I’ve worked in recruitment and employment branding for just about a decade now, and as a Gen X’er, that covers most of my working life. For most of this time, I’ve identified myself as an HR Business Partner and Consultant, though as a hiring manager and senior director with a subsidiary of a mid-sized media company, I’ve also worn other stakeholder hats related to talent acquisition and talent management. Here’s what I’ve learned from some of the excellent organizations I’ve been lucky enough to work with since the beginning of the 21st century:
- High Volume Hiring and Executive Search are COMPLETELY unrelated. While both practices fall under the umbrella of recruiting or talent acquisition within nearly every organization, the truth is that both the skills and tools needed for each are distinct. Technology and tools that will help you attract and hire a high volume of low skill applicants will not help your organization find the highly qualified, passive executive level candidates. Additionally, the skills needed to source, screen, and select candidates vary greatly depending on the level of position your hiring for. Successful organizations have the skills and tools necessary to support each function individually.
- When it comes to Compliance, it’s your Perspective that matters most. Regulatory compliance as it relates to the hiring process is often considered a major headache for HR leaders. The very best organizations, however, view these obstacles with rose-colored glasses. Instead of seeing OFCCP job posting compliance as a major nuisance, for example, they see an opportunity to support diversity initiatives and work with local agencies to attract great local applicants. Successful organizations I’ve worked with focus on the underlying issues that caused the regulations in the first place, and don’t waste their time or energy complaining about the paperwork.
- Employee engagement drives productivity, productivity drives profitability. While some organizations disagree with this notion, some of the most successful organizations focus their attention on creating work environments that engage and inspire employees. Employee’s who understand how their role affects the entire organization; who feel respected and trusted; who take pride in their work; who are rewarded and appreciated are more productive. Successful organizations understand that every new hire contributes to the workplace culture either positively or negatively, and they develop processes to select the right candidates for every job, every time.
- Proactive companies cannot wait for metrics. This one has been the most surprising of the lessons I’ve learned from the organizations I’ve worked with. In order to be innovating, proactive, and cutting edge, a company must trust in their people to make decisions before there is data to support those decisions. Successful organizations have leaders and staff in place that understand the needs of the business and the changing market environment, and trust them to develop new processes or invest in new resources before there is data available for analysis. Whether that’s related to innovative sourcing and recruiting technology, staff development and employee training programs, or employee retention initiatives- leading employers don’t wait around to see what works for other employers. Instead, they define their needs and take action.
- Hiring from within is more important than you think it is. There is simply no substitute for benefits of developing leaders and managers from within your existing workforce. We may all know the obvious reasons why this is true: maintaining continuity, reduced time to train, ability to leverage existing internal relationships, better understanding of what’s been tried before, reduced cost of sourcing/recruitment, and often a discount in the compensation required for the position. What the most successful organizations understand is that these are all tangential quantitative benefits, and that the most important benefits cannot be measured. Hiring from within inspires employees to be more productive and gives all employees a sense of trust in the leadership of the organization and comfort in knowing that the bus will not be changing direction every time a new driver comes aboard. The value of hiring from within to the workplace culture and level of engagement simply cannot be overstated. Successful organizations have succession planning built into their DNA for all leadership and management level positions.