Seat Warmers Wanted

I recently had a discussion with a general manager of a medium-sized insurance business and we were talking about recruitment and how difficult it was to find experienced personnel. 

The next thing I heard her say caught me completely off guard…”All I want is a warm body to fill the seats.”  Yikes! That didn’t sound like a very good plan to me in view of the fact that they had high turnover, which is what prompted the discussion in the first place.

All of a sudden, it became apparent to me as to why they had turnover like they did. I’m not sure that these people really get it…do they not see the connection?

I have done a lot of interviewing over the years and while we certainly want to find someone with the right skill set as well as the right attitude – the right attitude plus some training can be a winning combination that shouldn’t be overlooked. I’d rather have that than just a warm body in the chair for heaven’s sake.

I had the great pleasure of receiving an introduction to “Motivation-Based Interviewing” and learned some tips on how to differentiate high performing individuals from those that would be average or below average performers.  I highly recommend you check out to learn more about the secret to hiring high-performers as well. 

Carol Quinn, the CEO of Hire Authority, took the time to talk with me about the development of this interviewing technique and I was very favourably impressed. Ultimately, we make our jobs harder than it has to be by hiring the wrong people.

I told this general manager about the importance of hiring the right people to begin with and thought this might be something they’d like to consider given their problem in recruitment and retention. 

 Attitudes about hiring and retention need to change if business owners are serious about achieving greater success. As well as hiring right in the first place; they need to consider the next steps to take once they bring these high-performers into the organization.

Are they being set up for success – given a proper introduction to the culture of the organization – who’s who in the zoo, so to speak? Are they then guided along through an on-boarding process that further helps them in understanding what the role and duties are that they are expected to fulfill?

I’ve mentioned orientations and onboarding in previous blogs but I truly believe this is an area that organizations miss the mark on and thus it bears repeating. A successful orientation sends a clear message to the new comer – “We are an organization that cares about its people”.

 Even prior to the newcomer’s arrival; have his or her desk set up and ready to go.

  • Have an up-to-date phone list on the desk
  • Have instructions on how to use the phone; transfer calls; place calls on hold
  • Provide them with a new employee handbook (if one is available)
  • If the person has an office – have the name tag on the door
  • Be sure to have a ‘tour-guide’ assigned to show them around the office & introduce them to others on the team or in neighbouring departments

Onboarding, of course; is the longer process that brings them from their initial orientation through to the end of their probationary term (in most cases). Don’t you want your employees given the best chance of success?

Think of how much easier things will function with this investment up front.  I believe that if people are very clear on what their contribution to the organization should look like, the more productive employees will be.

Onboarding effectively will ensure the new employee is up and running much more quickly and much more confidently.

  • Assign them a ‘go-to’ person so they can feel comfortable in asking questions
  • Thoroughly go over the job description and expectations during this period of time
  • If errors are made, coach them back on track (much easier at this stage then once they are fully engrained into their error-making ways
  • Check in frequently to build the trust and knowledge that they are being supported to succeed

These are just small pieces of what is involved in the process of orientations and onboarding but they give you a sense of what is involved in the next stage after hiring.

If you want high-performing employees that are up and running sooner; combine the right hiring with the right orientation and onboarding process and you’ll have a winning combination – guaranteed!

I suspect that many of the retention challenges that employers experience would be eliminated simply by making their current practices a thing of the past – give the employees the tools to do the job right at the start – it will definitely be more effective and ultimately produce better results – it seems that hiring ‘seat warmers’ hasn’t been working…

 So please, no ‘seat warmers’ for me…


About hrscoops

This entry was posted in Coaching, Communication, Employee Engagement, Employee Turnover, On-Boarding, Orientations, Retention, Workplace Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Seat Warmers Wanted

  1. Jim Thornhill says:

    Great Post! I remember a quote by Jim Collins, when he said “you have to have the right people on the bus in the right seats” to have an effective organization. Hiring “warm bodies” will ensure a quick path to going out of business. Your people are everything!

  2. Whepeicet says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, watch south park online

  3. Great Blog Kellie!

    I am a firm believer in ‘fit’ and people being provided with the opportunity to grow within the organization and this will only happen with the right recruiting and a learning environment for the management – they’ve got to give people with potential the opportunity to grow… thats a win win situation for both, but most often its not seen – sadly!

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