Winning the War for Talent…….
This article will focus and build on the concept Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, termed the hiring process as getting the right people on the bus. Although this book was written over a decade ago, the war to find the talent needed for your organization has become even more of an elusive task than it was then.
It is no secret that the demographics of the U.S. Workforce has changed over the 2 decades. Minorities are making up an increasing percentage of our available labor pool. Nearly every organization is in the midst of the loss of the rich knowledge of the Baby Boomers. The focus has switched from the members of the Generation X and Y to those much talked about Millenials. Last but not least, organizations cannot ignore that the digital age is here to stay. Considering all of these factors, what are the secrets for organizations to recruit and manage their employees effectively today?
Exploring Collins’ ideas more in-depth, he believes there are 5 characteristics that describe the right people for your organization.
- The first characteristic is that they must share the core values that your organization is built upon. This means that these core values (i.e. integrity, innovativeness) must be a part of the fabric of their being. Let’s face it, you cannot teach values; you cannot change people. As individuals, they must believe and follow the same core values of your organization. A critical question you need to ask is….are our core values stated and known by our current employees? If not, the first step to remedy this gap is to take the time to determine what those core values are AND share that information.
- The second characteristic is that the right person for your organization does not need to be In other words, when you hire the right person, they get it. They understand the organization; they understand their role and you do not need to spend a lot of energy and time on managing them. Be cautious to fully understand Jim’s message here. As a manager, you guide, teach and lead the right people. If you are forced to spend a lot of time managing (rally micro-managing them to assure they don’t screw up), you most likely have made a hiring mistake.
- The third characteristic is the strength of your key positions inside the organization. Are the people that serve in these key positions capable of being the best in the industry/profession? This doesn’t mean that they are currently leaders in their area of expertise, but with some coaching, do they have the potential to be leaders in their industry/profession? If not, address these weaknesses within your leadership team. Returning back to point #3, if a hiring mistake has been made at this level, the mistake needs to be remedied as it has a critical impact on the subordinates of this leader who is in a key position. The cliché about a chain’s weakest link applies to this example.
- The fourth characteristic lies within the individual. The individual understand the difference between having a job and accepting responsibility and accountability. If they see a gap, they take action to fix it. Collins describes them as productively neurotic. They completely understand their role in the organization and believe that they make a difference. This is a vital understanding that I have often seen missing inside organizations. People need to know that they are missed if they are not there, that they play a specific role in the system of the organization.
- Last, but not least, is the fifth characteristic. This is when the hiring party decides after they have hired someone and have gained knowledge of their workplace behavior and skills, would they rehire the person for the position again? If the answer to the question is that they would NOT hire them again, the decision-maker must be completely fair to the individual. Are they not a good fit for the business OR is this a matter that the employee is on the wrong seat of the bus. Would they succeed if they were in another position within the organization?
As a sidenote, I am the first to admit that the hiring process itself is difficult to be sure you have hired the right person. While great candidates for a position can be so nervous, they don’t interview well; in the same breath, some very undesirable candidates are very slick and wily when interviewing with all the right answers. It isn’t until they actual start to work that the true colors of a new hire are revealed. Organizations may want to consider adopting a practice of hiring for a probationary period first before the employee becomes an official fulltime employee to dodge these costly hiring mistakes.
Dr. Deb Oliver
In closing, good luck with your future hiring decisions to keep your bus moving on the road to performance excellence. Please contact me if you have comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319)398-7103 AND let me know if you are interested in having me facilitate a session on this topic for your organization’s leadership group OR a larger group of employees as a part of your Plan for Developing Employees.