34/52: Recruit for greatness
A couple of weeks ago the 2020 list of the top 50 great places to work in Australia was published (congratulations to Cisco Sytems, Interactive and SC Johnson & Son who each won the top gong for their business size category) highlighting the fantastic work so many organisations are doing to better their employees' work-life experience. Creating a 'great place to work' is an aspirational goal of almost every client I've worked with over the last 16 years and I truly believe the journey to 'employer of choice' starts with your very next hire.
Experience and expectations
From dining to movies to employers we have expectations that can sometimes be exceeded, met or unfortunately completely overlooked. A candidate's expectation is typically formed through what they already know about an organisation's reputation, advertisements they read and apply to, through recruiter briefings, interviews, position descriptions and the many other touchpoints in the hiring process. When these early interactions are left to chance, there's a good chance an employee's expectations will be misaligned with the reality leading to a negative experience and ultimately, departure.
Larger, well-resourced organisations are typically (but not always) better at this than smaller organisations. They have internal People & Culture (P&C) teams focussed on fostering a workplace that supports the people within it. The P&C people coordinate with Marketing to maintain a consistent brand message, Executive and SLTs to understand the vision and strategy, Operations to understand how they do what they do and so on. They regularly survey their employees for engagement levels and they oversee the Recruitment function. It's here at the recruitment stage they're hiring to all of the above and controlling the messaging to potential future employees. They help to set expectations.
Choosing a partner
When you don't, however, have these resources at your disposal it's time to outsource to a trusted partner who can manage expectations and help set up your new employee for the best possible experience. Consider the following when selecting a recruitment partner:
Do they have existing networks in your market giving them ready access to suitable talent? Do they have a track record of successful recruitment assignments in your market?
Can they convey what your brand, purpose, vision and strategy is and how the role being recruited will relate to these? Are they good at selling your best points and outlining the realistic challenges the role presents?
Do they understand your operations and what you do? Can they use this knowledge to assess the best talent?
Are they able to assist you with the formulation of job advertisements, position descriptions and tailored interview guides?
Can they guide you in best practice for interviewing, onboarding, training and development to help you improve your employee experience?
Do they have a post-placement quality assurance program that dovetails with your probationary period?
Can they accurately set expectations for what future employees will likely experience?
Creating a great place to work and ultimately becoming an employer of choice is not easy, but with planning and foresight, it can be achieved for any size organisation. When you're able to say with confidence you have happier and healthier staff, your organisation will benefit from improved retention and ultimately, better productivity.
The journey to creating a great place to work starts with your very next hire.