Sep 20, 2023 workforce podcast show notes
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Do Companies Actively Plan for the Hiring Process?
Molley begins by asking this question of the group. This is particularly relevant when an employer is hiring a larger number of people. Jamie’s response is that often companies plan for work, but necessarily workers. Jason comments that when things get busy, companies tend to scrap the process and just try to fill the jobs.
The plan is a key component of a hiring initiative. But as Molley observes, the plan is going to be different based on the number of employees the company is trying to hire. How you need to accomplish the objective has changed dramatically. Traditional methodologies aren’t as successful as they were in the past. This is where many employers struggle.
This Is the Way We’ve Always Done It
That mindset is a limiting factor in today’s environment. Jason points out that while it may not be the most effective approach, today, many companies aren’t sure how to change their recruiting and hiring process. Unfortunately, rather than taking the time to investigate, modify and improve the process, some companies just decide, “We’re just going to go with what we know.” It’s no wonder the results often fall short of expectations.
Molley’s been involved in recruiting for the past 28 years. Things have obviously changed. Jamie comments that she found her first HR position in the newspaper. How effective are newspaper ads today? Not nearly as good as they were years ago. The market and how prospective new hires look for job openings has evolved.
Molley explained how, in the early 2000s, she took a different approach to helping a company recruit a large number of applicants for experienced IT roles. The success of her non-traditional approach proved her assumption that you have to be creative in your process, if you want it to work. The “post and pray” approach is a sub-optimal way to tackle workforce development objectives.
Jamie remembers how in the 1990s, she noticed a company using video to showcase the work environment, so prospective applicants could get a sense for what a normal day would look like. It was innovative back then, however, there are companies who still are relying on the “This is the way we’ve always done it” strategy. They’re losing out on some of the best candidates.
Jason notes that the balance of power has changed. It used to be that the employer had all of the leverage, but that’s not the case anymore. There are more open jobs that people who want to work. It’s a big shift and those talent acquisition teams that are willing to recognize it, have a tactical advantage over those who are still looking in the rear-view mirror. You have to adapt your process.
You’re Recruiting from 5 Different Generations
The group recognizes that depending on the role, you have the opportunity to recruit from literally 5 different generations, but they all gather and process information differently. This poses a significant challenge to employers who are anchored to a single, outdated process.
Fun with Labor Planning
Jamie discusses how a company she previously worked for held daily, labor planning meetings during peak production. The HR team focused on KPIs to help them understand their current tracking, as well as identifying potential gaps or shortfalls. They would then model their future performance in an attempt to forecast potential issues. For instance, how would the opening day of hunting season impact their attendance? They considered the UK and UofL athletic calendars and many other factors that could stress the production capability of the operation. This is a process that helped to highlight the need for contingency planning to minimize disruptions.
While this seems fine for a larger company, it may be even more critical for a smaller operation. The larger employer had a pool of employees to fill in, as needed. That “luxury” may not exist for a smaller company. Developing a more detailed workforce planning process may be the key to helping the business to deliver on commitments to its customers, as well as to the bottom line.
Culture Has a Role
Jason points out that beyond the company’s culture, the culture of your workforce also has a role in an effective process. It’s not uncommon for a diverse workforce to have specific needs/desires for time off during various holiday and religious seasons. They have valid factors in their personal lives the company should consider in its resource planning.
Attrition Is Part of the Algebra
This is an interesting, and often frustrating, part of the planning process. While math is based on truths (e.g. 2 + 2 = 4), factors impacting your ability to effectively manage the workforce levels are always changing.
Jamie is a firm believer in the adage, “Start with your customer and work your way backwards.” Some companies have pronounced peaks and valleys that impact the number of employees you need to have at any given time. For others, however, the business flow may be more steady. with a slower burn. She recommends including your particular workforce demand in your annual planning and review it in your on-going monthly discussions. You want to ensure you’re achieving your monthly goals, or identifying factors preventing your organization from doing so. This on-going monitoring will enable you to spot issues quicker, allowing contingency plans to be implemented to limit significant problems. Once again, it’s a process.
Molley discusses how pausing to consider the drivers of why you need to hire can also provide valuable insights. Often companies assume they only need to focus on the hiring process due to business growth and expansion. Sure, you can forecast workforce needs based solely on this, but what about attrition? Don’t fail to consider your need to hire additional employees to address those you’re going to lose through attrition. If you’re not careful, you’ll overlook the need to budget for the recruiting, hiring and retention of these addition employees.
It’s important to include regular analysis of the workforce development actual expense compared to the budgeted expense. If you have a smaller organization, your planning needs to be even more thorough.
This process can be complicated, especially when you realize it’s not simply for production-level employees, but also for continuity planning within your management and senior management.
The group discusses the often-overlooked risk of “that single point of failure.” This refers to the accumulated knowledge a specific employee may have, but never gets documented. When this person leaves, production and/or other important roles can be significantly impacted.
Molley describes a situation in which a manufacturing employee had spent 30-years on the line. A couple of times each month, he replaced a piece of duct tape that helped to keep the line moving. He left and when the problem arose, no one knew what was causing it, nor how to quickly fix it. Production was disrupted.
One solution would have been to have someone stand beside him to document the specific processes and the unwritten tips, steps and quick fixes that he knew about. How much smoother would that assembly line’s production have run, had that single point of failure been identified in advance? Realize, most operations have many of this informal knowledge floating around.
Molley shares another story about a 35-year employee who notified his company that he was going to retire in 2 years. No training manual for his job existed. This would have been an excellent opportunity to have someone shadow him, take pictures of specific actions and speak to him about why that step was necessary to the process. The training manual would easily be created. As Jamie points out, a well-developed knowledge transfer should be part of the process.
Jason’s company does a lot of video training. They create videos using the actual employees, when possible. There are video tools and screen sharing tool that can be used to show a specific process. This style of training is great for visual learners and those who may not read as well.
What’s the Proper Way to Develop a Budget for Staffing?
Jason comments that while you need to consider what you will have to spent, it’s also important to consider what you’d lose if you didn’t spend the money on it. Molley found research indicating it costs $10,050 to recruit a mid-level or lower employee and to keep them for 60 days. This doesn’t factor in the cost of a failed hire or other opportunity costs.
Of course, you can spend less, but you have to break down the process and decide what will work best for your specific situation. Unfortunately, as Molley’s experience has shown, very few companies tend to adequately budget for a phase of new hiring.
Jason discusses the challenge of finding “the right employee” who gets it, wants it and has the capacity to do the job.
Jamie comments on the key question of whether your organization is prepared to recruit. There are often additional individuals, beyond just the recruiters involved in the process. Are they prepared to ask the appropriate and legal questions? It’s an important consideration. Compliance is there to protect the company, especially from legal exposure.
Molley and Jamie point out that many of the recruiters haven’t performed the actual job, so they aren’t able to fully address questions that may arise. This can be a flaw in the process. If the recruiters could have some experience doing the job or observing the job, it can help them to set the proper expectations during the interview.
It’s important that numerous stakeholders are involved in the overall plan. It’s the best way to ensure your recruiting and human resources teams know the plan, work the plan and nail the plan. If you’re asking, “Why can’t I find good people?” one answer is process.
Need Help Supporting Your Company’s Recruiting and Staffing Goals?
We’re here to help. You can contact us via our individual websites, depending on your specific needs or questions:
- Jamie Swaim, SPHR – ParcelKnows.com
- Molley Ricketts – IncipioWorks.com
- Jason Heflin – CrowdSouth.com
We hope you found this file insightful and helpful. Thank you for listening!
By Jason Heflin
Jason Heflin is one of CrowdSouth’s owning Partners and brings years of marketing experience from his past lives as a corporate marketing manager, writer, and freelancer. He also plays the ukulele for fun, which is cool.