Exemplary Leaders: The Ultimate Recruitment Tool

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 10:00
AIM Blog - Exemplary Leaders: The Ultimate Recruitment Tool

Have you ever left a job because your manager was demotivating, unpleasant, or in any other way functionally inept in their leadership role?

If your answer is no, you are in the minority. According to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report, one in two employees have left a job explicitly to get away from their manager sometime in their career.

The situation in Australia appears even worse. AIM’s 2021 Leadership Survey found that over 70% of people had left at least one of their last three roles because of their direct manager, the senior leadership team, or a combination of the two. Of these people, more than 30% had left two positions and 1 in 10 had left all three of their previous roles because the organisation’s leadership was not up to standard.

On the other hand, have you ever taken a job because of the high quality of management? Unless you were recruited by a former colleague with whom you have first-hand experience, the answer is very likely no.

This is largely due to a lack of transparency. Outside of personal experience, generally the only way to discover an organisation’s management quality is through platforms like Glassdoor, which may be skewed by the phenomenon that 5-star rating systems often drift towards a pass-fail system, where a 5 out of 5 score (i.e. perfect) is the norm and anything less is considered a failure. Additionally, reviews tend towards the extremes of positivity and negativity; people who are neither particularly impressed or highly dissatisfied are unlikely to feel the need to leave a review of their neutral feelings.

But why aren’t companies more actively transparent? It is understood that in the current work environment it is essential for organisations to pitch themselves as enjoyable places to be to prospective employees, which is why terms like “office culture” are so frequently used. If bad leadership is one of the most significant driving forces of employee turnover, however, then it stands to reason that good leadership has the potential to be a highly valuable factor in recruiting top talent.

We have a clear picture of quality leadership. The best individuals for management positions have high emotional intelligence, are strong communicators in both delivery (speaking/writing) and reception (listening/reading), actively mentor and empower their staff, and display that they are authentic and trustworthy. All these skills and traits are either subjective or difficult to quantify — try calculating the ROI of authenticity — which is why they are hard to promote and why organisations turn to nebulous terms like “office culture”.

How this could be overcome is by treating job recruitment advertisements more like any other advertisement. As we spoke about earlier in the year, advertisements work by showing your customer, or in this case prospective employee, how you can help them achieve a desired future version of themselves. With how substantial the role is that an individual’s career plays in their life and identity, this marketing philosophy holds even greater value.

By demonstrating the positive experiences existing employees have with their managers, alongside traditional value propositions like salary and benefits, you can best display why top talent should want to work at your organisation. Even something as simple as an authentic testimonial will generate significant interest.

The process of collecting these testimonials is also an opportunity to identify skill gaps. If you are unable to find employees who speak highly of their managers, it is a fair assumption that your organisation’s leadership abilities are lacking.

Possessing knowledge of what constitutes quality leadership and how its presence impacts employee engagement and retention enables organisations to improve their holistic productivity and success. Any who do not take advantage of this knowledge are at the end of day leaving money on the table.

If you want to improve your ability to identify, recruit, and retain top talent, browse such courses as Recruitment and Selection offered by AIM’s Faculty of Human Resources. For those looking to improve their current level of leadership talent, explore the training programs offered by the Faculty of Leadership and Strategy. AIM’s 80-year history of developing Australia’s best business leaders guarantees that we are able to provide the training your organisation needs to thrive and seize the future.