Was your answer HR or the hiring manager ?
When I typically ask this question to CEOs and key executives…The answers are generally either HR or the hiring manager. Both of which I disagree with.
I believe hiring top talent in any organization falls squarely on the CEO’s desk. The CEO is responsible for all activity that takes place in the company. Just ask those CEOs in jail who tried to claim ignorance, or the “I just didn’t know it was happening” defence. Too bad for them as they should have known. That isn’t to say that CEOs can control every activity. They can’t. Every company has or has had a wild employee that says something stupid or does something stupid, however, the company is still often held accountable for the actions of this one employee.
Remember Management, you can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility. The buck still stops at the CEO’s desk.
This is why I’m rather surprised when CEOs answer this question HR or hiring manager.
They may have the authority for the activity around hiring, but the CEO sets the tone, priorities, importance around hiring, and who will be hired. Like everything else in the company, when the CEO sets high standards of performance the employees tend to accept and even expect that level of performance. This includes hiring.
The CEO has the ability to determine the quality of people that are hired into the company. The CEO can define top talent for the company, departments, or positions. The CEO can make hiring top talent a priority in the company. The CEO sets the tone and importance for hiring in the company. It is the CEO that has the ability to get everyone focused on where hiring falls on the list of priorities. It is the CEO that has the megaphone to drive this point home. It is the CEO that has the ability to hold HR and hiring managers accountable for hiring top talent. It is the CEO that ultimately controls the training budget for hiring, enabling these employees to learn how to make great hires.
So what are some of the practical things a CEO can do to ensure hiring top talent?
- First and foremost, build a culture that includes hiring top talent. Do this by re-enforcing it in the values of the company, discussing it at staff meetings, promoting it in the company newsletter, and on a regular basis emphasize how important hiring is to the success of the company. Few companies do all of these on a consistent basis. Many do it once or twice a year, mainly as an after thought. Hiring top talent should never be an after thought.
- Train your people in hiring. Most employees, especially in small companies, have never had any training on hiring. They do their best to hire the best, but that doesn’t mean they are skilled at it. In fact, many are intimidated by the hiring process and just as many actually find the hiring process as painful as buying a new car.
- Encourage your people to always be looking for top talent. Top talent isn’t always available when you need them. The CEO should encourage all employees to be on the look out for future talent, especially when there isn’t a need.
- Incorporate referring and hiring top talent into the performance management system. Set goals for referrals and reward those managers that maintain a queue of potential employees that can be hired.
- Build into your hiring manager’s schedule time to meet with potential employees, participation in trade or professional associations, and other community activities. This should be less than 10% of their time.
- Build a website that speaks to future employees, the way your current website speaks to customers. The first place candidates go to research a company is the company’s website. Yet few websites really engage future talent. Most are not candidate friendly and less than 1% have any significant “WOW factor” for candidates coming to the company’s site. Add employee testimonials, have the CEO do a 2 minute video talking about the company’s vision, how the CEO values employees, promote your employee friendly culture, the importance of hiring only the very best and the CEO’s personal commitment to all of the employees.
Hiring top talent doesn’t have to be a time consuming effort. It is in most companies because they are only consumed with it when they need to hire someone. It does have to be a consistent effort though that consumes a small percentage of the hiring manager’s time each month.
If the CEO set raises the bar on hiring top talent, the employees will follow and most will jump over the bar.
I welcome your thoughts and comments……