Imagine a workplace with no managers or titles, an office without seniority or hierarchy. All employees are considered equal there, and without the presence of any supervisors, everyone works together and individually to reach their goals. You may be surprised to find out that this model actually exists. It’s a new business trend that’s making serious waves, so learn its name: this is a holacracy.
It turns out that there are many benefits to a holacracy. First, it dispenses with the red tape and hierarchy that so often slow down productivity. Secondly, a holacratic environment allows employees to think for themselves, to prove themselves, and to accomplish more based on their own merits, as opposed to fulfilling a preordained performance plan; being self-directed can result in a great deal of job satisfaction. Further, a holacracy encourages an entrepreneurial environment where employees have to stay at the top of their game, continuously innovating and producing results.
This radical and exciting concept doesn’t come without some drawbacks, however. While most workplaces still struggle with just the idea of letting employees work from home, the thought of eliminating managers and supervisors seems not only daunting, but flat-out impossible. And of course there’s the risk that less experienced employees will feel adrift without such guidance. Worse, there’s the danger that employees will be reluctant to venture forward with a new idea or stick their neck out to try something new, if they lack the benefit or the perceived protection of a higher job title.
If your company—or even a single department within your company—might profit from this system, it’s important to figure out how staffing it will affect recruiting. As with all recruiting, you’ll be looking for top candidates. But finding the best candidates for a holacracy means choosing people with the particular qualities that will help them succeed in this unusual environment.
Recruiting in general is a formidable task, and that’s even before the decision to undertake a search for a whole new type of employee. The key is to narrow down the pool of applicants to only those who can truly thrive in a flattened company environment. This can be done through resume and interview screening, to some extent. Look for candidates with experience working for themselves or candidates who offer proven examples of taking the initiative on a project.
An even better method of thinning out the herd is to use pre-employment assessment tools. Through pre-employment assessment, employers can see beyond the resume and interview to ascertain whether a candidate will fit into a holacracy model. For example, an assessment test can include certain “trigger” questions to gauge a candidate’s ability to thrive while working independently. Questions such as, “Would you be happy and able to stay motivated working as your own boss?” or, “Would you accept a job that came without the sort of title you’re used to?” can help winnow the field of candidates. This type of pre-employment assessment helps keep the candidate pool filled with a manageable number of qualified applicants who can actually succeed in a holacracy.
Job simulation assessments can also help you find candidates who are capable and able to work independently. Giving candidates a specific scenario and seeing how they would handle it is an effective method to determine whether the applicant would do well in a workplace with no supervision.
Integrating pre-employment assessments and job simulations into your recruitment process can help you analyze a candidate’s chances for success and consequently make more informed decisions. You’ll want to use every tool in your arsenal to find the best way to staff the new holacracy.
Eric Friedman, Author
Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.
A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.