Peter Drucker once famously said that two-thirds of all hiring decisions are actually hiring mistakes, which gives you a slim 33 percent chance your next hire will be a success. Meet a hiring manager of one of the world’s most respected ministry organizations who wasn’t satisfied with 33 percent. Today, the new hiring approach he created is generating a 90% success rate. Meet the man and the plan that can work for you as well . . .
Last year, The Gideons International distributed a record number two billion Bibles and New Testaments in prisons, hospitals, hotels and schools throughout 200 countries.
Chad Carter, chief human resources officer, knows for a fact that a vastly improved workplace culture at its global headquarters in Nashville is a huge reason for The Gideons’ unprecedented ministry impact.
“Five years ago, our culture was in deep trouble,” he recalls. “Through the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey, our employees identified the troubling issues (including a lack of quality talent) with laser-like accuracy. Their insights became the bases of a comprehensive new hiring strategy needed to transform the health of our culture.
At stake was nothing less than the survivability and success of our global, gospel mission.”
Chad, who has a stellar record in helping build successful cultures for some big-name companies, has a gift of not mincing words. “The only way a new calculated, focused hiring process would succeed was if it had the total buy-in from everyone across the board – including the CEO, Craig Warner, who was absolutely committed to the process.”
Over the course of the next five years, with Craig’s conviction and Chad’s direction, The Gideons International transformed their culture from a toxic state of discouragement and mistrust to a healthy workplace. At the center was a brilliant, rigorous two-part hiring approach of recruiting the right people through a proven hiring process to ensure their success on the job.
Chad spells out the five essential attributes The Gideons looked for:
- Character. We look for Godly character as the true alignment between a person’s words and actions. A candidate’s character fits a movie metaphor: Either the sound (words) and pictures (actions) are in sync, or they’re not. As leaders, our job is to see if the two match.
- Calling. We want people who are truly self-aware. Do they know their strengths and God’s assignment for them in this season of their lives? God cultivates our unique DNA-like calling, and it’s every candidate’s job to pay attention and discover this DNA within him or herself.
- Competence. We look for the person whose training and life experience is a fit for the job. David had competence: “With an upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand” (Ps. 78:72). True competence means being able to take a fast ride on a learning cure and move forward with increased momentum. A new hire with anything less means a costly mistake for the organization.
- Chemistry. We keep our eyes, ears, hearts and minds open to detect that nearly-intangible quality that fits within an existing team and makes those around him or her better.
- Contribution. We look for the employee to make an immediate and long-term contribution to the ministry. Again, it was Drucker (who, without knowing it, mentored me through his writings) who believed one of the greatest contributions any employee can make is to fill the right seat, and by passionately loving one’s work, increase the organization’s capacity.
- Once a new employee is well into the job, Chad asks every manager if he or she would hire him or her again. Ninety-two percent said, “Yes.”
- In the five years of the new hiring approach, the health of the culture at The Gideons International has risen dramatically, from toxic to very healthy.
And that’s just the first half of the ministry’s ongoing sustainable rewards for cherishing and securing quality talent.
Part 2: This is the first of a two-post series. Next up, Chad reveals the refined six-step hiring process any ministry organization or church can use to advance their unique God-given mission. Read now: 6 Steps to a 90% Hiring Success Rate
Dig deeper with our hiring toolkit,