Growing your Agile Team

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Agile teams and ways of working are proliferating in today’s work world. The Agile Manifesto touts “people over process and tools,” and the principles mention, “build projects around motivated individuals, and trust them…” and “the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” But how can we hire the right people and best use the people we have? Heidi will discuss the criteria for hiring a great agile team and for growing a more high-performing team; drawing from experience from her extensive background in teamwork and collaboration, and pulling from sources such as the Google Aristotle study, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams, and others. Attendees will leave with concrete ideas on how to find the right candidates for teams (even distributed teams!) and how to work with existing team members to increase levels of self-organization, collaboration, empathy, and teamwork.

Best Agile Articles is a collection of the articles from a variety of authors published on topics of all things Agile. The Best Agile Articles book series collects the best agile articles published during a calendar year into a single volume.  You can download your free copy of the ebook from our website or buy a paperback copy from Amazon. If you would like to subscribe to the soundcast of these talks, head to Soundwise.

Heidi Araya

About The Speaker

Heidi Araya (MBA, PMP, SAFe SPC, CAL, CSP-SM, CSP-PO) works with leaders, managers, and teams to improve product delivery and business operations through Lean-Agile ways of working. Heidi’s expertise includes Lean-Agile Portfolio Management, Agile Transformations, Agile HR, and Business Operations.

Heidi was the Director of Agile Transformation at Tenable, and previously led the Agile transformation at Cofense. As Product Owner for a government contractor, she led the first Scrum teams to deliver a successful product at NASA Kennedy Space Center in 2010. Leveraging over 20 years of experience in process improvement, project & program management, and organization design in a variety of industries, Heidi has led multiple organizations to improved products and better business results. Heidi has been working remotely and with distributed & global teams since 1999.

Heidi lives in Orlando, Florida and is a confirmed serial hobbyist who has dabbled in drawing, ballroom dancing, jiu-jitsu, tennis, reiki, and other hobbies she’s probably forgotten. She speaks at national/ international conferences and meetups on technology, Agile, DevOps, and business topics. Her forthcoming book is “Team Coaching with Open Patterns.” Her articles were included in a book, “Best Agile Articles of 2018.” She received her MBA from Aspen University and her BA from the University of Maryland College Park.

Other Best Agile Articles 2018 Posts


Heidi Araya  So I’m just going to tell you a little bit about why I’m here, um…and that goes to the second slide. We’re hiring for the wrong skills, I discovered that folks are still hiring for technical skills or other skills that…that…that don’t – they’re not as relevant in agile teams, right? So what do we need to hire for? What do we need to start looking for, in-when we’re hiring for a team; and the second thing is, who makes the decision? I had people join my team, that it was like, “Oh, hey, Mary is starting on Tuesday,” like “Oh, who’s Mary? Oh, it would have been nice to meet Mary and interview her and maybe get to know her. She’s going to be working together with me and that’s just really frustrating to me.”

And so that’s why I developed this talk I’ve got over 25 years of experience in technology; been 10 years, agile starting off at product owner at NASA rescuing a failed project. That was really fascinating story but I’ve seen firsthand when hiring goes wrong and what’s really required for teamwork to happen. So I…I’ve researched deeply – like the Richard Hackman stuff, the Google Aristotle study, Patrick Lencioni’s work and other leadership development profile work, Keegan’s work – and put together this talk to try to help us hire better, and understand that. So I told you a little bit about this, like you weren’t even involved in selecting your two new teammates is so frustrating. Um, earlier this year, when I was interviewing, I had two 30-minute phone calls and they were like, “We love you. We want to hire you” and I was like, “Wait, I didn’t…I didn’t get to ask any questions; I didn’t get to meet the team.” They’re like, “No, no, we always make good decisions with two 30-minute interviews.” I was like, “Yeah, y-you do but w-what about me? *chuckles*

So I felt like there was something really, really wrong with this hiring process and why; why do we hire this way? Um, and I-I link it back to this scientific management Industrial Age, where Frederick Taylor was separating the thinkers from the doers, and he was a brilliant person, you know, to think of all this stuff, and he designed experiments to determine optimal performance levels. He experimented with shovel design until he had a design that would allow workers to shovel for several hours straight. While the other side of the coin was, well, it didn’t matter if you were five foot eight or six before you saw the same shovel, and you were still expected to do the same amount, but for first time ever, managers were monitoring workers performance and style and providing instructions and supervision to ensure that they’re doing their most efficient way of working. So the first time ever, there was a separation from the deciders and the thinkers and the doers. Now, you can read about his theories in detail, but he actually knew that what he was doing was reducing engagement. But he was accounting for that by paying more. So the legacy that we’re paying for now is these strict job descriptions that aren’t taking into account our-the whole human being.

My experience is so different than Cherie’s experience is so different than anyone else’s experience. Why are we still expecting to adhere to rigid job descriptions? Um, traditional managers are often used to just telling each individual on the team what to work on. Of course, this is creating a host of problems for Agile teams, as managers try to figure out their new role here. But even now, on LinkedIn, I see recruiters say, you know, “I’m looking for this kind of resource; like a Java programming resource.” We have individual performance that’s rewarded over team dynamics and delivery because team-teaming aspect here is so new and, honestly, no one’s thinking about that over individual performance. The reality is no one single individual can actually be successful at work anymore with the kind of work that we’re doing – especially I know that Agile coaches feel this pain keenly. Of course, then there’s a big conversation happening on LinkedIn about how Agile coaches can can show their value – um, and what does that lead to?

Lack of engagement. If management decides everything, and like you couldn’t imagine the rest of the day, the whole team when it was like, “Hey, Mary, starting on Tuesday.” We were all like, “Oh, who’s Mary? I- I didn’t get to see her resume. What’s her last name? Could we look her up on LinkedIn somehow?” That creates disengagement and disengaged workers cost 34% of their annual salary. There’s lots and lots of decisions, why we want to engage workers in the decisions, and that’s because they’ll stick around if you ask their opinion, and oftentimes make much better decisions. Right? We can’t have individual people making all the decisions anymore. It should be a team hiring decision for many, many different reasons. So we got to start hiring differently.

83% of workers say they now work in teams – for all the people that we work with, I’m sure it’s almost 100% – and that over half of their time is spent actively working together. This is in a study of over 800 companies around the world. And, as you well know, we need teams now to deliver continuously to customers, to sense and respond to market changes, to rapidly innovate, and have a learning culture; and these are such different skills than just saying, “I need a resource that’s a Java programmer.”

So what I found first off in the hiring process is, if you’re in the middle of a hiring process now, is take a-take a pause, clarify the hiring process. Oftentimes, it is not even been made clear to people who are part of the hiring process pipeline. I know for me, when I was interviewing it’d be random selection. Sometimes I’d get called in and I wasn’t…um – a few years ago, we were hiring for a Scrum Master over a few teams, and the VP just said he wanted to sign off on the final decision, just meet her and, you know, it was no big deal. There’s no way he would ever gonna say ‘No’. Well, I’m sure you can predict the end of the story. He interviewed her. He was like, “No, she didn’t answer the one question I wanted her to answer properly. She didn’t have experience and I’m going to call no on this.” After a really lengthy hiring process, where we had her do exercises and everything. We were so, it was actually my-a referral, that-that people were just so upset that happened. So who makes the final decision and who’s involved? And if you haven’t clarified that, I would encourage you to start there, and, by the way, that’s one of the Open patterns for Open Leadership is basically: clarity around these kinds of things. What kind of format is it going to be? Who is-who are all the people going to be involved in and what’s the ty-, you know, I encourage you to map it out on a Kanban board? What does that process look like? Um…I will say, by everyone, I also mean the candidate, we’re here to help the candidate be successful, too. It’s not supposed to be springing some surprise upon them. But-so I always shared the…the process with candidates as well, so they can be prepared and…and just chat with them a little bit about the expectations that we’ll have in the hiring process.

So why are we hiring? Why does this need come up? If you’re hiring for tech skills, right, they rage a-they age rapidly. Or are we hiring for right now? Or is this some need that we’re going to have in the future and how will this person fit into our plan, our strategic plan for the future? What problems is it solving for us to hire right now? But moreover, what behaviors and traits are we looking for in this person? So, resumes – you can look at a bunch of them; I’m sure you have – they don’t reveal the person’s mindset. They don’t reveal what kind of human that person is and that’s where we really have to start digging in and just understand that a resume is not going to tell you everything. So how can we get past just the resume? Here’s what I’ve done. I’ve involved the whole team in candidates. Of course, you would look at some of the candidates, the ones that were just applying to whatever thing, and you can probably eliminate a lot of them, but a lot of them, I just would send onto the team. I had a team of Agile coaches, and we would do a team review, and we would just timebox the time, and we would just chat and decide together. For lots of, of course, Agile coaches and other skills, they may have shared stuff on GitHub and Twitter and LinkedIn, so find a way to bring more of their personality and what kind of person are they? Do they-are they going to align with our thinking? What have they already shared out there? And even give them a quick call. A lot of folks are just really reluctant to…to even start a conversation with someone outside the official hiring pipeline but when I did that, I learned something. The other thing you can do, if it’s not allowed in your company, would be to have a…have the recruiter, if that’s in your pipeline, give that person a call and ask them that question and just just try to understand more about them than just the resume; maybe even before you screen them out when you have questions.

So digging right in, what skills do we need for teamwork? Things like emotional intelligence, trust, ability to learn together, etc. and you can read these things. But in-a Google study actually showed that technical knowledge was not even at the top of the list of helping teams to be great. It was psychological safety. It was emotional intelligence, reliability, navigating roadblocks; it was those kinds of things. So we should be hiring for those things. These are like, of course, you know, lots and lots of double blind studies. What personality traits are we looking for, right? Are they empath-do they have empathy for others.

So what wasn’t important in the Google study? Actually, colocation didn’t end up being important. The kind of decision making even even though we advocate for some kind of good decision making technique, consensus driven decision making, didn’t end up being important. How extroverted or introverted the team members were, that wasn’t important at all, in this study. Um, or individual performance of team members wasn’t uh,was-or even seniority, right? So thinking about these other soft skills that we often forget. So how are we going to, so to speak, test for these when we’re hiring?

So when you got the candidate, imagine that you’ve got the candidate ready and you’re, you’re preparing. So give them an assignment related to their day-to-day work. We had coaches run through a facilitation exercise; some kind of collaborative exercise. Um, and it’s interesting because at the end of one exercise, I paused, and I asked the person if he would like some feedback, and he goes, “No, thanks! I’m all good.” And I was like, “Oh, well, if he’s an Agile coach and he didn’t actually want feedback, well, that, that may tell me a little bit about his mindset. And by the way, if you’re on the interviewing side, if you suddenly ask for feedback, you’ll find out a heck of a lot about the place you’re interviewing. Um, I began to do that about a year or two ago and I just found it really invaluable to ask for feedback when you’re going through the interview process. Look for if they’re transparent with you, if they actually give good feedback, and kind of like, ‘Mmm Hhm,’ you’ll actually learn a lot about the process yourself.

So delve into their thinking process, and I put here a lot of questions, and these are obviously not meant to be prescriptive questions, but more of an idea of how you could delve into their thinking, right? So for each of the slides, don’t take these as prescription but just think about them on your team. Right? Emotionally intelligent candidates are powerful storytellers. They can describe a situation, analyze what happened, describe their mistakes, and even assess the road not traveled. So sometimes I would ask Agile coaches, “Hey, imagine you’re starting on a new team. You’ve been told the team can’t deliver anything at all? And what’s the first thing you would do?” How many questions do they ask, do they dig in and they just provide an answer right away? Or do they…do they ask you a lot more questions? Um, and then asking them to to talk about a real challenge they had. I don’t know who here has heard of the STAR interview format. It’s popular with places like Google and Amazon and such. So the STAR format is useful. It’s basically: Situation Task Action Result. “The situation was we had a production incident. I coordinated with the external supplier because it was something else. Here’s the action I took and here’s the result; the result was production incident was resolved in, you know, an hour and a half, etc, etc, impacted X number of customers.” So that’s a very popular interview format. I think in a complex world if-what if that person has never experienced that scenario? Then they might be prompted to feel that they have to come up with something. So just be aware. It’s…it’s got its uses but it’s not an answer for everything.

When Carol Dweck, if you’ve heard of Carol Dweck, writing about the fixed mindset or genius mindset, it means that someone’s ego is tied to their knowledge, since they get energy from having all the answers. But that’s not really what we need in a complex and changing world. So the leadership development profile calls these people’s having an expert mindset and that’s the research that we’re doing right now at Adaptavist in my new role. But-so talk about their challenges. How do they respond to you? What’s their ideal day? Do they mention working alone? Do they mention working with others on a team? How do they problem solve? Um, do they get input on the things they’re working on and what do they really want to be doing? Why are they entertaining your company and this job at all? So find out what their what their ideal scenario is. And how would they handle specific situations? Right? When you’re stuck on a problem, how do you handle it? Get an example. So don’t just get them to speak theoretically, but get-have them give you an example of maybe when they were stuck on a problem and how did they handle it? Um, and when they’re overloaded with work, how do they manage that? That would probably tell you a lot about whether they were trying to navigate this all on their own and have this expert mindset where, ‘I know everything, and I’m the person who does this Java programming stuff,’ or are they going to share and knowledge share and help others ramp up as well?

Okay. Um…In Agile team, we have to think of distributed leadership as a thing, right? Everyone must be a leader in a self-organizing system. So what did they accomplish? And why are they proud of their accomplishment? Did they overcome challenges somehow or did it come easily to them? If they had to overcome challenges that would tell you something. If it came easily to them, then maybe that would tell you something; that they like this because it came easily to them. Who supported them on their journey? These are all questions that you could delve in and again, it’s not just about the question, but it’s about the deep questions that I know that you know how to ask back when people give that, but what roadblocks did they have to overcome? Pay attention to their communication style? Are they diplomatic? Are they honest? Are they clear? I had someone try to tell me when he was trying to sell an idea, he just kind of, you know, “Well, I knew I-my idea was the best. So like, it was no question. I didn’t, you know – because other people were talking about technology that wasn’t nearly as good – and I just know that I was right.” And he was just so convinced that he was right about that and that told me a lot about his ability to get along with others on that team.

As an Agile coach, especially, we think about mentoring others coaching lifting others up, but we need to do that in teams, no matter their role. So are they coaching and mentoring others on a team you might have people of various experts So, depending on your need, you might want to ask this question, right? Common knowledge is so, so important to a team. Do they hoard hoard knowledge? Do they openly share? How do they share? Do they-do-are they-do they love to write? I had a guy who loved documentation in my previous company and he would take it on himself to document everything. Are they active in communities and online, right? That’s some other things about knowledge sharing.

So for interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, I believe that culture probably plays into this as well, right? So, so be-be aware of cultural differences, because someone may not be as passionate if they come from a culture as another culture; they may be more reserved but still, they should be willing to share their point of view. What I’ve done sometimes is, say something that I believe is-might be controversial to just put it out there, like, “Hey, I believe you can’t impose upon a team any coaching” and ask them their their opinion and feedback and how you would handle a situation where you were assigned to a team and the team didn’t want to be coached, how they would handle that. Are they open to sharing their opinion? What is their opinion? So try to-try to watch these details in communication. And also, how much are they actually talking? Are you extracting it from them? Or are they actually proactively communicating with you? I had a coach and it was a really great coach but this person was not a great proactive communicator ended up not…just kind of, like, going off on their own and not being involved in any of the team stuff. So, I never knew what they were working on and it ended up not being a great fit for the team overall, because that person didn’t communicate proactively.

We talked about this growth mindset, but how do you actually ask people if they have a growth mindset, right? How do you stay on top of industry changes and tech changes? The ability to learn new things and keep on top of things is going to be more important than what they know today. So I advise to thinking about the future, especially for tech roles, right? Is the person comfortable working outside their comfort zone? When have they had to do that? And then, the best question that someone asked me, a couple years ago was, “Hey, if Agile is all about self improvement, like what are you working on yourself?” I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I got so many things,” and I just rattled off five things that I was thinking about myself and that’s what they were getting really getting at. So that’s a useful technique as well.

So in my previous companies, they actually were in a huge flux, they were growing, they were scaling, their report changes constantly. So I’m used to handling changes at work. What if you’re coming from-a person is coming to your company who hasn’t had to deal with all these changes? What if they find change scary? So, find out what the biggest change they’ve had to deal with and how did they handle it? How did they handle this change in role? I’ve just changed roles in my company suddenly…kind of fell in my lap, and I’ve had to handle lots of those.

I also-this share time, when you try something new and it didn’t go as expected? Well, we all have to try new things. If we’re just keep doing the same thing over and over again, we’re not really learning. So find out where they might have tried something new and it didn’t go as expected. I surely had a workshop where- that I gave that was a new one – and I gotten feedback on it and everybody loved this quadrant idea I had for coaching. And then I went to the workshop and it was like, this didn’t resonate with folks and so that’s a story I’ll never forget for myself, right?

In teams, there will always be conflict, even right before this…um, this talk, I was meeting with someone and he was telling me like, “Yeah, we you know, in hindsight, we-we basically should have decided that someone had this overarching, you know, like, ‘last call’ decision, and not try to get everybody aligned ahead of time.” And I was like, “Oh, well, that’s something that we would want to know.” *chuckles* But it’s not enough to stick a bunch of people together and think that they are immediately able to navigate conflict and understand how to get along with each other; it’s just not. But you also want someone who’s able to navigate this. So what if they had a different opinion about others? I had this, you know, one person thought it was this technical solution, and the other folks on the team wanted this other one. So what if they disagreed? What does it look like when they disagree? How did they end up gaining alignment and how did they solve thatt on their team? By the way, if you’re a coach, it’s a really great skill to teach people about how to help have healthy conflict.

Um…giving and receive feedback. If they haven’t answered this question now or haven’t asked you for feedback now might be the time you want to ask them in, “When, when is the last time you asked for some feedback?” I was doing the recording for the SAFe Summit and I – because the short timelines – I had just a few days to pull the talk together and I started working out in the open and I recorded myself after just a few days and it was really uncomfortable to get it out there. But I got really amazing feedback right away and so is help-it’s helpful to know those things, right? Are they open to feedback, even when they express it, was-they did it even when they were feeling uncomfortable doing it, right?

So if you’re hiring, I’m going to pause and say, well, you have a responsibility in the process too, right? So imagine you’ve got this candidate, and you’re really excited about them. What do you have to do to bring them on? You have-your organization probably has values, or mission and vision and stuff like that. What I do is I share the organizational values via storytelling. So trust from day one, what does that mean at Adaptavist? And then I tell stories, so that the candidate now-now knows the values and now knows how they should be interacting with the values. And, by the way, I’ve had some folks kind of not align-not really resonated with the values, not here, but at a previous company, and so we will go through the organizational values, but…um, also, it’s important for you, to be honest, right?

You can’t sell a position that doesn’t really exist, or a culture that doesn’t really exist, because they will feel like I did when I was sold a job, that the position was a leadership role. But I spent my day sitting in meetings, taking notes, and updating slides, and I had no autonomy at all. The culture was very hierarchical, and I ended up leaving two months later. So tell the truth, be honest about the job itself; the workplace culture, the team structure, the pending changes, the frequency of changes, and expectations, because that person will be much, much better set up for success. And yes, I was *laughs* I was, I was told I, in my, um, previous role that I would get into this job having lots and lots of autonomy but in fact, it was chaos without autonomy. Which was very strange and I ended up working my way into new-a new role that really suits me well. So candidates come to work because they want to be motivated, right? They want to they want to have a reason for getting up in the morning. People want to be self directed, have a say in what they work. This is from Dan Pink’s work drive. If you haven’t seen it, it’s, it’s worth a watch on YouTube. Why do people wake up every day? When I was working in cybersecurity, I had a Scrum Master tell me, “I wake up every day and come to work because we’re catching the bad guys,” and that was very meaningful for her and that’s helpful to know when you’re interviewing candidates and connecting them with their motivations. The urge to get better; a challenge is fun, for most people, they want to keep learning, right? So extrinsic motivators, like money, are not the same. We don’t believe that anymore about people. We-it’s about intrinsic motivations and so that’s where you can go to the next phase here, to discover their motivators. What makes you show up every day for work? Me, I want to I want to have people show up happy at work, and I’m miserable; and folks, when I see folks miserable at work, that’s my driving force. That’s why I show up every day for work.

What do you want to get better at and what’s your most and least favorite thing to do? I actually had an interview earlier this year, where they asked me, “So you told me what job you want to be doing but what job don’t you want?” and I was like, “The kind of job where you have everything figured out and all I have to do is show up and implement what you said that I should do is not the job for me” and they’re like, “Ok, we have a playbook you should follow, so, like, maybe this isn’t the right job for you,” um, but all that kind of stuff is helpful to know.

Bad hires cost a lot more than just time and money. A good hire can change the course of a business and a bad hire can do that. Hiring the wrong person in any team or organization can end up costing the business a significant amount of time, money, and resources. And I had a boss who was a bully; the kind who yelled and cursed up a storm and he was actually harassing folks. He was imposing physically and verbally. Many people complained, and because of him, they left the organization but sadly, he remained in place for years. And I’ll just let you-just with a quick story I’ll tell you the cost. He once made a comment that if the app wasn’t ready, by the end of the year, he would take away the end of the year vacations, everyone’s PTO; he would cancel everybody’s PTO, he made that threat. Although it never came true, two years later, the organization wanted to change to unlimited PTO because then they could get the PTO off the books when folks left; they didn’t have to do pay outs. Which is why most companies do that. The organization rebelled, they were so scared that they would never be able to take their PTO because now it was just, you know, your manager could say whenever you could take it or not. They’re like, “No, I want my three weeks” or “my four weeks,” whatever they had. I would rather know that I have that then take the risk of somebody saying ‘no, I can’t take it’ and take it away from me. And so that org lost millions paying out vacation to le-to those who left because of the lack of unlimited PTO policy. So bad hires cost a lot and, yes, I did have long term stress impacts on that, too.

So where can I find good candidates? Well it’s a little tougher now during COVID but build a pipeline of referrals and candidates from colleagues and friends proactively. Even if you’re not intending to hire right now, wh-why shouldn’t you have a name of top five Agile coaches that you would love to hire if you had the chance to? That way, you’ll-your like, “Oh, gosh, you know, I’ve worked with XYZ person.” So build that pipeline of referrals and candidates…um…and, of course, attend networking events, go to meetups and conferences, just like this. Find people who love learning and then you can host a meetup at your company. Of course, um, I-a lot of companies are now moving to online and I know that my company ha-holds these online events as well. So, just because it’s COVID doesn’t mean that you can’t do these things, although it’s a bit more challenging now. Try to be known as a great place to work that embraces innovation and leads in the market and makes great hires, and that’s going to attract folks to your company.

So I was getting feedback on this talk earlier this year and one of my-one of the engineering managers at my previous company said, “Heidi, why are you trying to cut me out of the process?” She’s like, “I do the screening. I… I do this. This is my job.” And I was like, “I’m not trying to leave you out but instead bring other folks in; find ways of other people contributing to the hiring process. Why shouldn’t they?  They should be learning these skills, too, as they’ll be hiring folks later in their career, it’s good to have a safe place to learn and discuss these things all together.” But we bought into the hire, at that point, because it’s not just everybody pre-screened out by the manager…um, and…I-I had another question during a talk. “Well, well, what about biases and diversity?” Well, the team can learn about biases and diversity when you’re having this team chat around your-around the hi-the candidate, right? It’s valuable for people to think about biased diversity. So empower the team to choose their own teammates and, um, instead of the manager making the final hiring decision, or maybe they just want the official sign off, you could say, “Well, the team will propose the final candidate to the hiring manager, and the minal-the manager will have the final hiring decision, but find a way to the team is more involved. After all, if they’re working on a team, who should rather help them be successful as someone who has actively had a say in throughout the process of buying into this person? And it’s so key, right? If you have a person start that nobody bought in. I actually had that scenario where the team said ‘No’ to a person in the manager said ‘Yes’ to the person and they hired the person. Well, how-it ended up not working out after a few months, obviously, because the team didn’t want to hire that person. So avoid those mistakes, and try to make good decisions by involving teams ahead of time.

By the way, whole group processes, one of those Open Leadership Network patterns. If you want to go to, you’ll see all the patterns there for…they’re useful for all scenarios. One thing I did say previously, and I’ll bring up again, is that the woman that we ended up not hiring because the VP didn’t want to hire her, we actually paused all hiring at that moment and we had a retrospective on those and we said, well, how do we handle the scenario? So we don’t want this to happen, again, where everybody’s gung ho on this person and then, he says ‘No.’ So we actually chatted and we changed our process around a little bit to make sure that that didn’t happen again. So improve your…um, improve your hiring process iteratively-oops, sorry, some…-If people are still reluctant, ask for an experiment, right? To say, “Well, let me get involved from the beginning.” Find ways to get the team involved. Find ways to bring more collective insights. I actually had once, we did this exercise, someone that somebody knew. Well, I would have never known that somebody knew that candidate. And they were like, “Oh, yeah, I know that person.” So bring-find ways to bring more collective insights. That was-that provided lots of value. Um, and then, like I said, the team provides the recommendation back to the hiring manager, even if the hiring manager wants to have the final say; it’s so valuable. So the hiring experience doesn’t just end with an offer. What is-what happens when the person starts? So a good onboarding experience increases engagement. If your employees are not engaged, they’re likely to go off and start working for the competition, taking all their knowledge with them and helping them, and you don’t want that to happen. So highly-engaged workers are less likely-likely to leave and how do you do that? Ask new hires, “How can we can-how we can improve?”

I don’t know how many of you do that but we sit down and we like after 30 days. “Hey, what do you wish you knew before starting? What did we not tell you? What needed to be documented? What did we forget to, uh, to share with you as you started, as you were ramping up?” And they would tell us and then we would improve our documentation or our process. And how could we have improved the hiring experience; the whole candidate experience? And of course, from the candidates perspective, it’s not just us internally talking about but now that they’re inside, they can help us improve our hiring experience for future.

So here are my takeaways. Get everyone involved in the hiring process; don’t let it just be a manager top down. Team should be able to decide their teammates and by the way, when teams decide their teammates, the understanding should be that they, they are now helping their-this particular person be successful. By proposing this hire, they’re now committing to help this person be successful in their job because they’re saying this is a great-they believe this is a great hire. Hire people for the real jobs they’re going to be doing right? We need to think about collective learning, collaborating, inspecting, and adapting. Those are the things that we need to be hiring for now. And then don’t be satisfied with your hiring process the way it is, reflect, learn and improve continually. When I brought this idea to our recruiters, in a previous company, they took the idea of the Kanban board and they ended up being a lot more efficient and effective with the hires that they did do. So, spread the wealth across the organization for these practices so that we could improve. And you can connect with me on Twitter, you can find me on LinkedIn, I mentioned a couple times the Open patterns, Open Leadership Network, so please feel free to navigate those. I’m happy to chat more about that if you want me to. And I’m going to stop sharing so I can… so I can chat with you. If you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you.

Host  Awesome. Thanks, Heidi. That was so great. Um, please feel free to turn on your cameras so that we can take a look at each other face-to-face and I know that some of you will have questions or comments, you’ve learned new things, or Heidi’s made you wonder; so love to hear from you.

Related Posts

About Alex Kudinov

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook