The expectation of employers for new employees to ‘hit the ground running’ has become the norm in our ‘instant’ society where most things can be obtained with the click of a button, pre-ordered, and ready-made.
From a technical expertise perspective, if a correct process has been followed to match the candidate’s skills to the role, this should be easy as pie. But it is not… and here enters the human component. The brilliance and creativity that make great organisations come from its people; the greatest innovations and most efficient processes – all conceptualised and rolled out by people and teams.
So how can organisations ensure from the start that they harness and direct all that potential to their best advantage?
Consider the simple flow by which relationships are formed (credit to John Bendixen):
Touch: referring to the first meeting between individuals, the first ‘touch’ when people are exposed to and become cognisant of a person or an organisation or a brand. It includes all those initial contact moments, from the very first impression to the time when all parties choose to pursue a closer level of relationship.
Integration of Ways: if Touch sparked further interest, there will be a gradual integration of ways. Between individuals they will get to know each other better and over time adjust their ways of doing things to accommodate one another so they can walk together. In an organisation individuals will learn how to fit in and work with the team, and over time also influence the way things are done through their contributions. It even applies to brands – for example Apple users learned how to operate iPhones and iPads and Macs, whilst Apple continues to upgrade their products on users’ feedback to better serve their customers. This part cannot be rushed, it takes time to build the trust, confidence and mutual commitment to step up to the next level of relationship.
Strategic Purpose: working together towards major goals and outcomes, the level of relationship now allows for higher level functioning together and greater achievements. The relationship is not as vulnerable to offense anymore because there is trust. Every individual brings their part and works in their talent – making it very rewarding. This level of functioning requires maturity, making allowances for other peoples’ and ones’ own weaknesses and mistakes, for the greater outcome.
Ultimate Productivity: the second highest level of functioning, where working together and reaching for stretch goals have moulded individuals and teams so they are now able to flow together so effectively that impossible challenges become do-able. There is great personal satisfaction and reward because every participant has the opportunity to be more and do more than they could ever do on their own.
Personally Invested Shareholders/Stakeholders: the highest level of working together, where every party is personally committed to and deeply invested in the success of the team and the organisation.
It sounds lofty and idealistic to reach such a level of working together in an organisation, I know. But if the process is broken down into its’ steps and time is allowed for individuals and teams to grow through each stage, it is not impossible.
Breaking it down into a recruitment, onboarding and employment process, it would look like this:
Touch: a candidate is presented for an opportunity and invited for a first interview, DNA interviews, assessments, a working interview etc. The whole recruitment process fits into the Touch phase, and successful conclusion leads to the next step. If the right candidates aren’t even introduced, or if the there is no clear vision of the company for A-players to buy into, everything falls flat before it has a chance to start.
Integration of Ways: effective onboarding of new employees is one of the essential components of successful recruitment and retention. Putting something in place to welcome new hires, familiarise them with the company and environment and assigning them a go-to person to help them through their first 6 months can make or break this part of the process. Regular feedback sessions with their managers, especially in the first 6-12 months, is essential. As they grow in confidence in the environment and team they will bring more and more valuable contributions. All parties are learning to work together.
Strategic Purpose: this is where the real value starts being unlocked. Bigger goals and projects can be conceptualised, set and reached.
Ultimate Productivity: that next level, where every person involved supersedes their own skill and ability, playing their part in something much greater than the sum of the parts only. Where organisations, teams and projects exceed and excel and build something that lasts.
Personally Invested Shareholders/Stakeholders: great examples like Steve Jobs and Apple, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Ivan Glasenberg and Glencore comes to mind. But founders aren’t the only ones – a personally invested shareholder or stakeholder could be a senior manager that has proven his/her commitment and is now being fast-tracked into the executive level. They are strategically purposed and has shown their worth in ultimate productivity, and you want them on your team. Shareholders and/or stakeholders who also manage areas of the business, even if they only have very minor shareholding, fit in here. They have a vested interest in the success of the organisation because it affects them directly. They represent the company well. They are willing to pay the price now for the promised future reward.
It is clear that it takes time to develop the depth of relationships and collaboration that will lead to Ultimate Productivity and finally to Personally Invested Shareholders/Stakeholders. Not every person hired will grow through all the steps within the organisation, but for those A-players who do, and those companies who work to harness and develop top talent, the end result is amazing. This is relevant at every level and in every team, but of greatest importance in the top layers of an organisation.
That is why every part, from the way potential hires are matched, through to onboarding, integration into the company and growth into strategic contributions are so valuable and necessary. Finally, by retaining the top employees and working together towards their growth, ultimate productivity and personally invested stakeholding can be reached.