Tag Archives: recruiting

Who is on the Team?

From the Ask Tom mailbag:

Question:
What do you feel are the most important skills that I need to think about as a new manager?

Response:
For me, hiring and firing are at the top of the list. The most important skill for any manager is team member selection. The ability to select the right team members makes all other management skills seem like a walk in the park.

The manager who selects the right team members will have a wonderful time as a manager. The manager who selects the wrong team members will forever spend time trying to fix the problems that come from hiring mis-steps. That time spent trying to motivate, coach and correct behavior will be frustrating and miserable…for a very long time.

Take a sports team and put them up against any other team. To pick the team who will win the game, you only have to know the answer to one simple question.

Who is on the team?

Hiring and firing are at the top of the list. Arguably, the most important skill.

Impact of HR at S-III (System) Level of Work

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Question:
I read your post yesterday about HR at different levels of work. I am stuck at S-II. How can I make an impact at S-III? How do I get the company to understand why this is so necessary?

Response:
Most companies see the HR role at S-I and S-II as necessary only because they are mandated by law to keep track of that stuff (compliance). By definition, administrative processes do not directly add value to the product or service experienced by the customer.

But, there is a silent switch at S-III where Human Resource systems begin to add value. It is not that most companies don’t see it as necessary, most companies don’t see it at all. They are blind to it. The only time they respond to it is when they find themselves suddenly short-handed.

Here is the prescription to have HR impact at S-III (system) level of work. Get out of your office and meet individually with each functional manager. Here is a list –

  • Sales manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Contracting manager
  • Project manager
  • Operations manager
  • QC manager
  • Warranty manager
  • R&D manager

Ask them these three questions –

  1. What is the output created by your (function) department?
  2. What roles and how many people do you need to do that work?
  3. What will change in a month, six months, a year related to your work output and the people you need?

Go back to your office and write up your notes, one page per function. Put these is a tabbed 3-ring binder.

Have another meeting with each manager, show them the one page and ask three more questions –

  1. Describe each role on your team, what problems do they have to solve and what decisions do they have to make?
  2. What does each of those roles cost you in compensation?
  3. How long does it take (lead time) to find candidates and train someone to be productive on your team?

Go back to your office and write up your notes, one page per function. Put these in the tabbed 3-ring binder.

By now, you should see the pattern of these questions and the construction of this human resource system. As the HR manager, you are making this system visible to each functional manager, so they can see it. You have also established a series of meetings that will continue (forever) where you will ask questions and begin the execution of this system. Your next meetings will consider these questions –

  • If you expect work volume to increase (or decrease), given the lead time for training, when do we need to begin a recruiting effort?
  • How will we describe the role in a job posting?
  • How will we include the necessary elements in a role description?
  • What are the key areas in each role, critical role requirements and output in each key area?
  • What questions will we need to create to use in candidate interviews?
  • Who would be valuable members on the hiring team?
  • What will the onboarding process (orientation, training) look like?
  • Which manager will be accountable for the output of this new hire?

Write up your notes, organize them into the 3-ring binder (your HR system) and EXECUTE. What you have created is a system called workforce planning. There is no magic fairy dust to this process, just a little (hard) work. -Tom

The Long Term View (vs the short term fix) on Recruiting

Hiring Talent Summer Camp (online) starts June 20, 2016. Follow this link – Hiring Talent – for course description and logistics. Pre-register today. See you online. -Tom
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Lucas shook his head. “I don’t know. I spend all this time, recruiting, desperately looking for someone to fill the position. I finally find a candidate who fits the bill. They accept the offer, go through training. Then, just as they are beginning to get the hang of things, they decide to move to Phoenix. I have to start all over, looking for someone. It’s like a vicious cycle.”

“So, what are you going to do?” I asked.

“Back to the beginning, put another job posting out there, talk to HR, contact a couple of recruiters. I seem to spend all my time looking for someone, I can’t get any of my other work done,” he complained.

“Sounds like a short term fix,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Lucas wanted to know.

“Finding someone, it’s just a short term fix,” I repeated. “Lucas, you’re a manager. In your role, we need you to think ahead, anticipate. Finding someone to work on your team is a short term fix. What would be a long term fix? If you knew that the best technician on your team was going to quit next June, what would you do, now?”

“Well, if I had that much time,” Lucas began to think, “I could be much more selective about who I brought on to the team. I might step up the training of the other team members to see if one of them could step into the lead role. Heck, if I could get one of my current guys to step up, I could bring on a couple of entry-level interns to back-stop the rest of the team. I would probably start a cross-training program, so that next June, when my best technician leaves, it’s not such a big deal.”

“Now, you are thinking about a long term fix. I would get started today, because, I guarantee, between now and next June, you are going to lose a team member.”

Kristen’s Recruiting System

Kristen put away the behavior profile. “Okay, you’re not going to look at this. You want a role description. But you want more than a role description, you really want a system?”

“Yes, a system,” I replied. “Let’s sketch out these elements, put each element into a circle, then put arrows between each circle, to indicate the workflow. You may add and take away elements as we go along. This picture will represent your system.

  • Identify the work
  • Identify the necessary roles to do the work
  • Identify the necessary roles to make sure the work gets done
  • Assemble a role description, broken into Key Result Areas, including tasks, goals and level of work
  • Create ten questions specific to each Key Result Area (6 Key Result Areas = 60 written questions)
  • Write a Job posting
  • Resume review
  • Screening phone calls
  • Telephone interviews
  • Face to Face interviews
  • Skills Testing
  • Selection Matrix
  • Reference checks
  • Background checks
  • The Offer
  • Drug Testing
  • Offer (confirmation)
  • Orientation
  • Training
  • Task assignment
  • Assessment
  • Training (more)
  • Career path, development program

“Now we have documented the steps in your recruiting system. What’s next?”

A Manager’s Most Important Decision

“But I am busy,” protested Byron. “How am I going to find time to read resumes?”

“Schedule it. You need to be thinking, each and every day about your team and what would happen if any of them needed to make a change. Your most important function as a manager is personnel and recruiting. In fact, if that is all you ever did, was to build a high performance team, and then walked in front of a bus, at your funeral, I would describe you as one of our greatest managers. Because you left behind, a high performing team that could carry on.”

“It’s that important?” Byron tested.

“Top priority. The most important decision every manager makes, whether it’s recruiting or delegating, is ‘who?’ All other decisions are secondary.”
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I call this catch up week. Our current online program, Hiring Talent, kicked off Orientation last week. Still time to catch up. Find out more here.