Brave New Recruiting


The blog is back on after a few months away due to a period of not being able to and much needed time away, but I am sure no one has missed me…

Matters of resourcing and HR still play on my mind and having recently attended the Annapurna networking event it motivated me to kick start the keyboard. The theme was ‘How does Resourcing develop in a VUCA world’?

For the unitiated VUCA is volatile, uncertain complex and ambiguous. ( I admit I had to look this up before I attended) Now as a consistent supporter and advocate of Resourcing and its necessity to any organisation, I sometimes think as ‘the new kid on the block of HR’ we really do feel insecure about ourselves. We are constantly inventing hyperbole around the ‘ war for talent’, about whether Resourcing should sit within HR or marketing. Its almost as if we feel and behave as the poor relation of HR. I wonder whether it will be any if we joined with marketing – because customer budgets will always get the lions share of the limited pot.

Regardless of where we sit in the organisation; what is fundamental is that we resist the temptation to navel gaze and work out a way of how our upstart function can show how we deserve our place at the table. If we look historically, this is not new. Only a few years ago digital marketing was that upstart. It created disruption, noise and there were growing pains, false dawns and of course, the initial failure to find a narrative (remember the dot com boom), where everything had to be a website of sorts….

In house resourcing including RPO is facing that cross roads – customers (and they are the most important factor here) are questioning our value, and our expertise. We have come a long way in a short period of time but our customers demand more with less. And we have to face up to this reality. This may require putting the sword to some previously held ‘truths’.

Any business goes through this existential ciris from time to time and if it can answer these questions it will emerge stronger and more agile to face the future needs of its customers. If it continues to make unfounded claims, speak a language the customers don’t understand, trouble looms. A good example is the record industry: they never thought Apple, Spotify and other online equivalents would stand a chance…. Despite their rumblings, this has not killed music or the creativity of artists, just the profits of the record companies because they failed to answer the killer question – what does the customer need?

The industry did not lack the skills, or the technical expertise or experience – it lacked leadership and change capability. History is full of great ideas that never flew, it takes leadership, patience and understanding of how to lead people though this change. And this is where I feel our industry is currently. Internally, we have some great ideas and some great people. Is it enough to staff our functions with pure recruiters?Will we find innovation and challenge it if we continue to steal recruiters from the agency world, where the skills and mindset may not be where our customers want us to go? Where is our analytical capability and leadership…By which I mean rounded leadership, dare I say it from other disciplines/industries?

Whilst the Annapurna Event was interesting and fun, my view is rather than shut ourselves into another silo (which lets face it many HR disciplines have), lets begin start the language of collaboration,and talk hard numbers that makes sense to our business. When I ask recruitment consultants for example for a view on any particular market I get the same response ‘it’s a tight market’, regardless of the economic situation. The traditional suggestion for a resolution has been ‘you need to up the salary’. Sadly,this is often not much different to the In house recruiters response. The customer is left with the monkey and few options on what can be done. Our customers need options based on data and that fit the purposes for their set of challenges not a glib response which leaves them with the difficult conversation with nothing to base it on. Our customers want some level of certainty, even if we are in a VUCA world.

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