Finding the right team members

“We need to hire someone more senior for this role” is a phrase I have heard my whole agency life. But what means “being senior” in a business,

“We need to hire someone more senior for this role” is a phrase I have heard my whole agency life. Often, the choice is right and the person fulfil her role with professionalism. Still, we sometimes end up with a deceptive and ill-adapted solution where the person is not equipped to fill it mission, however senior s.he is.

This can have a devastating on the level of service on the short term and quality of the business relationship on the long run, I have experienced it first hand lately and it took me to reflect on the roots of the problem we faced.

Why recruitment does not always work and how to address it?

Analysing the internal issues we faced, I realised that this seniority definition is divided into the following pillars:

  • Expertise/ Skillset: based on the pure technical know how and specificities of an industry or a solution. Someone who is certified or accredited in a particular area of work. The more senior one’s get the deeper one’s knowledge is.
  • Experience: based on the length of someone’s acquaintance with a sector, a role or a situational environment which makes one’s knowledge about the potential outcome and necessities of the future role.
  • Values: based on the capacity to take ownership of a role and resolve to address any issues coming with it, including potentially managing team members.

I gather that each role does not require to reach the same level in each of these pillars. But the company needs have to be clear what the job requires.

How do you get the assessment right ? I read a lot of HR and Coaching blog to address this and the actual best advice I found is the following: Use your team members to confirm and clarify the role needs and values as the doers are the best persons to understand the role needed and the mistakes not to be made (again).

That includes :

  • Build a precise role description
  • Advertise it properly: internally and externally
  • Assess the applicant on those necessary pillars:
    • Expertise : check it skills with a test – does he have to master excel ? web based and/or collaborative tools ?
    • Experience: check with its old employer and work history
    • Persona : how does he cope with stress ? with other team members ? with stakeholders at all levels of the hierarchy ?
  • Do not underestimate practicalities : other job offers ? does he have to move in town ? where is his.her family?

As a manager, it is essential to clarify if your HR process is covering these 4 elements or needs to be cover by you. at the end of the day, the manager can sometimes « inherit » a team member he has not selected and end up not being able to keep its standard of service and productivity because of an ill prepared recruitment process.

When recruiting for your company is difficult, it can also emerge from the external outlook of your company as a good place to work.

Large businesses address this as part of their corporate communications strategy to support recruitment effort of qualified personnel.

If you are facing recruitment issues, and need support in building a recruitment strategy, do not hesitate to share your questions with us. we are always happy to help.

Stopping micro-management

Lately I tried micro management, and it was not a major success.

I experience some flaws in a colleagues work, mistake and oversights, on matters wich concerned my unit. I asked around to find out if that was common in his work for other teams and it appears that it was. The lad was overworked, overstressed and in a few weeks from his holidays. Everyone was hoping of a quick recovery after this break. I then chose to micromanage him until the break. This entailed:

  • Checking various times a day that he has done what he promised, to guarantee on time delivery,
  • Booking time slot reminder in his diary for missions he was supposed to execute with my team, to guarantee fulfillments,
  • Reading the correspondance he sent in my teams name, to ensure clarity and exactness,
  • Pulling him off any non priority projects, to release some pressure on his shoulder;

Despite my efforts, I missed a major misunderstanding of my colleague, leading to larger problem that the client did not appreciate. We could resolve the problem before anything major occurred. I had the feeling I wasted a lot of time in supervising to avoid the unavoidable. I face criticisms despite my every efforts which had a taste of injustice but they were actually right in a sense.

I was completely mislead – as we sat in the same briefing and received the same next steps – to believe we both understood the outcome. Micromanaging made me believe I was on top of things, where I was not as the problem was already there before I started. No one can rewrite the past, so i took on the lesson and make sure I understand the most important parameters before managing the execution.

Now, I am working on my method, involving a step by step approach :

  • Preparation first to ensure deep understanding,
  • Assessing the knowledge necessary to execute the task,
  • Brief the team to get them to comprehend the whole picture,
  • Assign an owner to deepen
  • Make sure the team has the elements to move forwards owing their mission,
  • Be present for the team to help with decisions when experience is needed
  • Support workload to guarantee timely delivery.

Changing is hard, even for an adaptable person. I am keen on efficiency and I do hope people will crave understanding which would force me into explaining every single details, but they don’t always have this level of natural engagement. I need to ground myself to be meticulously sharing details and cues for my team to feed on. At the same time I am afraid of information overload which could lead them to more confusion, hence my habit of not giving too much at a time.

I would love to have your experience on how you manage the project setting in a complex environment with limited ressources, I am sure some around have useful tricks and solutions which would apply to all. Do not hesitate to share.