RecNet – The words that got away
First and foremost an apology if you came to last night’s Recruiters Networking event and were disappointed by my lack of coherence. In honesty, I was tired, my mind was elsewhere dealing with a few problems and cameras do nothing for my level of concentration.
Secondly, if you have any interest in what I was saying in my head (that failed to come out of my mouth) it is this:
As a principle, you should only outsource those aspects of your business that do not add value, but where efficiency is important. The only exception to this is where the subject knowledge is so highly technical and infrequently used that it makes no sense for these skills to sit within the business. You should never outsource your core.
If you believe that within your organisation, people are a part of that core, then why would you allow anyone else to be involved in the sourcing and recruitment? The simple answer to this, is that most HR people do not see it this way. They see recruitment as a chore, as a menial task something that gets in the way of their preferred modus operandi…..”being strategic”.
Part of the problem here is the generalist/specialist divide. It won’t come as a surprise to know that I’m no great fan of the Ulrich model, but I do believe that there are people who are “recruiters” and people who are not. In the absence of any in-house specialists, recruitment tasks tend to get devolved to the lowest common denominator, normally an HR Assistant who, unless they are very good, can’t be expected to understand all the facets of recruitment.
The answer is not to essentially outsource your recruitment. Recruitment agencies are like wasps. They add little known value or purpose, they aggravate and annoy and they have a sting in the tail. But, we accept them as a necessary part of our ecosystem. The answer is to improve your in-house capability. OK, so I accept that if you are a SME, this may not be financially viable and your workforce may not be big enough to maintain a recruiter or even an HR generalist at all, and of course then you need to work with outside agencies. Or you may be a FTSE100 business opening up a new centre and requiring some support. There are always exceptions.
But for most companies, working in most markets, there is a clear cost benefit argument for bringing the process in-house – not to mention the benefits in quality. Personally, some of the best results I saw were when we brought a team of agency recruiters in-house, freed them from the constraints of selling, quotas, commission and client visits and allowed them to do what they loved and were very talented at. That isn’t to say that we didn’t measure success, we had a range of quantitative and qualitative measures, but we measured in the long-term, not on the weekly hires.
So my recruiting friends, I don’t hate you, I actually think you have a lot of value to add but I think the existing B2B model that exists just doesn’t deliver the goods. There are (and this seemed to be the consensus last night too) too many cowboys in your profession, but a seeming unwillingness to allow for any sort of professional standards or regulatory body.
The answer has to be to take the skills, the passion and the knowledge that exists and to bring that in-house to combine with the passion for the brand, the knowledge of the business and link it all together in a seemless approach to our people.
Because after all they are our greatest asset……..right?