Employees and the brand
LinkedIn presents a rosy picture of employment. Typically the articles it provides show pretty pictures of gift packs for new employees, talk about how to motivate employees or talk about developing the personal brand. None of this feels very useful for reasons I will explain later.
One article that did stand out is the concept of blind recruitment, in which the candidate is not identified in the process. This method overcomes biases such as looks, skin colour and so on. It is an excellent idea.
The article points to recruitment processes that are rooted in understanding of the internal and external brands.
The internal brand is a network of relationships based on the characteristics of people who create a harmonious and contented work place in terms of both the internal culture, as well as the external brand. For instance in a clothing store targeted at adventurous youth, enabling adventurous lifestyles (the external brand), you would want to hire people who are young and can reflect the same spirit of adventure.
You would avoid elderly frontline staff, introversion and an indoor, stay-at-home personality.
However this often falls flat in Namibia. Consider for instance the service that you receive in so many restaurants, where many of the serving staff are slow or reluctant to provide service.
Consider the costs of not hiring the right serving staff in the case of a bar for instance. The direct gain is linked to the speed with which drinks are served. If drinks are served faster, turnover will be higher. That will materialise in two direct ways. Firstly, volumes will be higher. Secondly, although customers may leave faster, more customers will come for the quick service, so those that leave should be replenished with a high customer turnover. Hiring slow staff is bad for turnover.
The indirect gain can be linked to the character of the staff. Happy, lively staff create a great mood, attracting people who want good spirits, along with the spirits in their glasses. Those customers will form social networks with other customers as well as the staff, creating valuable repeat business.
Unfortunately many Namibian enterprises hire on the basis of needs, not on the basis of brands. So the first prerequisite of the process of recruiting should be a clear understanding of the internal and external brands, followed by a point-by-point character description of the people who can satisfy the requirements.
There are several tactics that might be used to identify who the right staff may be.
The first is as simple as asking your most effective and successful staff members for recommendations. Obviously this entails giving a clear understanding of what the requirements are, and explaining that the job is not guaranteed, nor will it be a favour to the person if that person is a mismatch.
If the process is handled well, and obviously with the recruitment interview, the staff member who makes the recommendation can strengthen the induction process by becoming a mentor to his / her recommendation.
The second tactic is to socialise before recruitment. Invite potential candidates to an office braai, for instance and observe them. Will they fit socially. No promise should be made.
The third tactic is to have a stockpile of CVs. The lower the number of potential candidates, the higher the likelihood of hiring a sub-par candidate based on immediate need. It may be worth doing periodic checks on people who have sent CVs to establish if the candidate may still be available in future. This not only prevents winnowing at the last minute, but will also let the candidate know that although you don’t have a vacancy now, there may be a possibility in future.
Note that it is possible to do a sketchy pre-match to the brand from CVs. Top potential candidates can be prioritised for potential contact. Obviously, it is important to manage expectations. Hiring the right candidate to match the internal and external brands is critical. It is a bottom-liner productivity choice.