Showing posts with label hiring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiring. Show all posts

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why are American’s Quitting Their Jobs?

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 57.5% of people who left their jobs did so under their own free will. A total of 5.03 million employees were added which boosted the hiring rate to 3.6%. At the same time 2.75 million people resigned in September with a quit rate of 2%. Make no mistake, the job market is heating up and employees are finding options that were not available to them a few years ago.

When the economy is poor and employment prospects are low employees naturally stay in their jobs for fear that they will not be successful in securing new employment. Likewise, there may be an abundance of people seeking the same position which raises the stakes when attempting to jump ship. It is often wiser to stay where you are at until things get better.

At present the amount of people seeking the same position are 2 to 1. Those are pretty good odds for people who want to beat out the competition. When those odds are 3 or 4 to 1 that makes uncertainty higher. When unemployment declines and businesses start hiring it sucks some of the slack out of the workforce creating advantages for job seekers.

Consider the low unemployment rate of 5.8% there is growing competition among companies to retain top talent. In any recovering economy usually college educated and highly technical jobs are the first to come back. These are the positions employers need to fuel their growth and development.

The people who have fewer opportunities are those in traditional middle class jobs such as manufacturing. Without a reemergence of manufacturing within the country it can be difficult for a person with moderate education and an industry based skill set to obtain better employment unless the entire industry comes back.

Job hopping is one sign of an improving economy. This means there is some flexibility within the market and realignment going on. During the recession realignment is painfully based on lay-offs but in good times realignment is more voluntary based on the opportunities of workers that want to better their position. Work environment, compensation, culture, promotion, etc… all play a factor in a person’s decision to stay or move.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can Small Businesses Use Size as a Recruitment Strategy?

Recruitment and employee loyalty are an important functions in any business but can make or break a small businesses. For smaller firms a few bad hires can really cause financial havoc. Not only is there lost time and money expended on poor hiring practices but also the cost of training. A paper by Allen, Erickson and Collins (2013) delves into the importance of developing employee commitment as it relates to revenue growth and firm performance. 

One of the very first criteria is that leadership must have a solid vision of the organization. Without a solid vision the overall hiring processes and the type of recruit will naturally be misaligned. Recruitment starts with knowing the type of person needed, their skill set and how that position will help achieve the organizational vision. 

It is often assumed that prestige and money are the most important factor in recruiting high quality employees and helping ensure they are retained for a significant period of time. Sometimes, highly paid industries are able to recruit bright minded people but these same people bounce from employer to employer seeking higher levels of compensation. 

Small businesses are limited in resources and simply don’t have the ability to keep increasing the pay to recruit and retain employees. They will need to compete where their organization is most likely to be successful-and that has nothing to do with size. The interactivity and relationships built in a small business can have a more profound impact than pay and prestige. 

Firms that follow an employee commitment strategy create attachments based on relationships, company identity, coordination of autonomy and informal control, and selecting employees based upon firm values. Such organizations are not command and control structures and seek to improve upon the positive affectivity the employee has with the firm. 

This is different than what you might find in larger organization. Even though large organizations seek to create stronger cultures it is much more difficult than smaller firms. The sheer size and power-distance relationships can be difficult to overcome. Instead many firms focus on compensation and prestige as driving factors. 

Nearly 65% of all hiring is based in smaller businesses. It is important for such businesses to focus on using their core strengths where size can actually be a detriment. Hiring people based upon their value systems, encouraging them to be independent in their thinking, foster close relationships, and creating commitment to the firm are important for success. 

Relationships and sense of belongingness can go a long way in gaining commitment. People are social creatures by nature and will stay in organizations that they develop positive and meaningful relationships. Smaller businesses offer an opportunity to socialize employees to a smaller group of people they can develop deep relationships over time. A family like atmosphere can be a significant draw for talent.

Allen, M., Ericksen, J. & Collins, C. (2013). Human resource management, employee exchange relationships, and performance in small business. Human Resource Management, 52 (2).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do You Hire Self-Handicapping Employees?

Employees win and employees lose as a natural course of life events. At times, we notice exceptional employees who have all of the right skills but fail anyway. Pulling out our hair we wonder, “can’t they see what they are doing?” Unfortunately, they may not actually be able to see how their self-handicapping thoughts are influencing their outcomes. Such awareness may be a little too outside their conscious thought for critical evaluation. New research helps highlight why such phenomenon occurs and how to overcome it. 

Many failures in life are caused by self-sabotage of one’s own abilities and skills. The concept of self-handicapping is a self-imposed strategy of avoiding evaluations of performance by developing strategies to implement barriers (Jones & Berglas, 1978). These barriers are created in order to protect short-term self-esteem but damages long-term proper evaluations of self. Who can blame themselves when there are millions of reasons to fail?

Employees may be self-handicapping when they are capable of completing projects but fail to do so because of poor choices. For example, an important project that does not get enough attention due to distracting work events may be self-imposed if this employee has chosen to engage and focus on these side projects. There are many legitimate excuses why some project was not completed effectively but self-handicapping may be the root when these excuses are within the employee’s control. 

Self-handicapping often occurs when employees are unsure of their abilities to perform the tasks set in front of them (McCrea, et. al. 2008). This unsure perception leads this person to inadvertently develop strategies that offer readymade excuses when failures do occur in order to avoid criticalness.  The whole strategy is designed to protect a person’s self-esteem from proper self-evaluation and correction.

The saddest part about self-handicapping is that employees may be completely capable of finishing satisfactory projects that benefit the organization or themselves. However, when such handicapping does occur the employee themselves are often unaware of what they are doing or why they are doing it. In order to change the way employees perform it is necessary to change the way they view themselves. 

Who is most likely to self-handicap? Employees who are more likely to evaluate themselves negatively are also more likely to self-handicap (Spalding & Hardin, 1999). In most cases this is an automatic cognition process as part of quick heuristics learned over one’s lifetime. Counter information is either ignored or not forthcoming thereby limiting critical thinking.

Four studies conducted by Mccrea & Flamm (2012) evaluated college students for self-handicapping traits and behaviors. Each of the four studies had different criteria and focused on a particular aspect of self-handicapping between genders. Independent judges were used to help code thoughts as participates engaged in the process of self-evaluation. Participants were unaware that the tests focused on self-handicapping strategies and were told the research was on intelligence.


-Threatening tasks with public evaluation combined with individual personality traits led to downward thought projection (prefactuals).

-The downward prefactuals helped participants identify possible excuses.

-The identified excuses primed individual behavior. 

-Cognitive load helped people not to think about negative prefactuals and therefore improved performance.

-The determining of possible reasons for failure may be a result of unconscious strategies that produce anxiety.

-Upward prefactuals (positive thoughts) may limit the impact of self-handicapping thinking on performance. 

The study helps managers and business leaders understand that handicapping behavior may be unknown to their employees. Such behavior is often automatic and outside of the employees awareness. However, cognitive load and positive thinking may have some level of impact on the overall performance and minimizing the impact of self-handicapping behavior. Helping employees understand how their thoughts are leading to negative outcomes may help them gain greater awareness of their performance outcomes.

 Jones, E. & Berglas, S. (1978). Control of attributions about the self through self-handicapping strategies: the appeal of alcohol and the role of underachievement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 200-206.

Mccrea, S. & Flamm, A. (2012). Dysfunctional anticipatory thoughts and the self-handicapping strategy. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 72-81.

McCrea, S., et. al. (2008). The worker scale: developing a measure to explain gender differences in behavioral self-handicapping. Journal of Research and Personality, 42.