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An interview with Elizabeth Hardaker on recruitment, retention & cultural fits

An interview with Elizabeth Hardaker on recruitment, retention & cultural fits

November 17, 2016 by Stella Petrou Concha

In today’s instalment of the Reo interview series we sat down with Elizabeth Hardaker, Executive General Manager of People & Culture at Ruralco Holdings Limited, to talk about employee retention and recruitment practices.

She shares some insights on how to attract younger talent and the balance between cultural and technical fits.

 

What are the critical steps in retaining top talent?

I believe it’s really important to identify our top talent and then understand what drives the individuals. Within Ruralco our retention strategies include:

  • Offering development opportunities
  • Having those one-on-one conversations or “manager once removed” sessions
  • Providing recognition for strong performance or tailoring specific retention plans.

I work specifically with the Executive GMs for each division and regularly review our succession and talent plans and then develop individual strategies as required.

In terms of your recruitment style, to what extent do you focus on technical competency as opposed to culture fit?

That’s a tough one. It’s equally as important. First and foremost, it’s critical we have to have the right competencies for the position but when looking at multiple candidates you need to ensure you meet the key specific requirements and/or qualifications for the particular role. At the same time, it’s just as crucial that the candidate has the right cultural fit and the ability to work collaboratively.

Why do you think most companies hire on industry experience as opposed to hiring based on pure capability?

I think most companies are pretty similar in that they generally identify or target similar industries. It’s having a thorough understanding of the market or key experience you are seeking. It’s good to have people from within the industry that have the key contacts and who understand the complexities of the industry.

Personally, I’m not as fixated on making sure people come from the same industry as long as they meet the role requirements, unless of course it’s technically required as for some roles, like back office roles. As long as you’ve had really good experience the skills are very transferable.

You need to make sure you understand what motivates the candidate and then adjust to those specific needs.

What can organisations do to retain high performing Gen Y / Next Gen talent?

Recently we completed quite a few workshops on generational statistics and we found that first and foremost it comes down to the interview and selection process. From there, you need to make sure that you are not setting unrealistic expectations because as we know, Gen Y may have the expectation of being promoted or given developmental opportunities in a short period of time.

I believe this comes back to the recruitment process – you need to make sure you understand what motivates the candidate and then adjust to those specific needs. We recently launched a graduate program and for a number of them innovation was on the top of mind. So when we held an Innovation Conference, it was providing them the opportunity to participate.

What are your thoughts on organisations that have removed the formal review process from their performance manage process.

Recently we completed quite a few workshops on generational statistics and we found that first and foremost it comes down to the interview and selection process. From there, you need to make sure that you are not setting unrealistic expectations because as we know, Gen Y may have the expectation of being promoted or given developmental opportunities in a short period of time.

I believe this comes back to the recruitment process – you need to make sure you understand what motivates the candidate and then adjust to those specific needs. We recently launched a graduate program and for a number of them innovation was on the top of mind. So when we held an Innovation Conference, it was providing them the opportunity to participate.


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