Magazine article Talent Development

Liz Ryan

Magazine article Talent Development

Liz Ryan

Article excerpt

Liz Ryan

CEO and Founder, Human Workplace

Boulder, Colorado

Liz Ryan is a passionate advocate for the human workplace vision of reinventing work for people. She writes about reimagining HR and learning functions as cultural leadership roles, and about softening the structure of bureaucratic rules and policies that keep employees from being able to collaborate and innovate as the new working world requires. Ryan is a former Fortune 500 senior vice president of HR, a contributor to Forbes, and one of the top Linkedln Influencers.


Ninety-nine percent of the recruiting problems that corporations and institutions experience are problems they have brought upon themselves, sadly. HR and learning folks are learning to step out of boxes and find their own voices. They have more influence than they think they do, but not unless they use the influence they've got.

The smartest employers have already ditched their applicant tracking systems, lists of insulting job interview questions, and other outdated recruiting practices. However, it is not just the recruiting processes that are broken. Even more importantly, the mindset behind those processes is broken, and that is the first thing that any employer needs to shift if they want to build their own human workplace. They have to let go of the idea that talented employees are a dime a dozen and that the employer holds all the power in the employment relationship. That mindset will kill your organization.

The traditional employer's mindset is that brilliant candidates will line up at the door so that the search committee can take its time picking the juiciest candidates and inviting them in. Too often we delude ourselves that there will always be an unlimited supply of highly qualified and eager beavers to fill our job openings. That hasn't been true for years; people have choices, and people with the greatest number of choices about whom to work for are naturally the least willing of any candidates to go through a ridiculous recruiting process.

For corporations to get the best talent, they have to strip out all that's broken in their recruiting systems, and do the same thing to all of their outdated HR practices. They have to dismantle what we call "Godzilla," the scaly mascot of fear and bureaucracy, and get rid of all the pointless, extraneous HR policies.

A perfect example of a policy that needs to die is the ridiculous requirement that an employee bring in a funeral notice to prove that a family member died in order for her to receive a few days of bereavement leave. …

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