RAISING THE BAR IN HR RECRUITMENT (OR IS IT COBBLER’S CHILDREN?)
Published on 1st March 2012 by Nicola Grimshaw
Raising the bar is no longer about improving delivery and raising the profile of HR – it’s about transforming the very role and nature of HR itself.
EMBARGO 1 March 2012: In his foreword to new research commissioned by Oakleaf Partnership, Ralf Schneider*, founder and Principal of 2B, says that raising the bar is no longer about improving delivery and raising the profile of HR – it’s about transforming the very role and nature of HR itself. New operating models, roles, tools and processes require new skill sets and, perhaps more importantly, new mindsets. To achieve this, the HR function has to “grow up” and run itself like a business operation. This journey starts by applying the same commercial rigour, fact based decision making and accountability for results as the business.
The fact that only 11% of all hiring managers in HR are happy with all their hires into the function 12 months post-hire suggests they are not hiring the right people for the right roles. As Ralf Schneider puts it “Getting the right people on the bus” is essential for this journey.
With this in mind, Raising the Bar in HR Recruitment offers a healthy look in the mirror for the HR profession.
The research asks whether recruiting HR professionals is in fact a “lottery” as a result of “Cobbler’s Children”. It looks at the factors behind poor HR hires; is the interview and selection process flawed; do then candidate skills simply not match the roles that have been created: or is it a more fundamental reflection of the HR profession’s relationship with the business and view of itself?
With 74% of respondents citing “lack of culture fit” as the number one reason for failed HR hires, it is clear that HR needs to do a better job at defining and interpreting its culture and assessing fit.
Richard Colgan, Managing Partner of Oakleaf Partnership, says: "Our research clearly shows that there is a need, at an operational level, for improvements in the recruitment of HR professionals and at a strategic level, culture needs defining not just for today’s business environment but for the future journey. Raising the bar will enable the business to be more successful which will itself be a catalyst for and enabler of HR change.
Ralf Schneider asks: “Is our current recruiting experience designed for cultural fit towards the future, or rather the past?” He goes on to say that “The sophistication of hiring into the HR function might give us an early indication of the capability, and will, to make change happen.”
HR recruitment agencies also need to embrace the new recruitment paradigm of commercially logical and physically viable direct candidate sourcing methods, via social media inter alia, and various outsourced recruitment models. Against this back-drop, 67% of respondents say that to raise their bar, HR recruitment businesses need firstly to understand their clients better.
Richard Colgan concludes:
“An increased level of value-add and sophistication from suppliers is essential – many suppliers continue to measure success in the rear-view mirror. A consultative approach is critical to growing engagement levels with candidates and clients alike via their overall “customer experience” – Agencies that do this successfully will de facto have a bigger loyalty-based pipeline of talent and a broader route to the relevant markets for that talent.”
Between October and December 2011, 476 senior-level HR professionals across all industry sectors were then surveyed online to back up the numerous face to face interviews. All those surveyed had responsibility, to one degree or another, for HR recruitment into their businesses.
Of those surveyed, nearly two thirds (60%) described themselves as HR Directors or Heads of Function, 20% were Recruitment Directors or Managers and the same percentage were HR Business Partners, VPs or Managers.
In terms of sector:
- 30% worked in Investment Banking
- 30% were employed in Commercial & Industrial sectors (including Media, Retail, Leisure, Power/Energy, Mining, Healthcare, Transportation/Logistics)
- 26% worked in non-Investment Banking Financial Services (including Insurance, Private Banking, Asset/Investment Management)
- 14% worked in Professional Services (including Legal, Accountancy, Management Consultancy, Property Consultancy)
Over two thirds (68%) worked in businesses with a headcount of 2,000+, 16% in the 500-2,000 range and the remainder in businesses of less than 500 employees. One third worked in HR departments of 100 or more employees, over one quarter had 20-100 employees in their department and the remainder less than 20.
The research was presented and debated at the offices of The British Bankers’ Association on 1st March 2012. Ralf Schneider was key-note speaker and the Q&A panel consisted of Ralf, Linda Kennedy (Head of HR at Yell.com), Tracy Hahn (former EMEA Head of HR at Merrill Lynch), Andrew Pullman (Founder and MD of HR Consultancy ‘People Risk Solutions’) and Symon Hughes (Head of Resourcing at Barclaycard).
*Ralf Schneider is the Founder and Principal of 2B (Better Business). 2B is a consulting practice which assists clients in building High Performance and improved Strategy Execution.
In his varied career Ralf has held a spectrum of senior leadership positions within multi-national companies in the Professional and the Financial Service Industries. Until recently, he was the Group Head of HR Learning, Talent, Resourcing and Organisational Development at HSBC. Prior to HSBC, he spent 12 years as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he served in a number of national and international roles, including the Global Head of Talent and Leadership Development and the Global Head of HR for PWC‘s largest business.
As the Chairman of the International Consortium for Executive Development and Research (ICEDR) and a Founding Board Member of the European Corporate Learning Forum, Ralf takes an active interest in the development of the HR Profession. He is a frequent contributor at international conferences and corporate leadership events in Europe, Asia and the US, where he speaks on the topics of Next Generation Organisations, Leadership and Talent Management, Building High Performance Organisations and Building Sustainable Brands through People
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