Why Hiring Critical Thinkers is Absolutely Critical for HR

Why Hiring Critical Thinkers is Absolutely Critical for HR

Consider this: A company that invented digital photography in 1975, missed the opportunity to make it big in digital photography. In early 2012, when most of the competitors were thriving only on digital photography, this pioneer filed for bankruptcy protection. How did this happen?

Their primary business was film based photography. In 1975, when an engineer went to the executive management with his invention of digital photography, the management did not promote the idea with a fear that this invention will destroy their existing film-based business model. Executive management lived with this denial for a long time, not able to see the opportunity in this disruptive technology. They did not think critically about this new technology and clearly, they missed the busi.

The fear to change was born from the assumption about negative impact of digital photography. Worst yet, no one recognized that they were assuming. They did not allow any arguments for and against digital photography. Conclusion to not consider digital photography as a way forward was drawn purely based on emotions and not facts. The situation was dealt with subjectively and not objectively.

An organization thrives on people and decisions they make. An organization grows (or doesn’t) one decision at a time. These decisions, ranging from strategic ones to tactical, are taken by people at all levels in the organization.

The foundation of a right decision is based on one of the most important skill of 21st century – critical thinking.

With people being at the core of an organization’s greatness, it is extremely important for HR professionals to pay attention to two things – that existing people are trained to think critically and people are hired based on their ability to think critically.

A 2010 study by American Management Association says,

Proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic has traditionally been the entry-level threshold to the job market, but the new workplace requires more from its employees. Employees need to think critically, solve problems, innovate, collaborate, and communicate more effectively—and at every level within an organization. According to the AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey, many executives admit there is room for improvement among their employees in these skills and competencies.ii

We will delve deeper into this all-important topic of critical thinking, but here is the bottom line for now:

Companies need to assess and develop employees’ ability to apply critical thinking skills right from freshers to C-suite executives. It only leads to more effective problem solving and better strategic thinking which is so vital in today’s competitive and uncertain economic times.

Tell Us Something: Do you agree? What challenges do you face when assessing new hires for their critical thinking skills?

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