Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bringing value to Coatings, not just through paint.

At Connor|Caitlin, we work exclusively in the Coatings industry.  With our 40 years of combined experience, we know our market and the major players.  However, we like to stay knowledgeable of the history of some of the top coatings companies.  Today I’m going to give a brief overview of The Valspar Corporation, to give an idea of why we value companies such as them. 

The Valspar Corporation is the sixth largest international paint and coating company in the world, currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Valspar stocks customers in over 100 countries with an extensive range of high quality coatings and paint products.  Valspar’s motto is, “If it matters, we’re on it”, what an ideal way to grab the attention of customers and investors.

Valspar is associated with many other brands, such as: Cabot, Guardsman, House of Kolor, De Beer, Inver, Huarun, Wattyl, Solver, PlastiKote, and more. With their wide range of investors, Valspar showcases integrity and stewardship. Beyond all, the most imperative ambition for Valspar is to maintain an accident-free work setting in order for their employees to stay safe.

Valspar’s leadership, commitment, and investment aspects ensure their potential customers nothing but success and high quality. This company explains how they are committed to creating a long-term relationship with customers, employees, and suppliers. As long as it’s important to you, it’s important to Valspar.

Companies like Valspar are what make our industry shine.  If you are a top company looking for top talent, or talent looking for the top companies, please contact a practice leader at Connor|Caitlin.

Facts courtesy of 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pay me now or pay someone else later...

The Wall Street Journal had a great article this past Tuesday on how the rebounding economy is placing pressure on employers to raise wages or suffer turnover.  The economic indicators are strong. Growth companies are hiring which means opportunities to move to better paying jobs is a reality for key players looking to jump ship. While most good companies get lower unemployment is good for business, a lot of companies fail to realize that not addressing the wage gap from recessionary times doesn't just go away, it leads to decisions. 

People vote and they vote with their feet, if employers are careless about righting the wage constraints that impacted their business a few years ago, they will pay either way.  Great employers understand the direct impact that turnover has on productivity, training costs and employee morale.  In other words, to compete in the war for talent, a top grading company must be mindful that compensation is a big reason for the decision to leave.   

Worth and value are in the bucket of reasons good employees stay or leave but failing to look hard what you pay people is a key ingredient in the recipe for turnover.  In the end, paying your top talent their worth today is important but really understanding what that worth is may be a challenge.  Top talent will find it out what their worth is but usually this involves them giving their notice to really hit you in the face. 

If you have questions about wage modeling or talent strategy, contact one of our practice leaders at Connor|Caitlin. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Well...I just didn't like her.

Normally I like to touch on interviewing from a candidates perspective, but today I’m going to take a look at it from the other side of the table. Interviewers can be the first closed door that a great candidate may face, and in all reality, that closed door may be the result of a bias on the interviewers’ part.

We've always been told that your first impression means everything.  In this case, it’s very true. If you are an interviewer, or just someone meeting another for the first time, keep these things in mind.

Bring your bias to a conscious level.  This is the first step in neutralizing bias; recognition.  Even if you have an instant reaction, try to do the opposite of what you first feel, such as leading with a positive question if you have a negative feeling about a candidate. 

Measure your first impression at the end of a meeting.  Objectively use what you've learned within the interview to determine if the candidate would be a right fit.

Make sure to listen to all the evidence before making a conclusion. Then, use evidence, not emotions, to assess.  “I feel” and “I think” and “My gut tells me” are all statements using emotions and not hard evidence.  

Use your team to objectively study your candidate.  Have everyone share their evidence to help decrease the emotional bias of the hiring authority.

These few tips will help ensure that you are giving each candidate a complete and fair shot.  And who knows, it may even be helpful on a first date.

If you need help standardizing your hiring practices, or help finding top talent, contact Connor|Caitlin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I got the what??

Congratulations, you landed the interview.

Now what?  You haven’t been to a job interview in fifteen years.  What has changed?  What do you need to do differently now with a new generation of hiring managers?  These are all valid concerns for someone who hasn't been actively searching for a job in years.  And unfortunately, seasoned professionals could be hurting their chances of getting hired by not interviewing properly.

While there is a myriad of interview tips on the web, there are just a few items that I want to point out.  Seasoned professionals are most likely going to be interviewing for higher level position, as well as leadership abilities.  Your best bet is giving examples of successes, but successes where you worked with a team and gives proper credit to those who worked with you.

Authority vs. Humility

Experience and skill level are always going to be selling points, but not as far as to get you that dream managerial position.  Showing that you are interdependent on your team and employer will win you big brownie points with the hiring manager.  Having confidence in your skills, as well as answering in a way that says that you are a team player and able to be flexible will get you farther than just throwing your co-workers under the bus.

If you need help learning some new interview tips and tricks, or want to find that person who can fit the bill for your company, contact Connor|Caitlin.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Economic Recovery; Fact or Fiction?

Lately we have been talking about the strengths of top talent.  However, a large influencing factor that determines if top talent goes anywhere is the dark shadow.  The crow on our shoulder. The all-encompassing; state of the economy. 

The economic state is the catalyst that drives talent acquisition.  HR managers across every discipline have a unique view on employment trends. Since they hire, fire, measure engagement and perform other tasks that measure the health of the labor force, they know when there are signs of recovery in the economy.

The first indication of economic health is lowering unemployment rates.  Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2008, around 5.7%.  More people found work in 2014 than in any of the past 15 years.

A second indication of a healthy economy is; job creation is strong. There are around 5 million job openings currently.

The third sign is; in many industries, people are quitting.  While this may seem counter-intuitive, this means that workers are confident there are better opportunities available.

However, there is an important element missing.  Higher wages.  Rising wages have not kept pace with other economic and employment gains.  

All of these add up to the determination that HR managers need to return to people management practices.  Aggressively recruiting new talent, retaining best employees, and investing in our workforce will be crucial.  This is a talent driven market.

If you need help finding that top talent, contact Connor|Caitlin.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Greatness is calling for you.

Five obstacles that stand in the way of a great workplace, and how to overcome them all. 

Every person desires a great workplace, an environment that is conducive to collaboration, teamwork and having fun. The following five issues are prominent in the workplace, but there are solutions to each.  In order for any change to be made, the pursuit of greatness must first become a priority, for both employees and managers.

1.       I don’t have time.
Even though the problem may seem complicated, as in we cannot have 25 hours in a day, the solution to lack of time can be quite simple. Leverage the systems you already have in place for change.  One approach could be eating lunch with one team member a day, or even the whole team, in order to get to know each other as people, not just a coworker. Another easy way is leaving ten minutes of every staff meeting to have an open discussion.  Let every person have their say.

2.       My workplace is different. “I’m all for it, but this would never work in my industry”
Many issues are not as unique to the industry as we might think.  Striving to maintain excellence in night shift employees is as universal as anything. It doesn't matter if you are in a manufacturing facility or at a suit-and-tie desk job, a great workplace is desired by all.

3.       It’s not the right time.
Change is never totally enjoyable, and presents its challenges.  However, a disruptive event can be the perfect catalyst for another important factor; trust.  Engaging employees in trust-building practices during the large change can create a sense of community, maintain sense and purpose, as well as promote safety and support throughout the process.  Research shows that when leaders take time to build trusting relationships with employees, it enables those employees to embrace changes faster.

4.       My employees are the problem.
Understanding a pattern of behavior, whether good or bad, is crucial to fostering a great workplace.  There are many factors that encourage employee behavior, from family and life situations to job roles and responsibilities.  When an employee does something once, it a fluke, twice is a coincidence and three times is a pattern.   Understand behaviors before setting goals is crucial.

5.       My boss isn't on board.

Even though you have the vision of a great workplace, unfortunately lack of leadership buy-in to the plan can be a formidable obstacle.  If you have the desire, you can have the ability to build trust-based relationships with employees. Reaching out can build trust, pride and camaraderie.  Stay focused on things that you can influence, and in time, your sphere of influence will increase and open doors that were once closed.