Transitional on/offboarding for knowledge transfer

Alex Danco explained in his newsletter how one of things that drove innovation in Silicon Valley was that when people changed jobs they were allowed to share their knowledge about their previous companies processes and practices.

The expectation was that this sharing would be bad for competition in the tech industry and for companies as it would make it harder to compete with other companies that knew how they did things.

Actually, it was a good thing for competition as people could improve their skills more quickly and companies could benefit from those skills. They were all in the same boat riding a rising tide.

It might not seem like it, but this is an inspiration for improving onboarding and offboarding of people in UK companies, and most especially charities and the charity sector, which has so much to gain from better knowledge sharing.

Instead of the current way, where someone hands in their notice and works for month or three before leaving their previous organisation, and then starting at their new job, the notice period could become a transition period.

Week 1 of the notice period would see them working 4 days at their current job and 1 day at their new job. Week 2 would be a 2/3 day split, and by week 4 they’d be working 1 day a week at their current job and 4 at the new one.

This would be underpinned by a knowledge sharing agreement between the two organisations so they can feel confident that they will get the benefits of this two-way knowledge transfer.

It would make the move from one job to another easier for the person doing it, and spread ideas and practices across the sector with a speed and scale never seen before.

If we want more innovative charities and a sector that can utilise knowledge more effectively and more quickly, then innovative practices like on/offboarding knowledge transfer partnerships could be a useful technique.

Recruiting an Ecommerce Executive

Today, the job advert for an Ecommerce Executive at the BHF was posted.

It feels like a big step for the Ecommerce business, and for me. It’s a new role, and quite a broad one to enable us to tailor the work and responsibilities to the skills of the best candidate.

The creation of this new role shows some commitment from the organisation to support the growth of the Ecommerce business, and there’s certainly plenty of work to be done.

It is also a new thing for me. This will be the first time I’ve recruited a direct report and line managed someone in this way.

Another person on the team seems like it should reduce my workload but I know in fact it will increase it. The benefits come from us being able to achieve more quickly our plans for growing the business and delivering projects. It also gives me a lot to do in designing the induction programme, deciding on the approach to managing this person (1-2-1’s Objectives, etc.), and how I integrate them into Ecommerce at the BHF.

It’s going to be an interesting few months.

Maybe you shouldn’t hire the best candidate

Interview three people for a job. One is ok, one is good, and the other is clearly a better candidate than the other two; better qualified, more ambitious. The clear winner gets the job. That’s understandable. The recruiter wants the best person for the job, but perhaps without knowing it, they are applying a kind of Nash equilibrium. They are assuming that the candidate, once recruited, and themselves have nothing the gain by changing strategies.

But, the situation can quickly change so that the Nash equilibrium no longer applies. Ambitious people are always looking for better opportunities, more pay, more responsibility. If they were your best candidate, chances are they’ll be somebody else’s best candidate. They’ll be offered another job and they’ll take it, leaving you to start again.

But what might have happened if the recruiter didn’t use Nash and instead hired the second best candidate. They might not have all the skills and experience you want, you might have to put more into training them, but they might not leave as quickly. They could grow with the role and actually end up being the better candidate in the long run.