I have mentioned the coming talent crisis and how to hire. However, talking to clients and others, many are seeing a huge uptick in business during the first quarter of Q1, not only compared to Q4 2020 but compared to Q1 2020. As a result, these companies are in a rush to hire to meet this surge in demand. What amazes me is how many are so unprepared.

All business owners know that they and their team need to be selling continuously. As Estée Lauder put it, “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” While many small and midsized companies seek to live up to this statement, they fail to see recruiting through the same lens.

Continual recruiting is key to the survival of a company, and it is not something that is left to chance and a time when you have a position to fill. Doing so often results, to paraphrase Barry Deutsch, “When looking for basketball talent, you get to pick the tallest pigmy.”

All companies need to be continuously recruiting. By that, I don’t mean hiring, but recruiting. It’s building a pipeline of people that you would hire if you needed someone to fill a position, or someone you would hire regardless of the position if they were available.

Recruiting doesn’t just fall on HR and the CEO, but the entire organization. To succeed, as Jim Collins says, you need “The right people in the right seats doing the right things.” Well, where do you get the right people? Here are some suggestions.

Develop your recruiting flywheel

In Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to the Flywheel Effect concept as:

“No matter how dramatic the end result, good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. In building a great company or social sector enterprise, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.”

I think organizations with great hiring abilities have developed a hiring flywheel where they have a process and pursue the process relentlessly until it operates with its own momentum. At that point, all others look at the organization and wonder how it does it and what is the magical change. There isn’t any, just a continual pushing for the flywheel process.

A Strategic HR person

Many organizations have a Human Resources manager. However, that role is typically a person how manages payroll, benefits, and compliance. They sit “under” Finance and ensure that employees get paid, get their benefits, and are in compliance with a myriad of rules. This role is crucial whether you have internally or outsource it.

However, few companies have a “Strategic” Human Resources person who sits in the “C” Suite. This person needs to ensure that the organization’s resources are aligned with its strategy. As the organization moves through its 13-Week plans and 3HAG, they know when additional talent is going to be needed. Hence, they are ahead of the curve, ensure that the requisite talent is hired, assimilated into the culture, and onboarded in time for their needs.

Backfilling as fast as you can when in growth mode is difficult, as everyone in the company is too stretched thin. New employee hiring decisions are often made with the thought process, “Let’s just hire someone to fill this need; if it doesn’t work out, we can get someone else.” Such a process is time-wasting and very expensive. Also, new employees are thrown into the tumult without proper onboarding, an understanding of what is expected, and an understanding of the culture. They’re thrown in because the organization needs bodies, and this can all be done later. Still, it never is, and the good employees leave.

Talent folder

Everyone on the Leadership Team must have a Talent folder. It should contain the names of anyone they have met that they believe would be a great addition to the team. They need to follow these people on LinkedIn and make sure they know where they are, what they are doing, and most importantly, keep in touch. When a position in the organization opens up, that member of the leadership team can reach out to them to see if they would be interested in joining the company. The leadership team should review their collective talent folders in each quarterly meeting. They look at the next 13-Week Sprint and the resource limitations they face, either through insufficient resources or talent.

Ask Employees for Referrals

All industries are incestuous; everyone knows people in the industry in similar roles because they all attend the same conferences, often previously worked for the same companies, or did some training together. It must be part of your culture to get your employees to nominate great people they meet as potential hires. By emphasizing behaviors and culture, your employees will know what types of people would fit. There is no better recruiting tool than a very happy and excited employee working to attract you to their firm. These people should be vetted and added to someone’s Talent Folder. If an employee nomination is hired, reward your employee. However, it is best if they are not involved in the hiring process beyond the nomination, and the nominees have to remain for a period of time.

Ask Customers and Suppliers for Talent

Your customers and suppliers know you, your company, your vision, and your culture. Ask them for people that they think would be a good fit. Especially if there is a position that you want to fill, and they know more specifically what you are looking for. If they like working with you and believe in what you stand for, they are far more likely to refer someone to you than if the opposite is true. However, this requires a great relationship with your customers and supplies. You don’t just want to ask when you need someone, but you need to make it reciprocal as well.

Check your reputation on GlassDoor

It might be easy to dismiss negative statements from unhappy employees; however, like client reviews, statements on GlassDoor matter. All prospective employees now look at GlassDoor to see how you rank and what people say about you. If there are negative statements that make the organization look bad, you can expect many “A” players to wonder if it is worth applying for your position or moving on to an organization with a better reputation. You can expect questions from GlassDoor statements to be raised in interviews, at least from “A” players. Thus, it is in your interest to ensure that you work to maintain a good profile like you would from your clients.

Have Employee Testimonials on Your Website

Most organizations have a link on their website about job openings or career inquiries. However, few have employee testimonials that reinforce the company’s culture, commitment to its employees, and great stories of how it has helped its employees achieve their goals. These testimonials can do more to recruit people who are aligned with the organization than some CEO/owner statement as it shows how the organization is “Walking the Talk.”

Good luck developing your flywheel and attracting the talent you need. If you need help, reach out, we are here to help our clients succeed.


Copyright © 2021, Marc A. Borrelli


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