From smartphone apps that make music recommendations based on your perceived taste to the ever-growing number of online dating platforms, most everything today has been automated. People crave these quick and easy problem-solving methods to alleviate some of life’s daily hassles...but when they try to use these quick fix methods for more complicated facets of life, like team building, things don’t always go according to plan.
The problem today is that everything is automated, which leads people to fall into the dangerous trap of going into auto-pilot. Take automated recruitment services, for example. These systems match real people with job opportunities basically by matching buzzwords and numbers. It may simplify the otherwise very involved hiring process, but in doing so, it becomes too simplistic and oftentimes takes away from the interpersonal nuances of building the right team of talent which involves selecting the right people, cultivating each member’s unique capabilities accordingly, and then understanding and utilizing their value collectively. We’ve seen this time and again over our many years of experience in the field of recruitment.
One such search involved a recruitment client who came to us trying to fill a Lead Design & Engineering role for their Product Design division – a position they’d been struggling to fill for over a year. They began their search by posting the job online, only to receive tons of unqualified applicants. When that didn’t work, they had to bring in an internal recruiter to find someone with the specs they wanted using one of the most popular recruitment software programs. It took the internal recruiter months of continuously adjusting search filters, only to find out that they couldn’t be customized to filter out design talent.
The VP of Engineering had to step in at this point to attempt to train the new internal recruiter on the basics of design. “I spent the better part of a year giving her a crash course on design,” he shared. “She could barely understand the basics, let alone notice how different skills show up in talent – but I got it, this wasn’t her forte. Being hired to understand HR and recruitment is one thing; understanding design requires a completely different skill set, expertise, and professional background.” After a year of intensive design training, this recruiter ended up just being transferred to another division. This meant the VP of Engineering had to take on the recruitment project and step in as the Hiring Manager – but because he himself was unfamiliar with leading a design team, he didn’t know what to look for either!
It’s common for companies to make internal moves like this one. They often want someone on the “inside” who already understands the company culture to take on new roles and responsibilities. However, skillsets don’t always transfer. In this case, the VP of Engineering may have had a working general understanding of design but he had never lead a design team himself so he didn’t understand the intricacies of specific skill sets, let alone how they manifested in different individuals or how they worked together in different combinations. Over a year had gone by at that point and the corporation only had mediocre results to show for it. They knew it was because they weren’t finding the right people, not making the combinations, and not tapping into talent in the right ways that would generate true impact for the corporation.
When we began working with them on this search, we realized that the issue went deeper than just hiring the wrong person. We had to go further back and study the company’s organizational chart, learn how they valued design, and then evaluate where they needed massive innovation overhauls versus areas where they just needed incremental change. Both shifts are valuable, complex, and require a great deal of analysis to understand and address. These are just some of the many facets that go into properly assessing a design recruitment search at this level.
From there, we began to help the VP of Engineering develop a system to effectively analyze and understand where the corporation’s biggest innovation needs were and what type of talent was right for them based on this understanding. This was a massive, global corporation so a placement at this level needed a great deal of strategy.
Developing their Organizational Strategy Plan meant working on their corporate strategy before recruitment and it took some time but once it was put into place, this plan had the company set up for the next 5 years. It helped them truly understand what kind of talent was right for them, which roles they could fill on their own and which select positions they needed to consult experts for, and most importantly, how to retain and utilize talent by building the right reams.
We know that for all heads of innovation, the true results are seen in the quality of the impact you deliver. For many corporations, “innovation” has remained on the surface-level as a shiny design element that doesn’t make any true impact, and the talent teams they’ve developed didn’t translate to true results and revenue. Having that buzzword in a job description may attract top talent but a surface-level department that’s not structured correctly, will not align with the rest of the corporation, and poorly incentivized will not deliver true results for the corporation. And unfortunately it can take up to decades for a company to gather the data to realize these poor results to begin to realize these organizational and structural issues. When we worked with this corporation to help them truly understand what they needed out of this position they were hiring for, we helped them build the organizational road map for their innovation team to generate for them millions of dollars in increased revenue over the course of the next few years, all by building the right teams, investing in the right talent, and building the right initiatives.
Sports fans out there know that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. The success of a collective group is dependent on the way individual members work together. Understanding each player’s personal strengths such as speed, power, and agility are key, but the true difference lies in how these skills lend themselves and add value to the performance of the entire group. This is why building a Fantasy Sports League is such an involved process. There are endless combinations of how talent can work together to generate the best results as a collective team based on individual strengths, team chemistry, and overall compatibility. An automation simply can’t predict these human elements that contribute to a group’s compatibility.
It’s the same thing with corporations. Each new individual that comes on board adds another layer of complexity to the department or division. Yeh IDeology’s unique position in working in both design and business, with both talent and employers, has given us the optics to understand the complexities of this process. We continue to build successful teams and curate careers of top talent because we understand the human aspects involved on both sides. It’s truly astounding to realize just how involved the hiring process really is, but working with the right set of experts can help you avoid making costly missteps and save precious time to find the individual who compliments your team best.
If you’re ready to build your dream team, schedule a Strategy Call today!