How the Latest Health Care Innovations Will Change Who You Hire

 Your Next Superstar May Not Be From Health Care

While reading the article about the Health 2.0 showcase in Europe I was reminded of a conversation I had earlier in the day with a health information technology sales executive. She told me that the health information management solutions on the market today will be completely different in two years.  That will require new blood, new thinking, and a different kind of health technology sales executive.

The old saying “You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result” comes to mind.  Just recycling the same sales people from competitors will only move a sales team further behind the curve.

“That will require new blood, new thinking, and a different kind of health technology sales executive.” (Click to Tweet this)

I am already seeing this in other areas of health care, especially in care management.  Movement away from traditional care models is creating a need for non-traditional skill sets.

Sales competency is and will continue to be important. Also important will be the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking and selling.  Organizations will need to look outside of the health care for their next sales stars.

Health 2.0 Showcase Article

Click here to get more ideas about finding your next superstar.

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...

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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.


Four Easy Steps to High Performance Teams

Now that football season is underway we will be hearing a lot about high performance teams.  The time, resources, expense, stress, planning, and practice that NFL teams use to build a winning season is frankly amazing.  Millions of dollars are on the line.  Jobs are on the line.  The health of some of the most physically fit athletes in the world is on the line.  Teams go to great effort to build a high performance unit to take them to the “big show”.

Businesses have no less at risk than NFL franchises.  They might not have the same players or the same resources, but they have to build high performance teams.  Fortunately you don’t need the resources of an NFL organization!  Here are four easy steps any company can take to get huge pay-offs from their corporate team.

1) Make recruiting a process that is structure and tracked.

2) Be extremely selective with who you hire.

3) Align training with business priorities and coming trends.

4) Give employees a career instead of a job.

Over the next several weeks I’ll expand on each of these steps.  In the meantime, start examining the way you attract employees and how you can improve that process. That alone might get you to the playoffs!

Hot in the Shade

Have you ever experienced a day of 115 degree temperatures?  That’s how I spend the past weekend while at a national lacrosse tournament in Towson, MD.  The combined heat and humidity created a heat index in excess of 115 degrees!  To say it was miserable would be an understatement.  It’s a wonder more players didn’t collapse on the field.

The experience taught me two things; 1) the human body’s ability to produce perspiration is endless and, 2) no matter how many tents, shade trees, umbrellas, misters, etc…. you can’t escape that kind of heat!  As the day wore on the heat began to impact the quality of play on the field.  Players started to make decisions out of expedience and fatigue rather than skill and experience.

This is also how a lot of hiring managers approach their open positions.  The heat of the open seat becomes so hot that they make poor decisions.  If their bench strength is shallow or if they don’t practice the habit of always looking for top talent, the heat will beat them down.  The hotter it gets the more likely they will compromise their judgment and instinct.   This is exactly how “miss-hires” happen.  The overheated urgency to find a body, anybody, causes short circuits in the hiring process.

Managers can provide some always present shade when they approach recruiting as a process and not as an event.  This is especially important today as the search, and need, for top talent is getting hotter.  Managers who have a system to constantly identify and attract top talent will avoid the oppressive heat caused by open seats.

Three Important Steps for Corporate Recruiting

In the article linked below, the writer discusses investments corporate recruiting should make today.  Investment #2, Invest time in thinking through how you recruit people today is the most significant on his list. The other two are dependent upon the conclusions reached after this time is spent.

Here’s some ideas to consider if a company invests this time:

  • If your interview questions are based on the candidate’s resume, you are missing the real questions.
  • If you are still using a “job description” to attract and then validate candidates, you are making the wrong decisions about people.
  • If your jobs have not been benchmarked, you don’t really know what the expectations should be.
  • If your interviewing team is still asking different questions from each other, you are missing great people.

Rethinking these issues, and coming to the right conclusions,  will guide corporate recruiting to create an effective attraction, selection, and retention strategy.

Can you really Motivate employees?

“Employee Engagement” gets a lot of lip service, but very little action. This is the key to motivating and retaining a productive workforce.   More simply stated employees have a WIIFM attitude.  People are not going to work for the company’s reasons; they are going to work for their own reasons.  Unless company leaders can tap into those reasons they risk spreading the disease of “warm-chair attrition”.  This is the state of having an employed body in a chair, but the mind has long since quit the job.   It is the responsibility of corporate leaders to eradicate this disease from their organization.

This is easier said than done.  It is virtually impossible if managers and leaders don’t know who works for them.  Today four generations are working together, each valuing work very differently from the other.  Few companies have trained their managers on how to relate to a multi-generational workforce.  In the absence of any guidance, managers will motivate employees from their own perspective and needs, not from the employee’s.   We all laugh at the “Beatings will continue until morale improves” signs, but many employees perceive corporate retention strategies and performance management programs as just that!

The best solution is for companies to teach their managers about who works for them.  Teach them how each generation and individual employee values their work life.  When armed with this knowledge, companies can create an effective and profitable talent management strategy.  This would include everything from recruitment, HR management, to the on boarding process and employee retention.  If done correctly then employee morale won’t be a problem.  Once word gets around people will be clamoring to work for the company.

Is Performance Management the answer?

This question was recently addressed on LinkedIn.  Here’s how I answered it…

Performance Management is necessary when you have the wrong people in the wrong job. If companies continue to use a job description and continue to interview to validate resumes they will never know who they really hire. The wrong fit always creates performance issues.

A better way is to first truly understand the job. This means digging into the Key Performance Indicators, developing the kinds of performance behaviors that will be successful, and then Benchmarking the top people in the job. This information is then coupled with a solid performance and behavioral based interviewing process to match the person to the job. When you have a good match you don’t need to “manage” performance, you just need to let the employee do what they do best.
How would you answer this question?  You can see other answers at this link:

Do you have a Hiring Combine?

Do you have a Hiring Combine?

“Speed, strength, and the inability to register pain immediately.”  ~Reggie Williams, when asked his greatest strengths as a football player

Each year the NFL hosts its annual combine.  It is the annual job fair for prospective new NFL players.  For six days, players are put through a series of drills, tests and interviews with more than 600 NFL staff including head coaches, general managers and scouts.  These coaches and scouts assess every aspect of athletic performance.  They measure the hopefuls in strength, speed, aptitude, and position specific skills.  Teams will make multi-million dollar investments and they want to know what they are getting.  There is more at stake than just winning games. Superstar players drive team licensing, merchandising, and advertising revenue.  Management doesn’t make players into household names out of the goodness of their hearts.  This is an important business decision. If not assessed correctly the first time,  it could become extremely costly.

What would you think of an NFL team if they had a short telephone interview with the young player, making up the “probing” questions a few minutes before the call?  Maybe, on the basis of that call, they will “like” the athlete and fly him in to visit them at the team offices.   Suppose the player meets with the coach and a few assistant coaches.  But since everyone is so busy they have the towel boy to take him to lunch and then on to the airport afterwards.  The next day a few of the coaches swap some email comments about the player  or maybe stop in the hall to ask the highly inquisitive question “What did you think of so and so?”  Based on this exhaustive process, the coach calls the player, makes a multi-year, multi-million dollar offer and the player accepts.  Later they are astonished to see the player fail. I wonder why the NFL doesn’t do it this way.

You wouldn’t think much of an NFL team who hired players like that.  Yet companies make multi-million dollar hiring decisions every day in just the same way.  Maybe if companies approach hiring top talent with the same rigor as the NFL they’d find more “superstars” – and profits.

It’s not about where they’ve been; it’s about where they can take you!

The resume looked great!  They’d had all the right titles.  Their responsibilities were in line with your job description.  Education (Masters “preferred”) – CHECK.  Correct number of years of experience – CHECK.  Willing to relocate – CHECK.  The resume was even printed on fine, light beige, linen paper.  Obviously a seasoned professional who had all the qualities you were looking for.  The phone screen went well, they met some of your colleagues, HR did the background check (no problems), and you liked the person.  Amazingly, six months into the job things weren’t going well.  They just didn’t click with your style or the company culture.  Their performance was not measuring up to your expectations.  You tried all the performance improvement tricks you knew.  This was starting to cost you time, money, and reputation.  After all, you made the decision to hire them.

As time wore on you realized they had to go.  Alas, more job requisition paperwork from HR and time to give it another try.

Unfortunately this scenario plays itself out over and over at almost every company.  Millions of hard and soft dollars are lost on these kinds of mis-hires.  And don’t forget the lost productivity of the hiring team, lost revenue opportunities, lost operating efficiencies, lower morale, and decreased creative energy.  These dollars have a direct impact on the bottom line. They also have a huge impact on competitive edge.  Plus, it will get harder and harder to find replacement employees as the pool of qualified professional talent continues to shrink.  Guess what – it doesn’t have to be this way!

Resume hiring and traditional interviewing only tells you where a person has been.  You want to know where they are going to take you.  Here are five simple steps you can implement today.  Following these steps will tell you if the next person will move your company forward;

  • First, profile the key positions that will drive your profits and competitive edge.
  • Second, benchmark the top performers in these key positions.  This tells you exactly what the next hire has to look like.
  • Third, STOP interviewing from the resume and start asking questions developed in the profiling and benchmarking process.  Demand that everyone in the interviewing team use this consistent set of questions.
  • Fourth, have a third party independently assess anyone you are considering for a key position.
  • Fifth, interview for the behaviors the person needs to be successful in the job.

In a hyper-competitive market with a diminishing talent pool, companies can’t afford traditional, job description hiring.  When you implement these five steps you’ll find the right top talent to take your company to the next level.