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Are You Radicalizing the Norms of Recruitment?


Elaine Holding on April 6, 2016 in Advice for Charities

SB Partners' annual not-for-profit series Think Camp returns on June 8, 2016! If you have not registered, this is a unique professional development opportunity for Executive Directors and Board Chairs of not-for-profit organizations. The topic is timely, our facilitators are outstanding, and the panelists are exceptional.

Mark Venning, Principal of Change Rangers, and one of our talented facilitators has written an interesting blog (below) that really gets you thinking.

To register for Think Camp 2016, please click here

Now may be the very best time to be more open, if not radical, in the way not-for-profits rethink recruitment strategies. Why, when there is so much at stake, would you want to make too much of a sharp turn from the norms of recruitment?

Competition for finding the right talent, for the right reason, at the right time in any category of not-for-profit organizations is just as fierce as ever. Voluntary turnover continues to be high while significant demographic shifts are at play. Maybe the question is why not – rethink?

At our SB Partners Think Camp 2016, one of the two featured panelists is Deborah Legrove – President of Crawford Connect, one of Canada’s premier Executive Search firm specializing in Not-for-Profits. Deborah is in the business of helping organizations rethink their recruitment strategies. Given this high level of change and competition, Deborah notes that “over the past 5-7 years, we have increasingly placed a greater emphasis on `marketing’ non-profit roles. This helps to address the gap the sector is experiencing in the availability of qualified not-for-profit leaders.”

Once you enter the marketing mind-set, you are more likely to become more radical, or at least more creative about how you draw the attraction of the best people. It is no longer enough to look in the traditional places for people with perhaps fresh perspectives, nor is it enough to position the roles in pre-packaged job descriptions, followed by a prescribed interview process.

“We develop what we call an Employee Value Proposition for each position. This is to identify the key intrinsic motivators for why someone might want to work for the organization”, says Deborah Legrove.

With a more meaningful future in mind, both the not-for-profit organization and the best people are likely looking for the same touch points in the search/hire process. Beyond the skills, experience, and credentials; beyond the opportunity for meaningful work and potential growth – what are we both bringing to the table in terms of fresh insights, value and relevance in an age of hyper-speed?

An often-underestimated aspect of the hiring for key roles in an organization is the fact that the original purpose for the hire and/or the scope of the role may shift. The role might have developed into more of a project-based focus. While any of this might not be sudden, it can be simply a matter of evolution or a downright miscalculation of the demand for change brought on by external forces, or by a shift in priorities as identified by a Board of Directors.

In a previous role as a Board President, at a turning point where a new hire was required, in an advisory capacity, I challenged the normative instinct to hire full time “hat for hat” replacement by making a business case for taking the direction of a short-term interim assignment. Good job we did. So many signs and omens pointed to an organization in hyper-speed transition that not only did the direction of the role morph; the individual outgrew their relevance. Several years later, all parties are in a better place.

Recruitment doesn’t need to be radical without purpose, but it never hurts to make a play for a radical rethink.

Mark Venning, with Heather Turnbull – Think Camp Facilitators