I have always liked Vancouver with its natural beauty (sea to mountains) and vibrant multi-cultural cosmopolitan vibe. There are many high tech employers with regional and global headquarters based in the lower mainland. Adding to this growing list is Amazon Web Services. AWS is on a recruiting drive for engineers. With Vancouver located only a few hours drive away from Seattle (Amazons Global Head Quarters) and Canada’s current economic immigration policy the company is banking on filling as many as 1,000 positions at its 91,000 square foot office. Amazon’s plan to smartly leverage Vancouver’s natural appeal plus Canada’s policy of favouring economic immigrants, prioritizing solid candidates that match job offers and in-demand skills.
The 2013 Ottawa HR Journal published by The Ottawa Business Journal ran a three page article based upon my latest book Stop $pending Money on Your People – How to Turn HR into a Profit Center.
The global economy has recently been in a state of flux. There is ample discussion and concern in the media and boardrooms about the recent “roller coaster” performance of most stock markets. Powerful local and foreign competitors are attempting to gain market share. Margins are being squeezed, competitors are aggressively targeting your clients and the expectations of today’s consumers are more demanding than ever before.
Business success in any economic climate is a matter of being able to tap into the potential of your employees, in good times or in bad. The over arching key to attracting, developing and retaining highly productive and engaged people is to understand what gets employees fired up vs. what doesn’t work. In the following article I attempt to dispel the top 10 motivational myths.
Here’s the PDF posted to my SlideShare account. Enjoy!
While most North American and European countries struggling are struggling with high unemployment rates Latin America has been bucking the trend. Averaging 6.5 percent, unemployment in 13 Latin American countries has fallen to near historic lows, contrasting sharply with rich nation’s rates and its own historic peak of 11 percent a decade ago. 35 million jobs were created over the past decade as the average length of education rose by three years, and 65 percent of women aged 25-65 had joined the workforce, and salaries have risen leading to the narrowing of income gaps. This good news trend for workers is expected to continue with the projected average growth for 2013 for Latin America to be around 4 %, which is above the overall estimated growth for developed economies.
“It’s quite remarkable that Latin America has been able to break with the tradition of high unemployment and informal employment to bring down overall unemployment rates to new historic lows.”
World Bank Regional Chief Economist Augusto de la Torre.
While all this is great news for the average worker it does present some challenges for businesses throughout the region. A recent Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by SAP stated that due to the regional economic boom small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing major challenges of finding and retaining skilled workers. The report was based on a survey of 175 respondents from companies throughout Latin America. Respondents were clear that Latin American SMEs face significant challenges in recruiting, attracting, developing and retaining skilled workers. In order to compete, Latin American SMEs will need to address this problem quickly.
The main findings of the SAP sponsored survey include:
SMEs face internal organisational challenges as they try to embrace a culture of continuous learning. While 42% of respondents to our survey identified the need to change the organisational culture as the largest problem they face in the area of innovation, executives also underlined the need to encourage teams to work together (34%) and to transform ideas into marketable goods/services (39%).
SMEs lack an organised way of analysing strategy. When asked to describe the way their organisation analyses strategic issues, a majority (51%) of respondents said there was either no process (5%), claimed it was largely ad hoc (16%) or said it varied by business unit or from year to year (30%).
A lack of good workers remains an obstacle to success. When asked to characterise the market for qualified, high-potential employees, 63% of executives complained of either an extreme shortage (10%) or a limited supply (53%) of talented workers. When asked to identify the three largest workforce-related challenges facing their organisations, the biggest single response (30%) was the inability to attract qualified candidates.
Recruitment and retention continues to be a challenge. Three of the other four most common responses to the same question pointed to recruitment and staffing problems: a mismatch between employee skills and organisational priorities (27%), an inability to retain key employees (26%), and an inability to build a properly motivated workforce (22%).
Source: An Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by SAP
If your organization has taken a stand on a social or political issue, why not incorporate your cause with your recruiting, engagement and retention efforts. For example, If your company has taken a very progressive stance in protecting the environment and you’re involved in various environmental initiatives, you’ll attract people who share your concerns. People can become very excited about the prospect of working with a socially responsible company, and the common ground you and the prospective applicant share on environmental protection may prove to be a real “gelling” force. Align your organization to supporting a cause and attract like-minded people (e.g. Bodyshop, Toms Shoes, Starbucks). A number of legal firms are doing pro-bono work for local charities as a way of giving back while enticing like-minded young lawyers to join their firms.
*Obasan, a manufacture of natural and organic mattresses and bedding accessories, not only markets their green philosophy, they live it. Jean Corriveau, the president, often travels to remote parts of the world sourcing natural cotton, wool and rubber. He and his team are committed to only doing business with suppliers who are truly committed to fair trade practices. The result is that like-minded people are seeking to be part of the Obasan team. Jean gets his employees into an Obasan bed, they get to fully appreciate the quality of the products but also the health benefits of a great night’s sleep. The employees take tremendous pride in owning an Obasan bed and in their role of providing hand crafted mattresses and accessories for their clients. Jean also actively seeks input from all employees from production, sales and administration for product development ideas and prototypes. The result is a highly productive, engaged and loyal team in a sector plagued with high employee turnover.
“At Obasan, employees are treated as full and equal partners. We hire locally and provide workers with a clean, safe and supportive environment in which they are treated with respect and dignity. I am proud that we have several employees who have been with Obasan for 15 years or more and the new or ones are happy to stay, learn and grow. This type of loyalty is difficult to come by and I deeply appreciate the trust that these workers place in me and in the company.”
Source Sleep Well, Live Well My Passionate Journey for Better Sleep by Jean Corriveau founder Obasan
To learn more about Obasan go to www.obasan.ca
Check out this video on YouTube:
I recently did this interview on Kidela TV on my new book Stop $pending Money on Your People – How to Turn HR into a Profit Center. It’s too bad the Skype connection was poor.
Recently I sent a client a wrap up note about a project & it was suggested that other people could enjoy this.August 12th, 2012
I know for a fact that the coaching and performance assessment meetings have been very productive and have already started to yield positive results in performance, team relations, levels of engagement, clarification of objectives and roles, problem identification and resolution. I have every confidence that there will be even greater gains in these areas in the near future!
As I final note I would like to encourage the entire management team to keep up their professional development efforts by;
• Retaining a coachable mindset, continue to be open and allow yourself and encourage your people to come out of your comfort zones and try new ideas to be more productive
• Foster a sense of urgency within yourself and your team while remembering to balance this with strategic thinking
• Maintain transparent communications with the entire team, say what you mean and mean what you say
• Remember the power of 70/30 while coaching (listen 70% of the time, speak for 30%)
• Delegate effectively but don’t abdicate your responsibility, failure to so do hurts the company and robs your people of critical developmental opportunities
• Develop and use probing questions and use silence appropriately
• Praise publicly often (when earned) and criticize privately
• Set SMART Objectives and hold your people accountable for achieving them
• Seek the best in your people and you will find it, however never let poor performance slide by.
• Remember there are only two valid positions in a lean and keen organization, the positions that directly serves the paying customer and the positions that directly supports the positions that serves the paying customer. Any other positions are a total waste of resources!
• Remember that attitudes are contagious, ask yourself is yours worth spreading?
• Regardless of your role in the company, everyone needs to keep their eyes and ears open to what is happening in the market and to notify the appropriate person if they see any challenges or opportunities.
• Lastly, as a leader you must stand in front of the troops and lead by example, remember you need to set the pace, attitude and professionalism and be a proud part of making your organization an employer of choice.