Thursday, March 15, 2012

Creativity - hiring the right people

If you want to make you organisation more creative, you might be thinking of hiring some staff to help you with this. If these people are likely to be creative then you must keep a tight rein on them and make sure that their job descriptions are comprehensive, right? Wrong!

If we hire people against a strict job description then we run a risk of several things happening:

1. We hire people who only do what it says in their job description
2. We are unable to be flexible about how we make use of these people
3. We will hire people in our own image (since we have created the job specification) and will fail to inject the free thinking that we require

So what can we do? First of all think about what it is that you want these people to actually do or the areas in which you want them to work. If you were a bank and wanted new staff to help you work on making your branches a better place to be you might be thinking of reducing queues. Previously you might have looked at someone with project management or mathematical skills to work out how much time a cashier should spend with a customer. If you wanted your branch staff to allocate more time to satisfying customers then customers will get stuck in queues. So why not make queues a better place to be? Hire someone who has worked at a theme park such as Disney World or Alton Towers. They have huge queues but people do not mind being in them because when they get to the front they are not disappointed by their experience.

When asking for applications, try asking for something different. Ask a potential manager to draw a picture of the sort of workplace that they will create as a result of the changes they will implement or ask customer service staff what a satisfied customer looks like. Make interviews practical experiences if possible, potentially throwing people into completely unfamiliar situations.

By doing something different we can expose the hidden but creative qualities that we are actually looking for. If we always hire the same type of employee we will always be muttering "you can never get the staff these days". By varying the staff we hire we can easily find out the type that best fit our business whilst bring fresh ideas and energy. If you are averse to the risk of hiring in this way you can always experiment a little by bringing in contract staff and then making them permanent or hiring staff similar to the ones that have helped drive your business forward.

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