Everyone wants that dream employee (or wants to be the dream employee), you know, the one with an impressive combination of complex problem-solving capabilities, critical thinking, cognitive flexibility.
Apparently, companies are often struggling to find talent with good soft skills (communication, listening, empathy, etc.), and the rise of the smartphone is certainly not helping us cultivate communication and inter-personal skills. But not enough employers, or should I say HR professionals, are setting up their systems to attract, or develop and enable, that dream employee. Perhaps I digress. Or perhaps not.
We are talking about recruitment today.
There are still some employers who believe in just bringing someone into the business and allowing them to grow into a role with no real prior assessment of role and culture fit between that candidate, the job and the organization, but looking at the resultant quality of delivery, or should I say level of productivity experienced in such cases, where there is role ambiguity, non-aligned compensation, reverse delegation where the frustrated supervisor snatches assignments from under-performing team members after yet another lost deadline, the simmering resentment, growing staff disengagement and high turnover rates, I daresay a growing number of us will agree that a deliberate, systematic and strategically aligned approach to recruitment works out best for the employer, the employee, and the teams involved.
It does cost a bit more in terms of time and money to design and implement, but once the system works, there is no looking back.
These days organisations are talking about talent as opposed to employees. We are looking to attract, engage, reward, retain and grow talent. And this talent is not always immediately accessible through the traditional recruitment avenues.
l Referrals & Internal mobility
As an HR department, do you have a referral program, where people considered good potential for you can be referred to you? Do you have an internal mobility culture, where existing staff may be deployed to other roles within the company?
l Recruitment marketing
Do you just publish a vacancy notice without any thought to the design and content of the advert, and where it is to be placed in whatever media you have selected? Many employers still think people will scramble for any job opening, but what some employers have had to learn is, while anyone may respond to the advert, the actual talent they were targeting did not apply. We have to locate, court and woo the talent we want, just like companies position and market their products and services to their target audience. And sometimes this talent is outside the country, so we need to be techno-savvy and use artificial intelligence and various recruitment platforms that are accessible further than our newspapers can reach.
Are you familiar with the gig economy? The gig economy is where organisations rely more on freelancers and independent workers, contracted on a short-term basis, than they do on permanent staff. Used here, ‘gig’ refers to a one-off job that someone does on a temporary, or casual basis. The typical workforce today has staff who are full-time and permanent, fixed term contract, freelancing, and everything in-between. How ready is your business, in terms of technology, policy and job design to embrace flexibility as part of delivering on your strategic intents as a department? Beyond this, is your workplace culture conducive to attraction and retention of the so-called Digital Natives? How are you, for instance, balancing the full-time permanents’ need for security with the freelancers’ need for independence?
l Building and sharing your mission
Does your business have a personality that employees can identify with? Yes it starts with the statement of the mission and values, and as you go about attracting talent, it is important to note that increasingly, people want more than a salary; people want to align and identify with what the employer stands for. You’d be surprised that there are still some employers who don’t see the value of this principle as a culture building and brand promoting practice that can attract talent.
l A shift from job description-based hiring to skill based hiring
As ironic and contradictory as this sounds, there is a move from job description based hiring to skill based hiring. Skills-based hiring refers to the practice of employers setting specific skill or competency requirements or targets. Skills and competencies may be cognitive (such as mathematics or reading) or other professional skills, often commonly called “soft” skills (such as “drive for results” or customer service). You can see that this is different from the traditional approach of setting a certain number of years of experience in a similar position and prescribing the academic profile of a candidate, to actually seeking to describe the competencies required to successfully deliver in a role.
This is a tough one because you may find your dream employee has a degree in a different, unrelated discipline and has held job titles that are different from what you are recruiting for, YET, has the transferable skill and competencies to succeed in the role you are recruiting for. You can see how this then allows for practices such as internal mobility. So next week we will look at objective selection methods, such as competency based interviews, psychometric assessment and CV verification practices, to round off the subject of recruitment and selection.