When building your digital marketing (and emerging technology) teams, there are not many topics more important than this one. Human resources are a powerful, beautiful, strange, complex, and unpredictable factor in any equation. As the person (or team) responsible to hire the right humans to achieve a specific outcome, you have to be on your A-GAME. At all costs, hire the right people, or your “bus” isn’t going anywhere.
Consider this quote from Jim Collins’ influential book, GOOD TO GREAT:
“I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
Most of us in the business world have heard this quote, read the book, or quoted it ourselves. So why is it difficult for us to get this right? Why is the implementation of this idea so problematic?
Here are three tips that will help you make the jump from “that’s a nice thought” to “we are nailing this!”
1. Know your bus.
Remember the first two P’s – Process and Platforms. When processes and platforms are clarified, it is much easier to determine who should be hired. If you can’t clearly articulate what your bus does and doesn’t do and how you plan on doing it, you will most likely miss the target in your hiring. The hiring manager who has clarified these things has a much better chance than the hiring manager who has not.
This process of clarification will often lead to the realization that you need people who are competent at formulating and improving processes. These skills are often included as key competencies in roles we fill for our clients because ongoing growth and success are so intertwined with consistent and effective processes. If you find that you need someone on your team who is skilled in this, then you are right in there with the rest of us!
2. Know the seats on your bus.
Once you know your bus, you can more easily determine the specific seats you have to fill. When creating successful digital teams there are at least six categories of “seats.” Some of these categories may require more than one employee. Sometimes more than one of these can be done by a single employee—it depends on your bus. Regardless of the size and age of your organization, the process of clarifying what seats you really need, and when you need them, greatly helps the hiring process. Here are the six “seat-categories”:
- Strategy (What are we going to do?)
- Planning (How are we going to do it?)
- Creative (What does it look like and how does it behave?)
- Technology (How are we going to get it to work?)
- Project Management (How are we going to get it done on time and within our budget?)
- Account Management/Business Development (How are we going to have enough stuff to do?)
You are shooting for clarity so that you don’t ask one person to sit in too many seats. You also want to be sure you have people in the correct seat. And last but not least, you have to make sure you don’t leave a critical seat empty!
3. Get the best candidates to board your bus.
Your mentality toward the recruitment process is huge. It’s easier to tackle this step if we see recruitment of top talent as a strategic organizational competency required for success. It’s all too common in the daily grind to forget just how important it is to attract, qualify, onboard and retain the best people. You may wish to remind yourself and others that good hiring practices save a lot of pain and money in the long run. Bradford D. Smart, author of TopGrading and a world-class leader in the field of personnel management, studied mis-hire data supplied by 54 companies. He concluded that the cost of mis-hires is around 25 times the base compensation for those under $100,000, and 40 times for those earning $100,000 to $250,000.
We could do a whole blog series on this area, but we will just summarize it in this post. The most talented candidates have options. Many of the best buses want them. So, what are you doing to get them aboard your bus?
It starts with clear identification AND alignment. You must identify how success in the role will be defined and measured. You must also define what attributes and experiences are needed in the role in order to achieve success. In addition, (and this is where the bus often ends up in the ditch!) you have to make sure all hiring stakeholders are clearly ALIGNED on all these things. We cannot tell you how many times hiring stakeholders assume they are on the same page when they aren’t even in the same book. Lastly, you need to determine the role’s unique value proposition. Why would a top achiever board your bus? Clear definition and alignment will allow you to qualify candidates, but it will also help you to clearly articulate the role. With clearly articulated roles and success measurements in place, you can more easily get the right candidates excited about boarding your bus. It will also help you to provide a cohesive, efficient and enjoyable experience for the candidate. After all, if you show the candidate that the outside of the bus is ugly, disorganized and inefficient then why would they believe the inside of the bus is any better?
Why not take 15 minutes and pull up a new blank document, or even go old-school and get out pen and paper. See if you can write down on one single page what your “bus” is, what the seats on your bus are, and what you can do to get the right talent sitting in those seats. You might be surprised how difficult and helpful this little exercise is.
The next and last “P” we will cover is Planning. Also, watch for our upcoming “37 Questions To Ask Yourself When Building A Digital Marketing Team.” This tool is part of our special “awesome-sauce.” We know you’ll benefit from it!