article originally appeared in the Dec. 2008 issue of
“All aboard!” Don’t you just wish that hiring new employees was that easy?
Unfortunately, it’s such a challenge today that in a recent national survey,
over 30% of CEOs said that up to half of their employees are a poor fit for the
job. What’s more, putting the wrong person in the wrong position just to fill
the vacancy can have dire consequences to your organization in terms of poor
employee morale, low productivity and lost opportunities. The impact to your
company’s bottom line can be staggering.
The good news is that companies can drastically improve their workforce quality
by adopting a proactive mindset and consistently using the right hiring
procedures. Of course, every company is always looking for good people, but the
employees who are considered “A” players are usually working elsewhere - and
happily - so they’re less likely to be seeking greener pastures.
If your company’s recruiting strategy isn’t well developed, you’re basically
hiring other companies’ “B” and “C” players. True, an occasional “A” player
will walk through your door, but you’re more likely to find that elusive
diamond through the establishment of solid, consistent recruitment processes.
A multi-layered, robust recruiting process must be rooted in proactive vs.
reactive recruiting. In today’s world, many companies have the risky tendency
of waiting until a job opening occurs to initiate an emergency job search. In a
rush to fill the open position and lacking constant, solid recruiting
procedures, the company is more likely to take a less-qualified candidate or,
in some cases, hire whoever shows up first.
Plan Ahead With Good Job Descriptions
Avoid such dire measures by establishing a very structured
and systemized selection process well ahead of when your company actually needs
it. This begins with writing a job description before the actual recruiting
process. A good job description includes the job’s purpose; a detailed
breakdown of responsibilities; to whom the new person will report; ways to
measure the person’s effectiveness; the job’s vital factors; how the person
will spend their time; their authority within the company; and the required
competencies, background, and experience.
The job description also drives your interviewing process and questions, as
well as the employee’s training plan. What’s more, writing a job description
before recruiting forces you to think through the position and the competencies
of the person you need, and becomes the blueprint for the success of the job
and that person.
Determine the Interview Game Plan
Once you’ve attracted the top candidates, you need an
interview game plan. Considering what’s required and wanted in the new hire,
what are you truly looking for in an ideal employee, and how do these
attributes relate to what’s needed for the position? Also, if given the
opportunity, what competencies would your internal or external customers look
for from your employee to serve their needs? Whatever these competencies are,
the candidate you choose must have them.
Your interview game plan must also include a robust selection process. This
enables you to evaluate the potential hire in different ways. For example, you
may need to conduct several interviews, and you’ll want to do background checks
at the very least.
Focus on Professional Development
After successfully hiring an employee, the next step in the
recruitment process is to develop this person via ongoing coaching, training
and planning that will enable his or her professional growth. Unfortunately,
most companies have no structured on-boarding plan for new personnel. By solely
focusing on bringing someone “aboard the bus,” they forget to follow through
with important ongoing training and development. If this is happening at your
company, you’re significantly reducing your retention odds. And if that new
recruit is one of those rare “A” players, the loss is even greater.
The first 90 days of employment are critical to the long-term success of a new
employee. You should therefore develop and implement a 90-day training plan to
secure the employee’s place within the organization and facilitate his or her
improvement. You can vary this training based on the new employee’s level of
experience with your existing systems, but it’s important to train this new
hire on business practices, how your company functions and how these fit into
Key to the success of this 90-day training plan is using a mentoring team that
consists of a peer, a manager and a support person. The mentoring team should
meet at least monthly to give feedback to the new hire, ensure that he or she
has someone they can go to with questions, and enable their success in adhering
to the 90-day training plan.
Establish Expectations Now
during this time, it’s critical to set clear, result-oriented goals. Setting
these requirements will communicate company expectations and accountability for
results, ensure that the new employee understands the company’s priorities, and,
most importantly, measure whether he or she is the right person for the job.
Once the employee successfully completes the first 90 days, you’ll need a
six-month to one-year personal development plan to facilitate his or her
advancement and growth. Focus on consistent improvement and strengthening job
Incorporate the Current Business Plan
Finally, do you have a well-developed, current business
plan? From the beginning, such a plan helps new employees understand the
company’s direction and the role they play in it. Based on the business plan,
your recent hire should also grasp the company’s vital factors - the unique set
of critical elements that can either hold a company back or propel it to
success. Each employee should be assigned personal vital factors that support
the company's vital factors - an exercise that creates that crucial strategic
alignment within your organization.
Following these fundamental strategies is a sure way to onboard those “A”
players and, more importantly, keep them aboard the company bus. With the right
team in place, you’ll find it’s easier to retain those good workers, maintain
strong company morale and meet your business goals.
SIDEBAR: Five Steps to Recruiting Success
- Focus on creating a systematic, well-thought-out and proactive
- Formulate a good job description to serve as a blueprint for the
- Establish a solid business plan that outlines how many and what kind
of people you need to hire.
- On-board new recruits using a 90-day mentoring plan and training
period, measurable 90-day goals, and a mentoring team that meets monthly to
ensure the new hire’s success.
- Have a development plan ready to help the new hire grow over the next
year once they complete their 90-day training plan.