It is hard to believe that it has been nearly 10 years to the day since Free Agent Nation was published, and nearly 14 years since the article by Daniel Pink graced the cover of Fast Company magazine. Since that time, a lot has changed, but given the inflection point we are experiencing with regard to the economy, the job market, accelerating recruitment challenges, as well as changes in recruitment and candidate behaviors, it’s useful to revisit the free agent discussion in light of what has changed (and what has not). keep reading…
We are in interesting times with regards to corporate recruiting. This is a Big Inflection Point in the business cycle (arguably the largest one many of us will experience in our lifetimes) and recruiting departments are really stretched.
Part of the challenge corporate recruiting departments face today are a result of not recognizing “False Economies.” A False Economy is when something seems like a great deal or a good idea, but the economics are not what they seem when viewed more holistically or from a different vantage point. This is usually a result of tension between short-term objectives and long-term objectives: value is typically traded between the two. Jack Welch famously remarked about two years ago that “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world …”
That is an interesting insight to reflect upon in light of managing a corporate recruiting operation.
There are a host of potential False Economies in corporate recruiting departments — things that seem like they save money or create value, but in reality the true net economic value is substantially less. Identifying and understanding these False Economies will be imperative for staffing leaders to navigate the rough waters ahead.
One timely example is recruiting team capacity … many organizations currently have an insufficient capacity model for the current demand plan. This typically results in overspending that is far greater than the cost of deploying a more sustainable resource model. At the center of the dilemma is the substantial difference between maximum capacity and optimal capacity. Many corporate recruiting departments have been cut so much that they would need to operate at maximum capacity to meet the needs of the business. This is unsustainable, like running your car at redline all the time: sure you can do it, but how long is it going to last? keep reading…
I’ve been thinking a lot about speed.
Things are starting to loosen up in the talent marketplace. Candidates are now comfortable changing jobs. Jobless claims are dropping, as is the unemployment rate, but there are not a huge amount of new jobs being created (yet). So The Great Churn of 2011 has begun, as employees (including recruiters) start to change companies after having hunkered down for the last three years. And this is putting increased pressure on corporate recruiting departments, most of which have been cut in ways we haven’t before seen. My prediction is that 2011 will be a tough year for most corporate recruiting departments.
Which brings us back to speed. keep reading…
This is the final piece in a 3-part series exploring the negative impacts that social media is having on recruiting departments across the world, and offering strategies and tactics to mitigate this downside exposure for corporate recruiting departments. As always, reading the first two articles is recommended before diving into this one.
In Part I, we explore the Social Gap … the gap in expectations created by the intersection of social media with what is a highly transactional process designed to be reasonably efficient and effective and scalable, at least at most companies. This is primarily a gap of expectations, because most corporate recruiting practices are currently incongruent with supporting the social graph. In part II, we discuss the issues related to Social Proof, and how social media is fueling the reputation economy which places far more pressure on organizations to create candidate marketing impressions that are true.
The third problem that social media creates for recruiting is The Back Door Problem: keep reading…
In Part 1 of this series, I introduce the argument that in addition to the obvious upsides, substantial negative consequences are also created through social media’s impact on recruiting. Social media is creating problems for recruiting, but few people are talking about this topic. keep reading…
Everyone is talking about Social Media and the utility it brings to talent acquisition. However, I don’t often hear dialogue about how social media negatively impacts recruiting. But it is creating (sometimes big) problems that warrant discussion, so I am going to talk about those problems here, and hope that you join in the discussion by commenting. I will also provide some solutions and action steps that smart recruiters and recruiting leaders should consider as we proceed along what is clearly a substantial inflection point in the talent marketplace. keep reading…
I read a lot, and one of my favorite books that I read in 2010 is Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. I have no relationship to the authors, and no vested interest in whether you buy the book or not, but I recommend that staffing leaders and recruiters read it as part of their New Year’s Resolution. This is one of those books that will make you smarter. It’s actually a few years old, but has become quite a phenomena, being translated into over 40 languages and winning a huge amount of accolades. Like being voted as one of the 40 most influential books in the history of the People’s Republic of China.
It’s worth reading.
The basic premise of the book is that many companies that win in the marketplace do so in ways that make their competition irrelevant. The name of the book comes from two concepts describing the competitive landscape in nearly all industries: Red Oceans represent the fiercely competitive arena where most companies compete. Blue Oceans are open and not filled with competitors — uncontested market space in other words, which help drive margins and market share while receding competitors remain in Red Oceans competing on price, value, and other replicable product or service traits.
The concept is the result of a decade-long study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 30 industries over 100 years (1880-2000). In simple terms, the goal of Blue Ocean strategy is to not outperform your competition in a particular industry, but to create a new market: a Blue Ocean.
There are a lot of predictions flying around about what will come in 2011 as it relates to recruitment. And I recommend that we all heed the probable changes that are likely to arrive as 2011 will surely mark an inflection point on what has been a relatively stagnant period in terms of human capital management and recruitment. But it’s not just ‘getting ready to do more of the same that will allow your company to win in the marketplace for talent. The truly game-changing strategies are the ones that will lead your company out of the spaces where most companies compete for talent and into the Blue Ocean of less (or un) contested market spaces for talent.
Here are some thoughts on how smart companies will arrive at a Blue Ocean with regard to the talent for which they compete. keep reading…
I was talking last week with Melissa Mounce, the senior vice president of talent acquisition at PNC who I’m interviewing for a session at the Spring ERE conference, and it reminded me of a topic that is worth revisiting: The Law of Compensating Behavior and how it has changed talent acquisition. I will get to Melissa’s insights in a moment.
Now, most don’t refer to compensating behavior as “a law,” but since it’s rooted in human behavior related to incentives, and incentive drives behavior, I submit it’s far more of a truth than a theory and plays out in broad-based ways in many areas of life (including recruiting) beyond just those that have been studied or measured.
Regardless, it is far more useful to consider it a law than a theory when making decisions. That aside, in simple terms the theory goes like this: when variables are changed, human beings often unconsciously alter their behavior in order to compensate for the change. Hiring managers have done this as a result of changes in the way most companies recruit. keep reading…
In Part One and Part Two of this series, I discussed the importance of taking a systems approach to developing a recruiting team through training initiatives in order to avoid suboptimal training results. I reviewed the five key areas that staffing leaders should evaluate and consider before implementing training initiatives:
- Evaluating Recruiting Department Capacity
- Implementing Effective Incentives
- Understanding Motivational Factors
- Optimizing Feedback and Communication Systems
- Evaluating Environmental Factors
These factors underpin the theory most commonly associated with Human Performance Technology; taking a systems approach to organizational performance is always required if the business outputs are likely to be materially changed. Yet very few recruiting organizations approach training this way … most often training is delivered as a “we have to do something to develop the team” without a lot of thought or true understanding of how to engage the system that is the recruiting supply chain to create improved outputs such as faster cycle time, lower cost, or improved quality. Every recruiting leader should read Lean Thinking by Womack to challenge what is widespread conventional wisdom on batch processing and workflows as further evidence supporting the need for a systems-based solution.
So, assuming that the five factors described above are duly evaluated and are optimized at least to a modest degree, here are some considerations related to delivering training and developing a recruiting team to improve results. keep reading…
Given the demands to do more with less that are prevalent in HR and recruiting departments, in Part 1 I discuss how imperative it is to take a systems approach when implementing changes to improve recruiting team yields or other key performance indicators, and discussed two recommendations related to investing recruiter training initiatives: Evaluating both capacity and also incentives, before pulling the trigger on a training initiative.
A common problem is that many organizations make the decision to train their recruiters (and other staff) without evaluating other components that correlate to optimized outcomes. This is a common training error: “we aren’t getting the results we need … therefore let’s train the staff … (and fast).”
There are three more areas that should be considered before implementing recruiter training initiatives: keep reading…
Part 1 of a Series Related to Optimizing Recruiting Team Results
Let me start by saying I am biased with regard to recruiter training. Beyond that bias, though, it is clear that providing development opportunities for people to improve their skills is certainly worthwhile, but in most cases it only holds true provided the training is implemented correctly. But there are countless occasions when I observe recruiter training initiatives deployed incorrectly, so the topic warrants discussion, particularly given that one of the common themes prevalent in today’s workplace environment is cost-containment, and the goal of doing more with less. Indeed, “doing more with less” has probably never been more pressing than in today’s economic climate and is particularly true of human resources and talent acquisition departments across most companies. keep reading…
One of the key structural changes in the talent economy is directly tied one of the key structural changes in the American economy: the mobility of candidates, which has been encumbered in two ways.
One, the most obvious, is that with more than 11 million homeowners in America owing more than their home is worth, that portion of the workforce is simply not mobile. When combined with homeowners who have near zero equity, that equates to roughly 29% of all mortgage debt being underwater; in rough numbers, 29% of potential candidates will find it very difficult to move in order to change jobs.
Remember, selling a house costs nearly 10% of its value, when you add tax, real estate fees, and other related expenses. Owning with no equity is like renting with no mobility. This drag on candidate mobility up to now has been at least partially masked by continued elevated unemployment and low demand for talent, but the issue is in large part structural until the housing market works through what will prove to be a long recovery process. Importantly, long before housing prices recover, companies will be hiring again, yet nearly a third of the talent pool will be mired with a home they are unable to sell without substantial financial assistance. As a result, candidate relocations are at an all-time low.