What NBC’s the Voice Can Teach Us About Hiring and Retaining Great Employees

Don’t worry, you won’t find any show spoilers in this post, just a few lessons on how The Voice can provide some tips on hiring and growing great talent!

In it’s fourth season, NBC’s The Voice has become a force to reckon with on American television. This season’s premiere saw an 11% increase over last season, and many performances hit the iTunes Top 10 charts week after week.

Just another reality tv show, you say? A closer look shows that it’s also a great example of how to hire and motivate great employees . In addition to a cash prize for the season’s winner, all of the competitors have an opportunity to work with a coach who is highly successful and respected in the contestants’ field. And unlike other shows where judges can be a bit brutal, the coaching format of The Voice encourages the coaches to bring out the very best in their artists.

There are several roles to fill on The Voice – much like a business:

Contestants – They are all candidates looking for a job in their chosen career of music.

Coaches – This season’s coaching roster consists of Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5), international pop sensation Shakira, country music star Blake Shelton and R&B superstar Usher. These professional singers are hiring managers looking to find the best employees – but they must compete with some serious contenders to win over the best contestants.

Viewers – People watching the show become stakeholders by voting for their favorite performers. Just like other managers or team members in a company, they are influencing the selection process.

Hosts – Then there are Carson Daly and Christine Milian, who serve as the front office, helping contestants navigate the process and working to bring out the very best in each of them.

And each phase of the competition aligns to the hiring process:

Regional Auditions – Much like submitting a resume, people apply to compete for a spot on The Voice, first by performing for the show’s producers in select cities. The producers weed out thousands of potential contestants and create a talent pool of the very best and most promising to submit to the coaches, much like an HR department.

The Blind Auditions – Once the producers have developed a pool of qualified candidates, the next step in the process is to audition for the coaches, who have their backs turned so they cannot see the performers. As hiring managers, the coaches are looking for a few things in the Blind Auditions:

  • Experience – does the contestant’s performance indicate that they have some experience singing? Does their musical selection show the contestant understands where their strong points are? Or are they an inexperienced diamond in the rough whose talent the coach can help grow?
  • Versatility – Coaches are listening to see if the singer can cross genres, expand their voice and grow artistically – basically, this is the “transferable skills” part of the auditions.
  • Communication – Since the coaches can’t see the singers during the blind auditions, the ones who can communicate through the song and tell a story will make a big impression.

By the end of the Blind Auditions, each coach has assembled a team of twelve performers who are ready to jump into this new role!

The Battle Rounds – The challenge for the coaches is that after selecting their initial team, they move to the Battle Rounds where they pair two of their team members in a competition where one will be eliminated from the show. The coach must immediately eliminate half of their team – forcing them to rethink some of their initial decisions.

But a critical component of the Battle Rounds is the “steal”. Once a coach eliminates one of the two competitors in a battle, the eliminated contestant can be stolen by another coach. A nice reminder to managers – take care of your employees because another company may be waiting in the wings to sweep them away when you least expect it.

Just like hiring managers, the coaches are looking for standouts among all the contestants. And while the coaches can be picky, they know that there’s no perfect contestant. They want to create a diverse team that will represent a wide range of singing skills.

Creating a team -_“I’m looking for a certainty of self and I’m looking for someone to be mindful enough and present enough in their own life and career and aspiration to know exactly what they want,”_ – Cee Lo Green, The Voice coach on Seasons 1, 2 and 3.

Coaches have a vested interest in the success of their team members. If someone on their team takes home top honors, it reflects well on the coach for choosing that contestant and for nurturing their growth as an artist. Even if a member of a coach’s team doesn’t take home top prize, coaches may still decide to invite a team member to go on tour with them, or even extend a record deal – like Adam Levine did with his Season 2 team member, Tony Lucca .

The Feedback Loop – Like any good working environment, The Voice has a feedback loop so performers can get a chance to learn and grow. All of the coaches get an opportunity to offer constructive criticism and critiques of performances – both for their own team members and those on other teams. Of course, the public gets their say by voting in the latter part of each season.

Rewarding the Winner(s)

While there’s only one overall winner on The Voice, all of the contestants get an opportunity to spend time working with world renowned entertainers. Win or lose, any of the contestants who are serious about a career in music get a chance to learn the ropes and excel in their careers moving forward. And their coaches, as managers, have the chance to help shape the careers of their team members long after the season ends.

Your Takeaways

As a manager, here are a few lessons from The Voice you can consider for your own practice:

During the hiring process

  • Know the qualities and characteristics you’re looking for in a candidate before you hire – take time to think about and write these down. How will this new hire fit into your team?
  • Look for standouts – these are people who excel in the interview process. And remember, there are no perfect candidates – so keep an open mind as you’re evaluating the best person for the job.
  • Get input from others – including people from other parts of your organization to participate in interviews is a good way to get a different perspective on candidates.

And after you’ve hired them

  • Take care of your employees – once you’ve assembled a great team, it’s important to nurture them and facilitate their career growth. If you provide employees with opportunities, they’re more likely to stay.
  • Provide feedback early and often – create a time and place to regularly give feedback to your team so each member can learn and grow from missteps and successes.

Keep these things in mind next time you hire – you just might find a rising star!


Author: HiringThing

HiringThing is easy to use, intuitive online recruiting software that makes it easy to post jobs online, manage applicants and hire great employees.