Your People Systems get the right people into the right places within your organization.
In every organization, success starts (and sometimes stops) with your People. We’ve all experienced the magic that happens when the right person finds themselves in the right role. They flourish. They create value and impact everyone around them. At the same time, many of us have experienced the pain that occurs when you get the wrong person in a position. They struggle. They create chaos and impact everyone around them.
How can we systematically get the right people in the right places? It starts by bringing in the right people for your organization via your Hiring Process.
Sometimes we encounter organizations who really struggle with hiring the right people. The most common mistake is to not spend enough time, energy and focus on the hiring process. When organizations hire, obviously they are in need of extra help, so spending time to do it right can be very difficult because people are busy. This is compounded when you get a slug of candidates who are poorly qualified. It's easy to get “hiring fatigue” and start to hire people who are less than ideal fits.
The problem is that bringing in the wrong people creates problems on your team. These problems negatively impact your culture. When potential candidates look at your job openings, 72% of them will reach out to someone who already works for you to find out what your team is like. If your team is struggling with the wrong people, the best candidates will often not apply, leaving you feeling even more fatigued and likely to take shortcuts. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.
Healthy hiring systems take the time to attract and vet the right candidates. At People Centric, a new employee will go through 4 or 5 interviews before they are hired onto our team. Our mindset is always to run the hiring process as long as it takes to find the right person and to only hire if we are extremely confident we’ve found the person.
We are also very aware that our Hiring Process is our first opportunity to share our culture with potential team members and the outside world. It’s not about making everyone happy, but we believe that our hiring process should highlight our values as a company. We like candidates who make it deep into the process, but do not get the job, to know why they didn’t get the position. We’ve had some unsuccessful candidates thank us for the process and become friends of the company because they learned about themselves.
When you start a new job, how long does it take you to get an impression of what it's going to be like? Studies show that new hires form the most lasting impression of their new employer within the first hour, the first day, and the first week of their employment.
A common problem is that organizations don’t deliberately design the onboarding experience. The person arrives to work and doesn’t know where to park or where to go. The person they are supposed to meet hasn’t arrived yet and they are asked to sit and wait. The person is flooded with HR paperwork. The workspace isn’t ready. The new employee is quickly greeted by their boss who is rushing off to another meeting. They are quickly introduced to coworkers who are busy and usually pawned off to one who does their best to start showing them the ropes.
This non-deliberate onboarding process essentially trains the employee that chaos is normal and sends a signal that their work really isn’t that important.
Great companies have a great onboarding process. They welcome the employee before they even start answering questions and give them clear directions about their first day at work. When someone new starts at People Centric, I always make sure the employee spends their first hour with me. I start by telling the person why we hired them and what I think they can do for our team. I share with them the Mission of our team and our Values so that they can start to see the bigger picture. We have their workspace all set up with a handwritten welcome card signed by our team members. We organize a team lunch so we can just hang out and get to know each other. We give the new employee a welcome packet that includes a checklist and schedule so they can see what they will need to learn and what resources are available. We schedule regular meetings with the new employee to check in and make sure they are getting their questions answered (daily in the first week, weekly for the first month, then monthly for the first quarter).
Getting the right person into the right role involves two components: the person and the role. Your hiring process should work to ensure a good match, but if you haven’t designed the roles effectively, the person you need may not exist.
I worked with an organization who was hiring an office manager after having several unsuccessful people come and go in the position. When I asked about the position and what it entailed, the owner of the company gave me a long list of responsibilities which included bookkeeping, management of staff, design work, marketing strategy, customer service, and even some cold calling. What person could possibly be successful in all of these roles?! First of all, what does this person’s day-to-day look like, jumping between all of these radically different tasks? Second, what person could possibly perform well in each of these functions?
Good role design involves thinking about what the organization needs and matching this with reasonable roles that would match real people. It asks “what type of person would be good at this job?”, which informs the hiring process. Would a successful candidate be a visionary leader or a detail-oriented task master? Is the right person an outgoing individual who never met a stranger or someone who prefers to work alone? We need different types of people in our organizations to make us successful. Your role design should reflect that, not penalize people for not being great at everything.
For a better idea of how these systems work together, check out our High Performance Culture page or download our eBook on the impact of a High Performance Culture. In the coming weeks, we will be addressing Communication, Management, Process, and Strategy in more detail.
As part of a series of articles, I am creating an overview of the five sets of systems within our Cultural Framework. This Framework helps you keep a high-level perspective on how systems can work together to help you drive a culture that both empowers and aligns your team. The five sets of systems in our Framework include People, Communication, Management, Process, and Strategy. Your People Systems get the right people into the right places within your organization.