Embracing Excellence: Become the Employer of Choice to Attract and Keep the Best Talent

Embracing Excellence: Become the Employer of Choice to Attract and Keep the Best Talent

by Franklin C. Ashby, Arthur R. Pell

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The authors, executives of the Leadership Capital Group, an executive and management development company, allege that, in today's competitive environment, salary and options are no longer the primary considerations for accepting and staying at jobs. They recommend that employers offer such perks as family counseling, flex-time, financial advice, childcare assistance, exercise facilities and concierge services. Managers must also organize training programs, mentoring and schooling for workers at different levels. Overall, this is a solid reference for managers and HR professionals. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Recruiting and retaining outstanding employees is a challenge now facing corporations. Ashby and Pell, chairman and senior vice-president of the Leadership Capital Group, respectively, provide a practical and informative guide to strategies employers can use to assure that they have the best talent. Because their research reveals "a direct relationship between the employee retention rate and the corporate culture," they recommend examining a company's culture, analyzing major complaints from both managers and employers, and discovering the perfect fit between employees and corporate culture by organizing focus groups and using confidential employee interviews. They also present practical advice on how to locate the best talent, prescreen applicants, employ successful interview techniques, and decide which candidate to hire. Case studies, including those of Allstate Insurance Company and Walt Disney World Resorts, are presented throughout the book. Also helpful are the lists of publications and web sites with information about human resources, jobs, careers, and management. This very thorough source belongs in the business collections of both public and academic libraries. Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Why would a top-level performer choose one company over another even when the competition offers a "better deal"? The surprising answer lies in the corporate culture. "A" players are attracted to and stay with companies whose corporate culture is one that embraces excellence and is committed to values, vision, creativity, trust and respect.

Ashby, a leadership expert, and Dell, a human resources guru, offer several ways to help organizations create such an environment and attract the A-players they want and need.

All companies have a culture -- a corporate way of life. The authors have found that companies that are dominating, autocratic and inflexible have the highest turnover rates regardless of pay. Corporate cultures built on participation, cooperation and communication keep good people.

How Well Do You Use Your Talent?
They have also found that organizations that focus on the use of the best talents of their employees have a much lower turnover rate than those whose emphasis is primarily on productivity. Success requires more than the full commitment of top management. The authors tell companies they must create a climate that stimulates people to challenge current practices and to develop and implement new ideas.

The organizational culture, as perceived by the employees, dictates how they think about their jobs, perform their functions and plan for the future. If workers are convinced the company is truly concerned about quality, the authors write that employees will make every effort to produce quality work. But if workers think the company's talk about quality is just lip service, the "quality" program will be ignored.

Before a company hires a new employee, the authors write that it must make sure it determines the characteristics the perfect A-player would have. First, analyze the job to create a job description that describes what the job really is, and a job specification that describes what characteristics the person holding the job needs to successfully perform the job.

In the interview, the authors write that managers should use open-ended questions as much as they can. These lend themselves to more than yes or no answers and yield more valuable information. Another important part of the interview is selling the organization. Present the company and the job in a positive and enthusiastic manner, but don't exaggerate or mislead. That will only add to turnover. The authors advise managers to answer questions honestly, but be cautious about candidates who only ask about benefits and perks, and not much about the job itself.

Usually, a manager has several good candidates from whom to pick. Comparing them must be done systematically. The authors explain that managers should compare the top candidates side by side using a final selection spreadsheet.

Making the Offer
Once the selection has been made, it is time to make the offer. A good candidate might object to the terms of the offer. The authors write that managers must be ready to face the objections and overcome them. Sometimes that may mean offering more money or additional benefits, but it may also mean moving on to another candidate.

One way the authors write that companies can attract and retain A-players is to have an active program of internal transfers and promotions. Filing vacancies from within has many advantages -- companies will know far more about current employees than they will ever know about an outside hire. Plus, offering opportunities internally boosts morale and serves as a performance incentive.

The First Day of Work
At last, a new employee reports to work. Recent studies have shown that 55 percent of new hires fail or voluntarily leave their jobs within two years due to a failure to properly introduce and assimilate them into the new culture. The first ten days are often critical to success or failure. Orientation is a start, but the authors write that it is not enough. They write that a new approach called "onboarding" is needed. Onboarding is a comprehensive plan to shepherd the new employees through the first several months. The authors outline the proper way to do this.

Training has become an essential part of management. Many companies offer orientation, leadership development, and sexual harassment training, to name a few. The authors write that properly developed training programs can have a dramatic effect on business, represent a great return on investment, and are a major factor in retention of A-players.

Leadership is a key factor in retention. The authors write that managers should not assume that they know everything there is to know about leadership. They warn them that sticking to the old ways of leading may be encouraging workers to leave. Managers cannot count on controlling through power anymore. Today, the authors write, a leader leads by persuasion and motivation.

Why Soundview Likes This Book
Ashby and Pell have written a clear and easy-to-use guide for managers who are looking for better ways to fill their companies with the right people. Embracing Excellence offers a comprehensive look at the most important talent issues managers and leaders face, and provides expert instruction on pulling the right elements together to develop a successful recruiting and retention plan. By focusing on a company's cultural climate and outlining a blueprint for implementing effective change, the authors give organizations the tools they need to become better prepared for the future. Copyright (c) 2002 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

Prentice Hall Press
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.28(d)

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