Author archives: Acumen

Tracking the right sales metrics

Last night I read this article from L’areal Lipkins through Vistage’s network. It made me pause and it hit home as Acumen works with our clients to help determine who is the best candidates for them. More importantly “Who” will be the best cultural fit while meeting the professional skillsets required to do the job.

As a business consultant partner, we see companies through an outsider’s lens.  Leaders, C-level executives and boards members come to Acumen to find managers, directors, and C-level professionals. Some of the questions we ask our clients reveals so much and are important questions we ask to determine the metrics they use for success:

Describe your culture in five words or less.
Who will work best in your current state (behaviors, personality traits)?
What are three top problems that this person needs to solve?
How are you measuring their success?

All hiring managers that are hiring or planning on hiring need to ask themselves these question. Then look at their answers to see if they follow L’areal Limpkins definitions.  Here is what Ms. Limpkin wrote:

Are you tracking the right sales metrics?

created by L’areal Lipkins in Manufacturing NetworkView the full blog post

There are three metrics high performing sales organizations track: behaviors, leading indicators, and lagging indicators.

Most organizations only track lagging indicators like revenue, profit, number of new customers, close ratio, etc. The problem with just tracking lagging indicators is that it’s history and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is especially problematic if you have a long sales cycle.

You should also be tracking leading indicators such as appointments, demos, proposals, or whatever makes sense for your business. Leading indicators will give you a red flag that your sales team is on or off track much sooner than waiting until the end of the month, quarter, or year. For example, if you know you close 1 out of 3 proposals and your goal is to bring on 3 new customers, theoretically you need to have 9 qualified proposals. Now obviously we can work on different techniques to improve our close ratio, but the key is you, your sales leader, and your sales people should know what the critical leading indicators are and how they impact results.

Lastly, you should track behaviors. What activities should your sales people be doing every week to get in front of prospects. Maybe it’s cold calls, referrals, prospecting emails, LinkedIn connections, or networking. Again, the goal is to improve our output by improving (or increasing) our input. If we just try to fix the results, we’re fixing the wrong end of the problem. Your sales people should know their top 3-5 prospecting activities and how much they should be doing each week to keep their funnel full and drive leading indicators.

About Ms. L’areal Lipkins:

L’areal Lipkins is Managing Partner at Acuity Systems, and she specializes in helping companies streamline, systematize, and scale their sales efforts. L’areal is a Vistage Member and Vistage Speaker.

Bad Hires Can Be an Expensive Mistake

A CareerBuilder survey shows three out of four employers have made bad hiring decisions, and the cost of a bad hire is almost $15,000.   The bad hire can cause less productivity in the workplace, compromised quality of work, and time lost spent recruiting and training the new worker.

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder said in part “there’s a ripple affect with bad hires. Disengagement is contagious — poor performers lower the bar for other workers on their teams, and their bad habits spread throughout the organization”.  And while most managers quickly realize they’ve made a bad hire, it takes about 9 weeks to let them go.

Employees also sometimes realize they’ve made a poor choice.  Two in three will accept a position, only to realize it was a bad fit, with 50% quitting within six months.  Their reasons for leaving include toxic work culture, the boss’ management style, and the job not matching the initial job description.

New hire retention rates can be improved by over 80% with strong onboarding processes.

Oregon Laws Changed – Employers Need to Know

As of October 6, 2017, a provision of the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 is already in effect.  An article written by Liani J. Reeves of Bullard Law discusses this provision pertaining to legal changes around requests for salary history data.  (see full article here).  It is now unlawful for prospective employers, recruiters, and others involved in the hiring practice to seek an applicant’s or employee’s salary history.

Now employers may not:

  • Seek salary information from an applicant or employee
  • Seek salary information from an applicant’s or employee’s current or former employers
  • Use salary history information to determine a starting pay offer.

However, employers can consider an employee’s salary history for a promotion or transfer to a new position with the same employer or ask for salary history after a job offer has been made that includes the proposed compensation.

What does that mean for those involved in the recruiting and hiring practice?  They will need to immediately change their hiring policies, application forms, interview questions, and compensation policies.  To fail to do so will put them in violation of the Bureau of Labor and Industry and open them to fines, lawsuits, and class action claims.

Our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

June 14, 2017- The team at Acumen Executive & Talent Search is excited to announce our 10th anniversary celebration! Since 2007, Acumen has completed over 500 direct placements to our wonderful clients. You are invited to celebrate with us.

Save the date for early October, 2017. Stay tuned for the official invitation.

Acumen delivers successful results to their clients with a 99% success rate for retained searches and a 92.7% employee retention rate, which is triple the national average. Acumen continues to grow! In addition to improving these impressive figures, we have won several awards. In 2013, Acumen was named the top woman-owned business. In 2015, Acumen was awarded the Portland Business Journal Orchid Award. Acumen has also received the top recruiting/staffing firm award every year from 2013-2016.

We cannot wait to share our success with you and to say “thank you”.  We love our clients, candidates, business partners, and friends.

New Oregon Law on Equal Compensation

June 12, 2017- A recent article written by Barran Liebman associates Anthony D. Kuchulis and Andrew M. Narus discusses the implications of the Equal Pay Act (see full article here). This law was unanimously passed by the Oregon Senate in May and signed by Governor Brown on June 1. The law’s title, “Equal Pay Act”, is slightly misleading, as this law is technically an Equal Compensation Act. It is intended to address differences in compensation among minorities, women, and other protected classes (race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability age). It prohibits employers from compensating certain classes at a rate less than other classes for work that requires the same skills, knowledge, effort, and working conditions. It states that differences in compensation are only lawful if based on merit, seniority, or other conditions measuring the quantity or quality of work. Employees who believe they have been discriminated against in violation of this law will have a private right of action starting January 1, 2019.

This act also impacts recruiters and others involved in hiring practices, as it prohibits employers from obtaining information about a job candidate’s past or current compensation. This section of the act will take effect on September 9, 2017, when the Bureau of Labor and Industries will have the authority to enforce it and issue fines. Starting on January 1, 2024, job candidates will have a right of private action against prospective employers if asked about their compensation history.

While this law is a great step toward achieving pay equality among all classes, it introduces several new challenges for employers involved in the hiring process. Not only does this law prohibit employers from asking applicants their past or current compensation, it also prohibits screening them based on past or current compensation. However, on the other hand, this law gives employers the ability to ask applicants what their desired salary would be and allows pay equity to be measured solely based on character.

In preparation for this law, it is important for business owners and recruiters to be fully informed and know how they will need to alter their hiring policy, application form, interview questions, and compensation policies accordingly. Oregon employers must act now to ensure compliance and protect their businesses from lawsuits, fines, and class action claims.

Attracting Great Talent: Podcast with Tracy Vicario

June 7, 2017- Acumen Executive & Talent Search owner and founder, Suzanne Hanifin, was recently featured as a special guest in a Business Wellbeing podcast hosted by Nick Krajl, Tracy Vicario, and Roberto Flores. (Listen to full podcast here).

Tracy Vicario, Suzanne’s interviewer, asks several interesting questions concerning topics like company culture and employee retention. Both women agree that it is getting harder and harder to find and keep great talent in today’s world. It is important to understand what new employees are looking for in a job and how employers can make them feel valued.

One of Tracy’s first questions for Suzanne is how Acumen screens for a culture fit while recruiting. Suzanne replies that this is one of the most important things Acumen looks at. She says that at the executive level, she has never seen an employee leave because of money. The most common reason for leaving is that there is no longer a proper cultural fit. To ensure that her candidates align correctly with the goals and strategies of the company, Hanifin says that she does two main things. Firstly, she looks at similar companies and industries to learn their cultures. Secondly, she learns what the candidates themselves want in an employer and what their goals and passions are. By knowing their clients well and knowing what the candidates are looking for, Acumen ensures that the two cultures fit together perfectly.

Another main topic covered in this podcast surrounds the popular idea that you need to know someone to get a job. Although Suzanne agrees that networking is essential, she also gives new tips for getting a job. She tells Tracy that volunteering is a great way to get your name out into the world and show that you care about something greater than yourself. Employers love to see job candidates who set aside their time to serve others.

In addition to highlighting the importance of company culture and providing tips for getting a job, Suzanne also gives several insights to new industry trends. One of the recent trends Hanifin explains is the desire for people to make a difference and tangibly see how their day-to-day actions affect the bigger picture. The key to employee retention, she says, is making their voices heard, giving them opportunities to affect change, and making sure their goals and passions align with those of your organization. Another industry trend she has seen more recently is the increased ability to work from home. Although it seems like this would be a concept that takes away from culture, she says it does not. Even the freedom to work from home occasionally (not 100% of the time) provides the flexibility employees desire.

Suzanne and her team at Acumen Executive & Talent Search are optimistic and enthusiastic about the recruitment industry’s future and are looking forward to what lies ahead.

To contact Acumen for your recruitment needs, click here.

Lexi Goebel – Summer Intern – 503-430-0294