Help Us Improve the Recruitment and Selection Process
The recruitment and selection process can be stressful. First impressions are lasting, but the burden isn't just on candidates. Starting off on the right foot is equally important for employers. It can be a decisive factor in employee engagement and retention.
Both parties benefit when the process is objective and transparent. Employers get more consistent results, candidates are more likely to feel that they are treated fairly, and reciprocal commitment is built from the ground-up.
We always advocate for evidence-based talent management systems. The recruitment and selection process is no exception. That's why we've put together a survey to collect feedback on this process.
We want to hear from YOU!
If you're ever been through a hiring process (or are going through one right now), then we want to hear from you! You can participate in our study by visiting the link here:
>> Take the Talent Recruitment and Selection Survey
The results will be published and distributed throughout the recruiting industry to motivate improvements to the recruitment and selection process. This is key in advancing talent acquisition knowledge and best practices.
Why improve the talent recruitment and selection process?
Enhancing engagement and commitment are two of the most valuable strategies in any HR departments arsenal. It's no secret that successful companies integrate these goals into every level of the organization - starting with recruitment:
- Job design can have an enormous impact on engagement.
- Talent acquisition strategies can be designed to encourage engagement and inspire commitment.
- Investing in the right talent development strategies is necessary to promote these goals in the long-term.
- Leadership ultimately has to spearhead these strategies - otherwise they won't be made a priority.
- Finally, performance management best practices can yield excellent returns for both employers and employees.
None of these tactics could have evolved without a deep understanding of human behavior and its relation to organizational outcomes. That's where you come in.
We would love for you to be a part of this latest study - so if you have a minute, click here to take the survey. It won't take more than 5 minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your time! This research can be instrumental in improving the hiring experience for everyone.
How to Use Staffing Strategies to Boost Your Competitive Advantage
Competitive advantages come from many sources: innovation, cost, service, quality, branding, distribution, speed and convenience are perhaps the most prominent.
But this masks their true origin.
The reality is that workers are the root of any competitive advantage. Consider this: they're the ones who come up with more efficient processes, develop innovative products, and deliver exceptional customer service.
Companies that recognize this fact learn how to tailor staffing strategies to leverage what they do best - aligning business objectives with the right competencies, all the way from the C-Suite to the frontlines.
That's good not just for the company, but also for its people, teams, customers, shareholders, and society as a whole. It creates coherency, purpose and growth.
So how can you maximize your competitive advantages through staffing strategies? That depends on the advantage itself. Below are a few examples:
Innovation - Does your company excel at product development? Then fostering innovation and accelerating time-to-market are musts. That puts a premium on creative workers with research skills, entrepreneurial drive and innate curiosity.
Low Cost - If your focus is on cost and convenience, then you need to recruit talent that enables efficient production and delivery. Hires that are adaptable, trainable, efficiency-oriented and willing to follow standardized procedures can best serve these goals.
Customization - Companies that thrive by molding their offerings to each customer's needs can readily earn long-lasting loyalty and repeat business. Achieving those goals requires a high level of customer service, adaptability and willingness to learn.
Growth - If you're rapidly expanding (either as a start-up or to reach economies of scale), you have to recruit employees that are on board for what that takes. Future-oriented, flexible risk-takers that gel well with your company culture are likely to stay along for the ride and grow as your company does.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. Identifying the competencies that matter, crafting success profiles and creating an acquisition process that works are each difficult unto themselves.
If you're looking to align your staffing efforts with what your company does best, don't hesitate to reach out. We're always happy to help aspiring businesses find the right path.
Change Management for Humans: How to Turn Critics Into Advocates
Why do change management projects fail?
We all start out with the best intentions - an ambitious vision for the future, innovative strategies for getting there, detailed plans for managing change. But even the best laid plans fall flat if they lose sight of what really drives change: people.
Your employees can be your most powerful advocates, but you have to earn their support. The key is recognizing that resistance is our de facto attitude toward change. It's hardwired into us.
When you structure your programs around that assumption, you make them thoroughly human. Instead of forcing change on people, you learn to inspire change in them. This ability to encourage change from the bottom-up is what makes or breaks a change project.
1. Tell a compelling story about the future. Everything starts with your vision. Turning your strategic goals into an inspiring narrative should be priority number one. Be aspirational, but also be real. Employees care about more than just company outcomes. They want to know how this change will impact them, their team, the customer, the company, and society at large.
2. Listen. This is a critical step - and the most often neglected. Change is a dialogue. Leave room for employees to express their fears, concerns and motivations and listen carefully. The feedback they will volunteer is priceless. Involving them early will not only help tailor your program to their needs, it will also earn their commitment in the process.
3. Clearly define goals and roles. Showing employees how their responsibilities align with long-term goals fosters engagement and buy-in. When the connections aren't clear, they become apathetic or even resistant.
4. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Leading by example is always a good approach, but it's essential when you try to change entrenched behaviors. Saying one thing and doing another is a quick way to sabatoge employee engagement. Get leadership on-board before and provide consistent feedback throughout the process to help them model the behaviors you want to see.
5. Provide both technical and emotional training. Reaching your intended future state requires more than changing practices; it requires changing the beliefs and attitudes that underpin them. If some people aren't readily adopting the desired behaviors, find out why and address those issues. It's okay to admit when things aren't going as planned and work to rebuild trust. Glossing over reality only undermines the process.
True transformation comes from the bottom-up, not the top-down. Respect this fact and your vision is already within reach. And of course, if you need help, please reach out to us. We're more than happy to help.
Superfeet: Aligning Innovative Culture With Executive Search
When Superfeet was looking for a new president, they didn’t want the “usual recruiter experience.” When you’ve built a unique and successful company culture from the ground-up, leaving company’s direction to chance is not an option.
Enrique wrote about how valuable his immersive experience at Superfeet was. After hearing his rave reviews of their culture and the process they went through, I couldn’t help but be curious about the other side of the story. What inspired Superfeet to embark on such an intensive executive search?
I caught up with retiring Superfeet president Bill McLean to find out.
“What really worked is that Enrique opened himself up to us and allowed us to make him a part of the family and the culture,” Bill told me. “He really got to know how we look at customers and candidates and got a deep look into what we needed.”
That depth of understanding was critical for Superfeet. Cultivating a culture of innovation has always been at the heart of their success: “Our culture is what drives us forward. That needs nourishing and caring for everyday.”
You might think this emphasis on preserving culture would make them cautious, but in fact it led them to do just the opposite.
“We needed someone with a different set of experience,” says Bill. Keeping the company innovative and headed in the right direction meant personality and competencies trumped industry knowledge.
To that end, “Enrique went and reached out to people who had demonstrated success in their industries and had taken their companies to the next level — even people who weren’t looking for a job.”
It’s this approach that led Superfeet to John Rauvola, the then-president and managing director of Bona US, Inc., a wood floor product company in Sweden. John’s track record in developing new retail markets aligned perfectly with Superfeet’s focus on international expansion.
So how have things been going since then?
“I can’t tell you how pleased everybody is,” Bill says. “It’s a great feeling to have John on board and we definitely have mutual admiration for each other. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the nice thing is that we’ve got a solid, healthy company and we’re working through a smooth transition.”
“When you have to put fires out, you don’t have time to really develop the business. Now we have time to get the company headed where we want to be.”
The company’s future has never looked more promising. They’re currently the world’s leading biomechanical insoles and sandal manufacturer with over 80% of the specialty outdoor insole market. Superfeet is also an ESOP company and currently 39% employee owned.
Head on over to superfeet.com to learn more about their innovative products and culture.
What Makes an Executive Onboarding Plan Successful?
Hiring the right executive is just the first step. Integrating that executive into the rest of the company is critically important. The process is complex, difficult, and can take over a year to complete.
If it's done right, it empowers new leadership to get the results that company hired them to get. If not, it can undermine their efficacy and eventually lead to their resignation.
That's a costly proposition. So how can you ensure success? Design a system that incorporates the following 5 steps:
Why Socialization Is The Most Challenging Step - And How To Approach It
Out of these steps, the most important and complex is socialization. It goes beyond just getting to know everyone. Socialization has teach cultural norms, establish credibility and earn buy-in from the rest of the company.
At Generator, we take a multi-phase approach to socialization, bringing together four steps into a coherent and effective process:
1. Personality Knowledge - The first phase involves understanding the individual personality of the executive. Much of that can be gleaned from the acquisition process if it was rigorous and thoroughly documented.
2. Teambuilding - Phase two is formal teambuilding.
3. Short-Term Outcomes - The third phase is setting short-term outcomes. What does success look like in the first 3 months? The first 6 months? Establishing explicit performance goals will guide the executive's actions and keep them accountable to all stakeholders.
4. Long-Term Outcomes - Fourth and finally, long-term outcomes need to be clearly outlined. This helps new executives keep their eyes on the prize. Perhaps the most difficult part of executive integration is finding the right balance between fitting in and leading.
Executives are usually expected to engineer long-term changes in an organization. Finding a place within an organization's cultural norms while keeping enough distance to stay objective and be able to change them when necessary is essential.
Learning a new company is difficult work and that responsibility should be shared. By developing an executive onboarding plan you can demonstrate commitment to new leadership, help them thrive, and ensure a successful integration.
Why Turnover Is Key To Your Business Strategy
Do you think about turnover as a strategic variable? As something to be manipulated to achieve your business goals?
We typically counsel businesses on how to reduce turnover rates and costs, but some degree of turnover is inevitable and even desirable.
Of course, how much turnover is desirable depends on your business model.
High Turnover In High Performance Businesses
Netflix is a prime example of an organization that encourages a high rate of turnover. Their HR policy dictates that if you're just doing your job, you're gone.
That’s a mandate for high turnover, but there’s a business case for it. The intent is to drive innovation by keeping only top performers and opening up other positions for more promising employees.
While Netflix takes it to an extreme, culling the best while letting disengaged or unproductive employees go is just common sense. It’s good for the company and it’s good for employees who might be happier elsewhere.
High Turnover In Cost-Focused Businesses
There are also cases where lower operational costs outweigh higher turnover costs. Think about call centers, fast food restaurants, or budget grocery stores, for example.
Should you improve your company culture, implement performance management tactics and offer opportunities for growth to reduce turnover? Obvious ethical issues aside, you can see how the expense might override the benefits.
High Turnover for the Rest of Us
Of course, high turnover is a costly proposition. Separation, replacement and training can all be expensive and time-consuming, but turnover also negatively impacts customer service and employee commitment.
Most companies can’t afford to continually replace staff or lose business from poor performance. For most of us, keeping turnover as low as possible is essential to staying cost-effective and competitive.
No matter which boat you’re in, you should explicitly consider turnover in your business strategy. What do you do to influence it?
Embedded: Talent Selection for Superfeet on the Frontlines
For me, there’s nothing more empowering than getting an inside look into the companies I work with. Deep client engagement is essential to what we do and recently I had the opportunity to take that to a whole new level.
Premium insole designer Superfeet graciously let me become part of their team, and I don’t mean that figuratively. I spent an entire month on-site over the course of our engagement. They gave me my own desk — they even framed pictures of my kids!
Every few weeks during the 5-month process, I would fly up to Bellingham, WA and spend several days there. I learned everyone’s names by taking their coffee order and built great relationships with the key players in their business. I even got to sit in on product innovation meetings and get familiarized with their processes.
That might seem excessive, except that this was the most important decision the company had ever made: hiring a president.
A Candid Look at a Company’s Culture
This intensive approach gave me a clear understanding of their company and culture. I had a chance to see the good, and I also had a chance to see opportunities for improvement.
It allowed me represent the opportunity to candidates for what it really was, at a level of detail that would not have been possible any other way.
That kind of “warts and all” proposition might seem scary, but the end result was that candidates were able to self-select more effectively. They were able to honestly assess the opportunity and say “No, I don’t want to work that hard,” or, conversely, “Wow, that is exactly the challenge that I’ve been looking for.”
There’s simply no more efficient way to screen candidates than to let them screen themselves.
Taking a Structured Approach
From day one, Superfeet let me develop a structured interview process, train their staff, build a selection system, and run panel interviews and debriefs. We were able to conduct analysis on the interviews because of the scoring system we put in place and make sure our decision-making process was objective.
I’ve never done such an intensive engagement before and it was eye opening. I got a better understanding of the business; I got to understand how they looked at product innovation and development; I got to know what employees thought about the product, the company and the culture.
Most importantly, I was able to translate that into a dialogue with the executives that helped put the best selection system possible in place — and make sure it directly aligned with their business needs.
Thanks to the Superfeet team for having the bravery to face this challenge head-on and for so warmly including me in their team! I certainly look forward to the next experience like this.
Organizational Culture 101
By: Talya N. Bauer and Berrin Erdogan, Portland State University
There’s a lot of talk about organizational culture but how are cultures really maintained? As academics, we’ve researched the topic and found that as a company matures, its cultural values are refined and strengthened. In this short article, we’d like to share some of what we’ve learned. We call this article “Organizational Culture 101” because for many of you, this will be a review of the basics. However, we feel there’s value in going over these concepts and perhaps prompting folks to take a fresh look at a well-established topic.
The early values of a company’s culture exert influence over its future values. It is possible to think of organizational culture as an organism that protects itself from external forces. Organizational culture determines what types of people are hired by an organization and what types are left out. Moreover, once new employees are hired, the company assimilates new employees and teaches them the way things are done in the organization. These processes are termed attraction-selection-attrition and onboarding. Let’s discuss each of these in turn.
Organizational culture is maintained through a process known as attraction-selection-attrition. First, employees are attracted to organizations where they will fit in. In other words, different job applicants will find different cultures to be attractive. Someone who has a competitive nature may feel comfortable and prefer to work in a company where interpersonal competition is the norm. Others may prefer to work in a team-oriented workplace. Research shows that employees with different personality traits find different cultures attractive. For example, employees who demonstrate neurotic personalities were less likely to be attracted to innovative cultures, whereas those who were more open to new experiences were more likely to be attracted to innovative cultures. As a result, individuals self-select the companies they work for and may stay away from companies that have core values that are radically different from their own.
As you’ve probably observed, this process is imperfect, and value similarity is only one reason a candidate might be attracted to a company. There may be other, more powerful attractions such as good benefits. For example, candidates who are potential misfits may still be attracted to Google because of the cool perks associated with being a Google employee. At this point in the process, the second component of the ASA framework prevents them from getting in: Selection. Just as candidates are looking for places where they will fit in, companies are also looking for people who will fit into their current corporate culture. Many companies are hiring people for fit with their culture, as opposed to fit with a certain job. For example, Southwest Airlines prides itself for hiring employees based on personality and attitude rather than specific job-related skills, which are learned after being hired. This is important for job applicants to know, because in addition to highlighting your job-relevant skills, you will need to discuss why your personality and values match those of the company. Companies use different techniques to weed out candidates who do not fit with corporate values. For example, Google relies on multiple interviews with future peers. By introducing the candidate to several future coworkers and learning what these coworkers think of the candidate, it becomes easier to assess the level of fit. The Container Store Inc. ensures culture fit by hiring customers. This way, they can make sure that job candidates are already interested in organizing their lives and understand the company’s commitment to helping customers organize theirs. Companies may also use employee referrals in their recruitment process. By using their current employees as a source of future employees, companies may make sure that the newly hired employees go through a screening process to avoid potential person-culture mismatch.
Even after a company selects people for person-organization fit, there may be new employees who do not fit in. Some candidates may be skillful in impressing recruiters and signal high levels of culture fit even though they do not necessarily share the company’s values. Moreover, recruiters may suffer from perceptual biases and hire some candidates thinking that they fit with the culture even though the actual fit is low. In any event, the organization is going to eventually eliminate candidates who do not fit in through attrition. Attrition refers to the natural process in which the candidates who do not fit in will leave the company. Research indicates that person-organization misfit is one of the important reasons for employee turnover.
As a result of the ASA process, the company attracts, selects, and retains people who share its core values. On the other hand, those people who are different in core values will be excluded from the organization either during the hiring process or later on through naturally occurring turnover. Thus, organizational culture will act as a self-defending organism where intrusive elements are kept out. Supporting the existence of such self-protective mechanisms, research shows that organizations demonstrate a certain level of homogeneity regarding personalities and values of organizational members.
New Employee Onboarding
Another way in which an organization’s values, norms, and behavioral patterns are transmitted to employees is through new employee onboarding. Onboarding refers to the process through which new employees learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization. If an organization can successfully socialize new employees into becoming organizational insiders, new employees feel confident regarding their ability to perform, sense that they will feel accepted by their peers, and understand and share the assumptions, norms, and values that are part of the organization’s culture. This understanding and confidence in turn translate into more effective new employees who perform better and have higher job satisfaction, stronger organizational commitment, and longer tenure within the company.
What Can Organizations Do During Onboarding?
Many organizations take a structured and systematic approach to new employee onboarding, while others follow a “sink or swim” approach in which new employees struggle to figure out what is expected of them and what the norms are.
A formal orientation program indoctrinates new employees to the company culture, as well as introduces them to their new jobs and colleagues. An orientation program is important, because it has a role in making new employees feel welcome in addition to imparting information that may help new employees be successful on their new jobs. Many large organizations have formal orientation programs consisting of lectures, videotapes, and written material, while some may follow more unusual approaches. According to one estimate, most orientations last anywhere from one to five days, and some companies are currently switching to a computer-based orientation. Ritz-Carlton uses a very systematic approach to employee orientation and views orientation as the key to retention. In the two-day classroom orientation, employees spend time with management, dine in the hotel’s finest restaurant, and witness the attention to customer service detail firsthand. For example, they receive hand-written welcome notes and their favorite snacks during the break. During these two days, they are introduced to the company’s intensive service standards, team orientation, and its own language. Later, on their 21st day, they are tested on the company’s service standards and are certified. Research shows that formal orientation programs are helpful in teaching employees about the goals and history of the company, as well as communicating the power structure. Moreover, these programs may also help with a new employee’s integration into the team. In conclusion, we know culture matters and understanding the ASA framework and the power of onboarding are two ways you can help to maintain or reimagine your organization’s culture.
Talya N. Bauer (PhD, Purdue University) is an award-winning teacher and was awarded the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Distinguished Teacher Career Achievement Award. She conducts research about relationships at work. More specifically, she works in the areas of recruitment and selection and new employee onboarding which have resulted in dozens of research grants, journal publications, and book chapters. She has been studying the onboarding process for over 20 years and she has acted as a consultant for dozens of government, Fortune 1,000, and start-up organizations. Her work has been covered in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, USA Today, the Oregonian, Portland Business Journal, and Businessweek as well as appearing on NPR and KGW News. She has been a Visiting Professor in France, Spain, and most recently at Google Inc. She serves as the Program Director for the Onboarding Council for The Conference Board.
Berrin Erdogan (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago) a faculty member at Portland State University. Prior to joining academia, she worked as a corporate trainer. She is a regular visiting faculty member at Athens Laboratory of Business Administration in Athens, Greece, and at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. Berrin’s research focuses on leadership and fit in the workplace. Specifically, she investigates how leaders motivate and retain talent through the nature of the relationships they develop with employees, and how fit and misfit in the form of over qualification can be managed in the workplace. She studied and built relationships with organizations in industries including retail, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, education, health care, and high tech. Her work in these organizations formed the basis of dozens of academic journal publications, book chapters, as well as two textbooks used in undergraduate and graduate courses around the world. Her studies have been cited in media outlets including Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, and the Oregonian.
This article is based on information included in Bauer, T. N., & Erdogan, B. (2010). Organizational Behavior (Version 1.1). Nyack,NY: Flat World Knowledge.
Is Netflix the Apex of Corporate Performance Management?
Netflix takes a no-holds-barred approach to corporate performance management. Some of their policies even seem outright crazy. Does unlimited vacation time sound good to you? How about getting laid off for performing only “adequately”?
These are the more extreme practices of a company that doesn’t hedge its bets when it comes to corporate performance management, but they’re indicative of the philosophy that drives its every action.
Why does Netflix focus solely on performance management?
The rationale? According to Netflix's now-viral company culture guide, "In procedural work, the best perform 2x better than the average. In creative/inventive work, the best perform 10x better than the average."
So they put a huge premium on talent and on creating an environment that helps them achieve big. Employees enjoy well-above-market pay and a high degree of autonomy.
They’re also subject to stringent performance criteria that send many packing.
“The Keeper Test”: why Netflix encourages churn
Managers are encouraged to ask themselves on a regular basis which of their employees they would fight hardest for to keep from leaving Netflix. Everyone else should get a generous severance package and get let go to open up a spot for a top performer.
Encouraging that kind of turnover must be a costly proposition. Clearly, Netflix has determined that the cost of churn is lower than the cost of stagnation.
On the plus side, their performance management system is not only designed to weed out non-performers, but also to eliminate “brilliant jerks” who cripple teamwork.
Does Netflix’s approach to corporate performance management work?
In some ways, Netflix’s model seems to be one of the logical (if radical) conclusions of corporate performance management.
It's not for everyone: read a handful of employee reviews on Glassdoor and you'll see people rave about working there and criticize its "hire and fire" model in equal parts.
What's divisive also appears to be lucrative. Looking at their income statements, it's hard to dispute the results.
Revenue grew 29% in 2010 and then another 48% in 2011 with Netflix reporting $3.2 billion that year. This past year saw less staggering growth, but was still impressive in absolute terms with revenues totaling $3.6 billion.
With a customer base of 29 million subscribers, the team at Netflix has inarguably built a great product that has gained massive traction.
Will their radical policies ensure its long-term success? Would you want to work there? Let us know in the comments below!
Best Practices in Strategic Human Resource Planning
What is human resources planning?
Human resources planning (or HRP) is aimed at ensuring the best use of personnel. That means making sure there are sufficient staff with the right skills in the right jobs at the right places performing their jobs when needed.
It’s easy to see there are lots of possible points of failure in any HR system: lack of fit between employees and jobs, too few workers, the wrong mix of skills…
On the most basic level, human resource planning is supposed to prevent those issues. What elevates HRP from maintenance to a strategic process is taking a proactive (rather than a reactive) approach.
In that context, it’s aimed at identifying and aligning the human resources needed to achieve business objectives. At its best, strategic human resource planning can not only help meet business goals, but also provide a competitive advantage.
Strategic Human Resource Planning Process in 5 Simple Steps
1. Determine Business Objectives
First and foremost, you need to know what you’re setting out to accomplish. Coming to a consensus with key stakeholders will pave the path to HR success.
Does your organization need to cut the costs of turnover? Increase worker productivity? Boost net profits? Everything that follows hinges on concretely defining your goals at this stage.
2. Survey Available Human Resources
Analyzing current labor supply can help reveal how it might be better allocated to meet business goals. That requires taking inventory of not just people, but also skills, competencies and experience.
This survey will likely need to go beyond internal personnel. You may need to consider external resources (like potential new hires, temps or vendors) and competition in the labor market. Looking outside the organization and towards future needs helps prioritize HR efforts where they’ll be most effective.
3. Use Gap Analysis to Identify Areas of Need
“Gap analysis” focuses on the differences between the business in its current state and where it needs to go. The prior steps will do a lot to reveal these discrepancies, but it’s important to make them explicit and map out exactly where they are in the organization.
Focusing on areas with the biggest disconnect between current and needed human resources can help you find areas where investment will be most beneficial.
4. Design and Launch Programs
HR programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the distinctive goals, needs and features of your organization, some may be much more relevant and effective than others.
They’re generally lumped into recruitment, engagement, performance management, and retention strategies. Which of these you choose to pursue and how to go about implementing them is truly contingent upon your unique situation.
5. Measure, Monitor and Evaluate Programs
It’s impossible to determine program success without measurement, monitoring and evaluation. Making sure there’s a measurement and monitoring strategy in place is critical. Otherwise, you’re flying blind.
Properly measuring and evaluating programs will further help meet business objectives by revealing where resources yield the best investment – and what other programs still need work.
Do you have regular HR planning sessions? What goals do you set and what programs do you use to meet them? Let us know in the comments below!