Five Reasons to Focus on Recruiting in 2009

Posted on December 30, 2008. Filed under: Sourcing and Recruiting, Talent Strategy, Workforce Planning | Tags: , , , , , , |

Here we are entering the worst recession in more than 30 years, reading about layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring in almost every industry.   So why would I start our 2009 research with a discussion about the need to focus on recruiting?   Well, contrary to what many may believe, even in times of job reductions recruiting must take a top priority.  Let me give you five good reasons:I Want You

1.   Even in times of an economic slowdown, many organizations still suffer from severe skills and leadership shortages.  Our Fall 2008 TalentWatch® research shows that 36% of organizations have severe shortages in line managers;   17% cite major shortages in technical roles, and industries like healthcare, government, and professional services still have shortages in many line positions.   While the pool of job candidates is much greater now, organizations must still focus on identifying and selecting the best candidates and this must be accomplished with fewer dollars for recruiters, headhunters, and job placement advertisements.

Bottom line:   recruiting teams must continue to seek out top candidates, despite reduction in budgets.

2.  Job seekers become more desperate, making the recruiter’s job more difficult.   In today’s economic climate, job-seekers will aggressively seek out positions — meaning that you will receive more applicants and a much higher job acceptance rate than normal.   Managers must carefully decide if today’s passionate candidate really believes your organization is the perfect fit or if he or she is just desperate to find a position.   And in some cases the pool of highly qualified candidates may have shrunk:   in tough economic times top candidates may want to avoid a risky relocation, making it hard to attract a highly qualified candidate from another geography.

Bottom line: recruiters must slow down and screen candidates more carefully than ever.

3.  Downsizing initiatives may cause an increase in turnover and reduction in engagement.   Many studies show (and common sense bears this out) that organizations which go through severe or sudden downsizing then get a “double whammy” — an increase in voluntary turnover and a reduction in engagement.   I distinctly remember going through sudden layoffs at two of the high-tech companies I worked for.   In both cases the good people immediately started looking around for jobs, knowing full well that they could be the next ones to go.  And those who may not have as many opportunities start to lay low and hide, hoping to avoid the next round of cuts.  The employees who survive a layoff often feel like “survivors” – and often feel less committed to the company and its turnaround efforts.  This is why so many companies go through multiple rounds of layoffs:  the first cut seems deep, but problems get worse if the process is not handled carefully.

Bottom line:   any downsizing effort requies a heavy dose of communication, vision, and strategy to bring people together.   Read our brand new research, A Manager’s Guide to Successful Downsizing, for more tips and examples.

4.   A strong recruiting program brings new ideas and excitement into an organization.   The toughest challenge to deal with during a downturn is the need to create a strong sense of commitment and focus to rebuilding the business.  We ask people to take on new roles, work longer hours, and often lead change programs which are new and challenging.  We want our people to be committed to restructuring and growth.  One of the greatest ways to build such a spirit is to see key new people entering the organization in critical roles.  Not only does it give people a sense of excitement, but it brings new ideas and creativity into the organization.

Bottom line:  do not be afraid to bring new pe0ple into the organization during a restructuring — the right people can create the urgency and change needed to succeed.

5.  Remember that recruiters must continuously recruit existing people into new roles.   When a company restructures, downsizes, or goes through a reorganization there is a tremendous need to “recruit” people into new roles.   I distinctly remember the terrible feeling I had when I had to “take over” a role from a sales group which had been downsized at one of my prior employers.   Rather than being “recruited” into the position, I was “assigned” the job.  It took me many months to get excited about the opportunity and build a network of people to support the reduced function.  In retrospect, if someone had professionally “recruited” me into the role I would have been far better prepared and excited about the new opportunity.

Bottom line:  stay focused on your internal recruiting and job migration efforts, as these changes will be as important as ever.

Sourcing, recruiting, onboarding, and employee lifecycle management are vital parts of high impact talent management.   Stay focused on this important part of your organization and you will be well prepared for growth when your business cycle turns – which may be sooner than you think.

PS, as part of our continuing efforts to provide you with world-class, highly actionable research and advisory services I am very excited to introduce Madeline Tarquinio Laurano, our new Principal Analyst focused on sourcing, recruiting, and workforce planning.  Madeline comes to us most recently from ERE, where she was the primary recruiting analyst among their 80,000+ readers, and research experience at Linkage Group and Aberdeen where she studied leadership development, succession management, and onboarding.   We welcome Madeline to our research team — and her new blog “All Aboard” will focus exclusively on the important and rapidly changing areas of sourcing, recruiting, job boards, and the use of social networking in talent acquisition.

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Performance and Recruiting Management Shootout – Who Won?

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: HR Systems, Performance Management, Sourcing and Recruiting | Tags: , , , , , |

Industry’s First Integrated Performance and Recruiting Shootout

This year’s shootout focused on the powerful integration (but not well understood or adopted) between performance management and recruiting including the coveted, and often elusive measure of “quality of hire. Four leading talent management suite vendors were included; Authoria, HRsmart, SuccessFactors, and Vurv had 75 minutes to demonstrate how their products support meaningful integration using the same three scenarios.   Our principal analyst in Talent Management Systems, Leighanne Levensaler had the great pleasure of assisting Conference Co-Chair Bill Kutik in the development of these scenarios which served as the script for the vendor to demonstrate:

(Note, these are important scripts for you to consider in your talent management systems strategy.  Read more in our talent management suites research.  For more details on the HR Technology Conference, read our in-depth review of the show.)

1. How an HR generalist identifies the attributes of a top performer (experience, competencies, and performance feedback) to create a position description/job profile, initiates a requisition for a new position, and communicates it to the recruiter;

2. How a recruiting specialist reviews a pool of internal and external candidates, determines which sources provide the best talent (as measured by performance ratings and quality-of-hire metrics), and conducts a search for additional candidates; and

3. How a hiring manager creates a personalized development plan for a new employee, based on the valuable candidate information captured during the recruiting process, and how the talent management solution tracks and provides analytics on the employee’s performance to drive ongoing recruiting of high-quality talent.

Participants in the audience voted after all four vendors demonstrated a scenario. At the end of the third scenario, the votes were tallied and Bill announced that Authoria captured the most votes in all three scenarios and was named the overall winner.

Why did Authoria Win? 
Process Understanding and Excellent User Interface Design.

Is Authoria’s solution that much better than their formidable opponents? As much as we respect and admire the Authoria team and consider their solution to be a leading talent management suite, the other vendors participating in the Shootout also have strong solutions for this integration. From Leighanne Levensaler’s perspective, Authoria won for two reasons.

First, Tod Loofbourrow, their CEO is a fantastic presenter and storyteller. The “story” is important because he told a story of the frustrations HR specialists have today and a story of opportunities that we have with integrated solutions. Tod was easy to follow, particularly if you could not follow what was happening at the speed of light on the jumbo screens.

The second, and more significant reason for their clean sweep, was Authoria’s “sexy, value-add” not “sexy-gratuitous” user interface (available in the new Authoria Talent Management release). Tod and team used the scenarios to showcase how Authoria’s user experience supports meaningful information experiences and decision support including, easy wizards, intuitive visual indicators, embedded analytics, one-click options, drill down options, embedded and contextual performance support, enhanced search, and side-by-side comparisons.

What Can You Learn from this Process?

First, there are many advanced capabilities now becoming available in talent management suites.  Our research details these capabilities across each vendor in the market.  Rather than try to cost-justify your system based on savings in time or paper, we urge you to think about these “cross-functional” capabilities which drive much greater impact.

Second, the user experience is now paramount.  HR systems are used by line managers and employees – often on an occasional basis.  If they are not easy and intuitive to use, they are not used.  Vendors which have not yet focused on easy-to-use, simple user interfaces (it is far harder to make a user-experience simple than it is to make it functional) deliver higher value solutions for you.

Third, the functionality required in these applications is quite complex and continually changing.  Authoria’s acquisition of (the source of the company’s recruiting product) brought the company a rich and complete product offering.  Kenexa, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SuccessFactors, Taleo, Vurv (formerly Recruitmax) and many other companies now offer integrated performance and recruiting systems – so you, as a buyer, should shop carefully and evaluate the level of integration, ease of use, and experience of your selected vendor.

Congratulations to each of the vendors that participated in the Shootout.  We look forward to a more exciting contest in 2008!

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