Business leaders know all too well how difficult it is to attract and retain top talent, especially in this era of the Great Resignation. That does not mean, however, that recruiters and business owners are helpless. There are, in fact, several highly effective strategies recruiters and managers can use to build and maintain a stellar workforce.
The key, though, may very well lie in the transformational leadership approach. But what is transformational leadership, exactly, and how can it help you reinvent and reinvigorate your hiring process?
What is Transformational Leadership?
In a nutshell, transformational leadership refers to a profoundly people-oriented management style. The principal objective of the transformational leader is not to maximize productivity or profitability, though these are certainly important, especially insofar as the company’s success ensures the best interests of all, including the interests of the employees.
However, for the transformational leader, the company’s success is understood to reside primarily in the success of its workers. Thus, the transformational leader seeks to identify and develop the unique talents of each employee. Their central concern is to help the employee reach their maximum potential, which in turn will increase the success potential of the team and the organization as a whole.
Transformational Leaders and Talent Screening
Because the transformational leadership style is deeply rooted in the efforts to understand and uplift the individual, recruiters engaged in this approach may abandon traditional restrictions on candidate screenings. For instance, a transformational leader may not reject an applicant simply because they may have a criminal history.
Instead, given the focus on “transformation,” such a leader may use the interview process to learn more about the applicant’s past as well as their success in rehabilitating their lives and rejoining the community.
Such open-mindedness and commitment to the concept of transformation will not only benefit the company by dramatically increasing the applicant pool, but it can also enable recruiters to retain highly talented and deeply loyal workers whom their competitors may have too readily dismissed.
Recruiting with an Eye Toward Development
Transformational leaders are reinventing the hiring process not only by giving once marginalized applicants an opportunity to succeed but also by recruiting with an eye toward future development rather than past achievements.
In other words, the recruiter understands both the current needs of the organization and its future trajectory and seeks to develop the workforce along those lines. This is particularly important for recruiting millennials and Generation Z employees. Younger workers are particularly interested in joining companies where they will have ample opportunities for professional development. They value, above all, the opportunity to grow with the company and to ascend within its ranks.
A transformational recruiter seeks to recognize the potential of each applicant and design an attractive long-term career plan to incentivize talent to join the company. This means that such an approach centers less on past accomplishments, which may be particularly sparse for younger workers or those amid a career transition, and more on the prospect’s individual goals and interests.
The effort to integrate career planning into the recruiting process, of course, requires a more personalized applicant screening process. Recruiters may conduct multiple interviews to help get a better feel for the candidate and their potential future with the company. They may even engage with prospects through social media, using these forums to identify individuals whose talents and interests align with the company’s mission and long-term goals.
The transformational recruiter doesn’t just focus on the development of the individual worker, however. Their goal is also to optimize the development of the team, particularly through collaboration and knowledge-sharing. These attributes are especially essential for recruiting and leading a multigenerational workforce.
In a multigenerational work environment, the specific skill sets of individual age cohorts can be leveraged to enhance the performance of the entire team.
Younger workers’ technical skills, for example, can be harnessed to support older workers who may be unfamiliar with the technology. Similarly, older workers’ job experience, as well as their soft skills, from problem-solving and relationship management to communication and critical thinking, can be leveraged to ease younger and relatively inexperienced workers into the profession.
The result of this transformational leadership approach both to management and recruiting is the cultivation of dynamic, interconnected, and highly collaborative teams that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Transformational approaches to recruiting, for instance, are designed to take into account how each prospective team member will contribute to the whole. When collaboration and knowledge-sharing are principal factors in the candidate screening and hiring process, then diversity and inclusivity are all but inevitable, as recruiters seek to tap into the unique strengths of varied demographics.
This includes leveraging not only the particular attributes of each generation of workers, but also the particular skills and experiences of those with diverse life experiences, such as racial and ethnic minorities, workers with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Transformational leadership doesn’t just inform how individuals and teams are managed. It can also revolutionize hiring practices. Indeed, a transformational approach to recruitment can help organizations overcome the formidable challenges of the Great Resignation era. This includes the use of transformational strategies to expand candidate pools beyond historic parameters. It also includes hiring practices that are deeply rooted not in the candidates’ past experiences but their future potential. Further, transformational approaches to hiring also enable the cultivation of diverse, dynamic teams in which each team member is a valued and indispensable part of the whole.