Hiring Your Next Leader
A national company was on the hunt for their next Executive. They were looking for someone with very specific traits, traits that we have identified as correlating to success in this organization. They also needed to diversify their search in order to find candidates who would not normally be part of their target candidate pool.
In looking for their next C-Level the current Executive team knew they could not trust the search to traditional Executive Search firms; nor would they pay the high fees associated with those firms.
Challenge: How do you source and recruit new Executive talent, on a National scale, that targets the right personality traits and helps to build a candidate pool of future leaders within the organization?
As soon as the departure of the current Executive in the role was announced, we were in contact with the COO planning this Executive Search project. Our process began by spending a few hours with key stakeholders within the organization to truly understand the profile of their next Executive. We scheduled, filmed and edited a video of the COO describing the role and who they were looking for to be their next leader. We designed and launched one of our Experience Pages for the role. We completed all of this in less than a week. The Experience Page was the key marketing tool for the search, telling the story of this role in the context of the entire organization. This is a page that has been easily shared by all employees to their various social and professional networks.
In parallel to the above efforts, we began sourcing candidates immediately – many of whom we had existing relationships with through our previous blog, JobberTechTalk. Upon sourcing and pre-screening candidates, we presented them, in our Candidate Portal, to the current Executive in charge of the search for easy administration.
Prior to the official launch of the search, key leadership was brought together to review the final job description and strategy. All gave a very excited approval to our approach.
This solution was entirely project-based, not fee-based, a key data point in the decision to use Jobber Group as opposed to a traditional Executive Search firm.
Within two weeks of officially launching the job description and the Experience Page, this organization had received approx. 400 applications. By the end of the search, there had been almost 600 applications submitted. Out of this one search, not only was a candidate selected for the role, but another candidate was selected for a new role this organization decided to create based on the quality of the two candidates. 2-for-1 as they say! One year later both leaders are still hard at work helping to shape the future of this organization!
While many applicants were not a fit for this Executive role, they could potentially be a fit for future leadership roles within the organization. An effort is now underway to continue to engage this candidate pool that in some way has resonated with the story and the message that we have delivered. The goal is to stay connected, build a community and foster future leaders.
Jobber has completed many similar leadership search projects, including finding a new CEO for a technology cooperative company, a City Attorney for a local Colorado municipality, and a VP, Operations for a school bus company.
Double Your Team Without Attrition
Upon receiving mid-round funding to meet the demands of client’s needs for product improvements and enhancements, an emerging tech company sought to double their engineering team in order to deliver. Goals were set high and the timeline was short. For this small, successful and close-knit engineering team, joining them meant more than the required skills. Leaders and team members wanted to meet and screen for the right-fit talent.
Challenge: How do you source, screen and interview enough candidates in one month to net eight qualified and right-fit employees?
Our process began by spending a few hours with key stakeholders within the organization as well as key team members of the engineering team. Through discovery exercises and analysis, an authentic employer brand was uncovered. Validated by a company-wide survey asking a simple question – Why would you refer someone to work here? – the answers provided a clear story about why employees chose to work at this company, a story we could tell candidates. Next, the company needed to define their talent profile to maximize recruiting efforts. With a clear Why Story and target talent profile, the company was armed to break through the competitive landscape of IT staffing.
Passive, and active, pre-screened candidates were invited to a meet-and-greet with the company’s leaders and members of the engineering team. Having it late in the afternoon on a weekday at the company’s location allowed for a friendly setting for candidates to confirm their desire to be a part of the company culture, as well as for current team members to be involved and converse with potential coworkers. Most importantly, the hiring event fast-tracked the first round of interviews for hiring managers and leadership. In addition, an online candidate portal was created to simplify and accelerate the candidate review and selection process. No more digging through emails to find resumes or information.
Twenty-five active and passive candidates attended the hiring event. Eight candidates received offers and all accepted. To date, two years later, more than half met or exceeded the retention goals for this company.
Hiring Alignment and Quantifying “Gut-Feeling” Hiring
Executives of a national company lacked confidence in how their organization was engaging and hiring the right talent. Disparate hiring processes and candidate experiences were leaving misinformation in the candidate marketplace about this company as an employer.
Opportunely, the company had recently identified an authentic Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and talent Persona. The company needed to deliver consistent interviewing and hiring experiences, as well as measure candidates against KPIs. In addition, a tactical execution was needed to use the new Persona information among HR personnel, recruiters and hiring managers.
Challenge: How do you scale and deliver consistency in “gut-feeling” hiring?
How does the company use Persona information among all constituents? In addition, a standard way of quantifying the talent Persona was needed to scale and operationalize the “gut feeling” hiring that managers were replacing.
A digital platform was built to share key Persona and EVP information for hiring. The platform included the Persona, trait-based interview questions, and answer scoring guidelines – allowing for the “gut-feeling” to be standardized and measured. Measurement of current high performing employees created a baseline that is used to compare against candidates to predict if they will 1) be a right-fit employee and 2) be a high performer.
A Hiring Advisory Committee (HAC) was created to build an internal team of champions to ensure the success of the initiative and build ownership. Best practices, areas of improvement, recommendations, and strategic opportunities were discussed, agreed upon and executed on by employee champions.
Candidates now have a consistent experience in-line with the company’s EVP and talent Persona. Interviewing systems were standardized and replaced the “gut-feelings.” Executives now have measuring capabilities and a baseline to help predict if a candidate will be a high performer. Since implementing the platform, 235 people have been hired. Year-end data will be analyzed in Fall of 2018.
Employer Market Reputation
A Fortune 500 company’s talent pool was controlled by Glassdoor’s poor reviews. The unique culture of the company’s IT department was lost among dissatisfied former employees who had different workplace values. With a new location opening, a solid talent strategy was needed to guide recruiting efforts and overcome market hiring obstacles.
When candidates would agree to an interview, their experience was lengthy, extensive and failed to engage. Qualified candidates were being lost in the process and hired to competitors.
Challenge: How do you hire for a new office when your employer reputation is turning qualified candidates away from engaging in the hiring process?
In addition, the company and this department had an assumption of the ideal candidate that would be attracted to the urban location but nothing to validate their assumption.
Building an authentic Employer Value Proposition and Talent Persona were needed to direct the efforts of recruiting and pave new perceptions for the employer in the marketplace. A number of discovery exercises and data collecting surveys and interviews were conducted to narrow down values and motivations of current employees. Insight and understanding about high performer’s experiences and reasons for being loyal employees were validated.
All the discovery efforts proved to be extremely valuable as the preconceived idea of the target employee for the new location varied greatly with the validated information from research and discovery. Messaging changed from fringe benefits and perks to workplace values and motivations.
A new digital strategy complete with a specific hiring landing page shared the authentic EVP and traits of right-fit candidates. The new office hiring goal was met with a 100 new hires in the first year after successfully opening the new location. Messaging for right-fit candidates was established and validated for future hiring needs.
Retention in Sales
Uncontrolled retention, high on-boarding and hiring costs and lack of hiring consistency were concerning for Executives of a national company looking to scale.
Retention for sales and services disciplines was at an all-time low, 3-6 months. Talent was leaving just after the training period, resulting in high costs per loss of this talent. Using what little hiring data they had, the current talent strategy was to plan for attrition of 300 employees by hiring 800 to retain 500.
No standard job description, no candidate experience, no method of measurement and no standard process paved the way for candidate expectations to meet disappointment resulting in the high number of terminations both voluntary and involuntary in just a few months after starting.
Challenge: How can per hire costs be lowered, as well as retain employees once trained?
Examining unintended consequences of a poor talent strategy and hiring processes was necessary for defining the new process and strategy. Every aspect of attracting talent and the candidate experience was examined as well as data around offers and start dates. The current process entailed minimal screening and often hiring managers were making offers on the spot.
The organization needed to change the hiring mindset of “We can train anyone to be successful” to “Let’s hire people who are coachable.” Instead of trying to attract 800 people to retain 500, efforts were focused on attracting 600 right-fit candidates from the beginning.
Attracting the right talent included new job descriptions, a career’s website consistent with the company’s EVP and Persona, and a defined candidate experience. An interview platform created consistency among all hiring managers and locations to evaluate candidates against high performers’ Persona match.
The company is now attracting better-fit candidates, making less offers but retaining more talent. Ten hiring process inefficiencies were identified and resolved, and five disparate interviewing systems were centralized. The first three hires from the new candidate experience and hiring process improvements are now top performers in their location.
Action While Planning – Implementing A Career Accelerator Program
A growing company with several recent mergers and acquisitions sought to make up lost time when their current talent acquisition strategy was shuffled in ownership, but the milestone deadlines remained unchanged. In one month, the Executives required a complete career accelerator program strategy and the first stage complete.
Goals for the Career Acceleration initiative were to mitigate and manage employee turnover, improve succession planning, support a goal to promote 10% of employees per quarter, foster diversity and inclusion, and enable geographic office consolidation.
Challenge: How can a company meet their talent goals today while simultaneously implementing a talent strategy for future growth and business excellence?
Jobber Group began current state discovery and fact-finding immediately. A group of employees from multiple departments hypothesized to be the right type of employees for career acceleration was analyzed for Persona traits, values, and motivations. A Persona was built for immediate use in sourcing, recruiting and hiring the right-fit talent, as well as the identification of career acceleration candidates within the organization.
Concurrently with discovery, Jobber Group worked closely with company representatives to plan and implement strategies that aligned with overall organizational goals. Future candidates would be measured in the interview process based on specific traits identified in discovery and defined in the Persona. These traits are then tested in correlation to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of high performers from each department. Once hired, these employees would be placed on projects within departments for immediate contribution to the business, as well as on-boarded and trained throughout the first 12 months.
A gamification element was proposed with opportunities to learn different areas of the business each month. Management and subject matter expert (SME) paths were drafted for technical, sales, and finance departments.
A Career Accelerator Program Strategy and Implementation plan were delivered with immediate resources to start building the talent pool for the program. The Persona defined in discovery was ready to use in messaging for sourcing and recruiting, and the interview question and scoring methodology was operationalized via the Jobber Group Interview platform. Executives were briefed on the strategy on the target completion date and it was approved with very minimal change.