These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Thursday 11th July 2013 hosted by Foxtons’ Fran Giltinan (Director Recruitment, Training and Corporate Services) , titled ‘Tactical Resourcing: Up-skilling Internal Recruiters to Think Long-term’.
The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Resourcing professionals from leading national and international businesses. Specific company details, experience.es and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
Internal recruiters are often discredited with the badge of ‘order taker’ or ‘box ticker’; often because they haven’t been given the necessary tools to think more strategically and align resourcing plans to long-term business drivers. So, how can we up-skill our Resourcing Functions to think beyond the reactive candidate search and take responsibility for the future hiring needs of the business?
So, what training and processes are required to ensure internal recruiters are looking ahead of the next six months and are working in alignment with the business’s Strategic Workforce Plan? Perhaps we’re looking for a new bread of internal recruiters; professionals with a blended expertise of recruitment and business partnering?
What are you up Against?
One of the main challenges concerning strategic recruitment and up-skilling is time. Is there really time to give full focus to business partnering whilst tackling the operational side of recruitment, and what training is required to ensure your Recruiters are equipped to operate with more of a long term vision? Moreover, does your function have the budget or buy-in to invest in the development of your Resourcing team?
A further challenge faced by many Recruiters is actually building the credibility amongst the wider business to ensure Hiring Managers don’t ‘knee-jerk’ and reach out to recruitment agencies in the first instance. Often it feels like Recruitment is faced with a constant justification battle. In today’s candidate driven market, it’s as good a time as any to demonstrate the value of the Resourcing Function and highlight the benefits of talent-pooling and being involved in business conversations from an early stage. Increasingly, candidates are receiving multiple job offers so their experience throughout your recruitment process is going to be incredibly influential when it comes to the crunch. Have you got the resource and budget to guarantee a positive candidate experience?
The ‘Make-up’ of your Internal Recruiters
When considering the business partnering route through up-skilling, have you asked yourself whether your team is comprised of the right breed of Recruiter? More often than not, Internal Recruiters will have an agency past where they have been evaluated on hitting KPIs and filling roles quickly; they need to understand that being a Recruiter goes above and beyond recruiting! Do they have the soft-skills to build long term relationships, gain trust and influence? From an agency perspective, it’s the difference between an Account Manager and a Recruiter. And much like the Account Manager role, Recruiters need to own their relationships with Hiring Managers to stay abreast of future hiring plans and be considered an indispensible resource. What’s more, without generous commission structures and bonuses, your Recruiters need to be genuinely passionate about your brand in order to drive results.
A common misconception of agency Recruiters is that going in-house is easier. It’s not (see our blog on making the move from agency to in-house recruitment). When working internally, you cannot walk away from tough roles, so having a ‘solutions not problems’ attitude is essential. Furthermore, it’s crucial for your ex-agency Recruiters to hold onto the traits and skills inherent from their agency days. Picking up the phone is so important – don’t let your Recruiters hide behind email!
It’s about Credibility
One of the core bugbears of Internal Resourcers is that they feel like they continually have to justify their existence and value. However, sometimes it’s just a case of proving yourself. Start small and pick your battles. Occasionally using an agency for obtaining niche skills is going to be the answer and that’s not a bad thing. But the issue really lies if your Hiring Managers are going direct to the agencies, not consulting Resourcing and subsequently going out of process.
Often a lack of credibility can simply be a reflection of a break down in communication. Much like all business silos, HR has its own language and this can be disengaging and frustrating for those not in the know. Some businesses report success with bringing on-board ‘non HR’ HR Directors to help filter down plain business dialogue and communicate the language of the Board.
Getting Exposure Internally
In order to be seen as a credible service, you actually need to be ‘seen’ – so getting in the face of Hiring Managers and working alongside the HR Business Partners is essential. One of the simplest changes you can make is only ever taking a role brief in person or at the very least over Skype. Building personal relationships is going to evoke trust and consequently raise your profile amongst the business. Additionally, working closely with your HR Business Partners from a forecasting perspective is highly advisable to discuss reactive and proactive sourcing plans. Internal forums can also be an effective tool for networking with the wider business and understanding the real issues affecting employees.
Often the most challenging piece of the puzzle concerns client facing HR and getting the business to communicate future hiring plans. It’s therefore essential to raise your internal profile and get involved in as many business conversations at the earliest stage possible.
Having a standard recruitment process is crucial from a candidate experience, employer branding, financial and monitoring perspective. However, there needs to be some strict guidelines and consequences for going out of process. So when and how does this message get communicated? Firstly, it’s much easier if Procurement, HR and Resourcing work in partnership and are all signing from the same hymn sheet. Secondly, leadership backing is crucial – use your VPs to lead by example and help promote the services of the Recruitment function. Thirdly, use the on-boarding process to educate new employees on recruitment protocol to ensure they adopt the correct process from day one.
Training Recruiters to Business Partner
Revisiting one of the initial questions posed, are we looking for a new breed of business partnering recruiters and if so, is there training out there? Whilst there does seem to be a degree of external training available on ‘Aligning Recruitment to Business Strategy’, it’s argued that this type of teaching is out-dated, too theoretical and not necessarily ‘real world’. It’s the consensus of the Resourcing Think Tank members that it’s the Resourcing leadership team’s responsibility to coach, train, empower and up-skill their teams whilst in the real business environment. These skills should already be in the organisation and if they’re not then something’s gone wrong!
Internal Mobility and Headhunting within the Business
Within your business, how easy is it for talent to change roles and what are you doing from a Resourcing perspective to assist this movement? Often the culture of a business will dictate how proactive Resourcing can be when it comes to internal mobility. For instance, does your organisation view internal talent movement as for the good of the company, or is there a secretive element associated with your ‘stars’ being too visible? Surely it’s better to retain talent somewhere within your company than risk them being snapped up by a competitor? So what’s the deal with headhunting internally – is it ethical and how can you avoid positioning it as ‘poaching’?
Internal headhunting can be dangerous territory; however it can be a great tool for encouraging and increasing internal mobility. Some businesses report success with hiring dedicated Talent Mangers who work across HR, Recruitment and Reward to truly wrap their arms around internal mobility. It’s no longer the career ladder but the career matrix, and the process absolutely needs managing. Adding a section within the hiring process whereby employees can state whether they’re open to internal moves can work effectively.
Often a large focus of career management is self-service; but have we taken the time to educate staff on how to manage this process themselves? Creating a buzz around career development is paramount and a catalyst for this can be getting your c-level population to hold workshops on their personal career paths and choices. Additionally, career evenings delivered by recruitment are useful for offering advice and also reiterating the message that it’s okay to throw your hat in the ring for internal opportunities.
- Getting the right balance between reactive and proactive recruitment and allocating time respectively
- HR Business Partners can offer a unique insight to employees and business plans – collaborate with them from a future resourcing perspective
- Dedicating more attention to internal mobility to ensure employees’ skills are deployed in the best possible roles
- Create a culture whereby it’s okay for employees to turn to the business for help with furthering and developing their careers –career evenings can work effectively
- It’s essential for Internal Recruiters to be bought into the brand to drive success and positive results
- Communicating internal opportunities more proactively to employees – releasing new roles to top talent before looking externally
- It’s ultimately the manager’s responsibility to up-skill recruiters through soft skills development, coaching and building their credibility.