In a ‘League’ of Our Own’ … Introducing ‘Sourcification’

Fans celebrating at at football matchHow do you disrupt traditional sourcing?

How do you drive higher performance while making work more fun?

Can you bring the philosophical principles of gamification to sourcing?

Can something be put into play that will help revolutionize sourcing across the recruitment industry?

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves at SAP as we set out on our award-winning reinvention of sourcing.

Our first key goal at SAP was to win the intellectual hearts and minds battle for the case for sourcing. Sourcing is critical to the future of talent acquisition. When 80 percent of candidates are “passive,” (i.e. not looking for a job), and therefore immune to job boards and recruitment agencies, modern business has to be proactive, go out and tap those candidates on the shoulder and paint them a picture of a better future.

Sourcing is not easy, and in fact in many ways it is the hardest part of modern talent attraction. Put yourself in a sourcer’s shoes and take a walk around. Imagine trying to attract a top salesperson to your company. These salespeople have established networks, they have established sales pipelines, they are very well paid, and often locked into their companies with elaborate commission or stock options. And the sourcer is asking them to come to a new company and often start afresh. That takes more than a LinkedIn InMail!

It’s kind of bizarre to think that modern companies who want to be successful can make hiring decisions with a reliance only on the active talent pool. For skilled roles like sales and development, which are at the core of SAP, relying on the right candidate to see the right role at the right time, and then take the time to apply, is playing the roulette wheel of recruitment. It’s not acceptable or sustainable in any way.

Our sourcing hub leads will all tell you that the best candidates are those who are not looking  They are happy in their current roles. They are not registered on job boards or on a recruitment agency’s books. Successful employees are so used to being approached that being headhunted is as natural to them as breathing.

With the “hearts and minds” argument won and the intellectual case for sourcing made, we took the strategic decision that sourcing is most effective when there are teams of individuals working together onsite. This makes it easier to train, develop, invest, and grow people to be great sourcers. Previously, our sourcing model was anchored on having individual sourcers based in different locations, often working virtually. This was not optimal for building team spirit, knowledge sharing, or the competition that flows from sourcers working together. Hence we took a bold and difficult decision to move to building sourcing hubs and replace the old model.

We invested considerable time and effort in building three sourcing hubs: one in Boston to service the Americas; one in Prague to service the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions; and one in Manila, to service the Asia Pacific region. A key to building successful hubs was to seek out sourcers who understood the value of strategic activity and the importance of proactively seeking out top talent and differentiating SAP from our competitors. The culture at SAP is very sales focused, and we wanted to staff our sourcing hubs with sourcers who had the same drive and hunger as our salespeople.

Next we took another bold and unique decision: we merged the employment brand team with the global sourcing organization. In our industry, often the two areas are separate, but that does not really make sense. Employment branding, via digital marketing and social media campaigns, can create pipelines by educating the candidates about our company and start the selling process very early, and then the sourcers pick the phone up and finish the sale. This process allows us to attract the best and brightest talent.

So, the new sourcing model is now built … that’s the history. Now the disruption.

Article Continues Below

How do we inspire and incentivize sourcers, who are effectively salespeople, and drive performance in a way that stimulates competition? Is it possible to bring the principles of gamification to sourcing? 

Merge sourcing and gamification together and you get … Sourcification!

Sourcing is a sales function and hence is driven by KPIs. Our goal is to create friendly competition among the sourcers to be the “top dog” in their own region and to work for the best sourcing hub.

The key when setting KPIs is that they have to drive the right performance. We are focused not only on achieving hires but driving quality, and that philosophy is reflected in our KPIs.

Our teams are motivated by the friendly competition the League Tables create, and it gets them excited to see their name at the top of the scoreboard. The value of this highly competitive and proactive sourcing team is huge. The traditional, and mostly reactive, candidate generation channels are quickly becoming archaic. The League Tables reinvigorate the fundamental sourcing approach that needs to take place if you want to attract the top talent in the market.

Key Points:

  • A basket of KPIs are given different points values. Points add up to determine the best sourcer
  • We measure each sourcer’s and each teams’ performance against our defined KPIs on a monthly basis in a League Table
  • Each KPI is measured monthly and awarded a point value:
    • Performance KPIs: Four hires per month (10 points); 40 candidate screens per month (10 points); 28 submittals to the CFR per month (10 points); 50 percent submittal-to-interview ratio (10 points)
    • Time KPIs: Seven business days from date of sourcing req open to first submittal (five points); 10 business days from date of sourcing req open to second through fourth submittal (five points)
    • Quality KPIs: survey results from the candidate new hire and hiring manager/recruiter surveys that are sent out on a monthly basis (sourcers and the quality of hire rated on a scale from 1-5, with five being the highest)
    • LinkedIn Usage KPIs: 15 days logged in per month; 80 searches per month; 250 profile views per month; 20 percent InMail acceptance rate (20 points total)
  • Sourcers are given bonus points when they exceed any KPI, incentivizing the teams to not only meet their goals, but smash them
  • After each month, quarter, and year, the scores are shared among the teams in each region, and the winner(s) is given a cash-based award
  • Competition between sourcers in region to be Sourcer of the Month, Sourcer of the Quarter, Sourcer of the Year
  • All sourcers in their own region see their stats, allowing for total transparency
  • All totals in each region are added together to form a cumulative total to produce “best hub” of the month, quarter, and year
  • These KPIs, competition, and transparency drive performance

In so many ways this innovative new concept could be the future of sourcing. It drives quality. It drives the right performance.

Sourcification could underpin the way that sourcing functions are judged in the future.

Matthew Jeffery, pictured at center, cited as one of the world's leading recruitment strategists and leaders, is VP, head of global sourcing and employment branding for SAP. Previously, he was head of EMEA talent acquisition and global employment brand for software giant Autodesk. Previous to Autodesk, he was the global director of recruitment brand for Electronic Arts.

Andrea Woolley is a marketing director at SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. She has been part of the sourcing & employment brand team for the last six years, focused on large-scale global projects to increase SAP’s employment brand global reach and impact the quality of talent hired at SAP.

Topics