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Recruit for the future: 3 skills that define superstar employees

Talent is the difference between flying and floundering. It’s the defining strength of the world’s best performing companies and the defining weakness of the should-do-betters.

Hiring fantastic people is as important as ever. But the world of work is changing at a rate of knots. Which means the skills that drive business success are changing too.

In this guide, you’ll discover the three skills that define tomorrow’s superstar employees. And then you’ll learn the crucial part of the quality-of-hire equation that most recruiters forget.   

Superstar employee skill #1 – Learning mindset 

 

With new technologies and ways of working springing up almost daily, you might assume in-demand technical skills are the key to superstardom.

That’s partially true. You might hire for specific technical skills for a specific technical project, for instance. And sure, everyone wants the latest and greatest analytics masterminds or social media maestros or cloud experts or coding whizz kids.

But that’s the thing. Everyone wants them, so hiring them is difficult and expensive. And, even more important, the working landscape is changing so fast those skills can quickly become redundant.

That’s what the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 calls “an undesirable lose-lose scenario [of] technical change accompanied by talent shortages”

And the thing is, busting a gut to hire more of these star skills doesn’t even make the difference you think. Bain & Company ran an in-depth investigation into workforce productivity and found the common assumption is wrong.

The best-performing companies don’t have more superstar employees. All companies have roughly the same proportion of star performers: an average 15% of the workforce.

Rather, the best-performing companies use their superstar talent differently. They consciously cluster star employees into business-critical roles rather than spreading them across the business. So hiring top people becomes less important than using them right.

What all this means is, as the World Economic Forum phrase it, “businesses [must] take an active role in reskilling and upskilling, [while] individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning”.

What does this mean for you?

 

Look for new hires who can learn, adapt and evolve. Champion a strategic and proactive approach to recruitment that feeds into crucial business areas, rather than reactively meeting manager requirements. And finally, educate HR on the importance of reskilling initiatives, to retrain (and so retain) hires as new skills are needed rather than placing all emphasis on recruitment.

Superstar employee skill #2 – Creativity  

 

The world of work is changing rapidly. Total disruption.

Which means businesses need leaders who aren’t afraid of change. Who can take balanced risks. Who can consider new strategies to evolve. Who are comfortable with ambiguity. Who are courageous and visionary, and inventive and innovative.

Those are all characteristics of creative leaders, according to IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study. Interviewing more than 1500 CEOs worldwide, IBM found creativity was the single most important factor in successfully navigating a changing and increasingly complex world.

The World Economic Forum concur, listing creativity as the 5th most important skill in 2018 and forecasting creativity, originality and initiative as the 3rd most important skills by 2022.

What does this mean for you?

 

Look for new hires that are creative thinkers by using creative recruitment methods. If you rely on the traditional recruitment channels and processes, you’ll only find traditional hires. Think outside-the-box. Look beyond traditional CVs, boring job descriptions and lengthy, admin-heavy processes. Ask different, thought-provoking interview questions. Build an immersive employer branding experience from Day 1. You need to be creative to attract creative.

Superstar employee skill #3 – Collaboration and communication

 

In the not-too-distant future, machines and algorithms will change many of the tasks humans do. That’s why the World Economic Forum report that nearly 50% of companies expect automation to lead to some reduction in full-time workforce by 2022.

Which sounds scary, but that’s not the full story.

Nearly 40% of companies also expect to extend their workforce with new productivity-enhancing roles, while 25% actively expect automation to create new roles in the business.

In other words, the ‘machines are making humans redundant’ narrative is incomplete. Machines are making certain tasks redundant, which frees humans to add more value elsewhere.

‘Human’ tasks won’t be affected by the domination of machines to nearly the same extent. According to the World Economic Forum, these include communicating and interacting; coordinating, developing, managing and advising; and reasoning and decision-making.

Employees that have these skills will continue to add value to the workforce, even as the nature of work changes.

What does this mean for you?

 

Look for new hires with exceptional ‘human’ skills. You can train mechanical skills where needed but the superstar hires of tomorrow will be strong communicators, team-players who enjoy collaboration, and astute analytical thinkers to boot. Transform your hiring process to interview and test for these skills with open interviews and one-day hiring events.

Hire for these three skills to bring more future-proof star quality into your business.

 

But keep reading. Because these three skills aren’t the end of the story.  

 

Because here’s the thing.

Finding superstar hires isn’t the only thing you should care about. Sure, you want to bring the best people into the business. But you also want them to add value for the business long-term. To be a quality hire.  

Imagine.

You pour energy into finding an employee with the perfect skills but they don’t thrive as they should. Ultimately they leave after six months and instantly becomes a superstar employee for a competitor. You miss your quality-of-hire and retention targets but never really know why.

Or the other way around.

You hire someone who doesn’t quite have the right skills, but the manager has limited budget and needs someone now. Next thing you hear, they’ve soared into unexpected superstardom and you’re getting all the credit for a great hire. 

The problem is, quality-of-hire is a headache-metric for recruitment because it’s only partially determined by hiring great people. It also depends on what happens post-hire, with engagement, productivity and retention.

And although recruitment is indirectly targeted on those metrics, they mostly feel outside your control.

They don’t have to be though.

Employee onboarding turns stars into superstars

 

Employee onboarding is a simple way to join the dots between recruitment and HR, helping new hires move smoothly through your recruitment process and into their role as a productive, engaged employee.

It gives you control over the post-hire metrics you otherwise leave to chance, delivering 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention. So your superstar hires realise their full potential as superstar employees.

Read more about how employee onboarding drives productivity.

Plus your managers will be happier, which is always a good thing. Manager satisfaction increases by 20% when employees are properly onboarded. 

And even better, employee onboarding doesn’t add to your workload. Once you’ve set it up, it becomes a simple, automated process.

So, please do look for these three superstar skills when you hire. But don’t let all your hard work go to waste by abandoning new hires the moment they leave your recruitment process. If you care about quality-of-hire, improving your hiring means improving your post-hire processes too.

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Topics: HR
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