Holacracy 2

There is a new and quite startling trend beginning to appear in the business news section. Forward-thinking companies are embracing holacracy as a way to further their success.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, or at least how it applies to an office, holacracy is the flattening of a company’s hierarchy and managerial structure, the removal of job titles and all deference to the seniority of its employees. Everyone is considered equal, and no one tells anyone else what they should do or how they should do it. Employees are acting more like entrepreneurs: they have to be at the top of their game, continuously proving their worth. In this way, holacracy is driving innovation and productivity.

One company that has adopted this approach is Zappos, the online shoes and clothing retailer, who hopes this approach will further its business success. This is certainly a brave approach! We still live in a world where the majority of employers don’t allow their staff to work from home, and yet these companies embracing holacracy are trusting their staff members to be their own bosses.

The question I want to consider in this article is how this approach is likely to affect a company’s recruitment processes.

Although on the face of it, working in an environment free from managers, where you alone control your activities, sounds like a great prospect, it can also be quite daunting. Inexperienced staff members may be unsure of whom to ask for guidance if no one is assigned to look after them. And more seasoned employees may be unwilling to take on a managing role without the impressive job title or a change in their workload.

This makes finding new recruits absolutely critical – not only will you want to secure the best talent, but you’ll also want to make sure the new people are well-suited to this kind of environment. In this endeavor, recruitment management software can be vital to help you keep track of candidate qualities and abilities.

Save Your Time and Money for the Important Tasks

Whether companies are adopting this new approach or not, they all want to save as much time and money as possible during the recruitment process. Using talent acquisition software allows you to manage the end-to-end recruitment process all in one place. From writing job specifications using existing templates to posting the applications to job boards, social media and agencies, and then processing applications, the automated tasks and comprehensive reporting this software provides help streamline the hiring process. This allows you to focus your attention on the talent, rather than the admin.

Don’t Just Consider Those Actively Looking for Work

A recruitment management system makes it easier for you to attract passive candidates, as well as those who are actively looking for work. A holocaustic system would not suit everyone, and so by allowing interested parties to register their interest in this kind of work environment, even when there are no current vacancies, you’ll have access to a much wider range of possible recruits when the next vacancy arises.

Rule Out Those Who Aren’t Suitable Immediately

Recruitment systems often use Gross Negative Disqualifiers (GNDs), also called killer questions, to rule out anyone who applies for a job who is definitely unsuitable for the role, or in this case, the method of working. A single example of this would be asking if a candidate would be happy to be his or her own boss, be held to a high standard of achievement in order to retain a position within the company, and relinquish any power a job title or managerial position may hold. A candidate answering “no” to any of these questions would immediately be flagged within the system, allowing the recruiter to very quickly sift unsuitable candidates out of the talent pool for those kinds of positions. Making these questions standard on every job application lets you avoid progressing with candidates who would ultimately prove unsuitable for the company ethos.

Make Them Prove Their Worth!

The holocaustic company relies very much on each person being incredibly capable and able to work independently. So, what would be a more appropriate gateway into a company such as this than a careful assessment of each candidate that applies? Recruitment systems can be integrated seamlessly with candidate testing software, feeding results back into the candidate profile in real time for a recruiter to analyze, report on, and consequently make informed decisions.

Make Yourself Attractive to Them, Too

When you’re looking to hire a high class of candidate, you need to make sure that you are as attractive to them as possible. Nothing turns a candidate away quicker than moving from an impressive website to a shoddy, clunky careers portal. A fully-branded candidate portal that matches the look and feel of your website makes for an impressive and seamless transition between your website and career pages. This, in addition to branded, personalized emails sent at set points in the recruitment process, plus a fully-mobile career site with multiple ways to apply, increases your chance of attracting the perfect hire for your company.

It remains unclear whether Zappos’ holocracy will help them reach a new level of success and will become the next company trend. What is certain is that without an excellent group of employees, you cannot hope to make your business reach its full potential, whether you run a holocratic system or not.


  • Mark B. says:

    Holacracy is based on culture, codes of conduct, performance, and accountability. And all these basically translate into good leadership. What puzzles me, however, is how the holacratic organization can manage to continuously motivate employees in the long run. Experience has taught us that employees need factual evidence of their good performance, and moving up the corporate ladder provides such evidence.

  • Stacy K. says:

    I believe that this shift in mindset is vital when it comes to attracting the next generation of workers, who often have different job expectations from older employees. Of course, implementing such a system has multiple consequences, modifying talent acquisition schemes and recruitment strategies. Most of all, recruitment in a holacratic system is based on cultural fit rather than on technical fit.

  • Lee Rowland says:

    I guess I’m old school – but this sounds like a disaster. I think it could work in spesific industries, but not where teamwork and a coordinated work effort is needed. Cooperation, having a system people follow is essential to our industry. If you are talking white collor, computer desk jobs, it could work, but I don’t think in a manufacturing environment it would. What about pay – certainly there would be high and low wage earners – the higher earners would want more say in what goes on.
    sound a little communistic – everybody is equal. Guess what – they aren’t.

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