Case study: recruiting for tomorrow

Our client was a leading European engineering business. At the time, the markets the organisation competed in were being heavily disrupted by digital. The organisation had therefore embarked upon a multi-year transformation programme to improve collaboration and innovation across organisational silos and boundaries. As part of their efforts, they had identified an urgent need to recruit leaders into the business who fitted the aspirational culture for the organisation, rather than its current one. The emphasis was on recruiting more leaders into the business who were agile, had an enterprise mindset and were able to influence without authority across organizational boundaries. It was at this point that they approached  us.

Working with their heads of recruitment and talent management we transformed their approach to recruitment, as well as putting into place a six month onboarding process to enable them to hit the ground running. First, we helped the organisation select the right psychometrics to measure the leadership characteristics that fit its cultural aspirations. Looking at the existing psychometrics being used, we realized that most of the current tools that were being used measured horizontal development, rather than vertical development. This meant that there was no information available on the mental complexity or leadership agility of potential applicants – a key indicator of leadership agility and ability to work systemically. We therefore introduced the Global Leadership Profile, a vertical assessment tool, into the recruitment process, as well as training members of the recruitment team to work with the new model and interview around vertical development. 

Next, we set up an process to accelerate the onboarding of these senior recruits to the organisation, whilst also safeguarding their ability to translate their fresh perspectives on the organisation into practical innovation and ideas for action. Each new recruit was provided with one-to-one executive coaching to help them hit the ground running and make the biggest impact possible, in their first 100 days. We also put candidates into peer learning groups with three other new recruits, enabling them to create informal networks within the organisation by linking up with other potential change-makers. Finally, each candidate was also provided with an executive mentor, specifically chosen for cultural fit, whose role it was to provide access to the existing informal networks across the organisation whenever needed.

The programme exceeded all of the metrics it had set out to achieve, at the beginning of the process. Whilst we had expected cost per hire to increase, the overall increase was minimal, in comparison to other metrics. It is clear that quality of hire has increased substantially as a result of these initiatives, with retention rates increasing amongst new hires and overall performance metrics increasing as well. We are currently tracking the rate of successful innovation across the organisation, and are expecting to see a significant upturn. The programme was viewed as being so successful that we were then asked to design an  assessment and support process for their internal succession programme.