How to recruit for change agility

Employers need a workforce which is quick to adapt and willing to learn – here’s how HR can find the right recruit.

How to recruit for change agility
Change has become a normal and never-ending feature in many organisations but still, some employers face significant roadblocks as a result of reluctant employees who are slow to adapt – so what can HR do about it? According to one industry head, hiring is key.

“Organisations need to start recruiting for change agility as one of their key competencies because if you’re the kind of organisation that is always going through change – and that is quite a few of them these days – then you want to be recruiting people who have a natural inclination to adapt as their organisation adapts,” says Diane Edwards, general manager of people, systems and technology at Ports of Auckland.

“I don’t think that necessarily means there are no jobs for people who are change resistant but I think you want to load your organisation with people who are comfortable with the fact that things next week may not look like what they do now,” she continued.

So just how to employers test for change competency in an interview environment?

“I use behavioural interviewing for that,” reveals Edwards, “I’ll ask them to talk about a major change that they’ve been through recently, how that process worked for them, what kind of feelings they had, what kind of behaviours they had and the level to which they were involved in the change.”

Edwards – who’s been with the Ports of Auckland since 2012 – says she’ll also ask candidates to share their opinions on how their current employer handled the change.

“I ask them about what they think the company could have done better and what they did particularly well,” she told HRM. “That way you can get a feel for whether a person understands their own needs in periods of change.”

Edwards also points out that the issue will be considerably more pressing in some industries, where change occurs as a must faster rate.

“The time frames for different types of organisations will definitely vary,” she told HRM. “If you work in the IT industry where technology is major, you’ve got change happening every three months but if you’re working in an area like here at the port, where we might want to change some of our processes around how containers are moved, it might be more of an annual process to get some of those major changes through so it does depend on the kind of business you’re in.”

Diane Edwards will be addressing the issue of change management at the upcoming HRM Leaders Forum. Here, she will discuss how employers can align employees to a continuously changing environment and embed new attitudes and behaviours in the workforce

For more information on the November event, or to secure one of the remaining tickets, click here.

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