Put the Focus on Hiring - dummies

By David E. Perry, Mark J. Haluska

Clearly, hiring the right people is critical from a business perspective — especially in leadership roles. And according to a 2014 study by the Conference Board, CEOs know this; the study cites “a clear recognition among CEOs that human capital is the engine of the enterprise.”

The organization’s report on this study continues, “Human capital is, in essence, the thread that runs through the other top-ranked challenges — customer relationships, innovation, operational excellence, and corporate brand and reputation — and forms the basis of strategic action.” After all, the report concludes, “without a talented, engaged, and properly motivated workforce, achieving progress against these challenges is impossible.”

And yet, as Joel Trammell, author of The CEO Tightrope, said in Forbes: “Most CEOs spend very little time on recruiting, tacitly relegating it to a tactical fire drill instead of a core component of the company’s strategic plan.” This is a mistake, says Trammell, “because it encourages staffing over recruiting. Finding a person with some basic qualifications to fill a position is staffing, which doesn’t require a lot of expertise. But if the business needs the best intellectual capital to be successful, and what business doesn’t, CEOs must lead by building a well-managed recruiting function that is closely monitored and measured.”

Companies must adopt a comprehensive approach to executive hiring and training. Otherwise, to borrow Trammell’s quote from Richard Fairbank, CEO of Capital One, they’ll wind up like the majority of companies, where “people spend 2 percent of their time recruiting and 75 percent of their time managing their recruiting mistakes.”

Clearly, it’s critical that you hire the absolute best — starting at the top. It’s well known among senior leaders that greatness begets greatness — or as the saying goes, “A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s.” You must hire the “A’s.”