Should you hire Boomers? Millennials? Gen Z? Gen X? Nope. It’s time to start hiring employees based on their mindset, as opposed to their experience. We often hear about millennials being the ones that are going to take over the workplace, but if you want to look beyond (overused) generational labels and look at the larger picture, you’ll find that your business will thrive by hiring “Smart Creatives.”
This term is coined in the book “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg. In the book, they describe the type of employees that Google attracts, along with some stories of how Google started their unique hiring and retention process.
Don’t have time to read the book? Here’s a chat that Eric and John did at Oxford:
If you’re an HR manager or even an employee trying to create a google-like atmosphere within your office, this book is a good starter kit for building a culture similar to Google’s.
A smart creative is an employee that doesn’t chase compensation; they chase the ability to cause change and disrupt industries. They’re not the type to cause any workplace problems; they are the ones that are finding solutions to some major problems.
Most importantly, smart creatives aren’t afraid to fail. They’re not scared to try something new, and they will do their best in collecting data and analytics to make sure that their ideas are foolproof.
They will also challenge employees and set high goals for themselves and the people around them. It’s safe to say that these people are leaders, but it’s also safe to say that they know how to follow.
They are the perfect employee for the information age, and they will want to spread their knowledge and insights to those around them in order to make them better. So give these kinds of employees a shot, so they can bring fast-paced thinking to your office.
I think the best way to look for someone that fits the bill of a smart creative is to try hiring for people that are working for world-changing companies. I have a preference toward tech startups or companies, for the mere fact that most employees have to work effectively in order to make the company succeed.
When I say: “working efficiently,” I mean that they have to find ways to work faster, smarter, and come up with ways to reinvent the wheel, while being original and forward-thinking.
In my opinion, I feel that people that have worked for a tech company get it. They understand where the world of work is heading toward, and they want to be able to figure out some of the major problems that exist in the workplace.
I would also keep an eye out on people who have worked for not-so-good offices or companies and might not have that amazing position that stands out on a resume. Maybe that person has been screwed over a couple of times and wants to stand out and take their creativity and talents elsewhere.
Just ask yourself, would you want a disengaged employee that came from a great company? Or would you want a highly engaged employee from a not-so-great company?
Smart creatives will come from any company, any school, or any background. If you bring this type of employee into your workplace, they will be the ones that are constantly trying to come up with ways of doing things better — Being that they are used to operating on a lean budget, with limited resources, and just having a solid team around them in order to finish tasks and reach milestones.
These qualities define a smart creative, they will get the job done, and they will find solutions to problems the smartest, most efficient way as possible. Another thing that you should bear in mind is that there is no distinct identity that comes with finding smart creatives.
Smart creatives come in all shapes and sizes. There is no race, gender, sexual orientation, education (Not all great creatives come from Ivy League schools), or particular definitive quality that defines them.
These people are led by desire and passion so it might be hard to find by just going through cover letters and resumes. These will be the kind of people that you will have to examine thoroughly, in order to really see if they want to be a part of your organization.
Now, once you reel in the talent, it’s vital that you’re constantly giving and getting feedback from these kinds of employees. As they will be catalysts within your office, that will offer valuable insight into how things can be done better.
Employee pulse surveys are becoming a way of receiving great advice from all employees, and they’re slowly revolutionizing the way that managers are getting both qualitative and quantitative feedback from employees. This is a prime example of something you can do in order to retrieve that necessary feedback from your smart creative.
Aside from listening, you have to follow what other industry leaders do to retain their talent. Change the actual physical landscape by getting better equipment and create vibrant environments, in order to boost productivity and make them feel comfortable.
Whatever it takes, just make sure to inspire creativity and mesh your creatives with all your employees. Chances are this new kind of employee will want to inspire those around them and encourage (positive) change around them.