I remember seeing a cartoon depicting a couple in the southern US, watching TV in a cluttered living room, strewn with beer cans, newspapers, and laundry. The wife hangs up the phone and says, “Paw, put on a shirt and straighten up the front room. Company’s comin’!”
If the momentum of a slow recovery pans out, with the attendant moderate uptick in hiring whose prediction was reported last week in USA Today, then a lot of employers will need to put on their shirts and straighten up the front room, because for the first time in years, company is sure enough comin’ through the HR office, the metaphorical “front room” of most organizations.
A December 1, 2010 article by Andrea Davis, in Employee Benefit News, reports that with hopes of at least a modest recovery, up to 60% of high-performing employees are eyeing plans to leave their organizations in 2011. That remains to be seen, of course, but what’s certain is that there’s lots of pent-up desire to seek greener pastures, and a more robust hiring picture will certainly open the gates for those who may feel abused and taken for granted during hard times.
If you’re planning to ramp up your hiring after a hiatus, it may be wise to do a checkup on your intake process, remembering that your reputation as an employer has everything to do with the caliber of your applicants. Some (no, lots of) organizations have become sloppy, cocky, and arrogant in how they treat potential new hires, reasoning that the labor supply/demand imbalance gives them the upper hand. They’ve apparently forgotten that every applicant represents a window, with a mouth, into the character of their organization.
If you know an organization like that (wink, wink, nod, nod), here’s a checklist you might want to send them anonymously:
- Do we have enough HR staff to handle an increased workload without botching the job or burning themselves out?
- Is the HR staff sufficiently trained in all aspects of their jobs, especially those who will be conducting interviews?
- Does the professionalism and consideration with which we treat job applicants accurately reflect the way we treat our employees?
- Do we treat every interviewee as we would a guest in our home?
- Who – or what – is making decisions to take applicants to the next step? Do real humans have input at every point? Or are we letting software determine who gets to play on the team?
- How well do we communicate with applicants? Do we let them know, in a timely and professional way, that they’re out of the running? Or do we assume they’ll figure it out by our inaction?
- Are we looking for the right qualities? Things that really matter? Or are we stuck on irrelevant “qualifiers” that leave the best talent to the competition?
- Do those we don’t hire feel at least about 80% as good about us as those we do?
Richard Hadden (twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows) is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milk, and Contented Cows MOOve Faster, and the brand new book Rebooting Leadership. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.