Hire For A Family, Manage As A Team


Last month, Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh published a post on the Harvard Business Review blog called “Your Company Is Not a Family.”

In short, the HBR article offers the analogy that a business is much more like a professional sports team than a family, an analogy commonly used by CEOs. Unlike a family, the composition of a sports team changes regularly to support its goals. The article’s authors encourage readers to consider the temporary nature of today’s employment relationship. Despite the reality of staff turnover, teams strive to achieve common goals, foster relationship longevity, and prioritize unselfish play.

What Hoffman, Casnocha, and Yeh are saying is prepare to fire people, lose people, and to build an organization that can thrive despite the revolving door. While the article accurately describes the current nature of the employer-employee relationship, it’s a message for managers, not hiring managers.

Today’s employees spend less time at a single organization. But it’s a risk to say that gone are the days of long-term workplace commitment; the workplace model is still evolving. HR professionals should be doing what they can to invest in identifying the people that will take their businesses forward. Getting comfortable with the sports analogy can be detrimental to a business in several ways. Therefore, those involved in talent acquisition and retention should, in fact, consider each candidate a potential family member when hiring.

Here are 3 reasons why you should hire for a family:

1. You’re filling roles (not rosters).

If you are filling a seat on a roster, you’re likely hiring based on a set of skills. Time and time again, it’s been proven that skills and experience are not a predictor of success.

Lou Adler, an author and thought leader in HR and recruiting practices, encourages companies to hire based on the job, not the skills needed to do it. This methodology is performance-based hiring. What companies should be evaluating is the person – are they someone with a track record of achievement, growth, and problem solving? If the company properly communicates the expectations of the job, these candidates are likely to be high performers. Successful interviewers will focus on the performance and potential of a candidate rather than just checking off a bunch of skills.

Sometimes, you end up modifying the job to fit the person, rather than settling on a person to do the job. Pinterest, a Greenhouse user, identifies the key attributes they are looking for in each department. These attributes remain consistent throughout the hiring process. Once a person is deemed a right fit for the company and accepts the offer, the employee naturally falls into the right role based on his or her interests and strengths.

2. Employee turnover is expensive, really expensive.

The HBR article references a famous presentation by Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, who uses the “team” metaphor to describe his company’s culture. At Netflix, if you are not an employee that management would fight to keep, you should immediately receive a generous severance so that the role can be filled by a star.

Sticking with the sports metaphor, Netflix is the Yankees. Most of us have more of an Oakland A’s budget so we need to be focused on making the right decisions to start with.

According to Dr. Brad Smart, the founder of the Topgrading hiring method, “the average cost of a mis-hire can be six times base salary for a sales rep, 15 times base salary for a manager, and as much as 27 times base salary for an executive” (Paper 360, January 2008). Just last year, Fast Company released an infographic “The Cost of A Bad Hire” that shows the negative impacts a bad fit has beyond a blow to your bank account.

3. Familial values will attract better talent.

Defining company values from day one will help you attract top-tier talent. Not only does it help identify what you’re looking for in new hires, it also helps everyone in your organization feel more aligned with the mission and purpose, making it easier for them to express this accurately to candidates.

More than ever, today’s candidates are influenced by strong mission statements. According to the results of a poll conducted by Corporate Responsibility Magazine, a bad employer brand could cost you 50% - 100% of your employee’s salary.

Many Greenhouse customers have successfully established hiring brands by proactively creating a sense of mission, belonging, and community at the workplace. For example, Airbnb’s job board says, “Create a World That Inspires Human Connection.” Sure, Airbnb has lost a few people – but as HR professional and blogger Paul Hebert declares – it’s all about the people. That’s what makes it an appealing place to apply, and a wonderful place to work!

Finally – sometimes, family just feels right. Even in sports.

Do you hire for a family, or a team? Comment below and request a demo today!

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Image courtesy of Pinterest

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Hiring Brand