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The Importance of Vision in Effective Hiring

Katy Remington, October 4, 2012

How does a man earn a place on Mt. Rushmore?  Among his numerous accolades, Teddy Roosevelt, the youngest US President ever:

  • Earned highest honors for his service in war and peace:  A Medal of Honor, and a Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Was a prolific writer, even more an insatiable reader. Aside from the books he published, we still have 150,000 letters that he wrote.
  • Toured and studied vast stretches of Africa and the uncharted Amazon. 
  • Contributed animal specimens to the Smithsonian Museum.  As a child, he taught himself taxidermy.
  • Overcame a tremendously sickly childhood by embracing "The Strenuous Life."  Even later in life, during his Presidency, he was known to skinny-dip in the icy Potomac River.  Unbeknownst to the public at the time, he also lost vision of his right eye while President while boxing in the White House.

In such a spectacular life, what would the Colonel himself rank as one of his most spectacular moments?  It was the moment when he:

". . . got my first pair of spectacles, which literally opened an entirely new world to me.  I had no idea how beautiful the world was until I got those spectacles . . . . I could not see, and yet was wholly ignorant that I was not seeing."  -The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

It happened when he was 13 years old.  Teddy's world forever changed the first time he put on a pair of glasses. 

Clearer vision

We could all use a tool to help us see our world more clearly. Quite simply, an assessment tool is a pair of glasses through which you more clearly see in the selection process. It doesn't change what's there it just helps you see more clearly. It will answer the questions:

  • How will John Q. Applicant best learn the duties of his new role?
  • How will he respond to his bosses?
  • Where will he struggle with other team members?
  • How does he make decisions?
  • Do his interests really align with the job he's considering?
  • Will he want to lead or follow?

You can have answers to these questions before John Q. ever walks into the interview!  While John is there, you can even have HR-compliant questions provided for the interviewer.

Top three uses

Here are 3 uses for an assessment tool to help you see more clearly:

  1. Among a long list of qualified candidates, only some of those will fit well in your organization.  You can limit your interviews, thus saving time, to those who show strong potential to work well with your team.
  2. Management will be able to explain to the candidate what is needed from him/her and understand what he/she needs from management! 
  3. Surely you've heard this:  "[Mary] is absolutely amazing!  I wish I could have a dozen more like her!"  You can.  Identify and reproduce your top-performers.


The proper use of assessments can produce several excellent outcomes that save time, money and resources. These allow you to:

  • Reduce turnover
  • Create teams that "fit."
  • Help Managers understand what each team member needs.
  • Enjoy a stronger, simpler hiring process.

Improving your bottom line can be accomplished through the proper use of assessments. 


Bill Ramsey has a passion for helping companies find the right people. Thus he says If you’d like to try on a ‘pair of glasses’ you can.  Contact me at Ramsey@rightfithr.com , and I’ll provide a complimentary demo. You’ll be amazed at what you see.” www.rightfithr.com

Think Before You Tweet: Don't Let Twitter Cost You Your Job

Katy Remington, August 8, 2012

Why bother getting fired over Facebook when you can lose your job on Twitter in 140 characters or less? Twitter can streamline your humiliation and cost you your job in record time. Just ask Gene Morphis, former chief financial officer of fashion retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp. He was fired on Monday after he "improperly communicated company information through social media."

For instance, in March he tweeted, "Dinner w/Board tonite. Used to be fun. Now one must be on guard every second." The following day, he posted "Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board." In light of this recent fallout, here are a few reminders to keep in mind before you tweet.

  • Don't tweet about potential employers - A young woman had an offer from Cisco on the table when she tweeted, "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Not long after that, Tim Levad, a Cisco employee, responded, "Who is the hiring manager? I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web." Apparently she forgot the cardinal rule of social media: never post anything you wouldn't want your mom, your spouse or your boss to hear.
  • Make sure you're tweeting from the right account - If you tweet for your organization and have a personal Twitter account as well, make sure you don't make the same mistake Scott Bartosiewicz made. He was the former social media strategist for New Media Strategies before he mistakenly used a four letter word on one of his client's Twitter accounts. He thought he was signed into his personal account when he tweeted, ""I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive] drive." Unfortunately, he wasn't signed into his personal account but the corporate account for Chrysler. Bartosiewicz was fired and Chrysler didn't renew its contract with New Media Strategies.
  • Keep your opinions on controversial topics to yourself - Toronto-based sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired for tweeting his opinion on same-sex marriage. He tweeted his support for Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent who criticized a player for supporting the cause. Tweeted Goddard, "I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage." Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but social media isn't always the place to air it, especially if you're a representative of a company or organization.
  • Racist comments are NEVER okay - Former MLB pitcher Mike Bacsik was fired from his job as a radio producer after tweeting some racially-loaded comments during an NBA game. His team didn't do well and he had some pretty offensive things to say afterword. Never forget that once you hit that "Tweet" button it's gone forever. Deleting the tweet doesn't make it go away, and comments like that can hurt you for years after you tweet it.
  • Don't post sensitive information - Nicole Crowther, a reoccurring extra on the popular television show Glee, was fired after she tweeted plot spoilers she heard on set. It didn't take long for the show's producer to respond, "Hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment." While most of us aren't going to hear spoilers on Hollywood sets, many of us are privy to confidential company information, and that information has no place on the internet. This could not only lead to termination, but expensive and damaging lawsuits.

The bottom-line is the internet is not your best friend. Everyone has momentary lapses in judgment that we wish we could take back, but if you post it on Twitter, you can't. If you're having a "I hate my boss" moment, have it away from your keyboard.  Before you punch out an angry tweet in the heat of the moment, remember that your boss knows how to use the internet, too.


Two Critical Questions to Ask for Effective Succession Planning

Katy Remington, August 6, 2012

Succession planning is often misunderstood or undervalued in the workplace. A research poll from SHRM found that only 23 percent of organizations have a formal succession plan and 38 percent have some informal planning in place. These numbers are low compared to just how important succession planning is to an organization's success. The research also found that larger organizations (with 2,500 employees or more) are much more likely to have succession plans.

Whether you're a large corporation or small business, the economy is constantly changing and unpredictable. You never know when employees may leave or retire, and you're faced with vacant job positions that are critical to your organization's function. So, you need to be prepared! An effective succession plan benefits the organization and its employees in many ways, such as: identifying the current and future needs of the organization, identifying top performers and leaders, and assisting in employee development.

An article from Harvard Business Review even says to "change the name from succession planning to succession development." Effective succession planning helps organizations develop their internal talent in areas that will prepare them to succeed in higher-level and leadership positions. A great leader needs to be able to work effectively with people and make successful transitions to higher levels of responsibility and accountability. Succession planning will identify the people who are capable of leadership and identify the areas one needs to develop to become successful.  

The heart of succession planning is the evaluation of employees' performance and potential. In doing this, you must ask these two questions:

How is the employee being perceived?
When evaluating and assessing employees, it's important to know how they interact with others. Do they demonstrate leadership skills and confidence in the workplace? To gain this valuable information, it's important to look at employees through the eyes of their coworkers and leaders who they interact with on a day-to-day basis. That's where assessments, like the CheckPoint 360°, can help. 360-degree assessments evaluate a person's leadership performance and potential with direct feedback from peers, supervisors and even customers.  

What are the employee's unique characteristics?
When looking at an employee's performance and potential, you need to take into account what job positions and responsibilities will be the best fit. To determine this, you need to know your employees' behaviors, motivations, interests and values. What makes them tick? Will they be capable of working under more pressure? To gather this data objectively, you can use full-person assessments. For example, the ProfileXT measures over 20 performance factors including behavioral tendencies, thinking and reasoning skills, aptitude and interests. The assessment results then indicate how strongly an employee matches different job positions and identifies areas he or she needs to develop to become successful.  

Contact RightFit HR at 501-375-3098 to learn more about the tools that can help your organization plan more effectively.

The Secret to Employee Satisfaction: Say Thank You!

Katy Remington, August 1, 2012

They say it's the thought that counts, but employees of Torbay Hospital in England might disagree. The hospital was in the news recently after many of their employees were insulted when they were rewarded for a job well done with a Kit Kat.

Vouchers for Kit Kat bars were placed inside employees' pay slips as a thank you after the hospital won a prestigious award. The hospital's intent was almost certainly a good one, however, it backfired and left workers feeling undervalued and unappreciated. So what did the hospital do wrong and how do you thank employees the right way?

A new study on employee recognition has produced some astounding results. The study found that organizations that give regular thanks to their employees far out perform those that don't. You probably have an employee recognition program in your organization, after all, there's a $46 billion market for it, but is it effective? Bersin & Associates reported that 87 percent of these recognition programs are based on tenure, not performance. Most companies reward people for just hanging around, and these programs have virtually no impact on organizational performance. It's a safe bet that most employees aren't going to stay an extra year in their job to earn a plaque (or work harder for a candy bar). The study goes on to say that only 58 percent of employees are even aware these programs exist.

On the other hand, companies that scored in the top 20 percent for building a "recognition-rich culture" had 21 percent lower voluntary turnover rates! A modern recognition program can have a tremendous impact on employees and overall business performance. So what does a modern recognition program look like? Josh Bersin, who runs Bersin & Associates, recently published an article on Forbes outlining the best practices for employee recognition.

  • Recognition based on specific results and behaviors - Decide what criteria for what performance constitutes a reward, not just "Employee of the Month." Give an award to an employee when he or she delivers outstanding customer service or goes out of their way to finish a project.
  • Peer to peer recognition - Not all recognition has to come from managers. Modern programs are "social" meaning they let anyone in the company recognize anyone. Thank you's are public and prominently displayed so everyone can see them. Companies like Achievers and Globoforce make social recognition easy. Some programs give employees budgets for 'dollars' or 'points' to award other employees. They can do it online in seconds and make the recognition visible to everyone! The trick is to make it simple and easy.
  • Share stories of success - When an employee does something noteworthy, tell people about it! Share their story in your company blog or newsletter so other employees have the opportunity to hear about it and learn from the story.
  • Incorporate your company's values and goals in recognition - When establishing the criteria that constitutes recognition; make sure you focus on your company's values. Bersin & Associates suggests when you give someone a "thank you" award, it should be tied to your company's strategy (customer service, innovation, teamwork or revenue based.)

Many managers make the mistake of focusing only on the bottom line, and sometimes overlook employee recognition. They don't realize that the number one reason people leave is because of lack of recognition at work, and if they're losing their best employees, that hurts their bottom line. You don't have to break the bank to thank employees either (but it should probably be more than a Kit Kat.) Taking the time to let your employees know you appreciate them makes them feel valued and is good for the overall success of your organization.


5 Lessons in Customer Service Etiquette

Katy Remington, July 27, 2012

We live in a fast world. Fast food, fast cars, fast computers and fast business. Convenience and mobility are power factors in sales and customer service etiquette. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are over 2 million customer service reps employed, and we interact with them every day.

The latest issue of the Baylor Business Review is themed around customer service in the digital age. The magazine's cover story discusses the changing face of customer service and the crucial role technology plays. The article says, "Thanks to technology, transparency and a shifting power equation, customer relationships have never been more in flux or more confusing." Serving and satisfying customers has become more complex with technology, but with the help of proper customer service assessments, any organization can benefit from finding qualified customer-facing employees who match and reflect specific company values.     

The five forces of customer service outlined in the Baylor Business Review include:

  • Walmart's power to lower prices
  • Amazon's online convenience
  • Mobile devices
  • Personalization
  • Customer feedback

The article also cites a 2011 consumer survey that found 80 percent of customers rely on technology when they shop, and one-third of those respondents use three or more types of technologies to support their buying decisions, like cell phones, the internet and social media. In offering top customer service, it's important to stay current with such customer service trends and focus on keeping your products or services relevant for your customers. Having relevance means adding value to customers, both before, during and after the sale. A better customer service experience will make you outshine your competitors. We've mentioned before what it takes to achieve excellence in customer service, and aligning customer wants and needs is essential. 

To effectively cater to customers' wants and needs, it's important to have specific customer service etiquette and consistency. Here are five ways to maintain high customer service etiquette:

1. Have organization-specific guidelines and policies. In hiring and managing customer service employees, it is crucial to outline and specify guidelines that are needed and expected to succeed in each job position. Different organizations and job positions need different customer service characteristics. For example, the customer service skills needed for a fine dining restaurant are different than those of a bank. So it's essential to create a detailed job description and list of qualifications.

2. Use customer service assessments.
Customer service employees are the face of the organization, so it's important to hire individuals that reflect your organization's values and beliefs. Customer service assessments reveal whether a job candidate is right for specific positions. For example, the Customer Service ProfileTM measures how well a person fits the behaviors and characteristics of specific customer service positions - there are also industry-specific versions for hospitality, healthcare, financial services and retail.         

3. Be experts.
In customer service positions, it's important to show customers you have extensive product knowledge. No matter what industry you're in, competition is steep and customers are faced with a lot of options. To have a competitive edge, make sure every customer service representative has the information and resources needed to show customers they are valued and cared for.      

4. Get direct feedback from customers.
To really know what customers want, direct reports and customer surveys are helpful. Customer surveys can reveal what customer service techniques worked and what didn't. This is important in building loyal customer relationships. Remember, it's all about what the customer wants and needs, and how you can accommodate them. 

5. Offer employees recognition and rewards.
Employee recognition is a key motivator with customer service employees. Whether it's an employee-of-the-month bonus or an announcement during a team meeting, customer service employees should know they are valued and respected, just like their customers.

Following these customer service etiquette tips will help raise customer loyalty and service performance. Make sure your employees are following company culture when it comes to service. The Customer Service Profile, a tool offered by RightFit HR, is the most accurate way to gauge cusomer service within your organization. For more information, contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098.


Keep Your Superheroes: 6 Steps to Reduce Employee Turnover

Katy Remington, July 12, 2012

Do you know what is important to your prospective and current employees? Do you work hard to meet those needs? If you answered yes to both questions, then you probably have a low employee turnover rate. However, this is not the case for all employers and many companies struggle with the issue of employee turnover.

The average employee tenure at a company is approximately 4 years.  This is barely enough, or not enough, time for a company to fully recoup hiring and training costs. Companies cannot eliminate turnover; however, there are some items to consider when trying to retain quality people.

The following are 6 steps that an employer can take to attract and retain top talent:

1)      Evaluate Your Managers

Measure employee turnover by manager; this pinpoints the real problem. Poor managers cancel out all the good things that employers do to attract and retain the right people. Once the problem managers have been identified, help them! Use assessments or other tools to discover what these managers are doing to drive employees away and then provide training to develop them into better leaders. Good management is crucial to employee retention.

2)      Create a Recognition Culture

Give your managers the responsibility for seeking out ways that employees go above and beyond. Create awards for excellent performance; this gives everyone an opportunity to be in the spotlight for doing a good job. Great examples of employee recognition include: thank you notes, employee of the month awards, newsletter recognition, service awards, etc. Positive recognition will lead to a more productive work environment.

3)      Create a Healthy Work Environment

Create an environment where positive recognition seems normal. In order to achieve this there must be open communication, an attitude of cooperation, and an atmosphere of trust. Communicate with your employees; let the them know where the company is going, how it plans to get there, how their jobs play a part in the grand scheme of things, and why they are the key to your success. Look for ways to show that you are willing to meet them halfway in balancing their personal and professional lives- flexible hours, childcare facilities, birthday leave, etc. Last, but definitely not least, trust your employees. If you want people to trust you, then you have to trust them. Give people a good reputation to live up to and they won't let you down.

4)      Create an Atmosphere of Continual Self-Improvement

Today's job candidates want the opportunity to develop themselves and to continually polish their skills, abilities, and experience. Invest heavily in training and employee development and encourage employees to take advantage of the programs offered. Give everyone access to training that will enhance their self-esteem, their value, and their skills. Prove to your employees that there is no reason to leave when they can receive training and development from within the organization.

5)      Put Your Best Foot Forward

This next statement may definitely throw some employers for a loop; pay employees as much salary and provide as many benefits as you can afford from day one. The goal is to reduce turnover and retain the right people, so if you scale back the initial offer by 15%, will the savings be enough to retain the employee when another company offers more money? Probably not. Put your best foot forward from the start and let everyone know that you are paying as much as you can afford for each position. As a person moves up the ladder, their pay should be adjusted accordingly. Know what each job is worth, and pay it early.

6)      Match People to Jobs

Ensure people are matched to their jobs in terms of their abilities, interests, and personalities. When people are placed in positions where job demand and abilities match, where job stimulation and interest match, and where cultural demands and personalities match, turnover decreases and productivity increases. Employers can use assessments to determine the requirements of each position in terms of abilities, interests, and personalities and then use the information to match people to jobs where they will excel.

In most cases we want the quick, easy, and inexpensive fix, but unfortunately that is not always possible. Attracting and retaining the highest quality people may take time, effort, and money. By applying the 6 steps from above, companies can eliminate a large percentage of why people leave and keep the people that are essential to their success. The ProfileXT is the perfect tool to not only match people to potential jobs, but also to provide coaching tools and tips for those in current positions.

Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 to learn more about the tools that can ensure a tight job fit and reduce employee turnover.


Five Reasons For Failure

Katy Remington, July 10, 2012

Failure is a fact of life. However, one bitter truth is that failure is often self imposed and invited. Don't believe me? Read along to find out what distinguishes achievers from those who never end up fulfilling their dreams and believe that they justly deserve the moniker 'failure'.

You want to be successful, but at the same time, you feel that the menacing ghosts of failure are never going to leave you alone. This is because you lack the following:

Goal Setting:
Goal setting is the success mantra of all top-level athletes and achievers. People do not set goals because they are either too lazy or they lack the desired skills. Goal setting is imperative as it ensures long-term vision, short-term motivation, and better organization of resources. Set smart, realistic goals to accelerate your career growth.

No matter how many opportunities come your way, if you are not self motivated, there is no way you can succeed. If you do not find yourself capable of doing something, how can you expect others to believe so? Believe in yourself, assess your performance, and feel confident of your abilities.

Follow Up:
It is necessary that you follow up and assess your performance and growth constantly. Those who do not follow up give the indication that they are not concerned with maintaining quality standards and they lack passion for their jobs. Following up is also the key to developing healthy working relationships.

Product Knowledge:
How many times have you come across people who are selling products they know nothing about? A lot, perhaps. And what do you do? You ignore them. Business is all about trust and if the customer feels you do not have enough product knowledge, he or she will view you as untrustworthy. If you don't care enough to learn about the products, then why should they?

Doing the Things Necessary to Succeed:
Success is not just about the amount you earn. It is about doing things your way to get that 'uniqueness' factor. A lot of people fail because they don't put in enough effort to succeed. They don't put their heart and soul into it. For instance, no one would entertain an insurance agent rambling about a policy but if he or she can relate it to a real life scenario, he or she may convince the customer to buy. See, this is how it's done!

Remember, failure is just a step toward success. In short, keep on trying! Even if you fail, you will know, at least this time you failed better!


Take a Bite Out of Apple's Guide to Hiring Great Sales Employees

Katy Remington, July 5, 2012

Whether you're a small retailer or the world's largest technology company, you need the best-fit sales employees to succeed. Recruiting and selecting effective sales reps is critical for any sales organization! Take Apple Inc. for example, when you go into Apple stores across the country, you'll find exceptional customer service.

An article from Forbes discusses how the tech company successfully hires their retail employees and what specific qualities they look for. The article cites that "Apple doesn't look for exceptional intelligence or technical mastery," instead here are seven characteristics the company's hiring managers look for during their extensive interview process:  

  • Smile and be friendly
  • Demonstrate passion
  • Don't worry about not initially knowing the products
  • Speak up and demonstrate confidence
  • Interact with the group and ask for help
  • Show a commitment to the customer
  • Talk with humility

Looking at these qualities, Apple clearly focuses on hiring great "sales attitudes" that fit their organization and values.

All sales organizations and positions are different. For example, over the counter sales positions are very different from on-the-road, door to door sales reps. Different sales positions call for different types of employees. As Philip Shuler, a Senior Strategic Account Manager at Profiles International, says, "It takes a different type of sales person to sell a Bentley than it would to sell a Kia."  

So how do you know if a new sales representative will fit your organization's needs? The answer is simple: assessments! Sales assessments make sure you hire the right person for the right job position. Pre-screening and skills tests, like the Profiles Sales AssessmentTM, ensure you hire the best-fit reps for specific sales positions and reduce common problems such as turnover and not meeting revenue goals.

Similar to Apple's hiring criteria, the Profiles Sales AssessmentTM measures seven critical sales behaviors. These behaviors paint a picture of each sales candidate or employee and ensure you select the one who is most likely to be successful for a specific position. These behaviors include: prospecting, call reluctance, closing the sale, self-starting, working with a team, building and maintaining relationships, and compensation preference. 

Your organization may not be the size of Apple's and you might not even be in the same line of work, but ensuring a strong group of leaders with sales attitudes is just as import. Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 to understand how the Profiles Sales Assessment can boost revenue and reduce turnover.


Break the Micromanagement Cycle and Return to a Productive Workforce

Katy Remington, July 3, 2012

Just saying the word "micromanaging" instantly conjures many thoughts, all of them negative. Do you micromanage your employees? Are you micromanaged by your boss? Certain situations or circumstances might justify it, but if that's the routine, then you need to find a way to break the cycle.

Outside of a business context, the term "Helicopter Parent" has emerged to describe guardians who hover over their child's every move with no opportunity for personal growth or experience. The consensus and connotation is that this is unhealthy for both the kids and the parents.

It is okay to take risks, to learn, and sometimes even fail. As long as no one gets hurt, give kids the freedom and flexibility to work independently and try to solve problems on their own. The same holds true for employees.

From the Manager's Point of View

If you constantly micromanage your employees, then you probably need to change your management style and approach. It is unlikely that all of your employees are struggling to perform or incompetent in their roles. If so, then perhaps you've set your performance goals too high or not hired the right caliber of people. (You can improve the quality of your hires and job fit with assessments.)

It is more likely that you would micromanage an employee through a particular part of an assignment that could be beyond their reach, their first time doing a certain task, or when critical results are on the line.

If you find that you are constantly micromanaging the same employee over and over, then that's a sign of a larger problem. The employee might lack motivation, skills, or knowledge to do the work expected of him. Maybe the person's work is fine but time management is an issue. Try to discern what the issue is and take steps to rectify it.

From an Employee's Point of View

Being micromanaged? If so, then it's time to have a difficult conversation with your boss. What's causing this behavior? What can you do to get him to loosen the reins and give you some leeway?

Approach it constructively for the best results. Be prepared to suggest a compromise, such as checking in at specific time intervals or when milestones have been achieved. Show that you're willing to earn the freedom you deserve by establishing incremental goals and working towards them.

Conversely, if you start out on the defensive and make demands, you'll likely end up in a similar place as you are today.

Don't Forget the Employer's Perspective

Others are able to observe your behavior even if they're part of your daily operations. That includes your boss or other company leaders.

The way to get the most out of your employees in almost any organizational setting is through leverage. No, not by holding someone hostage through blackmail or some other unethical tactic, but by leveraging time and talent in a hierarchical fashion so that you and your employees have the opportunity to work independently to your maximum potential.

If you observe a manager micromanaging his employees, a flag should be raised that something is amiss:

  1. Does the manager not have enough to do? If they have that much time to hover over their workers' every moves, then perhaps they need more to do themselves.
  2. Does he not know how to delegate?
  3. Are their employees not up to the task?
  4. Is there a communication issue?

That you micromanage your staff is not something to be proud of. Correct the problem or curb the behavior before someone above you notices and does it for you.

Break the Micromanagement Cycle

Whether or not the micromanagement is justified in a given situation, the most important thing to remember is that if it becomes the norm, then no one benefits:

  • The manager's daily duties now include riding herd over his employees in addition to his own tasks;
  • The employee being micromanaged never learns or develops to be productive on his own; and
  • With both manager and employee seemingly working together (but at odds), time is wasted and efficiencies are never gained, thus minimizing productivity and any opportunity to leverage the work of two individuals.

Find a way to break the micromanagement cycle and get back to leveraging your resources to get the most out of yourself and your people. Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 to learn how assessments can empower your employees and break the micromanagement cycle.


Innovation by 3M

Katy Remington, June 28, 2012

There should be a sign out front the 3M Innovation Lab in St. Paul that says. "Forget ye all you've even known about innovation - enter and have your world rocked." I have worked with and worked for companies that claim they want to be innovative. 3M embraces innovation like Napa Valley embraces grapevines.

You enter the Innovation Lab to recorded music and a welcoming introduction. Del greets you at the front desk where you begin the tour. You're seated in a Disney ride to watch innovation throughout 3M's history. You watch a cavalcade of clients discuss how they worked with 3M to solve problems. You tour their museum where you can touch and see stuff you thought you'd have no interest in seeing, but they have to kick you out because it's so interesting.

During the tour you hear the most clear and articulate description of innovation as you'll ever witness. You are introduced to the heroes of 3M's culture: not the founder or a litany or past CEOs, but rather people like Dick Drew who invented masking tape. Dick was an inventor. He, and hundreds like him - make up the 3M Hall of Fame.

There are four things needed for innovation: time, talent, money and technology. 3M has all the bases covered. In my experience, most companies have three of four. They forget "time". It's simply too hard to think creatively when the pressure is on to do 10 hours of work a day.

3M's famous for the 15% rule: scientists at 3M spend 15% of their week basically - and I'm sure they'd use different vocabulary - goofing off. Investigating things of interest. Chasing down hunches. Noodling. Conjuring. Tinkering. Throwing things at walls and seeing if they stick.

From this come things like Tagaderm adhesives, a breathable and medicated film that covers and protects skin wounds. Once upon a time, 3M made sand paper. They would apply an adhesive to a paper backing, and embed sand and pebbles to make it abrasive. Then they learned how to just apply the adhesive without the sand: masking tape. Then they made the tape clear: Scotch tape. Then they figured out how to make the adhesive less sticky and re-applicable: Post It Notes. Then they embedded the adhesive with medicine and made the paper permeable: Tagaderm. Of course, this evolution took 7 decades. But step by step, one innovation built on another.

For a company that relies on innovation to spur its future, 3M spends only about 6% of revenue on R&D. A relatively low number. Their secret is that they get their clients to partner with them on all new innovation. It isn't innovation for innovation sake - which seems to be the strategy at many companies - but innovation that will solve a client's problem. And, not inconsequentially, make money.

How innovative is your organization? From making new hires, coaching existing employees and planning for your future, RightFit HR can give you the tools to take the focus off of details and allow you to become a true innovator. Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 for more information.


Dare to Be Different! 6 Tips for Winning in Business

Katy Remington, June 26, 2012

Do your prospective customers know clearly why they should buy from you rather than from your competitors?  If they can't see any difference between you and your main competitors, then the only advantage you have is price. Selling on a price basis is selling to your competitors strengths which can end in disaster!

In business, you should never try to compete in your market based on price alone. Aim to offer customers the highest quality at a fair price.  Focus on value, buyers today have significantly higher standards than in the past and they know good quality and value when they see it.

Differentiation in the market place is key, so first you should look at how you stack up to your competition. See where you stand by asking yourself these 4 questions:

What can you do that they can't?
What can they do that you can't?
What do you do better?
What do they do better?

Like many traditional business and marketing plans, to identify what makes your organization unique, you must look at where you rank on:

1. Price - Is your pricing policy something that sets you apart from your competitors?

2. Customers - Who are your best customers? Do you work best with small, medium or large customers? What is you ideal customer?

3. Product/service - Are your products superior to those of your competitors? Be realistic and try to not be biased. Many of the world's most successful organizations have competitors with a higher quality product; they just have a more effective pricing strategy/marketing campaign.

4. Reputation - How well-known are you? By whom and for what? How do you communicate your brand online? When you Google your company and products, do you like the results?

5. Customer service - Do you have an effective customer service strategy? Is it unique? Who are your front-facing employees?

6. Decide how you want to differentiate yourself - Considering the above 5 factors, which category is your strongest and weakest? Which category offers the best value to your customers? Always try to identify more than one category, and rank them in value as differentiators. Remember, each customer is different and not equally impressed by the same message!

These may seem like basic and traditional business questions, but many struggling organizations today forget to take a minute to step back and focus on the basic elements of how to create a successful organization.

You must consider the customer's perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself... "What's in it for me?" Then, you can outline the most valuable aspect of your product or service. If you know what is most important to your customer, you can work on making this one of your strongest assets! Find out what elements your customers value in order of importance. Do not assume you know the answers to these questions.

Success in an organization may be acquired over time or overnight, but the best organizations are always striving to be different and do something new. Revisiting these areas on a continuous basis will ensure that just as customers and markets are changing, so is your company. As your customer values evolve, so should your business. Don't stick with the norm. Differentiation is an ongoing process. Dare to be different and you will really start winning in business.


Windows to the Soul- The Power of Great Eye Contact

Katy Remington, June 19, 2012

Eye contact is a critical tool in creating a charismatic impression when you speak - either one-to-one or one-to-many. When charismatic speakers present every person in the room feels that their comments are directed at them personally.  When they speak they hold our attention. Eye contact plays a large part in creating this impact.

Why using your eyes is so critical

Failing to make eye contact with others sends a variety of messages depending upon the relationship between the two people in question. Failing to let others see your eyes can send a message that you are shy and lacking in self-confidence - an impression that's offensive to no one but you!

At its worst, a lack of eye contact can suggest arrogance or superiority, but is most often (mis)interpreted as dishonesty, untrustworthiness, evasion, nervousness, lack of interest or shiftiness. Look at expressions we use daily: "look me in the eye and tell me that," or "...she just couldn't look me in the eye..."

On the flip side, those who can maintain eye contact make a longer lasting and more positive impression of self-confidence, honesty and trustworthiness. Also, as discussed in another post on smiling, there is a positive feedback relationship in your brain chemistry between eye contact and confidence whereby making more eye contact makes you feel more confident; more confidence makes it easier to make eye contact, and so on.

How to make positive eye contact one-one-one

When you're being introduced to someone new look them in the eyes as you're given their names and, as you grasp their hands in a firm handshake, hold that contact and open up your best Duchene smile, smiling with your lips and your eyes. The charismatic impact of giving them both barrels is enormous. Then, as you continue to speak with them maintain comfortable eye contact. Don't stare fixedly - be sure to break away from their eyes every three to five seconds. A good strategy to avoid a staring look is to choose a few different spots to focus upon around the other person's general facial area. It sounds peculiar but the overall impression is one of good eye contact without any uncomfortable staring effect.

Just one point: make your transitions smoothly - don't look like you're scanning from left to right like the carriage in an old fashioned typewriter, or bobbing your head up and down like one of those novelty nodding animals you see on the back windows of automobiles.  The transitions must be smooth and natural.

You should aim to be in eye contact somewhere between 70-80% of the time - any less seems less than interested, and any more can be too intense.  This punctuation, with breaks every few seconds, avoids an excessively probing or aggressive impression and prevents you from deteriorating into an uncomfortable stare.

Using the 'windows to the soul' when presenting

Talking about the charismatic CEO and Chairman of Cisco Systems, John Chambers, Business Week columnist Carmine Gallo observed:

"Watching John Chambers deliver a speech is like taking a course in confident body language. He maintains eye contact more than 80% of the time and speaks directly to individual people in the audience, instead of looking randomly about over the heads of his listeners".

When addressing a large group break the audience into three imaginary zones - center, left and right.  Make a point of scanning the entire room about every 30-45 seconds.  Start with one of your imaginary zones and select someone to establish eye contact with.  For about five seconds or so address your points directly to him or her. A large circle of people around that person will feel that you are addressing your points to them personally.

Then move your attention to the next zone and again select someone to address your attention to for five seconds or so - making eye contact.

When you've done this with the last zone then work your way back across the audience in the opposite direction doing the same thing.  Each time you settle in a zone select someone different to make eye contact with. Try to cover the zone from front to back over the course of your presentation so that, by the end of your presentation, you have covered the entire room in a matrix and everyone in the room feels that you addressed them personally at some point.

Learn from those around you - and from the pros

To really master eye contact watch how the pros do it.  Carefully watch your favorite TV interviewer or speaker and become a student of the way he or she uses this vital communication tool - then emulate it.

How do they make a strong point, how do they express agreement or disagreement, create rapport, express surprise and so on?

Make a point of creating better eye contact over the coming days and watch how it really does warm up your relationships and contacts.


No Leader is Without Weakness

Katy Remington, June 14, 2012

Being a leader is a formidable yet inspiring task. In any setting, the leader is a representation of the morality of their group, and those who follow them, do so with trust and willingness. A good leader knows this all too well, and this is often why a large ego has too strong a place in a leadership position. One of the most important attributes of a leader is their ability to be humble. Don't let the ego run wild and remain humbled by those who support you- and yourself.

Being a leader is about being self-aware. It is about being self aware of your surroundings, but also internally, the attributes that make you YOU. This is about finding your weaknesses as a person, and admitting them. The greatest leaders in the world knew that they were flawed in some degree, and either honed their flaws or recognized them and worked around them.

All of us have flaws, the problem is many of us don't like to acknowledge our weaknesses. The best and most successful leaders not only recognize where their areas of weakness are, they try and surround themselves with people who compliment those weaknesses. This humbling nature will be transparent, and those who follow will realize the sincerity. Holding a fake presentation may work short term, but ultimately, you may come across as a phony.

A team, in a business setting, finds value in being recognized by their leader. Going with the theme of humbling yourself, turn to your team for support. Realize that you may not have all the answers, and it may be the people surrounding you who can add to the formula and help devise some that is impeccable. Ask your team for the support they want to give, and it makes you an efficient but also trustworthy and smart leader.

Of course, a leader must gather a team that is, in fact, smart. But beyond that, it is about finding a team that is complimentary to the leader's own traits. Leader's would find much value in obtaining a team that not only fills out their weaknesses, but accents their strengths.

Ultimately, a proper leader knows the value of a team and the value of being self-aware. No leader is without weakness, and all great leaders had support that complimented their own traits. Use your strengths to succeed and flourish, and being internally intelligent enough to see where you are weak and where you can further explore yourself.


Talent Management Today - Why Settle for Good When You Can be Great

Katy Remington, June 12, 2012

Talent Management is a key part of a business. Every now and then it is important for a company to review their employees, considering their levels of effectiveness and efficiency. Sure, there are plenty of employees who are GOOD at what they do, but wouldn't it be better for the company to hire someone who is TERRIFIC at their job?

The concept of "playing ball" is similar to the mentality managers have in the workforce. When playing for a sports team, if an athlete consistently underperforms, the coach will remove him or her from the game. When an employee underperforms in the workforce, he or she may be removed in order to make room for fresh talent. In order for the company to maintain good standing in the public eye and remain successful, it is important that its employees are working their best for the welfare of the company and its customers. Average performers would not cut it on the playing field, so why should they in the workforce?

Employees ultimately should strive to create value for the companies they work for, and they should also drive themselves to continuously work and improve themselves rather than settle for the status quo.

Ideally a company's goal should be to have an employee base of team players. Unfortunately, the ideal seldom equals reality. All too often when a company goes to audit its employees, it will find that although there may be individuals who are talented, there may also be a few whose negative characteristics outweigh their positives. Eliminating the so-called "bad apples" may allow the company to increase productivity, boost morale, and save money. In so doing, the company will move toward reaching its maximum potential.

In today's world, the talent pool is overflowing with valuable, all-star caliber employee prospects. When it comes time to reorganize your talent, it is important to consider replacing lower-ranking employees with top-talent candidates who can be found both internally and externally. If possible, it is usually best to internally promote eligible individuals; however, sometimes a company needs fresh insight and new perspectives from new, external hires. The company should take its time in interviewing, assessing, and considering candidates in order to choose the most viable option.

Recent research from Aberdeen's Human Capital Management (HCM) shows that businesses must hire, retain and deploy the right talent to meet business challenges, grow the organization and keep customers happy. The research outlines how the Best-in-Class organizations shared several common characteristics relative to effective talent management strategies

To achieve this Best-in-Class performance, companies must:

  • Know how talent impacts the business by understanding which roles are critical to business growth and performance
  • Hold the business accountable for talent management activities as part of everyday business
  • Provide the right data to all stakeholders to understand, measure and monitor the effect of talent decisions on the business.

RightFit HR is equipped to provide your organization with the tools and assessments needed to effectively navigate the talent pool, hire reliable and proven performers and boost your company's bottom line. Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 for more information.


It's Not Me, It's You: 5 Frequent Causes of Employee Turnover

Katy Remington, June 7, 2012

The days of marriage lasting forever and the days of an employee working at one company forever are long gone. Based on recent statistics, the average marriage only lasts 8 years, and let's face it; it is uncommon for an employee to remain at one company for more than 5 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee tenure in 2010 was 4.4 years. Although companies cannot prevent employee turnover, they can take steps to reduce their turnover rate and increase employee tenure. So, why do employees choose to end the relationship and voluntarily leave a company?

Based on the results of a survey conducted by Profiles International, here are the 5 most frequently given reasons people give for changing jobs:

1. Boredom

Today's employees want to develop themselves to be the best they can be. They want to expand and polish their skills, abilities, and experience. Employees who feel limited and stifled get bored and will eventually start looking outside the organization to fulfill their development needs.

2. Inadequate Salary and Benefits

In the survey about 15% left because of money. Employees expect to be paid market rate, and if they feel that they are being under paid, by industry comparison, then they will start looking for employment elsewhere. Also, with rising healthcare costs, benefits are extremely important. Lack of benefits or sub-par benefits can drive an employee away.

3. Lack of Recognition

Lack of recognition accounts for why 25% of all people leave their job. Not only do employees want to be monetarily compensated for the job they are doing, they also want to be recognized when they are doing that job well. When an employee starts to feel like their efforts are going unnoticed they will either become less productive or move on to another company where they can receive more recognition.

4. Limited Advancement Opportunities

Whether it is professional or personal advancement opportunities, 20% leave their job because they feel that they are not getting sufficient advancement in their current position. After being overlooked for a period of time, an employee feels unappreciated and will, more likely than not, start looking for a new job.

5. Unhappy With Management

Based on the survey results, 30% of the people said they didn't quit their job, they quit their manager. As the saying goes, "People leave people, not jobs." The employee-manager relationship is one of, if not the most, important relationships within an organization. Employees can't seem to find the door fast enough when they have to deal with poor management.

Just like with all relationship issues, you must know the cause of the issue before you can come up with a solution. Knowing the causes of employee turnover is necessary if a company wants to develop a strategy that will entice employees to stay long-term. In part 2 of this series we will cover the 6 steps companies can take to retain top talent and reduce their employee turnover rate.

Ensuring a strong job-fit with candidates is your organization's first line of defense against employee turnover. Assessments such as the ProfileXT and Profiles Sales Assessment provide you with job match data, as well as detailed interview guides and coaching reports, which may be used throughout the employee's tenure. Reducing turnover can begin before you even make the hire! Contact RightFit HR at 501-975-3098 to learn more about implementing a turnover reduction plan!