Start recruiting based on value alignment
Most students don’t know their values off the top of their head. Why? Number one, the vast majority of students are not being pushed by the education or environment to define their values. And number two, students are not being pulled to learn and emphasize their core values by the majority of employers.
Employees and employers with value alignment will see higher engagement, greater productivity, and higher earning potential over time. But for that to happen, values need to become a part of the everyday recruiting and business vernacular. And they need to mean something.
Truly hire for potential and train for skill
“There’s a tremendous shortage of skilled workers,” said Craig Giffi, a vice chairman of the consulting firm Deloitte. (WSJ, 11/26/11)
This type of statement has been seen repeatedly in the news media in recent times. It’s very obvious it’s a catch-22. Companies need skilled workers because of turnover, growth, etc. Because it requires an investment to train for skill, companies balk at the thought because of Gen Y’s propensity for job-hopping. So we get this vicious cycle of no skilled workers, not enough companies training for skill, and people hopping from job to job looking for satisfaction.
It is the very rare student who comes out of her undergraduate career with a solid skill set. That’s not what colleges and universities are set up to do today. Period.
What to do? Hire for potential. Potential can be judged by value alignment, cultural fit, passions, and long-term goals. Once they’re on board, invest in the people.
Gen Y has this incredible opportunity to access endless FREE information at all times. So why in the world would we expect any less from our employers? We want to learn, and we want it to be in a tech-savvy, engaging way… At work. Let’s solve the skill problem by investing in our workforce. Perhaps turnover will slow as a result.
Get back to the people business – train, network, provide opportunities for people to grow
When I got to my first job there were no road signs and nobody to pack my lunch and pat me on the butt on my way to figuring out the workplace. It was up to me. Luckily, I had the tenacity to figure it out on my own, and then all of the new hires were henceforth sent to me for guidance on what the heck to do in their first week or two in the office.
Here’s my question: is this happening everywhere? If so, we need to get back to the business of people. I’ve heard rants and raves and fantastical stories of the great investment in people and relationships in the business world prior to SOX, the great Enron scandal, and the dot com collapse in the late 90s / early 2000s.
Learning from mistakes is excellent – superfluous spending needs to be curtailed and I can see why shareholders would get pissed off about huge company-sponsored bar tabs and entertainment fees. So STOP providing ridiculous entertainment and alcohol. That doesn’t mean we can’t continue to provide amazing opportunities for growth, relationships building, inspiration, and learning for all levels of the organization.
Gen Yers want to be inspired. We weren’t around when the great collapse scarred everyone’s business sense forever. Yes, we should be reminded of the consequences of superfluous spending, but no, we should not be punished int he form of a lack of people focus in business today. All an organization is is a collection of people. We’ve got to take care of them, or else Gen Yers are going to move on to the next thing. Capiche?
Be open to new ideas
Gen Yers expect to be able to contribute from day one – businesses, bosses, mentors, and org charts need to least be willing to listen to ours ideas. No, we don’t have the practical experience, and no, we shouldn’t be given the reigns to the company right out of school.
But why not at least perk the ears up and listen for new ideas. We engage with people, information, and the world in entirely different ways today. We use tools for free that were enterprise solutions making companies thousands and thousands of dollars in years past. We have knowledge and ideas that are valuable.
Is it more important to drive business forward, or concentrate on org charts and egos? My vote is for driving business forward and solving interesting problems. Gen Y can help.
Learn from your best people
The top 10% of performers in your organization hold the key to success in recruiting new employees. When is the last time you took them away to understand what makes them so successful and how to replicate that success by recruiting similar people.
I may sound like a broken record here, but what would happen if you took half a day with each person from a random sample of your top performers. In that half day you could learn about their values, passions, strengths, and dreams. What drives them to come to work, work hard, and outperform everyone else? What tool could you use to evaluate their core strengths? What are their dreams — where do they want to be at the end of their lives?
I guarantee not one of those people will name their GPA or former coursework as the keys to their career success and high performance… Which brings me to my next point…
Stop worrying about worthless measures of GPA, coursework, etc
GPA, coursework, etc are vanity metrics. They have no bearing on success in the workplace. Success in the workplace comes from finding the right workplace. It comes from having the heart to show up and bust your butt everyday. It comes from a deep alignment of core purpose and values.
GPAs and coursework are easy ways to check the boxes on candidates. It’s much harder to gauge the intangibles – the things that make a truly successful employee. So what are you willing to invest in order to get the right people in the right seats on the right bus?
You’ll get back exactly what you put into the process.
Realize that most learning goes on outside of the classroom
So what do you judge if you’re not judging GPAs, resumes, and coursework? Life experience. Beliefs. Values. Dreams. Strengths.
Essentially, the tough stuff.
Where does that come from? Not the classroom.
The majority of learning and worthwhile experience DOES NOT COME FROM THE CLASSROOM. It comes from engaging conversations with professors, mentors, deans, and other students. It comes from organizational involvement. It comes from self-discovery and world travel. It comes from stepping outside of our comfort zone.
Want to find out what drives a person? Learn what they did outside of the classroom. That is the answer to success in your organization.
Want somebody for a startup? Go find a student who started a new student organization, refounded a Greek organization, or built a lawn care business in their free time.
Want somebody for a poetical campaign? Go find the students running and winning SGA elections.
Want a great salesperson or customer relationship manager? Go find someone who has 15 mentors because they are so incredible at managing their personal relationships.
Want someone to have a huge impact on your non-profit? Go find the executive director of a philanthropic group on campus that just beat the national fundraising record.
Know what you want going in
At the end of the day, as an employer, you need to know the same thing we tell our coaching clients they need to know: What the heck do you want? If you go in trying to attract as many applicants as possible — that’s what you’ll get. If you go in trying to find the students with top GPAs, that’s what you’ll get. Want a pretty resume? You got it.
What do you want? There are a million creative ways to make it happen once you know the answer to that question.
Have thoughts on this post? Lets start a conversation. What opportunities do you see for employers to start hiring purpose-driven individuals? How can they do that? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points made in this article?