Category Archives: HR Leadership

Are You Developing Your Team?

Almost daily, we read that with our improving economy and full employment, there are more open jobs than there are people to fill them. Hence, the retention of your best performers becomes a key management concern and objective for 2019 and beyond.

One of the best ways I know to retain your talent is to continue to develop them, so they grow – and achieve personal satisfaction – as your company grows.

Chris Ruisi-Learning StoolNow, some of you may be saying, “Well, we train our employees.” Stop thinking about training your team and make the mental shift to those activities that will “develop” them. To me, when people talk about training, they are often describing an event or meeting. On the other hand, when you focus on development, you are taking a more permanent and longer perspective to help “develop” and use the right behaviors versus a one-time event or class.

There needs to be three key components when you want to effectively develop your team to produce at a higher level on a more consistent basis.

This visual of a 3-legged stool will help you in understanding how these concepts work.


Here’s further information to help you understand the three components necessary to make your development activities successful:

  1. In line with what I stated above, the good performer employee must be given the opportunity to learn or acquire the new skill or knowledge.
  2. Next, they must be given the opportunity to apply the new skill or knowledge to their current role. Get them using the new skill as soon as possible. Discuss how you will want them to apply it even before they acquire it to help them focus on the goal you have set for them.
  3. Finally, they must be given the opportunity to receive feedback – constructive and meaningful feedback – from you on how they are doing in applying that new skill or knowledge. Providing your team member with the right feedback will help them learn their new skill faster and give them more self-confidence.

I cannot think of a legitimate reason why you wouldn’t follow this approach. Unless of course, you prefer mediocrity and disengaged employees.


Chris Ruisi Behavior

Attitude vs. Skill: It’s All in the Behavior

As more and more people find employment during this growing economy it is creating a burden for employers trying to fill open positions. Highly and even moderately skilled workers are being hired at a rapid pace creating a challenge for all employers trying to fill their open positions.

Part of the solution for this challenge is for employers to willingly relax their skills requirements and begin to place greater emphasis on a candidate’s attitude. A rule of thumb which I have always followed simply states that you can always teach someone the required skills for a job, but you can’t teach them the right attitude. Hence, if forced to choose, I would always take attitude over skills.

In order to properly evaluate a candidate’s attitude, the interviewer needs to use more of a behavioral style of interviewing versus asking the typical questions that most of us use. In a behavioral interview, you are attempting to evaluate how the candidate will respond in different types of scenarios like working with other team members, handling problems, handling less than happy customers, avoiding conflict in the workplace and many other situations. All of this puts a big spotlight on the questions asked and how you prepare for the interview.

However, as I will explain, using a behavior-driven interviewing style is probably a good thing and something you should be doing more of regardless of the “hot” employment environment we are currently experiencing. Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Giving Constructive Feedback

Giving Constructive Feedback

The other day, while I was conducting a leadership workshop for entrepreneurs, one of the attendees asked the best way to give constructive feedback—especially when negative performance issues are being addressed.

In responding to the question, I counseled the person that first they needed to be clear on their purpose for giving the feedback. What the consequences were to them, their company and the employee if the issues were not addressed; and what specific actions they wanted to address and/or correct.

With that information shared as a backdrop, I suggested that the person take these specific actions when they met with their employee/team member: Continue reading

Getting Your Team Engaged: Give Them A Vision



Chris discusses the first of three key components to create a culture of employee engagement. Creating and implementing a vision to guide your team and organization.


Team Engagement from Chris Ruisi


Chris Ruisi’s “Step Up and Play Big Moments” is all about personal and business success. Chris’s goal is to offer today’s entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business leader’s practical guidance, tips, strategies and tactics that work in today’s challenging business climate. Chris brings his practical and successful experience at senior level management and Board positions to help his listeners cut through the clutter to Step Up and Play Big. Also available on iTunes.



3 Guaranteed Ways to Hire the Wrong People

I’m always amazed how everyone agrees that the quality of your team will determine the quality of your business. Yet many still approach the hiring and selection of employees as a burden or something you “have to do”. Well, you do have to do it! And you had better be doing it right if you want to avoid mistakes, lost money and productivity, and cause your customers to go elsewhere.

So here are 3 sure-fired ways to make certain that you continue to hire the wrong employees. Here’s the point (just in case you need to hear it): do the opposite! Continue reading

Taking it Slow Can be the Right Choice

One of my Weekly Mind Jolt episodes teaches those clients who invested in this product how to turn their team into a competitive advantage for their business.

Today, I want to talk about your team and the most important step you can, no… must take when hiring new team members.

Hire slow! That’s it. It’s simple, but critical, for you to adhere to this concept. There can be no excuse.

When you hire a new employee, you are not only filling a job. You are spending your money to hire a complete stranger to interact with your customers. That’s right, your customers – the people who spend their money in your business. Continue reading

Business Success Truths

We live in a fast paced, demanding, and competitive business world. We know that at times, action is better than overthinking an issue in order to either gain or maintain critically important momentum.

Here are five of what I call “Business Success Truths”. They are factual and to the point, and when adopted at the appropriate time will put you on a path to success. You can disagree with how they are written or the words I’ve selected if you want. But I don’t think you can disagree with the concept or message contained in them. Continue reading

It’s Never About You; It’s Always About Your Team

The success of your company hinges on many factors. Some of these factors you can control, while there are others that you have to react/respond to. One of the most important factors of success – that you can control completely – is your team. Specifically, how you select, develop, utilize, and measure them. To me, these four functions represent one of a leader’s key strategic responsibilities. To get the discussion started, let me offer five topics (there are more than five, but we need to start somewhere) that need your ongoing attention: Continue reading

“If the Student Hasn’t Learned Maybe the Teacher Hasn’t Taught”

Over the last several months, I have met with no less than 15 to 20 CEOs and entrepreneurs who own sizeable businesses. During most of these meetings, the subject of “employees” comes up. When it does come up, the person I am talking to is very interested and (in some cases) frustrated looking for ways to improve their team’s productivity and contribution. When this comes up, I usually ask if they have an HR professional on their staff. Most say yes, and many then add (unsolicited), “I really don’t know what they do.”

“I really don’t know what they do”wow, what an interesting and sad commentary on the state of the HR function in some organizations.

If you’re an HR professional in today’s highly competitive and challenging business world, you can’t assume your leadership team knows what you do. You have the ongoing responsibility to educate them on not only what you do, but what you can – and should – do. Specifically, showing them – no, teaching them – the value you offer and the contribution you can make to your organization. Don’t wait around to be asked to do something. Get involved in your company. Learn all you can about how your company works and make the connection between your role and your company. Teach your leadership team. Like the title says: “If the student hasn’t learned, maybe the teacher hasn’t taught.”

Are you ready to be the teacher?

Can You Work with People to Get Things Done?

Whenever I meet with or speak to a group of HR professionals, I pose this question (right from my Exceptional HR Leader’s Checklist):

What’s one thing you can do over the next 12 months that will improve some aspect of your company’s operations?

The response I usually get goes something like this: “Gee, I never really thought about that”.

So, here’s my first bit of advice: Start thinking about it! Or, you run the real risk of being left on the side of the road.

In order to work on something that will improve some aspect of your company’s operations, you have to have a strong orientation towards getting things done. To get things done, Continue reading