Murphy’s New Approach Will Improve Workplace

Murphy to explain new hiring guide at SIPA 2012

“Ask your employees one important question: would you rather work short-staffed or with someone with a bad attitude?” On a video promoting his new book, Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude, Mark Murphy (pictured left) clasps his hands, looks straight at us and smiles. This is going to be good, we think, and we’re right.

“I can virtually guarantee that almost universally people would rather work short staffed,” says Murphy. “And that is one of the major lessons to come out of our new research on hiring. Forty-six percent of new hires fail after 18 months. The really shocking part was why they failed; 89% of the time when people fail in an organization it is for attitudinal reasons—coachability, emotional intelligence. Only 11% of the time did they actually fail for technical skills and that is the shocker.”

Murphy, founder of Leadership IQ, is concerned with finding and hiring high performers. He will deliver more of this information as the Monday lunch keynote speaker at next month’s SIPA 2012 Conference in Washington, D.C. “What do you need to do about this?” he asks. “Build your team with people who are going to be high performers and that means they’re going to have a great attitude and all the skills they need—and they’re really going to fit the culture and be great.”

Murphy continues, saying that “we have to understand that each of our attitudes is different. Attitudinal characteristics that separate companies are different. A lot of the hiring approaches we’ve used, the interview questions [here he adopts a passive voice]—tell me about yourself, what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, even behavioral questions—have six words embedded in them that really mess them up. “We have to adapt our hiring approaches and recognize that in this new world attitude is predominant, and if we want to succeed that’s what we’re going to need.”

Previously, Murphy has spoken about setting goals in the workplace—“Leaders like Jeff Bezos at Amazon, or the late Steve Jobs at Apple, know how to inspire ‘above and beyond’ performance from their people”—handling workplace errors—“Mistakes left unaddressed are likely to be repeated”—and teaching a positive attitude—“New research shows that even complex attitudes like gratitude, empathy and optimism can be learned.”

In his latest book, Murphy offers a new approach to interviewing potential hires, including a new set of questions. He also introduces a recharged system for grading the responses, to ensure that the best attitudes shine through and are recognized. Technical skills are not the primary reason why new hires fail, he reports. Instead, poor interpersonal skills dominate the list, flaws which many of their managers admit were overlooked during the interview process. The study found that 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.

“Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn’t open to improving, alienates their co-workers, lacks drive and has the wrong personality for the job?” Murphy asks. One thing is for sure: The May 21 talk by Murphy assures us that SIPA 2012 will haveAttitude!

Editor’s Note: The Road Ahead profile will appear in tomorrow’s SIPAlert Daily


Murphy is just one of many highly regarded
speakers who will take the stage for SIPA 2012.

Dr. James Billington, Amy Africa, Roy Reiman..
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SIPA’s 36th Annual International Conference
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May 20-22, 2012
The Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.

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