The HP Way

I recently met with Bruce Hatz, who reflected on his 13 years at Hewlett Packard as Global Technology Staffing Manager. Bruce has a direct style and a “get it done” attitude, and is one of the most knowledgeable people I have met in the industry. Bruce reflected on what it means to apply technology to human capital acquisition, and on some of the best practices HP put into action to use technology, in the HP way. As a global company, there is a lot to learn from HP practices that stretch from its outstanding global branding to its incredible online presence. Indeed, HP is seen as the number three best employer to work for in Canada, and number two among U.S. companies in France. Control & Value When we talk about online presence, Bruce expresses his excitement about the way the Internet changed his dealings with advertisers. If they came to him to sell services at a specific rate, they often went back to rethink their value for large employers with heavily trafficked Web sites such as HP. How much traffic does the HP site receive? HP is the only employer listed on 100hot’s traffic ratings under the “Jobs” category – at number 80 overall. Although the methodology of the 100hot site may be uncertain, HP’s position there is still indicative of a trend. For purchasing recruiting services, the Internet has put the buyer in control. Bruce has had an advanced tracking system based on event codes to enable him to know which candidate came from where. With this reporting, it is difficult to justify spending on a board that only returned a couple of candidates. The Internet allows advertisers of goods such as jobs to be able to measure the value of their investment. Although some previous research (see Mbinteractive) showed that online banner advertising can change the perception of a brand, job boards should not be used to build the “employer of choice” brand. Job boards are mostly a transaction business and should be utilized based on their effectiveness at sourcing qualified candidates. Decentralized Action For A Centralized Infrastructure If accurate tracking is possible, it is thanks to a “centralized infrastructure used in a decentralized fashion” says Bruce. I can’t agree more strongly here with Bruce, and our iLogos consulting practice proves it over and over. Corporations do not understand this simple concept: the Internet allows tracking and measurement. Infrastructure such as the advertising buy can now be centralized (and consequently receive discounts), and yet still maintain a decentralized workforce. One of the Internet’s main powers is to allow the extension of reach of any application to the fingertips of any users; that is the power of ASP solutions. Beyond Disintermediation As Bruce noted, the best job board HP has been using so far is its own website, where it receives 2,500(!) applications a day. This brings the concept of disintermediation to its full power. Jobseekers go to the HP site and communicate directly with HP; no intermediaries are needed anymore. Bruce even went a step further. He didn’t want good candidates to come and check for jobs only once, he wants them to come back at the right time and apply. That is why the Job Agent technology, through which the candidate fills-in a profiler and is emailed when matching jobs are listed, is a must-have for any serious corporation using the Web. Our latest iLogos research on “Best Practices for Fortune 500 Career Web Site Recruiting” show that only 6 percent of the Fortune 500 has implemented this valuable, resource-saving technology! Why Cool Technologies? If Cisco (covered in my previous article) has been using some good PR concepts to capture the share of mind of new technologies (e.g. “my boss is coming” button), HP is very focused on what is efficient. For instance, video is not something Bruce sees as a killer application. Broadband is not widespread enough yet, and wireless integration will have only limited usage. Those are not Bruce’s educated guesses; they are conclusions drawn from primary market research, from surveys of more than 12,000 visitors to HP’s website. Success Stories With branding as strong as HP’s, the challenge is efficient candidate identification, and access from the decentralized hiring managers to a centralized classified database. Success stories about recent hires illustrate what Bruce calls results. On a recent occasion, a woman was relocating with her husband. As she started to look for a job, she applied to the HP website. She was spotted the day she applied, invited for an onsite interview the following day, and started to work the week after! That’s an example of a successful hiring process. The efficacy of online recruiting is often gauged by reduced cycle time and cost cutting. With full online integration, savings can be realized in parts of the recruiting cycle you may not even have calculated. For instance, in the cost for each stamp you don’t have to put on the letter of acknowledgment. Just do the math on that for HP with its 2,500 applications a day! Technology and automation in human capital is here to stay. If you are competing for talent, technology is the key to enable speed. If you are in a slowdown, technology is the key for maximum efficiency. Technology will also most likely impact the speed of the economic recovery, and the economic concept. Time to fire can be very short, that process is easy. But time to hire has always been seen as an intrinsic friction because of the inefficiency of the communication process between jobseekers and corporations. With Internet technology bringing better efficiency to recruiting, that friction is diminishing. Hiring can accelerate and corporations can gear back up with less lag time once economic conditions transform. The Internet is changing the fundamental structure of our information exchange backbone. HP has taken significant steps towards benefiting from its power. Those who are not rewiring their processes today could be taken away by the next wave. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog.

 

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