“You’re only as good as the people you hire.” The late Ray Kroc, best known for expanding McDonald’s from a local chain to the world’s most profitable restaurant franchise operation, coined this oft-repeated phrase. In the HR world, this is a fundamental truth, which is why my team and I at FLEETCO Rsearch to attract and retain talent that can offer innovative solutions to help move our business forward.

We want to hire and retain people well-versed in our digital payments space, especially those who can think futuristically, so they can help our forward-thinking company stay ahead of the curve. As your organizations look to find and hire future leaders, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Get HR up to speed on business priorities

Many organizations fail to understand HR is a true business partner that can help companies land employees that fit in with business strategy and company culture. HR, once called “Personnel” and was known as the rules police, has come a long way. Today’s HR leaders should play a vital role in helping companies land employees that mesh with the business.

In fact, if HR doesn’t know a company’s current business perspective, it will be reactive rather than proactive and could hire people not equipped to help the company reach its goals. Therefore, HR should always have a proverbial seat at the table, as it could be the missing piece that helps drive a company toward its goals through its people.

Look for growth-oriented go-getters

Two of the attributes that have enabled FLEETCOR to grow from a small, privately held company to an 8,000-employee-plus publicly traded global organization is that we value execution and innovation that drive results. As such, we look for candidates who demonstrate the willingness to get the job done right and who look beyond the norm toward innovation.

In the interview process, ask about results. How did the candidate leave their former employer better than when they first arrived? How did the candidate find creative solutions to challenges? Does the candidate have a reputation for delivering success?

Drilling into these details will help you to identify go-getters.

Seek Out Diverse Backgrounds and Ideas

During our early years, we were an American company that didn’t quite understand the global landscape. But from 2007 until now, although still American-born, we are keenly aware that we must comprehend, businesswise, what’s going on in a broader global context and make sure our company culture looks beyond our roots. And it’s our employees who can get us there.

We grow when we bring people onto our team that come from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds – those with diverse opinions and experiences. Doing so helps us gain new perspectives and develop better solutions to business challenges.

And now some advice to career seeking future leaders

Although COVID-19 has pushed unemployment much higher than it was at the beginning of the year, companies like ours continue to hire talented individuals, and getting a foot in the door requires flexibility. Some suggestions for helping future leaders land a great career opportunity are to:

• Be prepared. When a company calls or emails for an interview, candidates should understand the organization, what it’s looking for, and what they can bring to the table.

• Stay flexible. A company might ask that candidates don a mask and come into the office for an in-person interview.

• Use that network. Candidates might know someone who knows someone who’s hiring – and that expanded network can get a foot in the door. So, prospective hires shouldn’t be shy about using it.

• Be persistent. If that great company hasn’t reached out, then candidates should reach out to express continued interest in a new, exciting role.

HR Holds the Key

In sum, when given the opportunity, HR can help companies hire and foster future leaders who achieve results. But first, it must be included in business decisions and long-term initiatives, such as growth. Doing so could ultimately be the difference between meeting – or missing – your business goals.