How to Make Your Most Crucial Hire in Q1

What does your business have to do with stem cells?

Yes, they’re both living organisms.

But I know you can go deeper that that. Stem cells are nearly-miraculous. Because you transplant or inject them into a part of the body (my Achilles tendon last year, for example) and then they change everything, because they accelerate the growth of new and healthy cells in the rest of the body. They heal. They create the growth path. In some cases, they even turn sick to healthy.

execunetselect-man-suit-thumbs-upI felt like a new man. (Thanks for asking.)

So the single most important hire that you’ll make in 2021?

It’s your head of talent.

We can call it your Chief Talent Officer, VP HR, Grand People Poobah. I don’t care what you call it.

If you have 50 employees or more in your business, but you don’t have one,  you’re already behind the pack.

That’ll ache more than my Achilles!

If you have one who’s not a Rockstar (Jeff’s definition: 5% of talent available at the price point you can afford), then it’s time to make a change. Because it’s the #1 high-impact role in your business.

It’s your company’s stem cell. (Even if you’re an entrepreneur, in which case you’re a stem cell too.) You simply must get this hire right.

If you already have a Head of Talent, then ask her/him these questions. (If you’re not blown away by the answers, then you know what you need to do.)

1. Which Rockstars have resigned in the past 12 months, and why?

2. Show me our clear recruitment process or is it random? What is the candidate experience?

3. Do our interviewers know how to interview? Do we even know what they’re asking candidates?

4. Are we interviewing first for experience or DNA/culture fit?

5. Do we have an onboarding plan for new hires?

6. Have we benchmarked compensation in the past 12 months for key roles, based on location, function, and level?

7. Are we using an objective tool for measuring the happiness of our employees?

8. Are department heads spending at least 25% of their time training and developing their staff?

9. Do our performance reviews – even informal – take place at least every three months? Are they truly candid?

10. Do we have a public recognition program to reward outstanding performance of Rockstars?

11. Do employees have reasonable flexibility on where and when to perform their work? Are we focused on impact, or just activity?

12. Which two functions/departments have the most difficulty communicating with each other, and how can we improve it?

13. Have we created and communicated career path options that are flexible and compelling, particularly for our Rockstars?

14. Do employees, particularly our Rockstars, feel as though they have input into the business strategy and priorities?

15. Which Rockstars are we most concerned about losing over the next 12 months? What is your plan to address and what can I do to help?

16. Do all of our employees have exposure to real-life customers and prospects, so they can understand market needs firsthand?

17. Are we promptly but courteously exiting employees who don’t share and live our DNA/values?

I know… It’s a lot. (That’s the point) But remember the stem cell. If you have the right one, the body becomes a beautiful, magical, near-perfect organism. And if you have the wrong one – or none at all – then you’re settling.

Never settle,

p.s. If you don’t have a Rockstar Head of Talent, contact me, and I’ll show you the way. It’s the fastest game-changer for your business.

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman launched his recruiting career at Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart, the preeminent global executive search firms. Today, he’s Chief Talent Officer at Chicago-based Strong Suit Executive Search. Along the way, Jeff created four companies, backed by $50 million in venture capital. He currently teaches the MBA course about recruiting at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and hosts the five-star Strong Suit Podcast. Jeff has been featured by Inc., Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, and other media outlets. He holds a master’s degree from Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from The Wharton School.

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