Posted on Leave a comment

The 360 Review Process – An Inside Look at an HR Company’s Implementation

The 360 Review Process - An Inside Look at an HR Company's Implementation

Deciding which performance review process to implement at your organization can often be a daunting task. There are so many elements to consider, and one assessment process will be perfect for one company and a complete disaster for another. At 4 Point Consulting, after careful consideration, we decided to implement the 360-degree review process for our team this year.

Which performance review process is best for your team?

As an HR consulting organization, we approached the process with what some might call extremely tedious rigor, or as we call it “due diligence.” With all the potential pitfalls of 360s in mind, our team knew that in order to successfully implement the process, careful steps must be taken to ensure our whole team was on board, educated in the process, and fully participating. First, each member of the team was assigned reading “homework” to learn about the 360 process from all angles — the good, the bad, and the complicated. We then split into groups and assigned each role’s core competencies on which they’d be measured by their peers (competencies are employee behaviors, skills or attributes that contribute to the success of an organization). With all this due diligence and team involvement, we still weren’t ready to jump into the actual review process quite yet. To truly ensure that the whole team was near expert-level on the process (which, to be clear, is a step that isn’t necessary for any other type of organization), our groups wrote presentations on different aspects of the 360 review process and delivered them to the rest of the team to ensure a truly well-rounded and fully-involved and knowledgeable process once we began. We also had a separate team that was tasked solely with researching the myriad of options for implementing the process (we ultimately decided on a simple document designed in Google Forms).

360 reviews can “change lives,” according to the Harvard Business Review

Was our process a success? Overwhelmingly, it seems most of us agree that indeed, it was. We were each reviewed by several of our peers and project managers — truly receiving the “sideways and upwards” feedback intended with this process, and each of us walked away from our reviews with a thoroughly holistic idea of our performance.

I sat down with a few 4 Point Consulting team members, CEO and Principal Consultant Christy Hopkins, Associate Principal and Project Manager Kathryn Gongaware, and Associate Consultant Steve Discont, to get a holistic view of our process.

“I thought that utilizing different groups to cross reference everyone’s work and build off the competency creation was great. It was a very hands on approach and I think from the start helped cultivate that feeling that every person’s contributions and feedback is valuable.”  – Heather Paterson, Talent Project Coordinator

In retrospect, is there something that was learned through the process that you think we should do differently next time?

CEO: I learned that I should’ve prepared the leadership/management team, who were all SUPER in support of implementing 360s, that they would be hardest hit by some of the feedback. I also learned that my entire team is BRILLIANT (I already knew this, but the presentations were AMAZING). I love the review process now and I’m genuinely excited for the next time we do this.

Project Manager: I think one missed opportunity was that we could’ve used the process as a chance to get feedback from the whole team on the company as a whole. In the future, we’ll have to make sure to include engagement or general company feedback questions to give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on the company as a whole and embrace that opportunity for us as leaders to really learn what the whole team truly feels about the organization and how we can improve.

Associate Consultant: For us, I think extending the length of the time intended between inception, launch, and completion would have helped us, in hindsight. I think that the 360 feedback process is a very valuable tool for development and understanding an individual’s performance. Establishing a 360 process method, developing processes, training team members on the process, collecting feedback, and processing and disseminating results takes time, and I feel that although we did this about 1.5-2.0 months, I think we were extremely ambitious. I think this is especially true as I know that a number of us had challenges thinking about the areas of strength and the areas of development that our fellow peers might have, as we had not been proactively looking for them or keeping track of them over the previous 6 months. I think now as a team will be more prepared for the next set of performance evaluations now that we know the process and what is recommended for giving effective feedback.

What were some memorable moments from the 360 review process — either from creation, implementing, or writing your own reviews?

CEO: One thing that was really interesting to me was how challenging it was for me to stay hands off and just TRUST my team to get to where they needed to be. But as I mentioned, I learned that my team is brilliant and I can trust them to accomplish anything.

Project Manager: As someone who helped on the software research side of things, I will say — if an organization has the time and resources to conduct similar research, it’s worth it to figure out which software would work the best for your organization, based on company size and your budget. Another thing to note is that no one was shocked when they left their review. This is how it should be. Just because you’re implementing 360s, that doesn’t mean you should do away with giving your team regular, constructive feedback.  

Associate Consultant: A particularly memorable moment was the experience of sitting there and actively working to write constructive feedback for the development for my colleagues and of management. I think that it can be easy to point out the chinks in other people’s armor, and point at how they trip and fall. It’s much more challenging to actively consider how to phrase things so a person can see the areas they need to improve in a non-judgmental way, and provide suggestions on how they can continue to grow. I found myself having to take my time and restructure and re-frame my thoughts for the betterment of my fellow 4Pointers. Heck, I think this applies for me too, since I was put in a position where I had to critically evaluate my own performance on the competencies established for my role, and think about how I could improve in each of the respective competencies.

Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

CEO: As a company leader, it’s so important to create an open dialogue with your employees and really build trust both ways. We decided to have a feedback forum before we started the 360 process, and it was really helpful to hear everyone’s thoughts, concerns, and suggestions before we began. I recommend doing this early and often when a new system or process is implemented in the workplace. This way you can really take in the feedback and respond to it, make any minor changes necessary, and truly show your team that their input is valued and appreciated.

Associate Consultant: I think the 360 Feedback process is an extremely valuable one, but can be a potentially expensive one. For companies the size of ours, and with roles with such complexities as ours, the 360 process is worthwhile. There are some roles in companies where it may not be nearly as beneficial to the employee (e.g., maintenance staff, tier 1 customer service staff). It can also be a time-consuming process, depending on the number of reviews a person is asked to perform. This, added up across all the people performing ratings, can account for a notable number of work hours. It’s important for a company and its leadership to actively consider the benefits that they are looking to gain from implementing a 360 feedback system versus the potential drawbacks of doing so.

Project Manager: Whatever review process you choose for your organization, make sure you’re still giving consistent recognition and feedback. We like to use our internal “Shoutouts” Slack channel for peer recognition of a teammate’s performance or a job well done. The more positive you can make that, the better. Encourage your team to shine light on their peers that are performing well or that have done something worth mentioning to the rest of the company.


Need some assistance with your organization’s performance review process? Send us a message for help choosing a method, process design or implementation, or for an hourly-rate consultation with one of our friendly and trusted HR gurus.

4 Point Consulting is a boutique HR Consulting and Talent Acquisition firm, specializing in small business and high-growth startups, as well as VC and PE firms. Our services range from full-time talent acquisition and complete benefits systems creation to employer brand enhancement and HRIS implementation — and everything in between.

Posted on 1 Comment

10 Effective Ways to Train a New Employee

effective-ways-how-to-train-new-employees
Training a new employee the right way matters in many more ways than just having them start to be productive. The costs of not training your employees can add up quickly; from poor morale to lack of production to employee turnover, not setting up your new employee (or newly promoted employee) for success has consequences.

You also will want to consider the costs and the time required to train your new employee. You will want your new employee to track their training time (and what tasks they spent what amount of time learning), as well as you will want to know how many hours it took away from a manager or team to train the new person. This kind of training data will be invaluable to you in order to grow your business, increase your employees’ production, and improve employee retention from continually improving your training programs.

We will discuss the following 10 ways to train a new employee:

  • Way #1: On the Job Training (aka OJT)
  • Way #2: Mentoring Program
  • Way #3: Employee Coaching
  • Way #4: Culture Training
  • Way #5: Job Shadowing
  • Way #6: Webinars & Online Resources
  • Way #7: Mobile Training Apps
  • Way #8: Third Party Training
  • Way #9: Gamification
  • Way #10: Use Social Media

Before we start, let’s also talk about the various ways and the commitment and amount of time they take in an easy table:

Let’s start with the most important way to train the vast majority of employees, from a waiter to a real estate agent to a lawyer:

Way #1: On The Job Training (OJT)

What It Is: OJT is a hands-on method of learning that uses existing equipment, tools, and resources to teach job specific duties and competencies. Training takes place within the job environment so that the employee can learn by seeing how the work is performed. This is especially important for roles that clock in and clock out; one of the first OJT training duties should be teaching your new employee how to clock in and clock out effectively and in alignment with company policy using your OnTheClock system. After all, this small function is where businesses lose thousands… to millions… of dollars!

Why It Works: OJT is considered to be one of the most effective training options because it is normally performed internally by those who already understand the job and the company’s values. It’s like having a real life training manual, where the current employee can also teach the new employee the idiosyncrasies of policies and systems, as well as caution them about company policies. On the other side, it is also time consuming and requires an actual person to be training the trainee.

How You Can Try It: Let’s take a quick look at how OJT works. A retail store cashier is an excellent example of a role where OJT is very relevant. Let’s take a step by step approach at Sam’s Hardware Shop and how OJT might be used for “New Hire Nelly” with long time “Employee Eric”.

Step 1: Nelly comes in for work on her first day. Eric is assigned to be her trainer (or sometimes, companies call this a “buddy” to promote camaraderie). Eric greets Nelly when she arrives and, once she fills out her paperwork (i.e. tax forms, etc… which Eric might do, or someone from HR might do), Eric brings Nelly onto the floor.

Step 2: Eric walks Nelly through a typical start of the day, where he shows her how to clock in, and shows her how to do it (as well as she should do it so she can be paid for today!).

Step 3: Eric then shows Nelly where his register is and starts the day. He counts down the drawer and ensures that it matches the night prior’s totals, and then asks her to try it.

Step 4: Eric then opens his register and lets Nelly watch him take care of actual transactions and customers while she takes notes. This should go on for an hour or two. Then, Eric could let Nelly try to do some transactions while he watches and provides feedback.

Step 5: Eric should then debrief with Nelly at the end of her day, help answer any questions, and help her to clock out.

The steps should then repeat until Nelly starts to be able to do all of the actions on her own. As Nelly becomes more functional, Eric’s time with her will decrease, likely each day, and eventually will likely be only for unique questions like a price check or a rebate.

Next, let’s look at mentoring, which can be a large component of On The Job Training.

Way #2: Mentoring Program

What It Is: Mentoring is a form of training that involves pairing a senior, experienced employee with a new, less experienced employee in order for the new hire to adapt quickly to their role. It is very similar to OJT, but usually takes the relationship to the next level (i.e. think of a senior level attorney being paired with a junior associate).

Tip: You might want to consider using a specific amount of mentoring each week, or even each month, for team members to get the most out of this time. 

Why It Works: Establishing a mentor relationship has been shown to enhance the speed that a new employee learns their new role and adapts to company culture because of the one on one interaction. It also has numerous other positive benefits such as increased positivity at the workplace and higher retention rates because it builds both social and professional bonds.

How You Can Try It: No need to reinvent the wheel: some of the top Fortune 500 companies and successful small businesses implement great mentoring programs. Here are a few of their stories:

General Electric

  • Newly hired graduates go into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program where they will complete 8 months rotating within areas of their particular business.

Google

  • For the past 9 years, Google has offered a global program featuring stipends for student developers. Summer of Code pairs students with mentors to gain real-world software development experience and has boasted over 8,500 successful participants.

4 Point Consulting

  • 4 Point Consulting offers its associates and staff consultants the opportunity to trade ideas, request trainings and learn from senior management with monthly “Coffee n Convo” hours, dedicated entirely to the development of its employees. Group mentorship allows for camaraderie and the building of essential communication skills.

Caterpillar

  • Caterpillar devotes the first 2-3 years of a college graduate’s employment to professional development by implementing a rotation program wherein the new hire can gain exposure to all aspects of the business, from building basic technical skills to engaging with senior management.

Mentoring in a less formal sense, and when usually done by the direct manager of a new employee, is usually called:

Way #3: Employee Coaching

What It Is: Coaching is used to provide guidance to employees so they can work through challenges and strengthen their skills. Coaching is also usually somewhat less formal than mentoring, and can take less time (and thus cost less money, inhibit employee production less) than mentoring. However, both can have value when some structure is in place around them, and employee coaching can be formally structured (for example, in a weekly 1 on 1 with an employee’s manager).

Why It Works: Coaching is effective because it empowers employees to take their training into their own hands and encourages high performance in a setting and pace that helps personal and professional development. It also can serve as the basis for performance management and documentation of performance, which can be important in promotional and termination decisions, as well as in performance reviews.

How You Can Try It: This method can be effective when you have an employee who could benefit from performance improvement because it helps guide them towards solving problems and improving skills. It can also be great for management or senior employees to consult a business coach who can help provide guidance, focus, goal-setting, accountability, personal development, and business profitability.

Way #4: Culture Training

What It Is: Company Culture is the personality of an organization and it describes what values and goals a company has. Training new employees on company culture is equally important as training for skills because it puts emphasis on being part of the team.

Why It Works: Studies show that employees who are in alignment with their company’s culture and mission are more dedicated to the success of the organization. Teaching your company’s culture and values can also drastically reduce the chances employees will inadvertently engage in discrimination or harassment. It also promotes increased communication and promotes positivity. Howard Stevenson, of Harvard Business School faculty, notes: “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

How You Can Try It: You can start by creating a list of core values for your company, decide what characteristics new hires will have to be successful in your culture, and continue ongoing training with existing employees. Perhaps employees can contribute to or vote on your list of values, if they are not already stated. If your mission, culture and values exist, make sure you’re living by them. Post your values where team members can regularly see them. Hold your management team and yourself accountable to fulfilling those values daily. If your organization has grown, pivoted, or has experienced a change in its strategy or goals, consider whether the values you put in place at the outset still ring true today. In order for culture and values to work, they have to be felt, so they have to be unique and applicable to your company and employees, specifically.

Next, similar to On The Job Training, there is job shadowing.

Way #5: Job Shadowing

What It Is: Job shadowing involves a new hire working directly with an employee to become immersed in the day by day requirements of the job. In fact, some people even use job shadowing as a part of the recruitment

Why It Works: This method works well because it allows new hires to see the nitty gritty details in real time, without having to figure it out along the way. Simply telling a new employee what to do is not as successful as showing them one on one.

How You Can Try It: Job shadowing works best for jobs that require a lot of detail or those that are heavily task-based. Even if the role would not benefit from solely job shadowing, most roles have some aspects that are well suited to this type of training. In some cases, it can be essential, such as for internships or promotions.

A great example in general is the food and beverage industry. It is fairly unique in its job shadowing (“stage”) concept. But allowing potential (or new) employees to immediately receive the opportunity to work hands-on, side-by-side with more tenured teammates for a whole day can give them a real glimpse into on-the-job realities and skills necessary. One of 4 Point Consulting’s clients, Hu Kitchen in NYC, actually does job shadowing (a “trail” they call it) in their recruitment process for all restaurant roles to make sure that their top candidates understand exactly what their new job would be.

Way #6: Webinars and Online Resources

What It Is: Webinars and Online Resources are both virtual training sessions, with the former being a live presentation, and the latter being pre-made virtual training materials that can be accessed at any time.

Why It Works: This method is extremely cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have employees in different locations. You can take away cost for commuting, venues, and food by utilizing online training. It can also increase employee engagement because people are less likely to be shy about asking questions online. It can also be useful to have resources available for later times because it allows employees to access online information around their busy schedules.

How You Can Try It: For effective execution, start by breaking down material into intuitive sections, incorporate lots of visuals and interactive media, take time to answer questions and encourage collaboration, and set aside time at the end for participant quizzes and feedback.

4 Point Consulting finds success in such trainings from new-hire on-boarding material to systems implementation by leading with agendas, keeping material strictly to the point, and leaving apt time for Q&A at the end of the webinar (so that participants can avoid disruptions and stay on mute throughout the training!). One 4 Point client, SAFEbuilt, was rolling out a new HRIS system in 2018. 4 Point Consulting hosted live webinars (which were also recorded) for employees to attend to learn functionality of the system in real time. We also held webinar Q&A sessions on a daily basis to make sure people felt heard and understood in a smaller group setting. It worked wonders and, better yet, people retained what they learned!

In a similar way, mobile training apps take the webinar concept to the mobile level.

Way #7: Mobile Training Apps

What It Is: Mobile apps designed specifically to provide training sessions and materials straight to an employee’s phone.

Why It Works: Millennials are a lot different from previous generations because they were raised on technology and the workforce in general has become more on the go and remote than ever before. Mobile learning allows employees to learn wherever or whenever and it can be delivered in smaller, more manageable-sized chunks.

How You Can Try It: Find an app service that works for your business, often apps will work with other HR software. Have your new hires gain access even before they begin their first day so that all necessary paperwork is completed in advance and energy levels are kept high from the very beginning. For some app recommendations, visit this article from SHRM.

Way #8: Third Party Training

What It Is: Using outside sources, such as vendors, to provide training to your internal employees.

Why It Works: This method is great when a company may not have the resources to efficiently train new hires or when specialized training is required such as OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety) and you do not have qualified team members available to teach. Other options are using vendor training for any software or apps you use. This can also be useful for training that happens to prevent liability to an employer, such as Diversity & Inclusion training, Sexual Harassment training, HIPPA training, or the like.

How You Can Try It: Determine the needs of your business and decide if it will be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource training.

Need help figuring out your training strategy or don’t have enough time to write your new policies out? Training & development is one of our core practice areas! Get in touch to find more about our hourly HR consulting services.

Way #9: Gamification

What It Is: This new buzzword involved turning training into something fun like a game where people are motivated to succeed through incentivizing the process with rewards.

Why It Works: It promotes friendly competition, gives a sense of achievement to participants, and engages and motivates learners to make behavioural changes.

How You Can Try It: Modify your existing training materials to include a gaming element such as changing format to be levels with winning one level being mandatory before reaching the next step. You can also include an awards system to motivate employees to succeed. More suggestions for implementing gamification techniques can be found here.

Doug Kirkpatrick, of Beyond Empowerment: The The Age of the Self-Managed Organization found that with his project, Morningstar, in which he was instructed to create a state of the art manufacturing plant for tomatoes, he was able to organize the team with a simple scorecard. The gaming element created collaboration, harmony and prosperity for the project: Morningstar produced 90 million pounds of tomato paste for the world market, changing the course of the industry.

Way #10: Use Social Media

What It Is: Using Social Media for training can be a great, easy way to share training materials with your employees because it is easily accessible.

Why It Works: It engages employees on platforms they are already familiar with and active on.

How You Can Try It: Try creating YouTube training videos to share with your new hires. You can also create a private Facebook group where employees can exchange information and materials directly with one another. Another great resource is an instant-messaging service, like Slack, that can be used amongst employees for easy collaboration and sharing.

In conclusion…

Investing in training for new employees helps attract AND retain great talent. Taking the time to coach a team member into the role demonstrates your organization’s commitment to their personal development, endearing them to the company in return.

Spending time with employees in training programs can help managers identify strengths and areas of development right off the bat, ensuring that each new hire can add their specific value to your company. Effective training programs improve overall employee engagement and translate into savings: employees with diversified skills can transition to projects, clients and varied workloads throughout the organization.

Posted on Leave a comment

Letting Go – Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

Letting Go - Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

While terminations are unpleasant, they are sometimes inevitable or necessary for the betterment of the company. This article will walk you through how to know when termination is the right option, and how to then execute the  firing of an employee with the least amount of risk.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone
  • The Laws Around Terminations
  • The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Plus

  • The Top 10 Termination Tips
  • Free Downloadable Termination Letter Template

But first, let’s backtrack for a moment and decide if firing someone is what actually needs to be done.

How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone

Remember, firing or termination should be the last resort for any employee as it causes stress to a business and even risk, as well as of course the negative impacts on the team, the actual employee in question, and overall office morale. Techniques like progressive discipline, coaching, and a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be exhausted prior to termination, unless a particularly egregious offense has been committed (i.e. stealing, workplace violence or threats of it). These steps also can serve as documentation for the termination, which is crucial for mitigating risk and avoiding a lawsuit.

Prior to termination, ask yourself:

  • Have I exhausted all options for trying to get this employee to comply to policies, perform, behave better, etc…?
  • Have I tried coaching, feedback (both direct and indirect), and have I been absolutely clear that their behavior or performance is unacceptable?
  • Will this person be surprised at being terminated? (Hint: NO ONE should ever be surprised at being fired if you have exhausted all possible ways to keep them as an employee.)

Now, especially if you are moving forward with the termination of the employee, you need to make sure your actions are in compliance with your state’s laws.

The Laws Around Terminations

In the end, every state except Montana is subject to what’s calledat-will employment. In its most basic element, this means that an employer has the right to terminate someone with or without cause, as long as there is nothing else at play (i.e. discrimination, retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint). On the flip side, it does also mean that an employee can walk away from an employer without recourse. However, most people think of it for the employer’s right. Again, remember- it still does not make an illegal act like termination for discrimination, for whistle-blowing, or other retaliation legal.

We recommend you also look here for more detailed laws around termination in your state specifically.

The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

Once you have made the decision that you will be moving forward with terminating an employee, here are the 5 steps you should take. If you find these steps hard to follow, there is a chance that you should consider a better documentation process of performance or behavior issues, or an implementation of a more formal feedback or performance system.

The 5 steps we will go through are:

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Need help creating a better performance management system? Send us a message.


Step 1: Before terminating, get your documents together.

First and foremost, compile documentation on performance and behavior for the employee. You may need to involve other team members in this process to collect information or documentation (i.e. an email exchange or something similar). Ensure that team members involved in this process understand the confidential nature of your request.

You’ll also want to compile any documentation you can regarding past actions your company has taken in an effort to rectify the employee’s performance or behavior issues, and consider writing out a timeline of events (especially if a number of verbal warnings or meetings were had). Include dates, times, and who was in attendance. Stick to the facts. 

Here’s a good vs. poor example of how to document employee issues:

GOOD:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late for her shift. Mark, the manager on shift at the time, had a meeting with her immediately about it in his office. He provided her with an additional copy of the employee time tracking policy, which includes tardiness procedures and outlining the policies of who and how to call in the event that you’re late.”

POOR:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late to her shift and showed up looking disheveled and looking like she was going to say that her kids made her late again. Mark, the manager, had a meeting with her and informed her that children are not a reason to be late to work.”

When you are creating your documentation, read it back to yourself as if you’re an outside 3rd party (like an attorney). Stick to the facts, and be straightforward with your language – eliminate opinions and hypotheticals.

Now that we have our documentation, let’s create a termination plan.

Noticing you don’t have very much to document the termination? Hint: you might want to wait until you do to avoid risk or other issues.

 

Step 2: Create a termination plan.

Your termination plan should read like a blueprint for the action:

Logistics: Who will be there? When? Where? You will want to answer all of these questions and write down the answers. Think about who else should be present — your attorney? Another of the employee’s supervisors? You should always have a 3rd person as a witness and for safety purposes (as silly as this may sound, it’s a good rule to follow). You may also need to have to provide them with their last paycheck at the end of the meeting. Make sure to check your local legal website to make sure you’re compliant. 

Who else needs to be involved? Make a plan for who needs to know about the termination prior to your meeting, how work will be covered (or shifts), and make sure that the management team is looped in. You will also need to loop in IT in order to cut off passwords, if relevant.

Meeting Agenda: You will need a termination letter, and potentially a separation agreement if you are using severance. which we’ll cover in the next section. 

Have a Termination Checklist: To make sure everything is covered, consider using a checklist.

 

Step 3: Consider all elements. 

Lastly, before the meeting  make should consider the “human” elements of termination. Is this a long-time employee who you might even consider a friend? Think of how you feel about this termination, and take time to consider how management, other team members, and, of course, the soon-to-be-terminated employee might feel about things.

Everyone’s adrenaline will be rushing, so you’ll want to be completely prepared and ready for anything.

To prepare for the termination meeting:

  • Check, and then double check, your termination checklist.
  • Make 2 copies of all documents. 1 for the employee, 1 for your company’s records.
  • Consider creating a script and practicing the meeting. If you have a trusted colleague who knows about the termination, consider some role play and test out three scenarios. The good (the person leaves peacefully), the bad (the person flies off the handle), and the ugly (the person resorts to violence or legal threats).
  • Create an exit plan. You or your witness will need to escort this person off premises for security reasons. Will the person first need to clear their desk, or could you box everything for them and ship it overnight to their home? Think of what’s best for everyone involved, even if it means a few hundred dollars in shipping charges.
  • Consider what else needs to occur, from IT password blocking to collection of company property like a cell phone, laptop, or door key/ FOB and company ID. Have your trusted colleague who is also going to be your witness go over items as well; s/he might think of something you haven’t.
  • You will want to make sure you get the employee’s personal email address and/or phone number if you don’t already have it in order to make sure you can reach them just in case (i.e. a returned W2).

Step 4: Termination Meeting

The time for the meeting is here. Take a deep breath, and gather your preparations and trusted colleague/ witness. Invite the employee to the location, and get to it- deliver the message, provide real reasons (if it’s well documented and not a risk), and then ask the employee if s/he has any questions. Provide them their paperwork, and escort them off the premises (don’t forget to gather that company property!).

In most cases, employees who are terminated actually behave in a way we’d not expect… think of the tough guy you thought would scream at you start to cry. Be sensitive, and allow a person a minute to gather themselves, but continue to iterate that it’s time for them to get going off premises.

If emotions start to run high, invite the employee to leave and that you can answer questions once emotions have died down. If someone has severance, it is advised that they process things for a time period anyway (and if they are over 40, they have 21 days by law). Setting up a follow up meeting or conference call in a secure space with witnesses can be best for everyone once emotions have mellowed.

Once the employee has been safely escorted off premises, you will need to deal with the aftermath.


Step 5: After the Meeting

After the termination meeting, ensure that you:

  • First, inform the team of your actions either via a meeting or an email to the company. Don’t over-dramatize things or go into reasons — and don’t make light of it; this is a big decision that deserves a direct message and then an action plan to how this employee’s work and/or shifts are being covered.

Good Example: “Today we had to let go of Darryl from working at our company. We appreciate his service while here and we will be covering his Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm shifts with a temp employee we hired from an agency. If you have any questions, please do ask your manager. We appreciate your support.”

Bad Example: “I am sure if comes to no surprise to anyone that we fired Darryl today. Hopefully, this will all help you guys to realize what we mean when we give warnings. We will have each of you pick up a shift of his this week to cover his time while we start to recruit for someone to replace him.”

  • Double check that you have suspended all IT access – email, office, passwords etc., as well as gathered all company property. If you forgot something, carefully consider if there is any risk (i.e. do you need to change a door lock?) or if it can be considered a loss.
  • Remember to terminate the employee on internal systems like payroll, benefits, etc.
  • Remove the employee from the website or marketing materials. You will also need to inform clients, if that’s a part of your business, and introduce them to their new account or company contact. We recommend doing this by email to keep things from being too over dramatic, but if you feel a call is warranted, go ahead and do so. Remember to stay succinct and direct about the events, just like in the company meeting/email.
  • Monitor review sites like Glassdoor or social media, just in case. It’s always good to keep an eye on your company reputation in any case.
  • Do the things you said you were going to do. Mail them their belongings and documents (if applicable) in a timely manner, clean up their desk or workspace so that it doesn’t feel like a “ghost” is around, and move forward with a new hire or temp.

Termination is an unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, experience/thing to do. With the steps above, hopefully you can come to a peaceful, albeit not easy, termination situation, and move everyone at the business forward.

Termination Letter Template

Company Header

Address

Full Date (Month/Day/Year)

[INSERT PREFIX] First and Last Name

Full Address

Dear Employee,

This letter confirms our discussion today that you are being terminated from your employment with Company effective immediately. [Optional: In thanks for your service, we are offering a severance of insert amount. Severance details are provided under separate cover in a longer severance agreement document.]

Your benefits packages will expire on full date.

You are required to return company property via source.

You will receive your final paycheck on date. This includes:

  • Bullet list items such as wages, PTO payout, etc..

You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future, such as your tax form.

Thank you for your service to the company.

Regards,

Name of Employee’s Superior or HR

Title


Top 10 Termination Tips

 

  1. Confirm and double check all documentation. Gather emails, dates of events and meetings, and physical documentation like paperwork should all be kept in 1 place (consider printing emails).
  2. Check your company policy and ensure everything is consistent and aligned with policy.
  3. Check your local and state laws, even if you are at-will. You will want to make sure you are completely prepared.
  4. Review if you have exhausted every option possible to prevent termination.
  5. Create and practice your termination script, especially if you have attachment to the employee or have not done many terminations before. You might be surprised that you have as much emotion as the person on the other side of the table.
  6. Consider a second opinion, be it another manager, a trusted colleague or fellow business owner, or even your attorney. It will help you to feel at ease with your decision and any risks that might be present.
  7. Always avoid a hasty termination; you never know how you might feel about things in 24 hours (especially if this is a performance termination). If policy is crystal clear (i.e. 5 tardies in 1 month = termination and you have documentation of the tardies), then you can move forward with less caution.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind BEFORE the meeting. While you should never change your mind during the meeting or at the employee’s please (it creates risk and a potential legal situation), don’t be so bullish that you consider giving someone one more warning or coaching session to get them back on track.
  9. Trust your gut…within reason. If you’re gut instinct is sending you one way or the other, trust it… and then support it with documentation.
  10. Consider how to avoid this situation in the future. Is there something that could have been done with training? Management style? How you hired this person? Reflection is key to making your business better, and consider involving other people in this reflection process.
Posted on Leave a comment

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

We’re thrilled to announce that 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and Principal Consultant, Christy Hopkins, has been asked to join Forbes Chicago Business Council! 


Chicago (January 9, 2019) — Christy Hopkins, CEO and Principal Consultant of 4 Point Consulting, a quality-driven professional services, human resources, and talent acquisition firm that works with startups, SMBs, mid-market companies, VC firms & their portfolios, has been accepted into Forbes Chicago Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in Greater Chicago.

Hopkins was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Christy and 4 Point into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Chicago Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Christy will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at member events. Hopkins will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to join this community of business professionals,” said Christy. “The professional services climate is rapidly changing, and we’re thrilled to be on the forefront as the industry evolves. I look forward to contributing with the best practices from 4 Point Consulting as well as learning from others on the council.”

ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS
Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Chicago Business Council, visit forbeschicagocouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

Posted on Leave a comment

Defining OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)

A woman defining OKR strategies to another male coworker

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a process that has gained momentum across international companies like Google and AirBnB, helping these powerhouse brands connect with and unite their teams through tangible objectives that guide the business in a unified direction. OKR research and creation has become an integral part in successful human resource management to such benefits as stronger communication, faster adaptation and even workforce scalability plans.

What is an OKR?

At its core, OKR is a system of setting objectives and tracking the outcomes. While this isn’t a new concept, it was popularized by Google co-founders John Doerr and Larry Page when they implemented the process and credited it with the company’s incredible success. Google and its parent company, Alphabet, continue to use the system across all functions.

How it Works

OKR finds its best success through setting objectives, measurable results and grading the success of the efforts. To create an OKR,

  1. Start by defining key objectives for the business on a company, team and individual level.
  2. Under each of the objectives, outline a few measurable results to track and analyze progress. Avoid setting too many objectives, as this will fragment your workforce and keep the process from doing what it is designed to do, focus the organization’s efforts.
  3. There are multiple systems to use when measuring the success of OKRs, each with its own benefits and reporting systems. Once the objectives have been established, work backwards to uncover the best ways to grade success.

Remember, OKRs are not a one-time process — they should become an integral facet of the company culture and revisited on a consistent basis.

Benefits

A well-executed OKR program can result in a more coordinated and focused company. It creates clear objectives and expectations of employees, so they know where they should focus their efforts to complete the goals set for themselves, their team and the company as a whole. OKR also aligns employee and company goals, which allows an individual’s effort to forward the progress of a team, effectively moving the business towards its goal in a larger coordinated endeavor.

Growing a long-lasting company with sound internal structures and a strong culture is difficult. In addition to the many challenges innate with building a business from scratch, coordinating the workforce to accomplish the company’s goals adds another layer of difficulty. Implementing and executing an OKR process will ease the growing pains of the business and set it on the path towards success.

Posted on 2 Comments

How HR Saves a Company Money

An HR employee demonstrating to two people how to save money

Acquiring a human resources employee or contractor is an investment you make to improve the quality and value of your business. While adding this asset does cost money initially, the long-term payoff in adding these services will save the company untold amounts of money in the following ways:

  1. Ensuring diversification in the workforce
  2. Creating a supportive company culture
  3. Compliance of ever-changing workplace laws and regulations

Diversification in the Workforce

Today’s hiring landscape is more complicated than ever, making it more challenging to not only acquire the right talent, but to do so properly and reap its benefits.

Building a workforce that includes employees of all backgrounds has been proven to increase the all-around success of a business. To prevent improper hiring practices, assess the candidate pool to ensure the candidates are not all of the same background; examine the language and context of the listings to avoid alienating certain groups; and remove bias by implementing blind hiring or using software that hides personal information to prevent any unconscious bias.

Responsible Company Culture

One of the biggest draws in today’s recruiting practices is the overall company culture, which adds to your overall brand identity. Unfortunately, it’s often the culture that causes misconduct issues across the workplace.

Last year, a survey of 150 human resource representatives revealed that roughly one in 10 employers cancelled holiday parties, and only 47.8 percent surveyed said they would provide alcohol due to employee misconduct issues. However, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, no amount of training or post-problem investigations will help eliminate misconduct until a company chooses to invest in a “culture of civility.”

A dedicated HR professional has already acquired the proper training techniques needed to avoid a toxic culture that leads to costly lawsuits and executive firings. They can also determine how to best spend valuable company funds for proactive and preventative measures.

Maintaining Compliance

Federal, state and local employer/employee compliance laws are crucial when a company workforce is growing, but a company has to know these laws exist to comply. A high-level review of these topics is necessary for every business owner, but one must also dive into industry-specific regulations to avoid costly fines and legal actions.

One example is the Ban the Box movement, which is currently supported by 29 states. Ban the Box refers to the elimination of the box indicating criminal history, as checking this box almost always meant the individual was not going to be hired. Unfortunately, this practice too often condemns an otherwise qualified individual for a mistake they made years ago.

Additionally, accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees are gaining momentum after years of being overlooked. Legislation is working its way through government entities to protect pregnant workers on the job, similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

A company without an HR department is missing many opportunities and placing the business at risk. Working with a professional HR consultant will not only save a company money on employee turnover costs, but prevent potential lawsuits and increase employee satisfaction in the workplace, which in turn boosts productivity.

Posted on Leave a comment

6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

Coaching is defined as an ongoing approach to managing people that creates a positive and motivating climate for performance, improves the match between an employee’s actual performance and an employee’s expected performance, and increases the probability of an employee’s success by providing timely feedback, recognition, clarity and support. Coaching is an alternative to discipline by passing the ownership of performance improvement to the employee rather than the manager. Coaching also works to frame the “issue” as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than the employee “getting in trouble” for something they did wrong.

In this article, we will be focusing on coaching, what effective coaching looks like, and the 6 steps to providing effective employee coaching:

  • What Is Effective Coaching?
  • Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?
  • Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process
  • Step 2: Get On The Same Page
  • Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success
  • Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions
  • Step 5: Write It Out
  • Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

What Is Effective Coaching?

Effective coaching not only provides positive feedback about employee contributions but also lets employees know when they are effective contributors to the workforce. By providing this positive feedback, the employee’s actions and contributions are reinforced so that they continue to perform in this way.

Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?

Effective coaching can also be utilized when there are performance issues with an  employee. Employee coaching feedback assists the employee to correct minor issues before they become significant detractions from their performance. The goal of coaching is to work in a collaborative way with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department.

Coaching & Performance Management

The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching. Counseling or coaching should be part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an employee who reports to him/her. Done well, coaching can help an employee continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute.

Here are some steps that management can take to provide effective employee coaching:

Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process

Show that you have confidence in the employee’s ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask them for help in solving the problem or improving their performance. Create a common goal to increase the employees’ effectiveness as a contributor to your company.

Step 2: Get On The Same Page

Describe the performance problem to the employee. Be sure to focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not on the employee themselves. Provide concrete examples of the behavior so that you and the employee share a common understanding and meaning. Ask for the employee’s view of the situation. Do they see the same problem or opportunity that you do?

Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success

Determine whether there are external issues that exist that may be limiting the employee’s ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperament. Find out if these barriers exist and how to remove them. Does the employee needs your help to remove the barriers? Are they able to remove them by themselves?

Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions

Collaborate with the employee to brainstorm potential solutions to the problem and create action items to create improvement. Identify the core goals and achievement markers that the employee must achieve to reach the level of desired performance.

Step 5: Write It Out

Core goals and achievement markers can be put into a formal written document between the employee and manager so each party is held accountable to the process and the results.

Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

Set a date and time for follow up, whether this is internally made by the manager to check in with the employee at a later date or a mutually agreed upon time to revisit the employees progress. Following through to check on improvements and progress is an important part of coaching.

What Else Can A Great Manager Do?

As a supervisor, offer positive encouragement and express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. They are ultimately the one in charge of their own progress.

Conclusion

This process allows your employee to take ownership of their own growth thereby creating an employee who is fully engaged in their own performance. Investing in your employees’ development and growth by communicating your commitment to their success through effective employee coaching will help you build an engaged, skilled team for your business. By following the steps above and maintaining positive reinforcement and follow up, your employees will be well on their way to owning their experience!

Posted on 1 Comment

Hiring a New Employee: Person-Organizational Fit and Why It’s Important

Hiring a New Employee: Person-Organizational Fit and Why It’s Important

You need to bring on a new team member. You’ve interviewed and met with multiple outstanding candidates; now you need to make the decision: which person should you hire? Wait- before you send over that offer letter, consider that there are two main aspects to consider when determining whether the candidate should or should not be hired: job fit, which is what you most likely have already addressed, and organizational fit, which we will discuss more in this article.

We will discuss:

  • Job Fit
  • Cultural Fit
  • Person-Organization Fit Theory

Job Fit

First and foremost, when you are hiring, the candidate needs to meet the requirements of the role. An individual is considered a good match for a job if his or her background and experience aligns well with the job description and are able to carry out the responsibilities of the role. The concept of Job Fit helps an employer determine how well a potential candidate may be suited for the role.

Does the candidate fit all the requirements and qualifications of the role you are looking to fill? Do they have the experience to carry out the responsibilities of the role? Job fit and cultural fit, which we will talk about next, are assessed throughout the steps in the interview and hiring process. However, the vast majority of traditional questions asked during a phone screen, an interview, and traditional tests/assessments are used to evaluate a candidate’s job fit with the role. These are used to measure knowledge skills and abilities of an individual against the competencies required for the job. This can make hiring and predictability of an employee staying in a role, and being happy and productive there, less predictable than we would like. It also can make candidates blur together- there are a lot of qualified people out there, especially for entry level roles.

Let’s use that as an example for how to explain cultural fit: let’s pretend you have 2 potential hires who are both outstanding but you only have one position to fill. How will you decide which of the two to hire?

Cultural Fit

Here’s when you will want to consider cultural fit. You want to hire the right person for the organization, not only someone who is capable of getting the job done. You need to ask yourself, and the candidate:

  • Does his or her goals align with the company’s mission?
  • Will the individual be happy working within the organization? Why?

Like Job Fit, Cultural Fit is also evaluated throughout the interview and hiring process. For example, when interviewing candidates, you can ask questions that regarding core values and the culture of the organization. To do so, you need to define what your company culture is.

Your company’s culture should reflect the mission, values, and ethics of the organization. Different attributes contribute to a company’s culture, such as communication and employee engagement, leadership and decision making within the organization, and recognition of employee contributions. Matching a person to a job which they are capable of performing is important; however, matching a person to an organization in which he or she is compatible with is just as vital.

Person-Organization Fit Theory

The Person-Organization Fit Theory is the concept that describes the compatibility between people and organizations. This takes into consideration the compatibility between their values and expectations of the employee. Employees tend to be attracted to organizations that share similar values and goals as the individual.  When an employee obtains a position within an organization that meets his or her personal and professional requirements, it will encourage positive results.

For example, let’s take an example of a company hiring for a role that is very team-oriented and involves a lot of collaboration. If the candidate is capable of completing all the responsibilities required of the role, he or she would fall under the category of a good job fit. However, if this person is not fond of work that requires heavy communication and collaboration with other team members, he or she may not be a good culture fit. On the other hand, if the candidate can excel at all the responsibilities of the role and also strives to work with others in a collaborative environment, they would be a good fit for the job and the organization.

How Person-Organization Fit Impacts Productivity

A good person-organization fit can positively impact one’s productivity and performance as well as job personal wellness. One study shows that there is a positive correlation between an employee’s culture fit within the organization and the employee’s longevity at a company. When an individual has higher job satisfaction, they will be more committed and thus, more likely to remain with the organization.

Some other benefits of person-organization fit include:

  • Higher quality of work and increased productivity
  • More efficient collaboration amongst team members
  • Improved employee retention
  • Increased levels of engagement, contribution, and creativity from employees
  • Happy employees make great company ambassadors!

What if you don’t use Person-Organization Fit?

On the other hand, a poor person-organization fit can lead to negative outcomes. Results of hiring an employee that does not fit well with the organization’s culture and values may cause lower job satisfaction and affect one’s mental health. This in turn will lead to lower rates of productivity and a higher turnover rate within the organization.

Some other consequences could include:

  • Increased physical and mental exhaustion and stress
  • Low morale within the team
  • Lack of individual and team motivation
  • Low productivity/ unsatisfactory work
  • Increased costs on hiring and training
  • Employee turnover increase

Conclusion

In the end, it is not a simple task to hire the perfect candidate. Being aware of different factors that contribute to an employee’s commitment to the organization and its values are important when pursuing a potential candidate. Determining whether a candidate is a good fit within the company will require effort that starts even before the interview, but a positive fit can benefit both the employee and the organization in the long run.

Posted on 1 Comment

Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

The workplace is rapidly changing, more so now than ever with the continuous inclusion of cutting edge technologies. The past year HR departments all over the country were prioritizing the well-being of their employees in several different realms. Executives, in conjunction with HR departments, began to invest more time in their employees by creating a better workplace environment.  Company culture and employee engagement were huge in 2017. In 2018 we will see a continuation of these priorities (with some tweaks) as well as many others, most of which are technology centered.

Let’s talk about:

  • Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here
  • Making Friends with AI
  • Microlearning For Employees
  • Gamification
  • The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Read on for  more about HR in 2018!

1) Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here

With millennials being such a large part of the workforce and the increased transparency brought about by the inclusion of cutting edge technology, employees are expecting a more engaging and life-affirming work experience. Gone are the days of head down, nose to the grindstone work ethics. Employees today are expecting a lot more from their employers.

Employee Experience” is defined as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work. It is the totality of an employee’s experiences, so it encompasses all of the narrower aspects of how an employee perceives his everyday life at the office, both good and bad.

The employee experience ecosystem combines three core aspects: engagement, culture, and performance management. The main idea behind employee experience is to optimize every touchpoint that an employee comes in contact with, to create a unified experience that feels holistic throughout every stage, both of which involve treating the employee with the same degree of care that you would treat your customers.

2) Making Friends With AI

Employees today want to develop their skill sets and fulfill personal value-based goals; they expect their employers to provide them with the opportunity to do so. The modern-day workforce will forego the highest possible salary to instead worth an organization whose culture matches with their fundamental values. The opportunity to learn and obtain regular feedback are things they crave.

Learning and Development (L&D) programs from employers are more important than ever to establish the new employee’s reality.  Employers are utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide personalized programs for each employee that are tailored to their unique needs, career goals and learning styles.

AI is also increasingly being used to streamline HR practices such as recruiting, hiring, and training. AI in HR offers a great opportunity to automate many of the busy, repetitive tasks HR practitioners have to deal with HR professionals can spend that time on the core business of HR: people. Specifically, the recruitment and acquisition of great new people and the retention of current staff members. When it comes to finding those great new people, AI can help recruiters and hiring managers on another level by cutting human bias out of the process as well as predict a candidate’s suitability for the job.

3) Microlearning For Employees

Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025 and the human attention span is getting smaller on average. Microlearning offers a chance to educate employees by providing learning content in very specific yet small bursts. The reason microlearning is becoming more popular is due to the increased flexibility it gives to the learners. The learners have control over time management while learning because the learning program is organized into a number of short courses. Employees can use this approach to learn a concept specific to a job and utilize their new found knowledge right away.

Microlearning helps employers save on both time and cost, especially on expensive training consultants if you contrast it with other traditional methods of training like day-long seminars. HR professionals leading or administering the more traditional employee trainings can be freed up to turn their attention to more pressing HR work.

4) Gamification

Gamification is the usage of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game scenarios such as business environment and processes, specifically in recruitment, training and development, and motivation; in order to engage users and solve problems. Today you can see examples of it everywhere: receiving stamps for cups of coffee, gaining new features in running apps, even military training utilizes gaming features.

Gamification has been known to increase productivity by providing employees with independence and choice. Employees responded with higher job satisfaction, job performance, innovation, and workplace satisfaction than those who did not have any choice. Independence and personal preference within gamification can all help promote autonomy within roles. When we accomplish something or reach a goal, our brain releases dopamine, making us feel euphoric while reinforcing the behavior that released that dopamine. Gamification utilizes the chemical reward process in the brain.

Finally, gaining new features or reaching new levels in gamification provides measurable results, reinforcing the idea that the employee is learning and growing. Employee engagement is beneficial to productivity and profitability; the promise of individual growth will ensure that engagement.

5) The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Well-being expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body. It encompassing an employee’s mental and emotional state as well as their productivity and ability to perform at the peak of their capabilities. Well-being initiatives are moving away from being centered primarily around getting in shape and eating healthily, increasingly mental and financial wellness are also earning attention from forward-thinking employers.

Some common ways HR departments and employers are increasing the focus on well-being are providing on-site yoga, fitness, and meditation classes by a certified instructor, providing gym discounts, allow for flexible working hours, promote the use of productivity boosting devices like the Headspace app, incorporating team activities, and financial advising.

In the End

While no one can know for sure what HR trends 2018 will deliver, it is evident that the increased use of technology in HR and the continued implementation of employee experience techniques will be hot topics in 2018.

Posted on Leave a comment

Thank You Notes: The Candidate Difference

Thank You Notes: The Candidate Difference

A few weeks ago, a young lady applied for a HR role with an up and coming HR & Consulting firm. There was the initial phone screen with the CEO, the 2nd interview with one of the senior consultants, and the final step was an in-person interview (along with one other potential candidate) with the entire HR team…no pressure. Although a bit worried about the stiff competition, she left the interview feeling pretty good. Within a couple of hours, an offer letter was extended. I graciously accepted.

What ultimately separated me from the other candidate…my upbeat personality, winning smile, great conversation? Absolutely! But, it was the thank you letters I sent after each interview that made a huge difference. How do I know? The CEO told me so.

It’s interesting how we are taught not to sweat the small stuff, but something a small as “…thank you for taking the time to speak with me today…” can ultimately be just the extra push you need to set you apart from the pack. I bet you are saying to yourself, But I was nice, polite, said please and thank you…even shook their hand before I left…that should be enough right? Maybe. But let me give you a few reasons why a simple “thank you” is so important.

First, the job market is super competitive. Yes, I know your resume is all shiny and well-laid out with its streamlined formatting, clean font, and bold headline that highlights your vast knowledge, wealth of experience, superior skills, and super hero ability to save sinking company profits in a single bound. So does hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants that are vying for that one available spot at the same company. Very few applicants send thank you notes after an interview, let alone a phone screen with the recruiter. Sad, but true. Will it hurt to take a few extra minutes to send a thank you to the hiring manager? Not at all. Could it make your resume and winning personality stand out even more? It could.

Second, it gives you a chance to reiterate how you will be an asset to the company. Yes, I know you stated in the interview how you single-handedly saved your last company from the brink of disaster and financial ruin. Or maybe you forgot to elaborate more on how you were the lead behind the new software integration project that was completed before deadline and under budget. A thank you letter is a great opportunity to briefly restate why you are the best candidate for the job.

Third, and probably the most important, it’s just plain common courtesy. In our modern society of text and direct messages, tweets, and chats, it is easy to forget that everyone’s time is valuable. In a time where sending an emoji through an application confirms restaurant reservations, schedules your doctor appointment, and breaks off a tumultuous relationship without so much as an actual phone call, let alone human interaction, it’s polite and respectable to acknowledge and thank your interviewer for taking the time out of their day to meet with you. Just like you, the hiring manager could be doing other things with their time – like interviewing other candidates (hint, hint). Instead, they are taking the time, effort, and resources to get to know you, schedule time to talk with you, invite you in for an in-person interview…you, you, you. See where I’m going with this?

Writing a thank you note doesn’t require a great deal of time. Ideally, you should send a thank you note the same day as your interview. It may not be a big deal to you, but it could make all the difference between hiring you and the other guy who was invited to the interview. Thank you, 4 Point Consulting.

Swanie Brooks is the HR & Recruiting Intern at 4 Point Consulting.