Friday, September 18, 2009

Rather not know what's really going on in your workplace? I don't blame you!

Do you know if things are working well (or not) in your workplace? Are employees happy and engaged in their work environment or is there conflict and dissatisfaction? Are you aware of issues or concerns causing problems in your team/organization? Are you interested in doing something to determine the health of your organization and to resolve any problems that might exist?

The answers to all these questions may be simpler than you think and a workplace assessment may be the next logical next step for you to undertake with the help of professionals in the field. Many managers – both in the public and private sectors – are hesitant to commit to workplace assessments because they may learn things about their organizations that they don't know or may not want to know (e.g. sleeping dogs). Then, again, they might find out that any problems they uncover were inherited from their predecessor(s).

But once you have the results, chances are you'll have to do something about them.

Are you in the process of hiring someone? Don't waste your time with traditional reference checking.

Many managers believe that checking references is a waste of time. After all, you ask candidates for lists of references, and are they likely to give you the names of referees who will give less-than-positive references? No, although it does happen.

Still, reference checks can make the difference between hiring one or the other of two equally qualified candidates (based on already-administered assessment tools and/or following other stages in a competitive process). In addition, references can often confirm the strengths and the weakness of candidates.

Other managers believe that reference checking is a necessary evil but overly time-consuming process, if they conduct the checks themselves, or expensive, if they hire a company or a consultant to do them.