feedback

Recruiters should respect candidates – not make fun of them

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businessman_relax_desk_1600_wht_5638Too often recruiters don’t care about candidates. And too many managers aren’t trained to interview and assume that they have a natural gift for it.

But in these days of reputational damage they can’t afford to actually insult candidates on social media.

All the national press this week covered the story of a teenager who applied for a job at a new Miller & Carter steakhouse (owned by Mitchell & Butlers).

Megan Dixon asked at the end of the interview when they would let her know and was told by the assistant manager Shantel Wesson, who had interviewed her, that she would get an e-mail in a few days. To her surprise, and dismay, she received a text within minutes saying “it’s a no x” (why managers would add a kiss to a text message is beyond me).

Dixon replied “Okay. How come? x” (and there’s that kiss again for goodness sake).

Shantel Wesson then replied “Just not engaging. And answers we’re “like” basic” followed by a ‘laughing so hard I’m crying’ emoji and another kiss.

Naturally Dixon was upset and complained to the company on twitter  saying the interviewer was unprepared and her phone was going off throughout the interview. So unprofessional.

She then told The Sun newspaper about the interview: “She didn’t even shake my hand, didn’t have my CV out and was just sat drinking a coffee. Maybe because I’m 18 she thinks it’s OK not to be professional with me? I don’t know.

It was so rude. At the end of the interview, I asked when I would hear back. She told me it was never more than a few days and she had my email. But I got the texts a few seconds after leaving

I was shocked. The least she should have given me was some proper feedback. And the laughing face emoji was so unprofessional. It was a really bitchy thing to do.”

Miller and Carter had advertised up to 50 jobs at the new branch in Enderby, Leicestershire, and student Ms Dixon wanted to earn some extra cash for college.

Newspapers explained that the term “basic” was American slang meaning an unstylish or unintelligent person.

3cffa0e500000578-4206284-image-m-28_1486635507566The company apologised and said the text was intended for the manager, which seems odd given the string of messages. Wesson (pictured) refused to comment.

A spokeswoman said “we can’t apologise enough to Megan. It was never our intention to be disrespectful or upset her in any way. The texts were sent in error and were intended for our manager, not the candidate. However, we expect our team to act professionally at all times and to give constructive feedback after any interview via email. We are taking this extremely seriously and will be investigating to ensure it never happens again.”

In anyone’s book this is totally unprofessional behaviour. Candidates deserve respect and proper feedback – something sadly lacking these days.

And what does it say about the culture of the company that managers send each other such mocking text messages? If it were indeed actually intended for the manager.

HR probably doesn’t exist in this company but if it did some recruitment training seems well overdue,and possibly some disciplinary action against Wesson for bringing the company into disrepute?

Talking of being “basic” perhaps Shantel Wesson could take some English lessons as she obviously doesn’t know the difference between “were” and “we’re“.

And Megan, you’re young but don’t put kisses on business messages. You act professionally as well.

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Meeting Maslow’s basic needs?

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Mike the Psych's Blog

The news that Ergo, a division of Munich Re the world’s biggest insurance company for other insurance companies, took over a company that organised an orgy in 2007 to reward its most successful sales people may have shocked many people at the time.

But you have to be impressed by the teutonic efficiency of it all.

The event was held at Gellert Baths in Budapest where 20 prostitutes were hired for the 100 participants. The women wore coloured armbands denoting their availability and whether they were hostesses, game for anything, or reserved for board members.

The men had to form an orderly queue of up to an hour to get into the 4-poster beds. After each interaction the prostitutes had their arm stamped. Not only could guests see at a glance which girls were more popular but the girls themselves could compare themselves with their peers and see which…

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Is it really the end of staff appraisals?

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one_on_on_interview_clip_1600_wht_6951News that two out of three companies are planning to change their staff appraisal processes “radically” might be good news – depending on what they come up with of course. And one in 20 companies are scrapping it entirely.

PwC conducted a survey which came up with these figures and said that that once-a-year assessment of performance and exchange of views between managers and staff didn’t motivate staff or provide the honest feedback bosses needed.

Most of the companies abandoning the traditional approach are encouraging managers to give continuous feedback so that problems are dealt with in a timely fashion and praise is linked to current work performance or behaviour.

PwC is cautioning managers not to abandon appraisal completely as they claim most employees like them as they helped them to understand what they were doing. Does it need an appraisal system for that to happen? I think not. Perhaps improved communication between managers and employees would do the trick.

But PwC also acknowledges that most managers don’t like doing them because of all the paperwork it entails.

Deloitte recently calculated it spent 2 million hours on 65,000 staff. They have replaced that system with one comprising just 4 questions.

Accenture has also dropped annual appraisals. In future staff will no longer receive a ranking or evaluation, just “timely feedback“.

They also say “Companies need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Without the year-end rating the danger is that the distribution of pay and bonuses can become even more of a dark art as shadow systems evolve without proper governance and infrastructure behind them”.  And what would HR find to do?

One of the reasons for discontinuing ranking methods is that globalisation has thrown up many different roles and comparisons become more difficult.

There are also cultural differences. I remember being asked in Sweden by a Swedish employee in a multi-national company why his boss always asked him where he planned to be in 5 years time. He said he was quite happy doing the job he had.  I also coached a senior Swedish manager who decided to leave the company he worked for rather than having to turn down promotion to a more global role. He opted to move down the road across the Øresund bridge instead.

The Swedes tend to take a different view on careers, valuing work-life balance more than say Americans or Brits.

I’ve posted before on this topic 

Coaching has high impact on performance

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P1000161Of course as coaches we knew that but research by Rebecca Jones at Aston Business School suggests that when compared to other workplace interventions coaching has a greater impact than training or 360 degree feedback.

She looked at 24 different studies of workplace coaching and found that it produced several positive outcomes such as positive attitudes, improved work behaviour, time management and overall performance.

Coaching achieved these in three ways:

  • by using goal-setting,
  • encouraging reflection, and
  • providing tools to encourage the transfer of new skills.

She found that having multi-source feedback could detract from the coaching process (which is a surprise as I’ve found it to be a powerful tool at an appropriate stage in the coaching process).

However the facility of the coach to tailor an approach enhanced the process and the use of telephone coaching facilitated confidentiality (my colleague is a great believer in Skype for career coaching).

She also found that internal coaches may be more effective due to their insider knowledge of the organisation culture. Past research has found that the more senior the client the more likely they are to prefer an external coach.

This was reported in Coaching at Work magazine Vol 9 issue 2.

In the same issue it was reported that executive coaching had once again become the province of senior leaders as organisations reserved it for their top executives.

Feedback – whose responsibility is it?

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360degrees2Working with a client the other day he mentioned that he never got feedback from his boss on how well he was doing. When I asked him if he ever asked for feedback he admitted he hadn’t and that he avoided bringing it up.

When I asked him why he thought his boss never gave him feedback he thought it might be because he didn’t have anything good to say – which is why he avoided bringing it up.

When questioned further he wondered, on a slightly more positive note, whether or not his boss just wasn’t used to praising staff or hadn’t been trained to do it.

It started me thinking about whose responsibility it is to provide feedback? Is it just up to the manager to do this and only at specified times of the year as part of the dreaded performance review process? Surely not.

Why shouldn’t people ask their bosses for feedback as part of their own career management?

And why stop at bosses? As anyone who has undergone a 360 degree feedback process knows it is very interesting to find out what other people think about your performance and behaviours and can be a powerful incentive to change or improve.

So maybe managers should give themselves permission to give staff feedback at any time it is appropriate and staff should be more assertive about asking, even demanding, feedback.

Years ago Schein said that everybody at work wanted to know how well they were doing. Recent research however suggests that it doesn’t necessarily work out so well for women. Women in groups receiving feedback seem to perform less well.

Feedback & its impact on Women in Teams

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P1000161Receiving feedback on how individuals in a group are performing on can reduce your cognitive ability.

That’s according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute who used MRI technology to study how the brain was processing information about the group processes and how it effected cognitive capacity.

Researchers ranked performances on tasks and then shared that information with the group. After the feedback some people’s problem-solving ability declined significantly and that was particularly true for women.

The researchers think that subtle social signals in group settings affect cognitive functioning or, as the Daily Mail put it: “being in a group lowers your intelligence especially if you’re a women“.

This is interesting because not long ago I posted on how adding women to your group raised its collective IQ. This was attributed to women having better social skills, or more social sensitivity (similar to emotional intelligence). Teams displaying social sensitivity would be more open to feedback and constructive criticism.

I wonder if in this experiment the sharing of feedback introduced an element of competition rather than cooperation and raised stress levels which impact on problem-solving ability.

Other research has found that men are more competitive than women on the whole and this gender competition gap could explain why in this experiment giving feedback was not an advantage for women and of course for the team as a whole.

Originally posted on SGANDA