Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hard times and poor responses in Recruiting

 

  I’ve already noted that I’ve not been attending the CIPD’s co-located recruiting or HR software conferences this year.  In fact, I’m out in Barcelona delivering my own smaller recruitment focused event.  So I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the UK show – but it’s not been than easy to do given the very low amount of social media usage there (more on this shortly!).

One thing which has been made available is the CIPD’s new Resourcing and Talent Planning survey which I’ve been looking through.  It’s not good news, and in fact if contrasts strongly against other research which I’ve already referred to in my workshop – for example this study by Aon Hewitt for the European Club for HR which found that:

“HR professionals across Europe expect revenues and investment to grow at a much better pace in 2011 than in the last two years with only 2% of respondent organisations forecasting a decrease this year.

The more positive outlook for the year ahead is confirmed by the employment prospects. The proportion of companies foreseeing a reduction of their workforce is significantly smaller now at 26% compared to 44% last year and 71% in 2009. Meanwhile, the proportion of companies that expect to add new jobs has increased to 28% in 2011, up from 20% in 2010 and only 8% in 2009.

The difficulty of having a suitably qualified labour force, or in finding the right talent in the right place, emerges as this year's most influential factor when designing HR policies. Talent shortage jumps from fifth to the first position in 2011.

Cost sensitivity loses its first place but remains a highly influential factor together with changes in the company culture and organisation.”

 

In contrast, the CIPD report (which focuses more on the UK than the rest of Europe) notes:

“On average the number of vacancies organisations attempted
to fill in 2010 remains as low as in 2009, during the recession.  The number of vacancies in very large organisations, particularly in the public sector, has dramatically reduced over the past three years.

Changes in resourcing and talent practices in 2011 compared with 2010 reflect a stronger focus on costs and reductions in budgets. More organisations anticipate they will be focusing on developing talent in-house, retaining rather than recruiting talent and reducing their reliance on recruitment agencies and external consultants for resourcing and development.”

 

There does seem to be agreement that the ‘war for talent’ is stoking up again though:

“Despite high unemployment over the last two years, more than half (52%) believe that competition for talent is even greater as the pool of available talent to hire has fallen sharply (2010: 41%; 2009: 20%).”

 

So what’s not so great to see is the rather uninspiring response of organisations to this situation, for example:

“One in three (31%) organisations report that the length of their recruitment process has led to the loss of potential recruits. This issue appears to be exacerbated by organisation size. Nearly half of organisations with more than 5,000 employees report that the length of their recruitment process has led to the loss of potential recruits.”

 

And:

“While the effectiveness of methods to attract applicants varies according to organisation sector and size, the most effective method overall is reported to be through organisations’ own corporate websites, as was the case last year.

Despite the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, they are not seen to be particularly effective for attracting candidates.  Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, are more popular, particularly in the private services sector, although there has only been a small percentage increase in their reported effectiveness compared with last year.”

 

The reliance on career sites is frankly bizarre, particularly so shortly after John Sullivan has announced their demise!

And the effectiveness of social recruiting?  Well, if you’re just advertising your vacancies on Linkedin, you’re not doing it right.  But as you can see from the low level of tweeting at the conference (pretty non-existent really once you’ve taken out the ‘visit my stand’ messages from exhibitors), UK based recruiters generally still aren’t into the social aspects of social networking sites (despite the great case studies which have been and will once again be discussed at the Social Recruiting conference in two weeks time).

The focus on career sites seems to be linked to the desire of organisations to improve their employer brand (and if that’s the case, I again think they’d find more effective use of social media to be a better way to achieve this benefit):

“Nearly three-quarters of organisations have made efforts to improve their employer brand over the past year. The larger the organisation, the more likely it is to have undertaken one or
more activities to improve its brand.

The most popular approaches to improving employer brand are employee surveys and developing online careers sites, with larger
organisations most likely to have adopted these methods. The public sector is most likely to have introduced or extended flexible working / homeworking, whereas the private sector is
more likely to have made efforts to improve its brand through working with charities or corporate sponsorship.

 

Bizarrer and bizzarer! – none of these are core to an effective employer brand.  See REC’s recent report instead.

Other news includes:

“Overall, a third of organisations report they have reduced their use of recruitment partners; however, one in five report they have formed a closer business partnership with them over the past year and one in ten that they consider them integral to attracting top talent.”

 

This at least is good news – recruiting technologies (including social media) allow organisations to do much more recruiting for themselves, so perhaps this is taking place after all.  And I don’t see the proportion forming closer partnerships with their suppliers as something that’s opposed to this – as you reduce the numbers of suppliers you’re working with, it makes sense to work more closely with those it’s still sensible to use.

There’s also:

“Competency-based interviews (70%), interviews following the contents of CVs/application forms (63%) and structured interviews (56%) are, as last year, the most common methods used to select applicants. Two-fifths of organisations report they use a strengths-based approach to recruitment.

Over three-quarters of those who use a strengths based approach to recruitment believe it brings benefits in terms of increased individual performance (78%). Two-thirds believe it improves retention (67%) and increases engagement (63%).  Two-fifths (39%) report it results in greater diversity of skills in the workplace.

Many organisations that use a strengths-based approach to recruitment also use a strengths-based approach for other people processes. More than half use it for performance management processes (59%), succession planning (55%) and learning and development (53%). Two-fifths use it for talent management (42%) and a third use it for workforce planning (32%). Just under three in ten (29%) also use it for redeployment.

Many organisations that use a strengths-based approach to recruitment also use a strengths-based approach for other people processes. More than half use it for performance management processes (59%), succession planning (55%) and learning and development (53%). Two-fifths use it for talent management (42%) and a third use it for workforce planning (32%). Just under three in ten (29%) also use it for redeployment.

 

I do like this.  A focus on strengths is one obvious way to move from a more business-focused, to a more talent-focused approach to recruitment (and other HR activities), and am not surprised at all about the benefits organisations are finding from using it.

 

 

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