It’s time for employers to look at different metrics, instead of focusing solely on CVs. After all, a company can train for skills, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make any given person fit a company’s culture. Yet candidates who mesh culturally are also more likely to stick around, saving employers costly employee turnover.
Finding candidates with the right cultural fit isn’t simple. But the best way to ensure hiring success is to underscore the company’s culture throughout the process. Here are a few ways to do so:
Promoting the culture
The company culture’s should be an important ingredient in any employer-branding efforts. And social media is making it easier to share cultural values with interested applicants.
Now companies can respond to questions on Twitter, make dedicated recruiting videos to upload to YouTube, share pictures from a company picnic on Facebook and create a talent community on LinkedIn.
After all, every second LinkedIn gains two new members. These social channels are great places to promote company culture, so interested applicants can absorb more information before hitting the apply button.
Too many companies use a job description as a laundry list of tasks and qualifications, without considering cultural fit. The job description is a great place to talk about company culture and describe organizational values.
This can help to attract candidates who are aligned with the culture and interested in joining the organisation, not just in gaining a title and paycheck. By focusing on culture in the job description, companies can foster better candidate self-selection, saving precious time in the hiring process.
Using a one-way video interview, employers can prompt job seekers to briefly answer set questions. These video answers can then be viewed at any time and for any duration. So if someone is all wrong for the company culture, employers can move on to the next person.
“Video interviewing is a powerful tool to connect with the right candidates, but it requires some thought,” said Josh Tolan, CEO of video-interviewing platform Spark Hire. “The hiring team should spend some time developing culturally specific questions to ask in the initial interviews to weed out badly fitting candidates and focus on the best people instead.”
Here are the types of questions or comments that I use when hiring to test for cultural fit:
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What’s your ideal work environment?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you address it and what did you learn?
- What’s your favourite aspect of your current position?
- Talk about a time you worked as part of a team.
- What do you like best about our company?
- Describe about a work culture or environment in which you would not be happy.
- How do you define success?
- Give one example of a time you worked as part of a team.
Onboarding new hires
According to the book Successful Onboarding, a 10 percent to 15 percent attrition rate will result in a company losing 60 percent of its talent in just four years. Few companies can afford this type of organisational turnover, especially considering the costs of hiring and onboarding.
The onboarding process is a time to ensure new hires receive the training and education needed for them to get up to speed, but it’s also the perfect time to stress the company’s cultural values.
Folding a mentorship program into onboarding efforts can be a great way to connect new hires more fully to their co-workers and the company culture at large. Depending on the company and the staff, mentors might need to receive incentives.
After all, mentoring a new hire is no small feat, so bonuses like extra vacation days, financial incentives and even free lunches can sweeten the pot. Great mentors can not only get new employees up to speed faster.
They can also give new hires an on-the-ground perspective of how the company culture plays out in everyday office life.
Since company culture is incredibly important for finding the right people, it should be present in every step of a smart organization’s hiring process. Keeping culture in view from sourcing to onboarding can ensure the firm makes the right hire every time.
Youth Employment An Opportunity
South Africa has a high youth unemployment rate – it is vital for business to consider alternatives for youth employment.
A young female graduate with hands-on experience in setting up and running community projects, had resourcefully turned a hobby into an income-generating small business to support herself, while seeking employment… a skilled person, wouldn’t you say? It took her five long months to find employment – and in that time she received 50 rejections – 50 rejections with no useful feedback as to why she was being turned down. We employed her – and within the first few days she’d surpassed our expectations, had added ‘value’, so much so, that two weeks later we assigned her to a project.
It’s this kind of potential that company recruitment approaches seem to overlook!
There are 6-million unemployed young people in South Africa – and the social and economic transformation economy that is crucial for the country, is an economy that has been growing at less than the minimum 5-6 percent required to shrink unemployment, largely due to the under-performance of main institutions.
Business accustomed to turning problems into opportunities of value-creation regards the South African Education and Training system as one that does not deliver in equipping young people with the requisite work and readiness skills. There are government tax breaks and grants which provide opportunities for short term employment, but unfortunately these do not create value, nor are they sustainable as they are not used strategically.
Last year I had the good fortune to attend the Youth Employment Enterprise Skills Solutions (YEESS) summit in Nelson Mandela Metro – engaging with the young attendees I found that they were determined to change the view held by business that they are considered a risk, to one which recognises that they can, and do, add value and assist in realising opportunities, particularly because of their age -related attributes that give them the edge.
- are a cost advantage – they cost less (South African staff is paid on the basis of the years of work rather than the value)
- have a higher level of energy – they work faster and for longer hours
- have flexibility – they learn new tasks /systems quickly, and are often more innovative
- can increase revenue – they enjoy engaging with customers, and being ‘entrepreneurial’ (eager to promote products and services in the market)
Business should consider these opportunities – the model that many businesses currently use pays young people a stipend which usually just covers their living costs and employs them for a short period; and then the norm is to “find” something for them to do to keep them busy… a soul-destroying experience that in no way creates value and is certainly not one on which to build a career.
Alternatives to the existing model are to:
- clearly pinpoint the opportunities and define the value (that the potential employee is required to add)
- provide training – measuring potential is a challenge – a short training programme for job-seekers can clearly identify the ones who benefit most, and are thus likely to be the most valuable – and there is the plus of 4 BBBEE Skills development points for the training of unemployed people
- provide a ‘proving’ period (3 to 12 months) where goals, expectations and support are clearly laid out -this provides an important business foundation experience in a productive environment considerably improving the chances of the young person’s absorption into the business culture.
By changing the way one views youth unemployment – to see youth employment rather as an chance to reduce costs, increase revenue and contribute to the building of skills and training future entrepreneurs – presents the perfect opportunity for business to contribute to the country’s future stability and gain economic returns.
Temporary Employment Providers — Friend or Foe?
Contrary to the fact that legislation states that temporary employees work under a dual relationship between a TES provider and their client, the relationship has been questioned, confusing the situation and muddying the waters.
Currently, under a dual employment relationship, employees are given the protection of employment benefits under the TES provider and, after a three-month employment period, attain extra protection by being considered under the employment of both the TES provider and their client.
Yet various unions have pushed back against TES providers, citing that ‘labour brokers’ don’t have the best interests of the workers at heart. So, are TES providers truly the enemy — or could they be the solution?
What is a TES provider?
The term ‘labour broker’ is being bandied about with startling regularity. Surprising, because ‘labour brokering’ is actually a concept that no longer exists in legal terms, according to Joanette Nagel, Labour Specialist at Hunts Attorneys.
“It’s a term associated with ‘bakkie brigades’, those once comfortable picking up ‘piece workers’ and exploiting them with little to no consideration for labour laws,” Joanette explains. “Today’s TES providers are reputable organisations that, with the backing of the law and strict policies, provide a valuable service while ensuring that the rights and wages of temporary employees are in line with permanently employed staff.”
Sean Momberg, MD at Workforce Staffing Solutions, agrees: “A dual relationship where the employee is employed by both the TES and the client after three months means that the employee is actually afforded more protection. If, for example, the client falls into circumstances in which they can no longer honour the contract, such as if they go insolvent or a project is cancelled, the TES provider is still bound by contract to the employee and their rights to compensation, among others, are protected.”
The role of a TES in business
According to the Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017 study, conducted by the International Labour Organisation, the rapidly changing labour landscape has made the expectation of traditional or permanent employment less realistic than ever before.
“There is a global trend towards temporary employment that is supported by a new trend of flexibility in career choices as well as employment environments. The demand for TES providers to play a more active role in the labour market is higher than we have ever known,” affirms Sean.
Organisations will also benefit from this trend, especially as businesses can outsource all non-core related labour requirements, allowing them to focus on their core purpose and not concern themselves with the labour function, or the overheads associated with human resources. “A TES takes on the responsibility of employment, remuneration, legal disputes, strike mitigation, employee wellness, interactions with unions, and many other HR concerns that are extremely resource intensive,” says Sean.
A TES ensures economic continuation
“President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his recent YES initiative launch, that even those with further education often struggle to bridge the gap between learning and earning. TES providers help with bridging this gap, offering skills development that guarantees jobs,” notes Sean.
“TES providers are here to stay and offer the best of both worlds to organisations and employment seekers alike. Dual relationships continue to protect workers, underpinning and promoting their rights, while helping businesses to cover any skills and employment gaps within their organisations without having to invest in huge HR departments and legal representation to do so.”
Spotting a reputable TES provider
- Registered and compliant with the Labour Relations Act (LRA)
- Likewise with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and relevant bargaining councils
- Has the necessary insurance and off-balance sheet financial protection in place
- Able to provide proof of regular auditing
- Able to show full legal compliance and holds a letter of good standing.
Million Rand Questions Answered By Founders Of Multi-Million Rand Businesses
Don’t waste your time asking job candidates to name their greatest weaknesses (yes, everyone will say they’re a perfectionist). Instead, try these four tips from seven entrepreneurs who offer up their best strategies.
1. Interview for growth
Building and maintaining a sustainable business is having the right infrastructure to do so, and that takes people — great people. The problem is that while you’re on your growth path, you can’t necessarily afford the best and most experienced in the market, so the trick becomes hiring people who you can see will grow with the position — you’re not hiring for now, you’re hiring for where you want to be. When we interview, we look for hungry people.
We want to know where they see themselves five years from now. — Steven Kark, Paycorp
2. Look for accountability
One of our favourite interview questions is ‘Tell me about when you missed a deadline.’ It’s an immediate red flag if they say they never have; either they’re lying or they’re not accountable. We’re looking for an answer that says they had an issue, what that issue was, that they recognised it, and how they found a solution — solution and accountability are key. We also believe technology makes the whole process easier, particularly if you are stretched for time. Spend time designing questions and then get someone else to ask them. Video each interview, watch the interviews in your own time, and then select the top candidates for face-to-face interviews. — Elvira Riccardi and Donna Silver, Afrizan
3. Dig into their current environment
We can’t compete with corporates on benefits, so we offer something even more valuable: Time and flexibility. There is a caveat though: Don’t employ someone whose benefits were better than you can offer. We interviewed someone who was a perfect candidate, except she was coming from a large corporate that offered an on-site masseuse for free, amongst other things. As much as we loved her, we knew we wouldn’t hold on to her. She was used to an office environment that we could never offer.
You need to be hiring people who are stepping up; not the other way around. We always dig into what their current office environment is like. — Renay and Russell Tandy, Ngage
4. Make them sweat
For years we had issues around high staff turnover. We realised that the problem started in the interview process. We were hiring the wrong people who didn’t suit our culture, and they would quickly burn out, or challenge our expectations. We realised that 80% of the success of a hire is culture. Natie Kirsh used to recommend going for a drive. He said that if you sit in the passenger seat and just chat, asking any questions that come to mind, the candidate will soon reveal themselves in the simplest ways. You’ll see the person, and you can make a judgement call on whether they suit the requirements of the position and the company.
We also love the questioning method of four-year olds. Whatever the answer to a specific question is, follow it with a ‘why’.
At the beginning it’s not even about the answer. Candidates will always arrive at an interview with certain rehearsed answers. If you keep asking why, eventually they have to start giving you completely unrehearsed, unplanned answers, and that’s when you’ll get a real sense of who they are. — Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved, The Creative Counsel
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