop be harvested if the seeds were never sown?  How can crops grow if the soil isn’t plowed and watered?  It would be insanity to think a farmer could go straight to harvest without doing all the things necessary to cultivate their crop.

This is how many organizations approach recruiting.  They have a critical opening and suddenly they want to harvest top talent.  Like the farmer they too need to cultivate the talent pool and sow their employment brand long before they start to harvest.  This means that recruiting has to be a process that is incorporated into the overall company culture .  It has to be an ongoing activity that is measured and tuned.

Here are some simple ways high performing organizations sow seeds and cultivate a healthy crop of top talent:

  • Promote their company as a highly desired place to work
  • Create relationships with potential employees as early as high school
  • Advertise their jobs to attract top talent rather than screen out applicants
  • Profile key jobs
  • Establish an ongoing relationship with a niche search firm

Of course, there are variables specific to every organization.  But the faster companies begin to cultivate their talent pool, the faster they’ll have the right people to hire.