The Rocket Model: Teams at the Top

Most organizations have something called an executive or senior leadership team that typically ranges in size from 6-15 people. It consists of the CEO,  COO, and functional and business unit heads. General responsibilities for top teams include setting strategy, defining organizational structure, determining key roles staffing , setting performance targets, making policy, and managing the business. Because of their unique membership and responsibilities there are some interesting observations about teams at the top that are worthy of additional discussion. Read More »

The Rocket Model: Context

Every group and team operates in a specific context. The situation faced by a U.S. Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan is different from that faced by a team drilling for gas in North Dakota. Context is interesting because (a) it is very complicated and (b) existing research is not very helpful in telling us how context affects team success. Yet, contextual factors critically impact the success or failure of a team. The extent to which leaders can control  situational factors affecting their teams and groups varies greatly. Some situational factors can be directly influenced, others can be influenced only indirectly, and many cannot be controlled at all. Because contextual factors have a profound impact on group dynamics, getting team member alignment on these factors is a critical responsibility for leaders. All too often team members have different assumptions about customers, suppliers, or competitors.  Their well-intended, but misaligned, actions can inadvertently destroy team morale and sub-optimize team efficiency and effectiveness. Read More »

Let’s Get Engaged

Over the past several years, Hogan has held an annual Game Day as a way to bring everyone together and have a little fun on a Friday afternoon. Hogan Game Day involves teams competing in a series of Minute to Win It-style challenges where individuals earn points for their teams based on successful completion of the game. Not only does the winning team get a swanky trophy and bragging rights for the year, they also get to make a donation to the charity of their choice.

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The Generational Workforce of the Future

While participating at the Human Resource People & Strategy conference in New York last month, I attended a session on generational differences in the workplace of the future. The presenter, Jeanne Meister, presented on the unique conditions that the workplace of the near future will create: Specifically, by 2020 there will be five generations working together in the U.S. economy. Due to the anticipated delayed retirement of our aging workforce, by 2020 the US will see Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z attempting to peacefully coexist in the same workforce.

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Are You a Workaholic?

There is no denying that technology has changed how we do business. We can stay connected to our colleagues 24 hours a day from virtually anywhere in the world, and access to limitless amounts of information is at the touch of our fingers.

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Four Common Myths About Teams

Humans are social animals and spend much of their time working in groups and teams, yet most people don’t understand the dynamics of effective teamwork. That is not to say people do not recognize good teamwork when they see it, but many do not know what to do in order to get people to work together effectively. Some of this confusion is due to the following misunderstandings about teams and teamwork: Read More »

Meet the Show-Off

You’ve seen him around the office – the life of the party, the guy with the novelty necktie, and funny but slightly offensive slogan on his coffee mug. All the world is a stage, and he’s got the leading role. After all, you don’t get ahead in this world without standing out.

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3 Steps to Better Hiring

In his recent Wall Street Journal article, “Software Raises Bar for Hiring,” David Wessel raises some interesting talent acquisition questions: As candidate pools have grown exponentially in the struggling economy and screening processes have become more efficient and cost-effective through the use of various software solutions, have organizations become overly stringent in their job requirements? Are employers cutting training programs, and therefore costs, based on the idea that they will be able to find someone in the vast pool of available workers who have the skills they require?

It seems that many organizations make the mistake of setting forth myriad requirements in their job requisitions, which are then programmed into software solutions used to screen out candidates early in the selection process. As a result the organization fails to find anyone for the job. At the same time, unemployed workers apply to positions for which they believe they are well qualified only to find themselves dropped from the selection process based solely on an initial application or resume submission. In the end frustration abounds – organizations are frustrated by the lack of “qualified” talent, and job seekers are frustrated by organizations that eliminate them from the selection process based solely on an initial screen.

Individual organizations can take steps to increase the likelihood of finding the right person for the job, regardless of what that job might be.

1. Carefully define job requirements

If your organization is struggling to find qualified candidates, make sure you are evaluating the must-haves that an individual needs to be successful in the job. You might find that you have been focusing on nice-to-haves (additional years of experience, advanced degrees for jobs that don’t require them) that do not truly differentiate high and low performance on the job.

2. Focus on competencies, not experience

It is also important to consider what the employee needs day one on the job. Instead of looking for someone who has performed the exact same type of work before, focus on finding a candidate with the core competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits) required to be successful and supplement that talent with organization or job-specific training and education.

3. Take a whole employee life cycle approach

Organizations would also be wise to take a whole employee life cycle approach that includes recruitment, selection, development and retention. In some fields, such as engineering and IT, numerous opportunities are available to experienced workers, and organizations may find it hard to hold onto strong talent. When recruiting and hiring employees, ensure that the candidates you select are a good fit not just for a particular job, but also for your overall culture and work environment. Once employees are on the job, take steps to contribute to their professional development and keep them engaged. Depending on your structure this may include identifying high potentials to include in succession planning efforts, but don’t overlook middle-of-the-road performers who are your organization’s backbone – make sure they have opportunities to grow and develop their skills.

Talent acquisition and management are complex processes, but careful planning at each step will help your organization hire and retain the right talent. Using selection techniques that identify candidates with the potential for success and focusing on onboarding, development, and engagement post-hire will go a long way towards ending employers’ and job seekers’ frustration.