human resources

Why Selection is So Important

Outside of establishing your cause and the culture you seek, choosing those that will join you on the journey is the most important act. Selecting people who are enrollable...people aligned with your values, who have similar world views and who are willing to make the same sacrifices as you is critical to the eventual outcome. The wrong choices will waste time, cause friction and drain the life out of the project. This has nothing to do with completing assignments, working hard or making things happen through authority. That becomes necessary when you haven’t chosen well…when people who can’t see it your way, who don’t believe what you believe, insist on hanging around. And when they do, they resort to commander tactics because that’s what’s left when you aren’t able to get someone to fall in love with an idea…which it turns out is so hard to do when you don’t believe.

Find people who believe what you believe…the work is so much easier when everyone wants to lift. 

The Reference and Who You Know

Famously and often said…it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Well, not really. The real leverage isn’t in the casual acquaintance. It’s through the trusted connection…the I’ll vouch for her…because I trust her. Trust is earned through shared work, failure and success and being there in the moment when others aren’t watching. These experiences then lead to genuine inside look into the character and core values of a person. And it’s this insight that is so valuable in sharing confidence for someone.

If receiving a reference first determine how the person giving the referral is related to that individual. If they haven’t had direct, shared experience, please find someone that does.

And if giving a reference, only do so when you throughly understand the context of the next project and the details of the work to be performed. Otherwise it’s virtually worthless information for everyone involved. A reference discussion should benefit the person vouched for as much as the receiving party. The insight gained during that conversation might be more valuable to your co-worker or friend than the interview itself.

And finally, reference letters are shortcuts, an easy method of conveying mostly surface information to a broad audience. They’re kind of like most brand advertising…largely ineffective with no way to measure results.

Who Am I Going to Hire Next?

That’s what I focus on...every day. While there are a lot of distractions (many of them good), there’s nothing more important to me than hiring the right people. So, I always reserve time for this task no matter what. When I’m not interviewing prospects, I’m working on improving and preserving the culture that attracts them.

Back to hiring the right people. You hear this all the time...our secret is we hire the “right” people. I’ll define it further...I hire artists. Artists are people who are capable of and interested in producing more than the required tasks. They give you what Seth Godin terms...emotional labor. These are the people that will make your company alive with stories that spread...make you remarkable.

So, here’s what I focus on when I hire...precisely in this order.

  1. Are they aligned with your culture?
  2. Can I fulfill their dreams? (I figure if they’re going to give me their heart and soul, I should give them more than a paycheck)
  3. Are they competent?

This approach has worked for me for quite some time. Realizing there’s a lot that goes into each of those three items, the point here is that the technical part of the evaluation comes’s the least important, at least in the sort of work we do.

I encourage you to worry less about the next big idea, how to change your product or how to market it. All of those things will sort themselves out quite nicely if you make hiring artists and preserving culture your first priorities.

I just finished taping this as a segment in my Art in Hospitality series...will be up soon.

Who Are You?

The first thing you should figure out about a new employee is not what they can do...but rather who they are.

Most employer-employee failures happen as a result of culture misalignment, not the inability to do "the job". So, ask yourself why job descriptions are largely task oriented, why interviews focus so much on experience and why we spend so much time showing someone how to do it. Instead, spend more time getting to know what makes someone tick, understanding their world view and what their dreams are...this is the stuff that counts in the end.


Hospitality Hiring

Do your recruitment and hiring practices tell your hospitality story? Is it quickly apparent to an outsider that this isn’t just another job? If so, how? If not, why not?

Do you need to announce (post) job openings in the same place everyone else does? Why?

Does your culture and reputation attract the best prospects on it’s own?

Do you actively build relationships in the hives where your best prospects live/work/learn/play?

Which way to you lean with these practices?

  • Application Process/Paperwork vs. In-Person/Conversation
  • Resume/Q&A vs. Prospect led Presentation
  • HCareers/Monster vs. Hive Immersion

Hiring for hospitality is much harder than posting a job and hoping applicants find you. It takes months, perhaps years of cultivation and nurturing of the right audiences.

Keeping Artists Home

Sometimes you have budding artists on your team. Have you recognized them? Have you nurtured them? Do you have a good chance (or any chance) of keeping them?

Do you…

  • Explore/Harness Passion vs. Give Performance Evaluations
  • Create Groups/Channels of Learning vs. Offer Training Classes

Sometimes you have people on your team that stand in the way…impede your progress and keep their colleagues from being successful artists. What are you doing to challenge them?

These people…

  • Complain vs. Help
  • Follow Instructions vs. Develop New Ideas
  • Do their Job vs. Push the Boundaries

What are you doing to keep the passion and enthusiasm from escaping?