Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

‘Strategies’ is one of the top three most Googled employee engagement search terms.  I have uncovered four powerful strategies to re-engage employees, so each week in September we’ll dive deep into one of them. This week’s focus? The importance of getting the right person in every chair – who you hire and who you fire.  Why?  Because when you get this right, you increase trust in leadership and the emotional connection that employees feel to your organization.

In order for your company to have an engaged workforce and truly succeed, you must have the right person in every chair.  No exceptions.  This means you must hire people who have the skills to do the job and whose individual values are aligned with your company’s values.  Why?  Because when an employee’s values are aligned with your company’s values, the employee will feel an emotional connection to your organization, which is half of the employee engagement equation.  The other half is trust in senior leaders.

Where do you begin?  Direct every recruiter and hiring manager to use what I call a Standard Interview Template when speaking with job candidates.  This template is important because it ensures that your screeners are asking the same questions when interviewing people for your open positions.  The template should include questions that enable the job candidate to cite specific examples of how they live your organization’s values and why those values are important to them individually.  Having a job candidate tell you, “Yes, I’m innovative,” is not enough.  In order for them to ‘make the grade,’ they must be able to share specifics.

But getting the right person in every chair does not stop at hiring for values.  You must also face your rotten egg employees head-on.  The moment you notice a person on your team who is under-performing, who has a toxic attitude, or who is a weak manager, address it.  Have a conversation with the person about what you are observing and, together, develop a plan for the individual to improve.

The goal is always to help the employee develop and grow, so he/she does not have to be removed from the organization, but sometimes that’s simply not possible.  Sometimes we hire rotten eggs, and nothing we do is going to turn the situation around.  If you are facing this situation and have exhausted all avenues with an individual, I encourage you to remove them from your organization.  Why?  Because as you are creating an extraordinary culture on one end, you can’t afford to have employees chipping away at it on the other end.

In addition, there is nothing more demoralizing to employees than a management team who allows a person to stay who is not pulling their weight, who has a toxic attitude, or who can’t effectively manage others.  Regardless of the person’s issue, this behavior is like a cancer and negatively impacts your engaged workers.  When you don’t act on your rotten eggs, every employee around the person knows they don’t belong there and is thinking, “Why aren’t leaders doing anything about this?”  And in that moment you are chipping away at the trust your engaged workers have in leaders.

Bottomline, hire for both a values match and a skills match, and if you have a person who is underperforming, develop them or move them out.  In order to create an extraordinary workplace, where people are engaged, every seat must be filled with the best and brightest talent.  Are you there?

ON DECK FOR NEXT WEEK.  We’ll focus on my second strategy to re-engage employees: Goal Alignment – the importance of ensuring that your employees have individual goals that align with the CEOs.  You don’t want to miss this.