Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!

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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Now You Need a CHRO!

Now You Need a CHRO!

I have always believed that a great Chief Human Resources Officer (“CHRO”) was essential to a business’s success. Most CEOs know that because businesses don’t create value, and people do, they depend on their company’s human resources to achieve success. However, CEOs are distanced from and often dissatisfied with their chief human resources officers (CHROs) and the HR function in general. According to a study, while CEOs see human capital as a top challenge, they rank HR as only the eighth or ninth most crucial function in a company.

In the 1990s, CHROs were focused on compliance to keep their employers out of court and the press. Following several executive pay scandals in the 2000s, they became more involved in remuneration. In the 2010s, they gained a more significant say in hiring for top jobs, as the failed successions multiplied. Recently, they have had to deal with the often very public “me too” troubles.

As a result, CHROs backgrounds are changing. Once filled with people who had master’s degrees in labor relations, today, many hold business degrees. While most firms recruit CHROs from HR jobs, more are choosing outsiders or unconventional candidates. According to Russell Reynolds Associates, HR heads appointed to Fortune 100 companies between 2016 and 2019 were around 50% likelier than earlier hires to have worked abroad, in general management or finance.

The CHRO’s role is to assist the CEO in building and assigning talent, especially key people, and that will help the organization reach its potential. Human capital management now needs the same priority that managing financial capital was in the 1980s.

To accomplish this role, the CEO has to:

  • elevate HR and to bridge any gaps that prevent the CHRO from becoming a strategic partner;

  • understand the valuable contribution the CHRO could be making and spell out those expectations in clear, specific language; and

  • redefining the work content of the chief human resources officer.

In this new role, the CHRO’s responsibilities will include:

  • traditional HR responsibilities—overseeing employee satisfaction, workforce engagement, benefits and compensation, diversity, etc.;

  • predicting outcomes – crystallizing what a particular job requires and realistically assessing whether the assigned person meets those requirements;

  • diagnosing problems – pinpointing precisely why an organization might not be performing well or achieving its goals; and

  • prescribing actions on the people side that will add value to the business – agile companies need flexibility with their human capital, and CHROs should recommend steps that will unlock or create value.

CHROs are expected to have or quickly acquire business acumen specific to the company they are serving, as well as to work with executive peers to shape and influence business strategy. These three areas of expertise are essential for success in any C-Suite position. Gartner has developed a model for the CHROs role, set out below. The five pillars that sit atop the foundation require the CHRO to step beyond HR functional management to lead the business in the critical areas of talent strategy, enterprise change, and company culture, as well as to serve as a trusted advisor to the CEO and the board.

Copyright Gartner

In this new role, CEOs and CHROs have to ask more of each other.

CEOs: Ask for and expect more from your CHRO

  • Expand Your Thinking. If your expectations for the CHRO role are just the traditional HR function, 90 percent of the opportunity is lost.

  • Critical Skills. What are the essential skills required for your CHRO? Today’s CHRO role requires a wide range of additional strengths, i.e., the ability to use data and analytics to drive strategy and organizational design; a structured way of thinking; and excellent people-assessment skills.

  • Align priorities. Use the model for candid conversations about priorities. Since CEOs don’t have a clear idea of where CHROs spend their time, this will provide a framework for expectations and performance evaluation.

  • Expanded Role. Beyond the traditional HR function, the CHRO needs skills that impact business success, i.e., social media, customer, and employee activism, changing employee expectations of jobs and the work environment, the gig economy, and many more.

  • Interview Better. When interviewing for a CHRO, key considerations: Do you trust them? Are they looking three to five years ahead to determine talent strategy? Do they have a firm grasp on business dynamics within your industry and your company? Are they able to connect the dots between your company’s mission, values, and every other aspect of the business?

CHROs: ask for and expect more from your CEO

  • Role. Since many CEOs don’t understand the purpose, show how the CHRO adds value to the organization and is a crucial player in the C-Suite.

  • Priorities. Ensure HR priorities are aligned with business priorities.

  • Build and maintain a strong team. As traditional HR requirements never go away, ensure the team to keep those functional areas moving smoothly while the CHRO focus aspects that directly drive business success.

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. The CHROs role will continue to increase, so understand where you already provide value, and where they need to grow.

Many companies have not lifted the CHRO to this new role or seen the benefits that they offer; however, the coronavirus crisis has thrust corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight. A CHRO can make or break a company during a pandemic. Never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss.

During the 2008 financial crisis, there was the mantra, “A good CFO could save a company; a bad one might bury it.” Covid-19 now requires a strategic CHRO that is part of what Harvard Business Review calls the G3 – CEO, CFO, and CHRO. CHROs are critical at this time because they are responsible for keeping employees healthy; maintaining morale; overseeing a rapid move to vast remote-working, and, as firms retrench, consider whether, when, how, and who to lay off. How you treat people during this time will live as part of your reputation and culture long after the pandemic is passed. I heard of a company that laid off 300 employees last week and did it with a prerecorded Zoom message. So much for putting employees first! Unlikely the best and greatest will be knocking their doors down when this is passed.

The pandemic makes such “people analytics” more relevant. Beth Galetti, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Amazon, is an engineer with no HR experience. She oversees 1,000 developers working exclusively on HR software. Amazon’s pre-outbreak investment in digital induction for fresh hires is paying off. “We onboarded 1,700 new corporate employees on [March 16th] alone,” Ms. Galetti reports. Covid-19 may lead to more HR chiefs to adopt such digital systems to improve HR functionality, which will last long after Covid-19 is gone.

At the moment, many CHROs have a multitude of problems. Mala Singh, chief people officer at EA, represents the C-Suite on the pandemic response team, which occupies 60-70% of her day. Her team has been getting staff desks, computers, even noise-canceling headphones for work from home. A significant concern was balancing work with child care, so Ms. Singh gave the caregivers on EA staff as much time as they needed to adapt without using up paid leave. She is digitally monitoring employee sentiment, particularly anxiety. In all businesses, but especially creative ones like EA’s, “having someone stressed about their family situation does not enable productive work,” she explains.

In many companies outside the knowledge industry, HR leaders must strike a balance between treating staff decently and the bottom line. While the instinct is to cut costs through mass layoffs, the crisis provides strategic CHROs with the opportunity to reconfigure company workflow. What needs to be done by whom, what can be automated, and what requires people to share the same space? Workers who were initially considered redundant may be redeployed or reskilled.

The most strategic CHROs should be looking to the other side of the crisis for what skills they may need and start courting key talent wherever it is. Since everyone is working from home, no one is listening to personal calls. For a savvy CHRO, “it’s the perfect recruiting opportunity.”

For those companies that believe they are too small to have a CHOR, I recommend a part-time CHOR who can provide the essential skills required, and leave many of the traditional HR responsibilities to a Professional Employer Organization, i.e., Insperity. PEOs allow the organization to have a full set of HR services while benefiting from the strategic input of a CHOR.

While budgets are tight and you are letting people go, one of the last people you will consider laying off is your CFO; however, maybe you should be considering adding CHOR to manage your human capital better. After the crisis, there will be fantastic talent available to those that are poised to get it.

Copyright (c) 2020, Marc A. Borrelli

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