Design thinking for recruitment & workforce development
Design Thinking systematically helps an HR professional understand the problems by segmenting a prominent problem and analyzing the smaller bits (portions). These smaller fragments enable one to focus on each problem separately and come up with coherent solutions that can be applied practically. The idea of using Design Thinking in a corporate structure including the HR function is to tackle larger issues systematically in smaller portions, leaving no loophole unplugged.
One of the key stakeholders, also an ambassador of the company, is the employee. Hence, hiring the right employee can impact the perceptive image of an organization, either positively or negatively. A major predicament masked as a trivial one that many companies face and often overlook while managing the incoming and existing talent pool. HR professionals are constantly looking for solutions to overcome the hurdle of talent management.
To a layman, talent management may be all about recruiting the right employee. But, this is far from reality. It deals with wider responsibilities including retaining employees, nurturing new skills (upskilling), enhancement of performances and rewarding employees, to name a few. Talent management aims at building the impeccable employee experience and aligning them with the organization’s vision and mission. If we look at talent management as a single monolithic issue, we will not find a solution that plugs the problem and is cost and time efficient.
Talent management can be broken into two main problems -- Hiring and Workforce Development.
HIRING - Is there a right or wrong way?
A major challenge that HR professionals always overlook or seem to think they have under control is that of hiring the right person for the right job. This conflict is largely visible during mass recruitments by IT companies where they embark to hire engineers from any stream regardless of the job role. A mechanical engineering graduate is chosen for the role of coding in IT companies which disregards the needs of the job role. This usually ends with companies infusing additional resources in training these candidates to develop their technical adroitness. In such cases, these employees don’t have an acute mental acquisitiveness in the avocation and this decreases their efficiency, thus affecting their output.
As an HR professional, it becomes necessary for them to assess candidates scientifically using experiential assessments. This not only examines the technological prowess of an aspirant but also their aptitude for the role. Aptitude plays a vital role in assessing the longevity of an employee in the organization along with the compatibility with their peers.
Most recruiters use the simple method of ‘gut feeling hires’, wherein, recruiters analyze candidates based on a performance matrix during the stages of evaluation. Many a time, upon a single meeting, HR personnel decide on hiring candidates based on their instincts and backed by no rationality. This is one of the major reasons why companies land a huge number of bad hires. A bad hire costs the organization a ‘humongous amount’ of resources in training and subsequently in retaining the bad hire. To eliminate such gut hiring, companies need to use experiential assessment tests. A candidate is assessed based on a given case study that is related to a given role. The candidate's ability to answer the case study assesses the technical understanding and problem-solving abilities.
There needs to be in place a scientific methodology for hiring employees that encompasses aptitude tests, psychometric tests, and employability tests to judge their suitability for hiring. Recruiters must try to obviate the possibility of making a bad hire as effectively as possible by tweaking their existing hiring models with the aid of the latest technologies at their disposal.
The IT industry’s workforce's needs have been disrupted by automation of most work processes. Organizations now only hire what they need and it’s seen that in the past five years the trend is to hire people with proficiency in IoT, AI and Machine Learning.
Tweaking the existing workforce
Companies can set out on their journey with a small team of youthful high-energy employees, but they often end up showing lethargy over a period. HR professionals’ responsibilities go much beyond recruitment; they need to assess the employees ad nauseam. This will help them understand the issues faced by the employees, including any job dissatisfaction, problems within their team, monotony etc. A side-effect of this could be a decline in performance and output of a company which could ultimately result in an employee proving to be a misfit in a role and be an unhappy employee.
To ensure the growth of the company, it is imperative that employers apportion resources for augmenting the inherent skills of the employees. HRs must cite the employees who show potential and imbue additional skills like leadership or other skills in them to fit the different roles. They need to guide and motivate employees towards a positive trajectory, not just from the organization’s perspective, but also on a personal front. Employee enhancement programmes will ensure a positive brand image.
Design Thinking in HR is the new-age talisman in today’s business world as it can protect them from not taking steps that would otherwise cost the company dear. Any wrong step during hiring or training can often spell disaster. As HR, it’s the primary aim to enhance the productivity of the organization and its personnel where happy employees translate into a progressive organization.