Ok, So Here's the Deal on Hiring


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Just over the last few days I have heard so many storylines about hiring, the primary overture being "hiring is the hardest part of running your own company."

I feel compelled to dismiss the myths.

Hiring is EASY when you have a bigger picture vision, direction, leadership, culture, and communication strategy in place.

Hiring is HARD when you bypass that (effortful) strategy work and hire people willy-nilly e.g. they are your friend, they're nice, your aunt beatrice had a friend whose neice needed the job, you were desperate for help and hired the first person to repond to your ad, they came cheaply, they'll 'practically work for free', or even they had 'the right look.' Hiring is also hard when you have people doing the hiring who are disconnected from truly understanding the deeper needs of the organization. (And yes, that is also a leadership issue.)

These default methods will make hiring the hardest thing about your business because in fact, they'll make a blasted mess out of your business. People like myself (we who work around the psychology of organizations) find all sorts of evidence of projected bad habits, patterns, and narratives (and dysfunction... sorry) onto the hiring process. We find it when looking at money too. Sooooooo much information lies in an organization's relationship to money. Anyway, I digress.

Recruiting and hiring is an output of a larger organizational vision and direction strategy combined with a super tight leadership and culture strategy. When these strategies are lacking, unclear, unfocused, and uncontained, yes hiring will likely be one of your biggest challenges. Ever heard the expression "nothing is just a marketing challenge"? It's the same with recruiting and hiring. "Nothing is just a recruiting and hiring challenge."

Here are some quickie questions to ask yourself about your recruiting and hiring strategy:

1. What is your strategic vision for the company? Is it so clear and articulated that everyone can actually talk about it with ease? Do you have it posted on a post-it note where you can constantly see and be held accountable to your strategic vision? Does everyone who is doing any job in your company come to work everyday understanding the larger vision for which their role plays into?

2. What is your leadership strategy? How are you showing up? Are you everyone's friend? Mother/Father figure? Disassociated to keep everyone at bay? The delegating king? The micromanager? What is your leadership style and strategy and is it one you are choosing very consciously to lead your company toward the strategic vision named above? Are you serving the people who serve your organization?

3. What is the culture strategy? Have you ever thought or talked about it? Can you articulate what the "culture code" is at your company (e.g. the 7 points everyone in the company lives and works by to function highly and collaboratively as a group and to be continually working in service of the broader vision for the company? Can everyone in the company articulate the culture code regardless of role that they play?

4. How does communication happen? Do you have a strategy around the expectations of yourself and your team for communication internally and with clients? Where is the bar? How do you all collectively participate in the culture of communication? Do the vision, leadership, and culture strategies enable highly functional communication within the walls of the company and out to customers? (Because they should.)

5. How does recruiting and hiring work in your company? Do you have a strategy that is in line with the above 4 questions? Is your posting brutally evident of your strategic vision, leadership style, culture and communication environment? What is the format and process for hiring? Does it mirror the overall company strategy and culture? How do you ask quesitons of candidates? Do the questions ask things that allow you to truly see and hear who the candidates are as people and how they might contribute and add to the strategic vision of the company? Do you communicate like a human being with candidates and not ask idiotic 1980's questions? Are the people hiring very dialed in to the vision, leadership, culture, and communication strategies?

6. What role does that person you are hiring play? Is the role clear? (And if it's unclear, that can be a part of the hiring strategy.) Do you know what are the most important characteristics you want/need for a person to bring to your company and the job at hand? What are the non-negotiables? What can you easily train on?

When you do the work (and yes, it takes time and ongoing effort to do the strategic work yet the payoffs are high in revenues and bandwidth), two things happen around hiring that make it infinitely easier.

1. When you are clear about your company direction, purpose, vision, leadership, culture, and communication strategy, you will automatically attract many more of the right people to show up to working with your brand and for your company.

2. When you are clear about your company direction, purpose, vision, leadership, culture, and communication strategy, you can become inherently more clear about your recruiting and hiring strategy. (And, it doesn't actually work the other way around.)

Do the work to get clear, and you will never again have to run the storyline of "hiring is the hardest part of my job."

Get rid of the storyline! It's taking up way too much space and energy. Invest that time and energy in nurturing and leading from a bigger picture strategy - and see the profits return ten fold.

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