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In order to improve an organization’s effectiveness one must understand the role of organizational behavior within the workforce. It is important to understand how an organization’s behavior impacts key business drivers such as profitability, motivation and higher retention rates.
What is Organizational Behavior?
Organizational behavior is the study of human behavior within organizations. If people are an organizations most important asset then understanding how humans behave in organizations will lead to insights that can improve productivity, job satisfaction, employee relations, and more. Organizational behavior focuses on the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within organizations. Below are just a few of the components that need to be taken into account:
- The job itself. What kind or type of job is an employee doing, and what is the design of that job? How does the job fit in with other job’s employees are working on? Knowing the type of job an employee is working on can help determine how the employee will react with that job.
- The nature of the work. This goes along with the job because if the nature of work is compatible with the employee then it is more likely that the work will get done well and in a timely manner.
- Turnover. If a person is compatible with the work environment and likes their job, they will be more likely to stay and be high performers at the company. Organization’s rarely take a hard look at the cost associated with turnover. Therefore, cost savings associated with improving the recruiting, selection, on-boarding, and training processes are often ignored.
- Productivity. If an employee is productive, they tend to be more motivated and more likely to enjoy the work that they are doing. This is a win-win for the organization and the employee!
Organizational Behavior Challenges and Opportunities
With everything in life, there are challenges and opportunities, and organizational behavior is no exception.
- Economic pressures impact both individuals and organizations. Employees may have to fight to keep their job. This may encourage the employee to be more productive throughout the day and strive to do excellent work. Competitive pressures are tough in the business world. In a highly competitive society, every organization wants to be recognized as the best.
- Workplace diversity is prevalent. Employees from all over the globe are applying for positions. Diversity is a good thing and can become a competitive advantage that inspires innovation. But it also creates individual and organization acceptance and appreciation challenges.
Ultimately, it is up to the employees in an organization to work with one another and to recognize the differences and skills that each other have. This is crucial within a workforce and a great reason as to why organizational behavior is an important tool to be aware about and understand.
–Annalise Bandel, Student, Loyola University
As a great hiring manager, you always listen carefully to a job candidate’s interview answers, pay attention to their body language, and take note of all of the candidates interactions with your company, both in, and outside of, the interview.
What owners and hiring managers often overlook is that their management style is also under review during the hiring process. Potential new employees are reviewing the company culture and management style of a possible employer at each and every step of the interview process. While the recent economy has put more candidates on the market, there is still a shortage of outstanding A-level potential employees. Because of this, you need to make sure you are putting your best foot forward at each and every step of the process.
Here are some hiring process situations and how your candidates may view the situation.
DELAYS IN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
FACT: There is a long delay in getting back to people after the initial conversation or, if working with a recruiter, you don’t provide feedback for a long period of time.
PERCEPTION: The candidate may view this as either you don’t operate with a sense of urgency, or you don’t value other’s time enough for a prompt response.
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS IS SCRIPTED
FACT: Every step of the interview process is scripted and the only questions asked are off of a printed, prepared question set.
PERCEPTION: The candidate will view this as a sign that you are overly formal and that your organization values process over free-flowing ideas.
THERE ARE TOO MANY INTERVIEWS
FACT: There are more than 2-3 interviews in the process.
PERCEPTION: The candidate will be concerned that either nothing moves quickly in the organization, you don’t believe they are the right fit, as a hiring manager you may be reluctant to make a decision, or that you don’t view the position as valuable.
TOO MUCH NEGATIVE INFORMATION IS SHARED
FACT: You have a negative interview style and ask questions like “Sometimes you need to work 100 hours per week, we will swear at you and your equipment won’t work – are you okay with that?”
PERCEPTION: You may think that you are doing people a favor by letting them know what they are getting into, but in reality you are telling people that this is the culture you support…and if this is the case, be prepared to lose A-level candidates in the process.
LOW BALL OFFERS
FACT: You present a low-ball offer…just to see if you can get the candidate to go for it, or feel that you have to negotiate anyway.
PERCEPTION: The candidate will feel that everything at your company will end up being a battle.
If you are serious about attracting top talent to work for you, take a minute and walk yourself through your own process and think about every step from the candidate’s perspective. The little details can make all the difference in creating the kind of experience that will make the best candidates want to work with you.
Differentiating the “wanna-bes” from the “will-bes”
Hiring is easy, right? The position gets advertised, people apply, the hiring manager interviews, and the best candidate gets the offer. Easy, right? Not so fast. Identifying the right talent who posses the skills necessary to complement a team isn’t quite that easy. Too often companies and their managers treat it like it’s easy, only to ask themselves months later why the best candidate isn’t performing.
While there are many variables impacting a candidate’s success in a new role, as the book “I Quit, But Forgot to Tell You,” points out, you can frequently blame the hiring process. According to a study of 800 managers:
- 72% of management has failed to acquire interviewing, hiring, and profiling skills
- Less than one-third of these manager’s companies use hiring tools, position competencies, job profiles, behaviors and beliefs or selling/service assessments.
Lack of Training
Interviewing is commonly assumed to be skill miraculously perfected the instant it is first required. Just go in there and ask questions; it’ll be obvious who’s the right person. I beg to differ. Interviewing is a skill honed with training, practice and the right assessment tools to differentiate the “wanna-bes” from the “will-bes.” Hiring Winning Talent is an affordable e-learning program but it can also be offered in a classroom setting in your organization.
The Right Tools
Creating a strong team means identifying what skills and behaviors that need to be seen from each position on the team. Take the NFL draft. While most teams wouldn’t mind the first pick quarterback, sometimes the player who will strengthen that weak offensive line is the guy drafted in the 2nd round. If haven’t identified your needs ahead of time, you’ll end up with three quarterbacks and a weak center that can’t protect any one of those quarterbacks.
The same concept applies to business. Tools like position competencies, job profiles and the like, help hiring managers define the skills and behaviors needed to fit the culture and strengthen the team. Just taking time to think about position competencies is one step closer to hiring a strong, talented team.
If a strong, talented team isn’t what you’re after, then sure, recruiting is easy.
- Should they be hand written?
- Should they be emailed?
- Should they be sent the day after the interview or is there an advantage of waiting a few days before sending?
Ultimately, the best response is always…just make sure you send one! If you haven’t had the need to send an interview thank you in awhile, you may want to search for current openings or subscribe to the Skywalk Group Jobs E-Newsletter.
Interview Thank You Timing
- The Thank You Procrastinator. Of course, timing is critical. You don’t want to wait two weeks after an interview to reiterate your interest in the position and why you’re the best candidate for the job. That kind of delay will appear to the hiring manager as having no sense of urgency and a lack of interest in the role.
- The Obsessive Compulsive Thank You Sender. This is the candidate that sends a thank you immediately and then repeatedly follows up with the hiring manager. A thank you note immediately following your interview will emphasis your interest in the position, but could get lost in the shuffle among all the other candidates interviewed that week.
So when is the best time to send one? Our recommendation is two to three days following the interview. It reminds the hiring manager of the interview and forces them to review their resume again, even if it’s buried at the bottom of the pile.
Interview Thank You Content
A well-written thank you note brings even more attention. According to Careerbuilder.com, “Nearly 15% of hiring managers say they would not hire someone who failed to send a thank-you letter after the interview. Thirty-two percent say they would still consider the candidate, but would think less of him or her.” It doesn’t have to be a long, dissertation of why you should be selected for the job.
- Citing a few key details taken from the interview is a nice touch that can set you apart from other candidates. Were you wowed by what you learned about the company’s culture and recent growth? Did the interviewer make a specific impression that influenced your overall enthusiasm for working there? If so, mention it!
- If you are trying to differentiate yourself from another candidate “details don’t mean anything, they mean everything.” So mention a few unique details in your thank you note. It could be final piece needed in landing you the job.
To Email or Not to Email, That is the Question!
Do hand written notes have an advantage over emailed ones? In our opinion, either is fine. Hand written notes certainly make a great impression and add an extra touch. They can give you points for design and style but unfortunately lack quickness. If you know that the hiring manager will be making a decision soon after your interview, it’s best to email the note. You may want to also think about how your penmanship will be received. If friends and family tend to complain about your handwriting, chances are emailing a note would be safer.
More Interview Thank You Tips
Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director of BCG Attorney Search in Houston gives the following guidelines for sending a thank you note:
- Don’t send the same note to every person. Vary it. (Managers compare notes with their colleagues to see if the candidate wrote the same one to every person.)
- Thank the recruiting coordinator. (A good recruiting coordinator can have a lot of power in hiring decisions.)
- If you are only going to send one thank you note, then thank the hiring manager or the manager with whom you spent the most time.
- Be formal, but keep it brief.
- If sending a handwritten note, use good paper. If you don’t have good monogrammed paper at this point in your career, then add this purchase to your to do list. Style points can go a long way when interviewing.
- Spell check. Spell check. Spell check. If you are handwriting your notes, then you need to be doubly sure that you aren’t misspelling something. Consider typing out what you want to say in Microsoft Word before transcribing to your note. If you don’t show attention to detail in your thank you notes, then how might your work product look?
- Focus on content and avoid too many adjectives. Tell the reader what you gained from the interview instead and what appeals to you about their company.
Thank you notes are a critical piece in the interview process. If you follow these tips, they will not only set you apart from other candidates interviewed, they will be the final touch in the overall successful impression you give to the hiring manager.
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Even though most of us don’t want to admit it, we regularly judge people and make perceptions about people based on what they are wearing. In the workplace, the choices an employee makes regarding shoes and clothing goes a long way towards how they “fit” into the environment and culture.
Shoes or no shoes?
I recently had the opportunity to see Todd Snider at The Englert in Iowa City, Iowa. Dave Zollo opened for Todd that evening. Musicians are definitely exempt from typical workplace rules. Both Dave and Todd took the stage shoeless. This is part of Todd’s style regardless of where he is playing or who he is playing for. As a musician traveling to numerous venues across the country, Todd arrives “as is” and it is up to fans and venue to accept him for who he is.
This isn’t exactly how it seems to work in a normal workplace. Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. For many women in the workplace, that means breaking out all of those sandals and open-toed shoes that have been in the back of the closest since last year. For some employers, this is a dreaded time of the year.
- Employee Advice: Be sure to adhere to any HR policies your company has regarding a dress code. In some cases, these policies may be in place for your own safety depending on the work environment.
- Employer Advice: If safety isn’t a major concern in the workplace, focus more on the quality and quantity of work produced by your employees and less on how an individual dresses.
Jeans or no jeans?
After six years of working in a position where the dress code was set at business casual, Bob recently started a new leadership position with a technology start-up. As with most start-ups, the company is heavy on passion and long hours and light on process and structure. As a result, the culture is very laid back, there is no formal dress code, and everyone–including the CEO–wears jeans or shorts daily.
Because of Bob’s past work experiences and his own personal style, he wore his old business casual clothes to his new office. Initially, several of his new co-workers, including his boss (the CEO) made some joking comments about his khakis and dress shirts. However, after several weeks, Bob continued to wear his khakis.
- Employee Advice: Try to fit in to the company culture the best you can when you start a new job. You want to avoid doing things–including what you wear–that take the focus off of your skills and abilities.
- Employer Advice: Give new employees some time to adjust to their new company and role. Provide specific, behavior-based feedback to them in order to smooth the transition.
This blog article, submitted by Elizabeth Trcka, Skywalk Group Partner, is the final recruiting topic for the month of November. Next month we will round out the year with entertaining and informational blog articles from our Skywalk Group team.
How to best prepare and ensure that your job offer will be accepted. No surprises!
To reach an offer acceptance by a candidate, there should be no surprises once you are ready to extend the offer. Keep in mind, the offer process starts from the minute you engage a potential candidate. By constantly asking qualifying questions, pre-closing the candidate, and keeping the client informed, you can minimize the risk of investing countless hours and resources in a candidate who declines an offer.
Gather information throughout the recruiting process
One of the most common mistakes in job offers is there was not enough information gathering and giving early in the process. As a result, candidates are surprised by compensation, location, start date and a wide variety of other factors.
During the recruiting process, make it a conscious effort to gather the key data points during the initial conversations. A couple of must have’s;
- Last 2 -3 year’s W2 income
- Percentage of income from base and bonus
- Expected income for next job—base and bonus
- Ability and willingness to commute to the office (if required)
- If relocation is necessary, the expected costs and/or components (moving expenses, home sale, breaking a lease, etc) involved for the candidate
- Desired start date
As you collect this data, you should also be giving the same information back to the candidate. Confirm that the compensation is within available range, that the relocation needs are within budget, and that the desired start date matches the company’s needs. If one of the data points is out of line with your expectations, discuss it then. You do not always need to resolve the difference then, but make sure it is widely known before the decision to move forward is made.
The final part of doing your homework is learning the candidate’s selling points. Why are they interested in the position? What are their long-term career goals? What kind of corporate culture do they prefer? Start documenting the data points that will allow you to build a compelling sales pitch when the time comes to negotiate and close the candidate.
Most important is to document the information. All of this information should be a) collected, and b) confirmed more than once during the phone screening, initial interviews and final interviews. It never hurts to say “When we spoke on November 15th we discussed a salary range of $65,000 to $70,000—is this still what you are thinking?” It lets the candidate know that you are paying attention, which is both reassuring and reduces any urge to renegotiate late in the game.
Pre-close the candidate
Through the interviewing process, you should be continuing to 1) collect the necessary data, 2) confirm accuracy, and 3) begin to lay the groundwork for your sales pitch. Remember the ABC’s—Always Be Closing.
Pre-closing a candidate is the step that has the most impact on the acceptance rates of job offers, and is one often skipped. Once you think you feel the candidate has a legitimate chance of receiving an offer, make the pre-closing call. The goal is to outline the details of an offer, but be very clear that this is a confirmation of the candidate’s interest and not a verbal offer.
Begin by saying you and the group/company have not made a final decision to extend an offer, but you think they are a strong candidate and would like to talk through the details of what an offer may look like. Recap the information you have documented—compensation, salary/bonus, location, desired start date. Then walk through the same points with ranges of the offer. Highlight and discuss any discrepancies between your expectations and the candidates. A couple of sample questions you may want to use include:
- If we were to extend you an offer that looked like this, would you be interested in joining us?
- Are there any reasons why this offer would not be acceptable to you?
- Is this offer what you were hoping for? When would you be able to start?
- Have you discussed this opportunity with your family/partner/significant other or do you need more time to discuss it?
- Do you think your current company will give you a counter offer, and is there a chance you would stay?
All of these questions open opportunities for further discussion and gives you a better sense for where the candidate is in the decision making process. Once you get a feel for where you align and where you don’t, reiterate that there are other candidates in process and other considerations before making the formal offer. Wrap up the pre-closing conversation with a specific time when the candidate will hear from you with details on next steps. Again—not an offer, but “decisions on next steps”. Once that time and date are set, stick to it! Even a half-day’s delay sends the wrong message and puts you behind other competitive offers. Hopefully you will be calling with a formal offer, but at the very least you will call with an update and set a new time and date for follow-up.
Extending the offer
Once you have agreed internally to move forward with the offer, call the candidate at the time set previously or schedule a new time to talk with the candidate about next steps. While you want the conversation to be natural and comfortable, one potential outline and structure for the conversation would be:
- Start out with the good news—“We’d like to formally extend you an offer!”
- Tell them what you are going to tell them—set the agenda of the conversation
- Sell the opportunity and alignment with the candidate’s goals, which by now you have already discussed in detail:
-Start by describing the immediate impact the candidate will make
-Discuss the long-term opportunities for the candidate
-Highlight the company’s strengths—growth, vision, culture, etc
- Create a direct link between the candidate’s previously stated career and personal goals and the job
- Discuss the details of the offer. Specifically address any areas where the offer does not meet the candidate’s requests or issues discussed in the pre-closing call.
- Ask for feedback
-If the candidate is satisfied with the details, ask for a verbal acceptance—“So if you are good with the offer and this is a verbal acceptance, I’ll put together the formal offer letter and get it out to you.” (There is no reason to send the offer if you do not have a verbal acceptance.)
-If the candidate has remaining questions or would like time to consider the offer, identify the areas of concern. In many cases, the candidate will want something on paper—offer to outline the details of what the offer would be in an email rather than send out the formal offer letter
- Once the candidate has verbally accepted:
-Prepare the candidate for a counter offer, if relevant. Walk them through how they will respond to a counter offer from the current employer—remind them why they are leaving and address what they will likely offer them to stay. The loyalty of a candidate that accepts a counter offer will always be in question by the employer.
-Discuss next steps and timeline. Let them know when the offer will go out and how long they have to accept. Always set a deadline for formal written acceptance—we recommend a deadline of less than 3 business days, with 1-2 days being preferable. If you have done your pre-closing work, this should be a formality and should not require much consideration.
-Let them know the formal paperwork will be sent, and make sure they have it in their hands within 24 hours. Whenever possible, email a PDF version of the offer letter or overnight the offer packet to the candidate.
- Final steps
-Follow up with the candidate to make sure they received the paperwork and everything is in order.
-Always require the offer letter to be signed and returned by the date specified. It may seem obvious, but we have had clients in the past just send out the letter and wait for the candidate to show up on the first day with the signed paperwork. Not surprisingly, they had an abnormally high rate of candidates back out of their offers, accept competitor’s offers or just never show up to work.
-Once the offer is in-hand, the recruiter or hiring manager should follow up with the candidate at least once a week until the start date. The longer the time period between acceptance and start, the greater the risk of the candidate backing out.
- Check in and follow up. Be sure to check in with the candidate the first week to see how things are going. If there is any disconnect between the candidate’s expectations and reality, you want to identify them quickly.
Anyone who has spent months recruiting the perfect candidate only to have it unravel at the last minute understands the importance of a smooth negotiation and closing process. Given the amount of resources required to attract the right candidate, the process of negotiating and extending a job offer is often overlooked and undervalued. However, by following a few guidelines and best practices, you can drastically reduce the risk of losing a candidate at the offer stage.