Skills-based recruiting 'fatally flawed'

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In keeping with the technology theme highlighted during the opening keynote at SHRM’s annual conference this week, leaders from Disney and Western Union addressed creating a better company culture through better recruiting, and how to boost employee learning and development through technology.

For the Disney Institute, the professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company, and Western Union, a global payment services company, the recipe to sustained success is managing the workforce for results, as well as looking for desired behaviors in their job candidates.

“Skills-based recruitment is fatally flawed,” said Mike Reardon, senior facilitator at the Disney Institute, at the Society of Human Resource Management’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla. this week. He advised that it’s OK to  “intentionally look for behaviors” at the start of the recruitment process.

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Reardon explained that company culture is defined by organizational behaviors. For Disney, which employs more than 80,000 “cast members” in Orlando and California, communication helps reinforce company culture. “If you don’t care about your employees, they won’t care about your customers or each other,” Reardon said.

Western Union, the global organization with nearly 10,000 employees in 50 countries, has experienced several challenges in aligning its diverse workforce as it sought to go from a “transaction-based to a relationship-based company,” said Diane Lujan, senior manager of global learning and development at Western Union. Lujan explained that Western Union went through a stage of in-sourcing, outsourcing and figuring out how to work as a lean company.

“The traditional hierarchy under which Western Union was created 163 years ago was no longer effective,” she said. She say that the financial services company really wanted to keep corporate culture at the forefront while increasing learning and development opportunities for employees.

Western Union used Emergenetics, an online workshop tool, to stimulate its employee development effort. The program includes a 90-day session of 10-minute online tutorials. Through this work plan, Lujan says the company was able to influence desired behaviors needed for its future growth. The e-learning tool is now part of the company’s training and onboarding program for all employees, and roughly 4,800 employees in 48 countries have already taken part.

“We had to realize as we were bringing in new talent that they had to embrace the competencies and attitudes that we wanted, and so we now made this program part of their 90-day plan,” Lujan said. “…That way we are formulating the behaviors that we want to help us drive a high-performing culture.”

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