As the pandemic slowly winds down there is talk of returning to work. While some can’t wait to get back to the office, others are considering alternative options. This topic has generated much research. Articles written on the subject have focused on the need for a hybrid workplace to retain employees accustomed to the benefits of working from home. Although this is a valid approach, it does not capture the whole picture. Some of the research I have come across indicates a mass exodus is coming regardless of what their current employer does. This scenario creates both challenges and opportunities. The organizations that understand and navigate these well will come out on top.
The first challenge is the obvious one – loss of employees. This can cripple an organization, decreasing its productivity. Simultaneously, finding new employees and training them takes time, money, and energy. Not a great scenario and one worth avoiding as reasonably possible.
The second challenge is a bit more insidious – hiring the wrong employee. Having to hire one person is challenging enough for an organization. When there are several positions to hire just to get back to normal operating standards, the pressure grows. This leads to compromises in the hiring process. Standards slip as organizations settle for warm bodies that might work rather than holding out for the best fit. Consequently, these organizations will find themselves in a second wave of hiring to replace the ones they shouldn’t have hired the first time around.
Consider what you would do if you suddenly had to replace your car. Would you automatically replace it with the same thing, or look to see what your options are? Even though the vehicle may have served you well, perhaps the new one will open up opportunities the other one could not. Maybe you need better mileage or increased passenger capacity. The reality is your understanding of your current and future needs will likely be different than when you bought the previous car. Taking time to understand these will help you make a wise decision going forward.
The opportunities that come from replacing an employee are similar. If you are lucky, the ones that leave are mediocre performers. This opens the door to hiring someone better. Perhaps someone hungrier for the work or a better fit for the role. This may even be the time to fill a gap in diversity. With the new hire comes the opportunity to elevate your organization to new heights.
Part of you may agree with this opportunity. And yet, part of you may be a bit skeptical. You have hired people in the past but struggled to find these amazing candidates I speak of. But this is where a mass exodus allows you to capitalize on the potential of a new hire. Compare a massive dealership to a tiny used car lot. The more people looking for work means more options to choose from.
Ensure the Right Hire
As you hire new employees you want to ensure the right fit. Although having more people to choose from can increase your chances of a good hire, it does not guarantee it. In fact, all the added options out there could increase the odds of hiring the wrong person. Hiring different is not enough. You need to hire better and that does not happen by chance.
Organizations posed to make the most of this hiring opportunity have achieved a critical precursor to hiring. They have achieved clarity in several key areas, using it to guide their hiring process. Thus, not only will they hire better, but they will also hire less often. Let’s take a look at some key points of clarity you can harness to hire better.
Clarity, the precursor to a new hire
- Be clear about why the organization exists.
When you have clarity of purpose, you can attract and identify those who are drawn to serve that purpose. When an employee buy into the purpose of the organization, they are more productive, fulfilled, and more likely to stick around longer.
- Know your core values.
Values shape the culture of the organization, how people behave. A conflict in values creates insurmountable challenges even when the skills are there.
- Understand how you will succeed over your competitors.
There are likely other companies that do what you do and hiring someone from there may seem like a wise move. However, this could be a big mistake. Maybe your company prioritizes a great customer experience while the other one focuses on product excellence. If that is the focus of your prospective hire, great. But if they want to maintain a focus on product excellence, it may come at the expense of the customer experience you are known for.
- What is most important right now?
Sometimes not hiring a replacement is the right decision. The top priority of the organization may call for a shift in focus. Thus, one department needs to shrink while another is grown. Hiring for the right one is key.
- What does this role really need?
Look at just about any job posting out there and what will you see? A list of job duties with a set of required basic skills and experience. But what about behavioral style or what energizes the person? These can be equally if not more important than base skills and experience. Understanding the needs of the role within the context of the existing team really helps an organization level up their hiring process.
Need to hire vs Need to hire right
Need drives the hiring of a new employee. Either a need created by the void of an employee leaving, or the need brought on by growth. Sometimes this need can be overwhelming and drive the hiring process. This can easily lead to a quick hire and later regret. However, you avoid this when you put the need to hire right above the need to hire. You do this by gaining clarity and reinforcing that clarity through your hiring practices. Then you hire with confidence, knowing you are not settling on what matters most.