Don’t tell me people are your biggest asset
All around this fine country, business conferences are occurring. At most, there is a panel session with some very important/successful/knowledgeable/recognisable people who aim to inspire (and on the whole they do). And then it gets to the people part of it and it normally goes like this:
“People are our biggest asset blah blah blah”
The next person says,
“I agree – people are our biggest asset blah blah blah”
And so on.
Which is totally cool (and totally true). Except for the fact that often, people like us are sitting in the audience totally calling b*llsh8t – because we know people in your organisation and your people might be your biggest asset, but they certainly aren’t getting treated like so.
If people are truly your biggest asset, why do you do the following? (Spoiler alert, what happens to people before they become your “asset” matters too!)
1. TREAT PEOPLE LIKE THEY ARE CATTLE IN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS.
Too often we meet with great candidates who talk of pretty uncool experiences during a company’s recruitment process – it ranges from zero communication (“I don’t even know if they got my application”) through to “I had five interviews, psych testing and a full medical and then got an email declining me.”
Whatever it is, the fact is that each time, you as a company, are too busy to handle an application with due care and empathy – that applicant walks away with a bad impression of your company. Make sure your internal recruitment teams are capable of doing their job to standard and that they are not working on too many roles. Frankly – having one person work on 100 roles at any one time doesn’t scream quality of process or that you are looking after your people (applicants AND your internal recruiter).
2. SAY WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE THINGS TO POTENTIAL HIRES.
It is brilliant that in this day and age – we are addressing issues with a focus around diversity and inclusion – we are all for celebrating how wildly different we all are, and harnessing the power of our differences is a secret to business success.
But when your internal recruiter says things like, “Hey, you have a great profile for the job, but I need a female for my list, so I can’t progress your application.” What it does do is create resentment, discrimination of another kind and it destroys your brand value.
Let’s all make sure that everyone gets a fair hearing and assessment for roles. I get that some organisations have a quasi quota around D&I, but it shouldn’t mean that exceptionally qualified people miss out on even being considered because they don’t come in the “right packaging” for your internal recruitment quota.
3. TREAT YOUR RECRUITMENT AGENCY LIKE RUBBISH.
Good people are in demand and hard to access, probably because they are well looked after by their current employer. The reality is that if you can’t find the talent you want yourself, your best option may be an agency.
So make sure your internal recruiters understand that we are on the same team, we all have the same goal, which is to find you the best person. They shouldn’t be treating their agency peers like they are servants and trying to be unreasonable, or your organisation will probably not be seeing the best people through that agency in future (but your competition might).
4. DON’T TREAT NEW PEOPLE WELL.
Internal recruiters and external agencies on the whole work exceptionally hard to find talent for organisations. I know it seems like lots of coffees and chats, but recruitment is incredibly demanding and there is much more involved than most people anticipate. So when we have worked hard to find you someone and that person ends up leaving because they weren’t onboarded well/trained/welcomed/made to feel a part of a team etc. – it is incredibly frustrating.
When you hire someone – you have a responsibility to them. While you think the job is done – the reality is, they are still being approached about other roles, so if they are not feeling 100% in your environment – there is a risk you will lose them. Especially right now.
5. YOU DON’T TREAT YOUR PEOPLE LIKE THEY ARE YOUR BIGGEST ASSET.
Every day – recruitment agencies all around the country are interviewing people who may have fallen out of love with your organisation. They talk about what they were sold, and then about how they feel in your organisation. And there was a disconnect somewhere – so they are looking for a new work home.
Everyone in an organisation wants to be heard, to be recognised and to feel like they are of value. When people are treated like a headcount, someone who is irrelevant and not a priority – you won’t get the best out of them, and they probably won’t stay in your organisation. Management and leadership is incredibly hard, and no one is perfect, but when we meet 10 people from the same company who say the same things – it is indicative of a culture that doesn’t value its people.
So make sure that if you sit on a panel and you are about to say “People are our biggest asset,” that it is not just lip service.
Make sure you have the right people in place to walk the talk, that your people can attract, recruit and retain the right people because you are right:
People ARE your biggest asset – and you will win because of your ability to treat them accordingly.