Hiring Reimagined

Leadership Memo 2020-2

Being a manager is hard. You are no longer working in the domain you are an expert in. There are additional responsibilities that you need to do. Most likely, you don’t like those responsibilities. Being a good manager is even harder. Being a good manager in an agile environment, what’s that? Being a good manager in a remote agile environment? Yikes!

In my recent agile HR blog posts, I have been focusing specifically on performance management and reward & recognition. Yup, you heard me right. Agile is not just for software development, it is for the entire company. It is also industry agnostic. Think about it. The organization is only as agile as the least agile department. As a good agile manager, your job is to stop hindering people from giving their best to the organization. You do that by removing limiting structures (e.g. performance targets and fixed budget) and increasing supporting structures.

Note: all my posts on reward & recognition are for Product Development organization, not Sales or Professional Services groups, which have very different pay structures.

Today, I’d like to focus on the aspect of hiring. Hiring is a traditional management job. But does everything need to go through the hiring manager? e.g. screening resumes, who should be on the interview panel, hiring decisions, etc. We all know that hiring managers are notoriously busy, so they are a major bottleneck. If only someone can share those duties…

The team is responsible for frequent delivery of quality products that delight the customers. Part of being able to deliver is to have enough people and to have the right people on the team. So, shouldn’t the team be the one who asks for more people or a replacement if someone leaves the team? Shouldn’t the team be the one who determines what qualities they want for people joining them? So, instead of the manager being the decision maker for everything, can the entire team share the hiring duties? The team will need to learn a few things, e.g. they need to find the balance between the skill level of the craft and the fit to the team culture and dynamics. There may also be company-level considerations that the team is not aware of. The team also needs to learn what to do when the candidate hired doesn’t work out. (Budgeting is also part of the equation, but I’ll leave that topic for another time). Those are teaching and mentoring moments for the manager, and an excellent learning opportunity for the team. This is one way managers help increase supporting structures.

By the way, the team has been figuring out how to work together and collaborate in a remote environment for the past months. They can also figure out how to hire in a remote setting.

I can give you examples of what I’ve helped teams do and what they have learned, but I prefer you telling me if you’ve tried this and how it works or not works for you. Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Latest Talks:

In case you missed my talk on Aug 26 where I dared you to open the HR pandora’s box, you have another opportunity on Sept 9.

I’m also teaming up with a few colleagues, both in the US and in the UK, to talk about Agile and Senior Leadership on Sept 10. Go to Talks & Workshops for more details.

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