Do your employees care about your company’s success?

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Employees might be driven by any number of external motivators – whether it’s a pay cheque or professional development – but how many genuinely care about the success of your company?

Unless it’s a budding start-up or small family business, it’s likely there are at least some employees who just aren’t invested – but one large Kiwi organisation is about as close to perfect as you can get.

In a 2015 Work Environment Survey, 99 per cent of Otago Polytechnic employees said they really care about the success of the institution and 97 per cent said they are proud to work there.

“There are couple of tricks to that,” says HR director Matt Carter. “One of them is we often hire our graduates, which is always really a proud moment, hiring somebody who studied with us five or ten years ago and they’ve gone off and done things in the industry but come back.”

However, Carter’s other tricks aren’t restricted the education field – in fact, they rely on the input of existing employees.

“We have a lot of referrals from staff of people they think might want to work here so the word of mouth network for recruitment is really important,” he says.

“Our staff want to see new staff absolutely as committed as they and working as hard as they are so they aren’t going to refer anyone they don’t think hold the same values and hold the same passion so that is a really good way of getting great people.”

Current employees also play a key role in the selection process, with teams making the decisions rather than managers.

“We have a lot of staff involvement in recruitment so the teams run the recruitment process and recommend who should be hired so they have a real invested interest in hiring the right person,” he explains.

“They are the experts, they know the job and what needs to be done so it makes sense to me,” he continues. “They know which skill sets the teams already have as well as the new skills sets that would be complimentary – a manager or HR person wouldn’t necessarily know in as much detail.”

Carter says the program, which has been gradually implemented over the past few years, is a huge success but admits there are still some teething problems to consider.

“Sometimes it adds a bit of work for employees because recruitment can be quite time consuming so we’re just trying to smooth that out and we’ve increased our level of support through HR for the teams,” he says.

Other issues can arise when it comes to internal candidates – “It can be a bit interesting managing that process but it can be done not a problem and we’ve done that quite well in the past but it just takes a bit more planning and a bit more care about who’s involved,” he says.

For employers who are considering bringing employees into the recruitment process, Carter says it’s essential to provide appropriate training.

“We’ve done quite a lot of training for staff in terms of how to do recruitment, interview and selection processes really well but also things like avoiding unconscious bias and what you can and can’t ask,” he says.

While there may be some bumps to iron out, Carter insists the process has been a big hit with both bosses and employees.

“Employees love it because it gives them a real chance to be involved in selecting who their new colleagues are.”

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