The Biggest Secret to Finding and Keeping Your Best People

Posted on November 24th, 2020 by Cathy Evans

Roxi Hewertson has revealed a lot of secrets to creating a successful workplace in her new book, Hire Right Fire Right, but the biggest secret to finding and keeping your best people is to remember that the hiring process is about creating relationships, not transactions. So why do so many companies make the mistake of hiring a new person through a resumé, letters of reference and one or two interviews? Roxi says it’s because that’s the way we’ve always done it. But today, especially in the days of COVID, when we’re looking at new ways of doing so many things, we need to examine how we match each new hire with the job, the team, the company goals and how that talent can be integrated into profitable and productive relationships within the organization.

As founder and CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, Roxi partners with clients to build and sustain outstanding leadership capacity and results, with a vision of creating a better world one leader at a time. Great leaders are made, not born, and Roxi’s work focuses on the processes that builds great leaders, and sustainable organizations that support both employees and customers. In her first book, Lead Like It Matters, Because It Does, Roxi says that she wrote the book she wished she could have read in her 30-year career in business leadership. She interviewed with Dr. Nancy in 2015 about how you can become the CEO of your own life, and why great leadership is so important. In this interview, she reminds us that we are our own CEO’s and gives us guidance on both sides of the fence—hiring new people for our organizations, and applying for that new career move.

Overarching Messages in Hire Right Fire Right

Roxi blames lack of preparation on poor hiring practices and divides her new book into three sections: Acquiring, Retention and Closure (ARC). She warns never to depend on the traditional tools, like the resumé (because you never know who wrote it and what is a lie or an exaggeration) and the reference letter (because the applicant has read the letter and the author of the letter knows that and edited their recommendation accordingly). Instead, Roxi supplies eight relational factors—A through H, starting with “attitude” and ending with “heart,” with big dashes of “character” and “emotional intelligence” for good measure. Her step-by-step approach tells how to find out about the eight factors, including how they “fit,” which doesn’t mean that they’re the same as the rest of the team, but if they are a good match for the job at hand.

The Retention section involves onboarding correctly and development of the new hire. Roxi says that even if you haven’t onboarded correctly there are some things you can do, “that help those relationships and help people feel like they belong, that they fit and are welcome in the organization and that they’re valued.” She says that people think because so many meetings are taking place on Zoom that people aren’t doing training and development now. But Roxi says, “In fact, the opposite is true. In some ways, people are able to get together more than in the past. Then the question becomes, how do you design and manage those get-togethers virtually so that it builds trust and builds relationships–and develops people. So there’s no reason why you can’t move forward, even during a pandemic.”

The third section is about when an employee is leaving, whether that’s voluntary or involuntary. She says the point is to retrieve valuable information from the exit interview and if the person is being fired, she has tips to avoid arbitration, lawsuits and collateral damage. Roxi boils it down to five B’s:

  1. Be truthful
  2. Be fair
  3. Be clear
  4. Be respectful
  5. Be smart

They need to be able to leave with dignity. Roxi says that she has always followed the 5 B’s and never had an arbitration.

Roxi’s Recommendations for Women Job Applicants

If you’ve been offered a job, Roxi says that she always goes in being exactly who she is: strong, confident, not arrogant, and if it isn’t a good fit, or they don’t want to hire her, then it’s okay because the job wasn’t right for her. She says, “My attitude going in is you deserve as much pay as you can get. You deserve as many perks as you can get. And if you know that you’re good for the job and they can’t figure that out, then their loss. Women are bringing more than they’re getting is how I think about it.” She also recommends that every woman considering leadership read How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith. It shares the 12 habits that get in women’s way as they’re negotiating and being a leader in an organization. Roxi says that she still has one of those habits after all her years coaching and being in business.

More Secrets and Valuable Information

Listen to this interview for more insights into the complications of doing business and engaging employees in the time of COVID. Buy and READ Hire Right Fire Right—and learn all the secrets to finding and keeping your best people. Check out this article Roxi wrote about how one company did it right with compassionate furloughs during COVID on HR.com. And check out Roxi’s award-winning  ”Leading with Impact: Your Ripple Effect” course on Ask Roxi, and through her TEDx talk from 2012. It is as compelling and relevant to how our leaders lead today as it was six years ago.  Great leadership depends on what leaders do, not who leaders are.

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