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Is it Time to Evolve from Onboarding

Posted 1/12/2020
 
Watching the Amazon Prime Video show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I am reminded how much the act of hiring staff has evolved over the years. 
 
In the tv show, the title character, Miriam “Midge” Maisel gets a job, in 1958, at a department store. She is interviewed by the personnel manager, Mr. Stanyon, in the Personnel Office. His interview starts with a nice validating statement: “Pretty nice printing!” He says as he looks at her resume. But since she is interviewing for the position of Elevator Operator, he tells our heroine, “I just think that our lady shoppers prefer men in that position.” He ends the interview, ushering her out with his words, “Mrs. Maisel, you are a delightful woman.”
 
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Does Self-Service Mean No-Service

Posted 8/22/2018

It’s 7:30 at night. It’s been a long day. I had been speaking at a conference in Calgary, Alberta, and now, after three days, I was heading home,  determined to be kissing my wife by 10:30 pm.  I stopped at a gas station before jumping on the highway to fill up.

As is for most of the gas stations in major cities, I had to pay at the pump. Credit Card in, straining to see the display (it was -17 Celsius, the Fahrenheit equivalent was, "Frigin' Cold"). The little screen slowly phased to the next, “Please remove .”

Being a compliant human, I did what this machine told me to do.

Slowly, the screen morphed, (why do we use LCD screens in Canada? - I mean, the operative word in “Liquid Crystal Display” is “Liquid” isn’t it? ….. -17 degrees, remember?)  and the “To Start, Please Insert Card” became visible.

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Tired of Losing Employees? Give them the Annual Review THEY Deserve!

Posted 7/17/2018

The dreaded annual evaluation.  

If your company is like most organizations, you are mandated to complete an annual evaluation with your team members, or, each year, you fall victim to the annual evaluation process yourself.  

Depending on the mindset of the organization, this is either an uplifting, affirming process, or a chore that feels both demeaning and useless. 

Most employees I meet say they feel marginalized by the process. They feel that the subjective and biased rating system does nothing to recognize their accomplishments, nor their challenges. In one organization I worked for, the annual announcement was met with heightened stress among the team, distrust as to the purpose of the evaluation and the subsequent outcome. In one of my colleague’s words, “the whole process is a joke!"  

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Give to Get at Your Next Conference

Posted 4/18/2018

At a recent conference, I was sitting with someone I had just met. Joshua and I were from different worlds, in fact, we were from different sectors within the same industry. Yet, here we were, getting to know each other, finding common points of interest. Together, we started questioning why it seems like member engagement in Associations is dwindling.   Between the personal and professional demands of their members, associations in North America continue to see a rapid decline in membership. However, here I was, at a conference talking about the value of being “at the table” at an industry association conference.

As Joshua tells it, he had been trying to get face time with a company he knew he could help. Over the course of months, he had sent emails, made phone calls,  tried to initiate conversations on LinkedIn, and aside from speaking with "underlings," could not get time with the CEO.

At breakfast that morning, plate in hand, he picked a table, approached the group sitting there, and inquired about the spare seat, "Is anyone sitting here, may I join you?" The standard greeting at a conference. Unbeknownst to him, there sat the CEO he'd been trying to see for months. Over the next 60 minutes, while they shared breakfast, they got to know each other, share interests and stories, and he secured an appointment for the following Monday. (Oh, I should say, he did that without making a “sales pitch.”)

In a quick survey of a few associations I am involved with, the top three reasons people are leaving is:

  • Higher demand for the members' time, both personally and professionally
  • Corporate cutbacks - companies are shaving association membership and conferences from their expenses - no perceived ROI
  • Members don't feel value from the association

In fact, just this week, I received an email from a long-time member saying that she wanted to redirect her leisure time, choosing not to spend her free time on activities related to work, but rather on activities that support her well being.

One of my survey responders mentioned that social media affiliations, such as LinkedIn groups, meant that she could connect to a larger pool of colleagues for "networking purposes," while online courses fulfilled her need for growth and continual learning, two critical motivations for joining an association in the first place.

So is the value of Associations (and their respective activities) dead?

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Duh! It's Not About You!

Posted 4/18/2018

On July 31, 2017, the airlines were dealt another blow. I say the “airlines" instead of "The airline," or in this case, Air Transat, on purpose.

I believe that every time we hear about airline mismanagement, in spite of what their “hospitality-centred” ads say, the public is made more aware of the airlines’ culture being more operations and profit-focused than truly guest-centric. These incessant non-guest-centric issues are building a level of distrust that not only affects the airline brand but the industry as a whole.

In this instance, two Air Transat flights, bound for Montréal had to divert to Ottawa, due to bad weather and were grounded for a short time. One was en route from Brussels, the other from Rome. 

After landing, passengers were kept on board the plane for more than four hours, and six hours, respectively.  The flight from Rome already had an issue with their air conditioning; now both flights were stranded on the tarmac without food and water for their passengers. 

According to a CBC report, "Airline representatives said they received no requests to deplane and were repeatedly told refuelling was between 15 and 30 minutes away.” However, Air Transat tariff states that passengers have the right to get off grounded vehicles after 90 minutes with the Pilot deeming it safe to do so. An option never provided to the passengers.

In any non-crisis situation, businesses need to provide their customers with options
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"A DIme a Dozen" - Time to Make Change

Posted 4/18/2018

“Employees are a dime a dozen.”

Remember when we were told that?

Back in the early 80’s, putting myself through school, like many, I worked at a local restaurant. Back then, the unemployment rate was so high; I had to compete for the job I had. To make matters worse, we had to stay in that position no matter what - employment was too hard to find.

Those were the days where on-the-job bullying was commonplace. Where my boss, at the time, would openly yell at the staff when they made mistakes. He would make abusive comments meant to demean and ridicule members of “his staff". Managers back then had the same disposition as Paul Gleason’s character, Richard Vernon on the Breakfast Club. “Mess with the bull, young man, and you’ll get the horns!” You know the type?

It’s All Good Now, Right?

Now team members are validated and respected. They are part of a team, a part of what makes YOU great. Right? I mean, after all, we fight tooth and nail for the employees we have. We take time to “onboard" them, investing hundreds of dollars in training them, providing them with the tools to efficiently do their jobs, and trust them to take care of our customers. Right?

I wish it were so.

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