The Staffing Advisor


January 2011

in this issue ...
5 Ways to Bungle a Job Change
Deal with a Micromanager
Misconceptions about Bonuses
Small Business Innovation
Performance Appraisal
Pivotal Employees
How Deep is your Leadership Bench
Meaningful Performance Evaluations
Bob Corlett Speaks at MC SHRM
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Five Ways to Bungle a Job Change

While job moves are inevitable for most of us, they are seldom easy, and too often they lead to a noticeable decline in performance, in both the short- and the long-term.

RabbitHarvard researchers Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams analyzed data from three research streams to identify the most frequent job-hopping errors. Their results were published in the Harvard Business Review. They found five consistent mistakes among job jumpers:

  • Doing insufficient research
  • Leaving for money
  • Going "from" rather than "to"
  • Overestimating oneself, and
  • Thinking short-term.

More ...  

How to Deal with a Micromanager


"Micromanaging managers" is a common complaint in the workplace.  Like so many other workplace problems, it occurs because of a lack of communication.  If the boss never has an honest discussion with new employees about is expected of them, staff members have to guess, and if they guess wrong, they tend to get micromanaged or not managed enough. Alice Waagen, founder of Workforce Learning, a management training company, explains what steps managers and employees can take to minimize the problem, or, even better, to keep it from occurring.


Read Alice's tips ... 

Misconceptions about Bonuses


MoneyFor many executives, the myth that a big bonus is enough to ensure motivated employees persists. But at least for the next generation of business leaders, it's simply not true.


Professors at the Wharton School of Business recently published an article in The Washington Post, reporting on research about annual bonuses. Young employees increasingly distrust the bonus system. Many employees said they were not told how they were performing and the bonus payment served as the de facto performance appraisal. The research turned up many satisfied employees, and the happiest were by no means the best paid. The most important factor behind job satisfaction was how supervisors handled performance appraisals.  

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

Why is Executive Search So Expensive?

There are two big myths that have prevented executive search firms from lowering the price of executive search. If all the technology to find and reach candidates has changed, why is executive search still so expensive?  (Hint: It does not have to be so expensive)

The Lasting Power of First Impressions (in Recruiting)

HandshakeWe all know hiring mangers make snap judgements arout candidates.  But do you realize how many snap judgements candidates make about your company long before the interview?

The One Question to Ask about Performance Problems

Where you look to find solutions to performance problems reveals quite a bit about you.   

Small Business Innovation 

Small businesses employ about half of the nation's 144 million private sector workers. They create 60-80% of new private sector jobs. They generate more than $6 trillion in annual revenue and create more than half of the country's non-farm gross domestic product.  Innovation is key to small business growth, but little is known about how small businesses innovate. A research project undertaken by Intuit, Emergent Research, and the Institute for the Future forecasts significant trends affecting small business innovation. The first in a series of research briefs, called "Defining Small Business Innovation," should be a must-read for any small business CEO or executive.

Performance Appraisal: Less is More 

The parade of performance-enhancing tools and structures never seems to end. PerfApprDr. Todd Dewett, founding member of the HR Examiner Editorial Advisory Board, has written a thought-provoking piece on measuring performance.  


 He urges managers to think of excessive performance management vehicles as bureaucracy you need to reduce.  Less really can be more.


Check it out ... 

Pivotal Employees vs. High Performers


Managers spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to identify, reward, and promote "high performers". That's fine, but each organization has only a few truly high performers, and they can't do all the work themselves.

ManWithLaptopAmy Smith encourages organizations to view the workforce through a different lens, that of the "Pivotal Employee", a far larger group and key to organizational growth and success. Pivotal employees are defined based on an organization's mission. For example, for a consulting firm, high-impact solutions and customer service are key, so consultants and project managers are pivotal employees.

Once pivotal employees are identified, it is important to know how engaged they are in the organization's work. HCM 20/20 has outlined a framework for characterizing pivotal employees, which has major implications for human capital planning in organizations.

Read more in Human Capital Management 20/20 ...

How Deep is Your Leadership Bench?

FootballHow much time has your organization put into succession planning?  What would happen if your CEO left suddenly?  The sudden departure of Steven Jobs from Apple puts a spotlight on several senior executives there.  The New York Times reports that Apple has a deep bench of leadership, which is a good thing because "it will take several people with different skills to fill Mr. Jobs's shoes."

Making Performance Evaluations More Meaningful

PeopleRatingsA post on Fistful of Talent argues persuasively for more effective rating scales for performance evaluations, claiming using current ones are like "playing the piano with a sledgehammer."


Competency-specific, longer, detailed rating scales provide managers with an effective tool to measure and accurately capture each employee's performance. This approach helps HR to put performance front and center in the appraisal process, and is an important way to help managers give feedback that's correct and complete.

Check out "Rating Scales" ...
            Bob Corlett and Kelly Dingee are presenting: 
                  How to Recruit Effectively
       (When You Don't have Any Time or Budget)
                         Montgomery County SHRM:


Bob CorlettWe hope to see you on Wednesday, February 16, for this dinner meeting (6:00-8:30 pm) at the Gaithersburg Marriott.  

2011 will bring some of the most difficult recruiting of your career, and probably no new staff to help you with it.  As the economy continues to recover, long dormant employee turnover is on the rise.  With everyone working at full capacity, even slight company turnover (or growth) gives real urgency to every hiring need.  Overburdened managers are slow to approve requisitions and frantic to fill them.  New business initiatives receive intense focus from senior management but also require the hiring of people with very different skills than your current workforce.   Stressed-out hiring managers will be slow to define their needs, hard to schedule, indecisive, and quick to blame you for not delivering results.  So recruiting is at once more important, riskier, less familiar, and more urgent.

Companies are increasingly concerned about their ability to attract and retain key people - and with good reason.  Most HR departments are still staffed at recessionary levels, and there is no time to design an optimal recruiting plan, and no staff to execute it.  It is difficult to get internal approval for any project that involves a significant investment of money, training, or staff time. 

So with no time and no budget, how can you recruit effectively? 

How can you reduce your hiring risk, hire great people faster and do it in the limited time you have available?  The only solution is to stop doing things that no longer work and instead focus your time and attention on a very few things that really impact your results.   (Please note that the title on the MC SHRM Web page may be incorrect.)  More information and registration ...  

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