The Staffing Advisor


December 2010

in this issue ...
Bad Hire Calculator
Retention Problems at Google
Boss as "Human Shield"
Job Satisfaction vs. Paycheck
What People Really Want
Work in 2020
4 Ways to Kill a Good Idea
Sweet Talking the CEO
Office Gift Guide
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Costs of a Bad Hire Calculator
Turnover is expensive, but it can be hard to put a pricetag on it.  Not any more.



This calculator from HR World can help you estimate the costs your company incurs for making a bad hire.

Raise your Retention Rate with "Stay Interviews" instead of "Exit Interviews"

Instead of conducting exit interviews with employees when they leave, why not ask longer-tenured employees why they stay?

One small business experimented with conducting a series of face-to-face informal "stay" interviews with employees who had been with the company for three years or longer, excluding senior leadership. They were asked such questions as: Why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? What are your nonnegotiable issues? What about your managers? What would you change or improve?  The stay interviews generated useful feedback and identified areas where the business could make changes to raise the retention rate.

Read the full article. 

Even Google Has Retention Problems

Just a few years ago, Google was seen as an exciting start-up. But now it's viewed in Silicon Valley as a slow-moving, bureaucratic incumbent. Inside the company some of its best engineers are chafing under the growing bureaucracy and are leaving to start or work at smaller, nimbler companies. Exit

We are seeing more articles about departures of key players like Lars Rasmussen, who helped create Google Maps before he left for Facebook.  (At least 142 of Facebook's employees came from Google).

This month, Google gave every employee a raise of 10% or more and Google is taking other aggressive steps to retain employees, particularly those with start-up ambitions. Google has given several engineers who said they were leaving to start new companies the chance to start them within Google. They work independently and can recruit other engineers and use Google's resources, like its code base and servers.

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Here are our the top articles from our blog this month ...

Early January is the Best Time to Recruit

Calendar-JanuaryThe first 3 weeks of January are the absolute best time of the year to be recruiting, but if you don't prepare your recruiting strategy right now, in early December, you'll miss out.  Read why.

Did you budget for turnover?

Turnover in 2011 is going to be huge.  Read whyDid you plan for it in your budget?

3 Year Retention Rate - the Acid Test of a Search Firm

We've placed well over 200 people in the past few years.  But the acid test of our performance is not how quickly our placements started work, but rather how effective they were over the long term.  Did they stick around long enough to make a meaningful, long term impact?   

So how did we do on that measure?  After one year, 91% of our placements are thriving, and after 3 years, 84% are still successfully delivering results for our clients.  See our annual retention report.

The Boss as "Human Shield"

Stanford University Professor Robert Sutton recently published Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best ... and Learn from the Worst. A theme that runs through the book is that great bosses work doggedly to "stay in tune" with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers) react to what they say and do.

BossShieldThe September 2010 Harvard Business Review excerpted a chapter of the book dealing with the boss as "human shield."  The best bosses, says Sutton, are committed to letting their workers work. They take pride in being human shields, absorbing or deflecting heat from inside and outside the company.

Learn the best ways to protect your staff...

Job Satisfaction vs. a Big Paycheck

BalanceScaleHow do you resolve the tradeoff between a fulfilling job and a fat paycheck?  In a new study from Princeton University, there is a magic number when it comes to income and happiness: a household income of $75,000 per year.  Beyond that, money "does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress," the study concludes.

"Many people want to make a lot of money, but the benefits of having a high income are ambiguous," said Professor Kahneman, one of the authors of the study who is also a Nobel Laureate in economics. When you are wealthy you can buy more pleasures, but research suggests that wealthier people "seem to be less able to savor the small things in life."

The Power of Snap Judgements 


We've always heard about the importance of first impressions. Research bears this out.  Within less than a second, using facial features, people make spontaneous judgments about the traits of others, writes psychologist Amy Cuddy in a fascinating article in Harvard Magazine -- "The Psyche on Automatic". 


Interview - 4Warmth and competence, she finds, are the two critical variables. They account for about 80 percent of our overall evaluations of people (i.e., Do you feel good or bad about this person?), and shape our emotions and behaviors toward them. Her warmth/competence analysis illuminates why we hire Kurt instead of Kyra, how venture capitalists decide where to make investments, and may lluminate how some people rise to the top.


Cuddy also studies nonverbal behavior like the postures of dominance and power. She wanted to know which nonverbal behaviors indicate warmth and competence. Appropriate self-disclosure, use of humor, and natural smiles all signal warmth.  So do behaviors called  "immediacy cues",  like leaning toward someone and communicating on the same physical plane.


To find out how your body stance affects people's perceptions of you, read the full article.

What People Really Want

Handshake2PeopleNever underestimate the power of trust. People have different names for it. Soldiers refer to "the bond." Children call it "unconditional love."  But what is it really? It's someone you can trust to "cover your six."

Fighter pilots use the metaphor of sitting on the middle of a clock face to indicate the relative location of other aircraft. In other words, an enemy could be at 12 o'clock (straight ahead), at 3 o'clock (perpendicular to your path, on the right), etc.  Your 6 o'clock is what's directly behind you, the most dangerous enemy location. Your backside.

Trusting others to "cover your six" is the essence of parenthood, team sports, military service, and great relationships in business. Trust is what people really want, writes Dan Collins in his blog A Simple Guy,"but it's more rare than diamonds. Once a person trusts you and has confidence in you -- whether it is your customer, your employer, your friends or your family -- you have given them the greatest gift. You have provided something that cannot be priced, commoditized or duplicated." 

Be someone on whom people can depend and trust. It's what they really want.

What Work Will Look Like in 2020 


CrystalBallControl freaks, consider yourself warned.  In a new study, Gartner, Inc. predicts the nature of work will witness 10 key changes in the coming decade. Work will be characterized by increased volatility and hyper-connectedness. By 2015, 40% or more of an organization's work will be non-routine, up from 25% in 2010. People will "swarm" more often and work solo less.

Swarming is a work style characterized by a flurry of collective activity by anyone able to add value. Gartner identifies two phenomena within the collective activity:

  • Teaming (instead of solo performances) will be more valued and rewarded.
  • Swarming is a new form of teaming. Teams have historically consisted of people who have worked together before and who know each other reasonably well, often working in the same organization. Swarms are agile and form quickly, attacking a problem or opportunity and then quickly dissipating.
Here's a list of what work will look like in 2020.
The Four Ways to Kill a Good Idea 

LightBulbIdeaDo you have a good idea you want to get approved? Beware: your naysayers have four tried and true methods to kill off your good ideas.  But you can get past them if you know what to look for.  In a new book, Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter shows how the 4 strategies work: fear mongering, delay, confusion and ridicule.  

Don't despair.  Just remember the Ghandi quote: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

Sweet Talking Goes a Long Way with the CEO

You always knew this, and now there is proof.  Getting ahead takes more than merit ...

Office Gift Guide 

Gift2It's gift-giving season again, and time to choose the right gifts to help solidify professional relationships that matter. Here, from, is a guide to help you find the perfect present for a client, a cubemate, an assistant, and the boss.

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