Pre-Hire Performance Plans – Whats, Whys, and How Tos

by Sara Bennett | December 11, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Behaviorally Based Employee Selection Models, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Hiring.Best Practices, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q1 2023.24, Lead Gen Content - Candidate Selection, What's New in Staffing? Employer Buzz, get connected

Making the Case for Pre-Hire Performance Plans

We’re all familiar with the term Performance Plan that is used to describe a series of steps or activities sequenced in a way to achieve a specific goal or objective.  There are all kinds of performance plans, most used to lay out the activities and results required of a company, a team or an individual covering a specific time period. Many companies, teams or individuals regularly prepare weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual performance plans. Unfortunately the performance plan language is most frequently used in situations where an employee is in trouble, either with their conduct or their results, and a PIP, a Performance Improvement Plan, is used to lay out what specifically the employee needs to do or change what they have been doing to avoid termination. Given the number of times PIPs come up when googling Performance Plans, it is no wonder performance plans are so often viewed in a negative light. Less well known are what is called “30-60-90 Day Plans”, typically introduced during the onboarding process to describe what an employee needs to learn or do during their first 90 days on the job to be fully ready to perform on their 91st day after hire. These types of performance plans are designed to get a new hire off to the right start, armed first with what they need to know, and secondly what results they need to deliver, to contribute to the organization’s success. Most 30-60-90-day plans are written either by a hiring manager or a member of the HR team right after the employee is hired and is about to be "onboarded." A much less well-known version of a performance plan is what we call a Pre-Hire Performance Plan (PHPP) a type of plan introduced during the hiring process as a way to lay out for a job candidate what a newly hired employee is expected to do, know, or deliver by when if hired. PHPPs are very much like on boarding plans but are given to a candidate before they are hired and are used to describe the hiring manager’s expectations for “success.” Long story short, a PHPP is a “results focused” definition of the hiring manager’s expectations. This blog is written to make the case for Pre-Hire Performance Plans; describe how they are used in the hiring process plus outline why a company might choose to incorporate a PHPP into their hiring process. We will also provide our readers with some ideas and insights into the how to’s of creating a PHPP. 

What is a Pre-Hire Performance Plan (PHPP)?

Feeding off the brief definition provided above, the content of a PHPP looks very much like a 30-60-90 day on-boarding plan in that it lays out what needs to happen by when after an employee is hired and begins work. While most PHPP's are focused on the first 90 days post hire, for more senior roles that time frame can and often should be expanded to include the results to be obtained during the employee’s first year on the job. A PHPP often includes a statement of the context in which the expectations are to be achieved to clearly spell out the challenges likely to be faced during the plan period.

How are Pre-Hire Performance Plans Used During the Hiring Process?

A PHPP is used to identify the “best candidate” for the job – the behavioral way. It is typically a document given to 2-3 “finalists” who have already been screened to have the base experience and/or skills needed. These finalists are asked to review the plan and come to their interview prepared to provide examples of situations where they have faced the same or a similar set of expectations.  During the interview they are asked for specifics of their experience – what they did, the results they achieved, what they learned that might help them address the requirements of the job they are interviewing for. The PHPP can play a key role in the candidate selection process as the candidate’s answers to questions relevant to the PHPP almost always reveals which candidates are most prepared to achieve the results described in the PHPP.

What are the Key Benefits for Using a Pre hire Performance Plan?

There are many benefits for using a PHPP in addition to the role it plays in employee selection.
  • A PHPP ensures your hiring decision is focused on predicting performance or results, avoiding personal bias. And that is a trickle-down benefit that keeps the entire team or organization focused on performance/results. Having a PHPP in place shows just how serious you are about hiring the right employee and how focused you are on results.
  • A PHPP engages the high talent candidates during the hiring process in ways that traditional hiring processes do not. High talent candidates are attracted to challenges and will automatically self-reflect on the skills and abilities they can use to address these challenges.  Increased engagement = more offers accepted, often circumventing the type of competition based on costly pay and benefit packages.
  • A PHPP takes the mystery out of expectations…making it clear what is to be accomplished by when. High talent candidates don’t like surprises….and want to know exactly what will be expected of them.
  • A PHPP helps the recruiting team develop a job relevant preferred candidate profile. Knowing what a future employee must produce by when, makes it easy to get realistic about what qualifications are needed to succeed once hired.
  • A PHPP kick starts the onboarding process…. shortening the time it takes to get a new employee off and running.
  • A PHPP provides a way to get some early warning signals that you’ve hired either the right or the wrong employee.  A new employee who isn’t reaching the milestones spelled out in their Pre-Hire Performance Plan can be spotted early, the reasons for the performance shortcoming addressed in real time, as they come up.  This process avoids the more traditional, often long-drawn-out methods of assessing a new hire that results in too much time and resources invested in the wrong employee.  With over 50% of new hires turning into hiring errors, the earlier a “bad hire” is detected the easier it is to minimize the wake of an underperforming employee left in their role too long. The phrase “take the time to hire right, and fire quickly” comes to mind.  The PHPP is an invaluable tool to do just that.
  • A PHPP plays a key role in creating a culture of personal accountability and productivity. It keeps the hiring and orientation process focused on hiring and developing employees who have the necessary experience and talents needed to reach and exceed goals.  It can play a pivotal role in creating a performance focused culture.

How to Create a Pre-Hire Performance Plan

Creating the PHPP is, of course, the difficult part.  There are many multi-day workshops created to train managers on how to create the right performance plans. What I’d like to do in the context of this blog is to give you a limited list of “things to consider” when creating your PHPP.  I will also share some examples of the PHPPs we’ve helped PACE clients create and use in their hiring process.
  • Envision a SIMPLE ROADMAP. Identify the priority achievements for each segment of a progressive timeline.  Make sure you’re not expecting too much too soon and have clearly spelled out how the employee’s plan accomplishments will be measured.
  • Make sure you include a clear description of the context in which the PHPP will be achieved. The reality is that many new hires run into issues with a new job, not because of shortcomings in the skills or abilities needed to do the job, but because of the context in which the work is performed – a failure to adapt to that context.   Spell the context out clearly so that your PHPP comes alive for a potential candidate.  “You will be replacing a valued employee who is retiring after 15 years.  She will have very big shoes to fill and unfortunately there is not a lot of documentation available on how she does her job that makes her so good at it.  You’re going to have to absorb most of the how to's in the 3 weeks we have arranged for you to overlap with her.”   
  • Organize plan objectives into “conceptual” segments…
    • The first thirty days is typically a period of LEARNING so the plan needs to identify the key elements of the job the employee needs to learn and a brief description of how they will be learned.   You will meet with your boss at least twice to get clear on the department’s current projects and how you are expected to contribute. 
    • The second thirty days should be focused on DOING…putting into play the knowledge and skills learned in the first 30 days, and re affirming the employee’s ability to execute the base expectations. Spell out what work the employee should be regularly performing and how they should obtain feedback on their performance.     You will actively perform assignments given to you by the VP and obtain feedback from that VP on how you performed.       
    • The third thirty days should be focused on demonstrating the employee's ACCOUNTABILITY and INITIATIVE. The components of the plan should show the ways in which employees can demonstrate that they have a firm grasp on how their role contributes to the team’s success. You will have mastered the reoccurring/daily/weekly work assigned to your role plus will have presented some of your own ideas on ways your role might enhance its contribution to the team’s performance.     
  • Make sure your PHPP provides answers to key questions.....
    • What skills or knowledge does the new employee need to either bring to the table or learn quickly?
    • What resources are available to facilitate the required learnings?
    • Who are the people (i.e. stakeholders) who will play a role in the employee’s success? Who do they need to meet?
    • What projects or initiatives are currently in play that the new hire is expected to contribute to?
    • What recurring problems or challenges will they likely encounter and need to address?
    • What will the new employee need to do to establish their credibility with others?
    • What are the specific tasks that make up the employee’s daily, weekly, monthly requirements?
    • How will those tasks be taught – by who? Using what resources?
    • How will the employee get involved with other areas of the company besides their own team?
    • What kind of feedback will they be given to let them know how they are doing with their plan? How will it be solicited?
  • Adjust how you break down your PHPP into performance periods based on the complexity and scope of the role. Most if not all jobs benefit from a a PHPP covering a 90-day timeline.  Some higher or executive level jobs will require you to expand your plan to lay out expectations for first year results.

Examples of Pre-Hire Performance Plans

We'd like to share examples of PHPPs we have developed with customers in the last 12 months.  The first is the PHPP for a VP of Marketing so that you can get a sense of what that type of high level PHPP might look like. The second is the PHPP for an Administrative Assistant in the Marketing Department. Please note how each plan spells out the "context" in which the results will be delivered and the extended time period covered by the executive level plan.  
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

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Taking the Fat Words Out of Your Hiring Process

by Sara Bennett | December 4, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Behaviorally Based Employee Selection Models, FEATURED BLOGS, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Hiring.Best Practices, Lead Gen Content - "Fit" get connected

If you’re a recruiter, you won’t have to wait more than 15 minutes in a conversation with a hiring manager to hear at least one “fat word”.    “I really need you to find me someone who is a  “critical thinker”!. … Read More »

So You Want to Hire a Critical Thinker!

by Sara Bennett | October 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Lead Gen Content - Candidate Selection Employer Buzz, get connected

According to recent research, the number of job postings requesting “critical thinking skills” as a candidate requirement, have doubled since 2009.  Here's some ideas about how to screen candidates for "critical thinking". … Read More »

Why So Many Job Candidates Prefer Working for Small to Medium Sized Employers!

by Sara Bennett | October 12, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, FEATURED BLOGS, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Hiring.Best Practices, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q4 2022.23 get connected, main whats happening

Small and medium sized companies often find themselves competing for talent on a very unequal playing field! Here's how they win the race for talent against their larger competitors! … Read More »

Is the Job Market Signally a Reason to Celebrate or Sending Out an SOS?

by Sara Bennett | October 5, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q4 2022.23

From our perch it sure seems like it,  so wanted our readers to be aware of some recent or ongoing changes that we’re noticing. … Read More »

AI and Hiring. Evolution or Revolution?

by Sara Bennett | September 28, 2023

0 ACA/AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE - Policies and Processes, Author-Jeanne, FEATURED BLOGS, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, LOCAL NEWS, EMPLOYMENT AND STAFFING TRENDS Employer Buzz, get connected, main whats happening

The role of AI in the hiring process has been an unexpected story in 2023.  Everyone is asking “how will this “technology” impact me?”. Recruiters, Hiring Managers and job Candidates are no exception.  … Read More »

Try Before You Buy = A Smart Way to Hire!

by Sara Bennett | September 7, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring.Best Practices, Lead Gen Content - Candidate Selection, Temp-to-Hire Staffing get connected

New to the temp to hire audition as a hiring model? Here's a step by step way to introduce this model to your team. … Read More »

Fit Finding Made Easy – Candidate Screening

by Sara Bennett | May 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Lead Gen Content - "Fit" get connected

What You Need to Know About a Candidate Before You Hire Them! 

For our regular blog readers it comes as no surprise that PACE's approach to hiring is all about finding a candidate who is a good fit for a particular job and work environment.   Yes, that candidate will have the skills and work experience necessary to do the job, but we believe even more important is the match up with all those components of "fit" that result in a candidate who can not only do the job but will love doing it at very high levels.  As we talk about often, we believe that taking the time to find an employee who is the right fit has big pay offs - improving the productivity of a team, making it easier to retain team members, and in general positively impacting the team's morale. We've seen it multiple times - hiring decisions based on "fit" are decisions that "make a big difference" to the team's success. While the process of FIT FINDING requires a hiring manager to get clear about the job, the work environment and the candidate, this blog is about the candidate side of fit finding – what you need to know about a candidate to determine if they are the “right fit” for the job you are hiring for.  It assumes you’ve already taken the time to understand the job, its content, and all those things about the work environment that matter! 

Here's FIVE factors you need to get clear any job candidate when hiring for "fit"...

#1  The Candidate’s CAN DOS - their concrete SKILLS and KNOWLEDGE they need to do the job!     

  • Do they have the specific skills and knowledge to do the work?
  • Does their work history show that they have done the same or similar work? In what ways will what they have done in previous jobs transfer to what they will be doing in this job?
  • What kind of on the job training will they need to get them up to speed?
  • Do they have enough experience doing the same or similar work to know when they need to ask questions? Or reach out for help?  IOW, are they smart enough to know what they don’t know?
How do you get answers to these questions? 
While a good portion of your interview needs to dig into the specifics of a candidate's actual work experience, avoiding assumptions that get made simply by looking at the job titles and descriptions of work that appear on their resume, if you have any concerns at all, there's nothing like a comprehensive skills assessment program to see for yourself if the employee has the skills and knowledge they claim to have.  If you haven’t invested in skills testing software, reach out to PACE.  We have a comprehensive library of skills assessment exercises that we can use to "skill test" a candidate for an affordable cost.

#2  The Candidate’s WANNA DOS – uncovering those  intrinsic talents and work preferences that they enjoyed doing in the past that are likely to make them successful "at this job, in this work environment".  

  • Will the kind of work the employee will be doing each day something they will enjoy and be good at?  Does it play into the kind of work responsibilities the candidate enjoys the most?   OR are there components of the job that they likely won't like - that to do they'll need to "change their stripes”?
  • Is the job going to be challenging enough to keep the employee engaged? For how long?   
How can you find out? This is where your behavioral interview comes into play, asking questions that zero in on......
  • Things the candidate liked or didn’t like about their previous jobs.  What specific types of work they have been good at or not so good at in previous jobs?  
  • Their personal hobbies or activities they do outside of work, and WHY they enjoy them?
We find that candidates will report that they enjoyed certain components of their past jobs that they were good at.  If you uncover a candidate didn't like a particular type of work, chances are its the type of work they aren't that good at.  Knowing the kind of work a candidate likes and is good at is key to finding that fit between the candidate's strengths and the actual job content.   

#3 The Candidate’s Extrinsic MOTIVATORS (or DeMotivators) - things that will turn them on or off about where they work.        

  • What are the factors likely to motivate the candidate to do the job at high levels and enjoy doing it?
  • Is your recruiting story about why a candidate would like this job relevant to what the candidate needs to achieve thru their work - or do they tend to be motivated by things you or your job doesn’t have to offer?
  • Is the candidate likely to be motivated by the actual work content? The pay and benefit plan?  An opportunity to be promoted?  Learn more?
  • What is their level of interest in what the company does? Is anything about what you do that would be a turnoff to the candidate once hired?
How will you uncover this information? 
Every interview needs to include a discussion with a candidate about the work history you see on a resume or application from a motivational perspective.   There is actually a simple formula that you can use to get the information you need to identify patterns and trends.  For each job ask.....
  • Why did they take each job? Why did they leave?
  • What they liked AND disliked about each job ?
  • How long did they stay at each job?  Was there a difference in how long they stayed at a job they liked, compared to one they didn't like?  
  • Is there a pattern of personal or job satisfaction issues that seem to crop up, prompting a job change?
NOTE:   Many interviewers will short cut the work history analysis, preferring to ask what the candidate is hoping to "gain" from their next job.  We think that question short changes the real question which is how they actually made decisions in the past.   Hiring for "fit" is about finding out what type of job or work environment has been the "right fit" in the past. 

#4  The LOGISTICS -  More Can and Wanna Dos

  • Are the physical logistics of the job (things you can’t easily change about the work or the work environment) doable/acceptable by the candidate?
  • Do they have the transportation to get to and from work as needed?
  • Are they able to get to work during regular work hours?
  • Are you able to allow them to periodically work from home if that is what is important to them?
  • Is the actual work setting (ex. that lone desk in the back office) going to become an issue?
How will you find out?  
Questions that are focused on the candidate's ability to comply with the logistics of the job are one of the most important components of a screening interview - making sure that the more comprehensive interviewing to focused only on the candidates who meet the logistical requirements.  Where the job is performed?  Workplace rules and boundaries? etc. 
Most logistics relevant questions have simple yes no answers  (ex.  are you able to work in our Renton office 3 days a week?) but don’t be afraid to ask for reasons behind the yes’s nos or probe more deeply.  (ex.  You indicated that you didn’t like working from home in your last job?  How will you deal with the 2 days you will work from home in this job?)
We always recommend our client give a job candidate a tour of their physical facility so that they have an opportunity to observe the work environment, their future teammates in action.  

#5 The Candidate’s Typical or Preferred WORK STYLE ..…. 

…requires you to uncover a candidate’s preferred way of working - the kind of alignment between the "way we do things around here" and how the candidate prefers to work that can be a deal breaker when a new employee uncovers post hire that they are not a good fit for the work environment.
  • Does the candidate tend to prefer work environments that have a lot of meetings, huddles or 1/1 collaborations, or do they prefer working alone, without a lot of interpersonal distractions?
  • Do they prefer to work for a hands on supervisor, someone who is always there to answer questions, or do they prefer to work "hands free" with freedom to do their job their way?
  • Are they good with change, work environments where change is always ongoing, or do they prefer work that is more stable, less likely to change?
  • Do they enjoy interacting with teammates socially or do they tend to leave work and relationships behind when off the clock?
How can you get answers to these types of questions? 
Again, the key is to ask the candidate specific questions about what they have done in their past jobs that approximates the kind of issues they are likely to face in your work environment.  These are the kinds of questions that often go beyond what can be covered in a screening interview and are typically handled by a hiring manager in a more in depth evaluation interview.  A screening interview, for example,  might include very generic inquiry about the candidate's preferences for a particular type of work environment...
    "Based on your previous jobs, are there any kind of work environments that you found to be problematic for you?  A boss that didn't give you the support you needed?  A work environment was challenging for you?"
An evaluation interview on the other hand, can be much more specific about the candidate's experience handling specific types of situations that are commonplace.....
         "Have you had experience working in an environment where it was very difficult to get in touch with your boss when  issues would come up?  Where you had to solve problems on your own, oftentimes with very limited ways to reach out for help.  Describe how you handled that type of challenge.       
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation, PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of hiring help and candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager who is looking to improve their hiring results, contact us at 425-637-3312.  You can also fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch!

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Its May30th – Love Your Recruiter Day!

by Sara Bennett | May 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Lead Gen Content - "Fit" get connected, main whats happening, Whats Happening

Don’t ask who decided but we’re being told that Tuesday May 30th has been designated National Recruiter Day.  What a great way to shine a light on these important contributors to business success, folks who so often don’t get the applause they deserve.  And yes, talent shortages have put them on the hot seat for quite a while now, so its about time we said “we see you!” and value “what you do! “ … Read More »

What Makes PACE Such a Great Partner!

by Sara Bennett | February 20, 2023

0 About Staffing Agencies, Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, Best Practices /Flexible Staffing, FEATURED BLOGS, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q1 2023.24, Lead Gen Content - Selecting/Managing A Staffing Partner, PACE News!, STAFFING AGENCIES - SELECTION & MANAGEMENT get connected

We don’t like to brag, but one of the things we think is really special about PACE Staffing Network, is our track record of success when it comes to retaining clients.  In an industry where client relationships are historically fickle with client turnover across the board exceeding 50% a year, the fact that so many PACE clients have been with us 20 years or longer is something we think is worth talking about.

How do we do it?

I think it starts with how we view ourselves – as partners not vendors – avoiding all those mistakes we see our competitors making that can’t help but believe causes their clients to look elsewhere for more or better.

Here are 6 things we do (that most of our competitors don't) that we know makes us a great partner....

  1. We work in teams which creates the consistency in service and outcomes our clients can rely on!  At PACE how you experience our services is not dependent on you being assigned to work with one of our staffing superstars!   When someone on one of our client teams is absent or, god forbid, gets hit by a truck, there is always another member of the team who can slip into their spot, assuring our clients that their service from PACE doesn't miss a beat.   PACE clients never get one of those “Hi – Im your new Account Manager and would like to get to know you” e mails – first of all because we have very low levels of internal staff turnover, but more importantly our clients already know their team, people already familiar with who they are and what they do.  Our team approach purposefully creates a better and more consistent service for PACE clients!
  1. Our mindset is not on selling our clients anything, but helping them solve their staffing problems.  And there is a big difference.  Our interactions with clients are all about uncovering what's unique about them - their pain points, finding the solution that fits them, not us.   If that solution happens to be one of the services we offer, we’re all in.  But even if it isn't, we don't stop until we know there's a solution in place.  That's why we built the network in PACE Staffing Network, which refers to the partnerships we’ve formed with other staffing agencies and companies, who, in aggregate can offer our client’s specialized solutions in all facets of their business that PACE doesn’t personally provide.   We’re serious about providing solutions even if those solutions aren't something we can personally deliver! 
  1. We’re really good with feedback.  While a lot of vendors ask for feedback, very few actually make changes based on that feedback.    It’s a big deal for us to get a suggestion from a client and turn that suggestion into a change in process that works better not just for the client who made the suggestion, but other clients as well.  Many of our best partnerships started with a problem that our vendor level competitors wouldn’t or couldn’t solve because they couldn't move out of their "cookie cutter" mindset.  It was not by mistake that we made it one of our key differentiators to be “world class” at customization.
  1. We are always transparent – particularly when it comes to pricing. Our pricing models are rationalized based on one thing – the costs we incur to deliver something our client’s value compared to the costs of alternative solutions.  And for us transparency is all about at least once a year laying out all the costs we incur to deliver our services and asking our client’s if we are delivering the value we promised or they expected.   One of our most popular blogs was created to help potential clients understand all the elements that get factored into a temporary staffing bill rate.  We followed that up with a blog to help employers negotiate more effectively with their  staffing vendor.
  1. We do our homework. When we help a client find that “just right” employee for either a temporary, direct hire, or temp to hire staffing model, our conversations with clients are anything but one and done.  We go in depth into any facet of your work environment or needs that we know from experience that will impact the success of the person you hire!  While many vendors in the staffing industry sound like “do you want fries with that burger”, when you ask us to find your an employee our order taking process is more like a discovery, a peeling back of the onion so to speak, to reveal what matters really.  Yes, it takes longer, but that’s an investment in a partnership we know has big payoffs both short and long term.
  1. We keep a diary. Yep, we’re like the FBI when it comes to taking careful notes and turning those notes into something actionable…either now or in the future. Every conversation we have with a customer or candidate gets captured; every nuance about how a recruiting project is being organized gets documented.   When we say “we keep an up to date profile” of each client, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  The difference between a vendor and a partner couldn’t be more obvious than how you experience the different ways staffing or recruiting vendors work with their clients.   PACE clients have come to “experience the difference” in the way we do partnerships so different from what others do.  Experience the difference has been our motto from the first day of our founding and has served us well.      For more information about what PACE does, how we set ourselves apart from our competitors, and our focus on the unique needs of small to medium sized Northwest business, we’d love to have a personal chat. You can reach us by using the contact form below, emailing us at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com  or calling us at 425-637-3312.[gravityform id="56" title="false" description="false" ajax="false"]

Wondering if you have a QUIET QUITTER on your team?*

by Sara Bennett | October 27, 2022

0 Author-Jeanne, FEATURED BLOGS, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q4 2022.23 Disengaged Employees, get connected, Hiring/Firing, Is it Time to Fire a Quiet Quitter?, main whats happening, quiet firing, quiet quitting

Do you find yourself wondering if you have some "quiet quitters" on your team?   Has the team's morale suddenly taken a turn for the worse?  Are you no longer confident that the team has the same enthusiasm for its mission that it once had? … Read More »

Firing – A Tough Decision? An Easy Process?*

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 28, 2022

0 Author-Jeanne, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q4 2022.23, MANAGEMENT. SUPERVISION, Management.Supervision get connected

Hiring and firing are not just the opposite ends of the staffing spectrum, but together represent the two most important staffing decisions managers make when building their teams. … Read More »

Finding the GREAT in the Great Resignation!*

by Sara Bennett | June 6, 2022

0 FEATURED BLOGS, Lead Gen Automation Campaign - Q4 2022.23


Whatever you call it - the The “Great Resignation”, the “Big Reset" - it doesn't appear to be going away soon!

As we turned the corner on 2022, employees were still leaving their  jobs at record setting levels.  This left us close to a million jobs short of where we were pre pandemic with workforce participation rates not close to fully recovered.  Current data shows that over 11.5 million jobs go unfilled each month - more than 2 jobs for each job candidate. Make no mistake - with candidate shortages a challenge for most sectors of the workforce, turnover, losing the employees you have, is a serious issue.  This is particularly true in the Northwest where the dominance of the "bigs" in our marketplace has always meant that the availability of candidates to be hired by small to medium sized employers has been dicey. But keep in mind that up until the end of 2022, the Northwest "bigs" (Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft etc.) were hiring.  Now they're laying off, even while the record setting quitting has only slightly moderated.
We're wondering how all these very publically announced layoffs and the underlying dynamics of the "Great Resignation" might actually be a good thing for small to medium sized employers? 
In this blog we’ll share what we think has led to the Great Resignation PLUS offer up some ideas for small to medium sized companies who can take advantage of a marketplace where quittings, lay offs and hiring are out of sync.   We've got some ideas about how to make the best of this very strange marketplace....

...but first, let’s look at a few of the dynamics in our current marketplace - reasons why employees are still quitting; reasons why recruiting is still such a challenge!

#1. "I QUIT because I can"

At the end of the day, with all the data sliced and diced, in all "candidate driven” environments,  employees tend to quit because they can- and they can easily!   If something goes wrong on Friday, a disgruntled employee can post their resume on Saturday, and have a new job within the week.  It may not be the “right job” but in a job market that still has some kick to it, the perception that employment gaps can be long standing has still not been dispelled.

#2.  The era of "I think I'll Take a Break from working" can't go on forever!  

In late spring 2022, we started to see a trickle of employees coming back into the market who had not worked since leaving their jobs during the pandemic.  Employees who used the pandemic as a reason to take a break or to dabble in entrepreneurship started to return to the marketplace in early to late March of last year....but not at the levels we would normally expect after an economic recession.  Downticks in workforce participation during economic downturns has been a predictable trend for the last several recessions,  but this time around the "returners to work" didn't come back as anticipated.  They may have been fearful of coming back into a physical work setting, they might have gotten comfortable with a simpler lifestyle.  Whatever the reason, this emloyment cycle was different.

#3.  There's No Longer Any Shame in Quitting

It’s been true for some time, even before the business shutdowns, that career enhancing “job hopping” is no longer frowned upon - not even a lot of it.  Today’s employees don't get into “forever jobs” and are clearly not afraid to tackle the unknown – particularly if the unknown is packaged up to look better than what is which is what a lot of recruiting has turned into. Resumes showing good job tenure were once a prerequisite for hire.  No longer.

#4.  Changing Jobs is Easy Peasy!

An important factor that we believe indirectly impacts the high rates of quitting is the impact of digitally based hiring processes on employee job satisfaction.   Recruiters working for large employers who had high volume hiring quotas had to be so focused on finding candidates with the right key words on their resumes that the importance of "fit" to job satisfaction and employee retention has slipped thru the cracks.
  • Jobs were not accurately profiled creating mismatches between what employees want to achieve thru their work and what a specific job or employer has to offer.
  • Employees were not thoroughly vetted to make sure that all the critical dimensions of "fit" were  part of the hiring decision.
  • Once reality set in and more choices surfaced, the formula for "turnover" and the decision to "quit" kicked in.
We think job/employee mismatches is always a serious issue with how the bigs hire, and was exacerbated by the post pandemic hiring frenzy.  

#5.  Life changed! 

 ....and since the shut down in 2020, many employees have not just changed when and how they work but where they live and decisions they've made about how they do life.   Mothers with small children were one of the first to leave the job market and they haven't returned and many predict they won't won't until their children can care for themselves OR employers adapt new ways to allow women to make sure their children are cared for without costing three quarters of their income.   Employees are still leaving jobs to care for aging parents.  Husbands and wives are still leaving jobs to follow their spouses to new locations, new states, new ways to do life.          

#6.  What's in it for me?  

What we experience is that many of today's employees (not all) are choosing to leave even high paying jobs if they don’t sync up with “who they are”, “what the like to do” and “what’s important” to them about their work.  Here's what we hear....
  • My supervisor’s management style didn’t work for me.
  • The company’s culture is too cliquish. I felt left out.
  • I thought this job would give me a challenge, but I just didn’t enjoy the work.
  • The company is demanding more from me than I want to give. I am not willing to sacrifice my personal life just to get ahead.
  • I can’t see how my work is making a difference.
  • I just don’t see the opportunity to “grow” that I am looking for.
These are the issues we think create opportunity for small to medium sized Northwest employers can take advantage of the Great Resignation to do things their larger competitors can’t (or won’t)!

Here’s EIGHT ways Northwest companies can turn the "turnover culture" into a competitive advantage….

#1 Use the availability of candidates in the current marketplace as an opportunity to add new talent to your teams.   

Yes, it may take a while, but don’t be afraid to troll the current candidate marketplace just in case there is someone who left their job with a fortune 500 company either because of a lay off or purposesfully to look for the kind of “make a difference” opportunity your small to medium sized company has to offer! Don’t have time to troll?  Ask us to do it for you – searching the marketplace for great talent is what we do daily!    

#2.  Create hiring criteria based on RETENTION not just here and now performance!    

Three things come to mind.  1) Make sure you start every recruiting process with a clear view of what the job entails – its core tasks, demands, opportunities plus its everyday work environment; 2) carefully screen candidates for their talent and long term “fit” not short term performance;   3) Get clear about what makes you different as an employer - what you can offer a prospective employer - and find candidates who want to buy what you have to sell. One of the core services PACE brings to our service table is comprehensive job and candidate profiling- an essential ingredient of sucessful hiring focused on long term retention.  We help you do that well.
  • Job auditions, where a candidate gets a chance to try out a job and the work environment for 1-2 months before making the final commitment.
  • Working interviews, where a candidate (typically a finalist) finalist is invited in to sit with the team for 2-4 hours before a job offer is made.
  • Realistic recruiting campaigns that help companies lean into what they do best and attract candidates that "fit" what they really have to offer and avoid disappointments.
#3 Take a realistic look at your pay and benefit plans. It goes without saying, that pay rates are going up not down.   We tell our clients that their pay plan doesn’t have to come in at the "top of te market" but it has to be at least comparable to competitive offers.  Increasing the upper end of your pay range and communicating that range in your job postings is likely to give you access to a broader range of candidates.  This doesn’t mean your offer has to reflect the top of your pay range, but as a smaller employer you have the flexibility to avoid the rigid pay structures that are turn offs for employees looking to get ahead. And if your benefit offerings aren’t quite up to par with your larger employers you might want to consider increasing your pay rates to accommodate that short coming.

#4.  Make sure you management team communicates clearly and regularly the link between your current employee’s good work and their contribution to the team.  Make "good work" mean something to your team.

One of the things that keeps employees engaged in their work is their belief that what they do matters…. that they make a difference.   As a leader, communicating the link between what employees do on a daily basis or as the result of extra effort, is one of things that makes a big difference in their retention.  It keeps them motivated to contribute to their current team, rather than looking around for a new team where they believe they will be more appreciated or valued.

#5 Take advantage of your small company FLEXIBILITY wherever and however you can. 

Expanding pay scales, adjusting job content, elevating job titles, offering work from home privileges, even the flexible ways you can configure staff - are all ways small to medium sized companies can set themselves apart from their larger or "less flexible" counterpart.   You would be amazed at how much impact you can have on an employee once they realize that you are willing to make changes, do things differently just to create a more positive, employee centric work environment.

#6 Stay connected with each and every employee on your team…. both professionally and personally.

Employers who rely on exit interviews to tell them about their turnover aren't going to do well in 2023.   We believe it’s much easier (and smarter) to have ongoing conversations with current employees designed to stay current re: how they’re feeling about their role, the team and your company - keeping you prepared for what lies ahead.  “Stay interviews”, the term used in larger organizations to describe how this is done on a formal process, can be done more frequently and in less formal ways in smaller companies.

#7 When turnover strikes, find ways to create new opportunities for others on the team – new reasons for them to stay.

   Your larger competitors are not as able as you are to move quickly to reconfigure work.  Take advantage of that opportunity to give your remaining team members new life, new challenges!

#8 If a “team member leaves" introduce a new and more invigorating vision for your team. 

We know your first step is to come up with your plan to replace a leaving team member, but it can also be a time for you to share your vison of how the team will be “even better” once the transition is completed.  Yes, you need to stay tactical for the moment – reassigning work quickly and clearly – but also take this time to re invigorate your team around its vision for the future.

Have you been impacted by a valued employee's leaving or higher-than-usual turnover? 

We’d love to help. If you are an employer who needs to replace a valued employee or looking for the right solution to fix a short term turnover issue, give our Partner Services team a call at 425-637-3312 or complete the form below for a direct connect.

Who Are We?

PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte. To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us, or complete the form below.[gravityform id="56" title="false" description="false" ajax="false"]

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