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Lean Staffing III

(Novemeber 02, 2006) We got a note from a reader reminding us to distinguish between staffing levels and staffing methods. It's a smart point. Lean thinking can be equally applied to both arenas. "Staffing level" refers to the way that requisitions for people are identified. It's the number of people who are applied to a specific set of tasks or mission. If there are ten people and two reqs in a department, the staffing level is 12. Whether or not the staffing level is smart and effective is a question that is generally asked and answered before the staffing function begins its work. Staffing methods refer to the processes and procedures used to acquire the people who fill those roles.

One is the province of the organizational HR operation, the other is the business of running the business. Lean Staffing, as we're talking about it is not a question of getting more done with fewer people at the enterprise level. Rather, we're focusing on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Recruitment function....accomplishing more with less in the people acquisition process.

(We'd argue, by the way, that a Recruiting Department, well armed with demographic and workforce composition data, would be an ideal participant in the planning conversations that define staffing levels. Whether or not a particular size and structure of the workforce is possible/feasible is a question that Recruiters should be able to answer better than anyone else. As the acquisition experts, Recruiters should be uniquely qualified to answer quantitative questions about workforce/talent pool availabilities.)

The Lean Staffing Institute (LSI) is monitoring areas in which waste can be tamed in the Staffing function. So far, they have identified the following primary target areas:

  • The ways hiring managers conceive and express their requirements
  • The ways recruiters interpret the requirements
  • The ways hiring managers influence the process
  • The logic the recruiter applies to screening
  • The way recruiters and hiring managers interact after the first round of resumes have been sent ("course correction")

We'd add:

  • The "post-deal" hiring approval process (the involvement of Compensation, HR and Department Management)
  • Hiring Manager Attention Span

We're sure there are a number other major time and resource "sinks".

Remember, in Lean Staffing I we said that these principles were applied to the 80% of Recruiting transactions that produce 20% of the value. Part of the insight unearthed by LSI is that those transactions can be standardized and quantified in ways that dramatically reduce staffing expense. These are the tactical hires. Waste and redundancy in this arena is inexcusable.

The LSI Method Applies Total Quality Control Measures to these waste areas. Tomorrow, we'll start looking at some of the tools.

Edgeio, a developer of a classified advertising search engine, announced that it has raised $5 million in its first round of venture capital financing. Intel Capital led the investment round; Transcosmos Investments and Business Development Inc. also participated.  Launched in March 2006, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Edgeio has developed a network of over 3,000 publishers who upload their listings to the company's Edgedirect service, which now adds 700,000 new ads each day to the more than 100 million available on Edgeio.com.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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