(November 27, 2006) We were talking to Scott Dow, the CEO of the
Empower Network about what he's
learning as he fleshes out the realities of Lean Staffing.
Scott believes that the staffing/recruiting process
has embedded indicators that can instantaneously tell you how you are doing at
any point in the flow. For example, if your search produces two resumes when you
try to source from online job boards, you can be sure that the cycle time will
be longer than normal. On the other hand, if a search of your inhouse database
produces 20 the moment you start searching, it's a a slam dunk.
Managing to these micro-milestones is an
essential part of truly making a staffing workflow as productive as it can be.
By making procedures highly repeatable and narrowly specified, enormous
productivity gains are possible.
As we talked with Scott, He said:
"The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) hides the
real workflow. The
analytics built into the standard ATS are not intended to provide improvement
capacity, they're designed to assign blame. While Recruiting Departments depend
on ATS Analytics for a vision of the health of their processes, they are
being led down the garden path. It's a shame that so much of what is
improvable is hidden directly under the noses of ATS users."
"Every staffing manager uses an aging req report
to manage the process. It lists requisitions in order of the date they were
supposed to be completed. That's a lagging indicator. It shows you the
consequences of what went wrong rather than helping you see systemic failure
as it happens. An aging report is a litany of failure. Effective managers
want to know what's happening before the deadline is passed."
"To proactively manage the
workflow, you need to pull different reports to see where the hang-ups are, what
the candidate flow is and so on. Systemic answers are not part of the ongoing
horizon lines represented in an aging report. Real process improvement is only
possible when there are specs and milestones for the sub processes that make
up the recruiting flow."
"Sourcing methods are hidden in all of the
ATS reporting we've evaluated. Sourcing strategy
is instinctive and the process isn't managed for improvement and troubleshooting
of the system. This leaves the hiring manager and the upstream department
managers in the lurch until long after the failure has occurred."
There's no easy way to see the real problems and
know whether you're on top of it
We've built a set of visual controls. We capture the req development process,
the hiring manager calibration. The way that we manage the outsourcing process leads to improved analytics
focused on system throughput. Our staffing velocity report is designed to continuously assess and drive
cycle time and quality. One of the great things about TQM is it builds full accountability into the
system including end of the relationship stuff."
As we've mentioned before, Scott and his Lean
Staffing Managers are the first folks who we've seen rigorously apply TQM
principles to recruiting. It's exciting to watch. It's even more exciting to see
the vast levels of improvement that are really possible.