Recruit to achieve Cultural Change – Is it possible?

When clients provide a brief for a recruitment assignment, there is often the requirement for the incumbent to make changes to existing processes or company culture. For example, identifying and attracting a Quality Assurance professional who will inspire quality and production staff to dramatically reduce non-compliances or an Administration Manager who will transform an accounting culture where errors are the norm and there is no faith in the accuracy of reports.

Transformations commonly fail at the best of times, but reliance on a new employee to carry the responsibility of the change significantly adds to the risk of failure. The search for personnel with the capacity, confidence and experience to achieve cultural change can be successful, but what if the pool of candidates is limited due to the role being located in a regional or remote location as is often the case in agribusiness?

Employers located in less popular locations are often forced to make hiring compromises in terms of the skills and experience required to be successful in a job.

When underwhelmed by candidates received it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:-

  • What skills do the leading candidates lack? Does our company have those skills in-house and the time to educate and support such a candidate? Don’t overlook competent people from within who may have the ability to grow into the job.
  • Are we too focused on relevant job experience rather than the skills required to perform the job? Employers sometimes make the mistake of looking for similar past experience rather than the right skills with the capacity to adapt.
  • Would a graduate be able to be trained to do the job? Graduates are often more willing to relocate for an interesting or challenging job as a means of gaining relevant experience.

If you do select a candidate who you believe has the capacity to grow into the job, make sure you develop an onboarding plan to provide them with the necessary support. It is a big ask to expect an incumbent to concurrently establish their credibility, develop relationship with colleagues and to effect change in a culture which may have existed for years or even decades.

Change must always be seen to be supported from higher management and when implementation falls on a new employee it is all the more important to hold regular review meetings to identify roadblocks and facilitate a smooth transition. Such support may, for example come in the form of weekly review meetings over the first few months of employment and will significantly increase the chance of success.

For further information on the importance of Onboarding in Hiring Success and other articles on Australian Agriculture download a free copy of our “Agribusiness Trends and Salary Report 2020” http://www.agri.com.au/trend-report-2020/