Focussing on your recruitment process is one of many different approaches you can take to improve the wellbeing of your employees. To learn more, you can download the free eBook ‘A practical guide to employee wellbeing’.
In this post I’ll explain how you can adapt your recruitment process as a means of raising the wellbeing levels of your employees.
There are many benefits to improving employee wellbeing for example:
- Reduce sickness absence
- Improve engagement
- Reduce staff turnover
- Improve performance
- Improve innovation
What is a sustainable employee?
A ‘sustainable employee’ is the right person in the right job at the right time with the right skills. If a person is in the wrong job, at the wrong time and doesn’t have the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability, then that position will fast become untenable. When a person is in a job role that clashes with either their values or their natural patterns of thinking or behaviour then the situation becomes unsustainable and will probably result in the employee becoming disengaged or handing in their notice. They are unlikely to perform as well as someone who does have the right values and patterns for that job role.
It’s no coincidence that a sustainable employee is also likely to enjoy a higher level of emotional and physical wellbeing than that of a disengaged employee. In this post I’ll share with you how you adapt your recruitment process to help you progress towards creating a workforce of sustainable employees so that employee wellbeing will naturally improve.
Consider the short term solution
It might seem counter-intuitive to look at the short-term when we are conditioned to believe that recruitment should revolve around employing the person who is most likely to stay with your company in the long-term. But if you obsess about appointing people who will never leave, you could be unwittingly restricting your pool of potential candidates to people who don’t have a particular drive for change and who may indeed actually be unable to cope well with change. If the culture becomes one where change is resisted or resented, not only does this restrict the potential for progress and growth, but it means when change is necessary it is more likely to impact on wellbeing levels.
An example of this is public sector departments where people exist happily within their comfort zones, mentally prepared for ‘a job for life’. Until, that is, something comes along which threatens to upset the apple cart. The impact of the uncertainty can cause disproportionately high levels of stress, anxiety, counter-productive behaviour and strain on working relationships. In other words, when people are not able to cope well with change, wellbeing suffers and the associated problems and costs will skyrocket.
Depending on the nature of the job you are recruiting for, it may make more sense to look at short term value. Yes, it might cost £5k to replace a talented worker if they leave after 2 or 3 years. But consider that they may potentially generate additional profits of £25k over that time period? It’s worth weighing up whether it’s a better strategy to employ a brilliant person for a few years than an average person for their whole career. Each time you appoint someone new to your business they bring with them a greater diversity of thought, new ideas and new energy. If they leave after a short time, they will most likely leave the legacy of the fantastic ideas they brought with them and their infectious enthusiasm.
Keep in mind that if a candidate has got a history of short job- placements it’s not necessarily because they are prone to dissatisfaction or personality clashes. It may be that they have a low threshold for ‘sameness’, they need a steep learning curve to keep them interested or they are very ambitious and get frustrated if they feel their progress is being hampered. It can be a huge benefit to a team suffering low morale or wellbeing for someone with these traits to join them.
Note that I’m not advocating artificially stimulating staff turnover for the sake of it. High turnover can be both a cause and a symptom of job- dissatisfaction or disengagement. I’m not suggesting that you should appoint a candidate who is unlikely to last long in the job for the sake of it, rather don’t dismiss a perfectly good candidate on the basis of how long they are likely to stay.
‘Stuck’ thinking is bad for wellbeing, particularly if it is experienced by a group or team. If you want to help your organisation or a particular team within it, to get out of a stuck thinking (like a record needle that is stuck in a scratch) and move forward, one way you can do this is by recruiting differently. If you have a problem with a team with low morale or wellbeing, the last thing you want to do is bring in a new person with a similar mind-set who will merge with the group-thinking and reinforce any negativity that exists. When you recruit, you have the opportunity to bring in someone completely different; someone who can bring a new way of thinking and challenge the old.
Use Language and Behaviour (LAB) profiling.
LAB profiling is a method of determining whether a person is well suited to a particular job role. It involves a set of questions that you can use in everyday conversations or interviews. The way that people answer gives you information about how they operate (what their ‘pattern’ is) in a certain context.
For example if someone has a strong ‘towards’ pattern they might be suited to a role that involves identifying and working towards goals such as sales targets, but may become miserable and disengaged in a job which involves a great deal of ‘away from’ work such as resolving complaints.
To make the right match, you first have to create a profile for the job role and then ask the questions that will help you find out how that person is suited.
Some different patterns include:
- ‘Variety’ – project managing a number of different projects at once Vs ‘Sameness’ – repetitive tasks such as processing mortgage applications.
- ‘Process’ – following procedures to achieve a compliant outcome Vs ‘choices’ - creating brand new solutions for recurring problems.
Recruiting someone with the right patterns for a particular role means they are more likely to be a sustainable employee. But not having the right patterns shouldn’t necessarily rule out a candidate. If someone has the right skills, but not the right patterns, consider how you can introduce flexibility into the role so that it accommodates their natural styles.
To maximise your success in recruiting sustainable employees you should make LAB profiling central at all stages of your recruitment process from writing the job description, deciding how and where you advertise, the application process and requirements, reviewing applications right through to the pre- interviewing selection as well as the interviewing process itself.
If you are not already using LAB profiling I would highly recommend that you consider training your recruitment team in the necessary skills. There are plenty of certified LAB Profile Certified Trainers in the UK and the course is also available on-line. At the very minimum, I’d recommend getting hold of a copy of the book ‘Words That Change Minds’ by Shelle Rose Charvet or if appropriate getting some expert advice.
If you would like some practical tips on how to create a watertight Employee Wellbeing Strategy, you can download the free eBook ‘A practical guide to employee wellbeing’.
Saffron Grant specialises in improving business performance by improving employee wellbeing. She provides resilience training, executive coaching and can help you to create a watertight Employee Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.
Saffron is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing - How to create your strategy’ which can be downloaded for free here.