HR is a Creative Process, no really!

Recently, a colleague accused me of being creative. How dare she! I am a successful business owner and coach known for telling it like it is, and I can crunch numbers with the best of them (though a ten-key comes in handy). None of this “creativity” nonsense.

I should know. I grew up in a creative, artistic family. My parents were both multi-instrumental musicians and music teachers as well as visual artists—Dad, woodworking, Mom, drawing and painting. They even pooled their talents to form a business to sell Christmas ornaments and other household decor such as animal figurines and wall plaques. Now they are creative! Me? I have trouble drawing a straight line with a ruler, and the only instrument I can play is the radio. I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

I must have given my colleague a look when she called me creative, because she quickly added, “No, it’s a compliment.”

I grunted noncommittally, and after chatting for a bit, we went on with our days.

But I didn’t forget what she said. And since one of my intentions for 2020 is to let go of beliefs that no longer serve me, I revisited the accountant’s observation.

In the initial conversation, she explained what she meant by pointing out how different our worlds are. Hers is the world of accounting—facts and numbers, the bottom line. It’s fairly black and white, an applied science. Mine is the world of Human Resources—matching the right people with the right job and giving them—and the firm—the structure and tools to succeed. To bring this about, my own tools vary from person to person, firm to firm—sometimes the stick, other times the carrot, and most important of all, the wisdom to know the difference.

Then it hit me that she was on to something. That’s where the art comes in, the creativity—in the wisdom to know the difference. Another word for creativity is problem-solving—reading the needs of the organization and the personalities and capabilities of the people involved and hiring the right person for the role or coaching an existing employee in just the right way to get a win-win. There’s no algorithm for that. That does take creativity. That is an art.

And that’s what Structure for Success does best, I realized—finds creative answers for our clients.

Take hiring and recruiting. Many experts see the future of recruiting in automation. A recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article ( discusses how businesses are using technological advances such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to recruit and hire employees. Some of the technologies sound like Science Fiction—HR robots, anyone? Call me old-fashioned, but both the creative HR practitioner and the practical business person in me balks at some of these new technologies. A robot may be able to gather data more efficiently, but will it be able see the smirk of superiority in the candidate who claims to be a team player? Will it be able to sense the tone of victim mentality in an otherwise qualified candidate? Will it be able to pick up on the work ethic and drive to learn of a candidate who may not have checked all the boxes on paper?

What does an HR robot (and other technologies) lack? The human connection.  

At Structure for Success, we believe the art of Human Resources rests on human connection. (It’s right there in the name—Human Resources.) Although technologies can be great tools, that’s all they are, tools. To recruit and hire your next best employee, you must make a personal connection. You must have a conversation to make sure the candidate not only has the necessary skills, but the personality that works in your organization—that they are a good culture fit. Skills can be taught; work ethic, personality, and culture fit cannot. 

“But I’m not good at people stuff,” you might protest.

That’s the beauty of it—you don’t have to be. We’ll do it for you. At Structure for Success, our extensive hiring assistance program gets to the root of a candidate’s skills, desire, and compatibility to work for YOU. We make sure they’re a good fit for your company and you’re company is a good fit for them. We strive for the win-win every time.

“Sounds expensive,” say some business owners. “Besides, what’s the big deal? If we hire the wrong person, we’ll just hire someone else to replace them.”

Actually, that approach can be even more expensive. SHRM estimates the cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee can be as much as $240,000. What’s more, the Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hire is close to 30% of the employee’s annual earnings. (

One argument for using the new technologies is that they will cut down these costs. I don’t buy it. Technologies that can’t “see” the whole person may actually increase the costs of attrition with their inefficiency. Just because a candidate has all of the right key words in their resume and checks all the right boxes does NOT mean the candidate is the right fit for you. That’s where the art of human connection comes in to play.

At Structure for Success, we have practiced the art of hiring and coaching for more than 30 years. We sniff out the candidate with a superiority complex or victim tendencies, the one whose attention to detail is lacking, the one who will take more work than they will provide. Then we find the best candidate for your business at precisely this moment. And the best news? We take the entire process off your desk. Our services free you up to be the CEO of your business and focus on what you need to do to take your business to the next level instead of getting tangled in the weeds of hiring.

Do you want to know how our creative approach to HR can assist with hiring and recruiting and save you money in the long run? Schedule a complimentary 20-minute discovery call with Wendy to learn more. 

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