Why are most HR departments are staffed Ass-Backwards?

If you were to look at how most HR departments are staffed, you most likely see the following:

  • 2% Recruiting
  • 45% Operations
  • 50% Staff to handle Employee Relation issues
  • 3% Management/Strategic

Unfortunately, most companies look at this spread and think, “Wow, we’re efficient.”  I look at that spread and think, “Wow, you really have that @$$ backwards!”

I realize that one of the core functions of HR is to mitigate risk.  It is a CORE function but it is not the ONLY function.  Too many companies spend so many resources and money managing out poor or misaligned talent and mitigating risk but if they were to put more emphasis and resources on how employees enter the company, they could see a number of benefits.

Recruiting, the Last Thought for Resources but first Thought for the whipping post.

I have worked for and with a number of firms who say they value recruiting but the efforts do not support it.  Recruiters are often overlooked, underpaid and undervalued yet charged with selling the company’s brand and opportunities.  The praise and glory tends to go to the HR professionals who keep the ship running and away from the rocky shores of litigation.

It seems that when things go wrong, that’s when the spotlight is placed on recruiting with question like:

  • Why did we hire that person?
  • Why can’t you fill roles quick enough?  I mean I know we are not paying what the market is paying and hiring managers are taking forever to get back to you but you’re hired to be a magician!  Work your magic!
  • Oh, our onboarding is awful.  The recruiting group should really get on that and fix it in their free time of filling jobs, marketing our brand and all while carrying a 25+ job load.

Might sound cynical but it’s often the truth.  Maybe your firm does not have this type of regard for recruiting but most recruiters I speak with feel the same pains.  Little support given relative to the expectations placed on them.

The Solution? Beef up your Recruiting Team and lessen the HR Police.

The facts stare us in the face but organizations are slow to move resources to address it:

If recruiting teams are staffed appropriately to truly be brand engineers, talent agents, and company guards, there would be less need for HR partners to focus solely on employee relations issues and risk mitigation.

The best way to avoid having to terminate employees is to redirect energy to hiring the right ones. Ensuring success will require companies to get leadership and management invested in improving the hiring process.

The How To:

Step 1: Change the mindset within HR

pexels-photo-1080865.jpegLeaders within HR must lead the charge and prioritize resources to the front of the employee funnel rather than the end.  This not only includes increasing recruiting staff with the right type of people (brand engineers, hunters etc, not just paper pushers) but also includes diverting resources to sourcing the right candidates, developing a robust branding campaign and an effective interviewing routine to only let the good apples in the basket.  Although costs to do this type of activity might cause your HR budget to be in the red initially, do not lose sight of the goal which is only letting the good people in your organization.

Step 2: Give Recruiters the Key to the Gates

giphy-1Once you have the right recruiting team in place, empower them to be the gatekeepers to your organization.  Challenge them to be incredibly selective in who they let “sit at your table”.  Give them the power and authority to be like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings who boldly stood against a fiery enemy and proclaimed: You shall not pass.  Once you give them that power, you will be amazed at how protective your newly empowered recruiting team will be of your organization.  I would also suspect their engagement will increase proportionally.

Step 3: Educate your Internal Clients

person touching macbook pro

We all know there is a cost associated with turnover, both voluntary and involuntary.  We tend to only focus on one of these and it’s different in every organization.  In my opinion, both can be traced back to the hiring process.  Once you institute this new way of working in HR, track the expenses throughout the employee lifecycle to help prove to your internal clients that your strategy is working.  Within a year, you should be able to show a decrease in turnover for employees hired within the last year.  If you are able, track the revenue per FTE to help show the impact of retention of new hires as well.

Summary

In most medium to large organizations, HR is the last to adapt to the changing environment.  We tend to like our traditions and processes.  I hope that anyone reading this takes the time to flip the employee funnel around and track the progress it has to the company’s bottom line, engagement and other key performance indicators.  If anything, wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time and energy on how we can bring awesome people into our organization rather than how the hell we’re going to get the bad ones out?  I think that’d be a great organization to work for…. but that’s just me.

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