Hiring and Retaining the Best and the Brightest in Companies Today
Colle Davis, a Senior Level Executive Coach for 35 years
The common refrain from leaders today is, “I only want the best candidate for the job.” True, but that premise has an interesting flaw built into it.
- How does a company find qualified candidates that can transition and assimilate into their new position? While they may have a degree, a steady work history or a nice smile, how does anyone know if they are flexible or capable of fitting in with their new team and with customers?
- What does a company want their new employee to do when they show up for work? Attend meetings in other departments? Network?
- What does the company expect from their new employees? Work forty hours per week and another twenty from home?
- Is the new hire informed enough to make a decision about accepting the position within a company, or are they painted a distorted picture of the position? Do they understand they’ll be required to bring in new business or be asked to become proficient in other industry standards and practices?
The caveat is that most companies hire candidates they believe are their new ‘star employees,’ and then people with foibles, nervous tics or eccentricities show up making them ill-suited for their new position. Vetting a candidate is much more difficult than HR would have you believe.
Here are some quick solutions:
- Have the team where the open position exists do team interviews with all candidates. The time is well spent because these are the people who must interact with the new person. Accept and live with their decision even if it means several rounds of interviewing new candidates. Better yet, have the team write up the requirements for the position and ‘hire backward’ to find candidates that meet the needs of the teams.
- Start the new hire with a welcome committee and fanfare so they will have pride in their new position because of their association with the company. Honoring them as they onboard adds to their desire to contribute.
- Make sure they are integrated into their new daily routine by assigning someone to usher them on the first day on the job. The human factor is vital for onboarding any employee, regardless of rank. Tours are always a nice touch.“Here’s the breakroom,” “Here’s a list of extensions,” etc.
- Suggestion: Assign a guide/mentor for a week/month to show them the layout, and routine so and explain the expectations of their new job. Require no work or output from them the first few days on the job, orientation only. Expose them to the reasons they have to be proud of working for the company.
- Train every employee to be a master at their set of crafts. Reward the behavior you wish to encourage, ignore everything else. Acknowledge credentials and rejoice and celebrate performance. The more ‘bravos’ and ‘atta-boy/girl’ a person receives the more they strive to please their employer and the team.
With all of the advantages presented to this select group, employers believe they can build a team of qualified and dedicated employees. This is a delusion; the top people will not stay with the company unless they have bought into their company’s vision, have a great boss/manager/leader and are being challenged and trained at the top of their abilities.
Now the downside: The best and brightest employees are very hard to retain because star new-hires are so good their tenure within a company is often tragically short-lived. They leave, HR gets mad and hires an idiot who has great credentials and lacks people skills. The star employee gets recruited to another company where they repeat the process, or they become entrepreneurs and get rich.
This is so sad, please look away. A company with second-string teams of employees now have people who can do their job, keep the peace and they are relatively intelligent. These mediocre employees show up most of the time and are loyal (read too lazy to look for another job). Their productivity is acceptable and the worst are awful whiners dampening office morale. They are slowly weeded out often moved to other divisions after some training because it is a checkbox requirement of the HR department.
Bottom line: You either push to get the best and brightest hired and keep them happy, or the workforce becomes as described above, a sea of commonplace people with no vision or mastery to grease the wheels of growth.
Good luck. For a much more productive approach to keeping dream-team employees in the fold, contact me for more ideas. Coach Colle Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org or 800 95Coach. Next issue Polishing and Supporting New Managers.