Archive for June, 2011

June 13, 2011

Tips on Effectively Leading Your HR Team

In conversations with HR colleagues from different organizations over the past ten or so years, I’ve continually been surprised at how many of them are unhappy with their own HR leader, whether that leader is a manager, director, or senior executive. I guess some HR leaders forget that they are typically held to a higher standard than leaders in other areas. Why?
Because HR professionals generally understand what good managers are supposed to do (because we coach other managers on this), and when their own leader doesn’t follow those best practices, it can lead to professional frustration and sometimes even anger.

The best HR leaders I’ve seen are great at seeking input, gaining alignment, and setting clear direction with a short list of priorities that clearly support the organization’s strategy and annual plan.  They make sure each member of the team, right down to the most junior, understands their role in delivering on that short list of priorities.

Also important is creating an atmosphere of shared responsibility which requires candid two-way feedback. Being direct with my staff and expecting them to be direct in return has always been a key part of my approach—and this approach has worked well. Getting to know your team members on a personal level and letting them know a bit about you helps with
achieving this kind of license, both speak up and also to create the willingness to listen to and accept feedback.

Once the team’s direction and alignment has been set and communicated, good leaders get out of their team’s way, and focus on sponsorship and barrier removal.  Especially in multi-nationals with head offices in other centres, the role of “chief deflector” is a key leadership responsibility.

The best HR leaders really understand their organization’s business, the ins and outs of its P&L, and what it is trying to achieve over the long haul. Yes, being able to help solve a short-term crisis is valuable, but those who ultimately keep the long term in perspective–even while putting out fires–tend to be the best.  This is a perspective that good HR leaders
impart to and continually reinforce with their team

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Stephen Gould has been recognized as an influential HR leader in Canada for over 15 years.  He was most recently the Senior Vice-President, Human Resources at Purolator Courier Ltd where in addition to leading the Human Resources function, he was also responsible for Engineering and Quality, Environment Health & Safety, Corporate Communications, Corporate
Social Responsibility and was the company’s Chief Privacy Officer.  Prior to his role with Purolator Courier, Stephen was the Vice President of Human Resources at American Express.  Steve has also held several senior HR leadership roles within the PepsiCo organization and McDonnell Douglas Canada. Stephen has been a speaker at numerous conferences in Canada on the topics of Being a Top Employer, Employee Engagement, Talent Management and The Healthy Workplace.  He was also featured in Aspatore’s  “Inside the Minds” series, in their book
entitled “Managing the Human Resources Team”.

June 8, 2011

The Makeup of a Great HR Professional

Having led a number of large HR teams, the best HR people have a distinct set of characteristics, skills and perspectives. The characteristics are typically a strong intellect, an open mind, a core set of immoveable values and a sense of humour. A balanced & open mind is necessary because there are almost alway multiple sides to every workplace problem that HR is asked to help resolve. A sense of humour is important simply because human nature at work can sometimes drive a person crazy and it’s important not to take every situation too seriously.

Great HR people tend to have similar skills as well….strong critical thinking, problem-solving and influencing skills in particular. Influencing and problem-solving skills are important, because often HR professionals are asked to help solve problems that line managers can’t or don’t want to solve. Being able to show managers that taking the high road usually works.  Critical thinking skills are also key as HR-related issues tend to be complex and it’s valuable to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. Rarely does a cookie-cutter text-book solution work as every situation has different context and nuances.

A balanced perspective is key for success, as is the ability to see the big picture and keeping the core business strategy front of mind. The best HR professionals understand the business, keep an eye on the big picture and look for long-term solutions. They have a high internal standard for their work and always stick to their core values.

Seems obvious doesn’t it? But……….important to help HR professionals understand early in their business lives what will ultimately lead to a successful and meaningful career. Or if you’re looking to recruit a new HR professional, it might be useful to test for some of these attributes in your recruiting process.

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Stephen Gould has been recognized as an influential HR leader in Canada for over 15 years.  He was most recently the Senior Vice-President, Human Resources at Purolator Courier Ltd where in addition to leading the Human Resources function, he was also responsible for Engineering and Quality, Environment Health & Safety, Corporate Communications, Corporate
Social Responsibility and was the company’s Chief Privacy Officer.  Prior to his role with Purolator Courier, Stephen was the Vice President of Human Resources at American Express.  Steve has also held several senior HR leadership roles within the PepsiCo organization and McDonnell Douglas Canada. Stephen has been a speaker at numerous conferences in Canada on the topics of Being a Top Employer, Employee Engagement, Talent Management and The Healthy Workplace.  He was also featured in Aspatore’s  “Inside the Minds” series, in their book
entitled “Managing the Human Resources Team”.

June 5, 2011

Labour Strikes, Communication Plans and Canada Post

Yikes, Canada Post is on strike! Predictable perhaps still unnerving to their management, employees, the government, their business customers, their suppliers and the public of course.

Now, the communication process becomes as important as the actual discussions at the negotiating table, as all those stakeholders will start to bring pressure to bear and will be asking with increasing regularity…”what’s going on?” and “when will this end?”.  You can bet that both Canada Post and CUPW have very detailed communication plans that were developed months ago. They will have plans for both a strike and for the eventual settlement.

If you are involved in collective bargaining, do you develop a detailed communication plan for both a settlement or a strike well in advance?  Or do you wait and see what happens and then decide what to communicate and to whom at the last-minute depending on the outcome? If you do, then you’re not alone, but I suggest that you reconsider the next time.  Many companies wait and then assign someone, usually junior, to “put something together” at the last-minute.  If it’s a strike, then there is a ton of stress, and so much to do that the communication
material is likely to be inadequate and not well-thought through.  Or it becomes really expensive, because you have to ask a third-party to do it for you, like a PR firm or a lawyer. In the
stress of the moment, it’s also possible that you might forget to communicate to someone and if that turns out to be an important stakeholder, like a key customer, then there could be longer-term ramifications.

It’s important whether you’re dealing with a small scenario or a large one, to develop a detailed communication plan in advance as part of your overall contingency planning…..when you can think clearly and seek lots of input from the management team.  When I was at Purolator, we always followed this process, without guessing what the likeliest outcome was going to be….the plan covered a range of possible outcomes. These included scenarios such an 1.agreement without a labour disruption, 2.a labour disruption itself, and 3. an agreement following a labour disruption.

Within each of those 3 scenario, a good plan considers key events that may occur within each, and what the type of communication would be – either proactive or reactive and whether internal, external or both.

The plan should identify all key stakeholder groups/audiences as well as the types of communication tactics and methods that will be used. Audiences could include any of the Board of Directors, senior management, all management, customer-facing employees, all employees, the HR team, key customers, all customers, suppliers, shareholders, strategic partners,
the Union, the Media and the list goes on. It just needs to be thought through well in advance.

So for each key event, the relevant audiences should be identified in detail as well as the type of communication to be used. The expected tone of any communication should be discussed and agreed upon in advance so that it doesn’t become an emotional decision in the heat of the moment.  There is no better high in labour relations for management than a settlement and no bigger low than a strike, so emotions are always going to be there.

Finally, an effective plan should also specifically outline the approval process, so that key messages don’t get jumbled and “rogue” communication that is off-strategy doesn’t start happening.

If you’re an HR professional involved in labour relations, I suggest that you watch the communication tactics during the CPC strike on both sides.  And if you have staff reporting to you who are in labour relations, you may want to encourage them to do so as well, especially those new to the game for their professional development. It will be fascinating.

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Stephen Gould has been recognized as an influential HR leader in Canada for over 15 years.  He was most recently the Senior Vice-President, Human Resources at Purolator Courier Ltd where in addition to leading the Human Resources function, he was also responsible for Engineering and Quality, Environment Health & Safety, Corporate Communications, Corporate
Social Responsibility and was the company’s Chief Privacy Officer.  Prior to his role with Purolator Courier, Stephen was the Vice President of Human Resources at American Express.  Steve has also held several senior HR leadership roles within the PepsiCo organization and McDonnell Douglas Canada. Stephen has been a speaker at numerous conferences in Canada on the topics of Being a Top Employer, Employee Engagement, Talent Management and The Healthy Workplace.  He was also featured in Aspatore’s  “Inside the Minds” series, in their book
entitled “Managing the Human Resources Team”.

June 5, 2011

The Impact of Poor Recruiting to your Consumer Brand

One of my biggest complaints about recruiting is the lack of respect given to candidates throughout a recruitment process. Whether it is from the lack of candidate respect by the behaviour of a poor recruiter or an unengaged hiring leader who fails to realize the importance of good recruiting, or simply from an overall poorly constructed recruiting process of an organization, 99% of the candidates applying to your company are most likely to walk away with a bad taste in their mouth.

So why is this a big deal if your company just hired a superstar new employee? I am all about outcomes when it comes to recruiting. I believe recruitment doesn’t spend enough time looking at their outcomes and too much time looking at their process efficiencies. But there are multiple outcomes to recruiting that must be continuously evaluated. The first outcome of recruiting is the quality of hire which is and always should be the primary goal. But a close second must be the experience of both the candidates and the business – both of these parties need to be considered the true clients of recruiting. Recruiters need to remember who their clients are and often forget where the candidates fit into this mix.

I was speaking with a friend this morning who was excited about her first interview with a large organization with a significant consumer service brand for a marketing role. She had confirmed the phone interview with the recruiter at the organization yesterday and was spending a great deal of her time preparing for the interview. The recruiter had committed to calling her at a specific time and when that time passed by 30 minutes and she still hadn’t heard from the recruiter, she texted me for my advice. My advice was to call the recruiter right away and find out what happened.

My friend followed up with me shortly after and was clearly not impressed with what she heard. Apparently the recruiter simply forgot about their scheduled interview (she forgot to check her calendar although was sitting at her desk working on her computer – no apology was given). My friend made sure the recruiter knew that they had just wasted not only her time for the scheduled interview but also the time she spent preparing. She declined rescheduling the interview with the recruiter as she was not impressed with being dealt this way. What is interesting is that it wasn’t only the recruiter she wasn’t impressed with……her negative impression was of the organization as a whole. She saw this recruiter as an agent for the company and quickly drew this conclusion. She is a current consumer of a service provided by this organization and has been for the past 20 plus years spending over $200 annually with them. Maybe current is the wrong term to use as she cancelled her service with this company later today. This story was also broadcasted on her Facebook profile to over 400 of her “friends” to view and comment on. So not only is she not impressed with this organization but her friends now have a negative reference on the company and not just on their recruitment efforts…….but of the company as a whole.

This company clearly hasn’t made the connection between candidates being current or potential customers and the impact that a poor recruiter will have on their organization’s bottom line in terms of lost sales and customers. So many organizations focus their sales and marketing messages on a customer centric approach and for some reason they fail to include their recruiting efforts and candidates into this mix. Corporate recruiting needs to be seen as an extension of their organization’s overall brand and held to these high standards. Recruiting will never make every candidate happy but treating every applicant with the proper respect regardless of their skills and experience will go a long way in protecting their organization’s brand.

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

June 5, 2011

The outlook for HR roles in Canada

The number one question HR professionals in Canada ask me everyday is “When will the market heat up for HR talent once again?”

The HR Talent market has been through a roller coaster of demand over the past few years. Many organizations cut back on resourcing within HR starting in 2008. Many areas of HR were hit very hard including Talent Development, Talent Management and Recruitment. Many senior HR roles were eliminated as part of a corporate wide cost cutting exercise. Many
organizations moved to an HR Business Partner model of HR to continue to provide an HR presence at the leadership table but with so few HR support roles remaining, there was a limited focus on new HR initiatives. HR was asked by their organizations to ”do more with less” – and as most of my network would more accurately put it “do more with a lot less”.

There were still a high number of open HR roles in the market during the recession but the over-supply of available and interested HR talent at all levels made it a very competitive recruitment process. Companies had a difficult time selecting talent for HR roles as there was so much interest and competition. Certain HR disciplines continued to be in high
demand even through the past couple of years. Compensation continues to be the toughest area of HR for companies to recruit for. There seems to be an under-supply of good Compensation talent in the market in Canada and I don’t think this has changed since I started in HR 15 years ago.

I am definitely seeing the number of open HR roles and newly created HR roles on the rise once again in Canada. Companies are beginning to dedicate more new headcount back into HR and increasing the overall HR budgets once again. Of interest to me is what HR will do with this new headcount and budget – does HR look for new ways to innovate and structure
their function and service offerings or will HR re-deploy in the same manner as was the case before the tough economic times. I am hoping HR leaders take the time to look for new ways to innovate their function within their organization.

So what’s the market like for HR roles today?

Definitely the hottest area of HR roles are the ones below the manager level.  There seems to be an under-supply of HR talent looking for new opportunities with 2-4 years of experience. This seems to be the toughest of the HR roles to fill for organizations today (aside from the before mentioned Compensation roles).

The trickle up effect is also beginning and hopefully soon the other more senior levels of HR roles will also experience an increase in demand. There seems to be a few more HR Manager, HR Director and VP roles being recruited by organizations in the market today – but still a lot of supply of interested and available talent for those roles. It isn’t just the HR talent who are currently out of work looking for new roles, now it is the HR talent currently employed beginning to look for new opportunities again after a few years of restlessness and not wanting to move in a tough economy.

The one aspect of the HR talent pool that is still a question mark for me is how many of the HR Consultants, who started their own HR consulting practices over the past few years, will want to or be enticed to go back into an HR corporate role?

The second most popular question I am asked every day is “What can I do to improve my chances of finding a new opportunity?” My advise is always to be patient and continue to leverage your networks. The market is only going to get better but ensure you don’t jump into a new opportunities for the sake of jumping…..ensure the role and the organization are a good fit for you.

What trends are you seeing in the HR talent market?

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Simon Parkin is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon is the Managing Partner at The Parkin Group Ltd. and is focused on working closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.

June 5, 2011

Leveraging Your Organization’s Top Talent and New Talent for Talented Referrals

How successful is your Employee Referral Program (ERP)? What percentage of your total number of Top Talent hires come from your program? How are you driving your Top Talent to refer other Top Talent to your organization? These are all questions we need to continue to ask ourselves if we want our ERP to continue to provide new Top Talent to our organization. The 3rd question I pose is the most critical – how do we drive Top Talent within our organization to refer and recommend Top Talent in other organizations? Top Talent is our goal and an effective ERP should be measured on the programs ability to source new Top Talent to our organization.

We know that an effective Employee Referral Program can be the most efficient and lucrative talent sourcing pipeline for organizations. In my experience, I have seen more ERPs fail then be successful. But how do we define success when it comes to ERPs?  Most organizations spend a lot of time and money on launching their programs with great pomp and ceremony only to have the marketing of the program dwindle after the first few weeks and months and the program quickly becomes forgotten by their employees. Other organizations will continue to push the program to all of their employees increasing the resume flow of warm bodies and good talent coming through this sourcing pipeline. But isn’t our main goal as Recruiters to source great talent? What separates a great Recruiter from a good Recruiter is simply the ability to recruit great hires versus good hires.

To enhance our ERPs we need to acknowledge a couple of key principles which I continue to observe within our industry:

1. Top Talent will refer other Top Talent.

2. New Hires have access to a Top Talent pool of candidates from their previous organization.

As Recruiters we need to increase our focus on these two principles. We need to become more aggressive when it comes to our ERPs and sourcing top talent within the talent marketplace.

If Top Talent within our organization will refer other Top Talent then we should be sitting down with our Top Talent on a regular basis and solicit them to be our Recruitment Champions within the external talent marketplace. They likely have access to talent pools they aren’t even aware of. Not only is their current networks of friends and acquaintances a potential goldmine of talent but they are hopefully active in growing and building onto these networks via associations or even external training seminars. We need to be coaching them to think like Recruiters and to always be on the lookout for new Top Talent throughout their daily activities.

New Hires are also a great source of Top Talent. Think of the information they have the ability to provide to us including the Top Talent details from their previous employer(s) as well as access to a new network of potential referrals. New Hires should have a great relationship with Recruiters who have helped nurture them throughout the hiring process. There is a bond New Hires feel with Recruiters and we need to leverage this bond to further our Top Talent agenda. Don’t be afraid to sit down with New Hires within their first few weeks on the job and solicit names and warm leads of referrals. New Hires will also be able to provide referrals of past colleagues across a number of different job streams so if the New Hire is a Marketing Manager, don’t limit your questions to other marketing related positions – chances are great they have access to contacts outside of marketing including sales, finance, etc.

Referrals are just the beginning. It is still up to us as great Recruiters to effectively utilize these referrals and place them into our pipelines of potential Top Talent. Even if our Top Talent or New Hires have provided us with just a list of names, great Recruiters are able to initiate, build and maintain a relationship with these new candidates until the right opportunity becomes available.

And don’t just limit referrals from your own employee base, successful headhunters also use candidates for referrals to grow their pipelines. There are numerous ways to leverage your Employee Referral Program into an even better Top Talent sourcing pipeline.

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

June 5, 2011

Getting Back to Building your Proactive Pipelines of External Talent

One of the continuing challenges facing the Recruitment function is moving from the traditional, reactive and primarily transactional focus to a proactive and enhanced recruitment model.

Think about when you sit down with your hiring leaders to scope a new open position and the role details. When you ask the hiring leaders for a proposed start date for a new hire, how many of them responded with “ASAP” or “yesterday”? How many of your hiring leaders complain about the time it takes to recruit talent externally? And how many of us recruiters continue to get frustrated with these unrealistic pressures from hiring leaders? We know that for the most part, top external talent just doesn’t fall into our laps.

Effective sourcing takes time especially for tougher and more specialized positions to fill.

Over the past few years, I have been working with clients to build and develop effective proactive pipelines of top external talent. Building this type of pipeline isn’t for the light-hearted; it takes time and effort and requires planning, proper resourcing, as well as a skilled recruiter. The planning and the resourcing are the keys to success – proactive pipelining cannot be successfully implemented without the appropriate amount of time devoted to this initiative by a skilled sourcer and recruiter.

The return on investment of proactive pipelining is more than worth the effort. I have witnessed first hand the enhanced quality of hire via this proactive channel as time is no longer the recruiter’s enemy. Beyond quality of hire, the average time to fill a position is reduced by on average 10-12 days as the sourcing of the top external talent has already been completed prior to the position becoming open.

So how do you get started with building these proactive pipelines of external talent? I look at it as a simple 5 step process:

1 – Plan

2 – Identify

3 – Build

4 – Manage

5 – Execute

1 – Plan

By far the most important step of this process is the planning. Within the planning stage you need to determine what position or positions you plan on building these pipelines for. I would recommend selecting only a few positions, those you and your business deem “critical” to your organization’s success and bottom line either now or within the next year. Determining what positions are “critical” is a difficult task. If you ask any hiring leader they will say that all of their open positions are “critical”. This will force you to walk a political tight rope to prioritize “criticalness”. You should work with the top-level business leaders to determine which positions they think are “critical”. Once you have your critical position(s) identified, you need to invest your time into understanding all about the position and why it would be attractive to potential candidates. Remember, as it is proactive, you are recruiting for a position that isn’t currently open. Knowing all the features and the upside of the position will allow you to effectively sell the potential opportunity to the top talent.

2 – Identify

Once the planning is complete it is time to identify the top external talent in the market. This is where your skills as a top recruiter will come into play and requires you to be at the top of your game. I always go by the rule that the majority of the top talent in the external market is passive and not actively searching for a new opportunity. Your typical transactional and reactive recruitment sourcing channels won’t effectively work, so don’t count on simply posting the position to job boards as a solution to attract top talent. Be aggressive. Use your
networks and referrals to determine who is at the top of their field within the market. Who is the top talent at your competition, or within a recognized leading top talent organization within your geographic area? Get out of the office and do some true recruiting to identify those resources outside your organization that will bring value and success to your company.

3 – Build

This is when you worry about getting them interested and excited about your organization. You have identified the individuals you think are the best of the best for the skill set you are
looking for. Now it is time to determine the ideal approach to contact and sell to this talent in order to effectively build your proactive pipeline. Again, this is where a recruiter must be a “salesperson” and effectively sell the talent on the organization and the opportunities potentially coming in the future. You must be honest and set expectations that you are recruiting proactively for future opportunities and they have been identified to you as top talent within the market. Don’t be too aggressive with the candidate and always ask if it is alright to keep in touch within an agreed upon timeframe. Also use this opportunity to network further and ask for referrals for other positions you are recruiting for. Be careful to ensure the communication with these candidates is very positive and is a “win-win” for both the candidate and you as the recruiter.

4 – Manage

By “Manage”, I mean, effectively manage your pipelined candidates. You need to ensure you nurture and speak with your pipelined candidates on a regular basis as was established and agreed upon when you first spoke with the candidates. If possible use technology to effectively document and track your pipeline – this is where a CRM tool could be effectively
used by recruiters similar to the way salespeople use this tool for building and managing sales pipelines.

Steps 2, 3 and 4 are ongoing. You should always be on the lookout for new top talent externally and ensure you are effectively building and managing your pipelines. Again, this is an investment and will pay off when your organization most needs it to.

5 – Execute

Step 5 is sometimes forgotten and it is simply to execute once one of your critical positions becomes open. Your sourcing is hopefully already complete and now when your hiring leaders answer your “when would you like the person to start” with “ASAP” you can pull out a slate of pre-sourced and qualified top external talent and sit back and relax………ok, maybe not relax but you will be feeling very good about your efforts as will your business leaders.

And of course, you need to continually monitor the success of your proactive pipelining efforts – how are you going to show your business leaders the ROI of your efforts?

Obviously there are many more details within each of these 5 steps to effectively build proactive pipelines of external talent and I hope this high level description
provides insight into how to further add value to your organization’s hunt for key talent.

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

June 5, 2011

The ABC Stage of Recruitment – The Offer Experience

One of the most important steps in the recruitment process is the offer stage – yet most companies don’t invest the appropriate amount of training and resources into this critical recruitment phase. Recruitment is all about the outcome – the hire.

As Recruiters, we need to look at this phase as “closing the candidate” and put the same importance the Sales function puts on “closing the deal”. An organization can have best-in-class sourcing channels but if they are unable to have their top external talent accept their offers and actually start with the company then they have failed. The “ABC” phrase
(“Always Be Closing”) should apply directly to your Recruitment function.

Obviously the selling of your organization and the role to candidates should be part of every step in your recruitment process but when it comes to the actual offer of employment how equipped are your leaders to be successful in “closing the deal”. Organizations need to understand that top external talent will be recruited by multiple organizations simultaneously
and you are competing for this talent.

There is also another threat to this process which is often not considered; if the candidate is truly top talent, how easily is their current organization going to let them walk away. Always anticipate a counter-offer and ensure you have the process and skills in place to successfully compete with a counter-offer.

A counter-offer sounds like a great scenario for most of us but I can tell you from personal experience that a counter-offer is a stressful time for the candidate as they are caught between competing offers and sometimes the security of the known (their current organization) outweighs the unknown (the new organization).

So how can you position your organization to “close the deal” on your top candidates?

The first step is to analyze your current recruitment process, talent, tools and business leaders and understand how effective they are in both selling your organization, the role and your value proposition within each stage of the process. An effective end-to-end recruitment process that sells candidates throughout will help you set the stage for winning new hires – remember, it is a competition and we need to think, talk and market our offerings similar to our colleagues in Sales as they are always striving to win new business.

The next step I would recommend would be to look at all aspects of your new hire offer stage:

  • What role do your recruiters and hiring leaders play?
  • Who extends the verbal offer and how are you positioning the offer based on what you have learnt during the recruitment process on what is most important to your candidate?
  • What does your offer letter and offer package look like? Does it sell and excite your candidates or is it simply full of legal verbage and policies on what employees can’t do?
  • Do you look at an offer as a Win-Win approach for both the candidate and the organization?
  • How are your recruiters and hiring leaders equipped to negotiate the offer? Have you set limits on the negotiation of salary, vacation, signing bonus, etc.? Will you be turned off on
    a candidate who negotiates the offer?
  • Are you able to communicate what the new hire can expect on their first day and beyond with an on-boarding plan?
  • When will your candidate be resigning from their current organization and is there a plan to speak to them immediately following their resignation to determine if there is a
    counter-offer threat?

The final step is to ensure you have an ongoing communication plan with the candidate.

Not only up to the offer phase but ensure it continues right up to their start date. The period between offer acceptance and start date is when new hires feel anxious and are most susceptible to competing and counter-offers. You need to hold their hands right up until their first day to ensure you have truly “closed the deal”.

Is your Recruitment function and organization equipped to be a “Closer”?

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

June 5, 2011

How Engaged Are Your Recruiters?

In my mind, the engagement level of an organization’s Recruiters are a major indicator of how well that organization’s Recruitment function performs. Over the years I have worked with hundreds of Recruiters in countries all over the world and one of the characteristics that always differentiated the performance of the great Recruiters from their Recruitment colleagues was the high levels of passion and engagement they brought every day to their role and their organization.

I remember in my early years working in HR in the 90′s as an Employee Relations Leader for a global professional services consulting firm and always envying the Recruitment team for all the enthusiasm and excitement they showed in the job. At the time, I was on the other side of the engagement spectrum, my job was advising leaders on performance management and terminations. Although my role was always interesting and the experience gained from this role over the 3 years was invaluable, I had a difficult time remaining positive and passionate every day about what I was doing. Luckily for me and my sanity, I moved into a Recruitment leader role which dramatically changed my engagement for not only the organization but also for the function.

Enough about me already. Let’s get back to the engaged team of Recruiters who I envied. They loved their roles and were passionate about bringing the best talent into the organization. They were passionate about the company and invested a great deal of time as part of their role in learning more about the organization at every opportunity. They were truly engaged in what they did, how they did it and who they did it for. They genuinely enjoyed dealing with people. They worked well together as a team even though many aspects of their roles were individually focused.

You might be asking yourself, “OK Simon, thanks for sharing – but what impact did this have on their success and performance?”

The number one impact that I saw first hand was to the talent they were recruiting into the organization. Recruiters are the initial “face of the organization” to every candidate. Obviously having an engaged Recruiter who is positive and passionate about the organization they recruit for will be felt by the candidates they are recruiting. I don’t think I would be ever be sold on moving to a new role and organization if the Recruiters and other stakeholders I met with during an interview process didn’t seem happy with where they worked and what they did. We all have a sixth sense when it comes to communicating with people and sensing either their passion or negativity even if it isn’t openly displayed.

Here is another great example of the benefits of having an engaged Recruitment team. About eight years ago I joined a large financial services company and was tasked with building a top level recruitment team from scratch. One of the larger divisions of this company was a Call Centre with approximately 2000 employees. The Call Centre hired 60-120 people every month and experienced close to 60% new hire attrition which was both disruptive and costly to the business. Obviously part of my challenge was to not only build a process that ensured the right people were hired for these roles versus the traditional “bum in the seat” call centre recruitment mentality, but to also put together an engaged team of Recruiters who were up to the challenge of quality high volume recruiting. I was able to put together a great team of Recruiters, all with very different background but they shared one common characteristic……they were engaged to be successful and were passionate about recruiting the right talent.

Within 6 months, the new hire attrition levels were down to 15% and the call centre quality and performance metrics of the new hires rose significantly. The Recruiters cared about the outcome of their hires. They were personally engaged in the success of their hires. I was fortunate enough to have worked with one of the best Recruitment teams I have ever come across – their success is directly linked to their high level of engagement with their role and their organization.

Take a minute to look at your organization’s Recruiters – how engaged and passionate are they about what they do? Are they the right Talent ambassadors for your company?

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

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