The SESCO Report – September 2006

Retention — Why Most New Hires Fail

A recent study reported that 46% of newly-hired employees will quit within the first 18 months of employment while only 19% will remain long-term. But contrary to popular belief, technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail; instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list, flaws which many of their managers admit were overlooked during the interview process.

The study also found that:

26% of new hires fail because they can't accept feedback,
23% because they are unable to understand and manage emotions,
17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel,
15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and
only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.

While the failure rate for new hires is distressing, ironically it is not surprising that 82% of managers reported not being trained in the interviewing process or in implementing the necessary assessment tools to properly screen applicants.

It is stated that turnover per FTE costs an employer:

Hourly, non-exempt ? ? x's the annual salary.
Exempt, professional ? 2 x's the annual salary.

High turnover is a serious symptom of the lack of systems and trained management in screening and hiring techniques. Causes can be easily detected and cures readily developed and implemented.

Contact SESCO to consider an assessment of your annual turnover and to develop an action plan to reduce turnover and improve screening skills such as:

Behavioral Interviewing Training for Management
Personality Assessments
Skills Assessments
Motivation and Temperament Assessments

- Stephanie Peters,
SESCO Richmond


"Keeping Good People" — A Checklist

The following are strategies for solving the retention issue facing most all employers in today's business environment. It was developed from the best seller by Roger E. Herman.

1. Work together as a team.
2. Stay focused on the customer.
3. Be fair and honest.
4. Promote integrity.
5. Management commitment: people are our most important resource.
6. Respond to complaints with solutions.
7. Choose employees carefully the first time.
8. Know why your people are working for you.
9. Understand behavioral/personality styles.
10. Facilitate open communication.
11. Listen.
12. Look for positives, not negatives.
13. Provide challenges.
14. Establish a learning culture.
16. Present the full value of compensation and benefits.
16. Hold all employees accountable ? mediocre employees must be dealt with.

Do your employees like working for your organization? Are they "selling" it to their friends and family? Find out by asking them through a valid and reliable employee survey. Call SESCO to discuss our proven and effective survey process.

- Clark Phipps


Slackers — A Major Employer Retention Issue

According to a new study by Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with a low performer — a slacker — has made them want to change jobs. Ninety-three percent (93%) of employees say that working with a low performer has decreased their own productivity.

Additionally, the unfortunate statistic is that only 14% of senior executives say their organization effectively manages low performers and that only 17% of middle managers say they feel comfortable in coaching or removing low performers from the workplace.

So what is a low performer or slacker? The top six (6) responses in the study were as follows:

? Negative attitude
? Stirs up trouble
? Blames others
? Lacks initiative
? Incompetent
? Doesn't care

Low performers "dumb down" an organization's culture including performance, quality and service. Studies based on SESCO's Satisfaction Survey reveal:

? Eighty percent (80%) of employees do what is expected and probably perform at 50% to capacity.

? Ten percent (10%) of employees are excellent at what they do and perform anywhere from 75% to 90% capacity.

? Ten percent (10%) of employees are "slackers" and perform at just a rate of 20% capacity.

Not only is internal morale affected as low performers or mediocre behavior is allowed to "hang around" and many times paid at the same rate of someone doing a good job, this issue has become a major factor affecting employee workplace culture subsequently creating issues with recruitment, retention and productivity.

Systems and processes must be developed to hold all employees accountable. Managers and leaders must be trained and provided the confidence on how to implement and utilize these systems to address mediocre performers as well as reward good performers.

SESCO specializes in performance management systems and coaching and training leaders on how to hold employees accountable and effectively reward those for doing a good job.

What You Can Do Today!

Return phone calls, e-mails, and voice mails promptly. This not only builds teamwork, it helps your organization serve outside customers more effectively. Remember, the co-worker contacting you may need information to answer a question or solve a problem for an outside customer.

Don't let technology replace personal communication.
Sure, it's quicker toe-mail a note to Betty. And she probably won't complain because she can read it quickly and get on with her work. But don't let faceless communication replace all your contact with Betty. Find ways to socialize outside work. Have lunch together. Stop by her desk to say "Hi."

Remember, it's always your department.
Don't direct a customer to someone else with the excuse that it's not your department. It's true another person may be better equipped to help a customer, but remember — you own the call if it came to you first. Let the caller know the person to whom they are being transferred, and let your co-worker know why you are giving him or her the call. Don't push problems onto others simply because you don't want to deal with them yourself.

SESCO offers Customer Service and Office Professionalism Training.

SESCO Client Inquiry — Staff Response

Question: Can part-time employees be classified as exempt?

Answer: Yes, part-time employees can be classified as exempt provided they meet the exemption requirements for a particular exemption category, be it executive, professional, or administrative. Also, the individual must be guaranteed a weekly salary of at least $455 for most executive classifications. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require that an employee work a specific number of hours to be considered exempt.

Special Insert — Management Coaching and Development

In considering the coaching and development process, we must first understand that there is a clear link between an organization's level of success and the effectiveness of its top management. Effective organizational leaders rely on sound business analysis to assess the implications of their behavior and to make strategic business decisions. Top leaders are visionary in their approach, proactive in their decisions, innovative in their actions and aggressive in the business opportunities they seek. Most importantly, organizational leaders work intimately with their management team to provide daily guidance and leadership to every person they employ.

Every leader defines leadership in a different fashion; a mix of culture, technique, communication and tools that have made them successful — patterns of behavior that have been developed over a lifetime. Every successful and striving leader also recognizes that leadership is a fine art that must continually be refined and honed to maximize its potential.

At SESCO, we strive to assist leaders in this process of self-discovery and ongoing transformation. We implement processes that allow the strong leader to develop into a superior leader. SESCO's core leadership principle recognizes that unless we understand ourselves better we cannot attempt to understand and effectively lead others. Based on the initial assessment of the leader, SESCO will select and utilize self-evaluated measurements to help develop a coaching plan of action that is specific to him or her to foster the greatest degree of success.

Upon evaluation, we subsequently coach the leader through the designed plan of action program. This program often includes four (4) major components: strength evaluation, trend analysis, goal setting and goal measurement.

Strength Evaluation
We work with the leader to produce a thorough S.W.O.T. analysis based upon self-observation, feedback, assessments and evaluative measures. The candidate and the SESCO coach will candidly define strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which are present and measurable.

Trend Analysis

We recognize that there are ever-present forces that impact the way we behave and manage which subsequently affect the decisions we make on a daily basis. The trend analysis process examines what trends may be present that may negatively impact the achievement of the defined goals.

Goal Setting and Goal Measurement
This critical phase is the culmination of the steps previously discussed. Goals will be defined and action items will be implemented that will refine and strengthen the leadership style and skills of the candidate; hence, his or her performance within the organization. This process is implemented under the ongoing guidance and coaching of the SESCO consultant.