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Recruitment and beyond – Getting the best


Applicant being interviewed

January to March are some of the busiest months for recruitment.  Many businesses make and review their plans and identify new roles. Employees also reflect on whether their current role meets their aspirations and may move on, creating churn in the marketplace.


In this blog, recruitment and beyond - getting the best, I will focus on the businesses perspective on recruitment. This is the optimal point to ensure that you find the right candidate for the job but also making sure that the role you are trying to hire is what the business needs.  I will cover selection, induction and then focus on getting peoples best going forward. 


This blog draws predominately from my personal experience and learning, as my interest is practical not theoretical, although, I will reference academic sources where applicable. 


The Recruitment Process


Recruitment should always take place within the context of what the business is planning to do and achieve.  If the plan is for the business to grow profits, it may be possible for the organisation to achieve this through increased efficiency or effectiveness measures, such as automation.  However, at some point it is likely that additional or a different mix of employees will be required.


Recruitment can be for a new role, additional people to do an existing role or to replace someone who has left. In terms of new roles, often insufficient thought is given to what is needed, the discreet tasks and responsibilities the role will deliver, the objectives of the role-holder in delivering the business goals and the characteristics and competencies the right candidate will possess.  Translating these requirements into a clear job description is key to a successful recruitment campaign.


When recruiting for existing roles and replacements, it is important to challenge whether a like for like replacement is required or whether the work can be done by existing staff members or through process improvements and/or automations. 


Once the decision to hire has been made and the role fully specified, it is time to consider how and where you wish to advertise. It is always a good idea to advertise the role internally as well as externally.  A vacancy may create an opportunity for an internal promotion, or a sideways move for an existing employee within your business. Thus, developing your employees whilst retaining the existing skill set, boosting morale within your workforce and increasing engagement. From a business perspective, advertising and recruiting internally within your organisation is cheaper, quicker and, given management know the applicants' strengths and weaknesses, can be slightly easier.


There are not always suitable candidates within an organisation and the benefits of introducing new skills and personalities may outweigh the short-term pros of internal recruitment.  In which case, external recruitment may be the best route.  Options for recruitment include job sites, agencies, head-hunters and/or through social media platforms such as LinkedIn.   Attracting a pool of qualified applicants is the first hurdle but filtering this to suitable candidates is a labour-intensive job.   An independent evaluation of candidates against the job description can be helpful, followed by a swift but comprehensive interviewing process and a selection campaign all based on a consistent approach.


This is backed up by management theory.  In the 1960’s, Douglass McGregor (1) developed a theory of X and Y employees.  Theory X is based on the assumptions that employees do not really want to work, have no ambition, only work to be paid, and need constant supervision. Theory Y is based on the assumption that employees want to work, want to take responsibility to help the business meet its objectives and do not need much supervision.


Although there may be some businesses who are happy with Theory X employees, most organisations aspire to have Theory Y employees.  Although, in reality, actual people are on more of a continuum, the recruitment process is the key first opportunity to gauge the attitude and behaviours of applicants.  We encourage swift decision making from application to interview/offer.  The best candidates will not be available for long.


Following acceptance of your offer, stay connected with the candidate and make sure that the onboarding and induction process gets them off to a great start on their journey with your organisation.  Feeling welcomed by colleagues on their first day and having all the necessary equipment and training in the first few weeks will leave a lasting impression on your new recruit. New employees should have someone to go to with questions or issues. It does not have to be their line manager, it can be a “buddy” or someone of their choosing to support them in their induction.


Getting the best from your recruit


Once your employee has started with the Company and successfully been onboarded, how can you get the best from your recruit. in this crucial period?


Many organisations implement probation periods. Although probation periods are not a contractual requirement, they can be beneficial.  Commonly set at 3 to 6 months, not only are they an effective way of validating your hire but also encourage regular check-in conversations and objective setting.  SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) are a readily understood approach to objective setting and measuring performance at this point.  Typically, between 3-10 objectives, a mixture of role based (output objectives) and performance as part of a team (behavioural/competency objectives) should be considered.


In terms of wider objectives, having a system of cascade from the core business objectives is useful and individual objectives should be connected to what the business is trying to achieve. There is a story of JFK visiting NASA in 1961 and he asked a janitor who was mopping the floor what he was doing, the janitor allegedly responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon”.  Whether a myth or not, this idea of employees understanding how their role and contribution makes a difference to the whole, can be impactful.


For new employees, we would encourage an informal check-in to see how they are feeling at the end of each week.  If any issues arise, these should be raised in a supportive way, demonstrating what is required next time around and adjustments made where necessary.


At the end of the probation period, or after an allotted period of time, it is good practice to schedule a more formal review, to encourage two way feedback and to discuss how the employee is doing against the objectives set.. This provides an opportunity to judge how engaged your employee is, whether they are performing well and if the recruitment was successful.


Objective setting on a regular basis, combined with effective performance management and day-to-day coaching and development should be an enabler which improves the performance of the individual and the business, throughout the employee lifecycle. It should not be a bureaucratic chore which takes time and adds no value.


If you would like further information or support on the above for your organisation, please email annette@hbhrs.co.uk or call us on 07748 713936




References

1. The Human Side of Enterprise (1960) - Douglas McGregor

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