Dear Workforce How Do We Get Management to Tell Us Sooner About Recruiting Needs

By Staff Report

Aug. 30, 2006

Dear Sick of Surprises:

The checklist is the easy part. Before tackling that, however, let’s first examine the underlying problem: that upper management isn’t informing your recruiters until well after positions become vacant.

This sounds like a disconnect in which human resources partners fail to keep each other informed, rather than an oversight by upper management. But learning about terminated employees earlier in the game is not the only condition you’ll want to address.

How prepared are you for downstream changes in your business (about six to 12 months out) that may require hiring a huge number of experienced professionals who possess scarce new skills–more people than your organization has experience recruiting?

Also, think about the problem of planned growth within divisions that possess solid succession plans, where it is already known who will step into these newly created positions. If succession causes high-potential, high-performance employees to move from their current positions, maybe your recruiting effort should focus on seeking candidates to backstop these high performers now, rather than later.

We could actually make a long list of situations where the added value of recruiting might resonate with hiring managers, HR partners, upper management and other stakeholders. Rather than a checklist, what you need is a mutual agreement, written and signed by the different parties responsible for recruiting.

Here’s how it should look. First, it typically arises out of a series of discussions between HR and other business leaders to establish the quality of your services. These service- level agreements, or SLAs, are like contracts that establish and meet clients’ expectations. The client and the service provider (recruiting, for example, or more likely HR) determine in advance which services and performance levels will be provided, and decide how the success or failure of an SLA is measured.

An SLA for recruiting might include an outline of the complete process used by recruiters and hiring manages to fill job openings as quickly and efficiently as possible. A staffing SLA takes managers step by step through this process, from submitting a requisition to extending an offer, and notes applicable turnaround times.

A staffing SLA also should be geared to the expectations of recruiters, recruiting coordinators, interviewers and hiring managers, since their partnership is essential to the attainment of your goals. Any worthwhile agreement would also describe the process, roles, timeframes and accountabilities for all parties.

The most competitive corporations use SLAs to manage the quality of their process, and it isn’t unusual to have several SLAs in place between internal HR functions–i.e., recruiting and other HR services.

The solution isn’t to look for, and adopt, an SLA template (although there are many). Rather, you should engage all the stakeholders in your process: hiring managers, upper management, recruiters, recruiting coordinators, vendors and candidates, and establish a level of service they can expect from you–and what you need in return to commit to it.

SOURCE: Gerry Crispin, SPHR, principal and chief navigator, CareerXroads, Kendall Park, New Jersey, December 5, 2005

LEARN MORE: Articles, tips and an online bulletin board are among the resources of Workforce‘s Recruiting and Staffing forum.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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