Getting hiring right
When a promising hire fails to excel, it may be you, not them, that’s the problem.
Recruiting the best senior executive for your organisation can be a costly and time-consuming procedure. But just because you’ve put a lot of time into the hiring process, paid a hefty consultancy fee and put in place an attractive salary, it doesn’t mean you can just throw your new hire in at the deep end.
Many high-profile appointments fail because it’s assumed a senior hire should ‘earn their pay cheque’ and fend for themselves from day one.
It’s the wrong approach and often leaves companies having to jump right back on the recruitment treadmill, all while still trying to figure out what went wrong.
In this blog we look at the key areas you need to get right to ensure your hires have the best possible chance to make the impact you expect.
Managing (everyone’s) expectations
A lot of ‘hiring mistakes’ are explained away by candidates not ‘living up to expectations’. But sometimes it’s the employer who sets false expectations.
If the job description laid out in advance doesn’t align with reality, then the problem isn’t them, it’s you. Both the advertised role and your expectations in terms of results and progress must be crystal clear.
During the probation period, the new hire should have constant feedback – formally and informally – to measure them against agreed upon KPIs and goals. That way everyone knows where they are at all stages along the road.
Nothing is worse for a new hire to have no feedback until the day their probation ends and to then suddenly be told they have lots of areas to improve in, or – in the worst-case scenario – they haven’t performed to a satisfactory level. There should be no surprises.
Regular progress meetings are not only motivating, but they allow the new hire to get the support and advice they need to do their job and hit their targets.
Even the best need help onboarding
Taking a superstar from one football team and dropping them into another isn’t enough to guarantee success. Even extraordinary players need to learn their new team’s strategy and tactics, understand on-field calls and spend time jelling with colleagues.
It’s no different in business. A talented senior executive moving between organisations deserves focused support. From quirks of company culture to unique decision processes, it can take time to get a handle on things.
Have them spend time with different people and departments in the company – both before they start and in their early days. Keep them up to date on all aspects of the business and put them in front of customers.
Even senior staff may need a while to understand their environment before they can make the necessary changes to enhance things for everyone else.
As Richard Branson famously wrote, you should train people “well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they won’t want to”.
Have your house in order
Another common mistake around hiring is leaving the newcomer with a list of things to fix that should already be in place. Whether its personnel resources or problems with tools and tech, things that need fixing should ideally be done in advance. That way they can hit the ground running, not firefighting.
It goes back to the point about managing expectations. If you’ve sold them a Ferrari to drive, you can’t offer them the keys to a Robin Reliant.
Rewards are key
Paying a good salary is essential to get quality staff, but there’s more to motivation than just monthly pay cheques.
If you want someone to go above and beyond you need to incentivise them. Equity is one of the best motivators there is and a powerful way to recognise those making a significant impact on your company’s growth.
A good salary gets them in the door, but equity can keep them in the building. And if you’re a founder and CEO, you can’t worry if they earn more than you. If they are getting results, you can’t afford not to retain them. Don’t lose out because you feel you should be the highest paid. It’s short-term thinking.
Hiring is the beginning, not the end
The hiring process isn’t over when the candidate is offered a job. That’s the start. If you invest in new employees early and consistently offer them support, you will reap the rewards. It’s not about micromanaging, it’s about constructive support.
Not every hire will work out. But if you take this approach, your success ratio will reflect your attention to detail. And you’ll be able to hold your head high knowing you have done your part. Because, as with most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out.