Manager as Year-End Career Coach

Whether your organization has embraced the contemporary flow of year-long/ongoing real-time performance feedback processes, or retain the traditional year-end review, this is the time of year managers and employees engage in conversation to review accomplishments against milestones and to set objectives for next 12 months and beyond.  Regardless of the vehicle you use, or the cadence in which you check in, it is highly likely that you or your management team will be conducting some form of planning and evaluation, and the information you gather informs the plan.
Take this opportunity to help your managers and employees, and in turn your organization, grow.  Have an open conversation with the intent to benefit all stakeholders.  With a few strategic questions and the ensuing conversations, managers can gain a better understanding of each employee’s needs and motivation.  Managers will receive honest, valuable feedback and employees will feel respected, taking away a stronger sense of support for their continued success within the firm.
While the planning for these conversations should have occurred months in advance, it is still not too late to include one or more of the questions below from Career Partners International career management and leadership development coaches.  These questions can easily be added to any review and planning process to enhance the conversation and improve engagement.
“If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would be the one thing you would start doing that would have a significant business impact on the company?” – Mike Zorn, Executive Leadership Coach at Promark, A CPI Firm
To start, you learn where their true energy and motivation lie, this is a great way to tailor upcoming projects and objectives.  It is important to follow up this question by seeking to understand why the employee has not pursued this objective.  Has the idea been repeatedly shot down?  Does the employee not feel secure in making such a bold suggestion?  Does it fall outside of their scope of responsibilities?  All of these and more could be potential easy fixes to help the organization and the employee grow.  As a bonus, you might get some amazing ideas to implement in Q1!
“How have you contributed to ROI for the entire organization?” – Terry Gillis, CEO of Ahria Consulting Inc, A CPI Firm
This question requires the employee to determine for themselves what their contribution to the organization has been.  This knowledge helps to develop an increased sense of worth and pride in their position.  The question also ensures that the employee understands how ROI is derived within the organization.  With this level of thought, the employee can understand the company’s strategy to better select and prioritize future projects.   
“Who in your group is ready for a promotion? And, do you have a successor?” John Burke, CEO of Career Partners International Houston
Promoting key individuals is an important part of retaining high performers and top talent. By asking these two questions, the manager is acknowledging the value employees bring and shares a future-focused orientation.  It is not just about, “what have you done for me lately?” it is about “what are we collectively doing for tomorrow?” These questions can signal there is a path to promotion for the employee and others in the organization, a visible benefit which aides in attracting outside candidates to the organization as well.  It also makes clear that the organization expects each manager to be active in growing the future via next level leaders grown and developed from within.  A double engagement win! 
“At work, how do you know you’ve done a good job?” – Karen Valesco, Consultant Coach at Working Transitions, A CPI Firm
The response to this question will tell you both how the employee is motivated and whether the organization’s methods for recognition hit the mark as designed. If you hear a response such as “I just know,” or “I feel good about it,” then the chances are that the employee prefers internal motivation. If the responses are more like, “When someone tells me,” or “Everything works as it should,” the employee likely responds to external motivation. As a manager, once we know someone’s motivational preference (internal, external or balanced), we can engage and enthuse them in their work by being flexible in our leadership approach. We can also have more effective feedback conversations by adopting their natural preferences rather than our own. 
“What skill do you have, one we might not be aware of, that could make a positive contribution to your team or the organisation? How could you use that skill to make a difference?” – Kim Daglish, Director of Operations at Directioneering, A CPI Firm
Performance reviews and development conversations are often conducted within the prism of the employee’s existing role, what they have done in the past, and the logical career trajectory based on that track record. Managers tend to focus on what they understand of the individual’s capabilities as framed through the employee’s role and sometimes neglect to probe beyond these boundaries. This can inhibit the capacity of organisations to tap into the rich and diverse talent sitting within its own workforce. Similarly, employees often assume that their manager is fully aware of their capabilities and therefore, don’t feel the need to highlight any additional areas of expertise. Alternately, individuals don’t always feel comfortable discussing additional skills or motivational interests that sit outside of their current role. By proactively asking the question and showing genuine curiosity, the manager is giving the employee permission to broaden the development conversation and explore new career territory, unlocking talent that may otherwise go untapped.
“What aspects of your work excite and energize you? Are you getting enough of that?” – Penny Locey, VP of Delivery at Keystone Partners, A CPI Firm
This question can surface several situations that allow a manager or employee to act; to enrich the job, change priorities, or plan a shift. For example, a common situation is potential burnout –from doing what was once new and exciting exclusively.  Another issue could be when an individual was hired for one thing but asked to assume so many side-loaded responsibilities they have little time to spend on what attracted them in the first place. Lastly, the question can open a conversation around whether it is time for a person to move on because they want more than the role can give. Having the conversation early and openly helps both parties plan for a smooth transition.
“What developmental support do you need from me and the company in order to achieve alignment between your career growth and the business strategy?” – Sandy Wong, Managing Partner at Cornerstone International Group, A CPI Firm
This question helps the employee align their long-term goals with the objectives of the organization.  Further, it asks them to identify potential hazards and proactively provide solutions in the form of learning and development opportunities.  The manager is showing support to ensure win-win orientation, which in turn encourages the employee to utilize the opportunities to grow her career with the company.
“How has your learning and development this year helped maximise your contributions?” – Kate Johnson, Consultant Coach at Working Transitions, a CPI Firm
Encourage reflection on personal training and development activities.  After all, the organization has implemented these programs with an end in mind.  By asking this question the manager is seeking some validation of what has led to better contributions. Such reflection encourages the debate around what learning activities or approaches would enable growth and enhance performance in 2020.
“As you look to the future in terms of achieving your desired career growth, what do you need from me and the organization?  What can I do to support your growth?” – Sharon Imperiale, CEO at CCI Consulting, A CPI Firm
The philosophy around personal career growth has gone back and forth over the years in terms of just whose responsibility it is.  Is it the employee’s sole accountability, the company’s or both?  To truly engage the employee, they need to experience support and guidance in terms of what skills to develop and how to attain the experience they need to achieve their career goals.  Offering to be part of the journey is a leadership responsibility. Offering assistance and sponsorship while talking about the employee’s future will increase engagement. Performance “reviews”, although usually retrospective, should also be prospective.
Being a good leader requires more than basic management skills; employees now expect the best leaders to act as a guide as well, vested jointly in their success.  With programs like Manager as Career Coach, Career Partners International has helped thousands of managers steer their employees to more fulfilling career paths and better, longer engagements within the organization.  This year take a moment to move beyond the typical performance review and engage in a career coaching opportunity.
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6 Ways to Adapt to an Aging Workforce

In today’s environment of rapid change, forward-thinking organizations recognize the need for strategic workforce planning. Aligning talent strategy with the business strategy leads to smooth succession planning, increases the organization’s ability to respond to growth opportunities, ensures appropriate transfer of critical knowledge and intellectual property, and improves overall organizational performance.
However, there is one cohort that is often overlooked in workforce planning – the older worker or “late-stage careerist.” There is a lot of talk about gender bias, racial bias and culture bias at work, and each of these are important issues. But perhaps one of the most problematic types of bias we face is the bias of age: we often evaluate people based on their age and this is becoming a major challenge in the workplace.
Demographics in the U.S. and other developed nations point to a workforce that is aging at a rapid rate. People age 60 and over are expected to outnumber children under the age of 5 within the next year, and by 2025, it is expected that 25% of workers in the U.S. will be over the age of 55. Since 2018, job vacancies have outnumbered job applicants, largely as a result of baby boomers reaching retirement at a rate faster than millennials or Gen Z are able to step in to replace them.
These statistics reflect two clear demographic trends. First, people are living longer – in the U.S., the average life expectancy was 47 in 1900; it is 79 years today, and by the end of the 21st century it may be 100 or longer. Second, young people are having fewer children and fertility rates are declining throughout the industrialized world. These trends, coupled with stagnating gains in productivity rates, paint a worrisome picture for economic growth.
A potential solution lies with the older worker, and a compelling business argument can be made to hire and retain late-stage career workers and give them meaningful and important jobs. Research suggests that age does correspond with workplace wisdom. For most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise – the main predictors of job performance – keep increasing even beyond the age of 80. And beyond the value and competence older employees can bring to the workforce, there is the issue of cognitive diversity. The vast majority of societal advancements – whether in science, business, sports or the arts – are the result of people working together as a cohesive unit. The best way to maximize team output is to get people of different ages and experiences working together.
People of every age are motivated to come to work and are capable of making meaningful contributions. As the global economy ages, addressing the issue of age bias will become even more important. Follow the lead of progressive companies who are using many of the following strategies to make the workplace more welcoming for older employees:
Bring age diversity into your Diversity & Inclusion programs– research shows that age-diverse teams feel greater psychological safety and more innovative than teams that are age-biased. Age brings a sense of security and wisdom to teams.
Teach younger leaders about reverse mentoring– show them how they can help older people and understand how to manage older employees, who have biases of their own.
Offer accommodations for flexible work– this includes more accessible workstations with more light, larger fonts, and ease of access that can help support the needs of people of all ages.
Look at pay equity by job and level, not by tenure– tenure is a useful measure for pay when it directly translates into experience and skills that bring value to the company. It’s more than okay for an older person to make less money than a younger person if they are new to the job.
Recruit – or “return” – older people– many leading companies – GM, Boeing, Walgreens – invite older workers to come back from retirement through specific programs tailored to the aging and branded as “returnships.” Other companies welcome older workers into volunteer or “ambassador” programs.
Support retirement planning – many older employees have retirement on their minds, even while still in the workforce. Most organizations offer financial planning tools and vehicles but fail to recognize the life-altering shift that comes with retirement.  Programs like New Horizons™ take a wholistic view of retirement to better prepare workers, easing their concerns and ensuring continued engagement and productivity.
These are just a few examples, but they point to a broader challenge and opportunity for both company executives and HR leaders: If you can create an inclusive, fair and meaningful experience for older workers, as well as younger ones, you will not only find your company becomes more innovative, engaging and profitable over time, you will also be benefiting society at large.
Rob Croner,
Vice President, Senior Executive ServicesCCI Consulting, A Career Partners International Firm
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Career Partners International Expands in Multiple US Region Markets

One of the key strengths of Career Partners International (CPI) is the unique combination of a global presence with local Partners serving as experts in their own Markets.  We are pleased to announce two of our Partners are expanding their footprint in the North American Region.
Continuing its ongoing growth, CCI Consulting, a Career Partners International Firm, is proud to announce its expansion into Washington D.C., Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Harrisburg. The firm has established an office in McLean, VA, and is soon opening offices in Baltimore and Harrisburg.
“We’ve been working in D.C. since 2004, supporting various government agencies as a women-owned business enterprise. This expansion reinforces our commitment to growing our federal and state clients while building on more than 30 years of success supporting commercial and non-profit clients,” said Sharon Imperiale, CEO, CCI Consulting. “We believe organizations in each of these markets will benefit from our experience, perspective, and ability to make positive impacts on the people side of their business.”
“This expansion into the Baltimore/Washington metro area presents an exciting new chapter for us and for CPI,” said Joseph Dougherty, Vice President and Market Leader for DC/MD/VA, CCI Consulting. “This is a critically important territory in the United States and there are ample unmet Talent Management needs. Our goal is to continuously help leaders link their human capital strategies to the evolving needs of their organization.”
Keystone Partners, a Career Partners International Firm, will launch expansions in the St. Louis and Dallas markets in early 2020.  Keystone has grown exponentially in recent years and is known for their world-class delivery and client satisfaction, trends that are sure to continue with this expansion.
“Keystone Partners and CCI Consulting are long valued members of Career Partners International.  Both firms contribute greatly to the organization, providing thought leadership, executive support, and unrivaled expertise,” states Bill Kellner, President of CPI.  “We are thrilled that they have chosen to bring their expert solutions and services to clients in these markets.”
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Your Employer Brand is More Important and Visible Than Ever

The employer brand is core to your organization’s ability to attract, engage, and retain top talent.  With an ever-tightening job market the best workers have greater leverage in selecting where they share their skills.  Harvard Business Review notes that a poor employer reputation can cost a 10% premium in salary per hire.   A well-structured employer brand is rooted in the company brand, strengthening and supporting an organization’s mission critical drivers through human capital management.  Career Partners International (CPI) has over 30 years’ experience harmonizing clients’ organizational and employee goals, resulting in strengthened employer brands and improved employee experiences.  The following three tactics are pivotal to nurturing a competitive employer brand.
Start at The Top
Building a world-class employer brand necessitates a trickle-down component.  Without buy-in and alignment in the C-Suite your organization will inevitably pull in different directions, causing internal conflict.  CPI’s expert executive coaches guide the leadership team through these challenges and better match division goals to your company mission.  When the leadership team is on the same page an organization works more cohesively and creates a bigger impact.  Employees have many driving factors, but one of the most frequently overlooked is the ability to contribute and effect change.
Invest in Your People
A culture of growth and development is critical to retaining valued employees.  With programs such as Career GPS™ and PowerMyWork™, CPI has created solutions designed to help employees grow and thrive.  Career management training improves engagement and retention with a strong ROI by answering questions like “How can I better utilize my skills?”, “What could my next role look like?”, and “What more can I learn to evolve in my current position and keep things interesting?”.  The effectiveness of employee development programs is increased with management training in support of these efforts.  Manager as Career Coach™ gives your managers at all levels the tools to guide career development conversations and increase tenure within the organization.
Support Beyond Separations
Central to employer branding is the voice of not only current employees, but former employees as well, especially in the digital age.  When courting prospective talent, a current employee who speaks well of an organization is good; a former employee that speaks fondly of the organization is great.  For those departing not of their own choice, a superior outplacement program can protect you from seeing negative feedback posted on Glassdoor,, or the like.  CPI combines contemporary coaching techniques with class-leading technology, giving participants the ability to quickly and efficiently begin their journey to a new career.  High quality outplacement programs also show your remaining employees that their peers were respected through to the end.
Your employer brand is put under a microscope every day by employees and prospects alike.  Every company has an employer brand; ignoring it will not change this simple fact.  By taking the time to nurture your team and focus on developing a culture aligned with the organization’s mission your company’s employer brand is strengthened and amplified.  CPI partners with firms to build and protect their brand by strengthening human capital through all phases of the employment lifecycle.
About Career Partners International LLC.
Career Partners International was founded in 1987 and is one of the largest consultancies in the world. With over 350 offices in over 50 countries, Career Partners International is a leading provider of outplacement, career management, executive coaching, and leadership development services to clients and their employees worldwide.
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Avoid the Baby Boomer “Brain Drain” by Supporting Employee’s Journey into Retirement

Inclusion has appropriately supplanted diversity as a root cause lever and mindset that makes organizations stronger. With it, we now expand our frame beyond the traditionally noted racial, gender, and cultural diversity, and incorporate the value of generational diversity as well. Baby Boomers have stayed in the workforce for an extended period, Gen Xers are firmly in their mid-career, Millennials make up the largest portion of workers and are leaning into managerial roles, and Generation Z is at the start of their career. Whether you subscribe to the notion that each cohort has its own unique needs affecting organizations differently or not, overlooking the value derived by each segment is an opportunity missed. Boomers have stayed in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age and present a spectrum of experiences that can be used in the present and live on through the passage of experience into the future.
Commonly cited fallout in the Boomers’ departure is the subsequent “Brain Drain”, the loss of knowledge from a lack of transitional planning. Often the cause of failed transfers is poor succession planning. Succession planning is a critical practice throughout an organization, with a focus on contributions to the customer value proposition made by workers in senior or specialty roles. While it is important to identify who will follow in a leader’s role, it can be even more beneficial to find out who is departing well in advance. By supporting workers into the next stage of life, retirement, organizations can more fully engage departing employees earlier in their exit planning.
Most companies provide a financial savings plan, such as a 401k, but do not offer much retirement preparation beyond that. Career Partners International (CPI) delivers holistic programs to engage with individuals preparing to retire to the benefit of both employee and employer. The New Horizons program coaches employees to plan for retirement across fifteen life factors involved in a successful retirement. Through validated proprietary assessments, individual coaching, and online workshops this system helps individuals see beyond their working life and prepare for their next journey. When an employee is looking forward to retirement and feels supported by the organization, they are much more likely to give months or even years of advanced notice prior to exiting. This advanced notice and excitement about the next phase also makes transitions to a successor smoother. There is less reluctance to pass something on if it is not being clung to for dear life!
In depth retirement planning is important for exiting employees, but in order to completely prepare an organization for employee departures there must be a cultural shift through all generations in the organization. To begin the conversation of future career goals and retirement planning with the rest of the organization, CPI has developed the PowerMyFuture™ program. PowerMyFuture™ is a series of 8 modules, each customizable to the client’s target audience. Modules range from Money Matters for Gen Z and Millennials, to A Woman’s Journey, to Creating an Exit Strategy, and more. These programs help employees in all generations begin looking at retirement, allowing them to plan for the future and better transition their exiting colleagues.
It may be tempting to hold on to high level Boomer employees for as long as possible, but the reality is that they will eventually need to leave. If they depart without proper preparation, there is a risk of Brain Drain and leadership gaps. When they exit on a well-planned high note, there are numerous benefits to be gained. Younger leaders are often groomed as successors, increasing engagement and retention through promotions and mentorships. Customers are less likely to leave as they have been smoothly transferred to new relationship managers. Information has been more broadly shared across the organization, often with cross-training for others within the company, with the benefits of experience through both success and mistakes is passed on. Properly preparing for and supporting an employee’s retirement creates a win-win for the organization and the retiree.
About Career Partners International LLC.
Career Partners International was founded in 1987 and is one of the largest consultancies in the world. With over 350 offices in over 50 countries, Career Partners International is a leading provider of outplacement, career management, executive coaching, and leadership development services to clients and their employees worldwide.
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Outplacement – What Makes a Truly Excellent Program?

You put a great deal of thought and consideration into the necessity of separating employees from your organization.  These valued members of your company have dedicated their time and efforts for years and in many cases must leave due to no fault of their own.  What your employees experience during separation and their treatment upon departure reflects on your organization.  Central to a contemporary separation with a holistic approach to current needs and demands is an expert Outplacement program.  For over 30 years, Career Partners International has designed and delivered top of the line career transition support throughout the world.  Below are the critical elements of an outplacement approach that get’s results others don’t and is marked by the dignity and respect supportive of your organization’s culture and brand.
Individual Coaching
CPI’s coaches are world class with years of experience and local market knowledge and networks.  The most powerful coaching comes from building relationships and learning the unique needs of each candidate.  In lesser outplacement programs, coaching is often cast to whoever is available from wherever at the time or left out entirely.  Repeatedly switching the coaching flow sub-optimizes progress.  Think of your last call center experience when you were transferred from one attendant to the next, and the next.  How did you feel?  And that was for an issue likely less important than a career!
Technology to Enable, Not Replace
Pairing great coaching with leading technology creates a holistic program to fully support candidates.  You are relying more heavily on technology to recruit employees than ever before.  If an outplacement program does not account for this change it is missing a major component.  CPI’s technology suite includes ways to better adapt to the new employment reality with tools like Job Scan to match ATS programs, Video Interview practice, resume builders, weekly webinars, and much more.  All this technology is mobile friendly and accessible from anywhere in the world.
Immediate Support
CPI believes in immediate support of both organizations and separated employees.  Our coaches are trained to provide on-site support the day of a separation to immediately engage with former employees and help them begin taking steps in the right direction.  Our team is available to coach Human Resources and Management through the appropriate steps in preparing for layoffs and to work with team members who remain after a separation.  This is a trying time for both individuals and organizations, with CPI’s support this transition can be made as smoothly as possible.
Part of the CPI outplacement program is taking time to evaluate a candidate’s options in moving forward.  For many, this will be returning to a similar role as quickly as possible.  For others, the evaluation goes deeper, and alternative choices may be more attractive.  As an example, some senior executives choose to start consulting instead of returning to a standard 9-5 role.  The entrepreneurial program is appropriate for them.  Alternatively, if a separated employee is nearing retirement, this might be an appropriate time to begin that next phase of life.  For them, CPI has the New Horizons program with proprietary and validated assessment tools to begin holistically planning for retirement.  Importantly, CPI caters to each candidate’s unique needs, providing choices not a one-size-fits-all system.
Career Partners Internationally is truly that, International.  In over 50 countries, our Partners are the best in their region and share our values.  If your organization is a single location, National, Multi-National, or globally prolific you will experience the same high-quality delivery everywhere.  For programs with 1 to 1000 candidates, CPI delivers consistently with constant reporting back to the client.  Organizations working with CPI know the quality and individual attention their candidates will receive around the globe.
Taking the time to find the right career transition and outplacement programs for departing employees is essential to maintaining a good employer brand.  With CPI, over 80% of candidates land in equal or better positions than those they previously left.  Success rates like this provide organizations peace of mind and help former employees move forward.  Settling for subpar outplacement providers may provide a short-term financial benefit, but by partnering with a quality provider, you fortify your status as an employer of choice and set yourself apart from the rest of the market.
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Retirement Options – Beyond the Dollars and Cents of Retirement Planning

Nearly every organization provides a retirement savings plan to ensure their valued employees can support the financial aspects of their lifestyle once they retire.  Retirement, however, is more than just ending one’s working career to live off accumulated saving.  With growing life expectancies, retirement can last for 30 years or more! Through proper planning, looking beyond finances, this period can become an individual’s most fulfilling phase of life.
Career Partners International (CPI) knows the value of preparing the workforce for that next step into retirement.  By making retirement a positive event, organizations can reduce stress, improve succession planning, strengthen engagement, and ensure smoother customer transitions.  With CPI’s Retirement Options program employees are guided through the retirement planning process.  Everyone’s retirement will be unique, so Retirement Options takes a systematic approach to preparing for all components of a successful transition from working life.
Through the proprietary, third-party validated Retirement Success Profile (RSP) assessment participants gain a holistic view of their retirement preparedness.  From Replacement of Work Functions, to Life Satisfaction, through Perception of Health, and many more the RSP provides insight on fifteen retirement components.  Future retirees are presented with data on which areas they are well equipped for and the factors on which they will likely need to apply more focus.
World-class coaches analyze these results to help guide participants through a planning process to design and prepare for their desired retirement.  Through individual coaching sessions, participants can understand their unique assessment results and identify areas driving any shortfalls.  This process takes many employees from a state of anxiety and apprehension to optimistic anticipation.  With all documents and assessments available on a custom mobile-friendly portal, retirement planning and coaching can take place anywhere in the world.  CPI Retirement Options is designed to fully integrate with current employee benefits programs to make life easier for future retirees and help organizations guide their valued employees into the next stage of life.
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Overcoming the Most Common Challenges for Managers Conducting Stay Interviews

Over the past few years, the job market has become increasingly competitive.  As a result, workers are gaining more power and have a greater say in where they choose to share their talents.  Many organizations have seen a growing number of departing employees, despite no obvious decrease in happiness.  Quarter after quarter employee surveys show the same results, and yet top talent continues to leave for greener pastures.  To proactively retain their workforce, leading companies utilize stay interviews.
When implemented properly, the direct communication of stay interviews uncovers meaningful data and actionable patterns.  Without the right training and preparation, stay interviews are rarely implemented properly and can cause more harm than good.  One of the key causes of failure is a lack of management training on the process of conducting stay interviews.  These types of conversations come naturally to very few leaders.  The ability to hold these conversations in a way that allows for data collection and analysis is an even more elusive skill.
Career Partners International has over thirty years of global executive coaching experience helping organizations and managers navigate difficult conversations that lead to meaningful change.  The following are just a few examples of issues untrained managers often encounter while conducting stay interviews.

Interviews are Time Consuming

Most managers are busy juggling multiple projects and chasing deadlines.  Their days are packed and adding new activities can cause additional stress.  It is imperative that leaders have the mindset that stay interviews are an investment in their function’s capability and capacity, not a task or to-do.  This enlightened thinking makes stay interviews a priority and an investment that delivers a solid return.  The information gathered is valuable and participation is expected.  It may not be necessary for a manager to conduct stay interviews with every employee.  Targeting key workers, those with the most strategic importance to the organization, for example, high performers, individuals that enhance diversity, or those in high demand fields.

Responses are Anecdotal

A leader implementing stay interviews should target the collection of specific information.  If managers are left with broad expectations, they may not be able to collect actionable feedback.  Interviewers should prepare a set list of questions to conduct the interview.  The interview should be conversational with the list acting as a guide.  This subtle but important skill can either enhance or diminish the depth or breadth of information offered up.  At the same time, if each manager is asking similar questions and recording the responses patterns should begin to arise.  This will elevate the actionable feedback from the individual level to the strategic organizational level.

Known Issues Become a Focus

There is always room for improvement, this is true for all organizations.  It is important that managers do not allow stay interviews to focus too heavily on issues that are already known.  If brought up, managers should be coached to acknowledge the challenge and move on.  Utilizing the set of standardized questions will allow a manager to pivot to more productive areas of discussion.

Impractical Feedback

By nature of conducting stay interviews, managers will be opening discussions about employees’ futures at the organization.  This will often lead down an employee’s expected career path or future positions.  Occasionally an employee may discuss raises or promotions with a manager that had not been previously considered.  In these instances, honesty is the best policy.  Managers should let employees know that they are valued, and although a specific role or opportunity might not be readily available, they should provide support to further the valued employee’s career.  Together the manager and employee can develop a plan to achieve these goals.


Throughout the course of a stay interview, there will be multiple instances with potential corrective action.  It is important for managers not to overpromise throughout the conversation.  This is an opportunity to listen and to collect data.  Managers should let employees know that they have been heard and understood and that their suggestions will be taken into consideration.  Managers should be coached to provide an expected timeline to complete their assessment of the stay interviews and begin identifying opportunities for improvement.
Stay interviews can be an invaluable tool for improving engagement and reducing employee attrition.  To set the organization up for success managers will need to be supported throughout the process.  Well trained managers with good backing will be able to draw out the most impactful feedback from participants.  By focusing on well delivered interviews, fully thought out questions, complete analysis of responses, and implementing change organizations will be better able to provide their workforce with a reason to stay.
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Career Partners International Coaches Employers to Use Stay Interviews as Valuable Retention Tools

As the working world becomes more complex and employee tenure decreases, organizations are looking for better ways to engage their workforce.  Career Partners International (CPI) works with firms around the globe to align employee and employer goals through a multitude of techniques.  Exit interviews gather useful information about why an employee is leaving. Employee engagement surveys are used to obtain the pulse of the organization.  Stay interviews take this a step further, providing actionable information through direct communication.  This method allows managers to obtain a better measurement of job satisfaction and engagement, ultimately reducing employee attrition within targeted groups.
A stay interview is a structured conversation, usually between a manager and an employee, designed to discover pain points and motivational drivers. Broader than a discussion about projects or performance, a stay interview uncovers the root cause of an employee’s decision to remain in their job. Companies leading the pack in stay interviews often have highly talented people they don’t want to lose or are in industries known to have high turnover.
Stay interviews are more specific and future-oriented than exit interviews.  Organizations can better predict and reduce employee turnover by taking corrective action based on resulting feedback.  An employee can decide to leave at a moment’s notice, or they can decide to stay because their manager took the time to ask a question, show they care, and respond in a meaningful way.  The initial act of conducting a stay interview often generates goodwill with employees.  It is, however, crucial to follow up these interviews with meaningful action to maintain the positive impact.
It’s important to speak with the groups of employees that matter most to the organization based on business and employee retention goals.  Potential interviewees might include:

Emerging leaders and high potentials
Affinity groups such as women, people of color, LGBTQ community
Hard to fill technical skill sets such as nurses, software engineers, or scientists
Newly transitioned employees due to a merger or acquisition
Millennials or Gen Z

There are many ways to conduct stay interviews including surveys, focus groups, and expert HR consultants. Companies may be reluctant to conduct stay interviews because they can be time-consuming and it may be difficult to react meaningfully to the feedback. Hiring a third party to conduct stay interviews can save time and simplify the development of proposals for productive action.  Additionally, using a third party telegraphs the importance of the process and allows for more candid responses.
Another way to get started is by teaching managers to ask stay interview questions during regular employee meetings.  Develop interview guides with consistent questions to better identify patterns across the company. Sometimes managers may ask every question in an interview, other times a talkative, articulate employee may provide deep insights with just a few prompts. Stay interview questions should be tailored to the goals of the organization and might include:

What is different here that makes you proud to be an employee?
Is your manager effective? If so, what do they do that you value the most? If not, what do you wish they would do more often?
What do you like most or least about working here?
What might tempt you to leave?
What talents are not being used in your current role?
What would you like to learn here?
What motivates or demotivates you?

Reluctance to conduct stay interviews may stem from concern over receiving feedback that isn’t actionable, such as a desire for a raise or promotion. There may be no money in the budget, no available position, or the employee may not be qualified to make their desired move. In these scenarios, honesty is the best policy.  Reiterate these conversations are intended to identify how the company can evolve to better support the needs of valuable employees.
When an organization decides to conduct stay interviews, it’s vital that leaders make a commitment to understand the findings quickly then act to show genuine care and follow-through.  With managers and employees invested in the process, it is imperative to make changes within the organization’s control. Initially, changes need not be major; a few small, yet visible improvements can go a long way as more complex and strategic adjustments are analyzed.
Sustaining the momentum of stay interviews requires continued steady attention to connecting with employees. Some ways to keep it going include:

Continue to connect with employees to assess satisfaction and level of engagement
Communicate progress and celebrate successes
Offer workshops for all managers so they can periodically meet with their employees and query them to discover the talent reality
Train internal HR staff in how to conduct focus groups and report findings via a readily available, easy to use tool

Stay interviews are a valuable retention tool when conducted properly. Be sure to spend time coming up with questions that will yield the most valuable feedback. Have that million-dollar question such as, “What is the one reason you stay with the company?” Imagine the value to the organization if managers knew every employee’s response and acted to make it a reality.
Written by Kim Littlefield, Senior Vice President, Keystone Partners. A CPI Firm
The post Career Partners International Coaches Employers to Use Stay Interviews as Valuable Retention Tools appeared first on CPIWorld.

Six Principles for Conducting an Effective Executive Job Search

In today’s dynamic and competitive job market, the elements of an effective executive-level job search are very different than what may be utilized for non-executive roles.  With over thirty years of global experience, Career Partners International (CPI) has helped thousands of executives land their next role.   Many executives have not had to search for a new role in decades, leaving them unfamiliar with the new recruiting ecosystem.  Our expert coaches quickly and efficiently guide candidates into new positions that fit their unique talents utilizing advanced technology, cutting edge tactics, and proven networking strategies.
It can be seductive to spend time on job boards responding to advertised openings—but this is a low probability exercise. The three channels of activity that drive any effective professional job search are networking, targeted direct outreach, and executive search firms. Actively working all three channels through specific and sustained activity yields the best results.  This is especially true for an executive-level search as the level of competition is intense, and there are fewer opportunities at this level than at lower levels.

Getting started

An effective job search begins with a realistic assessment of skills, background, and experiences to define the value proposition that you bring to the market. With a realistic assessment of yourself, the next step is to define the range of industries, organizations, and roles that have a need for your unique combination of skills and experiences, and in which you would likely bring value. Resume, biography, and social media accounts (i.e. LinkedIn) are then created, or updated, to reflect and highlight your relevant background and experience as they relate to the industry, function, and/or opportunity you are trying to secure.

Limit the time spent on job posting websites

Most people spend way too much time trolling around job posting websites, but this is usually a time waster that does not yield success unless coupled with other more active efforts. Online postings typically generate hundreds of eager and well-qualified responses. However, the typical applicant tracking system uses algorithms to filter the pool of applicants so only a select few are ever seen by the people involved in the hiring process. It’s a very efficient process for the hiring company but it is unrealistic to expect a positive outcome if an individual is passive and simply waits for opportunities to present themselves.  For those times when direct contacts are limited, CPI has developed a program designed to highlight gaps between the resume and job posting, allowing for greater success in making it through the applicant tracking system.

Spend a lot of time networking

The most important factor in an executive-level job search is the sustained effort to secure introductions, conversations, and interviews with individuals and organizations who might have a need for your skills.  Networking involves a pragmatic approach to identifying and connecting with people who can provide information, insight, or connections that bridge to potential opportunities. Effective networking requires an investment of time and commitment to follow-up and follow-through on potential leads even though many will not directly result in a job. Some conversations yield valuable information or connect directly to a specific immediate opportunity while other networking conversations lead to connections with new networking contacts. Be patient and maintain the effort.
While networking often starts with those who are close, it should expand as a job seeker stays connected with their personal network. The expectation is that the broader group will then provide additional insight and connections within the industry or with specific organizations or opportunities.

Do targeted direct outreach

While networking seeks to leverage the strengths of personal relationships, business connections, and social interactions, direct outreach involves proactive outreach to targeted organizations and individuals without the benefit of prior relationship or a network referral. Direct outreach is as simple as connecting with a targeted individual to see if they would be receptive to an initial conversation to explore the possibility of mutual interest.
There are two things that make direct outreach effective. One is targeting so there is a clear and obvious connection between your skills and background and the potential needs of the organization. The more alignment, the more likely there will be a positive response to the direct outreach.
The second key to successful direct outreach is the breadth and depth of the outreach. In terms of breadth, there needs to be enough activity to generate a positive result. If someone only reaches out to two organizations, they would need a 50% response rate to secure one follow-up. If that same individual reached out to 10 organizations, a 10% response rate would yield a meeting. Extend that to 100 organizations and apply the same math, and it could result in 10 follow-up meetings.
Successful direct outreach requires appropriate follow-up to help increase the odds of a positive response. If a job seeker sends a single email to a busy executive, it is not likely they will hear back. If on the other hand, they send a follow-up email a few days later or they reach out by phone as well, the odds of contact and conversation are greatly increased.

Tap into executive search firms

Many executive-level roles are filled through executive retained search. The larger and more visible the role, the more likely it is an organization will hire a search firm to manage the process. To be considered as a candidate for these roles, the job seeker must first gain visibility and credibility with the external recruiter. This is typically done through networking and direct outreach.
Since search firms are retained to find the best overall candidate for a specific role, they are evaluating and screening potential candidates on a variety of tangible and intangible factors. A retained search process usually involves the screening of 100 or more candidates to create a pool of four-to-five that are interviewed by their client. Those who have the requisite skills, background, and experience are in the initial screening pool of 100 or more. The few who have the greatest demonstrated alignment with what are perceived to be the most important success factors for that specific role at that specific organization make it to the interview process.
Some interactions with search consultants will lead to interviews and job offers while others may lead to disappointment, but the disappointments can also lead to valuable insights and information. While you may not be identified as the best fit for one role, you may be an ideal fit for another. A candidate will not be presented to more than one client at a time, but search firms keep track of those they interact with. If a candidate makes a positive (or negative) impression, search consultants remember and factor it in when they, or their colleagues, are working on other similar searches.

Balanced activity yields the best outcome

There is a high correlation between the effort and activity people put into their job search and the success of the search. Greater success will come more quickly by engaging in active and ongoing networking combined with a high degree of direct outreach and targeted interaction with executive search professionals. Individuals who leverage all three will generally land better positions faster than those who put more limited effort into networking, outreach, and navigating the executive search arena in favor of simply responding to open online postings.
The executive job search has always been a difficult process, and it has been made more complex with the introduction of various online distractions and increased connectivity.  With the right coach and a structured approach, job seekers can take advantage of this new reality to land in a firm that values their contributions.  CPI coaches are experts in their local markets, with the knowledge and technologies to support and guide executives on their way to a new career.
Written by Rob Croner, Vice President of Senior Executive Services at CCI Consulting, A CPI Firm
The post Six Principles for Conducting an Effective Executive Job Search appeared first on CPIWorld.