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6 Easy Steps to Building a Recruiting Strategy and Successfully Measuring the Outcome

by
Ravi Subramanian
Feb 11, 2011, 5:21 am ET

We have been hearing about how the shortage of talent in the market has been impacting business and its growth for a quite a few years. Given the current economic climate, it now seems that the opposite is actually true, where a lot of qualified candidates are available in the marketplace and the companies are finding it difficult to source and recruit the right ones.

The key is to come up with a water-tight recruiting strategy and measure its success using the right metrics. This outline will help companies do just that.

This is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so companies must ensure that they tailor this model to meet their needs.

Process Outline

INPUTS

The first step in the process is to ensure that companies have all the inputs that would be required as follows:

  • Long range and annual operating plans for the business
  • Workforce plan: 1) Hiring volume for a period of 12 months; 2) Business scenarios that could spike the volume
  • Critical roles
  • Compliant and attractive job descriptions
  • Key success factors and key performance indicators for the role from hiring managers
  • Talent availability: external — market analysis, internal — talent review process, performance and succession plans
  • Employer branding and value proposition: 1) Why work for this company?; 2)What do the current employees say about this company?; 3) What is the current turnover rate?

ACTION

The second step in the process is to come up with an action plan based on the inputs from Step 1.

  • Identify sourcing channels: 1) Referral program; 2) Campus; 3) Industry associations/user groups; 4) Social networking sites; 5) Open house on campus
  • Create sourcing calendar: 1) Content 2) Target dates
  • Go-to-market strategy: Posting & sourcing strategy — identify sources to target
  • Build talent community: 1) Set up pipeline positions in ATS; 2) Attract talent; 3) Nurture the community

EXPECTATIONS

The third step in the process is to make sure that companies have what is required to execute on the plan.

  • Budget: 1) To staff the recruiting team appropriately 2) To execute programs as may be required
  • Right people on the bus to deliver on the sourcing strategy: Acquire talent/upgrade talent /training
  • Recruitment model aligned with HR operating model and business model
  • Hiring managers available for strategy sessions and interviews

DELIVERY

The fourth step in the process is to deliver on the model that has been put in place.

  • Understand the long range and annual operating plans
  • Understand the current workforce landscape: 1) Attrition risk; 2) Retiree risk; 3) Talent review process; 4) Succession Plan
  • Come up with a staffing plan based on short-term and long-range plans for the business
  • Identify gaps
  • Come up with strategy for filling the gaps — acquisition of top talent (game changers)
  • Build staffing team required to deliver on these requirements: 1) Resource allocation model driven by time factor for each task in the recruitment process; 2) Scalable model
  • Build and execute the sourcing strategy
  • Refine plan every quarter to adjust to business changes

CHANGE MANAGEMENT

The fifth step in the process is to have a robust change management plan in place to drive this change through the organization.

  • Why is this being done
  • Importance of the initiative to the organization and its bottom line
  • Your role in impacting the company positively
  • WIIFM factor
  • Identify stakeholders, influencers, and naysayers: Objection handling
  • Build a coalition
  • Communication

MEASUREMENT

What cannot be measured cannot be improved so it is imperative to come up with Key Performance Indicators and measure performance and delivery against those.

  • Determine what KPIs are important for the function and business: Establish KPIs
  • Include KPIs in individual performance plans
  • Introduce an incentive plan that ties reward to performance if possible
  • Set up process and system to measure against these KPIs
  • Analyze these numbers
  • Measure and re-calibrate periodically
  • Measures: 1) Time to fill; 2) Quality of Hire — hiring manager surveys, time to productivity, retention; 3) Recruiter productivity: Break the recruitment process into several steps; Measure time taken to fulfill each step of the process
  • Recruitment Cost Ratio (Total Recruitment Spend/Total Compensation Recruited)
  • Opportunity Cost of Vacancies: Total Comp. Recruited * Time to fill (+14)/365

Finally, note that this is a continuous improvement initiative and must be constantly refined based on changes in the economic climate, business requirements, and feedback received from the stakeholders. To ensure success companies must make sure that their recruiting model is aligned to the business model to help deliver on business results.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Bob Gately

    I agree with “What cannot be measured cannot be improved.” I searched the article and found “talent” used 11 times and “measure”, “measured” and “measurement’ used a total of 10 times. However, I did not find how to measure talent.

  2. Ravi Subramanian

    Bob:

    You raise a valid point. The purpose of the article is to show that the key is to come up with a water-tight recruiting strategy and measure its success using the right metrics. Though I have outlined a few metrics I have not shown how to measure talent as this is very specific to each organization and what their KPI’s are.

    I am actually co-presenting a workshop along with Geoff Dubiski at HRIQ on just this topic; http://www.hrmetricsevent.com/Event.aspx?id=428354#Ravi%20Subramanian

    I hope to, along with Geoff, present that in an article in the coming weeks.

    In the meantime please keep your suggestions coming.

    Thanks,
    Ravi

  3. Bob Gately

    Hello Ravi, “I have not shown how to measure talent as this is very specific to each organization and what their KPI’s are.” I think you are correct that KPIs may be specific to each organization but the measurement of talent is common to all organizations if we presume that talent is not the same as KSAs. We can define talent in such as way that its measurement is the same across all industries. This approach certainly makes it easier to discuss talent and its measurement.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  4. Ravi Subramanian

    Bob:

    Yes, you are absolutely right about the measurement of talent even though there may be a subtle difference in the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the same. Along those lines we could look at the impact of engagement of this same talent on productivity, safety and the impact on bottom line.

    The big issue with organizations today is how to quantify talent and measure their impact on the bottom line – example: Revenue per employee etc.

    In this article I was referring to the measurement of the recruitment process in itself and the time and cost involved to produce the desired output and the cost of not doing it.

    I like your insightful comments as it sparks a meaningful debate.

    Thanks,
    Ravi

  5. Marvin Smith

    Your article, while interesting, doesn’t map well to my own experience with trying to lead change in staffing. I have found nothing “easy” (“6 easy steps”) about the change management investment that is required to introduce new methods. For example, I have attempted to introduce talent communities into a transaction based environment. What I have found that even when you can show better metrics with a new way of doing things, there is this emotional connection to the old ways of doing things that transcends numbers and efficiency.

    Thanks for listening. I shared your article with our Talent Community Development group on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1148747) just to see if anyone else had a similar experience to mine. I invite you to follow the conversation in that venue as well.

    Thanks for your contribution to recruiting.

  6. Bob Gately

    Ravi,

    “Along those lines we could look at the impact of engagement of this same talent on productivity, safety and the impact on bottom line.”

    Yes, and employees who have the requisite job talent are far more likely to become engaged employees than employees who do not have job talent.

    “The big issue with organizations today is how to quantify talent and measure their impact on the bottom line – example: Revenue per employee etc.”

    I agree yet many managers try to measure the impact of talent without first measuring talent.

    “In this article I was referring to the measurement of the recruitment process in itself and the time and cost involved to produce the desired output and the cost of not doing it.”

    Yes, I see that but without measuring talent the recruiting process is at best marginally successful and over relies on the skills of the recruiters, interviewers and hiring managers. It is talent assessment that allows hiring managers to avoid making hiring mistakes.

    “I like your insightful comments as it sparks a meaningful debate.”

    Thank you and I appreciate the kind words.

    “Great managers define a talent as ‘a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.’ The emphasis here is on the word “recurring.” Your talents, they say, are the behaviors you find yourself doing often.”

    The above quote is from “First, Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt W. Coffman, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

    The book does a great job of explaining why what we do works so well; showing managers how to identify and quantify job talent.

    Bob

  7. Ravi Subramanian

    Marvin:

    I understand your predicament and in my experience I have learned that it is not easy to introduce the concept of talent communities into a transaction based environment. By transaction based, I am referring to high volume and for this scenario it would be a monumental task to build and maintain a community.

    This has typically worked well for niche/critical roles that impact the organization and its bottom line.

    Your comment about the emotional connection to the old ways of doing things that transcends numbers and efficiency is so true. This is where organizations will have to make tough choices on whether to maintain the status quo, or re-train their teams through further education or bring in new talent to to execute on the new model.

  8. Keith Halperin

    @Marvin: I agree with you- meaningful corporate change is rarely easy. The GAFI Principles: Greed, Arrogance, Fear, and Ignorance/Incompetence tend to overwhelm reform efforts without careful political planning and maneuvering.

    Cheers,

    Keith “Read Macchiavelli, not Metrics” Halperin

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