Improving Employee Engagement

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If you’ve ever worked at a company, big or small, you may already know why it’s important to improve employee engagement through annual surveys or new employee orientation. Most companies have made employee engagement a priority because they realize that satisfied and motivated employees are beneficial and critical to the success of any organization.

Before providing several ways to improve employee engagement, let’s take a look at a few key indicators that stress the importance of employee engagement. The statistics are staggering as it relates to disengaged employees:

  • The number of employees who are disengaged at work has averaged 70% for nearly two decades
  • U.S. businesses lose $11 billion to staff turnover each year
  • The average company’s biggest productivity losses are often caused by less than 20% of employees who are “disengaged” or “extremely disengaged”

Productivity, Profits and Retention

Studies have proved that by investing in employee engagement strategies will lead to improved employee engagement and a positive impact on productivity, profits and retention.

  • Companies with high and sustainable levels of engagement tend to have operating margins up to three times higher than companies with low or unsustainable levels of engagement (Willis Towers Watson)
  • Studies show that businesses with the highest levels of employee engagement are 22% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement (Gallup)
  • Organizations with higher than average employee engagement have been known to exceed the financial performance of their peers by 73% (University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School)
  • In one recent case study, an Ohio-based manufacturer was able to increase profits 24% after measuring employee engagement (Emplify)
  • Engaged employees are 44% more productive than workers who merely feel satisfied (Bain & Company)
  • An employee who feels engaged and inspired is 125% more productive than the satisfied staffer (Bain & Company)

New Trends to Increase Employee Engagement

Leadership, communication and training will always serve as cornerstones for maintaining a happy and healthy staff, but a few more trends have emerged as ways to increase employee engagement. Let’s take a look at five ways to improve employee engagement.

1. Mental Health

Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can be costly to employers. As healthcare costs rise, employers must be committed to improving conditions in the workplace. Some companies are encouraging employees to take paid mental health days, while mandatory training educates directors in identifying more serious mental health and substance-abuse issues.

2. Professional Development

Engaged employees will always embrace professional development. LinkedIn reported that 44% of people said that personal development and career advancement opportunities were the reason why they chose their current jobs. It’s important to encourage and support professional development among employees, as well as opportunities to take on new responsibilities.

3. Innovation and Change

Advances in technology have had an effect on nearly every industry. Companies must adapt quickly to remain competitive and when employees are given the opportunity to contribute to change, they will feel more connected and engaged.

4. Work/Life Balance

Companies with policies that embrace work/life balance like flexible work hours and working from home are more likely to have engaged employees. Strict schedules and dress codes may soon become a thing of the past, as they are no longer how to engage employees successfully.

5. Ongoing Performance Improvement Discussions

As directors adjust to new technology like Yelp and other apps that provide real-time feedback and reviews, the younger employees prefer the same. They would rather not wait for an end-of-year performance review to track their progress and provide feedback. Companies are now implementing more frequent meetings and feedback on performance.

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Cochran, Cochran and Yale are nationally-recognized within the Professional, Technical, and Executive Search and Leadership advisory industries as the preferred resource for targeted talent acquisition, from key staff members to members of the boardroom. We do not fill jobs—we find your next outstanding leader.

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Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace should never be viewed as simply corporate speak. These words need to be taken seriously and embraced by all members of a company or organization. It’s also important not to confuse the terms as they’re often used interchangeably.

Diversity refers to achieving the right mix in the workplace, while recognizing the need for different perspectives. Inclusion is the notion that all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

“Communication is the number one issue we’ve noticed with clients. It’s important for the entire company or organization to embrace diversity and inclusion, not just the HR department,” said Shawn Baker, president of Cochran, Cochran and Yale.

“Retention and a lack of proper recruitment strategies and branding to attract diverse candidates also are common challenges that companies and organizations must improve upon to create a culture of inclusiveness,” adds Baker.

Improving Statistics, Implementing Change

Sadly, the statistics below reflect a negative trend and illustrate the importance of instilling a more diverse and inclusive culture. A company should hire employees from different backgrounds, and foster an environment that welcomes their opinions and ideas. The result will definitely lead to increased employee engagement, creativity, retention and innovation.

  • Only four percent of Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs. – Fortune
  • Only 13% of employers monitor how much time is spent discussing inclusion and diversity at senior management meetings. – Robert Walters
  • Only 20% of C-suite roles are held by women. – Women in the Workplace in 2017
  • 74% of Amazon executives are white men. That compares to 68% at Apple, 65% at Google, and 51% at Facebook. Recode

Ideas to Support Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

How does your company measure up to some of these statistics? Top talent are always looking to work in diverse and inclusive environments, but not providing one may result in not securing the ideal candidate for your team. Employees will leave your company if they feel they’re not heard or provided opportunities to advance in the workplace. Below are a few ways that companies can support diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

  • Update internal policies to include diversity and inclusion training
  • Celebrate holidays of all cultures
  • Create mentorship programs
  • Establish a culture that promotes different perspectives

Statistics That Inspire Change

According to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), employee diversity is associated with better business results. In the study, titled “Diversity Matters”, 366 public companies were surveyed from different countries in the Western World. Two key findings:

  • Gender-diverse companies are more likely to perform 15% better
  • Ethnically-diverse companies are more likely to perform 35% better

Although being diverse doesn’t directly translate to more sales or profit, companies who have a diverse population tend to be more successful. Here are some other statistics to consider:

  • Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 8% for every 10% increase in the ethnic and gender composition of senior executive teams in the United States.
  • In the United Kingdom, companies have seen a 3.5% increase in EBIT for every 10% increase in gender diversity in the same senior executive team.

At Cochran, Cochran and Yale (CCY), we help your business embrace change, identify areas of HR improvement, and add value to the broader organization through these key services:

  • HR Optimization
  • HR Transformation
  • Talent Management
  • HR Outsourcing
  • Change Management
  • Organization Design

CCY has developed talent and trained leaders and managers for 40+ years. We propel business success by aligning human capital with organizational strategy. CCY’s services are custom-fit to any workforce performance need, capable of supporting both large industry and small start-up employers for the entire human capital life cycle. We deliver measurable results through 40+ years in the people industry.

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Interested in learning more about our services? Contact Shawn Baker at (585) 314-3891 or

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Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Donald Trump. It’s safe to say that sexual harassment is in the national spotlight currently, and rightfully so. It’s about time these issues were brought to light, and the perpetrators brought to justice. With increasing media attention, though, also comes increased scrutiny within organizations. How can business leaders correct problematic behaviors within their organization before an actual incident of harassment occurs?


It’s impossible to predict the future, and it can be tricky to identify an issue before a complaint has been made – at which point, the damage has already been done and the company is at risk. However, there are certain traits that are common in sexual harassers – traits that are also generally associated with leadership positions. While there are a number of warning signs that an employee’s behavior may become problematic, the top identifying traits include:


  • High self-confidence and impulsiveness
  • Lack of awareness and a disconnect with reality
  • High self-serving and risky tendencies


Of course, business leaders should absolutely possess high self-confidence in order to instill confidence in their staff and/or clients. However, like Christmas cookies, too much of a good thing can be problematic. Individuals who are self-confident to an extreme also often lack the ability (or desire) to recognize their own flaws, and may be likely to engage in impulsive behaviors – such as sexually pursuing an employee. This can also translate to an inability to accept rejection. To the offender, if they possess extremely high self-confidence, they may view that rejection as if the employee was simply playing hard-to-get, and may actually be encouraged to pursue the ‘chase.’


This disconnect with reality is another trait that’s common among sexual predators. Most individuals possess at least a reasonable level of awareness, and even if they are attracted to a colleague, are able to control and inhibit those feelings – and any related behaviors. However, leaders who possess both high self-confidence and low awareness might believe that they’re a ‘catch,’ and that the object of their affection would be lucky to even be associated with them. Arrogance is annoying, but it’s also dangerous when a perpetrator lacks awareness to recognize indicators that their advances are unwanted.


It’s hard to convince powerful people that they’re wrong. Successful leaders who have built an empire through hard work, intuition, and business savvy sometimes feel that they can do no wrong.  Because of this, leaders may lack the ability to understand others’ points of view, especially when those viewpoints contradict their own. When sexual advances are rejected, for example, it can create a cognitive dissonance that may actually encourage the individual to continue to pursue the victim until the desired ‘result’ is achieved – even if it means hurting that person in the process.  This self-serving, risky behavior is typical among predators, as they’re comfortable hurting others to get what they want.


Of course, not all individuals who possess these traits will commit an act of harassment – in fact, most will not. However, being able to recognize the warning signs is critical to becoming proactive about managing this issue on an enterprise-wide level.


As a first step, employees’ behaviors should first be measured – either through effective interviewing techniques or comprehensive personality assessments. Based on the results, individuals who possess the traits outlined above should be monitored and counseled as needed. Although the goal is to correct unwanted traits before harmful behaviors occur, there are some early behavioral warning signs that an individual may commit sexual harassment:


  • Dominant and controlling behaviors, particularly with subordinates, and a negative response to authority/supervision.
  • Boundary violations, or individuals who are comfortable ‘pushing the envelope’ on sensitive topics.
  • Grooming behaviors, which can start subtly with friendly compliments, but escalate over time with a goal of bringing the victim closer. To an outsider, this might look like a boss who has a ‘special’ relationship with a particular employee, with the relationship intensifying over time.


There is no sure-fire way to identify a sexual harasser before an act has been committed; this isn’t Minority Report. However, organizations have a responsibility to understand the characteristics, behaviors, and warning signs that often lead to harassment. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their staff, and providing a workplace free of unwanted sexual advances is part of that obligation. Frankly, organizations that don’t take proactive steps to protect their employees – especially given the current spotlight on this issue – deserve whatever charges (and the ensuing litigation) they may end up facing.

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As we approach year-end, members of organizational leadership are looking back at their team’s performance and setting goals for the New Year. Did your team meet the goals and objectives you had set out for this year? If not, what will you do going forward to address any deficiencies? More importantly, are you confident that you have the right team to achieve your goals for 2018?

Managers and HR executives dread these questions, because there is seemingly no easy answer. How can you accurately measure your teams past performance, and how can you confidently predict future performance?Both of these points can be addressed by first understanding how individual characteristics and behaviors drive performance. A team is only as strong as the sum of its parts, so it’s in management’s best interest to understand specifically how each team member contributes to – or counteracts – organizational success. Recognizing individual team members’ competencies and shortcomings across a few key areas is the first step to developing effective performance management techniques, which will ultimately optimize your team for future success.


 Concentration, or the ability to focus, is one of the most important traits for successful individuals to possess. An individual’s level of concentration can be determined by analyzing internal distractibility, external distractibility, and flexibility.

Internal distractibility refers to an individual’s ability to quiet their thoughts in order to focus on the task at hand. Chronic daydreamers, for example, likely have high internal distractibility. Having the ability to shut off your internal monologue can be especially important in a business setting. Have you ever been speaking to a colleague who appears to be listening, but clearly, their mind is elsewhere? You probably did not have much confidence in that individual’s ability to retain the information.

External distractibility describes a person’s ability to ignore irrelevant cues in their physical surroundings. If your work comes to a halt whenever you hear sirens passing by outside, or if you can’t help but eavesdrop whenever co-workers are chatting nearby, you likely have high external distractibility.

The third concentration factor to consider is flexibility. For example, an individual’s ability to multi-task is a general indicator of their mental flexibility. Consider the job of a waiter who has to simultaneously take orders, communicate with the kitchen, check in with customers, close out bills, and handle special requests on the fly. Having a high level of flexibility is critical to success in this type of position. Alternatively, individuals who are not able to juggle multiple priorities would be less likely to possess flexibility, which will certainly affect performance.


 Awareness defines an individual’s sensitivity to their environment. The term can be further dissected by considering both internal and external awareness factors. External awareness describes an individual’s ability to monitor their physical surroundings; internal awareness describes an individual’s ability to monitor and control their own thoughts.

Awareness is one of the most important factors for individual success, and it’s closely related to concentration. At first, the two concepts may seem contradictory. How can you be constantly aware of your environment without becoming distracted by it? The solution lies in the individual’s ability to control their attention.

Consider the job of a truck driver who has to concentrate on their route, payload, dashboard controls, and – of course – the road ahead. Even if the truck driver is able to effectively concentrate on these requirements, they will not be successful if they are not also highly aware. Truck drivers must be able to react quickly when other drivers switch lanes, or when weather conditions change, for example. As an analogy, concentration is to your direct line of sight as awareness is to your peripheral vision. You must be able to concentrate and remain aware in order to see the full picture.



 An individual’s interpersonal style is one of their most visible performance indicators, but also one of the most complex to measure. Interpersonal communications can be broken down into factors such as introversion, extroversion, self-expression, and confidence, although there are many other characteristics that interact to define a person’s interpersonal style.

Introversion and extroversion describe an individual’s reaction to social settings. There’s a misconception that introverts are shy and extroverts are outgoing. However, it’s very possible for introverts to be outgoing and extroverts to be shy. In fact, at a basic level, the differentiation between the two terms lies in the individual’s ‘energy.’ Introverts tend to lose energy in social settings, whereas extroverts become energized when social. If you find that you enjoy networking events, but feel completely drained when you leave the event, you may be high in introversion. If you find that you become weary when left alone with your own thoughts, you may be high in extroversion. As a side note, it’s important to note that the terms aren’t mutually exclusive; everybody possesses a certain degree of both introversion and extroversion.

Self-expression is another interpersonal indicator, referring to an individual’s ability to convey professional ideas, express frustration, and communicate support. An individual with a great idea will only be successful if they’re able to effectively express that thought in a professional setting. An individual’s ability to control the expression of their emotions is also important for performance. Of course, a team member who expresses anger aggressively may be difficult to work with – but a team member who is unable to express anger may end up feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled, unbeknownst to their peers. The ability to express support is especially important in management positions. If you’re unable to support your direct reports, they’re likely to feel unappreciated.

Confidence is a key component of an individual’s interpersonal style. Having confidence in yourself instills confidence in others, so it’s especially vital for leaders to possess this trait. However, confidence can be impacted by self-criticism. While it’s important to recognize our shortcomings in order to improve, if you find that you really beat yourself up over minor mistakes, you may be highly self-critical – and your confidence will suffer as a result. Of course, nobody feels completely confident at all times; most people feel some degree of uncertainty before public speaking, for example. If you find that you’re constantly second-guessing your efforts, though, it may be beneficial to consider ways to improve your confidence.


Interactions Between Performance Indicators

 Humans are complex beings with busy intersections of characteristics that all interact to create an intricate, dynamic personality profile. Recognizing performance indicators on a singular basis is only the first step to predicting an individual’s behavior; you must also understand how different traits interact with each other.

For example, imagine a salesperson who has high awareness and high external distractibility. Awareness is typically a very desirable trait for sales roles, as it’s important for people in these positions to be able to focus on the task at hand while also noting their customer’s nonverbal cues, for instance. However, awareness will not ensure success on its own. Since this salesperson’s external distractibility is also high, not only will s/he be fully-aware of the interactions with the customer, but also of cars passing on the street, people walking by in the hallway, the A/C shutting off, and other unrelated external cues. You can see how a person with this type of profile will likely be less successful in a sales situation than someone who is able to both focus and remain aware.

As another example, consider a CEO who is highly self-critical, has low flexibility, and high self-expression of anger. This individual may be prone to agonizing over minor mistakes, as they’re unable to control their internal monologue to stop the barrage of self-criticism, and as a result, they will lash out at peers.

Of course, there are endless combinations of core competencies that individuals may possess, and there’s no way to simply categorize people based off a few traits. However, if you’re able to identify the factors that are most important to an individual’s success within your organization’s specific culture, you can then measure your team members’ strengths in each of those areas. Recognizing key performance indicators on an individual basis, as well as understanding how to address that individual’s relative strengths and weaknesses, will lead to a stronger, more cohesive team – which in turn, contributes to a strong corporate culture.

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 Every generation has its hallmarks. Unfortunately, millennials have the unique distinction of being the first generation in recorded history to perform worse than their parents financially. Not to mention, this age bracket receives a lot of bad press, with stereotypes ranging from entitlement to social ineptitude. However, business leaders must understand that hiring millennials is an inevitability, especially as the baby boomers continue to age. So, what can you do to make the most out of your younger staff? Should you adjust your business models to adapt to this generation, or should you expect millennial employees to adapt to your organization’s existing models?


Generational Characteristics
Despite the negative stereotypes, millennials are notoriously ambitious, opportunistic, and highly interested in professional development. Due to these characteristics, millennial employees are often self-motivated to complete work ahead of schedule, then ask for more work to create as significant of an impact on the organization as possible. This generation is also known for their propensity for multi-tasking, so millennials generally appreciate positions that offer varied, interesting assignments. However, millennials also expect consistent feedback and recognition. If a millennial perceives that their hard work has gone unnoticed, they may be more likely to consider new employment than their more senior counterparts would be in the same situation.

One of the most popular negative stereotypes associated with millennials is a lack of communication skills, particularly verbal communications. There’s a common perception that millennials avoid face-to-face interactions in favor of electronic communications, which is likely due to the fact that this generation is the first to grow up with instant messaging, email, and social media. As a trade off, though, this generation is significantly more tech-savvy than previous generations.

Another prevalent stereotype of this generation is a sense of entitlement – a perception that millennials expect unrealistic salaries and impossibly rapid advancement. This sense of perceived entitlement may actually stem from this generation’s rampant idealism. Gen Y-ers are more comfortable with challenging established processes than older employees, and believe that success should be based on personal drive – not corporate politics.

This idealism extends further; millennials don’t just want to pursue a career that pays well, but genuinely want to do work that matters. This generation has firm personal values, including a healthy work/life balance, and are interested in organizations that place significance on corporate responsibility. In fact, many members of this generation are more driven to pursue opportunities that are in line with their core personal values than they are motivated by compensation.


What Do Millennials Expect From Employers?

  • Consistent, clear communication from leadership, and timely feedback.
  • Challenging, varied work.
  • An organization that places significant value on corporate responsibility.
  • Creative, collaborative work environment. (While all generations value a positive work environment, millennials are less likely than preceding generations to tolerate a bad environment.)
  • Flexibility and a healthy work/life balance.
  • Opportunities for professional development and advancement.


What Do Employers Expect From Millennial Employees?

    • Realistic compensation and promotion expectations.
    • Solid work ethic.
    • Self-motivation.
    • Good communication skills, including verbal and written.


Tips For Managing Millennials:
To ensure that Gen Y staff members continue to go above and beyond, it’s important to provide clear feedback. However, note that it’s not necessary to provide instant or constant feedback; it’s more important to ensure consistency in your approach. If possible, schedule a weekly check-in with your millennial reports – even if only for 15 minutes. Use this time to provide honest, constructive criticism that may help guide your direct reports to future advancement opportunities.

Similarly, understand that advancement doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a promotion or raise. Consider whether there are any special projects or assignments on your plate that a millennial can cut his or her teeth on. For example, is there room for your organization to strengthen its social media presence?

Invest time in developing millennials. Hiring younger employees is an easy way to reduce staffing costs, but it’s also a business opportunity to build and mold your team from the ground up. However, as a trade off, you should expect and plan for a longer ramp-up period. Having a formalized on boarding and training program will help to keep millennials on track as they learn the nuances of your business.

Provide training opportunities whenever possible, and reward top performers with interesting assignments. Engagement drives performance for any employee, but keeping millennials engaged is particularly important for retention. On average, members of this generation will jump jobs four times in their first decade out of college. If your millennial staff members aren’t engaged, they are much more likely than their predecessors to pursue other opportunities.

Additionally, consider offering flexible work arrangements to all employees. In this digital age, there are many positions that can be performed remotely. Companies offering flexible work schedules, such as an option to work from home on occasion, are becoming increasingly prevalent. If you want your organization to stay competitive in the marketplace, consider whether there is opportunity to increase flexibility.


Hiring millennials is an inevitability, but not necessarily a business obstacle. This is an ambitious, self-confident, tech savvy, progressive generation of employees who can add tremendous value to any organization. By simply providing recognition, fair advancement opportunities, consistent communication, and a degree of flexibility, you can position your organization to become extremely competitive in the current candidate marketplace.

The workforce is constantly evolving, and you can expect that the generation proceeding millennials will also have specific strengths and expectations. As such, organizations must embrace change, adjusting policies to reflect their current staff’s expectations. In exchange, employees will engage with the culture and align with the organization’s already-established core values and mission. In the end, the organization will only become stronger as a result of this tradeoff.

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Are you tired of being passed over for promotions? Do you find that you’re not receiving that raise or bonus this year? Do you want to hone your leadership skills, increase performance and overcome setback? Are you simply looking for a clearer path to advancement?

Recognizing your limitations can be challenging. Most development and training programs do not address the root causes of performance issues. Similar to athletes, we must constantly sharpen our skills and overcome any performance inhibitors to compete in today’s competitive market.

CCY’s Personal Performance is a customized, comprehensive analysis of your development needs, a 3 month 1 on 1 program, which includes a prescription for success! We have over 35 years of experience predicting performance within organizations, and over 70 years of research available to fuel this process.

Our customized program follows a defined process:

  • We begin by interviewing the individual to determine technical and tactical skills and knowledge, gathering information about the demands of various performance situations as they relate to the particular professional field of interest.
  • Then, we assess the individual’s cognitive skills and abilities. For example, we measure characteristics such as information processing, problem-solving, decision-making, and other key leadership attributes.
  • Next, we gauge the individual’s interpersonal behaviors to measure factors such as competitiveness, extroversion, intellectual expression, and self-confidence, among other areas.
  • Our evaluation doesn’t end there. We take the information presented in the professional profile, and validate the results through various questioning methods, to ensure accuracy.
  • Using the data we collect from the assessment stages, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the individual’s professional profile, highlighting strengths and limitations with detailed explanations.
  • We then create a tailored development program to optimize future success, relevant specifically to the individual’s professional field and objectives.
  • The final step is execution. We’ll provide coaching, development exercises, and ongoing consultations to ensure progress is being made.

With our individualized approach to Personal Performance, you’ll receive a thorough, accurate assessment of your inherent strengths and limitations; detailed explanations of how these characteristics impact performance within your specific field; and a plan to optimize your potential. With these tools, you will have a clear road map for future success.

For more information on our Personal Performance approach contact Shawn Baker at (585)785-5728 or


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What Is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture is a complex concept defined by the intersection of employees’ beliefs and behaviors, which in turn define how organizational members interact within the work environment. While corporate culture is cumulative and dynamic, consisting of the collective behaviors and personalities of all individuals, it is possible – and advised – for leadership to monitor and, ultimately, control culture.

Defining Your Organization’s Culture

First, recognize that no one individual can drive corporate culture singlehandedly. In fact, every team member has an impact – however minute – on overall culture.

Traditionally, organizations have relied solely upon leadership to drive the behaviors that seem to drive business. Leadership is also typically the first scapegoat when an organization has an inconsistent or negatively perceived culture. However, it’s important to understand that the traits and behaviors that a CEO is likely to possess may not be positive traits for all positions within an organization. Consider Steve Jobs, for example. Steve’s path to success was paved by innovation coupled with his notoriously direct and critical management style (among other attributes). While these traits ensured Steve’s success as a CEO, his behaviors would not be as well received if he had been a remote Support Specialist, for example – a position which requires steadfast patience and friendliness.

Corporate culture is a puzzle, where each employee possesses traits and behaviors that are desirable for their specific position, as well as characteristics that may limit their success. Understanding where each position fits into the overall corporate strategy is only the first step; monitoring and coaching individual employees to encourage behaviors that match the ideal profile for their specific role – while also minimizing counter-productive behaviors – is the key to optimizing enterprise-wide culture. It’s a two-step, one-size-does-NOT-fit-all approach to performance management: you must first define your own culture to determine which traits are desirable for each individual position before you can coach employees to meet your expectations.

Controlling Culture

In our last article, Getting the Most Out of Your Team: Measuring Performance to Optimize Success, we introduced the concept of analyzing individual traits from an individual performance management perspective. We examined a few specific profiles, and dissected how a handful of key characteristics could impact individual performance. In this piece, we’ll dive deeper into additional factors that influence culture. We’ll also look at examples of positions that would benefit – or suffer – if these characteristics are displayed to an extreme, as well as potential corrective techniques.

  • Drive / Self-Motivation: Team members who possess high drive are self-motivated to undertake or continue a task without another’s prodding. These individuals typically complete their work ahead of schedule – sometimes, before it has even been assigned. Generally speaking, self-motivation is regarded as a positive trait across the board. Who doesn’t want a direct report who anticipates business needs and gets ahead of the work?


However, self-motivation could cause issues if displayed to an extreme. For example, imagine a millennial staff member. Millennials are notoriously eager for rapid advancement and professional development. As a result, millennials sometimes display extreme self-motivation in order to gain recognition from leadership. However, if they don’t receive that recognition, the employee may become frustrated and eventually look elsewhere for employment. While the employee’s self-motivation wasn’t directly the issue, their expectations for the results of their hard work weren’t met, which caused conflict. (As a side note, keep an eye out for a future article specifically covering millennial performance management.)


Obviously, a lack of self-motivation is also a big issue when it comes to professional performance. Warning signs of unmotivated employees include missing deadlines, consistently arriving late to work or leaving early, sub-par work product that doesn’t match the employee’s capabilities, and a lack of interest in advancement or recognition.


The key to stabilizing self-motivation is increasing engagement. Inviting both highly-motivated and under-motivated employees to participate in strategy meetings, or asking for employees’ thoughts on business decisions, are two simple ways to increase engagement. The highly-motivated millennial will feel recognized and appreciated, and the unmotivated employee will be forced to engage in the organization’s culture.


  • Competitiveness: Friendly competition can be very healthy within an organization, particularly within service-based industries. Programs designed to recognize and reward employees for their achievements are generally received positively.


Of course, as we all know, some team members can take competition too far, which can have a negative effect on morale. Imagine an experienced Sales Manager who is responsible for motivating his team of junior salespeople. In doing so, he decides to create a monthly competition for highest billings, in which he also participates. As expected, he wins the award every month, as he’s a much more experienced salesperson than his team members. As a result, his team becomes unmotivated and the competition is counter-productive.


Lack of competition can also be detrimental to an organization. Even if your organization is not structured in a way that encourages friendly competition between employees, it’s always possible for employees to compete with their own previous performance.


Setting both attainable and stretch goals for team members addresses both of these issues. If an employee’s competitiveness is causing turmoil within your organization, try setting goals for the employee to beat their own records – rather than pitting him/her against peers. Similarly, if an employee is disinterested in competition, or if your organization is not structured to encourage competition, setting personal goals is a great way to increase engagement and motivation.

  • Willingness to Express Thoughts / Confront Issues: Effective self-expression is critical for both personal and professional success. Self-expression also entails many sub-characteristics; for example, some individuals are able to easily express affection, but struggle when expressing anger or dissatisfaction.


Both under- and over-expression can cause conflict within an organization. Consider a leader who is constantly expressing new ideas that aren’t fully-conceptualized. A constant barrage of new information can cause team members to become confused regarding the direction of a project, which may result in frustration and slower turnaround times.


Alternatively, imagine a leader who is so under-expressive that employees are unsure (or unaware) of their specific role within a team. Further, under-expressive leaders are less likely to confront issues with employees, which can also lead to frustration.


An appropriate balance must be reached in each of these scenarios. Coach leadership on best practices for communicating expectations to their team, and try to enforce an open door policy within your organization. If you find that certain leaders under-express anger or gratitude, you may want to consider involving HR in the situation. HR can assist with implementing rewards programs, or step in if a supervisor is consistently unnecessarily harsh.


  • Concentration / Awareness: As we discussed in our last article, concentration and awareness are two of the most important characteristics to consider for any position. Concentration is defined by your ability to focus on a specific task at hand, ignoring irrelevant internal and external distractors, while awareness requires constant vigilance of your surroundings. Being highly-focused while also remaining aware is particularly important for high-pressure roles with constantly-changing priorities.


As an example, consider an employee who is highly-focused, but lacks awareness. This employee will likely get tunnel vision when tasked with a project, focusing only on that single assignment. While the end work product may be excellent, if the employee is not also aware of other factors, such as upcoming deadlines, their overall performance will likely be negatively impacted.


Alternatively, consider an employee who is highly aware, but lacks focus. These types of individuals are more reactive, and may be excellent multi-taskers. However, these individuals may also be prone to starting projects and leaving them unfinished, or starting an assignment with enthusiasm but quickly losing interest. Of course, this will also have a negative effect on performance, particularly if their position requires repetitive work.


Increasing concentration or awareness can be difficult. First, consider whether there’s opportunity to maximize each of these profile types’ strengths. For example, the highly-focused employee will likely thrive in a role that requires steadfast attention to detail, such as writing, editing, or data entry. The highly-aware employee is more likely to thrive in roles that require high reactivity and short bursts of focus, such as customer service roles. While it is possible to train employees to improve their awareness or focus, it may also be in the organization’s best interest to assign roles to employees that leverage their inherent strengths in these areas.


Maintaining Culture

As you can see, these broad categories consist of endless sub-categories of character traits which define an individual’s overall personality profile. However, if you’re able to identify which behaviors within these categories are most effective for each specific position within your organization, you can then pinpoint which traits are desirable for new hires to possess – and can also implement effective performance management techniques to optimize your current team members’ performance.

If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, consider employees who were particularly successful – or unsuccessful – in each of the roles within your organization. Which characteristics did these employees possess that contributed to their success? Which characteristics would you prefer to avoid in future hires? You can then put together a basic profile for each position, which will increase the efficacy of both your interviewing and talent management techniques.

With this individualized, holistic approach to talent management, you will not only reduce the risk of making bad hires – but will also increase employee engagement, and ultimately construct a corporate culture which continues to positively drive desirable behaviors.

Corporate culture is dynamic and ever-evolving, but with these tools and techniques, you’ll be better-positioned to not only define, but also control and maintain an optimized corporate culture.


Coauthor/Shawn G. Baker
Cochran, Cochran & Yale
Executive Search & Leadership Advisory
O: 585-785-5728/


Coauthor/Sarah Hutchins
Legal Recruiter
Cochran, Cochran & Yale
Executive Search & Leadership Advisory
O: 585-785-5726/

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ALEXANDRIA,  Va.,  October  31, 2017 –    Finding   and  keeping  the  right  talent  is critical to financial success yet remains a challenge, finds  new  research  from  HR Certification  Institute ® (HRCI ®), conducted by Dow Jones Customer Intelligence, the research arm of the  Wall  Street Journal.

Of the 300 C-suite executives who participated in the study, The Change Agents , 95 percent say that hiring and retention directly affect the bottom line. And eight out of 10 executives consider human resource management to be a strategic partner to help drive talent strategies across their organizations.

“Finding  the  right  people,  keeping  them  motivated  and  creating  cultures  of  high  performance are among the toughest challenges facing business leaders today,” Amy Dufrane, Ed .D ., SPHR, CAE, the  CEO  of  HRCI.  “To  stay competitive,  companies  must  increasingly  rely on  competent HR teams and  work  harder to  redefine  HR  as a strategic  driver  of  people, innovation  and business performance. ”

Executives agree that there is room for talent management improvement . While 70 percent or more of executives described their companies as “above average” or “industry leaders” in customer satisfaction, profitability, revenue growth and innovation, only 59 percent rank their companies as “above average” or “industry leaders” for attracting and retaining talent . In fact, 41 percent said their organizations were either “average” or “below average” for attracting and retaining talent.

Overall, executives rank “talent strategy and employee engagement” fourth as a top business concern, only behind “financial growth,” “customer experience” and “new technology adoption.”  “Cybersecurity” ranked fifth.

Improving HR skills and knowledge within the organization is also critical.  Seven out of 10 executives say their organizations would benefit from having HR departments with HR certifications, such as those offered by HRCI, that demonstrate professional excellence and commitment to continuous learning.

“There are many talent and leadership concerns that keep executives up at night – from lack of candidates with the right skills and experiences, to succession planning, anticipating future work skills and managing a multi-generational workforce,” Dufrane said.  “The opportunity is for HR to provide expertise and strategic guidance in each of these areas.”

In addition to findings from the research, The Change Agents report also includes HR success stories and executive-level insights on creating high-performance people strategies for sustainable success.


About HRCI

The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) mission, helping people and organizations perform better, grows out of a more than 40-year committment to certification rigor and continuous learning excellence aimed at advancing global HR practices.  Just as HRCI has earned its standing as the premier HR certification organization, HRCI-certified professionals have earned reputations for possessing the skills and knowledge needed to mitigate workplace risks and enhance people-driven business results.  The HRCI suite of seven fully accredited credentials include the PHR and SPHR for HR professionals, and teh aPHR for students, early-career HR professionals and non-HR managers, and international certification options.  Learn more about HRCI credentials and group certification programs at

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September 21, 2017 – Eighty two percent of potential employees are often frustrated with an overly automated job search experience, according to a new study by Randstad US. The survey, which examined job seekers’ perceptions, attitudes and expectations of the job search process, revealed that while most candidates find value in technology, they are stymied when it supersedes the human aspect of finding work.

Respondents to the survey expressed their opinions on what role technology should play in the job search process. Ninety five percent of those surveyed agreed that technology should contribute to the recruitment experience but not replace it. Eighty seven percent of respondents, meanwhile, agreed that technology has made the process more impersonal.

“The findings reinforce what we’ve believed for quite some time, that successful talent acquisition lies at the intersection between technology and human touch,” said Linda Galipeau, CEO Randstad North America. “By leveraging emerging technologies, we are able to deliver on our clients’ and candidates’ expectations in a predominately digital world, but with more freedom to focus on the human connection. If done correctly, the right combination of personal interaction with the power of today’s intelligent machines can create an experience that is inherently more human.”


Ideal Candidate Experience

New, digital HR solutions and tools drastically change the way people connect to jobs, offering a seamless digital experience that is becoming the price of entry for employers, said Randstad, an HR services and staffing company. The survey found 82 percent of workers agreed that the ideal interaction with a company is one in which innovative technologies are behind the scenes and second to personal, human interaction.

Candidates, in fact, said that when working with staffing or recruitment firms, they found “a company that uses innovative technologies to find me jobs, but puts human interaction first as a priority,” as the most appealing.


Human Interaction

Job seekers have become increasingly savvy about what makes a great candidate experience and what leaves them with a less-than-favorable impression, said Randstad US. The study reinforces anecdotal evidence from the firm’s recruiters, who say that candidates want greater human interaction despite their self-reported belief that technology has made the job search process more effective.

When asked about their last job search that contributed to a positive impression of a would-be employer, respondents tended to focus on personal interaction. They named “the degree of personal, human interaction during the process,” and “the recruiter/ hiring manager I worked with,” as having most influenced their positive impression.

Ninety one percent of workers agreed that technology has made the job search process significantly more effective. Yet they also mentioned “the length of the hiring process” and “the communication level throughout the selection process” as the top two aspects of job searching that gave them a negative impression of a potential employer. And that impression has lasting effects: The survey found that one third of workers who had a negative experience during their job search said they would never reapply to the organization, nor refer a friend or family member to the company.

“Employers today, and in the future, will be judged by the experience they create for prospective new hires,” said Ms. Galipeau. “Job candidates are empowered to provide instant feedback on employers, rating a company’s candidate experience just as they would rate a movie or a product. In a tightening labor market, companies cannot afford to lose potential talent due to a poor hiring experience. And in a technology-driven world of talent, it’s not only about how a company markets itself, but what others say about the company that has a positive impact on employer branding.”

Randstad sheds light on four benefits of working with a recruiter in a technology-driven world:

1) Access to ‘Hidden’ Jobs

According to Randstad’s Workplace 2025 study, more than eight in 10 employers are expected to rely on staffing agencies to meet their talent needs by 2025. Employers realize the importance of leaving job openings in the hands of recruiters who will connect them with the right applicants on a more personal level, the firm said. Recruiters, in fact, are often tasked by companies to hire for positions not advertised to the masses.

2) Customizing Your Resume

Recruiters are resume specialists and can show you how to write a resume by suggesting the right keywords, skills and qualifications to include, said Randstad. A recruiting firm can help you optimize one’s resume to industry leaders who use applicant tracking systems. A resume can be seen as a virtual handshake and recruiters can provide the right advice to make a strong first impression.

3) Act As Your Career Agent

It’s difficult cutting through the noise of job boards, promotional ads and social media channels to find the right job. Your time and energy is valuable and best invested in a seasoned recruiter to speed up your search, the firm said. Not only can recruiters select opportunities fit for your hard skills, but they can present roles that align with your goals, workplace expectations and values.

4) Recruiters Want to See You Succeed

Finding meaningful jobs for people provides recruiters with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, Randstad said. Your success is their success and it brings them joy to take the job journey with you.


An Executive Recruiter Weighs In

“Candidates depend on recruitment firms not just to facilitate the administrative tasks but to provide real insights on the hiring company and the process,” said Drew Desky, managing partner of New York-based executive search firm Rand Thompson Consultants. “It is important for candidates to understand why the potential employer is hiring in the first place and to understand what situations they might be walking into. By having a good grasp on the underlying issues, a candidate is more likely to ultimately be a successful long term hire.”


Feedback Loop

Today’s challenge is no longer identifying and sourcing candidates, but getting their attention. To do this, organizations are highly focused on perception. They are anxious about what’s being said about their workplace environment and culture. Social media forums that were once used by disgruntled employees are now channels for job candidates to seek balanced information about companies. Past, present and future employees, it seems, are all in one giant feedback loop – and their opinions matter more now than at any other time.

In a recent Mullin International online poll, off-boarded employees have been shown to have increasing influence over prospective employees’ decisions to either approach or avoid a company. In fact, more than four out of five respondents said they were increasingly concerned about exiting employees’ impressions. Effective outplacement can minimize the negative effects of downsizing on company reputations.

Similarly, Mr. Desky noted, “there are specific functions that recruitment firms provide to their clients that technology can’t replace. If there has been recent news on an employer that is less than favorable, or bumps along the process, a recruiter can overcome candidates’ initial objections through an in-depth conversation. This can require a good amount of dialogue. A recruiter can empathize with a candidate and talk through the issue to see whether the roadblock is real or just perceived.”

Ultimately, the trust or frustration that a candidate develops in the hiring process carries over into feelings for the potential employer, he said. “Employers and candidates should both look to optimize the emotions that inevitably arise is the search, interview, and negotiating stages of the process,” Mr. Desky added. “At Rand Thompson, our candidates, as well as our clients, look for feedback and guidance at various stages of the hiring process. As each process and candidate are different, we find search is truly a personalized relationship business, and communication is key.”


Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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Developing a strong personal brand is vital for career advancement, instilling confidence within your team, and building credibility within your industry space – among other advantages. Like corporations, individuals must build and maintain a brand that aligns past experiences, future expectations, and core areas of expertise in order to stand apart from the competition.

How can you determine your own personal brand? You might start by asking yourself what others are likely to say about you when you’re not in the room. How would you like to reinforce – or change – those perceptions?

Personal Brand Equity (PBE) is a hot topic, particularly in commoditized service-based industries, and is surely a subject that thought leaders will continue to dissect with the rising popularity of social media. At Cochran, Cochran & Yale, we offer leadership development services that can help you make the most out of your personal branding. Keep an eye out for a full-length article discussing best procedures for optimizing PBE as part of our upcoming Professional Development series.

In the meantime, let’s examine how you can optimize your brand through the world’s most popular professional networking site, LinkedIn:

  1. Don’t get lost in the digital fog: LinkedIn currently has about 500 million users world-wide, and is growing at a rate of about 2 new users per second. Of those, 106 million users are active each month. Recognize that building an online presence doesn’t just require you to create a profile – you must also actively manage, maintain, and grow your online presence. Just like your resume, it’s important to keep your LinkedIn profile updated with your current position, description of responsibilities, and any professional recognition, at a bare minimum.
  2. Build your network: Like networking events, LinkedIn is a platform to not only foster existing relationships, but also to make new connections and expand your professional reach. Have you managed to build and maintain a network of followers, peers, trusted advisers, and influencers? If not, spend some time going through your Outlook directory – or Rolodex – to make sure you’re connected to all of your key contacts. As an added bonus, when you add a new contact to your LinkedIn network, you gain limited access to their connections, furthering your reach.
  3. Create compelling content: Once you’ve created an accurate, focused LinkedIn profile and sent all your connection requests, consider creating content to distinguish yourself as a thought leader in your space. Professionals across all industries and levels are using LinkedIn as a personal platform to share passion projects, innovative ideas, and industry updates. Creating content starts conversations that lead to networking and professional opportunities.
  4. Stand out: As you continue to build and maintain your brand, examine leaders that you admire within your industry space. What, specifically, is it about these professional idols that sets them apart in your mind, and how can you capture and re-create those differentiators in your own branding?

For more specific tips on optimizing your personal brand on LinkedIn, or to discuss general brand management tips, contact Shawn Baker at

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  1. Make better hires: An informed interviewer will not only understand your organization’s corporate culture, but will also know which questions to ask during interviews to best determine a candidate’s cultural fit.
  2. Ensure alignment from day one: Determine which of your staff members are champions for your branding and corporate strategy. Who on your team just seems to ‘get it?’ Assigning those ambassadors as peer mentors to new hires improves alignment between new staff members and your culture.
  3. Measure performance: If you have a clear understanding of the top characteristics or behaviors that drive success within your organization, you can measure a new hire’s strength – or weakness – in each of those areas. For best results, a new hire’s performance in key areas should continue to be monitored against a peer group in order to best monitor progress.
  4. Create effective performance plans: Once you’ve established consistent methods of measuring performance, you can then implement informed, effective performance management techniques to fully optimize your team’s success.

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How to plan for, attract, develop and retain great performers


Welcome to the eighth issue of The Leader Board. In this issue we look at the upcoming Fall 2017 recruitment trends and the possibility of a potential hiring boom!  Also, we are sharing a professional development article titled Top Business Leaders & Athletes Learn to Shift Awareness to Maximize Performance that we think is well worth the read.  We will also introduce you to a new search strategy for career seekers that includes ways to optimize the process.



Are you prepared to hire this fall?


The nationwide study from CareerBuilder revealed that 60 percent of companies are hiring full-time, part-time and temporary or contract workers from July 1st through December 31st which is up from 50 percent last year. Thirty-six percent of employers plan to hire part-time, permanent employees (up from 29%), and 46 percent plan to hire temporary or contract workers (up from 32% last year). So how can you compete in an already challenging talent market?

First, be prepared to hire! We have seen that the number of candidates not accepting job offers has increased significantly, and our research shows the length to the hiring process is their first complaint. Candidate’s second complaint was alignment within the management team, and those involved in hiring process were not on the same page. Sharp candidates will pick up on this cultural defect and run for the hills! Candidate’s last complaint was compensation. DO YOUR RESEARCH, and don’t offer below market or the candidate’s current compensation package. Both scenarios can quickly tarnish a brands reputation.

We are launching a special webinar series that will cover optimizing your recruitment processes. In addition, we will share our 38 year old secrets on candidate attraction and getting top talent to the finish line.

1.    Strategy & the importance of planning
2.    Target Profile, the importance of research
3.    Compensation package
4.    THE SECRET(s)
5.    Assessments & screenings
6.    Line managers- training, communicate and hold accountable
7.    Data and how to use it





Top Business Leaders Learn to Shift Awareness to Maximize Performance


From a psychological viewpoint, there are two types of sports – closed and open – and many top athletes must thrive under both systems. A closed sport is one such as golf, where the participant can use internal focus, as they have the opportunity to spend a little more time analyzing before execution with no opponents attempting to distract them. In open sports such as football, the athlete must contend with the actions of another team. Basketball is the example of a sport that’s open most of the time, but closed when a player makes free throws with no one waving hands in their face.

Business executives are, like basketball players, sometimes in an open “sport” and sometimes in a closed “sport”. That is why they must constantly be able to shift awareness as needed. Occasionally they have the time and luxury to write a speech or plan a presentation while at other times they are confronted by the unexpected actions of a competitor – and the clock is always running.

Some executives need to hone their skills at intentional attention shifting in order to stay on top of all possible threats and opportunities. Here is  a simple drill I give my high-performance business executives and athletes to sharpen that skill:

Read More


Keys to Optimizing Your Job Search and Getting Hired

Keys to optimizing your job search and getting hired.

Still less than 20% of all jobs posted are successful filled on job boards, so why would you even consider this strategy?
Cold Calling is an option. If you have identified one or more organizations, that you believe offer the ideal work and environment, but they do not have a position posted, you can cold call.  Using available information, or your network for an introduction, you can send your resume and a cover letter requesting a call or visit to learn more about the company and to introduce yourself for future consideration.  Many businesses will make “opportunity hires” when they meet a great person and know they will have a need, but don’t have an open position quite yet.
We are launching a special webinar series that will cover optimizing your job search and how to get hired. In addition, we will share our insider secrets on how to get noticed quicker.
We literally get thousands of emails and calls a week from job seekers asking us to review credentials. One common theme we see is boring resumes, introductions and quite frankly a waste of email space. “The Game” has changed on how to get in front of people and if you are not playing the “game” correctly, you cannot win. In my free webinar to job seekers, or those looking how to proceed up the ranks, I will share the secrets we have learned after nearly 40 years in his business.
1.    The game has changed
2.    Research
3.    Strategy
4.    The Secret ingredients & “Money Ball”
5.    Focus on the Process
6.    Resumes



Read more »

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Dr. Nick Molinaro, Ed.D., P.C.

As I have explained in this previous post regarding my work as a licensed psychologist with high-level athletes, awareness and focus are critical. Those same mental skills serve the leadership skills of the exceptionally performing business leaders I work with as well. Let’s drill a little deeper into how the performance abilities of both groups align.

From a psychological viewpoint, there are two types of sports – closed and open – and many top athletes must thrive under both systems. A closed sport is one such as golf, where the participant can use internal focus, as they have the opportunity to spend a little more time analyzing before execution with no opponents attempting to distract them. In open sports such as football, the athlete must contend with the actions of another team. Basketball is the example of a sport that’s open most of the time, but closed when a player makes free throws with no one waving hands in their face.

Business executives are, like basketball players, sometimes in an open “sport” and sometimes a closed “sport”. That is why they must constantly be able to shift awareness as needed. Occasionally they have the time and luxury to write a speech or plan a presentation while at other times they’re confronted by the unexpected actions of a competitor – and the clock is always running.

Some executives need to hone their skills at intentional attention shifting in order to stay on top of all possible threats and opportunities. Here’s a simple drill I give my high-performance business executives and athletes to sharpen that skill:

Focus on a specific point on the wall. What do you see? Maybe it’s a painting or a window or simply a crack in the plaster. Fix that vision in your mind, then, without moving your eyes, shift your visual attention to the left. To the right. Up. Down. Until you consciously shifted your attention you were probably unaware that there was anything to see beyond your original target.

It can be tempting to rivet your focus on that one detail that most needs your immediate attention and to ignore everything else. The drill serves as a reminder that there’s always something going on just off your initial point of reference. For example, while a competitor who comes out of nowhere is aggressively challenging your main product line, your IT system is growing obsolete. It makes a great deal of sense that the immediate threat should occupy most of your attention, but that side issue is also very important.

For instance, consider a quarterback with a laser focus on a downfield receiver. He is so intent on delivering the ball and scoring a touchdown that he doesn’t see that the other team’s safety is gaining ground quickly on his guy. That just-out-of-focus threat might be relatively small right now, but it could be huge in the next couple seconds. This concept can also be applied to a golfer who is so consumed with studying the terrain between her ball and the hole that she doesn’t notice that the wind has subtly picked up or changed directions.

As you develop your intentional shifting of awareness skills, you won’t lose sight of your most immediate concerns, but neither will you ignore tomorrow’s potential risk or opportunity that’s just barely in view.

If you’d like to know more about business leadership development, please contact Shawn Baker, President, Cochran, Cochran & Yale, 585-785-5728,

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Rochester, NY: Rochester based executive search firm Cochran, Cochran & Yale has been named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Recruiting Firms” in Executive Search for 2017. As the only firm located in Upstate New York to be awarded this prestigious title, Cochran, Cochran & Yale is honored to have been selected and share this title with some of the best firms throughout the country.

“With over 35 years in the executive search business, CCY has strived to not only meet, but exceed our clients as well as job seeker’s expectations,” says President Shawn Baker. “Our model focuses around not just finding the top talent, but developing professionals into leaders that are needed for businesses to experience sustainable growth.”

CCY serves organizations in financial services, banking, manufacturing, not for profit, healthcare, life sciences, consumer goods, professional services, technology, and sales and marketing. Through a Plan, Attract, Develop, and Retain model, services are custom-fit to any workforce performance need, capable of supporting both large industry and small start-up employers throughout the entire human capital life cycle.

Featured services include: Executive Recruitment, Management Consulting, HR Consulting, Onboarding & Leadership Development, Career Coaching, Strategic Testing & Assessments, and Career Transition Services.

For media inquiries contact:


Shawn Baker                                               
Office: 585.785.5728

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 Rochester, NY – May 1, 2017: For over 35 years, Cochran, Cochran & Yale has stood the test of time and it is certainly not a coincidence.  By understanding the trends in the marketplace and not just talking the talk, but walking the walk as a successful executive recruitment and leadership advisory firm, Cochran, Cochran & Yale has identified what makes organizations “tick.”

Through analysis of economic and workplace trends, Cochran, Cochran & Yale is proud to announce expanded offerings that are helping organizations that were once unable to attract and retain top talent now not only secure, but also develop the professionals needed to experience sustainable growth.

Featured services include: Management Consulting, HR Consulting, Onboarding & Leadership Development, Career Coaching, Strategic Testing & Assessments, and Career Transition Services.

“Any HR professional or recruiter can identify a warm body to fill a position, but what makes CCY’s offerings unique is that we are partnering with our clients to identify not only their hiring needs, but deal with the issues in their workplace that may be holding them back,” says Christina Maley Higley, Director of Leadership Advisory Services.

She continues: “With the face of the workforce changing, including issues pertaining to millennial talent and generational divides for example, businesses are looking for stability and growth through employee satisfaction and retention.  Our offerings allow us to partner with our clients to not only identify top talent through our strategic recruitment process, but also provide extensive onboarding and leadership development for every employee. From day one we are strengthening the talent while helping to create harmony among employees of varying backgrounds.”

Cochran, Cochran & Yale has found through their proprietary processes and proactive partnership approach to recruitment and HR, they are able to achieve unmatched results in the industry.  Retention rates alone through these proven offerings is exceptional with 93 percent of placements remaining with clients beyond four years from the start of their employment.

“Our clients are seeing with our placements alone a 9x return on investment in our services,” says President Shawn Baker. “We are here to be our client’s trusted partner and they know they can rely on us when it’s crunch time.”

“As a result, our clients are able to focus on the strategies, functions, and priorities that maximize their organization’s success and growth, while we focus on fueling the people that drive their business,” he adds.  “They are able to dedicate their valuable time to what they do best, while we do what we do best.”

He continues: “Our clients who experience the most value and impact in our services use CCY proactively and consistently.  Through allowing us to do what we do best regularly for them, we are able to help them create highly engaged, extremely productive workforces that boost profitability.  It is a win-win for everyone.”


About Cochran, Cochran & Yale: CCY serves organizations in financial services, banking, manufacturing, not for profit, healthcare, life sciences, consumer goods, professional services, technology, and sales and marketing.  Through a Plan, Attract, Develop, and Retain model, services are custom-fit to any workforce performance need, capable of supporting both large industry and small start-up employers throughout the entire human capital life cycle.


For more information or media inquiries contact:

Shawn Baker                                                     
Office: 585.785.5728

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With over 470 million users and growing on LinkedIn, making a profile that stands out and is memorable for the right reasons is key.


With 94% of recruiters searching for job candidates on the largest business and employment-oriented social networking site, this naturally for millions of users also is home to their personal and professional brand.  For many years, we referred to our brand as our “reputation” and this reputation was built face-to-face.  These days, first impressions are most likely to be formed online and LinkedIn is often the first place people “meet” you.  Knowing this, what are some things you can do to make sure your first impression is the best impression on LinkedIn?


  • Professional Photos are Everything

In a 2016 LinkedIn survey, it was found that your profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed if you have a LinkedIn photo that is not only visible, but done well.  “First impressions are everything,” says President of Cochran, Cochran and Yale Shawn Baker.  “When I am seeking candidates on LinkedIn I am more likely to reach out to someone who comes off in their picture as not only professional, but personable.”  He adds: “I am more likely to skip over profiles without a picture or those who don’t look put together.”  Experts say that if you can afford a professional photo, it may be the best investment you can make for your personal brand and self-confidence.  Get rid of cropped photos, poor quality pictures, or those with you hanging out at the beach (that is unless you are a pro surfer).


  • Create a Catchy and Strategic Headline.

LinkedIn headlines create first impressions and are the keywords that allow recruiters to find you.  It is important when creating a strong headline to be specific about who you are and what you do.  It is important to incorporate relevant words and use industry appropriate terminology.  If you are unemployed, avoid using that word in your headline.  Your headline should help convey your value and what you can bring to an organization, not what you aren’t doing at the moment.


  • Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations

Getting recommendations from your LinkedIn network as well as Featured Skills/Endorsements let others talk highly about you, while allowing you to not seem overly boastful.  Ask for recommendations just after completing a project or when you receive an award.  Make your request by giving someone a call and thanking them for taking the time to do so.


  • Manage your Featured Skills and Endorsements

According to a 2016 LinkedIn study, users who display five or more skills are messaged 31 times more and viewed 17 times more than those who do not.  Wow!  So as meaningless as endorsements may seem, they do bring more attention to profiles.  It is all about credibility.  When someone is willing to endorse you for your skills this shows others that you know what you are talking about.


  • Don’t Be Afraid to Post Videos, Photos, and Projects

Consider LinkedIn your online portfolio or to show others just how good you are at what you do.  LinkedIn makes it so easy to post pictures, videos, or projects under the Experience, Education, or Summary sections. They also allow you to customize a background banner for your profile where you can put an image that represents you or what you do for a living.  Showing others what you do hands down is the best way to promote your brand and draw attention to your profile.  People will feel engaged and want to start a conversation.

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Hiring managers spend just six seconds looking at a resume and determining a candidate’s worth.


In today’s job market, your resume needs to immediately stand out.  With attention spans of hiring managers and recruiters at an all-time low in addition to a bustling market with job seekers facing stiff competition for their dream positions, it is important that not only new grads, but seasoned professionals do these top things to get their resume in shape.


  • Enhance Your Contact Information

Hiring managers and recruiters are super busy.  Making their job easier is key.  Doing things like hyperlinking your email address or using active links to your LinkedIn profile makes it that much easier for someone interested in you to learn more or contact you to set up an interview.


  • Ditch the Objective Statement & Lead with a Summary

Hiring managers and recruiters are not worried about what you are looking for.  It’s evident that if you are applying for the job, you must be interested.  “Objective statements have truly become obsolete and irrelevant,” says Christina Maley Higley, Director of Leadership Advisory at Cochran, Cochran & Yale and Business Communication Professor at St. John Fisher College.  “Employers are looking for information that is going to capture a hiring manager’s attention such as a short professional synopsis that states years of experience, career achievements, and the things you want someone to know immediately about you that differentiates you from the other applicants vying for the position.”


  • Make Your Resume Reflect You

Depending on the industry, you can make your resume stand out by freshening up the design.  For example if you are a graphic artist, you certainly have more leeway to make your resume “pop” with a creative format than say an accountant.  Using color wisely such as making a section header blue or replacing outdated fonts like Times New Roman with more modern fonts such as Cambria, Calibri, or Georgia are a great way for anyone across the industries to update a resume without going overboard.


  • Guide the Reader’s Eyes

The idea that people read from top to bottom, left to right may have been scientifically proven years ago, but the Internet and social media has changed the way people look for important information.  With hiring managers or recruiters skimming and looking for different information quicker than ever, it is more about how you structure your resume.  Using bolded text and underlining for example, key information will ensure achievements stand out and get the reader’s attention.


  • Maximize Your Space

You don’t need to necessarily limit your resume to one page.  A resume should be as long as it needs to be to convey value.  A new college graduate may have one page max, while someone with 30 years of experience may have two or three pages easily.  If worried about conserving space use bullet points, active verbs, industry specific acronyms, and don’t waste time stating the obvious.


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52% of Millennials surveyed value the opportunity for progress above all else.*

College graduates just looking for any job or a first step on the corporate ladder are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Millennials say they want their work to be meaningful and, even more than money, they want to gain new skills that will move them forward in their career. This is a generation with both ambition and optimism for their future.

Balance has always been important, but the scales are shifting further.

Successful business leaders today should focus their recruitment strategies more and more on non-financial rewards. The only way to engage and attract a majority of current graduates is by balancing compensation with sound corporate values, and opportunities to grow and rise in the organization. Highlighting how your company provides new hires with opportunity to develop will attract more Millennial talent and make them feel more valued than salary alone.

Even great benefits don’t match the draw of a positive work environment.

Even though 73% of Millennials surveyed* are attracted to customizable benefit packages, even they don’t consider benefits until their basic pay and work life conditions have been addressed.

* Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace. PwC 2011

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51% of Millennials surveyed say feedback should be frequent or continual.*

As Millennials make up a growing part of modern workforces, companies have to take a fresh look at leadership development practices. Many companies spend the majority of training and development budgets on the highest layers of their organization. Shifting your development strategy to include more continuous learning at all levels of the organization will be more effective going forward. You’ll create more engaged, motivated, and productive employees today and see greater retention over time.

Yes. Some stereotypes are true.

One of the strongest Millennial traits is that they want regular feedback and praise for achievement on the job. Companies can respond simply by making sure to set clear targets and providing timely, useful feedback.

The opportunity for companies is that Millennials expect to keep learning while they work and spend a lot of their work day and personal time trying new things and absorbing new information. It’s not surprising that 35% say they are attracted to employers who offer excellent training and development programs and consider these a top benefit.

Age does matter.

While younger workers may come to work with more computing and social media skills than their coworkers, they often lack an inherent understanding of workplace diplomacy and etiquette. As millennials begin to make up a larger percentage of the work force, companies are responding with additional focus on training in the areas of workplace behavior and culture for all generations. Younger employees may need education in the importance of prioritization and deadlines, while older generations may need education in the expectations of others when using chat, email, and collaboration software.

* Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace. PwC 2011

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56% of Millennials surveyed felt they could “rise to the top” with their current employer.*

Millennials are filled with optimism and ambition, but they also have high expectations. Is there a path to the top? What help will I get along the way? How will I be measured? How long will it take to get there? Disappointment and frustration is inevitable, but it can be mitigated. Great leaders already know how to manage expectations, reward achievement and provide a clear path forward through their organization for top talent. The value of all these is amplified given today’s workforce.

A vision of their future is key to Millennials.

According to one survey, one in five Millennials said they were already unhappy with the opportunities for advancement at their current organizations* and according to another, two in three Millennials expect to leave their organization by 2020**.  To retain talent, companies must provide a clear path through their organization that employees can easily see and know how to work toward.

Set them free.

One way you can keep Millennials more engaged and committed to your company long term is by giving them opportunities to stretch their skills. Assigning projects that draw on their existing strengths, but require them to reach outside their comfort zone will show you value their development. Allowing them to set their own deadlines and work schedule to get the work done will demonstrate you trust them.

The work environment today is important for retention, too.

A millennial-friendly environment needs to be comfortable and creative. While they work hard, Millennials want to do it in places with engaging and stimulating atmospheres that include room for work and personal life. The good news is that these environments aren’t just good for retaining Millennials, they’re good for everyone — engaged employees are more productive.

* Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace. PwC 2011

** Millennials continue to rise up the ranks 2016

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74% of Millennials surveyed say they are as comfortable working with other generations as their own.*

While most millennials are happy working alongside other generations, they do recognize tensions. 38% feel that older senior management does not easily relate to younger workers and 34% feel their personal drive could be intimidating to other generations.

These findings create two clear challenges for business leaders:

First, as mentioned before, Millennials are very willing to move on quickly when they feel that their needs are not being met. This will be particularly challenging as the older generations stay in the workplace longer.

Second, Millennials who do stay and rise will soon be managing workers older than themselves creating even more of the resentment that Millennials may currently be sensing. Different generations have always required different styles and tactics, but the massive size of the Millennial talent pool combined with the increasingly complex job market is presenting fresh challenges. Some of the first steps to addressing them include providing more feedback and recognition, building transparent management systems, and instituting policies and rewards consistent with the organizations values and objectives. Strong and strategic leadership is more essential than ever in today’s multigenerational workplace.

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Branding isn’t just the latest buzzword. It’s the oldest marketing tactic there is. Creating a feeling or meaning behind a company or product has always been the fastest way to success. In competitive hiring markets, branding is simply being directed towards potential employees at the same time as potential customers. It’s smart business.
Here’s why:

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Guttman Development Strategies, led by Howard M. Guttman, is a partner of CCY and focused on helping clients become high performance organizations. One of the key strategies to accomplishing this is providing good performance feedback.

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You may not need to clear the high jump, land perfectly on the beam, or expertly perform the butterfly stroke, but the same tips Olympians use, can put you out in front at work. Recently, published an article of great ones called “10 Olympic Athletes’ Daily Habits You Should Steal (That Don’t Involve the Gym).” Here is the gist:

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Ask a veteran salesperson how they can summon the will to put themselves out there every day, and the answer will reassure even the shyest networker. Sales people are confident because they know they doing their prospects a favor. They have solutions to other people’s needs. This is what we all need to remember when networking, especially the shyest of us. Here are a few other tips:

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The first eyes on your resume are probably going to be electronic. But final hiring decisions are going to be made by actual people. It’s critical to craft your resume to stop both automated scanning systems and real live managers in their tracks. Here are some key things to consider:

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Guttman Development Strategies, led by Howard M. Guttman, is a strategic partner of CCY and focused on helping clients become high performance organizations. One of the key strategies to accomplishing this is distributed decision making.

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How to plan for, attract, develop and retain great performers

Welcome to the second issue of The Leader Board.  This is where you will find important learnings we have gathered while delivering leadership advisory services to our clients.

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Rochester Business Journal, August 12, 2016 – Cochran, Cochran & Yale at its core is an executive search firm. But in today’s evolving economy, clients are asking for more than resumes to review. CCY provides clients a proven, data-supported search process that emphasizes culture fit and capabilities.

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Cochran, Cochran & Yale - The Leader Board

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How to plan for, attract, develop and retain great performers

Welcome to the first issue of The Leader Board. We want to regularly share with you important learnings we’ve gathered as we’ve delivered leadership advisory services to our clients.

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