Design employers need to realise we’re only human

Why are most creative businesses still applying only the basic HR practices in the selection of candidates? Our industry continually fails to correctly assess candidates’ suitability for roles, relying on technical competence and interview only. What kind of message does this send to your potential new recruits? No surprise then that not one creative business was listed in this year’s Top 50 Employers.

Let’s do away with the quick-fix attitude to recruitment and apply a thorough approach that will help to eliminate the risk and expense of employing the wrong people.

If we are to continue to develop the profile of our industry and also attract principal consultants from outside it then we must apply ‘the checks and balances’ that allow for individuals to be assessed, trained, appraised and rewarded in the most professional way possible.

The first step is to sort out employment legislation-related problems. Why start to attract people to your business when you haven’t even created the basic foundations or haven’t kept abreast of legislation. There was a big increase in tribunal claims last year because we have put growth first and people second when the two are inextricably linked.

Second, you need to identify the most dominant cultural features in your company. It doesn’t matter how brilliant someone is at their job, if they aren’t the kind of person they will leave.

An accurate profile of the job is vital and candidates should be measured against it by being profiled themselves. It is not just skill, experience and qualifications that count. Inherent personal characteristics can also determine your ability to inspire or lead a team. Professionally designed and delivered assessment centres are the most accurate method of predicting someone’s suitability for a job.

Once the employee starts a period of induction, targeted training, clear objective setting, and appraisal should follow, regardless of level. Without appraisal an employee can’t be expected to know how to progress and take steps to improve, and it leaves a company wide open to industrial tribunal claims for unfair dismissal.

Jonathan Alport

Alport Consulting

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