BUILDING A BETTER APPROACH TO RECRUITMENT
In Part 1, we outlined the key problems that are making recruitment processes in many organisations less than effective and compromising the quality of the relationships between employees and organisations that are being established.
We detailed three problem areas that we have identified at Franklin-Hackett, in partnership with The Change Maker Group. So let’s go back to those three areas and take a brief look at what we need to do differently for each:
Contribution of the Role: It is incredibly easy to look at a role in isolation, or at best, merely within the context of the team to which it belongs. However, it is important to understand and articulate how the role contributes to the overall purpose of the organisation. If the organisation intends to make a particular impact in the world, how does the role support this?
Ensuring there is a clear and compelling link between the role and the organisation’s purpose helps with defining the role more clearly and providing candidates with clarity about what difference they will make when joining the organisation, helping them to decide whether they share the objective and wish to contribute.
Impact of the Role: Generally speaking, we define roles in terms of a Job Description and Person Specification. While these are useful, relying on these alone is limiting. The reason for this is there is a more significant aspect to any role which fundamentally governs how it will contribute to the organisation’s purpose. We express this as impact – the contribution required by the employee for success. We will talk about what this means in practice shortly.
Understanding what impact is needed to make the appropriate contribution to the organisation’s objectives allows you to provide candidates with clarity about the impact required, helping them to understand if the role allows them to make their preferred contribution.
Alignment of Motivations: Another key consideration often missed is the alignment of an individual’s motivations to those of the organisation. This is important because only 21% of employees agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. We will also talk more about this shortly.
Understanding the candidate’s motivating factors such as the kind of relationships they would prefer, the environment they wish to work in, their life aspirations and the type of activities that interest them allows both you and the candidate to identify if working within your organisation is likely to keep them motivated and support their life goals.
For the purposes of this article we will assume your organisation is capable of defining its purpose in the world and that you are therefore, able to address the first of those three problems. (If not, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.)
So in the spirit of being of maximum service we would like to focus on two areas that may be least familiar – Impact and Motivation.
Let’s start with Impact.
It’s important to realise that for years, we’ve been inadvertently ignoring a crucial aspect of a candidate’s offer – their impact. As it’s uncommon to measure or consider impact as part of the recruitment process, we should explain how it works.
Every individual on the planet has a built-in proclivity to do certain things, to make an impact. A person’s impact is their preferred package of contribution – how they like to make a difference, the effect they are driven to have in the heat of battle. Within this package, there are five key areas which are:
The Game Changer – Transforming the future (have great ideas)
The Strategist – Mapping the future (make sense of ideas)
The Implementer – Building the future (get things done)
The Polisher – Creating a future to be proud of (make things brilliant)
The Play Maker – Orchestrating the future (bring people together)
It’s important to point out that there’s a distinction between individuals who seek to make an impact through generating and evolving ideas (The Game Changer / The Strategist) and individuals who are focused on making an impact through carrying out tasks (The Polisher / The Implementer). Also, some individuals prefer to contribute through orchestrating relationships (The Play Maker).
This understanding of how impact works is the result of pioneering research by Dr John Mervyn-Smith - Chief Psychologist at The GC Index, Nathan Ott Chief Polisher at The GC Index and Adrian Furnham - Management Expert and Professor of Psychology at University College London. The language and framework for understanding how individuals make an impact that emerged from the research is known as The GC Index.
At Franklin-Hackett, we struggled for some time to measure people using traditional psychometric tests – we always felt we were missing something crucial, something that would allow us to really understand what difference they made. It turns out we were. The breakthrough insight of The GC Index is that there is a level of understanding of people beyond personality – which means we can now consider their proclivity, i.e. individual differences when it comes to making an impact to a role, team or organisation. This allows a far more nuanced understanding of the person, it means we can obtain real clarity about their essence – what they are driven to do.
There’s more. We said earlier that a person has a package of impact unique to them. What this means is their package of contribution will emphasise one or more of the 5 areas shown above and de-emphasise others. There will be a relationship between the dominant areas of impact which will affect the nuances of how the person makes their contribution. This then defines where they get their energy from when carrying out a role. If their package of impact doesn’t match what the role requires from them, they will feel disenfranchised, ineffective and frustrated.
What’s true here is that human beings strive to feel potent – that they’re making a positive difference. This is why making the impact for which they have a particular proclivity is so vital to an individual’s sense of wellbeing. Get the match right between their impact and the needs of the role and they are more likely to feel potent, engaged and enthusiastic.
So in summary, we’ve learned that the important actions to take in order to incorporate impact into your recruitment process are:
Understand the impact of the current team into which the new hire will be placed (we can help you to do this).
Identify gaps and determine what package of impact is required from the role in order to make the right contribution to the organisation’s purpose and to balance the impact of the existing team.
Consider what kind of actions a successful candidate with the right impact will take when manifesting that impact.
Build this insight into your role design and advertising material for your recruitment activity.
Assess your shortlisted candidates to establish their impact (we can help you to do this).
Ensure you give the shortlisted candidates the opportunity to manifest their impact during the assessment process.
Utilise the insight gained to inform your hiring decision.
Now let’s consider the second of the two areas - Motivation.
There are many reasons why employee motivation is important. Motivated employees are often more productive, happier and deliver better results than de-motivated employees. This seems obvious. It’s so obvious in fact, that many organisations embark on empowerment programmes and motivational activities of varying types, often to little effect.
The problem would appear to stem from a lack of understanding of what motivation is. It seems that we oversimplify employee motivation to the point where we define it as nothing more than “do they want to do the job?”. One of the things we’ve learned in our Group is that an individual’s motivation is rather more complex and can usually be broken down into four key areas:
As with Impact, each person will have a package of motivational drivers in and around these four areas. They may be consciously aware of what some or all of these motivations are, but quite often, they exist in their subconscious and are therefore difficult to draw out reliably.
We often miss this when recruiting and yet a person’s motivational drivers can make or break a working relationship. For example, the individual may feel that autonomy is important to them and yet the role requires them to work in a team under intense direction. Or perhaps, they identify high levels of social interaction in their relationships to be desirable for them, yet the role requires them to work in isolation for 80% of the time.
If we don’t look into these subtle but powerful motivating factors, we risk placing a candidate who has all the relevant on-paper credentials and the right impact into a situation where they still don’t fit.
For our part, in the past we’ve struggled to find a way to reliably assess an individual’s package of motivation. Because, as we said, much of an individual’s motivation is subconscious, we found we couldn’t rely on techniques such as questionnaires or interview questions to draw out the appropriate information. We also became frustrated with having no consistent language to define what motivated individuals.
The breakthrough here came from our colleague and founder of The Change Maker Group, Simon Phillips and Sue Wellman, both of whom are expert executive coaches and Organisational Change specialists.
They collated the most up-to-date research on what motivates and demotivates people and created a model based on the four key areas of Relationships, Environment, Activities and Life which allows an individual to identify their key motivating factors and prioritise them for each area. This model is called Motivate Cards.
Motivate Cards draws on all of the key works in the area of motivation including the likes of Maslow, Hertsberg and Pink and has been validated by Professor Charlotte Rayner -Professor Emeritus at Portsmouth Business School and leading expert on workplace motivation. To make it easy for us to put into practice, Simon and Sue have developed an app which presents an individual with a set of 12 cards which break down key statements for each of the four areas. The individual is then invited to sort the cards in a priority order, instinctively, to define what specific statements are important to them. They then repeat the process, but this time, sorting the cards based on how they feel these statements apply to their current experience. This then allows them and us to see the gaps between their desires and what they are experiencing in their current situation.
We’ve found that this process results in deep but accessible insight into an individual’s motivations, using language that makes understanding and comparison much easier. This sets up healthy, empathetic and open conversations with candidates for job vacancies about how the role may support the motivational areas that are important to them.
So in summary, we’ve learned that the important actions to take in order to incorporate motivation into your recruitment process are:
Understand the key motivational drivers of the candidate – what is affecting their decision-making? What are their aspirations? (we can help you to do this)
Consider how the candidate may derive some their important motivational drivers from their experience of performing the role and working within the organisation?
Consider whether there are conflicts between the candidate’s motivations and their likely experience in the role.
Ensure you give the shortlisted candidates the opportunity to discuss their motivational drivers open and honestly during the assessment process.
Utilise the insight gained to inform your hiring decision.
To round everything up then, we agree with Phillip Ullmann that focussing on relationships in our recruitment process is vital if we are to create working environments which support individuals in feeling potent and which allow them to make the impact they want to make while being true to themselves.
We’ve shown two new areas that any recruiter can begin to understand as part of their recruitment approach and which will drastically improve the quality of their hires, while forming the basis for truly exploring a mutually beneficial, empathetic and nurturing relationship between employer and employee, instead of ticking boxes and placing bums on seats.
It’s time we treated recruitment differently. It’s time we looked at people as people and focussed on building relationships between employee and organisation that are mutually beneficial and which ultimately, are the right relationships.