These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Tuesday 19th February 2013 hosted by Experian’s Wendy King (Talent and Recruitment Manager), titled ‘Building the Internal Recruitment Brand’ .
The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Resourcing professionals from leading UK and international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
Creating the right image and developing a favourable brand is crucial for all organisations, from both a commercial perspective and for attracting and retaining talent. However, this RTT took a closer look at the internal brand perception of the resourcing function with a view to:
- Position the function as a strategic partner and earn that seat at the top table
- Move away from being viewed as a service centre
- Exude the gravitas to engage and influence senior stakeholders
- Squash the perception that the function is a glorified administrative engine.
Shout a little louder
One of the main barriers to building a respected internal recruitment brand seems to be that the wider business continually questions how efficient the function is. Of course it makes sense to measure the effectiveness of resourcing, but unless the function publicises success stories and showcases its expertise, how can it expect the wider business to buy into the internal recruitment brand? Whether you’re presenting at a Corporate Induction, featuring a case study in an internal publication or pitching the resourcing team’s services to a hiring manager, make sure you effectively package the efficiencies and success of the function in a digestible and clear manor. Talk proudly about your track record, what you’re great at and the cost savings to the business. How would your service be communicated in a brochure for prospective clients?
Change the conversation
A critical component of brand building is ensuring that a company, product or function is renowned for the right reasons. In this case, credibility is one of the most important elements of this image. Often recruitment can sit in the shadow of the HR Business Partners and be viewed as order takers; however this false perception can be changed by leaving the transactional game behind and focusing more on strategic conversations. Internal dialogue needs to change from reactive to proactive. Start talking resource and succession planning to meet the needs of the business’s five year corporate plan. Ultimately, resourcing want to be viewed as a profit centre and an enabler to help hiring managers meet their objectives.
Changing the mind set of hiring managers is one thing, but actually altering behaviours can be far more challenging. Whilst the business might appreciate the success of the resourcing function, the real test is whether they continue to use that search firm or agency for their hires. Resourcing don’t want to be considered a police force, but they need to be able to demonstrate a cause and effect for hiring managers operating out of process and ensure that an approval process is utilised. Illustrate the cost of using an agency in a language they can relate to, for instance savings equate to you selling x amount of units of stock. Ultimately, internal brand building success has to be reflected by the business believing in the resourcing function’s capabilities and calling upon their services in the first instance once a requisition becomes apparent.
How many resourcing functions believe they are meeting the objectives of the business, when in actual fact they have forgotten one vital step, asking business leaders what’s important to them? Understanding senior leaders’ key drivers will ultimately make a large difference to the stories you communicate to the business to gain credibility and sell the function. If you have been delivering a cost effective service saving the business x amount, but the company’s objectives are more focused around speed and time then you aren’t actually meeting corporate goals.
When taking a brief from a hiring manager, it’s crucial to set expectations upfront. Without ample resource, it’s considered unrealistic to promise delivery on the three key measures (cost, time and quality) so ask hiring managers which two are most important to them and build a process to meet their specified requirements.
Put your money where your mouth is
As previously discussed, credibility is a large factor in the success of brand building. Your recruiters are essentially fronting your function, so it’s paramount that they are able to hold consultative conversations, be viewed as experts, influence and even push back to hiring managers when appropriate. If you want to be seen as a strategic partner, you need commercially focused and savvy individuals representing your brand; you can either hire the best or nurture your existing talent to develop these skills. If you don’t already, measure these capabilities within the recruitment process to ensure you are recruiting the right people for the job.
Often within internal resourcing there are some lessons which can be learnt from agency recruitment, one of the most notable is networking, but in this case internally within the business. Encouraging recruiters to spread their wings more widely within the business is great for the function’s exposure, keeping abreast of wider business issues, role pipelining, gaining referrals and creating advocates. It can also be beneficial to get recruiters to attend external workshops or seminars relative to the area they recruit for to enable them to more comprehensively understand the real business challenges of hiring managers / candidates.
- You don’t necessarily have to look at brand building holistically, tackle varying business units on a case by case basis and tailor the messaging appropriately
- Encourage the recruitment team to show a wider interest in the business issues and attend conferences strengthening their knowledge
- Take time to understand what the business’s core objectives are (time, cost or quality) and ensure that recruitment suitably meets these needs
- Invest in the existing recruitment team by supporting and training them to the next level
- Recruitment needs to be promoting the great things they are doing, whilst being selective and tactful with regards to achievements
- Through increased internal networking within the business, place greater emphasis on headhunting existing members of the company.