Laloux and Personalized Recruitment

The past two decades a great deal has changed in the domain of HR. The number of jobs has expanded, employees have become more demanding and the age at which someone enters or leaves the employment market widened. Concepts like talent, culture, agile, happiness and employee journey have become commonplace. Additionally an organisations’ surroundings have become more demanding, renewal is ever quicker, purpose has become key and a globalised market the norm.

What has not changed, however, is how organisations recruit new staff. The ‘skills and experiences checklist’ is as dominant as ever. Even though the increased complexity demands employees with certain attitudes and views to life, and a match with the organisation on a much more personal level. Only then employees feel at home, a precondition for those employees to add value to the organisations’ mission from the get-go.

So how does one go about matching candidates on a personal level? It first requires you to fully understand the ‘personality’ or culture of your organisation. Felix personalised recruitment employs the Frederic Laloux model from ‘Reinventing organizations’. This book appeared in 2014 and has since then sold over half a million copies.

Laloux derives his model in part from his history at consultancy firm McKinsey. In his book he describes different organisational cultures. Without attributing judgment, he gives each type a colour:
First there is red; think ‘hungry pack of wolves’, only one is the boss, everyone listens to him (it generally is a ‘him’). There is absolutely no place for doubt and everyone does as they are told. In exchange the authoritarian boss provides sustenance and safety.

Next up is amber; think swarm of beas or the Roman army. Structures where the individual is seen as part of the whole and everybody is expendable. Just a cog in the wheels. Should one fail, another will take its place.
After amber comes orange; a type of organisation that originated in the late dark ages and fully came into play during the industrial revolution. Competition, control and predictability are its key determinants. Most large corporations are still organised like this.

Green organisations predominantly focus on renewal, innovation, social awareness and the sharing of power. Finally the colour teal represents organisations that lead through purpose. When everybody shares the same purpose and freely works towards that purpose, power structures become redundant. Fear tactics, like employed in red and amber organisations, have disappeared completely.

We believe that in the process of recruitment organisations should be as open and concrete as possible when it comes to their culture and structure. We always advise clients to carefully explain to candidates what kind of organisation they are. And we strongly advise to pay attention to the wants and needs of candidates. Finally combining those two factors to ensure fit between a candidate and the organisational culture. Every successful recruitment strategy takes those factors into account.

Should an organisation be classified as amber or orange in the Laloux model, recruiting staff that do not respond well to authority and being given orders is pointless. Newcomers will soon be gone. Candidates that prefer clear marching orders will prove a better match. People that prefer more freedom and passionately working towards a common goal will fit better in a green or teal organisation. The purpose of the organisation is then a key recruiting ingredient. Having a Director explain to you his/her rule is law will work adversely. And if you know that your organisation is on a path to change from orange to green it is best to search for candidates that thrive in an environment that is in transition. They would most likely not be ‘fully green’.

Once you know what sort of organisation you have it is key to search for people that match with your culture, in places where they most likely are. For green or teal organisations fishing in the ‘green see’ will work best. Your story will not only find a listening ear quicker, it will be easier to connect with these ‘ears’. In the end it is pretty basic, the right people in the right environment doing the things they love.

In conclusion: Know thyself and find people to match. Only then you can survive this rapidly changing world.

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