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E-recruiting 7

(August 20, 2004)
How does eRecruiting impact organizational culture?

Recently, a correspondent pooh-poohed our assertion that HR was the likely "ground-zero" for the next wave of real organizational transformation. After some thought, we were reminded that Oakland, Memphis, Detroit, Watts and Harlem were the sources of major social transformation in America. Manufacturing, a decrepit and under-utilized corporate function, was hardly the place from which a corporate renaissance in inventory management, process redesign and capital requirements reduction was anticipated. For those of you who can remember, the idea that Japanese level quality could be delivered from our factories was widely denigrated at the advent of the Quality movement.

Transformations emerge from weakness, not strength. Years of accepting a role without strategic impact have left HR precisely vulnerable as a fertile ground for rethinking the value of human inventory in our processes. Whether or not this change is led by the current HR leadership is more a question of the length of their tenure than it is of the viability of HR as a launch point.

In the early days of the use of an eRecruiting system, an interesting transformation occurs. Once free from accountability and subject to the vagaries of a totally reactive process, recruiters and hiring managers alike can be measured quantitatively. While we await smart systems that measure actual hiring effectiveness (ie, was the right person hired at the right time), simpler metrics are available today. Turnaround times, from hiring manager's delivery of the requirement and the time it took to post the job to the volume of results produced by a specific source and the time required to sort , sift and interview candidates are now effectively measured through web based interactions. The new levels of visibility are already modifying the power structure. From ambiguity has emerged the beginnings of accountability. While hardly perfect (and usually minus important information about quality and effectiveness), the emergence of measurement standards is where the change begins.

The labor shortage sounds theoretical in the face of continuous reports of downsizings and layoffs. eRecruiting has the net impact of keeping the problem in the face of the first-level supervisors who make most hiring decisions. That the concept moves so slowly up the chain has more to do with the organization's ability to resist unpleasant truths than it does with the efficacy of eRecruiting as a delivery vehicle for this particular message.

eRecruiting has the interesting effect of opening the organization to broader competitive scrutiny. Somewhere between 5% and 30% of the people who work in your company have their resumes in the Monster database. An equal or greater number of them have posted their resume elsewhere on the Internet. This infers that your competitors can know more about your team (including attrition rates for specific supervisors, overall personnel quality, new projects and shifts in project-product related staffing). Staffing firms and the new corporate personnel raiders know more about your people than you do. With huge volumes of salary and relocation data around the internet, the relationship between a supervisor and an employee looking for a raise is undergoing a powerful shift. Online education and credentialling make employees infinitely more mobile.

The pressure at the first level of supervision is growing dramatically and beginning to exceed the capacity of traditional managers to manage. With pressure from all over (a posted resume from a single individual opens the doors to aggressive external recruiting throughout the department, three or four resumes from the same department suggest a supervisory weakness that begs for an assault by outsiders), the demands for increased retention and development skills demand instantaneous learning and adaptation while turnover rates are increasing as job tenure declines.

Finally, competing in an aggressive shortage oriented environment requires that each company develop a meaningful "value proposition" (as a part of an overall employment branding campaign) for its workforce. With lots of web based opportunities to trash the existing management, failings in the skills of individual supervisors are now visible to the outside world and at the root of some hiring problems. The long term impact or eRecruiting includes detailed external visibility of supervisory practice as a negative component of the brand making second level supervisors accountable for problems they used to be able to hide.

And that's just the surface level of the impact!

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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Copyright © 2013 interbiznet. All rights reserved.
Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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         © TwoColorHat.
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