Let’s face it, why someone wants to work for and stay loyal to a company boils down to much more than a cool office and nice perks. Many people are lured by the smoke and mirrors of a funky startup culture only to discover that poor leadership wipes out all the extras in the world. Over time, the company develops a reputation that’s hard to shake. Employees leave the office every day wondering: “Why didn’t anyone tell me the truth?”
A friend of mine once told me, “Getting to the offer is like getting to the altar. You better know that the candidate is going to say yes when you pop the question.” Imagine the shock of the new employee when the marriage is nothing like the courtship!
Instead of having a candidate experience that doesn’t accurately reflect the employee experience and organizational culture, leaders can never fail to make an impact when:
1. Honesty and Authenticity Rule the Day
Honesty means saying what others are afraid to say, but is in the best interest of the individual, team and organization. Whether giving employee performance feedback to accelerate success or answering candidate questions about the job, team culture and career path, honesty is the answer.
2. Empowerment and Trust are More Than Buzz Words
The best leaders give their people challenging and interesting work and trust them to get it done. When it comes to hiring, leadership wins when they trust recruiters to do more than shoot over resumes for consideration, and instead empower them as their active partner in candidate engagement. Collaboration works when feedback, responsiveness and communication go hand in hand with empowerment and trust to enable success.
3. Ego Gets Set Aside so Great Work Can Happen
Leaders with big heads get stuck in the doorway to success. On the other hand, leaders that hire smart, talented, driven people who bring ideas, creativity and passion to the table dance through the doorway as a team. People are definitely not inspired to do great work when their boss leads by intimidation and a “my way or the highway” mentality. When ego is out of the equation, leaders actively hire talent that is smart, committed and a fit for the culture and let them run.
4. People Have Space to Fail and Learn
The quickest way increase turnover and create a “play it safe” culture is to tell people that they’re terrible, stupid or just plain bad at their job. Taking risks is good for individuals and the organization because it challenges everyone to rise to new ideas and opportunities (fail often, fail fast). In hiring, when recruiters send candidates to hiring managers that are off the mark, they are not stupid, but may benefit from more clarification and information on the job requirements. Instead of lashing out in frustration, the best leaders connect and communicate their expectations. Leaders may even be surprised to learn that a strong candidate’s experience is not clearly articulated on their resume, and in fact, they could be a perfect match. Everyone, even leaders have room for learning and growth.
5. People Come First
Telling candidates about a great mentoring program, that in practice is a 30-minute annual meeting with a senior leader, isn’t putting people first, it’s marketing spin. When people come first, leaders make the time for consistent hip-to-hip communication, mentoring and coaching. People thrive when picking up the phone or knocking on the door to get clarification, insight and guidance is not seen as an interruption, but instead viewed as the core of the job.
It’s impossible to create a great organization when leaders treat candidates like gold and employees like they’re replaceable. Leaders never fail when they understand that it doesn’t matter if someone is on the recruiting team, the CEO, a VP, a new analyst or experienced manager, they all deserve time and respect for all that they do and contribute. There is no need for smoke and mirrors when everyone genuinely is on the same team, working together, to create a great place to work.
Alli Polin, Founder and CEO of Break the Frame, LLC has over 15 years of experience designing, developing and implementing programs to improve process and human performance for Fortune 500 companies.