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  1. You want the best people to work for you, but why would they want to?

    August 23, 2011 by Jenna

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    So, you’re a company. 

    You want the best people to work for you. Really talented people, unique even, with experience and skills and personalities that will bring even greater success to you. 

    But why on earth would they want to work for you? 

    Do you know why? Can you articulate it? Does your company have a strong brand, an attractive brand? Do people perceive you as a leader in your industry? Are your existing teams filled with people who actively share their skills and knowledge and expertise for the betterment of the whole? 

    Understanding a candidate’s expectations of your company and its culture is critical from the very start. If a disconnect exists between a candidate’s expectations and the reality of the situation, it can quickly lead to problems with engagement, performance, and business productivity. The candidate needs to know what is expected of them as well as feel a sense of strong company culture that is not only clear but inviting. 

    So, how do you go about building and leveraging a positive talent brand? 

    Brands are a powerful combination of symbols, messages and beliefs about a product or employer. You need to think about your potential candidates like a marketer would think about their potential customers. Take a look at the current advertising your company conducts. How does it come across? What are the key messages being put out? Who are you trying to attract? 

    The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:

    – Delivering the message clearly

    – Confirming your credibility

    – Connecting with your target prospects emotionally

    – Motivating the buyer

    – Concreting loyalty

    In terms of attracting the best performing people to work for your company, your branding is about getting them to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem, ie, working for an exceptional company, and industry leader, that satisfies their professional needs and provides an arena in which they can contribute their skills and talents, make an impact, and continue to learn and grow. 

    To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. As the thrust of this blog entry is about attracting high performing candidates to your company, our most recent online poll asked: “High Performance Employees: what is the #1 thing your organisation offers to attract them that works?” 

    The results were:

    #1 – Providing opportunities for continued learning, both formal and informal – 25.0%

    #2 – Having a confidence-inspiring company “brand” that ensures high-performing people want to work for you – 16.6%

    – Providing a leadership and mentoring program – 16.6%

    – Paying above-market rate salaries – 8.3%

    – Having a defined career progression plan in place – 6.2%

    – Being decisive and quick to make job offers so the high performers don’t go elsewhere – 4.1% 

    It is interesting that money was fourth in our respondents’ list of priorities. Perhaps this reflects the fact that it is a given that high performing people will be appropriately compensated for their contributions and competencies anyway, and that exceptional people are seeking more than just monetary reward? 

    Clearly working somewhere that has a gold-standard reputation as a top employer is very important, but a culture of continued learning is number one in people’s list of priorities when seeking employment opportunities, something for all organisations to bear in mind when formulating brand strategies and during recruitment exercises. 

    This week’s Challenge Consulting News features two articles on this topic – for your free subscription, click here

  2. Do People Leave Bad Companies or Bad Bosses?

    May 17, 2011 by Jenna

    According to a study from Florida State University*, 40 per cent of workers in the business world think they work for bad bosses.

     As for what constitutes a bad boss, they have a variety of answers:

    – 39% said their managers failed to keep promises.

    – 37% said their bosses did not give them the credit they deserved.

    – 31% indicated their supervisor gave them “the silent treatment.”

    – 27% reported negative comments from their management.

    – 24% claimed their bosses invaded their privacy.

    – 23% stated that their supervisor blamed them or other workers to cover up personal mistakes.


    The online poll we conducted last week asking this question garnered an overwhelming response of 93% that people leave bad managers.

    The Challenge Consulting team, as usual, had lots to say on the matter.

    One asserted that the reality is that somebody’s perception of their employment situation is largely shaped by their manager or immediate team. Another said people leave for both reasons, but predominately bad managers as they have to deal with them all day. Someone’s manager has a more immediate and direct impact on you than the organisation at large, i.e. if you had a bad manager, who belittled you versus an organisation that had a leadership team with limited vision or benefits, which would have the most immediate impact for you to look for alternate employer? In the longer term, if you had a great manager, but the organisation would never support new initiatives or this great manager’s vision, you may be more likely to leave, or perhaps follow this great manager when they go somewhere else too! 

    It can also depend on the size of the company. Many employees attempt to move to different departments, either due to bad manager or bad colleagues. In smaller companies, a bad manager may just as well be the company. The organisational structure is much “flatter” which makes reporting issues more difficult as well as there being nowhere within the company to move. 

    Another Challenge team member wondered whether it is bad managers (collectively) that makes a bad company or whether it is a bad company that recruits bad managers? Additionally, managers can be perceived to be representative of the company ethos. Employees may therefore think they are leaving a bad company, which is not necessarily true. 

    Ultimately, though, it should not be forgotten that employees leave jobs for all sorts of reasons – location, career opportunity, work/life balance, more interesting work, financial gain, ill health and so on,  and not merely something as simplistic as a “bad manager” or “bad company”. 

    * Florida State University Leadership Quarterly, Fall 2007

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