If you want an engaged workforce you need to first ask yourself, do you have the ‘right’ workforce? Let me put it another way, if you want to make a lovely meal, would you make it using just any ingredients or the ‘right’ ingredients? This should be the starting point of your engagement strategy – bringing in the ‘right’ people, ones which you will and can engage through everything else you do.
Great, you know you need them, but have you ever struggled with getting them to join your company or hired ones who you thought were ‘right’ but ended up being just the opposite?
Admit it, we’ve all done this at least once in our career, and afterwards wonder what we’ve done wrong, or how can we learn from our mistakes?
Let me help you with this, sharing with you a short video from Simon Sinek titled How to write the perfect want ad. As usual, Simon’s done a brilliant job of challenging the norm, questioning how we write want ads (job advertisements), and suggesting alternatives. Here are my key takeaways from the video along with my thoughts:
1) Be completely honest:
Often our job adverts sugar coat the job, making it sound better and/or bigger than what it really is. Why do we do this? Would we want someone to do this to us? If we want the ‘right’ candidates to apply for the job we need to be completely honest about it from the beginning, warts and all. Better to be completely truthful and transparent then to lead someone to believe that the company and job are not what they are, right?!
For example, if you know the person in this job will have challenges in convincing the board to make any changes, be honest about this from the start. Make sure that you are hiring someone who is comfortable with and can effectively deal with these challenges, or you are setting them up for failure from the start.
2) Start with why:
Another thing job adverts do quite often is jump right into ‘what’ the person will be doing in the job and ‘how’ they will be doing it. This is the complete opposite of what we should be doing, for instead we should start by answering the question ‘why’. Why does the company exist (e.g. what is the purpose, values, beliefs) and similarly, why does the job exist?
By starting and focusing on this, candidates will be clear from the start as to the purpose and existence of the company and the job. Think about it, do you really want someone to join your company if they are not clear and committed from the start to your company’s beliefs? Filter out those who do not support the ‘why’ and you are closer to getting the ‘right’ person for your company.
3) The right fit:
An important part of getting the ‘right’ person is to get someone with the right ‘fit’. Yes, it’s important to get someone with the right skills and experience, but the fit is just if not more important. Think about it, isn’t this usually what means the difference between someone who is successful and someone who ends up leaving the company? By answering the question ‘why’ we are on our way to get this right ‘fit’, but there is more that needs to be done. Think about the best way to explain the ‘what’ and ‘how’, focusing less on the skills and experience, and more on the fit.
For example, if you need someone who has a creative approach to benefits design, think of how you can explain what and how they will do this in their job and at the company. Will they be a part of a global team who work together to look for creative and innovative benefit plans? Will they need to align with the market and/or with the company’s values and culture? Will they need to have the ability to be influential in order to present these ideas to a committee for approval or will they be able to make changes on their own. Again, explain what and how they will be performing their job, or you will get someone who cannot be successful in your company.
So next time you write a want ad/job advert, or even when you go through the recruitment process, keep these in mind. You’ll have a better chance of getting the ‘right’ person for your company. Good luck!
Debra is the co-author of "Build It: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she wrote with Reward Gateway Founder, Glenn Elliott. She's a Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and a frequent contributor to the Reward Gateway blog.