I sat in on the internal sourcing track at #truAmsterdam, in which Sherie Valderrama from Sodexo USA shared her experiences of introducing a hugely successful internal sourcing strategy. This means that Sodexo are as likely to look for new recruits within their own ranks as they are to source outside.

It is easy to see why this works well. You know the true story, skills and capability of the people you are approaching. Theres no need for references,you already have their records and a direct line to their boss. There’s so many positives, it begs the question why this isn’t common practice in all companies. Yes, jobs get advertised to internal staff, But how many outside of Sodexo actively source from within?
The barriers to implementing a program of this type are understandable.Managers are inevitably reluctant to lose their star performers, having invested considerable time and effort in developing them. With good staff being so hard to find, why would you actively encourage them to move on?
Sodexo have been able to overcome this by acknowledging that ambitous employees will inevitably want to progress, and if the opportunity is not there in their current team they will look outside of the organisation.
The current negative equity in the housing market across the globe also means people are unable (rather than unwilling) to consider relocation as an option.Internally, this means progression is only possible by moving companies or switching Divisions locally.
The impact of these factors mean that companies who are willing to enable the switch, retain the talent.Sherie higlighted that the biggest challenge faced by Sodexo’s recruiters is convincing hiring managers that staff are transferable between divisions, if they have the skills then the disciplines can be learnt.To ┬ájustify this argument, Sodexo have been tracking performance data for staff that have made the transfer, and the figures prove that internal transfers work. The gratitude and buy-in from staff given the opportunity drives learning, commitment and loyalty.
Managers who develop a reputation for developing staff and supporting staff when they are ready to better themselves, have no problems when it comes to attracting talent for themselves.
The other essential ingredient to making this work is to establish an environment of trust where staff do not fear repercussions if they openly seek other opportunities and are unsuccessful, they need to know they have a job to go back to. Managers also need to be open to internal recruiters approaching their staff when appropriate opportunities arise.
I can understand why it is hard to develop a culture where internal sourcing is common recruiting process, but if you can achieve it as Sodexo have done, the benefits greatly outweigh the barriers that have to be overcome to achieve this.
You can hear more about the Sodexo story at #truDublin from their V.P.of talent attraction Arie Ball. It’snot to be missed!

What are your thoughts to internal sourcing?

Bill

Sodexo USA

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