Building an amazing team is how we grew KnowBe4 into a unicorn. Without the team, we’d never have made it. This is why hiring is so crucial to every organization’s success, regardless of the size of your business or industry.
But there are a lot of different factors to consider when hiring, such as a candidate’s experience, education, and so on. How can you go beyond just the resume, and what exactly should you be looking for?
For us, we found it came down to one key trait: coachability.
Today’s organizations have to compete on a global level. Add in how rapidly technology and consumer preferences both change, and teams don’t have a choice — they have to be able to adapt and pivot what they’re doing. It’s not negotiable.
In this type of environment, leaders need people who quickly and gracefully can take feedback and adjust how they think and behave. Otherwise, the people they lead will have a harder time keeping pace with the work in front of them. Those individuals subsequently might be less satisfied on the job and end up in more intentional or unintentional conflicts. It’s a morale issue as much as it is a productivity one.
John Maxwell pinpoints this link between leadership and coachability in his book, How Successful People Lead. He asserts that “leadership deals with people and their dynamics [which are continually changing]. The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth. Those conditions require movement. . .”
Every company occasionally has to discipline workers or even let them go. But doing so takes up managerial and leadership time you could spend on other things. It’s also expensive and disruptive to the rest of the team to bring someone else on if your initial hire doesn’t work out. If you discover after hiring that a person isn’t going to take your advice and isn’t willing to learn, then you run the risk of unnecessarily draining resources out of the organization and have to deal with the stress that falls on everyone from trying to solve the personnel issue.
Don’t wait until someone is on your payroll to see if they’ll listen. Screen for coachability from the very beginning — as part of your hiring process.
At KnowBe4, we check for coachability during hiring with some simple role-playing. The interviewer gives the candidate a scenario, and they walk through it together. Then, the interviewer goes over both what the candidate did well while also offering some suggestions or explaining what to work on. Then, they run through the scenario again. If the candidate adjusts their behaviour based on the advice from the interviewer, then the interviewer knows that the candidate is coachable. If they don’t do anything differently, though, then the interviewer moves on to the next applicant.
This technique works best once you’ve already had some interaction with candidates because both you and the candidates have to feel comfortable doing the role-playing. That usually requires at least a small amount of rapport and familiarity. Additionally, role-playing typically does take more time than, say, reading a resume paragraph. Practically, you only have so many minutes in the day. So aim to check for coachability with this strategy in the second or third interview, after you’ve narrowed your pool of potential hires down a little.
As you prioritize and look for coachability, make sure to distinguish between coaching, mentoring and managing.
Management is about moving the objectives and key results (OKRs) of the organization forward. It’s task-oriented and measured by stats.
Mentoring is about providing expert guidance that somebody can use even outside of the office. It usually means you invest a lot of time and energy into the individual on a one-on-one basis, who you and others might see as your protégé. Coaching, by contrast, is meant to make a person more aware of where they can improve and sharpen those skills in a safe environment. It can be difficult to do as a mentor or manager because both managing and mentoring involve a different type of relationship with a stronger power dynamic. Coaching is far more scalable, especially in a business setting, as it can be done with everyone in the organization.
Why does this matter? Because once you’ve found coachable people, you need to make sure that they can tap sources of advice or training without interfering with workflow or monopolizing. It’s also important that the people you hire receive messaging that is consistent with your company culture.
Meeting these requirements might mean that you have to have one or more specialized individuals whose entire role is to coach. These people should have good expertise in your field, but they have to have great soft skills, too, because they have to make others feel comfortable enough to be honest and willing to improve. If you can’t afford to bring on dedicated coaches, then spend time with everyone on your team, so you know their strengths and weaknesses and can point people to help each other when there’s a need.
The fast pace of the global, tech-driven work environment means that organizations need adaptable employees who can learn, not people who already know everything (or think they do). Look for coachability right away during your hiring process with strategies such as role-playing to make sure your team stays flexible and cohesive.
Traditional employee development relies on two main components. The first is an online learning management system, with virtual course content and videos. The second is..
Developing new business relationships can be tricky. The development professional works towards a deal, the hours rack up, and yet there is no certainty of..
What your current and potential customers think of your products/services isn’t the only thing that matters. You also have to consider your employer brand—aka what..
The role of a Human Resources (HR) professional can vary depending on the organization and the specific job title. From identifying the most suitable of..
Soft skills are the personal qualities that enable an individual to communicate effectively, work well in a team, and adapt to changing situations. In today's modern workplace,..
It's no secret that a company cannot operate successfully without productive employees. What are you doing for yours? As a company, Twitter excels at employee..
Some could easily argue that the human resources (HR) department is not a "revenue-generating" service. We don't create new products, interface with the traditional customer daily, or..
Complex labour legislation is among the many reasons why more companies are choosing to outsource their human resource (HR) function to specialists while they focus..
Developing an active HR function in your business show that you value your employees and their business in your enterprise Growing startups and small and..
In this competitive market, companies are struggling to not only retain but also grow their talent pools as they expand. Attractive salaries are important, but..
Nothing is better for the bottom line than employees who are motivated to work for psychic benefits. Are you looking for ways to motivate your..
In our world in general, but especially in the workplace, change is a continual presence. Whether it's driven by new technology, shifts in the market,..
The power of one is mesmerizing. We don't realize it, but it can change how we see things. It can help us focus and help..
Businesses used to have a relatively easy time finding talented employees to fill all their job vacancies. That changed in 2021 when 47.4 million workers voluntarily..
As a startup founder, you’d usually spend a large part of your time trying to get various people to do new things. On one side,..
With these four steps, you can make the most of your in-between period. Whether you’ve just graduated college or are years into your career, you’ve probably..
You know what it’s like. Some people are so much fun to work with that you actually look forward to seeing their faces come Monday..
It happens all the time. You start out the day with great intentions to get that financial report done or to work on your marketing..
Since the pandemic started, HR professionals have had to juggle retaining their current employees while also attracting new talent. Employees have more options than ever..
Are you struggling with new leads? Are you struggling with hiring? In this article I'm going to dive into three important ways you can create..
Motivating yourself is hard. In fact, I often compare it to one of the exploits of the fictional German hero Baron Munchausen: Trying to sustain..
I recently spent a month interviewing the group heads of a large financial services company in order to understand how their direct reports need to communicate..
For many people, giving and receiving feedback can be incredibly stressful. When you have poured your heart and soul into your work, having someone offer..
Creating a learning culture in the workplace is all about fostering an environment that empoweres people to pursue knowledge. This is important for individual evolution,..
I’ve been thinking a lot about dessert lately. What’s the most memorable, delicious bite of dessert you’ve ever tasted? Chances are, it wasn’t a store-bought, plastic-wrapped ball..
Through the turbulence of the past year, one of the constants for me has been my relationships with my colleagues. As a senior leader at..
If there’s one thing the pandemic has brought into clear focus, it’s what each of us considers important—especially at work. Diversity, equity and inclusion, and..
Ever find that it’s noon and you haven’t accomplished anything on your to-do list? Get a productive jump-start on the day with these tasks. I..
[In the long term, employee motivation and well-being strongly influence organizational health, customer satisfaction and loyalty..
Consistency Is the One Rule in Building a Great Company Culture Company culture is a topic that’s been often explored by entrepreneurs and business analysts, but..
Why Empathy Is One of the Most Overlooked Skills in Business It was a sunny day in April. The air was crisp and the walk..
The Difference Between People Who Succeed and People Who Flop Successful people charge forward, take calculated risks, and come out on top because of it...