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Regional Resourcing Heads Discuss: Optimising Internal Recruitment Teams in Current Times

The Chapman Consulting Group today hosted an HR roundtable discussion for Regional Resourcing Directors from 13 high profile multinationals. Participants met over lunch at the Singapore Cricket Club to discuss the topic of “Strategies to Optimise the Performance and Structure of your Regional Resourcing Team to Effectively Maintain Traction in the Current Market”.

The Continuing Role of the Recruitment Function

In the severest cases, the burning issue at present hasn’t been hiring freezes or business restructuring, but rather the negative impact of bad press, which can affect both a company’s employee turnover and its status as an employer of choice. The group had a number of experiences to share about how this could be countered by creative recruitment means, mainly through targeted professional networking and harnessing a select group of ambassadors within the business who can attract talent through the strength of their own personal credibility. The group agreed this can have extraordinary results in securing talent by spreading personal and positive messages ‘virally’ about the company.

On a similar subject, the group also discussed the current need to keep close to the business, and to continue the process of educating them on the positive impact that a resourcing function can offer. One participant explained how their recruitment model allowed their in-house staff to offer internal customers new approaches to proactive talent mapping and pipelining. Another explained how they had won the commitment of their global business stakeholders to keep recruitment headcount high in order to avoid finding themselves at a competitive disadvantage when the market eventually turns.

A Time to Innovate and Experiment

And there were positive breakthroughs too. For the last three years, many companies have only been experiencing breakneck growth, allowing no time to step back and improve recruitment processes, or to develop recruitment staff from ‘out of the trenches’. They now have the ability to explore new strategies, expand the skill-sets of their staffing teams, and to chart these metrics in meaningful ways. Some are experimenting with new ‘recruit to forecast’ models that can save a company many thousands of Dollars by aligning the recruitment function away from current ‘open positions’ and more closely with future workforce planning targets. Others have started utilising an internal recruitment ‘franchising’ model that allows smaller markets without their own in-country recruitment teams to offer potential candidates the same experience as they could expect in other markets. And others have been redeploying recruitment professionals into other areas of HR and the business, allowing them to gain vital extra skills and company knowledge while leaving the door open for specialist recruitment teams to be rebuilt in the future.

Reduced Reliance on Recruitment Agencies

The overriding theme of the discussion hinged on seizing the opportunity to improve the usage and effectiveness of internal recruitment resources. While many companies had traditionally been using recruitment agencies for a great deal of their resourcing needs, the advent of online social networking and the improvements in internal recruitment technologies and databases have meant that much of this can now be brought in-house and at lower cost.

Because of the complexity and diversity of recruiting needs across Asia Pacific Japan, the region has been slower to adopt this than in markets such as the US, Europe and Australia. Recruitment agencies have been able to capitalise on this, and have until now been engaged in lower and middle-management positions that would never go ‘out to market’ in other geographies. However the more technologically-savvy companies have now gained critical mass in their recruitment processes in the region to no longer need to rely on external vendors, with the exception of very senior hires and very specialised skill-sets.

Companies have approached this opportunity in a variety of ways. One company has realigned recruitment teams so that each recruiter is backed up by a ‘resourcer’, mirroring the model used by many agency search firms. This delineates the talent identification functions of market-mapping and data-mining from the more consultative recruitment function. The result is a more streamlined and cost-effective approach to both internal and external stakeholder management.

Another Resourcing Head had recently given a team member the go-ahead to develop a creative new recruitment blog on the company’s corporate website. Coupled with other ‘Web 2.0’ favourites such as Facebook and Twitter, the company has found that it can use its own resources to increase its market knowledge, understand its market perception better, while at the same time promote brand value to potential employees and customers alike. The internal recruitment team can then use these public sites to ‘reverse-market’ itself back to the business, which helps improve awareness of its service offering.

Justify Your Worth

In summarising strategies to extract maximum value from the regional resourcing teams, the lunch concluded with The Chapman Consulting Group’s own recommendations:

  • Optimise team performance. Undertaking proactive activities such as market mapping, database improvement, and employer branding exercises can not only continue to justify your team but will offer huge material savings to the company in the future.
  • Rethink team structure. ‘Double-hatting’ of responsibilities, lending team members to other areas, and redeploying resources to pressure points across business units and geographies can help defray costs while allow resourcing teams to be rebuilt once the market rebounds.
  • Maximise HR and business linkages. Working closer with both HR and the business during times of less frenetic hiring such as these can help you to reposition your team in line with future talent needs and can also help to maintain external talent pipelines.

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