Everyone seeking to hire someone secretly dreams for that ‘Match made in heaven’ where they get the ‘perfect’ candidate and they just fit in so well to the organisation. One can only conclude from Gallup research on engagement in the workplace, that finding that Match made in heaven is happening much less than we would like to believe. (Gallup Statistics – close to 80% of people are either not engaged or actively disengaged in the workforce) – provide reference.
While the recruiting process is only part of the overall organisational engagement statistics, it is a crucial one. Finding the right ‘fit’ for a role is an incredibly important part of the longer term engagement process.
Many years ago (yes it is quite a few) I was a young leader looking after a team of 6 people in a large corporation. We were a hub of important activity for the broader business managing the pricing data that provided vital weekly information for the sales and reporting teams among a host of other things. The team itself was quite talented and brought a great attitude and ‘can do’ culture to their daily work. It was a pleasure to lead them. One of our team got promoted and we had a vacancy to fill. I was excited to discover our parent company wanted to provide global exposure to one of their former graduates and I willing took on this person as she came highly recommended. Unfortunately I quickly found out that while she was a great team person with a great attitude and values, her talents were not a great fit for the role she was in – business analyst. How did I find this out you ask – errors starting appearing in the weekly pricing reports, substantial errors going out to thousands of customers! It caused significant stress for both our team members, the customer service teams and the Sales channel. At first I put it down to the fact that we hadn’t provided enough training, so we doubled up on the training and gave her a specific mentor to work alongside her. While we recovered the situation, the following month the same problem surfaced again in another part of her role, again impacting many customers.
At the time as a young leader I didn’t have the tools available today to review her natural talents for the role, however it was coming to my attention the hard way. Her Natural her talents were not in this zone no matter how hard we tried. Being passionate about serving our stakeholders well I reluctantly put this new recruit on a performance plan with weekly reviews. Our conversations around her performance revealed a stressed person struggling to cope. “My mind just doesn’t work with numbers that well. I am much more comfortable in a relaxed environment talking with people – I don’t think I am suited to this role”. Within two weeks she had found another role which suited her great talents and she happily moved on.
It was a great lesson for me as a young leader – look for the underlying talent and match it to the role. We can all fake an interview (and many of us are trained to do so) but we can’t fake the underlying talent assessments that makes us the great people we are. We owe it to ourselves to work in careers that give us that great sense of contribution and belonging, that we play a part in a bigger picture.
Now we don’t have to ‘fit’ 100% to a role. I look forward a fit of natural talents greater than 70%. Why? Because when we are working in a role where for 70% of the time or more we are working within our natural talent and energy zone, we are able to make a great contribution. There will always be areas where we are required to do things outside out natural talent zone, that is our opportunity to grow and learn new skills that we can apply. Having this additional resource is brilliant and works well when we can draw upon it for small elements of our role, not the significant ones.
Finding the right ‘fit’ for the role is going to be increasingly important as we transition to a more digital and automated environment where it is estimated that 50% of the current roles will not exist by 2030 and an abundance of new roles will be created in new industries yet to be created.
Understand the natural talents of your candidates using psychometric tools
Ensure they have a relative fit to the role (>70%) using benchmarks for talent
Check the talents which are outside the zone and see whether they will have a significant impact or can they be managed well – Some talents are much more critical than others.
Having hired this talented person, many of us appear to do the systematic on-boarding process (HRIS) well but leave out the behavioural on-boarding element.
Behavioural on-boarding is what I call ‘Fit’ to the Leader/Manager. In other words now that we have found our next great hire, how do we set them up for success with their new Manager and how do we help the Manager to understand the new recruit from day one.
The first day in the job is usually as exciting as it is daunting all at the same time. “I’m really looking forward to starting”, “What will my new manager really be like?” “I hope I get on with the new team”. This time is often the most stressful time for new recruits – I have to prove myself!
A great way to cut through this in the early days is to set both the new recruit and their manager up for success by providing them with the insights and keys for working effectively together. We often focus on ensuring the technical skills and competencies and training is provided however we leave out one of the most critical element of this new relationship – how are they to work with each other. As a Leader/Manager, do I like our communication straight to the point or do I like to have a good relaxing conversation? What are my expectations on delivery – does completion by midday Friday actually mean Midday Friday or am I flexible around time expectations.
Leonie was appointed as the new General Manager of Human Resources in a major infrastructure company. She had the right experience, talents and approach the organisation was looking for and she was excited to be part of the Leadership team reporting to the CEO. When I spoke with her about her CEO’s talents and style and compared it with hers as part of an on-boarding process she was a little shocked. The CEO joined us for part of this process and openly shared insights into his natural talent and style and how this typically played out in day to day operations.
Three weeks later, Leonie rang me back and said “I feel like I am cheating – my CEO is working to exactly the insights we shared and we both know how to relate to each other and its going well. This usually takes me 6-12 months to work my boss out – thank you!”.
Setting people up for success in how they relate, and them with the keys for working together is one of the best ways to ensure a new recruit is able to settle in and perform at their best and provides the leader/manager the tools for a smooth engagement process.
Recognise that skills, competencies and talent are an important part of the hiring process but not the only part – setting them up for success is equally important for the longer term to reduce turnover and increase efficiency
The Natural talent profiles will provide the behavioural on-boarding keys
Managing expectations for the Leader/Manager and the new recruit is critical.
Matches made in heaven are definitely possible and much more probable when you consider both the ‘Talent fit to the role’ and the ‘Fit to the Leader/Manager’ when hiring the next person.
If you would like to know more about improving your hiring process you can contact us at 1300 368 677
Malcolm Le Lievre