Giving Real Power to Employees; the More People Involved in Making a Recruitment Decision, the Better the Result, or So Says the Theory Behind Collaborative Recruitment. by Niki Chesworth

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 18, 2016 | Go to article overview

Giving Real Power to Employees; the More People Involved in Making a Recruitment Decision, the Better the Result, or So Says the Theory Behind Collaborative Recruitment. by Niki Chesworth


HANDING over hiring decisions to employees could be risky, particularly when it comes to choosing who will become the new boss. The danger is that they may choose someone they like, rather than someone who is good for the business.

However, giving staff a say works. Collaborative hiring is increasingly the norm for those who work in hi-tech start-ups, who feel they have the right to have a say in who will join their team. In some of the most successful businesses in the world, such as Google and Twitter, it is seen as an obvious way to hire the best.

So could this method of recruitment take off in more traditional workplaces? A new TV experiment, Who's the Boss?, which starts next week on BBC Two, aims to find out.

The programme involves three different businesses -- Aberdeenshirebased craft beer company BrewDog, national fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds, and Beech's, a fine chocolate manufacturer based in Preston, who are all looking to appoint middle-managers. But this time, the power will be in the hands of the employees, and not just the bosses, to decide on the right person for the job.

Without giving away who gets hired, the results were very positive, resulting in two successful hires out of three.

"It was really cool to see that our team pretty much all picked the same person, for the same reasons, which shows we're all on the same page," says James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, one of the firms taking part in the collaborative hiring experiment.

So wasn't he worried about leaving such a crucial decision to the staff? "We have an incredibly strong company culture, which made handing over the reins easier. I know all the team live and breathe our culture every day, so I was confident they would pick out the person who best embodied that," he says.

"We've used collaborative hiring on a couple of roles since then and it's worked really well as part of our in-house recruitment process."

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), says: "Collaborative hiring has been used in North America for some time, but it has yet to take off as a mainstream way of hiring in the UK.

"It is not as simple as bringing in candidates and letting them wander around and meet people. It has to be a well-planned and immersive process. On Who's The Boss?, candidates were actively working in the company -- on the factory line, meeting customers, taking part in planning -- and that enabled staff to see them in a range of situations to give a more objective view."

feels more engaged and they become acclimatised during their week at the firm, so they get to know the culture, get a feel for the way things work and that cuts down on the learning curve," adds Green.

"The other benefit is that individual workers feel more supportive of a hire they have a say in choosing and therefore have a vested interest in helping that person to succeed.

"Also, collaborative hiring speaks volumes about the culture of the organisation and that it is prepared to work collaboratively.

"But, most importantly, the employer and other employees can see exactly what they are going to get -- how the individual engages with members of staff and with various tasks. This makes the recruitment process much more robust.

"While an employer could run this over a two- or three-day period, rather than a whole week, the theory is that the more people involved in a decision, then the better that decision will be.

"We all know that people can be good at interviews and these are not necessarily a good indicator of performance on the job. So why not get them to do real parts of the job and at the same time be observed by the staff, who then get a say in who is selected?" The candidates on Who's The Boss? do not realise that they are being assessed by employees throughout the process -- they believe it is just for the tasks. …

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