THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

October 2, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: The 10 Attributes of Work Happy People

I recently picked up a book with the provocative title Work Sucks. Now I acknowledge that this phrase might be off-putting to some people, but it clearly accomplished its job. I was intrigued enough-for two reasons-to pick up the book and read it. First, I don’t think work sucks, unless you let it. In fact, I think work is one of the most important and beneficial experiences of life, if you set it up to be. And second, the tag line of the book gave me some hope. It was actually an extension of the title which read, “Work Sucks and How to Fix It. Now that made some sense to me.

The authors of the book, Cali Resssler and Jody Thompson, have developed a concept they call a Results-Only Work Environment or ROWE. At first glance, it would seem to be an innovative and useful idea; after all, it has its very own acronym. The problem is that the concept is only half right. ROWE offers a way to change the experience of work so that it focuses on outcomes, not hours. It’s a prescription for our over-scheduled, meeting-happy, email-crazed, face time-biased workplace, and that’s a good thing. As the authors put it, “In a Results-Only Work Environment, people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.” More than flex scheduling or telecommuting, it encompasses identifying the work product a person must deliver and then leaving them to their own devices to do so.

I like the idea, but as I say, it’s just half the solution. Focusing exclusively on the results of a person’s work will improve performance and morale only if you’re doing the right work. If you get all of your work done, but it’s work you hate or even dislike doing-work that doesn’t engage or challenge you-then your work will still be unpleasant and unrewarding at the end of the day. To use the vernacular of the book, your work will still suck, it will just suck more efficiently.

Why should we recruiters care? Consider the case study that’s detailed in the book. ROWE was actually implemented at the electronics retailer Best Buy. It used the concept to achieve an average productivity gain of 35% with significant-as much as 90%-decreases in voluntary turnover rates. And that’s my point. Think what better results Best Buy could have achieved if it used ROWE, but only after it insisted on hiring people who were work happy. In other words, if the first priority at Best Buy was to ensure that its recruiters hired the kinds of people who could truly take advantage of ROWE-people who came to their jobs with the notion that they were there to do great work-then that concept or any of a range of other productivity enhancing techniques could capture truly astonishing gains.

So, how can you tell if someone has that attitude about their work? How can you identify candidates who come to work prepared for and committed to doing great work? I think you look for the following telltale signs. I call them the 10 Attributes of Work Happy People.

Attribute #1. Work happy people are impatient with recruiting processes that operate as supply chains and treat them as an undifferentiated cog. They see themselves as unique individuals who are superior performers and want to be treated as such.

Attribute #2. Work happy people find it easy to answer questions about the work they’ve done and the results they achieved on-the-job. They don’t brag about themselves, but they are definitely aware of their personal track record and proud of it.

Attribute #3. Work happy people interview the hiring manager even as the hiring manager interviews them. They want to know if that person will support and facilitate their work or interfere with or be threatened by their quest to excel.

Attribute #4. Work happy people will probe deeply about the nature of the work an opening involves and make sure it fits their vision of what’s important for the next stage in their career. Only after those questions have been satisfactorily answered will they inquire about the salary of the position or the benefits the organization provides.

Attribute #5. Work happy people want to know about the conditions under which they will work. They will evaluate the workplace to determine what kind of environment it provides to workers and whether that environment will help them to perform at their peak.

Attribute #6. Work happy people want information about the organization’s commitment to individual development. The will press for details about your in-house training programs, support for attendance at professional conferences and tuition reimbursement programs for both degree and non-degree academic programs.

Attribute #7. Work happy people will ask to speak with their peers in the work unit where they will be assigned. They want to know the caliber of their coworkers and whether they will be challenged and supported in their work or forced to carry more than their fair share of the load.

Attribute #8. Work happy people will check up on an organization by reading the comments posted online by analysts as well as by current and past employees. As recruiters themselves often do with the comments they find about candidates on social networking sites, work happy people will include what they uncover on the Web in their assessment of the organization.

Attribute #9. Work happy people will ask questions about the CEO and other senior leaders in the organization to determine what priorities and vision they are instilling in its culture. They know that good work can be undermined by bad leaders and are determined to avoid them.

Attribute #10. Work happy people care less about the quality of an organization’s recruiting collateral than about the quality of its products and services. They don’t want to do high caliber work in an organization that doesn’t value it or have a reputation for delivering it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s unusual to see a candidate act this way. That’s why today’s environment is called a War for Talent. It’s not a War for Any Talent, however; it’s a War for the Best Talent. The Best Talent are very, very rare candidates who fall into just three categories:

  • They are people who possess hard-to-find skills.
  • They are people who love their work and are extremely talented at it.
  • They are people with hard-to-find skills who love their work and are extremely talented at it.
  • Those in the first category will do the job. Those in the second and third categories will do the job superbly. Moreover, you can tell when they come through your recruiting process. They think differently. They see things differently. And, most importantly, they act differently. They act as work happy people.

    While it’s true that employee performance is heavily influenced by what happens after we have recruited and hired a candidate, we can increase the likelihood of successful outcomes if we do more than focus on results only-if we focus first on selecting people with the right outlook to be successful. And those are people who work happy.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. READER’S ALERT: Don’t miss the write-up below on WEDDLE’s latest book-Finding Needles in a Haystack. Shally Steckerl called it “A rare and uniquely useful reference guide for recruiters!”.

    P.S.S. It’s a tough job market out there, so PLEASE TELL A FRIEND ABOUT WEDDLE’s NEWSLETTER.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big message in a little book that is well on its way to becoming a business best seller.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends that make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you are meant to be.

    What’s that have to do with recruiters and HR professionals? Despite all of the technology it now involves, recruiting is still fundamentally an exercise in forging genuine, empathetic connections with other people. And you can only make such connections if you are being authentic, if you are being true to yourself. In other words, Recognizing Richard Rabbit will not only help you to find the You of your dreams, it will improve your ability to recruit top prospects, as well.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. This is one book you won’t want to miss! Buy your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Associations Now magazine from the American Society of Association Executives published an article with tips on how to get more engagement with a blog. It’s important advice as a growing number of employers and recruiters turn to that medium to reach and influence candidates. What happens if you (or your organization) start blogging and no one comments? Here’s some of the advice offered by the article with some commentary from me:

  • Give your blog a voice. Don’t write it as if you were an organization or an automaton. Let your (or the author’s) personality show through.
  • Be open and easy to reach. That means no login and easy-to-find comment links. A blog is a dialogue, not a soliloquy.
  • Be active. Your blog is only as interesting as your last comment, so post on a regular basis, but no less frequently than twice a week.
  • Listen and reward. Acknowledge others who take the time to post a comment on your blog and be respectful of their views even if you disagree with them.
  • Beyond.com polled visitors across its network of niche job boards to determine how they viewed their current employer’s compensation strategy. Over 3,000 people responded to the survey and an astonishing eight-out-of-ten (77%) reported that they felt they were underpaid. Barely one-in-ten (11%) said they were properly compensated. That angst probably won’t have much of an impact in the current economic environment-people are, of course, risk averse in tough times-but it will definitely influence retention rates once the economy begins to recover. What actions can you take right now to address what is likely to become a problem in the future? Obviously, for most employers, the option of increasing pay levels is not available, even if it were something senior management would agree to do. However, if your employer is paying market rate or better, then it’s important to let employees know that. Don’t just tell them, however, educate them. Give them an industry salary survey and other data that will help them benchmark your company accurately. And if you’re not paying market rate, use those same salary survey and data to educate your leadership team about what is certain to happen if their compensation strategy doesn’t change as soon as the economy improves.

    Kennedy Information is offering a special $200 discount for WEDDLE’s readers who register for their Recruiting 2008 Conference and Expo. The event will be held in Orlando, FL on November 17-19 with WEDDLE’s Publisher Peter Weddle presenting the opening keynote with his way-outside-the-box session entitled “The Carrot in Recruiting Success.” Everyone who attends will receive a copy of Peter’s mega hit new book, Recognizing Richard Rabbit as well as be able to pick and choose among presentations in seven different tracks: healthcare, recruiting, tools, hospitality, retention, legal and sourcing. So, register now for this special event and stop bye and say hello to Peter after his session. To register for the conference, please click here.

    WEDDLE’s has released a powerful new tool for recruiters. Called Finding Needles in a Haystack, it’s the first comprehensive listing of keywords for successfully searching resume databases online and off. The book provides thousands of search terms and phrases for the:

  • engineering,
  • finance,
  • healthcare,
  • human resources,
  • sales & marketing,
  • technology,
  • and other fields.
  • If you’re not getting the yield you need from job board resume databases, data mining or even your own resume management system, this is the reference book for you. In fact, sourcing guru Shally Steckerl described this book as “A rare and uniquely useful reference guide for recruiters!” It doesn’t get any better than that! To order your copy, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Get Finding Needles in a Haystack today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications for recruiters seeking to win the War for the Best Talent and maximize their ROI … their return on the Internet. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Postcards from Space: Being the Best in Online Recruitment & HR Management. A compilation of Peter Weddle’s columns for The Wall Street Journal, it provides a complete introduction to the Best Practices for sourcing, recruiting and retaining talent online.
  • Generalship: HR Leadership in a Time of War. The only primer on leadership that focuses on the unique challenges of the HR professional waging both a War for Relevancy in the modern corporation and a War for Talent in the 21st Century labor market.
  • So make sure you’re at the top of your game, get your WEDDLE’s books today. Click here or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to recruiting top talent online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for each of your requirements. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the optimum yield for you. For example:

    Opportunity Knocks

    http://www.opportunityknocks.org

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All + volunteer

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Fee to post a job: $99/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 180,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Nonprofit Development, Directors, Programs

    Other services for employers: Discussion forum for networking, Assessment instruments, Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status reports

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big message in a little book that is well on its way to becoming a business best seller.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends that make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you are meant to be.

    What’s that have to do with recruiters and HR professionals? Despite all of the technology it now involves, recruiting is still fundamentally an exercise in forging genuine, empathetic connections with other people. And you can only make such connections if you are being authentic, if you are being true to yourself. In other words, Recognizing Richard Rabbit will not only help you to find the You of your dreams, it will improve your ability to recruit top prospects, as well.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. This is one book you won’t want to miss! Buy your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.