Friday, 20 June 2014

Billy's Twenty-Fifth Law: The WOW Factor

If a new employee doesn't make me say WOW within the first two weeks, then he or she will never be a 'superstar'.
·         Ron Adolf

Learning new business skills is difficult.  Some are technically complex, such as financial analysis.  Others are difficult because there are no set rules.  These are factors involving that most difficult of all concepts, human nature.  This manifests itself throughout the field of Human Resources. 
Human Resources is the Rodney Dangerfield of gets no respect.  HR departments are often dismissed as a burden on the real departments.  (The same is rarely said about finance probably because they control the purse strings.)  A lack of human resources skills often stunts business growth.  This is not to advocate a Human Resources department, but stress the importance of developing Human Resources Skills.  One of these skills is recruiting.
That is where Ron's observation comes in. He is a company founder, not a trained HR specialist.  We were going through a list of his top performers. These were employees across his firm whom he believed to be in the top 20 percentile of performers.  On developing the list, he noticed that those top performers really impressed him in their first week of working for the firm.  "It makes sense," he told me; “People are really keen in the first week.  They are happy they got the job and that shows in performance".
I am not saying that this is only criteria you should use.  Two weeks is not long enough to determine competence or fit within the organization; however, it can be an ‘early warning sign’ that you could have a high performer, or if you have made a recruiting error.

The Other Side of WOW

Your skills as a recruiter are essential to your long term success as a growing company. However, to be a good recruiter you must have an excellent working environment.  This means knowing the type of workplace you want and finding people who 'fit in'. Years ago, I was doing a recruiting seminar.  One of the participants was from the legal profession. She told me of a situation where a newly hired legal secretary was hired, and at the end of her first day handed a duster. Her supervisor told her that everybody was responsible to keep their own space clean. This was a part of the firm’s culture. The woman was so offended that she quit in the spot. 
The story illustrates the importance of fit.  Some companies are formal and others casual. Some have a work hard, play hard culture and other places have trouble getting support for a Christmas party.  Knowing your culture, and recruiting those who fit is the first step in retention.
A second factor is how you treat people.  We can debate employee motivation forever, however one common theme is treating people well, providing clear direction and supporting your employee's development.  If you want to WOW your employees, then here is a great start.
There are other important recruiting skills, and they may be covered in future laws, but never forget the power of the WOW factor, whether seeing it or providing it.  There are many other factors that affect staff retention, including management, salaries, and the career path; but never forget the importance of WOW... both being Wowed and Wowing your new recruits.

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