Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Hiring 101 – 8: connecting employee hiring and performance review processes and practices

Posted in HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on July 12, 2012

This is my eighth installment in a series on hiring best practices (see HR and Personnel, postings 93 and scattered following for parts 1-7.) I have been discussing the hiring process as a whole and in its various stages in this series, and one of my goals for completing it is to complete the cycle, connecting hiring processes per se to employee performance reviewing and the processes that govern that. After writing about that, my final goal at least for now on this topic is to step back to look at hiring and the hiring process as a whole, with a goal of identifying and understanding places where your business uses a systematic, consistent approach and where it takes a more ad hoc and one-off approach. The idea behind the first of those goals is that you cannot develop and follow effective hiring processes except insofar as you feedback- correct and tune them on the basis of the results of your hiring. The basic objective of the second is that you develop standards and consistent policies and practices for selecting and hiring job candidates – but that you still understand where you need to be flexible so you can meet emerging hiring needs and challenges and without becoming hidebound and rigid.

I have written a number of times about performance reviews and from both the recent hire’s perspective and from their manager’s and the Human Resources department’s perspectives. (See my series Starting a New Job, Building a New Foundation at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, postings 73-88, and particularly Part 15: the end-of-probationary-period performance review for a discussion of the hired employee’s perspective on this. And for the hiring and supervising manager’s and the Human Resources perspectives see Performance Reviews – setting and following best practices standards.)

Performance reviews obviously offer value to both the manager doing the reviewing and the employee being reviewed, at least when this is done effectively. These reviews and the process that they are conducted within bring the employee’s work and their strengths and weaknesses in doing it into focus, and in ways that can be used constructively in bringing the employee to do better. Effective performance reviews can also inform the manager as to where they need to be more effective too and certainly if they begin to see recurring patterns coming up as they review the work of the various members of their team. Well planned through and conducted performance reviews offer 360 degree learning opportunities. As a manager supervising lower level managers I have gained a great deal of insight as to those managers’ strengths, weaknesses and overall performance from seeing how they performance review the people who report to them. But when you look at performance reviews from a Human Resources perspective particularly, this provides invaluable insight into the hiring process as a whole too.

• Does your hiring process pick up on and look for the right types of qualities in a candidate?
• This includes technical and hands-on skills, and consideration as to whether managers are looking for the right skills and experience levels and with the right priorities to meet the actual work that will be done by a new hire. One possible source of disconnect here is when a hiring manager focuses on bringing in the latest and greatest new technology without fully thinking through how it would be integrated into and used by the business, and with what specific value-generating reasons in mind.
• This definitely also includes reality checking how effectively hiring managers and HR personnel involved in the hiring process evaluate candidates for interpersonal skills and fit to corporate culture – the soft skills that play so important a role in finding and hiring candidates who can both do the job they are hired for, and work with those around them constructively while doing so.

In this, and taking a somewhat contrarian approach, at least when measured up against common practices for many, many businesses:

• The hiring process should not be seen as completed when a new hire is brought in and on-boarded.
• It should not be set aside and forgotten with the successful completion and passing of that first performance review at the end of a new hire’s probationary period.
• Results, and longer-term performance evaluations as to how employees perform and advance and succeed or not, should be tracked in evaluating hiring processes per se.
• And I add employee training and staff development, and essentially every other employee-facing and directed policy should connect together and with hiring and with each other in this same way.

This is what I speak and write about when discussing strategic human resources policies and practices, that everything connects together and has to be considered together.

I am going to take up the topic of simultaneously following consistent, standardized approaches while at the same time maintaining necessary openness and flexibility in hiring and where each is necessary as a matter of Human Resources best practices. Meanwhile, you can find this posting and series at HR and Personnel, and also see Business Strategy and Operations and its continuation at Business Strategy and Operations – 2.

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