To support maintaining high standards within its team, Embark Behavioral Health has used the “Topgrading” hiring method for seven years. Recently, the company held an event to train the company leaders on Topgrading, and how to implement it for hiring new employees. The Topgrading process follows the principles laid out by Bradford D. Smart in the bestselling book of the same name on how to hire and develop people who will propel an organization to reach its fullest potential.
Embark is growing, and it has big goals to accomplish. The organization has set a goal to reverse the trends of adolescent and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide by 2028. This is Embark’s BHAG, or big hairy audacious goal. It is imperative to hire the right people with the vision and drive to help Embark achieve this goal in seven years.
While having the right technical knowledge, skills, and empathy are requirements to qualify for a job at Embark, Topgrading adds an extra layer to the process: a disciplined hiring criteria to ensure the right candidate emerges.
Recently, 34 trainers from the Embark support office and field programs all over the country converged in Phoenix for a Train the Trainers summit focused on employee hiring, development, and the Topgrading method. Embark regularly conducts Train the Trainers summits for its department leaders; the goal is to ensure consistency in practice and access to the latest knowledge across the organization.
The October training was led by Embark Chief People Officer Landon Kirk. Over three days, trainers learned techniques covering the spectrum of employee hiring:
- The cost of mis-hiring.
- Job mapping.
- Recruiting, including diversity and inclusion.
- Screening (paper and telephone).
- Analyzing and deciding.
- Reference calling.
- Coaching and onboarding.
After the training, the 34 experts will return to their respective units and integrate these principles into the 19 company programs around the country.
On the role that hiring plays in an organization’s success, Kirk quoted “Good to Great” author Jim Collins: “The most important decisions businesspeople make are not ‘what’ decisions but ‘who’ decisions.”
“One of the lessons I had to learn the hard way as a young manager was (that) hiring and development is everything,” Kirk said. “Naively, I thought that the what’s — strategy, business decisions, clinical decisions, etc. — were the most important decisions that leaders make. To the contrary.”
Katie Hixon, human resources manager of Dragonfly Transitions, was one of the training summit attendees. “When your mission is to create joy and heal generations, you need to make sure you are hiring the right people to carry out that mission, and that starts with making sure you are intentional in your hiring process,” she said.
The training summit came at an ideal time, as Embark is growing rapidly. The organization is focused on recruiting and supporting a broadly diverse staff who will contribute to Embark’s excellence, diversity of viewpoints, and experiences.
If you feel called to help change the lives of adolescents, teens, young adults, and their families, consider a career at Embark. Learn more at EmbarkBH.com/careers.
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