Last week we highlighted a cast of characters in the Witches and Warlocks category who cast their spells on the workplace, creating a toxic work culture.
This week let’s take a look at the flip side of a toxic work culture— horrible bosses, AKA Trolls!
Trolls are horrible bosses who make you want to scream with their bullying, micromanaging or up-and-down, rage-like behaviors. The troll boss may hog the credit for your achievements, throw you under the bus or show a total disregard for your wellbeing.
The Devil – Or in this case “The Devil Wears Prada”. Who could forget Miranda Priestly, portrayed by the talented Meryl Streep in the film? Just thinking about that icy stare sends shivers down my spine. Her character is ruthless, manipulative, and unnecessarily cruel. She regularly demands impossible tasks from her employees, like scheduling a flight out of Miami during a major hurricane or getting a copy of an unpublished Harry Potter book, just so her daughters can read it before the release date. She imposes upon her employees at insane hours with no regard for their personal lives. The absurdity makes it comical, but there is nothing comical about being bullied in real life. We’ve all either encountered or witnessed bullying in our lifetime. A study by Workplace Bullying Institute, showed that 19% of American workers reported being bullied or having previously been bullied at work, with another 19% who reported witnessing it. Bullying can be psychologically and emotionally damaging and can be very difficult to overcome.
The Micromanager – I think most of us have seen the memes of Gary Cole playing Bill Lumbergh in the movie, Office Space. This cult classic has generated inspiration for countless memes on social media, including the most famous, “If you could go ahead and do that, it’d be GREAT!”. And while Bill models several troll boss traits, he is the consummate nitpicker and is constantly focused on trivial matters such as report covers instead of spending time on more important issues. He spends most of his day hovering over his staff and well…micromanaging, right down to the enforcement of Hawaiian shirt day.
Micromanagement is a sign of weak leadership. What are the signs? A micromanager is constantly asking for updates and is more likely to revise your work than provide feedback on how it could be improved thus providing a development opportunity. You are not allowed to make even small decisions, and because this type manager is quick to find fault, in even the smallest of details, projects are likely to be delayed and stress increases well beyond normal levels, sometimes even to the point of causing physical harm.
A study performed by Trinity Solutions showed that 70% of people polled considered quitting their jobs and 30% did quit because of being micromanaged.
The most ironic thing about micromanagers is that they often believe their oversight is a measure necessary to achieve excellence. However, the time spent helicoptering over their employees is likely exactly what is keeping them from effectively managing their department.
The Brilliant Jerk – It almost sounds like an oxymoron. There was certainly nothing moronic about Gregory House in the TV Series titled, House MD. The Huffington Post referred to his character as the “Sherlock Holmes” of medicine. But unlike Holmes, House goes out of his way to be rude, shirk responsibilities that he feels are beneath him, and thinks the hospital policies are “suggested guidelines”. There is no question he’s a genius when it comes to the practice of medicine, but what is the cost of keeping someone like House around in the real world?
We’ve all worked with a gifted high performer who was an undeniable jerk. To put it simply, they don’t play well with others. Historically, this type of toxic boss tends to get a free pass when it comes to being rude or abrasive as long as they are delivering results. However, new studies have shown, there is a high cost to tolerating or even rewarding the brilliant jerk.
They can tear an organization apart from the inside out. They introduce toxicity into organizational culture that reduces moral and increases team turnover. In the long term, this toxicity will erode even the best of strategies.
The Work Institute estimated that 77% of turnover could have been prevented by employers. And that turnover on average it costs 1/3 of an employee’s annual salary, and 1 to 1.5 times the annual salary for high tech jobs.
The Rage-aholic – I can think of no better example of a Rage-aholic boss, than Gordon Ramsay, Celebrity Chef. He has been wildly successful with his cooking themed shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Master Chef, Hotel Hell, and 24 Hours to Hell and Back – just to name a few. Viewers can hardly wait to tune in to each episode to see Ramsay scream in the faces of incompetent chefs, struggling and sometimes delusional restaurant owners, or even difficult customers. He is not swayed by gender, looks, or social status. He is an equal opportunist when it comes to raging.
Whether it’s scallops sticking to the pan, undercooked lamb, or unsanitary food handling, Ramsay is notoriously abrasive and ready with a robust collection of swear words and devastating insults. With his bullish belittling, he leaves behind a broad wake of dumbfounded and tearful, kitchen staff.
When we see characters like our troll bosses on TV or in the movies, we laugh. In real life having a toxic boss can take its toll. You may dream of telling your boss to go jump in a lake? But they’d probably just delegate it to you, micromanage it, and then take credit for the awesome splash!
It’s important to know when to stand up to your boss and equally important to be professional in your approach. You’ll want to think through any possible repercussions to ensure the truth doesn’t set you free from your job. Be specific, be confident, and recognize that you cannot control the response, but you can get outside help. If the behavior is extreme or unlawful you should immediately seek help from your HR department. You may not the only person being impacted by the boss’ behavior. No one should feel unsafe, disrespected, or unappreciated at work. Speaking with HR will give the organization an opportunity to protect you and your peers from suffering a toxic work culture due to a troll boss.
We’ve shown a lot of examples of troll bosses, using fictional characters that people can easily relate to, so using that same theme, who is our favorite “Best” TV boss?
As a longtime fan of NCIS, the honor goes to Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who is head of the NCIS Major Case Response team. He is a strong leader who will take the heat for his team and frequently shows a caring side. He does all the right things you would expect of a great boss. He offers clear direction, gives stretch projects, trusts his team to get the job done without micromanagement and has a good sense of humor. He goes out of his way to makes thoughtful gestures to his staff, like keeping Abby well stocked in Caf Pow, her favorite high energy caffeinated drink. He also provides positive feedback when the team achieves measures of success. You can see how meaningful it is by the pride beaming from Tony’s face when Gibbs says, “Good job DiNozzo!”
He empowers his team to be independent thinkers instead of micromanaging. He expects them to find their own solutions and trusts they will get the job done. Throughout the series many of the team have been offered external opportunities. But the loyalty that comes from strong leadership and culture drives top talent retention.
Have you heard? Gen Z (1996-2012) is already making their way into the workforce. While some of this generation are still too young to enter the workforce, the eldest of them are around 22, and may even be one of your colleagues. How are Digital Natives different than the Millennial generation? That’s just it – they are truly Digital Natives. They don’t know a world without digital devices or social media. Their attention span can be shorter than Millennials; technology comes very naturally to them and they are used to switching between apps and multi-tasking at all times. Which is why in today’s post I want to discuss your job descriptions, with a focus on the length of them. Did you know in a recent study by CareerBuilder that 60% of job seekers said they have quit an application due to its length or complexity? Looking ahead as more candidates begin to come from Gen Z – this is going to become even more relevant. Where are these Gen Z candidates now? They’re on social media, and especially on visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Expect your recruitment efforts for these new candidates to change. Lengthy job descriptions are not going to be a huge hit, as well as long email conversations. Short video and voice messages will be much more effective at keeping in touch. To get applicants excited about working for your organization, try making short videos of a job description, and keep the visual elements enticing. Post these on your company YouTube channel to encourage engagement. Remember that keeping candidates informed with constant communication about their status and potential next steps is critical. The iGeneration doesn’t like being kept in the dark and appreciates real time feedback, especially in-person or video versus a text or email. Here are some more tips about how to make your video job descriptions stand out:
Have someone that is currently in the position or very similar one talk about the role, that way the potential applicant gets a realistic idea of a day in the life.
Create a corporate overview brand video as well, with an overarching theme that stays consistent with each video.
Keep your video job descriptions around 2 minutes to 2 and 1/2 minutes long.
Make sure there is a call to action in your video, such as “email us to apply” or “click the link in the description box to apply” or better yet, embed your video on the job description of your website so it is easy to apply after watching.
Create a style guide/notebook that can be updated over time with phrases and tips on how you set up the last video to make it easier for the next video.
In the HR world, our job is people – their jobs, their income, and yes, even their engagement at work. We’d like to think that when people come to the office, they come to actually work, to contribute to their team and organizational goals, and ultimately just to “be engaged”. However, whether we like it or not, employees have a life outside of work, and chances are, they care about that life with their family and friends a whole lot more than the 8+ hours a day they spend at the office. That is the life where they are able to create their own goals, set their own priorities, and manage their own work load.
The mistake that many companies make is thinking of their employees simply as cogs in the great clock of overall organizational success, handing out orders and rules, tasks and projects, drowning employees in the miserable world of red tape and company policies. This “dual life” of employees, according to Mr. Jacob Morgan at Forbes, is the root cause of employee disengagement. The clash between being the master of one’s self in one life, to becoming a mindless replaceable cog in another life, taking orders from managers simply to collect a paycheck, can make anyone a disengaged employee. As Mr. Morgan says, “It’s no wonder that the majority of employees around the world don’t like their jobs and there is one key reason for that. Work practices, attitudes, values, strategies, technologies, and ways of working are evolving and changing at a rapid pace. whereas organizations remain stagnant when it comes to adapting to these changes.”
Organizations don’t think of their employees as living, breathing people – and it has to be the mission of HR to start this revolution of thinking, starting with the manager level, and working all the way to the top.
There are different levels of disengagement, and each comes with its own set of risks. There are those that are simply “not engaged”. In the U.S. and Canada, according to a survey by Gallup, a staggering 54% of employees are not engaged, with the numbers steadily rising. Employees who are not engaged are those that go through the motions but lack motivation and innovation. They make no effort to contribute to organizational goals, or improve their own contributions, and are essentially just leeches on the company’s profit and goals. Even more threatening are the “actively disengaged” employees. Luckily, they make up a smaller number, about 18% of the workforce, and the number has started to drop. The damage they can do, however, is not minimized. These employees harbor bitter feelings towards their company for one reason or another, and actively sabotage projects or undermine their coworkers.
Whether or not the statistics are true for every organization, it is clear that the problem needs be addressed immediately. The good news is that most companies are already fairly successful even with these disengaged employees… Imagine what they could accomplish if they could turn even half of those employees into engaged employees! So what can we do to start turning the tides?
Engagement starts at the top. Employees need to see that their leaders are actively engaged so that they have someone to look up to and follow.
Mission and vision statements are a way of living. They aren’t simply words to mindlessly spit out to clients or investors. Employees need to understand what they mean in the way they do their everyday jobs.
Create harmony between the “dual lives” of the employees. If the babysitter isn’t able to pick up their children from school, they shouldn’t be punished for having to leave early for their family. They shouldn’t have to choose sides between work and family.
Communication is key. Employees want to receive feedback and direction from their leaders. If not, they assume their work isn’t valuable to the company, and they will simply stop trying.
Invest in your employees’ future careers. Employees not only want to know that their work is appreciated, but that they can grow in their position. Creating development plans, and actively working towards grooming each employee as a future leader will give them the motivation and vision of the future that they need to excel.
With all this in mind, HR is burdened with the task of turning these statistics around and creating a fully engaged workforce. It’s not going to happen overnight, but simply making it a priority is a huge step. Just one employee that is converted from being actively disengaged to engaged can make a world of difference.
Knowing what to measure and when to measure it helps define your HR team as a crucial addition to the company’s success. Gone are the days of simply posting job opportunities on your company website, and hoping for the best. Building a strategy, being smarter about where you are finding candidates, and knowing how effective your recruiters are will determine the future of your organization’s talent. When it comes to recruiting, there are dozens of metrics that you could report on, but we have picked out just the top five most commonly used to focus on in Part 1 of this post, with another five coming in Part 2.
1 – Time to Start
Time to Start refers to the amount of time it takes to bring a new hire on board from the moment that you first publicize the open position.
It is important to distinguish that this means the time until a new hire’s first day on the job, not the day they accept the offer. This is probably the most important recruiting metric to focus on as it relies on the efficiency of the recruiters and the sourcing channels used, but also determines the success of your overall recruiting strategy. Job vacancies within an organization can mean a loss of productivity until that position is filled, so the longer the time to hire, the longer your organization is lacking in that area.
Of course, the time to fill is going to vary based on the job level and perhaps the skill set that is required. As time goes on, however, HR should be able to determine an average time frame across all positions and work towards reducing that time.
2 – Retention Rate
Employee retention is an important metric for many reasons. Not only does it show how successful your recruiting efforts are in finding qualified candidates, but is also a great indicator of the overall health of an organization. For now, we will focus on what the retention rate can tell us about recruiting efforts.
If your organization has a hard time retaining people for longer than a year after their hire date, you may be hiring the wrong type of candidate. Once you have determined the cost per hire for each position, it’s no wonder that the retention rate is such an important metric. Your company could be bleeding money with this unnecessary turnover. The cost of replacing an employee can be upwards of two times their salary! (Article from the Center for American Progress)
So, as with any problem, the first step is to identify whether or not your organization has a reasonable retention rate based on your industry’s standards as this can vary widely by industry.
Then, rather than trying to look at retention rates for all positions across all levels of the organization, it will be more insightful to analyze by sections. For example, you can look at the turnover rate for a specific role. If one role is causing turnover every year, maybe you need to take a look at the responsibilities of that role. Are there unrealistic expectations or unattainable goals? Another way to look at the data is turnover by pay grade or even by department. In this way, you can determine if the retention problem is company-wide, if it’s in a certain department because of a bad manager, etc.
Ultimately, measuring the retention rate will allow you to pinpoint whether or not the issue is a recruiting one. To quote an article from Forbes, “The best recruitment strategy is a solid retention strategy and this has to start at the top.”
3 – Applicant Satisfaction
While related to the employee retention rate, it is important to look at applicant satisfaction on its own to ensure that your recruiting efforts are placing applicants into positions where they feel they can grow and excel.
The best way to measure this is simply to have a standardized new hire survey, and then use performance reviews as another chance for employees to express how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with their job. Surveys can include questions on the hiring process, on-boarding, and overall job satisfaction. These metrics will help you determine how positive an applicant’s experience is from the moment a recruiter reaches out to them. This allows a company to take a step back and look at their processes from an outsider’s perspective, and shed some light on how they are portraying their organization to applicants versus what they experience when they are hired.
In today’s social world, this firsthand experience and testimonial is as important to a company’s reputation and messaging as any other marketing effort. The real goal is highlighting where a change needs to occur internally.
Is there an opportunity for more training for not just the interview process, but the competencies of employees? Is there a reason for employee dissatisfaction with the company that can be fixed to help retain top talent? It may be as simple as the job descriptions need to be revised. But it may be the job, the role, or the company direction that may need to be refocused, clarified or redirected. These are just some of the insights that can be gained by using applicant satisfaction company’s self-reflection.
4 – Sourcing Channel
Sourcing channel or source of hire simply refers to the efficacy of the different job boards or media a company uses to publicize its current job openings. The reason for tracking this metric is simple – there are hundreds of options for sourcing candidates, but depending on your industry or your specific organization, certain sources will prove to be more effective or provide higher quality candidates than others.
Talk about sourcing channels comes up often when thinking about Big Data – gathering the information above, you are able to combine this data to see the big picture and support your sourcing choices. As noted by David Bernstein on HR.com, “Big Data analysis also enables the employer to measure the effectiveness of their recruitment campaigns in real time and make necessary adjustments—sooner rather than later—to improve performance.” Not only do we need to take a look at what we’ve done in the past that worked, but what are we doing now that isn’t working? And how might we shift our resources towards more effective sources?
5 – Quality of Hire
It will take some time to determine the quality of a new hire, but the longer the employee is at the company, the easier it will be to establish. This should take into account not only performance ratings, but also their potential. Over time, you will be able to see a trend in their performance reviews, and determine their overall worth to the organization. This metric can then be linked to the sourcing channels to help determine where the highest quality candidates originated from, as well as the time to hire so recruiters can get a sense of how long it takes to find the right candidate.
The formula for Quality of Hire should be comprised of recruitment-focused quality measures and post-hire contribution / performance quality. The factors that contribute the data for each side of this metric can differ from one organization to the next. Deltek’s Quality of Hire report plots recruitment efficacy and directly correlates this to post-hire performance appraisal scores.
Quality of hire may sound rather subjective and difficult to determine, but nevertheless is one of the most important metrics. Because the cost per hire and retention rate are constantly scrutinized, it is important to find quality hires that are going to stay with your company for a long time, thus diminishing the need for another costly hire down the road.
Because of its organizational impact, quality of hire is a more important metric to track than time to fill or cost per hire.
For more recruiting KPIs, keep an eye out for Part 2 of this blog post coming soon!
You may also find our Top 10 Recruiting Metrics Cheat Sheet to be helpful in your efforts to streamline your recruiting plans in 2017.
For some companies and for some types of jobs, it is not uncommon that as soon as a job is posted online, applications come flooding in. But what about the times when that isn’t the case? Or when you need a highly specialized hire that may not be looking for a job at this time? This is a perfect opportunity to take a look at other options, and one great resource to pursue is working with external recruiters or recruiting agencies.
LinkedIn has a great list of how staffing firms can help you excel and some of the advantages of working with them. Some of the biggest reasons that companies start working with recruitment agencies include:
When the types of applicants they want are in high-demand and probably already in a job (and possibly not looking at this time).
When they have a hard to fill job that is not getting enough qualified applicants through their normal channels.
When they have already looked on job boards and not located resumes that fit their requirements.
When their company has grown significantly and the current team is overwhelmed with the number of job openings and the time required to fill them.
When you make the move to work with recruiting agencies, there are some considerations you will need to keep in mind in regards to the terms of your agreement as well as the responsibilities and expectations of the external recruiter.
What payments terms does the recruiting agency have? In most cases, this will be based on the hires annual salary and paid after the employee is on the job for a certain number of days. For example, you might end up paying out 20% of the employee’s annual salary to the recruiter after the new hire has been with the company 90 days.
What is the recruiter’s warranty period? Many will offer you a timeframe during which, if the hire doesn’t work out of leaves, they will find you a replacement hire at no cost.
What additional services will the vendor complete for you? Make sure that you work with an agency who, at a minimum, will pre-screen and meet every candidate that they send your way and that they will verify the qualifications before sending to you. Also, depending on the recruiter’s field and specialty, some may offer additional services such as skills testing, background checking, drug screening, etc.
Keep in mind that these things can be negotiated – especially if you are making multiple hires through the same agency. Make sure you discuss and come to agreement on the terms and price. Also, make sure you shop around and thoroughly review each recruiting agency you use. You may end up sending out to multiple agencies, but sometimes you can get competitive pricing if you work exclusively with a single vendor.
Additionally, there are some terms and scenarios you might want to review with a recruiting agency that may or may not be a part of their original agreement.
Do they offer a lock-out period? This would be a time during which the recruiter cannot place your candidate in another position at a different company, necessitating you filling the position again.
At what point do you have to pay for the resume? For example, what if the recruiter sends you a resume for someone that already applied through your website? Or what if the same resume is submitted by multiple recruiters? Make sure this is clearly defined and easy to document.
What happens if the recruiter sends unqualified candidates? This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but it can happen, so make sure you have open lines of communication to address this situation quickly.
With all of this in mind, our last piece of advice is to make sure that everything about the relationship and the resumes you receive and hire is well documented. Take steps to ensure you are able to find and report on the information about the resumes that have been sent your way. Utilizing tools such as applicant tracking solutions and vendor management systems can help ease some of the burden of tracking this manually. Also, having this as a part of your ATS makes it easier to track the resumes sent from recruiting agencies and house them in the same place as external or internal candidates which will help ensure consistency in your own hiring practices.