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Michael Kerr

January 10, 2019 by Speakers' Spotlight

Michael Kerr: Five Trends Revolutionizing Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding

After interviewing leaders from a diverse range of companies around the world, it’s apparent that many organizations are rethinking their approach to hiring — some dramatically so. Here are some of the trends I’m seeing when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees.

1. Hiring for a Culture Growth Fit, Not Just Culture Fit

You’ve heard the mantra “hire for culture fit” so often it’s likely become an annoying earworm swirling through your brain every time you fire up your recruitment process. But companies such as the global design giant IDEO are rethinking this hiring adage for fear that it will create a super army of zombies that will eat everyone’s brains during your next all-staff meeting. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but only to a degree.

Many companies are moving away from the “culture fit” model for fear that leaders will only hire people who resemble themselves — a surefire recipe for stagnation. Instead, the new trend is toward searching for employees who yes, fit your culture, but will also bring something new to your organization — employees who will challenge the status quo, help you grow in new ways, and bring fresh energy and ideas.

2. Less Blah, Blah; More Rah, Rah!

Do people leave the “Career Opportunities” section of your website with a bad case of the blahs because of all the blah-blah-blah, impersonal, jargon-laced corporate-speak greeting them?

More and more organizations are getting outrageously creative and fun when it comes to selling themselves to potential candidates. A hilarious, over-the-top recruitment video for the Swedish military, as just one example, not only won them an award for its creative approach but was also more effective at recruiting high-quality candidates than their previous campaigns.

Whether it’s with a fun “Day in the Life of Us” video, a “Top-10 Fantabulous Reasons to Join Our Team” list, or engaging testimonial videos from employees, you need to give candidates an honest and in-depth sense of your culture, not only to attract better qualified people but to also help disqualify the people you don’t want.

3. Recruitment and Onboarding as an All-Hands on Deck Approach

The days of a single HR manager carrying the brunt of the recruitment load are fast giving way to company-wide approaches that involve everyone in the recruitment and onboarding process.

The Malaysian global wellness education company Mindvalley, for example, leverages their employees’ enthusiasm for their company’s culture by spending money once earmarked for job ads on a Halloween party. Each employee is given two tickets to their legendary Halloween bash so they can invite two smart, inspiring people they know; people who they feel would make a great addition to the Mindvalley culture. The event serves as an incredibly effective matchmaking service for their recruitment funnel.

One of the mantras that drives the success of the entertainment giant Netflix is, “Always be recruiting!” Netflix makes sure that all of their managers are deeply involved in the hiring process and, conversely, that everyone who works in human resources has a deep understanding of the business strategy of Netflix, so that they can serve as more effective strategic partners in the hiring process.

Other companies require potential candidates to meet with or be interviewed by frontline employees they will ultimately work with. And numerous companies involve as many employees as possible in their onboarding and new employee training programs as a way to both engage existing employees while doing a far more effective job at immersing new employees in their culture.

4. Setting Candidates Up For Success

Imagine offering candidates an option of where they’d like to first meet you and who they’d like to be interviewed by! Sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what the Finnish-based company Vincit offers. Applicants are asked via a drop-down menu on the job application page if they’d prefer their first meeting to be in a café, over lunch, on a walk, or at a Vincit office. And based on a series of videos, candidates also choose who they want to interview with. But why stop there? Vincit also offers candidates a series of videos to help them prepare for the interview and they even send candidates the interview questions beforehand.

This may seem over-the-top, but the trend is clear: Companies are adopting approaches to help candidates put their best foot forward so they can assess the person in a less stressful and more authentic way, rather than focusing on whether they merely “interview well.”

5. Deeper, More Experiential Onboarding Processes

Not only are companies spending more time and resources to make sure they get their hiring as right as they possibly can, they are also investing more than ever in their onboarding and training programs to ensure new employees live their culture out loud as quickly as possible.

The Finnish-based company Futurice offers new employees a 42-page culture handbook that is a fun, conversational, and edgy introduction to their culture, complete with cartoons, fun photos, and interactive sections that help new employees gain a deeper understanding of their history and culture.

Whether it’s through offsite culture bootcamps, interactive e-learning modules, games, role playing scenarios, or employee scavenger hunts, the trend is toward longer, deeper, interactive learning experiences to ensure new employees are immersed in the workplace culture — sometimes even before they step through the front door.

If a few of these ideas are beyond your reach for now, consider starting with small steps to inject new energy into strategy to make it more fun and rewarding for you, and ultimately more effective for your organization.

After all, the very future of your company depends on it.

Michael Kerr is one of North America’s leading authorities on fostering innovative and inspiring workplace cultures. He is a “Hall of Fame” and award-winning international business speaker, trainer, and bestselling author, whose latest book Hire, Inspire, and Fuel Their Fire: How to Recruit, Onboard, and Train New Employees to Live Your Culture Out Loud offers a roadmap for culture and business success for workplaces of any size.

Interested in learning more about Michael and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at info@speakers.ca.