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Uploaded by Heroes 4 Hire

I’ve sat in dozens of discussions with different companies over a basic question about new hires.  Should we look for experience or hire someone out of college?  This is actually not an easy question to answer because both choices have strong pluses and minuses.

Let’s start by looking at hiring someone with a lot of experience.  What you get is someone who can start being productive early and may need very little new training.  For companies that don’t have the time and patients to develop someone new this looks like a good option.  However, since they are ready to go, you will end up paying more for them.  You just have to determine if they are worth the extra money.  In addition to all the good traits, they will also bring in all the bad habits they’ve learned in past jobs.  You have to determine if this is okay and/or can you retrain these people.

New college graduates are more of a blank sheet.  They don’t have some of the bad habits because they haven’t done anything yet.  However, they may come with the biases of their teachers.  It does cost less to get an unexperienced person but you will have to invest in a lot of training.  In addition, it may take a very long time before they are productive. 

In the end result, this is a partly a financial decision.  Where do you want to spend your money?  Where will you get the fastest return? 

It’s also a cultural and team issue.  Who is going to fit in with the team?  Who can work in the existing culture?

I’ve seen both methods work very well and I’ve seen both methods work miserably.  I think it’s a matter of knowing what you’re really buying and being prepared for getting these new hires up-to-speed.

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Uploaded by takomabibelot

 I’ve seen this technique growing over the years.  The surefire way to reduce customer complaints is to make it impossible to complain.  I first experienced this on an international flight.  When everyone got off the plane, there was no one there. 

Just the other day I called a company about a small problem and they put me in the cue.  The recorded message said, all I’d have to do is wait 30 to 60 minutes for the next agent.

There are others where the only place you can get information is on their website, but if it’s not there it just keeps recycling you back to the home page.

What’s nice about this approach is you can show upper management a proven reduction in customer complaints.  “We must be doing something right.  Nobody’s complaining.”

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.Gene Simmons Interview 

Gene Simmons Interview,
originally uploaded by BAMCAT.

Maybe I need to stop watching celebrity apprentice but it brought to mind an age old agrument about the value of talent versus the value of team. (While there is no “I” in team, there is “Me” and “Meat.”

Okay, so here’s the point. In the last episode, the two teams had to make a commercial. One team did the typical team brainstorming and trying to work as a team. The other team was taken over by Gene Simmons and Steven Baldwin who convinced the others that they had 20 years experience in the field and that the others should go back to the room and relax. Guess what? Talent won over team.

Companies often use golf and a scamble format to show how four people working together can accomplish great things. But how would any scamble team ever put together do against Tiger Woods if you let him have the same number of tries? (Your team of 4 versus Tiger with 4 balls.)

In basketball where they try to match up talent in various positions, how would a typical team do against 5 Michael Jordans in his prime?

While there is synergy in teamwork, I think we sometimes miss the boat when we don’t see the power in the individual.

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I’ve seen both these terms used interchangably and with completely different meanings.  I think it’s important to have a distinction no matter what you call them.

 To me a coach is someone who has direct responsibility for training and developing someone else, usually a subordinate.  It’s part of their job description and compensation.  “I do well, if you do well.”  “I want you to win and if you win I win.”

A mentor is someone who doesn’t have the resonsibility but wants you to do well.  They want you to win, but they may not win if you win.  This is a person you can go to for advice or ask questions.  A mentor is willing to help but doesn’t have to.

Which is best?  In the ideal situation, you should have both.  They offer something different and both can really help. 

I’d also add in a third player, a “buddy.”  This is someone who is going through exactly what you’re going through and provides support and resources as you learn.  In the Gallop survey about what employee’s value, having a buddy is top of the list.

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Manage Smarter part of the online home of Training Magazine just posted an nice article about Learning Paths.  Always nice to see your name in print.  Click here to see it.

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You read a lot of criticism of big busines such as Big Oil, Big Pharma and now Big Mac.  A lot of the historical anti-big business comes out of the early 1900s when there was a small number of big businesses and an equally small number of captains of industry.

That world has changed dramatically in a hundred years.  The biggest change comes from the sheer numbers of these businesses.  First, if you look at the top 100 companies only a small handful existed a hundred years ago.  In fact their entire industries didn’t exist.  Even companies like GE look nothing like they did.  Their largest business unit is financial services and not manufacturing.

In something like pharaceuticals, you have hundreds of highly competitive companies that often have very little in common.  Instead of conspiring in a big kabal, they are more likely trying ways to take market share from each other.

There is also a tremendous amount of transparancy in the companies because they are publicly traded and often owned by large money funds.  At the bottom line what these companies really care about is a stable set of rules to play by. 

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I’ve worked in more than a hundred different companies and they all do seem to have a unique “corporate culture.”  Actually it’s more like a corporate personality which is a hard thing to change.  There are rules, norms and values driven from the top but there are also a lot of informal things that connect people. 

 It’s interesting to see how a company like GE has created a change culture that is embedded in just about everything they do.  I was facinated about how DuPont carried over a saftey culture from the early 1800s.  And I liked how Disney approached everything as a stage show. 

I’d be interested in your stories about corporate culture.

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