Recently I attended another conference on sustainable employability. Or should I better call it sustainable…
Many leaders aspire to be a serving-leader, leading with heart and dedicating themselves to the successful development of the people and the organisation through responsible stewardship and hiring the ‘right people for the right place’.
Part of responsible stewardship and of developing an organisation successfully, is to having a personal stake in the hiring process and the creation of top performing (leadership) teams.
The idea that successful hiring can be delegated is proven wrong time and time again, resulting in an unprecedented amount of hit-and-miss casualty hiring and costly staff attrition, which still takes place in companies across industries and on a global scale.
Not only do most of the diverse candidates from generations Z, Y and the Millennials, want to ‘experience’ leadership in the hiring process, successful hiring is greatly dependent upon leadership’s involvement to building the requirements for a solid business case for the new hire.
This business case ought to be defined as the “unique business contribution” of the new hire. This is a fundamental requirement and prerequisite for any credible and successful hiring process of employees, contractors, or freelancers.
“Pair a unique business contribution with an individual who likes to produce the kind of measurable business outcome and you have an unbeatable business match.”
So, how are business contributions defined in summary?
First, they are not defined by just summing up a list of tasks/responsibilities originating from an old and prior used job description, but by a new hire’s individual unique organisational purpose, duty and tasks.
This in its totality provides a concrete, measurable unique business contribution – as defined by leadership and the hiring manager.
Often times, leadership fails to recognise that the business requirements, even for a new hire who will replace some one as a result of organic growth or attrition, cannot be identical to when the person was hired some time ago . Naturally, leadership has evolved, the organisation and the team has evolved market conditions changed – in other words, nothing is really comparable to that earlier moment in time.
“To make hiring a mutual beneficial and ethical process, the employer is bound to clearly and upfront, define the unique business contribution for a specific role/position and to actively discuss this during the hiring process.”
The above sharply contrasts a typical hiring process, where individuals often are selected against a dusted-off job description, past performance taken from a curriculum vitae and other mostly subjective criteria.
Hiring based upon these ‘criteria’ frequently leads to the surprising discovery that the new hire does not perform within the new company, even though he/she had great similar business experience and historically performed well in (an) other environment(s).
Soon, the flailing new hire will be reported by colleagues and leadership as a team/culture misfit – Either self-directed, or forced, the employee will be leaving the organisation and the human sacrificing and business costly hiring cycle may start all over again.
“Not spending time to clearly define a unique business contribution may look like less effort, saving time and money. However, the ensuing business challenges in the form of organisational, ethical, financial and human resources burden can no longer be overlooked and considered business sustainable.”
In my humble opinion, it is a mandatory part of an ethical hiring process for both the organisation and the prospective employee, contractor, or freelancer to be aware of and freely discuss about the required unique business contribution – To carefully evaluate this against what the individual likes to do and can contribute. Hence, the creation of a mutual advantageous ‘joint-venture’, i.e. joining the team.
An added ‘bonus’ of the hiring based upon required unique business contribution is also that much less on-boarding and training time (and capital) will need to be allocated per individual. Quite simply, the result is entirely human – A person who is hired through the use of a defined unique business contribution and by nature likes to do certain activities, is quite different from some one who is required to be trained to like to do something.
To many critics this may sound like an entitlement structure to be developed to give home to the diverse employee generations in today’s organisations. However, do not be mistaken or fooled by this.
Someone’s nature cannot be forced and it is often surprising to many how a transparent and measurable hiring process contributes to healthy leadership, communication and at the same time takes care of team/culture fit and many other so called interview and hiring best practices.
My recommendation therefore is to “STOP” before your next internal- or external-hiring process starts and before another dusted off old job description is likely to be used – Start the other way-around and define the measurable and unique business contribution, the business outcome if you will of the new hire, first.
From experience, serving as a leader may often seem a daunting task and hiring to creating top performing teams remains certainly challenging.
However, a the very least you may now consider a revised approach and if taken, this will be a courageous step towards positive people and business results.
Good stewardship includes taking care of the organisation and its people holistically and not being short-sighted. Miss-hiring for the most part can be a thing of the past and involvement as an aspiring servant-leader is not optional. In doing so you contribute to a healthy led organisation and personally will grow and expand leadership and team building skills.
This article was originally published in Leadership Matters on 05 March, 2016.