War for Talent, Strategic Resourcing, should HR have a seat at the table? (I guess it depends on the table). Article after article seems to peddle the same myths about talent shortages, perhaps the same people that keep repeating myths about Generation Y and Z having vastly different needs to previous Generations, mainly because of Facebook and Snapchat… (The idea of the ‘GIG’ economy for them is frightening for very rational economic reasons). I will try to make the case here that by having a great Internal Resourcing function, we can dispel some of these myths and show how Resourcing really is an enabler of collaboration within organisations and can deliver the talent needs sustainably without having to rely on outdated myths and poo research from self-styled consultants.
Many of the papers and articles from whatever angle seem to undermine or snipe at the great work that In House Resourcing teams have done since their evolution in the last 15-20 years. The critics seem to be either afraid that organisations are taking control of their Talent and Resourcing needs, finally taking control of their supply. This ultimately threatens the plethora of consultants looking to sell the next set of ‘Emperors New Clothes’.
So it is finally time to mount a defence of our place the world and I aim to demonstrate the real power of an Internal Resourcing function, I hope to demonstrate, is the ability to break organisational silos and enable collaboration across the divisions.
It goes without saying that Resourcing must fulfil the orders… Get the basics right, through good process – yes this important. Without standardisation and technology, there can be no improvement or metrics. Most Resourcing functions aim to do this and the output just depends on their stage of evolution. Often, for an HR function this is first cab off the rank in terms of centralisation, standardisation and this level of change. This cannot be underestimated and is a fundamental building block of creating such an offer. This change is always painful, not least for the multitude of suppliers (Agencies, consultants etc) whose ways of working are disrupted for the long term.
Once the foundations are solid, this enables Resourcing to become a change agent and enabler. When I was first at Deloitte, (many years ago), thorough some market research we realised that the supply of newly qualified accountants in the UK for their roles would never match the true supply. So far nothing ground breaking here, however we suggested joint scouting trips across South East Asia and India to fulfil this need. Knowing there to be equivalent qualifications and standards and good language skills. So far, so normal…
However, the blocker to progress here was challenging the organisational silos. Several regions feared the big cities might get an over supply, leaving the smaller regional offices with no candidates. This view is understandable, but with market and candidate knowledge, their fears were allayed. But the major prize here was fostering collaboration between these teams in order to improve the organisation. Through presentation of the data and stakeholder engagement this happened. Resourcing was the only department with this insight of the market and, crucially of how the business behaved. We had sight from above the organisation and the market to see what was really happening.
We see this now in Carillion. The competitive landscape for certain skills is seen to be a business limiter. Money spent on external searches, wasted hiring efforts and almost distressed hiring was the norm. However, by analysing the market and internal data, we influence a different way of approaching the behaviours of hiring Managers both within and cross functions. This has some interesting effects – outcomes change, cost is driven down, time is reduced but more importantly a proper discussion and sharing of ideas and talent begins to happen. Because the leadership isn’t fighting fires any longer there is a more considered view of what the needs really are; the focus becomes quality and timing.
In addition, Hiring Manager across functions are able to take a view in ‘what is good for the business’ Where skill sets might fit and think about internal talent or even future talent needs, rather than fighting the next recruiting crisis. One reality of modern business, the biggest headache is finding relevant talent in the right timescales.
Insight the Resourcing world can also spot organisational design flaws… Failed hires in certain areas, with the right questioning can expose structural flaws. Often the candidates have the right skills but the organisation is poorly designed not allowing great candidates to operate to their potential.
Whatever the slick consultants say, there is no other way of doing this sustainably and efficiently unless the organisation takes control of hiring centrally and crucially feeds this back to the business.
The snipers can criticise technology, process, and criticise the brand blah blah…Without a sound organisation, trying to implement anything is just a pipe dream. My consultant friends until you understand the organisational landscape, you are thinking in silos of your own product or service, exactly the sort of behaviours our beloved function is trying to mitigate in our businesses.
In environments where more is expected with less, where insight is king, Resourcing has the data and insight to influence the business, we just need the confidence to take it.