Recruiting needs to be relevant. In this picture you can see the sun shining through the waterfall - it creates instant beauty, a different perspective, the perception adds a nice view which makes the picture relevant in your mind's eye. Just like perception, recruiting must become relevant again. And I hope like this picture recruiting and staffing can shine through to become the dominant strategic function in business. Today, many perceive Recruiting as a broken function. Today, many see multiple angles where disruption may be coming, and where an avalanche of change may totally and completely remove the Recruiter from the infrastructure of organizations. I'll venture a guess that this is still a little premature.
I find Merriam Webster's definition poignant to describe the term relevant which I will use to kick off this post:
a : having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand b : affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion relevant testimony c : having social relevance
I will dive into why I am focusing in on this in a moment, but first some background.
This past month of March has been a whirlwind professionally. Having traveled for the past couple of weeks, and still working at the same time, going to #SourceCon, finding myself on the Recruiting Animal Show, connecting with both incredible and remarkable people in the staffing industry and corporate recruiting while enjoying the opportunity to see family, share ideas with others, and so much more I had several moments of reflection and pivot points of thought. When this happens writing down what you observe and pondering the "why" of it all gives you pause to really understand the importance of career, family, work/life balance, and more importantly the reasons "why" you do what you do, or for that matter the reasons candidates, and hiring managers do what they do.
We may find at times that the multiple issues we face as staffing professionals may cause us anxiety, a re-focusing of energy, and a new way of looking at this Profession that many of us love so much: Recruiting/Staffing/Talent Acquisition/HR/Sourcing et al. When we can take a step back and really look closely at the "Why" of our function, then something miraculous and amazing starts to occur. A reinvention takes place, as we find a new approach, new ways of doing things, more innovative insights, etc.
Speaking to Recruiting Animal was indeed a pleasure - he asked me some relevant questions and I found myself enjoying the dialogue - click here below:
That experience was a good one, it took me out of my comfort zone, and I admit, for the first time since I have written in this forum, that as a result of the past 3 weeks I see things differently in our function perhaps more so than ever before. I still love it but now knowing the deeper impact, the relevancy, the nature of the interactions we undertake, and SO much more, there is something to be said of this recruiting profession that makes one realize that in spite of all the talk of technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc., we must continue to realize that this Human element can never be completely removed from the puzzle. So - it leads us to ponder further, where will our function be in 20 years, in 10, or even in 5? I will explore this topic soon, what I call the "Big Picture", when I write a Recruiting Daily article which I will pass along to Recruiting Daily Editor Matt Charney - I am hoping this will be one piece that I write that will be well researched, well thought out, well received and well pictured - pardon the pun. It is my hope this will have relevance. I believe trends, and focus points will be required to totally delve into a thorough analysis of the "what", the "why" and the "purpose" of the function we work in. Today, there is like an avalanche a mountain of "noise" in our industry. Some of it is relevant, others not so much. Add to that multiple shifting circumstances and greater macro-economic factors, and well staffing will always have a multiplicity of complexities that only time, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and others will solve. But that's exactly the point - we MUST reinvent, realign, and re-envision this function until it becomes something even more to be proud of. Take a step back today folks, and realize just how key our function is to the economy, to livelihoods, to the bottom line of corporations. When there is synergy between a company's staffing function and the core strategy, the entire organization thrives.
Animal asked me point blank - "Do I believe that there is a problem today with how recruiting is done?" I was completely in awe of that question. Try as an exercise typing in: "Recruiters are..." into Google and see what comes back as suggested search. You will notice a few not very nice terms emerging: scum, useless, idiots, liars, and then you note the issue we are indeed facing. One of Relevancy. I told the Recruiting Animal I did not want to paint a broad brush that recruiting is broken entirely - and to further clarify - I believe many are doing it right. I honestly cannot put a number on it - those that are doing staffing well. But I will clarify here that the challenge is not how good or bad, it's one of relevancy, it's an issue of perception. Where are you in the landscape? Are you one of the Talent Acquisition "Relevant" voices? Do you #FightSpam. Hopefully you do. Hopefully, you understand the roles you recruit for well enough to overcome the "Relevancy" you have to your candidates. In so many words folks, it's time to change the perception, and only by pushing forward with a "White Glove, High Touch, Focused Process", with a VIP treatment of candidates who invest time and energy into your company, will you start to see that Recruiting Relevancy needs to be reinvented, and re-instigated.
When you ponder that Recruiting Changes, and Touches MANY Lives, you will start to see the broader impact to business, to life, to the future of our economy, our function will have. I can't stress how firmly it is going to matter for Staffing Professionals of both traditional recruiters, sourcing professionals, etc., to become more and more conversant in HR. While that may stand for "Huge Roadblock" to some, it is going to be increasingly important to marry the HR Profession to the Staffing Profession and vice versa. Relevancy is going to become a "village" effort. The Best In Class employers are going to need to find that symbiosis, and as technology may evolve and displace some, the Human element is not going to go completely away. I will again discuss this in my upcoming blog post.
I believe many are doing a tremendous job at focusing the staffing function on core components, to make it relevant to the dialogue again. Entrepreneurs realize the importance of staffing, talent management, organizational development, and how these items fit together to create that relevancy. Stand firm folks, make your efforts to become relevant in your firm's strategic discussion that much more visible, and for those of our profession on the agency side, you are relevant too, but the more strategic of partners you are to your clients the more success, placements, revenue, fees, etc. will come your way.
I will now illustrate 10 points to ponder to the importance of making Recruiting/Staffing Relevant again. Intuitively, I firmly believe in these points:
1. Staffing Changes Lives: Staffing impacts communities and helps with economic flow. It helps organizations complete strategic projects, build new products, grow new impacting segments. It is time for Staffing Professionals to find their way forward.
2. A Strategic Core Professional Association Voice Is Needed: Enter ATAP. See thier website here: https://atapglobal.org/ Gerry Crispin and I had a great dialogue during SourceCon regarding the need for a firm staffing professional association that has global scope and reach. Look at the new Board of Directors, and I have firm hope that this will gain traction such that it will become a force to be reckoned with. I decided to join myself and am excited for what this organization can do for both perception and relevancy.
3. Candidate Experience is Vital to make Staffing Relevant Again. Pushing forward with an effort to treat candidates with dignity and respect, to understand their challenges, the career goals, the big impact on their bottom line, it is increasingly important to become relevant to our candidate pools. As we do so, as we show our due diligence in this area, the growth and success of relevancy will have deeper impacts beyond filling a position. It will impact word of mouth referrals for new clients, brand, culture, ability to attract and retain, and so much more.
4. Staffing Agencies & Contigent Labor Are Relevant StakeHolders: Being agency side you impact multiple employers. Finding the quality of your placements will affect the relevancy you hold to your client's business success and in turn will pave the way for Staffing agencies to build bridges that enable revenue, connect candidates to new job opportunities with multiple options, enable employers to have new ROI, and so much more. As staffing agencies increase the quality of their focus so too will their business grow as they become MORE relevant.
5. HR Technology, HRIS, ATS, & Sourcing Tools Will Make Staffing More Relevant: There is nothing that can underestimate how technology is making the Staffing Process even more relevant. We must all be conversant in each of these areas. Understanding new tools, innovating with such tools, and harnessing the power of technology vs. being afraid of it, is more important to your relevancy than ever before. Economies of scale will dictate the outcomes. Artificial Intelligence will redefine our world. Now, I will not say that Artificial Intelligence will completely erase the Human Equation. Hardly. It just can't happen. I have spoken with several candidates asking them and surveying them if they would prefer to speak to a Robot throughout their recruiting process or if the Human element would be more important to them. Without hesitation many of them tell me that they would not consider a company purely with no human touch. However, Artificial Intelligence is more likely to supplement and grow the recruiter's productivity, thus making them more relevant.
6. Necessity of Keeping Up With Economic Developments Will Keep Staffing Relevant: Nothing can stop the economic downturns and upturns. There is always going to be change in this aspect. But in order for economies of scale to work, the Staffing function must be involved. Expect economic factors to keep staffing relevant.
7. Being and Becoming More Human Will Keep Staffing Relevant: The human factor will be a key factor to consider, as more firms opt for more technology, the complaint will arise that the human factor will be lacking. This will create an opportunity to drive home the Human Recruiting elements again, and firms who recognize the importance of diversity to their core strategy will be rewarded with more revenue, more clients, and happy word of mouth referrals. In so many words, marry Technology and Human touch for maximum value add.
8. Demographics Will Ensure Staffing Remains Relevant: With ever increasing Baby Boomers leaving the marketplace and the entrance of the Millennial Generation, a brain drain of sorts is awaiting on the horizon. In other words, not enough workers to fulfill the demand for higher knowledge positions. This will create a glut of opportunity for those looking at how to attract the best of the best. Regardless of the Machine Learning aspects, Technology will not likely replace people anytime soon, rather elements of staffing functions will be outsourced. Staffing becomes relevant as knowledge workers are realigned as new organizational strategies emerge that relate to demographics.
9. Knowledge Sharing & The GIG Economy Will Likely Keep Staffing Relevant: More and more organizations are turning to contracting arrangements to help move the work forward. Supplementing staff by watching the ebb and flow of recruiting demand, will help keep staffing relevant.
10. Data is the Great Equalizer: Knowing the business impact will be even more important as knowledge workers continue to evolve. Knowing how to explain the data, and the numbers and $$ impact will be keys for success as staffing becomes relevant to the Sr. Leadership Team's of organizations.
It is a remarkable time to be part of the Recruiting Profession. We can have hope that we can remain relevant, as we strive to help add value, and in turn have outcomes that allow our staffing progress to move forward. Recruiting Professionals now must reinvent ourselves, strive for better outcomes, and drive quality interactions while building an entrepreneurial approach to one's job search. Every career spans several decades most of the time, but having a bigger vision of the Total Picture will be important as staffing continues to become increasingly relevant.