Getting the Right People in the Right Seats

by John Cloonan
January 15, 2019
Getting the Right People in the Right Seats

I used to work for a company that practiced the Entrepreneurial Operating System, based on Gino Wickman’s book Traction. I’m a fan. There are actually a lot of concepts from this system I’ve brought here to Kinetix. There are two ideas in this book relevant to building effective teams, and I’m going to extend those concepts to illustrate how employer branding and recruitment marketing create effective teams. They’re relatively simple concepts – you must have the right people in the right seats.

That’s a “duh” moment, isn’t it? But what does it really mean?

Let me address those two concepts in reverse:

  • First, the right seats – look at your organization and figure out what functions you need to be successful. Do this without looking at who is already there.
  • Once you’ve figured out the necessary functions, you know what skills you need, and you’re ready to find the right people.

Not so fast! The right people aren’t just those who have the skills, but those who fit your organizational culture. You need to find those people – and weed out everyone else.

Employer branding and recruitment marketing are the answer to your hiring challenges.

In order to find people who fit the culture of your organization, you have to determine the truth about your culture. You have a mission, vision, and values, but those aren’t your culture. Your culture is contained in the answer to this question from a prospective employee – “What’s in it for me?”

How do you find that answer? (Shameless plug: you could hire us to do it for you.) You need to ask your employees! Find out what they think the good, the bad, and the ugly are about your company. Distill those into a few key messages that you can put out into the marketplace.

We call those your employee value propositions or EVPs.

Once you’ve determined your EVP, you’ve got to tell the right people about it. Those aren’t necessarily the people who want to buy your product or service. Those folks should be getting different messages and should be led to a different place. You need a place to put your EVP themes so that the best-fitting talent can see them. Then you need to put your EVP themes in that place and get the right people to show up. In other words, you need a careers website that focuses on the ideal candidates and gives them a reason to show up.

Why would they show up? Because you’re offering them frequently updated, relevant content – blogs and videos and information exposing what it’s like to work in your company, and the opportunity to apply to jobs. Then you need to promote that content through careers-centric social channels, so this ideal audience can find it.

That’s a simplification of the overall effort. There’s a lot more to it:

  1. You must design and build an attractive careers site that reflects your brand.
  2. You must figure out what content you’re going to produce, and then get it produced, either by doing it yourself or hiring it out.
  3. You need to create and manage the career-centric social channels and populate them with content.
  4. You might consider doing some paid social advertising or creating a talent community. Oh, and If you want to get really sophisticated, you probably want to create personas to tailor your content to each of your chosen channels.

It’s not as easy as I make it sound. (Kinetix does all of this, too, in case you were wondering.)

The value of all this effort is to get the right people in the right seats. I mentioned previously that there are two parts to that – attracting this talent population and weeding out the rest. You need people with the best skills to fill your seats, but that’s table stakes.

The real key to building an effective team is culture fit.

If they don’t work well within your culture, they will either bail out relatively quickly or even worse, they’ll stay and poison the rest of your team with their attitude. That’s why exposing the truth of your culture through your EVP themes is so very important. You have to expose potential negatives as well as positives. Every culture has negative aspects.

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John Cloonan

John Cloonan

Marketing Director at Kinetix
John knows how to tell a good story, where to tell it, and to whom. He’s created brand stories and strategies for companies from startups to $1B plus, and shared more than a few as a public speaker. His résumé reads like War and Peace. He’s been a marketing consultant, agency owner, corporate marketing leader, and an adjunct marketing professor, not to mention motorcycle racer and inline skating instructor. If you see a blur on the interstate, it’s John headed to Kinetix HQ, where he conducts the marketing orchestra. Catch him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jcloonan/
John Cloonan

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