The art of firing
It is the hardest decision to make as a senior executive – sacking one of your leadership team.
And for that reason, many executives are slow to take the necessary action. This dithering stance has the potential to impact on the wider business. In manufacturing, this could mean production delays or poor sales resulting in lost contracts and a damaged reputation. This is why senior executives need to take decisive action and not procrastinate.
Executives are expected to make those difficult decisions for the benefit of the business – it is what they earn their money for, but nothing gives an executive more of a headache than firing a member of the leadership team.
The implications are incredibly significant, which is why so many executives do not bite the bullet and are always prepared to give offer ‘one more chance’.
By contrast, senior executives have fewer reservations when it comes to making big decisions on investment or contracts, but when it comes to ditching poor performing leaders, there are a persistent set of behaviours that prolong the inevitable.
Here are five behaviours that inflict senior executives.
A desire to fix. What senior executive truly wants to send one of their leadership team packing? Most will look for ways to enable those under their wing the opportunity to put it right. There will be offers of mentoring or coaching to improve performance. In time, this becomes a personal mission and highlights an inability to recognise the weaknesses of the employee.
Fear. Removing a leader is often perceived as damaging their career as it is a long way down from the top. This fear, coupled with guilt, delays many executives from making that decision. If you find yourself in this position, one option is to discuss other roles within the organisation for which they may be better suited.
Ego. If you hired them, it’s harder to fire them. Your leadership skills and judgement are on the line and making a bad hire impacts on your reputation. However, being able to recognise the mistake and remaining objective is key to strong leadership. Don’t be ruled by your ego.
Public image. A sacking will inevitably lead to conjecture and speculation – both internally and externally. How you deal with that as a senior executive is key and can actually enhance your credibility. If there are concerns in your team, assure them and explain that it is for the wider interests of the business. Externally, the message should be all about the company’s forward-looking intentions.
No one is indispensable. You may believe that the departure could have wider repercussions on your team. It is a very common trait, especially if the person you fired does deliver results but has a detrimental effect on the team. Change happens and customers and employees understand that. Look at the potential positives rather than the negatives in making the decision to sack one of your leadership team.
Being a strong a decisive senior executive, taking responsibility to remove underperforming leaders bolsters the company. It is a far from negative action, but one that affirms your position.
If you are looking for a senior executive role, talk to us.
Manufacturing Leaders are crucial to capitalise on the Boris Bounce
After two and a half years of inertia the manufacturing sector is finally coming out of imposed hibernation caused by Brexit.
The impact of ‘dither and delay’ – coined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – has been widely felt as indecision and uncertainty has resulted in an unwillingness by businesses to commit to invest for fear over what the future might hold.
But that is changing with Britain set to finally leave the European Union. Without doubt the ‘Boris Bounce’ is having an effect. Businesses are displaying far more confidence and a willingness to place orders and invest now there is far more less uncertainty.
Since the election, we had begun to notice this change in our discussions with manufacturing executives. In our conversations, it was easy to detect there was far more optimism in their outlook, orders were starting to increase, and the purse strings were being loosened for investment.
We were just picking up that vibe through informal discussions, but there has since been hard evidence to back that up.
The headline on the CBI’s latest quarterly report on UK manufacturing gave that clear indication as it boasted ‘UK manufacturing business optimism improves at the strongest pace since 2014’.
Anna Leach, CBI Deputy Chief Economist, said: “With business optimism improving at its fastest pace since 2014 and some of the squeeze on investment plans lifting, it’s clear manufacturers are entering the new year with a spring in their step. Firms are now planning to invest more in plants and machinery, which will ultimately help increase capacity and output.”
These are shoots of recovery, as everyone in manufacturing is aware that output and orders have remained on a downward trend while Parliament prolonged the Brexit process.
There is still a way to go as we’re only at stage one as there remains the not-so-small matter of the trade agreement with the EU as well as an eye on what new trade deals the UK agrees with nations across the world.
As the political hierarchy proceed, closer to home, it is important that your business capitalises on the optimism and the opportunity to grow. We’re feeling the benefits of the ‘bounce’ as we have seen an increase in the volume of enquiries for our services from manufacturers.
Businesses that are looking to make the most will need the right people in situ. The creative thinkers, the decision makers and the leaders that know how to make the most of this opportunity.
The demand for the best talent will increase as a result of this Boris Bounce. It is crucial that businesses don’t overlook having the right people to lead as they fill up the order books and invest in new equipment.
Clarico’s Manufacturing Talent Acquisition System can play a decisive role in your recruitment strategy to ensure your business capitalises on the new wave of optimism.
If you’d like to know more click here.
Improved people management boosts your bottom line
The bottom line of manufacturing businesses across the UK is being hit by ineffective people management according to research by the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Work Psychology.
In a sample of manufacturing businesses, it discovered people management practices led to variations in productivity of 18 per cent and was responsible for 19 per cent in profitability.
The impact of underperforming employees includes hours spent correcting mistakes, low productivity plus additional costs of hiring and training staff to do the job better.
While the key manufacturing components of productivity and profitability suffer as a result of underperforming employees, manufacturers are also unable to get the best out of their leadership team.
The Future Foundation examined seven countries across the globe to understand the costs associated with poor performance. Using the United States as an example, it revealed that US managers spent 13 per cent of their time managing poor performers and 14 per cent of their time correcting mistakes. This translates into an average of 34 days per year (or six working weeks) dealing with underperformance.
And it gets worse for organisations with a turnover of more than £7million, as managers spend 41 days on managing poor performers.
To make the best use of managers, businesses need to take steps that ensure it has little or no under-performing employees.
Having the right managers in place – or hiring them – will definitely assist. However, businesses need a wider strategy that fits the organisation’s goals and employ management practices that fit and reinforce those goals.
There are four steps to achieve this:
Increase accountability – Everyone’s contribution can and should be measured. Not setting clear, measurable performance standards for each employee often leads to poor performance. Workers might think they are attainting expectations but unless this can be measured, success is open to interpretation.
Improve your hiring process – According to The Future Foundation study, it takes an average of eight months of training to achieve expected performance levels from a new employee. Most companies spend a great deal of time creating their manufacturing and sales processes, but neglect investing time to find, interview, and hire top talent. Reviewing your existing hiring processes should deliver better recruits.
Revamp your development process – Organisations should be developing their management teams for superior business performance. The gap between current productivity levels and expected performance is often attributed to a lack of skills.
Too often the wrong employee is in the wrong role and investment is needed for solutions to ensure the right people are matched with the right positions within the organisation. This will go a long way to free up the manager’s time spent on under performers.
Better people management – Effective people management practices get superior results by increasing accountability, retaining and recruiting better people, and developing innovative ways to increase profit.
Even just small improvements can deliver results. When you use people management strategies, you can increase productivity, eliminate underperformance and boost your bottom line.
If you’d like to know more on how we can assist you fill your business-critical managerial roles and improve your people management, talk to us.
Why your recruitment marketing needs to stand out from the crowd
No-one needs reminding about the current scarcity of top talent in the job market.
If you’re a manufacturing business looking to recruit the brightest leaders and managers, then you need to stand out from the crowd as these are some of the toughest times to land employees.
The latest official figures, released in September 2019, show that there are 1.294m people unemployed in the UK. This is just 3.8 per cent and the lowest level for 45 years.
While this is great news for the economy, for recruiters and manufacturing businesses looking to hire the best staff, it leaves a very small pond in which to fish.
Right now, it’s the equivalent to a buyers’ market when you go house hunting. The upper hand is with the applicant. They can pick and choose and anything that looks unappealing will just be ignored.
Therefore, your vacancies need to have impact stand out, while your business also has to differentiate itself from the competition. There are some simple ways to do this. Make sure your website is up to date and that it promotes the business as a desirable place to work. This can inspire potential employees to come and want to work for you
The way you market your jobs and your business is vital to securing the right management talent. It is important that you have a touch of guile and style when it comes to marketing vacancies. You also need to back this up with a robust approach to candidate selection.
There are two stages to this process.
The first is the advert and the marketing channels. If you create a poor advert then you will get poor candidates. You need an advert that delivers the right message, has the right look and the appeal to draw in the kind of employee you want.
It has to be very visual, so use images and video and think strategically about the platform you will use. Today, recruitment is driven by the internet and social media, so consider these or find a recruiter that uses these.
When we place vacancies, they not only go on our website, but we use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and we also email them out, targeting the message. This enables us to think smart too, as we schedule posts for maximum exposure and use the targeting options within these tools.
The second element to use is automation tools to filter the candidates.
Your time is valuable and your HR team’s time is valuable, so why spend hours sifting through every application. Automate the process using software that can distinguish if the applicant is appropriate to even be considered.
We have these processes in place at Clarico, so only those applicants that meet the criteria laid down in the job make it to the second stage of the selection process.
Those who don’t have the skills, the qualifications or the experience will be screened out of the process.
It’s not the end of the journey at this point, but by getting it right at the beginning makes recruiting the ideal candidate much easier.
If you want to know more we have a forward-thinking approach and have developed a Talent Acquisition System that uses digital technology to find the best candidates.
We have set ourselves apart from our competition and give our clients an advantage when it comes to securing the best employees.
To find out more about hiring the top talent – talk to us.
New Clarico MD delivers warning on manufacturing recruitment
Manufacturing recruitment specialists Clarico are advising businesses to adopt digital recruitment techniques in 2020 or risk never hiring top talent again.
Russell Metcalf, who officially took over as managing director last week, has fired the warning after overseeing an overhaul of Clarico’s strategy as it continues to expand its influence and impact in global manufacturing recruitment.
Metcalf, who joined the company in 2018, has been instrumental in reshaping the business through its adoption of digital technology recruitment techniques and a focus on securing talent for management and senior executive roles for manufacturing companies.
Metcalf said: “This has been a rapid and successful journey with Clarico. We’ve got the best innovation and tech that’s out there and got the best people to deliver it, which is why we’re in a position to support global businesses.
“We have delivered for companies in Sweden, Holland and the Czech Republic and have projects coming up Bahrain, Oman, France, Italy and Belgium.
“We have adapted our techniques to deliver for businesses because they are not in a position to do so. If they don’t adopt new practices they are missing out on the best talent available, which results in a poor hiring strategy. That is ineffective and costly and so business must change.
“What we have implemented already is delivering results and with the support of the Clarico team, we are continuing to establish beneficial partnerships in manufacturing recruitment.”
Metcalf is looking to make more of an impact in 2020 after replacing Jamie Town as managing director. Town retains ownership of the company and will continue in an advisory role.
Explaining the decision to stand down now he said: “My strategy was always to find a managing director who could lead the business, was passionate about recruitment and passionate about building a team.
“Russ came in a just over a year ago and has implemented the right culture and delivered my vision for the business. Russ owns the decision-making progress, will lead the business and build up a network of clients to grow the business.”
Over the past year, Clarico has proactively positioned itself to be a global recruitment company incorporating AI technology, data science and candidate nurturing to deliver high-achieving results for a range of manufacturing clients across Europe and the Middle East.
“We’ve achieved what we set out to do which is to work with successful global manufacturing businesses that have a culture to match ours and are actively hiring people based on the positive aspects of recruitment,” said Town.
“We have purposely employed technology and knowledge to source the right candidates that are really making a difference to these companies. Our methods enable us to target the top 15 per cent of talent across the manufacturing sectors and the passive candidate market.
“We’re industry leaders in terms of the technology we’re using and recruitment methodology, but we still maintain a dedicated team of consultants as they remain a fundamental key to the whole process.”
How to appeal to Gen Z candidates
If you’re looking for a phrase that sums up the Gen Z workforce – then it has to be ‘hard to please’.
You could add to that, ‘elusive’ and ‘picky’, but let’s not tar them all with the same brush.
However, it is important for businesses to be aware that this next generation of employees (born mid-1990s to early 2000s), have a far different concept of the world of work to the rest of us.
As the first truly ‘digital generation’, their ideals and expectations are not the same as the generation before – the Millennials – and so businesses need to become more switched on as to how recruit and keep Gen Z employees – or face a revolving door of having to constantly keep hiring.
Research from Gartner – How to appeal to Generation Z candidates – has indicated how serious a problem this could become, with those that have already entered the workforce regretting the choices they have made.
It has found that in 2018, 40 per cent of Gen Z respondents reported that they would not repeat their decision to accept the job offer they had accepted and only 51 per cent said they could see themselves having a long career at their organisation. It also noted that more than one-third of candidates who regret their decision intend to leave their position within 12 months.
The upshot of candidate regret is high turnover, low engagement and low productivity, which is not ideal for any business in what are already challenging times.
“To address this increase in candidate regret — and stem the ensuing issues with underperforming talent and/or high turnover — organisations need to better understand what Generation Z candidates want,” said Lauren Smith, vice president of Gartner’s HR practice.
So, if you want to hire and retain Gen Z candidates there are two distinct demands that need to be met – flexibility and development opportunities.
Gen Z candidates are attuned to the latest technology and tools, particularly via smartphone and laptops, and so don’t expect to be ‘chained’ to a desk or set hours in one location. They expect, nay demand, that they can work from any location – be it another office or home!
They also want to see flexibility while at work. They do not expect a draconian approach in the working environment, but they expect work to also include play, which can be interpreted in many ways, and that it is incorporated into the working day. (Maybe a location for a table tennis set isn’t a bad idea after all?)
Once you have satisfied that flexible working won’t be an issue, you then must appeal to their desire for continual development or face the fact they won’t be around for long as they go somewhere that will deliver.
In 2018, 23 per cent of Gen Z candidates listed development opportunities as a top attraction driver, compared to only 17 per cent of their millennial predecessors in 2013.
They don’t want to come and work for you and get left behind by technology advancements. They want to make sure they are knowledgeable and relevant and never risk becoming a ‘dinosaur’. To that end, as an employer you need to have a training programme that will deliver this that will ensure opportunities and time is provided. It could be a webinar, seminar, training days, boot camps…you name it. If you can match the drive and desire of the candidate, then the likelihood is you’ll be more successful in recruiting them.
If you’d like to know more about developing a successful recruitment strategy across all age groups, then Clarico has the expertise to assist you.
Culture Club (Pt II) – Spreading the message
Creating the right company culture is crucial to recruiting and retaining employees and being a successful business – but it’s also important to tell people about it!
Let’s face it, everyone wants to be happy at work and businesses want to be recognised as a great place to work as much as they want to be pioneers and profitable.
It is about getting the message out there and sharing your great company culture or the one you are creating one to make sure everyone else knows.
To achieve this, you need to have two strategies – an internal one for your existing employees and an external one to attract future employees.
You can spend time researching this is more depth, but here is a quick Clarico guide to creating the right strategies to have everyone raving about your business.
Appoint a cultural ambassador: There will be one employee – possibly more – that just knows how to sell your company. They know the values and love working for you and so they perfect to ‘PR’ your company. Find that person as they are your best advertisement and are perfect for sending to job fairs or colleges and promoting why it is great working for you.
Tell your employees: When you have your company culture, it is important that employees are aware of it. Tell the story of the business in all your communications as this raises the profile of your company values. Make this especially relevant in your job descriptions and throughout the hiring process. Selling the culture – rather than tasks and duties – appeals to future employees.
An aura of trust and consistency: If you want your employees to promote the brand then you to make sure that the culture you are promoting to the wider world is reflecting at the workplace. This is a case of walking the talk. Don’t just say it, do it.
Engage your employees: Employees want to be part of the businesses success and want to play an active role in generating the ‘feel good factor’ that comes with a positive company culture. Whether it’s an employee council for delivering feedback and discussing workplace issues or a social committee for planning nights out, having employees involved makes a huge difference.
Social media presence: It is a given that potential employees will be following you on social media – whichever platforms you are on. The clue here is ‘social’, so you need to highlight this in your posts. Celebrate achievements, charity days, dress-down Fridays, promote your blog (if you have one) and of course ‘sell’ the business. Your channels need to have personality and express your mission and values so that you can entice future employees. This article will help you boost your social media profile.
Manage your website: Much like your social media channels, your website needs to portray an enticing and exciting place to work. If you have a ‘careers’ or ‘jobs’ section, make sure this reflects the business. Does it talk about the company culture and potentially why your business is more attractive to work for than your competitors?
Manage reviews: You might not be Amazon or Booking.com but even companies get reviews. Websites like Glassdoor allow employees – past and present – to comment on your business and what it is or was like working there. If you want to have positive reviews, then it starts within the business and there’s no harm getting employees to be provide positive feedback.
Organise open days: As a manufacturing business, throwing open the doors for an open day or a tour is a proactive way to showcase your business showing. It might be something you do with potential employees after an initial interview (if you think they are the right person) or an open day for your industry or even employees’ families. Whichever it is, it generates positive interest, creates a buzz and is an excellent way to promote the business.