Tweaking traditional hiring approaches for future readiness!
As the world around us rapidly changes & the organizations relook at their BAU approaches, be it sales, marketing, operations, IT, supply chain or us, in the human resources domain, this is the time to experiment with whatever we have had been keeping on the back burner for later adoption. Now is the time, to introduce those new initiatives or tweak those BAUs, and become better, in small yet incremental steps, but rather quickly !
Today, there is not a single function, or a role, that has not been impacted by the ongoing pandemic crisis. While some of us may not have been impacted as much as others, the necessity remains for all of us, to stay ahead of what may potentially come. 9 months into the crisis and we all have been able to depart from our traditional practices to a certain extent and work efficiently with the replaced ones. As part of skilling for future and the organizational readiness charter, our talent management strategies also need to be approached differently, with recruitment being a key differentiator – whether engaging with an external talent pool or mobilising the internal talent pool. Simply by re-defining BAUs too, we can have a successful tomorrow, that we have been envisioning for long now.
Settling in with the evolved hiring practices, has been a bumpy ride so far, but nonetheless, what can be re-imagined, should be re-imagined. This will prepare us with a future ready workforce for an uncertain tomorrow. Not only is this the right time to experiment, succeed or learn alternatively, but also is the time, when the adoption and adaptation of new practices would comparatively be easier, given we all have become far more adaptive & resilient by now !
So, what can possibly be re-defined ? This would purely be guided by market, industry & organization specific contexts, combined with the work and the workforce requirements at our end.
- Diversity In Talent Pool – Our job descriptions need to be worded in a manner that they are inclusive of different segments of the available talent pool, such as females, LGBTQ, differently abled & the other underrepresented segments of our society too. Their inclusion in the hiring process would facilitate capitalisation of their strengths and would help organizations evaluate alternative thought processes, sift through those approaches and discover the best fitment, in the process. Other industries, functions & roles that can be potential fitments, must also be encouraged to be hired from, for diversity of self-contribution to top line, can stump the traditionalist approaches, as many credible researches suggest. All these different segments should be evaluated fairly, through assessments and structured or unstructured interviews. Not only can this foster creative thinking in the team, for which the role is being hired for, but also, would broaden the horizon for an outside in approach, which can also lead to superior performance results. Often with diverse teams, groupthink tendency gets challenged and the status quo disrupted, for the focus now moves to finding innovative solutions, than re-packaging the old ideas !
- Building Brand Equity As An Employer – Every single step in the hiring process is an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate the employer on individually differentiated aspects and the personal values, with which the s/he truly identifies. The candidate should be able to see his/her career alignment with respect to their own aspirations too. Be it the ease of applying to the role or being offered for the role, the candidate, closely watches us and is usually not vocal about his/her opinions. As an employer, we need to figure out the touchpoints, where we can make a positive, long-lasting impact, without over emphasizing or down-playing certain aspects of the role, team, function & the organization. For example, keeping candidates informed at every step of the process goes a long way in building trust with them and positively re-enforcing the brand. One of the biggest pain areas and also the meme generating touchpoint in a candidate’s journey is the ubiquitous statement that we all dole out heartily – We will get back. Given our Indian value system of not saying a No directly, often diminishes the human resources functions’ credibility in the process. We must instil a system, wherein, every candidate knows that s/he has been rejected and can / cannot re-apply / be re-considered later, be it through the ATS generated mailer or through a manual mail. To go a step forward, we must also share detailed feedback with candidate/s, for developmental purposes – more so, if the candidate seeks it. The idea is to create a meaningful and a memorable experience for the candidate and not just carry out a well-meaning process!
- Keep It Short & Simple – The entire, end to end hiring process may be time consuming, given the genuine unavailability of leadership & managers. The key however, remains to be, to keep the candidate informed of the number of rounds, tentative scheduling of meetings, kind of interactions, psychometric assessments, the assignments to be done, & most importantly, the delays. Parallelly, stakeholders must also be aligned, to mobilise them for quick response & closures. A simple infographic, mentioning the business impact of the delay being caused, can go a long way in expediting the different steps in the process. This approach works better than chasing managers for interview scheduling, as the latter process does not put the right information in perspective ! Also, with the growing widespread adoption of virtual platforms for interviews, the entire hiring process time, by design, has been shortened. And with greater flexibility to manage professional & personal lives better, by working from home, the process time reduces even further. We should be able to institutionalize learnings from these practices and make the entire process more enjoyable, rather than it being stressful for both sides.
- Bringing In Complete Transparency – Not being completely transparent is a very easy & a lucrative trap to get entangled in. Endeavouring to close open positions at the earliest and to show hiring done within TAT, may seem to be an efficient way out, but more often than not, this quick closure approach does more harm than any good. What is not realised in the process, is that not only the recruiter’s credibility takes a hit, but you also get a disgruntled employee from day 0, or maybe, a joinee dropout or maybe, even an early exit. The recruiter, either as part of the recruitment team or the HRBP or the talent management team, needs to understand the big picture and see for themselves how their actions / inactions can lead to disastrous results. At some point or the other, all of us have heard of stories of not being told of the role in black or white or not being transparent with compensation details or being over promised of a time bound promotion / bonus or an incorrect performance linked incentive. Therefore, the focal point must remain to be – how to plug those communication gaps and reward the recruiter, for efficiency of hiring and not just the efficiency of hiring. More so in current times, when almost every aspect of hiring has gone virtual !
- Communicating Organizational Values & The Culture – We will have to get innovative and assume that the box doesn’t exist, while we figure out this aspect and make an actual impact. The candidate must be able to comprehend & not just read/know of organizational values and culture as text. S/he should be able to see alignment of their own personal values with that of the organization and make a conscious decision of applying for the role. Every touchpoint in the hiring process, should highlight and present various aspects of culture, that make the candidate excited for the role. In these times, when many have been laid off, furloughed & are looking for jobs, many candidates will apply for jobs, to find a means for living, rather than being truly interested in the job. The key is to convert even these candidates into enthusiasts for the roles that they are applying for. This would require much hard work, combined with conscious display of appropriate behaviours, at every touchpoint.
Some of us may be doing different aspects of these in bits and pieces but the success would truly be achieved in implementing these in a structured manner and creating a well thought out candidate experience journey. This would also require alignment with the leadership team, buy-in from the managers and engaging & empowering the recruiters appropriately. The value that this structure would bring on board, should be emphasised upon, rather than just the benefit or advantages of following it !