Sunday, May 3, 2015

Recruuiting and Hiring in a Lean Company

Imagine a company that hires every single new person like their very existence depends on it. Candidates are identified years in advance. Tens of thousands are considered, and a couple of dozen at a time just might make the grade. Interviews? Before being hired, candidates will have been prodded, poked and asked questions that reveal their character, their work ethic and beliefs. Often the candidate's parents, friends and co-workers will also be interviewed. Every single one of their work days over the past 3 or 4 years will be scrutinized both live and on video. The company will send a team of representatives to conduct on campus interviews that take place all over the country. Only the very best of the best will be hired. They will be very well paid, but can be laid off at any time if a better candidate is found. Talk about the old adage hire slowly and fire quickly!

Imagine another company that takes over two years in many cases "on-boarding". This company is so customer focused that they will spend that much time making sure that any one of 20 million customers every year can any employee almost any question and they can take care of them without shuffling them off to someone else. This company receives hundreds of applicants for every open position.

Imagine a third company where the primary requirements are a body temperature ~98.6F and a steady, working pulse. Maybe a reference or two might be called, but we all know we can't get much out of that little exercise. Bring all 3 candidates in, maybe a few interviews, call a reference or two (can't learn much here), then see ya Monday! When they show up, give them the nickel tour and stick them with someone that is already doing the job. Give them a 90 day probation period, and if they stay at 98.6F, don't start a fight, don't show up drunk and just show up period, they become one of us!

The first company is obviously an NFL franchise and the second is of course Disney. The third is perhaps something many of us have done or dare I say "do".

When we started our lean journey, I envisioned a very fun company that is very difficult to get into. An exclusive club. I imagined people who were well developed, well challenged and well compensated. After all, people would be joining a real live lean learning organization. New hires would need to read "Lean Thinking"(Womack & Jones) and "The Toyota Way" (Liker) and do ~40 closed book quizzes during their 90 day probation period. That would qualify them to join our corporate university, a 4 year, 40 credit curriculum teaching them about our value streams, our products, sales, marketing, accounting and IT. And they could take electives like guitar playing, fishing, beer making, personal finance, etc. etc. 

People would also be expected to contribute right off the bat by working with others making improvements using A3. It didn't matter if you were hired to work as a chemist or to mix concrete.....YOU were one of us. This company has been recognized as one of the best companies to work in Connecticut 5 times.

You really don't need to imitate the NFL, Disney, Toyota or anyone else, but they sure do get your wheels spinning! Focus on WHY you are in business (how you serve this world), develop your own production system, and recruit and develop your players accordingly. 


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