Little Becomes Big

I think most things don’t change or get done in our organizations because people look at what needs to be done and thinks – “Holy crap! That’s a big job”.  That’s such a big job and I don’t have the resources or the time or the energy to tackle that right now.  In HR this happens to us all the time.  I would rather just stick with what we have because the amount of work it would take to make a change just isn’t something we can do, right now. “Can’t do right now”, by the way, means “never” in most organizations.

I’m not a all-at-once guy.  Many people are.  “If we are doing this, we’re doing it all!”  This is really an artificial roadblock many people put up to stop you.  They know you don’t want to do it all, ‘right now’, so they force the all-or-nothing compromise.  Which almost always goes to the ‘nothing’ decision.  I think HR can be much more effective by starting very small and moving slowly, but surely, in a direction of major change that you have planned out in the future.

Here’s how I like to do it – let’s use changing your interview process and beginning to get 100% compliance on using new competency driven interview guides.  Sounds like something your hiring managers will hate, right!?  Here’s how this normally works: Step 1 – Put together a 7 page questionnaire on competencies and send out to all 200 hiring managers in your organization with a time line of 4 weeks to return.  At 4 weeks, 12% have returned, after reminders 17% have returned. You’re dead in the water because you can get a majority of your hiring manager to even agree on which competencies are important in your organization.  Step 2– you give up.

Here’ how I do it:

Step 1: I meet with 4-5 top performing hiring managers who give a damn, individually, and gather their ‘opinion’ on what competencies really matter to them.

Step 2: I come up with a consensus of this small group and deliver them back an initial ‘draft’ interview guide, based on their recommendations, and ask for any additions or subtractions they would like to see.

Step 3:  I begin using these guides for all interviews with these managers as a ‘test’ case on how these might work with the rest of the organization.  This test might take 3-12 months based on how much hiring you do in your organization.  I change and tweak and better the guides constantly to make the more end-user friendly based on the hiring managers using them.

Step 4:  My 4-5 best hiring managers now have a habit of using competency based interview guides – 100%.  They are believers because they were the designers of them. They work, for them.  They will not want to change.

Step 5:  I present my ‘Competency based interview guide’ test results to leadership.

Step 6:  We roll out competency based interview guide process to the entire company – 100%.

Ok, I probably missed a couple steps in this quick example – but you get the idea.  Little steps become big steps.   How do you eat an Elephant?  One bite at a time.  The easiest way for an HR shop to get anything done in an organization is to find champions who are high performers to work with you and believe in what you’re doing – then just start doing it – ‘as a test’!  Most leadership love to see their employees trying things that is an attempt to make the organization better – especially when it’s their best and brightest!  Don’t get caught up in “Everybody has to do it”!  No they don’t – ‘Everybody’ will actually slow down what you’re trying to accomplish.

Little, becomes Big.







One thought on “Little Becomes Big

  1. This is a great post. I find that so often my colleagues aren’t willing to tackle something because it seems “too hard to adopt” so we stick to the same game plan and get the same results.

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