February 28th, 2013 marks Pope Benedict XVI's last day on the job, as he becomes the first Roman Catholic pontiff to resign his post in nearly 600 years (and the first to do so voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294). The 85-year-old Benedict (born Joseph Ratzinger) announced his resignation on February 11th because of a "lack of strength of mind and body."
The unexpected resignation has created a number of unique challenges for the Church leadership. Some of these are specific to the Vatican, but many could also apply to the hiring processes of organizations of any size including making speedy hiring decisions, properly vetting new candidates, and creating succession plans in advance.
The mantra "Hire Slow and Fire Quickly" has been a favourite of business writers for years. However, an increasing number of thinkers are disagreeing with its sentiment. Danny Boce from Fast Company recently wrote "that catchphrase isn't just dumb, it's counterproductive," particularly for start-ups.
If your doctor gave you six months to live unless you got a liver transplant, would you hold out until you found the PERFECT liver? Or would you find the best liver available this very second and figure out how to make it work?
John Rossheim at Monster.com states that many businesses take much too long to decide on a new hire:
It’s a hallmark of the dysfunctional organization: A requisition is opened for a new line-manager position, but it takes 4 months to make a hire. By which time thousands of dollars have been spent on misguided recruitment efforts, six figures of revenue have been lost, and the HR department and the hiring manager are barely speaking to each other. Make no mistake about it: a prolonged time-to-hire means opportunities lost and resources wasted.
Some tips that Rossheim shares include:
Within a day of concluding interviews, summon the decision-makers to an end-of-day meeting and promise each other not to adjourn until you’ve agreed on the winner.
2. Vet Your Candidates Properly
The election of the new pope will be the result of a two-thirds majority of the voting Cardinals. The new pope will come from amongst their ranks and should be well-known to all of them. The serious candidates, including Canada's Marc Ouellet, will have their champions working to persuade their fellow Cardinals on the benefits of selecting them.
Here are some tips around the hiring process:
3. Succession Planning Is a Must
Although most people were surprised by Pope Benedict's announcement, observers now recognize signs that the Pope was nearing a decision to step down due to increasing health issues. Regardless, the fact that the pontiff is 85-years-old and in declining health should have signaled Church officials that the need to choose a successor would be soon in coming.
Unlike the position of Pope, most employees and managers do not plan to remain in their current roles until death (or incapacity). In fact, Forbes.com reports that "job hopping" is the new normal, especially for younger workers:
The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics [USA], but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that. 91% of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than 3 years.
No business today should be surprised when an employee or manager decides to move on. In fact, there are numerous advantages for those who "job hop" including gaining a wider degree of experience and the ability to leverage for higher compensation. Check out this article from the folks at GoodCall.com for more details on the pros and cons of "job hopping."
But for companies that wish to retain certain employees for the longer-term, they should take steps in plan in advance for a potential departure. Some tips include:
We wish the departing pontiff (soon to be known as the Pope Emeritus) well in his retirement and look forward to seeing what developments the upcoming papal conclave brings.
Note: This post was updated on August 18, 2016.
Need help establishing effective hiring policies or succession plans? Clear Path can help. Visit our website to find out more. Contact us at (519) 624-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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