Tag Archives: Retention

The one with the quality job

I’m not sure who first said “better, faster, cheaper – pick any two” but it does seem to be enduringly true.

I was recently invited to be part of a judging panel on the “In-House Recruitment Awards” (thanks Mark & Simon) and was assigned a few categories to do the initial judging prior to a bun fight round table with my fellow judges. There was a great deal of enthusiasm evident in most of the submissions but I must confess having read through the 9 or so entries I was disappointed at what seemed to be the focus for those entering as the best…

I first worked in recruitment as a consultant and then in the 2000s moved in-house at a time when recruitment was a burgeoning speciality and the role was still mostly completed by generalists. At the time, from my perspective the focus seemed to be on process (HR professionals to focus on process?! NO!) and not enough on either of the key stakeholders in the relationship – the hiring manager and the candidate.

I was encouraged as my career developed in recruitment to see some of the great facets of agency recruiters – proactivity, service focus, relationship management, were becoming evident in those who were taking in-house roles but for the fight was always about getting the right person in the right role at the right cost/time (in that order). The budget was something to be managed not something that managed me and line manager expectations were to be soothed as me/my team beavered away to try to find the right person.

What made me slightly nervous in reading the award entries that success (and the subsequent definition of best) was largely driven by time and cost – faster and cheaper with little or no attention paid to the quality of the candidate. There didn’t seem to be any mention of any post induction measurement, performance, retention or in its broadest sense talent.

If you ask the board of an organisation what they need from their recruitment function I imagine (and I have asked) their focus will be about increasing the capability of the organisation, about hiring people with potential and about the future prospects of the business. Whilst compliance with budget and efficiency of hire are of course important (especially to the line manager and the finance director) they do not in the true sense add value to the organisation past the day the new employee starts.

I think the recruitment profession as it now seems to want to distinguish itself from the remainder of the HR, needs to take a step back and think about what represents true value to the business, what it really wants to be known for and if in the list of better, faster, cheaper it may be about choosing the first and one other…

Just as a small post script I received an in-mail on Linkedin this afternoon from a recruiter working for one organisation but on site and in the name of another. The ‘host’ organisation is one that likely has a tough retention challenge and who’s wider brand has taken a hammering in the last few years. This was her missive:

Dear Rob,

Hope you are well.

I am currently recruiting for a Senior OE Specialist. I came across your cv. Pleae could you let me know your current situation? Are you available. Alternatively please pass my contact details to anyone you know that may be interested in this role.

Better? Faster? Cheaper?



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The one with a loss of appetite

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – cut the training budget, you won’t see a return on your investment for some time and its money better spent elsewhere….unless you would like to improve your business past next month and retain your people in which case you may want to think differently!

If you believe some people, the world is going to hell in a handcart. The decisions of Standard & Poors seem to have a bigger impact than those of our elected leaders and we seem to be lurching from one sub-crisis to another. The behaviour this seems to be driving is interesting, in that it seems to be bringing out the worst kind of short-term, micro managing, short-sighted demons and what impact that is having on employees everywhere can’t be measured but I would imagine insecurity is rife.

There was a tweet floating around some months ago (and don’t ask me where it started) but it went something like:

FD: What if we invest in our people and then they leave

CEO: But what if we don’t and they stay

As much as I’m sure it got a few chuckles at the time it does seem the business case against developing people (at least at an organisational level) is getting easier and easier to make with each passing day and whilst organisational appetite may have waned does that mean individual appetite has? [Rhetorical question!!]

With the amount of insecurity in the economy and with that in companies at the moment you could say the smart move was to protect an investment in development (and I am largely biased in this but bear with me….) because given the climate surely this is the time when organisations need the most commitment/loyalty/tenacity etc etc from their employees and given the financial constraints on ‘buying’ that surely this comes down to leadership?

Earlier this year I was talking to a friend who works in a large US owned business and she had just merged two teams. When I asked what activity had taken place to support the merging of the teams she looked uncomfortable and shared the fact that aside from electronic and 1 to 1 communication and two 1 hour meetings she had been unable to get further support and had been told “we don’t have time or money for team building at the moment”. That response (and hers is not the only business I’ve heard it from) leaves me asking these rhetorical questions:

  • Do you teams function better in a climate of insecurity?
  • Does lack of available investment mean your team automatically commit to each other and the organisation?
  • Do ways of working develop within a team by osmosis because they can’t spare half a day away from their desks?
  • Do the individuals within the team now magically understand their role in delivering the mission/vision/strategy?

Now as a person who works in HR it could be argued that I am blogging in praise of a gravy train. If that is what you think that is your opinion and you’re entitled to it but the next time you get the opportunity reflect on this thought: would a small amount of time/energy/money invested in your team or organisation make them more effective at weathering the storm we are all experiencing?


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