Talent Acquisition Professionals: Operational Innovation and Process Improvement Are 2 Different Things

Today's HBR Brief, "Deep Change: How Operational Innovation Can Transform Your Company" offers some extremely relevant tips for the Talent Acquisition function today. The important thing to take away here is that Operational Innovation is NOT Process Improvement. For some reason, practitioners in our industry shun process innovation in lieu of applying Six Sigma and/or LEAN methodologies to already broken processes! Here are some tips that make great brainstorming food for progressive Recruiting Leaders out there:

Make the Special Case the Norm
Companies often achieve extraordinary levels of performance under extraordinary conditions. The trick is to turn your do-or-die mode into everyday practice.

Example: A packaged-goods maker had relied on sales forecasts for production scheduling. When demand for a new product wildly exceeded predictions, it created an ad hoc process to give real-time demand information to manufacturing, which made production planning and distribution more efficient. After the crisis passed, the company made its emergency mode standard. Customers were delighted, and overall costs dropped dramatically.

Talent Acquisition Take: There are a number of TA applications here, so I'll keep this short and throw only 1 out there -- Leading Indicators throughout the recruiting process. Is it possible? You bet.


Rethink Critical Dimensions of Work
Experiment with changing one or more of these elements in your own operations:

What results are to be produced, who should perform the necessary activities, where should they be performed, in what sequence, and how thoroughly each activity must be performed.

Example: In 2002, Shell Lubricants reconsidered who needed to participate in its order fulfillment process. By replacing a group of seven people who each handled different parts of the order with one person who does it all, Shell cut cycle time by 75%, reduced operating expenses by 45%, and boosted customer satisfaction by 105%.

Talent Acquisition Take: Here's a perfect example of today's notion of Sourcing 1.0 not working. What happened? Well, the company cut the process down from an assembly line to a more streamlined fashion. Can this happen in TA? Sure it can. Am I saying to revert back to just 1 person handling the whole process (the 'Full Lifecycle Recruiter')? No . . . but having 5 different people handling the recruiting process like an assembly line (Sourcing 1.0) isn't the answer either. The balance is likely in the middle, swinging to the left or right depending on your own organization.

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