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The Essence of Effective Hiring: 4 Steps to Improve Business Results

By Joseph Skursky (1300 words)
Posted in Human Resources on March 21, 2013

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By Joseph Skursky, President of Market Leader Solutions

Have you ever felt like you’re paddling as hard as you can to go upstream but just can’t seem to make any progress? If you have, you’re not alone. I see this quite often both in HR and in leadership areas. Most often, the cause is the same.

 

People.

 

If they just did what they were supposed to do…

If they cared even half as much as you do…

If they weren't so difficult sometimes…

 

Again, you’re not alone. Here’s the problem, companies spend too much time focused on the symptoms of people, and not enough time on proactively solving the issues before they can ever become problems.

 

This week I saw a recent report on the top 10 issues for HR and observed that eight out of ten issues related to compliance. We live in a litigious society, so I can understand to a degree why these issues are important. Yet it seems like the effect has been driven by a cause that needs to be addressed.

 

Anytime you see a company that is having difficulty managing people, I can virtually assure you that their hiring process is one of the most significant causes of their real problems. Almost no one wants to work hard to manage, yet their hiring processes are full of gaps and lowered standards, so what else should they expect in return?

 

Is this really a problem, or am I just picking on a select few companies? The Department of Labor states that turnover accounts for $5 trillion in costs or losses to companies across the US. An American Health Association study reports another $500 billion to what they call “presenteeism”, or a lack of workforce engagement. That’s a $5.2 trillion effect that points back to the cause of incorrect hiring processes.

 

 

Time to Shift the 80/20 Rule

What if companies focused more intently on hiring right the first time? Is that even possible? Where should you start?

 

Evidence points to the fact that companies who hire well have more engaged employees, but that’s not all. They’re more profitable. If your company is in business to make a profit, and I assume it is, you don’t need a better reason to start hiring better. What it takes is a top-down decision to begin and commit to hiring like you mean business.

 

In that decision and commitment lies the answer to the “possible” question:

How can you reallocate your focus to spend 80% of your resources effectively hiring people, and 20% of your resources managing them?

 

Good intentions won’t get you there. At the risk of stepping on some toes, if it’s not working, it’s because leadership is not fully committed to and even insisting on making the process work. There are no other excuses.

 

 

The Essence of Effective Hiring

There are some key elements to effective hiring, and some clear objectives to achieve:

  1. Define success in the role
  2. Identify competencies in candidates
  3. Measure for role, organizational, and “boss” fit
  4. Know what it takes to create genuine engagement

 

Define Success

Defining success in the role cannot be emphasized enough. This is a departure from classic job descriptions and standard requirements. What you should be looking for are the top 5 key accountabilities for the role and the underlying attributes that candidates must possess in order to be successful. They should be rank ordered and measured by the percentage of time allocated to that function.

 

Key accountabilities are the concise statements of specific and measurable outcomes required for success in a given role.

 

As an example, for a National Sales Manager, the foremost key accountability might be to increase total annual corporate sales by a minimum of 15%. This is specific and measurable.

 

Identify Competencies

Once the measurable and specific outcomes are determined, you should have a better idea what competencies are required in the candidates for success. Now the trick is identifying these competencies in your candidates.

 

Let me be very clear.  You must focus on competencies and attributes, not skills. Skills can be taught, but attributes are either present or they are not.

 

An effective interview process that intentionally seeks to uncover the presence of these competencies can help, however it is subjective and can be misleading. A more objective process, such as the use of psychometric assessments can be much clearer. I highly recommend using an effective assessment instrument whenever possible.

 

Measure For Fit

“Fit” is a values-based measurement, and one that is often overlooked. A candidate might have the most impressive Rolodex you've ever seen, and may even have all of the competencies required for success in the role, but if you fail to determine if their values align with the company, team, and boss, the turnover is inevitable.

 

When you measure for fit, it creates alignment, engagement, and long-term job satisfaction.

 

Know What Genuine Engagement Looks Like

To summarize what my colleague Mark Herbert says in his book, Compliance to Commitment, you’ll have happy employees who are committed if you create a culture of respect, responsibility, rewards & loyalty. You must make a deliberate choice to create this environment.

 

Even if you do everything else right in the hiring process, being blind to the top-down commitment to this kind of culture is a plan for failure.

 

 

You Can Stop The Madness

It doesn't matter if you work in HR or if you’re in the C-suite, you can make a decision to stop focusing on symptoms and begin to solve the people problems in your organization.

 

If you find yourself managing too hard, chances are that the hiring process was too easy. It doesn't have to be that way. By focusing your efforts more effectively on the people equation, you can achieve results that can eliminate 80% of your problems.

 

You can have a more productive and ultimately profitable company, but it means that you need to change what you’ve always done or you’ll get the results you’ve always had. 

 

 

{#/pub/images/JosephSkursky.jpg}Written by Joseph Skursky, President of Market Leader Solutions    For almost 20 years, Joseph Skursky has been growing businesses and advising leaders in companies across North America. His model of Leadership, People, and Execution provides a clear roadmap to grow almost any business. It has been field-tested and proven effective for over 9 years. Joseph Skursky helps companies hire with confidence, manage without frustration, and increase both productivity and profitability. His “Hire Hard, Manage Easy” system  has earned the respect of colleagues and clients alike. More importantly, it delivers consistent results.

 

Do you have a question for Joseph?  Please visit our Human Resources Community, he will be happy to help: Ask an Expert

 

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Comments (3)

Reshma Samuel posted on: March 22, 2013

progress in behavioural-mechanisms may be more subtle & harder to measure [also depends upon dichotomy between thought&emotional-processes].......obvious performance-parameters in HR are more easily measurable & visible [especially if learning is not deep-rooted]............it is possible to make correct-hiring prevail the first-time itself through availability of several-factors as clarity of vision, resource-availability for referencing, metrics that guage futuristic-decisions and keeping-on-track mutually.
Right quantity and quality of Induction-training , OD&HRD Interventions coupled with suitable-work-terms&conditions facilitate necessary shifts

Samuel Reeve posted on: March 22, 2013

I agree the organizations need to hire the correct talent. But what is often missing his engaging that talent once they're in the door. Losing good employees is what cost businesses the most.

Heather Stone posted on: March 30, 2013

Hi Joseph,
I'm convinced not enough entrepreneurs understand the importance of the right team. It can mean success, investment and an easy way to recruit more great talent. Thanks to Dan Woods for sharing this post with the BizSugar community.

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