Let me walk you through a scenario and you tell me what I’m missing.
We all have hiring needs right now. Almost all of us are struggling to fill those needs. We love employee referrals! We also have great employees, doing great work who work with us, that we trust.
What would happen if we went to our employees and said, “Hey, we love you and trust you, so we are going to allow you to hire one person. You have total say in whether this person gets hired. We have a few parameters around HR stuff, drug screen, background check, etc., but the hiring decision is yours”.
You could probably add in some fun parameters like:
Here are the positions we have open that you can hire someone for. (IE., you might have some positions you don’t want the run of the mill making hiring decisions on)
If your hire fails, you won’t get this chance to hire another person for at least a year, so make it a good one!
If your hire succeeds, you will be given the ability to hire another person.
Maybe you want to throw some sort of bonus to your folks for successful hires, explain what “success” looks like, etc.
What might happen?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never done it, but I think I would be willing to test it out.
Let’s dig into what we think would mostly happen.
My best guess is you would have some employees who would be like, awesome, I’ve got a friend or family member I think would do a great job, and I’m going to hire them. Yes! Some positions get filled and they have some employee sponsorship that will probably help hold them accountable and be more successful.
You will probably have a few misses. Yeah, I thought Johnny would do well, and since he has a record no one will hire him, but he’s my sister’s kid and I really thought he turned his life around and this was a great chance, but ultimately he’s a loser.
You will probably have some employees who think you are nuts and not serious.
The big question is would you allow this for any positions, or just low/no-skill type of positions? I mean, really, conceptually, it works for any level. If I have a finance position open, and there are certain requirements needed for the job, then it isn’t really that hard to see if the person can conceptually do the job or not with their experience and education. So, it could work for any level job, blue-collar or white-collar.
Does this empower your employees?
Imagine being an individual contributor in your organization and one day you wake up and go to work and you realize you can actually hire someone. I can have that experience of making a life-changing decision for someone else. That seems like it would be pretty powerful!
Do you remember the very first person you ever got to hire? That’s a giant career moment. I tend to think every person you hire is a pretty great career moment, but the first one is big!
I think being able to hire someone would be super empowering and it’s really just a next-level employee referral program. Instead of you just referring someone, just take it few more steps and make it happen!
I tend to look at our current staffing problems with a strong testing mentality. Let’s try a bunch of stuff and see what might work. Most of it won’t work, but we might run into something amazing! Maybe our first test of this concept is to go to a hand-selected group of 10 or 20 employees and give them the first shot. Measure the results, gather feedback, decide if it should be rolled out further or what changes should be made.
All that I know is that early in my career if the CEO came into my cube and said, “Tim, we are going to allow you to hire one person to work here!” I would have taken that assignment very seriously and would have thought that was super cool!