Time to Take a Look at What You’re Doing: Use Any Slack Time to Make BIG Improvements

As the new year unfolds, this may be the best time to take a close look at everything you are doing and see if you can’t make some improvements. And, if things are slower than they were a few months ago, you should not only be thankful, but you should be using this time to your later advantage. I usually break the process of recruiting into 10 steps. These are broad and cover a lot of detail, but provide an architecture for thinking about what you do and where to make improvements. Each week for the next few I will detail one or two of the steps and talk about how you can diagnose where you are and what some next steps might look like. Step #1: Workforce Planning This is the step that is almost never done at all, or is done in such a cursory way that it is of little value as a recruiting tool. Good workforce planning will assess projected needs based on both turnover and growth, and will also factor in such things as internal movement of employees, back-filling of positions, and elimination of certain jobs. Good planning cannot be done without a team approach and requires knowledge of the strategic plans for each business division. The leading-edge workforce planning will take into account the potential source of hires, as well. This may include some estimates of referrals and of conversion of temporary staff to full-time. There would also be some insight into any development programs that would “feed” new employees into the system and alleviate the need for external hires. Planning is becoming a strategic key to success. With a complex and sophisticated workforce plan, the recruiting staff can decide which positions are best filled by agencies or retained search firms and which should be handled internally. The plan also allows the recruiter to bargain for better rates based on the relative value of the position to the company and when the person is needed. By providing a staffing agency with a longer term to fill a position, rates should also be reduced as they should be for less valuable positions. Questions:

  • Do you have a rolled-up look at growth projections for this year by type of employee?
  • Do you have an idea how many current employees may be transferred (transferable) from other parts of your organization to fill some of these?
  • Can you determine how many of these will need to be backfilled?
  • Do you at least have a good sense of turnover rates and how many people overall will have to be replaced?

The answers to these will form a good start to a workforce planning process. I suggest you put together a small task force made up of a finance, a strategic planning, and a couple of business/technical/product people to help you build some models and spreadsheets. Anything is better than nothing, and the more realistic it is the more it can reliably guide your work. Step #2: Branding And Marketing Branding is a fairly new concept to the recruiting function. Over the past year it has unfortunately become something everyone talks about but no one does very well. A few organizations are beginning to create a specific employment image through carefully crafted advertising messages and well-done websites. Some good websites that come to mind immediately are Federated Department Stores with their Retailology (www.retailology.com) site for college recruiting, the Boston Consulting Group’s (www.bcg.com) site for new consultants, and Texas Instruments (www.ti.com) site for technology staff. I think Accenture (formerly Arthur Anderson Consulting) is also working to build an image with print, poster, billboard and television branding. Good branding is a process that takes time ? perhaps years to do well ? and is very expensive. It requires a strategy followed by an execution plan that includes things like the website, a print advertising campaign, radio and maybe television, as well as articles in targeted magazines. Product branding has a long history with firms like Proctor & Gamble and 3M. Reading a book such as “Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity,” by Kevin Lane Keller, or “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand,” by Laura and Al Ries, will give you a good understanding of what branding is all about and why it is of increasing importance to us as recruiters. Questions:

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  • Do you have a branding strategy? This is a maser plan ? an architecture ? of what you would like to accomplish over a couple of years. It will lead to a project plan that will contain a more detailed implementation plan with milestones and success criteria.
  • Do you have a good website? This means a site that is interactive, dynamic, and exciting.
  • Do you know what makes your organization different from others? Can you tell a candidate exactly why he or she should work for your firm instead of a competitor?
  • What Internet and/or computer-based tools are you using for branding?
  • Does your ad agency offer advice and counsel in how to establish a recruiting brand?
  • Have you ever done any focus groups or other research to find out what your current image or brand is?

Once you have a clear picture of your staffing needs as defined in your workforce planning process, and once you have begun building a brand that defines who you are and why people would want to work for you; you can move on to the other steps in the overall recruiting process. Next week we will look at two or three more of the remaining eight which are sourcing, screening, assessing, selling, checking and closing, on-boarding, or orienting and retaining employees. Until then, happy analyzing! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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