The most important technique or aspect of hiring really happens before you even post a job — we call it gain agreement. This is the process of getting all key stakeholders aligned on what you are actually expecting for the position you are about to hire for.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Jackie Dube.
Jackie Dube is the VP of Talent Optimization at the Predictive Index. With 20 years of experience in Human Resources at different companies — ranging from a small start-up to now The Predictive Index — Jackie Dube, has gained extensive insight into HR and people management. Her role at PI puts her in a unique position to comment on the rise of people data — the way it’s being used or misused in organizations and what companies can do to leverage this information to build a better talent strategy that aligns to the broader business strategy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always wanted to work with people and help them be effective. I went to school for human development and psychology thinking I would be a marriage counselor. After college, I moved to Boston and needed to eat and pay rent, so I went to a recruiter and they introduced me to the human resources field. I have been passionate about the field ever since.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
The most interesting thing that happened to me since I started was when left my first HR job after 1.5 years to work for a public company that was in high growth mode. In the 5 years I was there, we acquired 19 companies. I was responsible for integrating the benefits and compensation and merging team and culture. I learned so much about this field through this opportunity, by year 5, I thought I was an expert on culture integration, employee relations, and management. At year 5, when OUR company got acquired, and I was on the other end, I realized I had missed a tremendous amount. I gained a new respect for the importance of clear and constant communication, transparency, empathy and setting expectations. I learned that you must always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. There are always two perspectives.
Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?
We are currently working on our talent strategy for 2020 and beyond. It is so exciting that all of our senior leaders are invested in people and are fully committed to developing a strategic plan together to address hiring for now and in the future, and how we should develop our org chart for efficiency and scalability. It is extra exciting as our senior team is focused on what is best for our business and not anyone’s ego. All of our people will benefit from the inherit career and leadership development that will occur to set-us up for success.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?
The most important technique or aspect of hiring really happens before you even post a job — we call it gain agreement. This is the process of getting all key stakeholders aligned on what you are actually expecting for the position you are about to hire for. So many times a hiring manager is looking for one thing and the other key stakeholders are expecting something else. Not getting alignment on this creates inefficiency and even worse, could result in the wrong hire. We use The Predictive Index Job Assessment to gain agreement on the behavioral drives and learning and strategic abilities that are required for success in the role.
Next, we have every hiring manager create a New Hire Needs form. This identifies the top 3–5 skills that the candidate needs to be successful and identifies 3–5 metrics to determine what success would look like for a candidate after their first 90 days. This informs our recruitment team of the priorities when reviewing candidates and gives perspective to each candidate on what the expectations are for their first 90 days.
During the initial phases of our recruitment process, we have every candidate take a behavioral and cognitive assessment. We then compare this to the job target that the hiring team develops for success in the role. This guides our interview process, so we can fit our interviews to the candidates that are most likely to be driven and engaged by the job they are applying for.
We also do as much discovery as possible before bringing a candidate on-site. We know that our team and candidate’s time is precious so we want to ensure that we are spending the right amount of quality time with the right candidates. All phone interviews, work exercises are completed before bringing candidates on-site. We have also gotten feedback and data that resulted in an on-site interview having a maximum of 4 hours. This forces hiring teams to be thoughtful and structured in who and how that time will be used.
Another technique is our employee referral program. We take hiring as one of the most important responsibilities of a manager, so our employees are our best referral source. We believe that good people know good people, which creates a great network of talented candidates that come with a referral that is trusted and understands our culture and expectations.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
Recruiting is sometimes seen as the HR department’s responsibility. At PI, our People Ops department facilitates the recruitment process, however, we have the expectation that every team is responsible for networking and building their talent pipeline. This increases our outbound reach by 1000%.
Our employer branding strategy is strong. People Operations has a strong partnership with our marketing team, which focuses not only on the traditional branding efforts but also has created a culture where employees across the company are constantly creating content talking about our culture, best practices, etc. This has resulted in a tremendous amount of interest in employment opportunities at PI.
The last one is Glassdoor. We focus heavily on employee and candidate experience, and our Glassdoor reviews are a reflection of that. We live out our culture and values daily, with a focus on employees and their development, and take a proactive strategy to talent. Our Glassdoor reviews tell that tale. With a generation that reads reviews before engaging in almost anything, this has been a great differentiator for us.
What are the 3 most effective strategies you use to retain employees?
Invest in your employees — for every employee, this means something different. Having a process for managers to understand what motivates and drives their employees, and then put plans in place to support that. This could be anything from advancement opportunities, skill attainment or financial incentives.
Transparency. As a company, we are transparent about our key initiatives, what is going right and keeping leadership up at night, and our financial metrics. We send out the notes to our executive meetings to all employees so they can keep up on everything that is going on in the business and encourage them to ask questions and get involved. We are also transparent on performance and development so employees are always developing and learning.We address concerns and challenges directly and with honesty, objectivity, and lots of supporting data!
Empower your employees — I think that some companies organize their companies to protect them against the few employees that may take advantage of a policy, benefit or reward. If you set-up your organization to the highest performers and “manage” the low performers, you are empowering your employees to do their job. An example of this is flexibility or work from home opportunities. If you don’t allow this because you think an employee may take advantage of this, you may drive out those that expect this and are high performers. We also have a saying “errors of action are better than errors of inaction”. This empowers employees to use their judgment and gives them a safe place to make an error and learn.
In your experience, is it important for HR to keep up with the latest trends? What are some examples of what this looks like?
It is important to keep up with trends or evolutions. So trends, technology is an example. There is new technology introduced every day that changes the way we work; Slack, DOMO, Asana for example. Employees expect companies to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest.
What I consider evolutions are the expectations of what the workforce is looking for. Millennials and Gen Z have high expectations of their employer to be mission-driven and to stand for a cause. Employee resource groups are an expectation. If you don’t stay current with all of these changes, you will quickly find yourself on the wrong side of the war for talent.
Can you give an example of a creative way to increase the value provided to employees without breaking the bank?
Recognition is free. Taking the time to give employees positive and specific feedback on their accomplishments goes very far in engaging and rewarding employees. At PI, we consider challenging work a part of your compensation package. If you don’t feel that you are learning and working on exciting work that challenges you every day, then we are not living up to our end of the deal. Another great value add is providing cross-functional mentors.
Recognition does go a long way! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Wow, inspire a movement..that is a big ask. The thing that comes to mind is confidence. In working with people of all different experiences, backgrounds, and organizational level there is something to be gained the most by having the confidence to take a risk, share an idea or have a difficult conversation. It is typically the person that has the confidence to speak up or share their idea that gets heard. I think that we don’t always have the best ideas or outcomes because they are sheltered with confidence issues. If we could make a change in that, I think we would diversify our ideas, outcomes, and innovations.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I would have to go back to the Golden Rule…”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The biggest differentiator for businesses is their people. So if business leaders treat their people as they would want to be treated and managers treated their employees the way they wanted to be treated and employees treated each other and their managers the way they wanted to be treated…you get the point right?
Absolutely! Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
I am a tennis fan who is a super amateur player and since the US Open just concluded, I would have to say Serena Williams. She has been a leader in her sport for 20 years. She has the confidence to be herself and has been a role model for women athletes and athletes in general for years. I would love to talk to her about what drives her and keeps her motivated through thick and thin. I would also love some tips on how to improve my game.
Great choice! Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights with us today.
About the Author: Kage Spatz went from inner-city Teacher to Forbes-featured 3x Entrepreneur — most notably Spacetwin & Milburn Shaw. Kage provides win-win-win solutions across many industries. His latest project is connecting employees (and their families) to additional HR benefits at zero cost to them or their company. Connect with Kage on Linkedin to strengthen your network anytime.