Tag Archive for internal sourcing

Recruiting: The Homeless Dept? My #MBuzz Conclusion

The panel by Peter Gold

It has been a few days since #MBuzz, hosted by Monster. I like the format of this event. It is half conference (the Q & A part anyway), and half unconference, in that anyone can talk and give an opinion. The plus side of this is that the discussion will take a few twists and turns, with points coming up that wouldn’t have in a conference format. The downside to having a panel facing an audience is that the panel are the focus of attention is always on the panel, and if much of the audience holds an opposing viewpoint it can get a bit hostile. A bit them versus us. The benefit of the unconference format is that the conversation can move from one person to the other, and no one person is on the receiving end of all the attention. The audience on Thursday evening was mostly agency recruiters, where as the panel was made up of some senior talent acquisition professionals. I thought the event raised some very important questions that highlight some of the challenges businesses face right now around the area of turfism.
Turfism is destructive in business, but it is easy to see how the current economic climate has created a situation where everyone wants to protect their position and their worth, and to fight off what they see as insurgency from other departments.

Agency recruiters have always had a tenuous relationship with HR departments with mutual distrust on both sides. The reasoning behind this is that HR departments have been set up to be the bastion of hiring activity, and to “protect” the line from making deals outside of the agreements the organisation has asked them to set up by way of PSL’s. As a trainer, I taught recruiters to try to avoid HR and always talk direct to the hiring manager wherever possible. The HR department was seen as the “enemies” to recruiters doing business. At the same time as spreading this gospel through training, I also wore an HR hat in the business, and my job was to manage the agreements (at a fixed fee) with the Rec to Rec agencies, and to make sure that the branches did not fix their own deals.

The majority of in-house recruiters start life as agency recruiters. In the UK, internal sourcing is a new function set up over the last year or so. The switch

One of the panel, Rob Jones, made an excellent point in his summing up, which I think gets to the heart of the conflict. The function of HR in an organisation is greatly misunderstood. The perception of HR as an admin dept whose purpose is to stop rather than enable is a very dated one. My view is that every aspect of human involvement in a business falls under the HR remit. I don’t see recruiting being any different to learning and development, performance management or any of the “people” aspects of the business. Recruiters are responsible for introducing people, and that has to be central to human resources, not separate. There is no reason why someone from the recruiting team can’t lead the whole human resource effort, or from any other arm of human resources, learning and development, payroll or legal. Business needs the best leaders in the business to lead, rather than dividing functions. One business, one vision, one purpose. I know plenty of people who work in HR functions. None of them could ever be described as cardigan wearing administrators, and a lot more specialists, expert in one discipline of HR.

My take away from #MBuzz is that there is too much turfism in organisations, rather than shared vision. The view was raised that perhaps recruiting should be a part of the marketing team, because recruiting has more or less become marketing, and recruiters should be working to  similar metrics for talent attraction and conversion to hires as marketing work to for customer attraction and conversion. There is also the argument that candidates should be treated like customers, and marketing know best how to deal with customers.

The counter argument is that recruiting is all about sales, particularly when the recruiting team is taking a direct sourcing approach. There is plenty of prospecting, qualifying, closing and converting. The sales funnel is similar to the hiring funnel, could it be that recruiting should sit within the sales team, with the added benefit that the sales statistics could be easier to catalogue?

And so it goes on. Recruiting seems to be a homeless department at the moment, not wanting to be seen as a function of HR, but not being placed anywhere else in the organisation either. My view is that recruiting is an HR function, much the same as learning and development and other HR functions, because recruiting is ultimately about people, and the people in the organisation are the realm of the HR department.

The question that seemed to ruffle the most feathers was if HR and Recruiting required a whole different DNA. My answer to this is that all the different parts that make up the HR team have a different DNA. The payroll people need different skills and qualities to learning and development, to compensation and benefits, to an HR generalist, and yes, to recruiting. They all share one common thread though, the support of the people in the business from entry to exit, and it is this that gives them shared purpose in the organisation.

The last thoughts I had before leaving #MBuzz was that in fighting between departments and teams over who lives together is counter productive and destructive to the organisation. Better to get a bit of unity and focus on beating the competition to the best talent, taking the best from HR, Sales, Marketing and all of the business. One company, one direction and one objective. People are the essential ingredient, and from hire to exit they come under the remit of the HR dept in all its guises, including recruiting.

#MBuzz was a great event for posing plenty of questions that needed a bit of thinking time, which is why I enjoy them. The panels are the catalyst for the conversation that lights the touch-paper. My personal thanks and respect go to Rob Jones from Mastersorbust blog, Donna Miller from Enterprise, Charu Malhorta from Unilever, and Simon Boulcott  from AIB, who formed the panel and sat in the firing line. I thought you all did a great job. Thanks also to David Henry of Monster and Keith Robinson of E-com for hosting. I look forward to next months question.


Internal Sourcing:The Sodexo Story from #truAmsterdam

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  justify 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?


Sodexo USA

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Guest Post: @SValderrama: Snr Director Talent Acquisition Sodexo #truAmsterdam

It’s great to welcome @SValderrama, the Senior Director for Talent Acquisition at Sodexo USA to #truAmsterdam. Sherrie will be sharing the impressive Sodexo case study, talking about real world practice and leading a track on internal sourcing and mobility programs.
These are Sherries thoughts:

I am a huge believer in the power of failure—not the small little failures we all experience day-to-day, like not brewing the perfect cup of coffee to start the morning with a clear brain, or overcooking the salmon that you always make perfectly until the night that you are entertaining.  I am referring to big failures—colossal failures—of the type that Jim Collins, author of “Built to Last” might call “big, hairy and audacious”.

What do I mean by the “power of failure”? Early in my professional career (in my pre-Sodexo days), I was fortunate to experience one monumental failure that totally transformed my outlook on talent.  Although I still cringe when I recall the failure, what I learned was that if you can face the failure head on, it is almost always a gift in disguise because it can lead you to embrace change.

My “big, hairy, audacious” failure was to take the internal talent pool for granted in the midst of a competitive bid for a major contract.  The cost?  The contract, along with our top employee, went to our competitor. My gift?  An enduring conviction that talent acquisition leaders must not only have an aggressive external strategy to source, attract and recruit top talent, we must also recognize that from the moment top talent joins our company, we play a key role in engagement and retention. If we view our top employees as a highly prized “talent pool”, and continually engage and “recruit” from that pool, we can contribute more to the retention of top, high potential employees than just about any other company initiative, and avoid the failure of losing our top talent to our competitors.

Which brings me to the topic that I hope to discuss at #truAmsterdam—why do so many companies fail to retain their top employees?  We know there may be many different reasons why a high performer decides to leave a company, but when the exit interviews indicate lack of promotional opportunity, to me, this is probably the # 1 failure of any company. How can we, as talent acquisition leaders, take this failure, learn from it, and find success?

Especially when you consider the trends that are impacting the current and future labor markets, the stakes could not be higher:

  • Demographic trends: declining birth rates + aging workforce = shrinking talent pool
  • Education trends: large high school drop out rates + declining college graduation rates for Gen Y students = major skills gap

For companies like Sodexo, with huge growth goals and the need for highly skilled talent, these two trends require a full-fledged strategy that leverages all of the many external sourcing venues, and also engages and retains our top internal employees, recognizing they are a key talent pool to fuel our growth.

So although we have a very robust strategy that focuses on external talent—sourcing, attracting, and hiring top employees through a mixture of aggressive sourcing, leveraging technology, being a leader in social media, building robust talent communities, etc, we  also know that to focus talent acquisition solely externally would be a monumental failure for our company.

Just because it makes all of the business sense in the world, doesn’t mean it is easy. In most companies, there are lots of barriers that prevent internal sourcing and to be successful, you need to be able to identify those barriers and find ways to push through. At Sodexo, we have been sourcing internally for a few years now, and we now have a full-fledged internal mobility initiative that focuses in on “recruiting” our own employees for the next steps in their careers—not only for opportunities in the US, but for all of the 80 countries where Sodexo has operations. We have also deployed our executive recruiters to focus on helping our high potentials prepare for their next step by providing one-on-one career coaching. Our hope is that we never find our hippos in an exit interview saying “but I was not aware of opportunities.”

I look forward to #truAmsterdam next week to share some of the Sodexo experience, and learn more about approaches you have tried in your organizations.

Theres a few tickets left for #truAmsterdam next week. You can get one HERE