Throughout my journey in talent acquisition I’ve had the opportunity to be a candidate, hiring manager, recruiter, and executive. I’ve often wondered why many companies don’t treat hiring and managing like the investments they have in products and services. Afterall, those products and services usually are worthless without a solid team to build, sell, and support them. There are phases to this process, and they systematically can be structured like any other investment analysis.
Deciding to hire someone new to your company shouldn’t start with the hard-skills you need, but rather the type of team culture and work style you already have in place (or would like to have if you’re a small startup). Team Culture and Work Style are critically important, and will directly impact morale and productivity. A high degree of match in these two areas are directly correlated with the most successful teams. Team culture is the expectations the team have for each other. Work style is the natural tendency in the way someone prefers to get their work done. After those are established, you shift to the hard skills part of the position, and keep it simple. This is the due-diligence phase, and requires an understanding of the requirements at multiple levels. After the due diligence stage, planning, structure, and communication will be vital to success. This will apply exactly the same in pre-hire and post-hire engagement.
In planning for your hire, clearly establish the soft/hard skill dynamics you’d like to see, structure the process of interviewing and decision making, and communicate with all stakeholders consistently (bad news is always better than no news). Keep in mind, when establishing hard skills it’s not a wish list, but should be focused directly on the few tangible skills necessary in the role.
Investment in a team doesn’t end once you’ve hired the right person, but should continue in post-hire engagement to maintain the element of collaboration and feedback. KPI’s are one thing, but a constant flow of engagements to eliminate the element of surprise will create an environment of communication and impact. Like any other investment, establish benchmarks for the team and manager that are consistent and understood by everyone.
Be prepared for the onboarding phase and establish benchmarks for 30, 60, and 90 days. Articulate these metrics with each new hire, and make sure you’re communicating appropriately thereafter. Simple communication each month for new hires to make sure expectations are being met are powerful, and will go a long way. The data you can acquire by doing this will create an iterative growth pattern that will make your team better and better as time goes, and will absolutely dictate the way you hire and scale as a company.
Clarity on the “people element” of teams is critical to long term success. Understanding values and motivations of each individual are key, and should be at the forefront of everything you do as a team. If your company does not have a clearly defined purpose and mission, be careful because you’re not ready. Every company wants to create value for their customers, but that same attitude has to apply to your team. We all hear this, but your team is by far your most valuable asset. The value of investing in people and their well-being at work is massive, and understanding their drives, values and motivations will define the future of the business.
As a manager, sometimes we learn this lesson the hard way, but that’s part of the journey. Managers are often overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, and true leadership suffers. I get it, it’s very difficult! But, our teams deserve better and we owe it to them to develop an environment of purpose, reward, balance and well-being.There comes a point as a manager where your role transitions from worker to leader, and your mentality must shift in a way that you now work for your team, not the other way around. As a team, pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient!