These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Thursday 13th September 2012 hosted by SAP’s Susan Bor (Senior VP of Talent Acquisition), titled ‘The Benefits and Challenges of Dedicated In-house Sourcing Teams ’.
The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Resourcing professionals from leading UK and other international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
In today’s candidate driven market, what can businesses do within their internal recruitment functions to attract talent, incentivise their delivery teams, talent pool and importantly help position their brand as an attractive employer to ultimately prevent companies relying on recruitment agencies? All these challenges, and more, fed into what was an interesting debate on identifying the benefits and challenges of dedicated in-house sourcing teams.
Resourcing team structure:
Within the resourcing industry, a false perception often exists around whatever the model your business employs, it can do everything. This often isn’t the case, as recruitment functions can vastly differ in role allocation, from researchers and talent sourcers to consultants and client relationship managers. Certain companies generally require a very specific blend of specialism to meet the demands of their business. For example, someone handling a search at a senior level needs to have a great deal of credibility to initially ‘sell’ the role and then sustain the engagement of candidates, compared to someone sourcing low skilled, volume requirements.
A question then presents itself regarding where you draw the line between your researchers purely qualifying candidates, selling them the role, and then engaging with the end client. Some members felt it valuable to draw distinct tiers between this engagement, however others would argue that the best recruiters are those who can deliver the end to end process, absorb the market and therefore build relationships.
Our experts’ views:
a) A recent trend sees businesses splitting the resourcing function – half doing business as usual hires and the other half focusing on talent pipelining. However, if talent pipelines aren’t kept up to date the activity completely loses its value.
KPIs / metrics:
KPIs always seem to stir a difference of opinion, especially when they are being measured in-house; for example, is filling a senior position outside of 8-10 weeks considered too long? It was argued that focusing on ‘time to hire’ can drive all the wrong sorts of behaviours. However, an interesting suggestion tabled was developing a measurement which purely looks at client satisfaction. Following a placement, the end client can score out of 10 ‘whether the assignment was completed in good time’; this potentially is a more useful metric for measuring the efficiencies of the recruitment team.
Our experts’ views:
a) Additionally, rather than simply focusing on specific time frames, target recruiters on a percentage fill – for example 90% or more of roles worked on.
Generally speaking, it’s conclusive that what you get out of someone directly relates to what you put in. Therefore, it’s all well and good expecting recruiters to hit a challenging set of KPIs but often unless they are incentivised or feel appreciated, they won’t get met. Around the table there was a clear difference in opinion surrounding whether internal resourcing functions should be financially incentivised, some members felt strongly that they should be, whereas others felt it was simply the recruiters’ duty to perform their roles to the best of their ability without a monetary reward. Additionally, our senior Recruitment Managers suggested that if individuals need to be financially rewarded in order to perform, then they’re not really a desired type of employee.
As such, it was argued that incentivising internal teams financially is a recipe for recruiters to focus on quantity not quality. However, members proposed that awarding individuals with an annual bonus based on: percentage of filled roles and quality of hires helped achieve the right behaviours.
Our experts’ views:
a) It’s crucial to work tirelessly on the ethos and attitude of your recruitment team – their overriding goal must be to place the best possible talent into THEIR business. After all, placed candidates will be their future colleagues, decision makers and peers.
Talent identification and sustained engagement:
Whether you’re a recruitment function that builds candidate databases, pipelines talent or adopts a ‘just in time’ resourcing approach. It’s crucial that the candidate in play, or targeted individual, receives a positive experience and is as engaged in the process as possible. This is particularly important for talent pipelining, as trying to ‘keep individuals warm’ between engagement and role availability is challenging but crucial; purely because if your talent pipeline isn’t positively engaged with your business and potential opportunities, then surely the exercise was bordering on a waste of time?
Our experts’ view:
a) Igniting the search for a ‘hard fill’ or critical role can be a very daunting and frustrating experience. Often, the skills of an external market mapping company can prove very valuable. Our members recommended companies including: Right Research, Talent Works and AMS Source Plan.
The previous points tie nicely into the subject of employer branding. If candidates, both active and prospective, don’t experience a positive encounter with your brand, ultimately roles and going to be harder to fill. There are certain steps that recruitment functions can take to improve the exposure of their business and position it as an attractive employer. Our members suggested working alongside the marketing department to develop a strategy, utilising their expertise, to create that vital positive brand perception. Additionally, as a recruitment function, try to get that little bit closer to the business to enable a greater understanding of challenges and company developments to enable your teams to ‘sell’ the organisation more effectively.
Wider business involvement:
Our members acknowledged the importance of creating a ‘recruiting culture’ amongst the business, to encourage the wider corners of the organisation to become enthusiastic about getting fresh talent into the company. Often removing the invisible barrier between the recruitment team, the HR function and the rest of the business is step one for creating this; in particular remember that you are one business, with one overall vision – success.
Our experts’ view:
a) One simple action that can be taken is getting your hiring managers to post on their LinkedIn / Twitter pages when beginning a search – flatter them by asking if you can tap into their ‘extensive networks’. Most people will relish the opportunity to be a part of the process and asked to help.
- Many different ratios exist for the way KPIs should be structured, but ultimately they need to fit your business model and be unique to the goals you are trying to achieve
- There is no one answer & one size doesn’t fit all
- Not all hiring requirements can be approached in the same way, it’s important to utilise specific channels effectively for the roles they are suited to
- Keep your internal recruitment function fresh and continually evolving to offer best practice
- Take time to understand what works in different regions / countries and stick to it – not all sourcing approaches have to be the same across the board
- Talent pipelining can be a very effective tool, but it has to be resourced properly otherwise it can turn into a pointless exercise
- Dedicate time to understand the perception of your brand as an employer and work with your internal marketing expertise to develop and enhance that positive image
- Develop an appropriate internal reward structure to motivate your team to the best possible standard
- Borrow the learnings from agencies and sales teams to develop a more proactive approach when it comes to approaching and sustaining engagement with talent.