HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

Has “normal business hours” become a thing of the past? These days, I rarely meet anyone who almost immediately following waking up in the morning, wont grab their phone from the bedside to check their email, or who considers their nights to be personal or family time, which not so long ago seemed the norm. What is it about modern day issues and work problems that are more important than those that we were facing years ago that can’t wait until the next day? Or is it a simple case that our ability to prioritize is being depleted due to such ease of systems access which allows many organisations’ staff to turn any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device into a make-shift work station?

I’m as guilty as the next person of the late night emails and struggling to switch off but I’m one of the lucky ones who enjoys what I do enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore. What about those who aren’t as lucky and feel like they don’t have the pressure release of being able to go home and un-wind?

Human nature dictates that if we get too used to something, it becomes habitual and we begin to expect it. This being the case, if this isn’t carefully managed, how long will it be before being “switched on” at all times is an expected part of a job as opposed to it being a sign of an engaged and happy employee who will strive to go above and beyond any contractual obligations? Don’t get me wrong, the huge emphasis which these days is placed on interoperability and mobility of internal systems of course is a great thing and phenomenal feat in technology advancement but with it comes the potential for more risk, more pressure and more un-happy staff if it is not managed well.

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HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

Recruitment: Why the long……….process?

What’s with the long, arduous multi-stage recruitment processes that seem to be increasingly common place these days? When chatting to job seekers I find that a 6 stage (or more) recruitment process that may incorporate psychometric testing, multiple technical tests, cultural evaluations, competency based screening (to name a few), is nothing out of the ordinary and I can’t help but wonder if it’s necessary?

Has the length, rigorousness or even quirkiness of a company’s recruitment process become a marketing tool to tell the world that what lies beyond this extensive screening must be worth all the work and effort put in?

I believe that in this day and age we should be striving to create efficiencies, thus not being on-board with what seems to me to be an in-efficient waste of time. The only thing I believe you can be certain of after a 6-8 stage process is just how keen the candidate is on the position/company given the willingness to stick around for that long. I don’t believe that you will gain any more of an in-sight into their suitability to the position, over a well put together 2 stage interview process where the questioning is intelligent, relevant to the role and type of person you are looking to hire, which may or may not include a specific skills based test. Specific preparation is key!

Recruitment: Why the long……….process?

What is an expert?

During our working lives, almost by default, we look at the long tenured staff members in our organisations with reverence. We see them as professionals to look up to, fountains of knowledge and information, given the years of service. Quite rightly so. In that time, they must have learned a fair amount about the industry in which they operate. But surely having 10, 15, 20 years of experience in an industry doesn’t constitute immediate ‘expert status’?

In my opinion, it’s the breadth of experience you have in your chosen skill-set that will differentiate you. Let’s take the recruitment industry for example. Recruitment isn’t the type of industry that has one clear cut way to do things that’s considered “correct” and does not follow a specific formula or set of rules. Success in recruitment will come from tackling a range of recruitment challenges in your career and the way in which you handle them, along with the experience you gain from them. The length of time in an industry can of course ensure a certain depth of knowledge in one or a number of things and in my opinion, I would put a higher value in less depth of knowledge of 10 recruitment challenges learned over 20 years, than 20 years of experience facing one recruitment challenge.

It’s the age old “1 year of experience 10 ways, or 10 years of experience 1 way” adage. I believe the most successful recruiters who can legitimately call themselves experts fall into the “1 year of experience 10 ways” group. We operate in an industry where our skill-set is not an exact science. It will be our adaptability and ability to be agile in our approach when grasping the intricacies of any given talent acquisition problem, (whether it’s internal or agency, large enterprise or SME, volume or not etc.) and offering expertise on efficient and effective ways to manage it based on previous experience, that will genuinely ensure the worthiness of the reverence you will receive.

What is an expert?

Organisational risk of the Peter Principle

The Peter Principle is a concept inwhich the selection of a candidate for a position is based on their performance in their current role rather than on their abilities relevant to the intended role. The business then of course running the risk of promoting someone until they are in a role in which they under-perform. How do we avoid this?

From an HR perspective, the risk associated with the Peter Principle can be negated simply taking on-board the direction that an employee wishes to take their career, as opposed to promoting a staff member according to the company organisational structure only. Of course this doesn’t mean that we place less importance on the business objectives, because of course these are very important also – What it does mean that we should be using far more foresight when hiring and aiming to align someone’s key professional growth objectives with the organisational goals as much as possible.

When we align an employee’s growth plan with organisational objectives, both parties stand to reap the benefits and in turn minimise risk. The employee is given the opportunity to achieve their professional goals and grow their knowledge and experience in the areas that the business requires that skill/experience which of course limits the likelihood of poor performance.

Recruitment needs to become less reactionary (where possible) and more forward thinking and strategic. In doing so, employees will note that you have their best interests in mind along with other commercial interests, and this in turn – in most cases, will be reciprocated in the form of staff being engaged, driven and committed to achievement, all whilst managing potential future risk.

Organisational risk of the Peter Principle

Competency or Experience?

We recruiters and HR professionals are lucky enough to be able to interview and interact with all levels of professional, which I believe to be one of the most alluring and enjoyable parts of what we do. This also means that depending on your interview questioning, we are made privy almost on a daily basis to information pertaining to the hiring and firing habits of other organisations that many professionals have interviewed at or have been employed by before.

A few days ago I met with a candidate for a position we were looking to fill. We discussed his background, what got him into IT, a little about the role we were looking to fill and then we went on to discuss an experience he had during a recruitment process that resonated with me. I thought I’d share it as I’m curious to know how common it is. He described a scenario where he knew 100% that he was capable of doing everything required in a position he applied for. He ensured he knew as much as possible about the remit of the future successful candidate so as to be sure that he was prepared for the interview. He was so sure of this role being the position he wanted in order to take his career on is ideal career path and was even more convinced that he was more than capable of doing it, even if it was a step up. More-over, when he described the role to me and we discussed his skills, approach, style of working, style of management and stakeholder management ability, I was completely convinced too of his ability to bring great value to the position. He went to the interview, he had a well-structured and strong answer for each of the questions asked and realised that even after a discussion with the team from the prospective employer, he had exactly the right idea of what would have been expected of him. He didn’t get the job. The reason he was given is that he hadn’t been in a role at the same level in the past and therefore it was deemed that he was not the “right fit”.

Frankly, I find it quite worrying when thinking back over discussions with many people over the years, the amount of interviewers/organisations that are scared to make a hire based on the candidate not having had exact experience in a position, instead of going down a line of screening deep enough to find out if someone has all the necessary skills to do it. We work in an age where every organisation wants to use buzzwords of being “evolutionary”, “agile” and “dynamic” to describe themselves but when it comes to their recruitment practises, it seems many are still archaic and not willing to go the extra mile to dig deep and find the true gems of talent that cannot be found by reading interview questions off of a script. The professionals that are going to shape our tomorrow are the professionals that don’t think like the masses of today. How far you are from the outcomes that you are working towards or the goals you are looking to achieve will not change by looking back to the way things have been done before. To quote Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”.

Competency or Experience?