RTT – Tactical Resourcing: Up-skilling Internal Recruiters to Think Long-term

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.

Following Process

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.

Takeaways:

  • 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.
HR Think Tank

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3 Responses to “RTT – Tactical Resourcing: Up-skilling Internal Recruiters to Think Long-term”

  1. jacobstenmadsen

    Role of recruitment, talent acquisition whether agency, in-house, all or part of an outsourced solution or as an extension of HR is to solve a business issue and perhaps problem.
    Whether vacancy due to a back-fill, a replacement, a new additional role or other it is about ensuring that the business get what they need to fulfil their obligations and desire.
    As such recruitment overall become a business solution irrespective of whether hiring a graduate/intern role or a senior executive.
    At the very core and essential in making a good and long term asset hire is the ability to understand, to interpret to acknowledge and to provide the correct solution in the form of a person hired.
    With the saying of ‘people make businesses’ the application of finding not just a match for a role, but someone who short as well as long term can become an asset is what any business wants and needs. With the cost of replacing someone that is an asset to a company standing at substantial cost getting it right first time around as well as making sure hire more than just a fit is critical.

    To spot and to ensure this requires a set of skills that cover anything from business acumen, business appreciation through to psychology and not least experience.
    Many organisations that have an in-house recruitment function apply a structure of having 1/3 of their team being senior experienced people and 2/3 of team being less experienced and often a good deal younger. In doing so and obviously all dependent on set up and processes in place, this create a structure that is often rigid and not taking into consideration the wider aspect of what people consist of. At the same time on client side this lack of experience lead often not being able to understand and fully interpret what the exact and underlying business needs are.

    In a world where competition is increasing day by day, where businesses become more complex, where there is little to no room for error and where each person in a company demanded to cover a wider ranging area of tasks, this translate to a often complex picture.
    On basis of this business complexity, the demands of those that have the task of ensuring right and best talent for each and every vacancy equally challenging

    Looking around I will postulate that very often due to either lack of skill, abilities or understanding the complexities a substantial amount of ‘waste’ occur. Waste in the form of trial and error in identification, in fully understanding needs and criteria and in the process that follows. Parallel to that I believe waste also occurring in the form of good and capable people being rejected as not fitting into a pre-set mould (being a graduate is one) The result of this is wasted opportunities all around.

    Question asked is what kind of breed does it take to be able to act and manoeuvre in this ever more complex world, and my answer would be a combination of solutions.
    As a senior and tried and tested in-house recruiter myself I will dare say that had I taken on the in-house roles that I have had at an age younger than 35 and with less educational background I would simply have fallen flat and not been able to do it. As environments hugely complex and demanding I would simply not have been able to grasp the concept of what I was doing and why, as well as have been able to place my client’s needs into context. Although my assignments and companies special I will argue that maturity and ‘having been around’ will be of help.

    Secondly if working within the business world and with businesses and with people in sales, marketing, support, finance, etc. require a business foundation and understanding. With credibility being the only ‘product’ a recruiter can ‘sell’ there has to be some sort of foundation upon which a recruiter and a hiring manager can meet and carry out exchanges.
    In respect to this and before mentioned age issue, that will also help in the credibility stakes and in having a partnership rather than a client-supplier ship as is often the case if the recruiter young and of less experience
    Thirdly if one is to have a chance in a world that is moving ahead at breakneck speed, there has to be a constant and on-going ‘journey of knowledge acquisition’ This can take a range of different forms, but must be based in a combination of what is relevant to respective client business as well as in relation to the world of recruitment/talent acquisition.
    As much as various training courses and initiatives should be applauded for what they set out to do, they can only cover so much and only generically.
    With each business and industry being different from each other, often almost the direct opposites what apply in one place may be totally to the next, only company/organisation, industry and need relevant training will suffice.
    It is the sole responsibility of HR directors/leaders, talent acquisition directors/leaders, team managers etc. to ensure relevant knowledge is obtained, maintained and enhanced and that not least the foundation upon which to build (before said knowledge) is there.

    Corporate talent acquisition/recruitment in today’s world is a question of survival of the (holistically) fittest meaning that everything need to be seen in the light of how it all fit together independently as well as inter-dependently.

    Reply
  2. GEORGE SIBANDA

    I am a hard worker ,honorable, reliable, competent, proactive and professional looking for a tactical response job.

    Reply

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