Hire Purpose - a report on the first AM Forum meeting of senior in-house recruiters

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AM Forum is a new free event being hosted by Work Group and The FIRM. Built on what matters to you, it's entirely focused on helping senior in-house resourcing professionals to exchange ideas, share experiences and develop their professional networks.

The inaugural event was held on Thursday 23rd January at Coq d’Argent in London. Through a series of interactive group sessions, the delegates considered the business case for in-house recruitment, followed by a debate on insourcing vs. outsourcing priorities.

This report is a detailed insight into the views of the senior in-house recruiters who attended the event.

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Hire Purpose - a report on the first AM Forum meeting of senior in-house recruiters

  1. 1. AMBriefi 8.00am jan EX 8.00am ja EXAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefi 8.00am jan C AMFORU HIRE PURPOSE A REPORT ON THE FIRST AM FORUM MEETING OF SENIOR IN-HOUSE RECRUITERS 23rd January 2014 | Coq d’Argent, London Work Group, in partnership with The FIRM
  2. 2. PAGE 2 | HIRE PURPOSE AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM Yes there were recruitment agencies but these were broadly cv houses with candidate screening services. When I left the function for business education 20 years later those of us who remained committed to an in-house operation were a minority. Ten years on and the pendulum swings back towards a mixed economy where the debate is now about ‘what goes where?’ This paper makes for interesting reading, not just as a record of how debates change over time but also in what is still hotly contested. What strikes me from the discussions and the recorded insights from various participants is that first, there is a need to be very clear on what requires in-house control, direction and handling – in other words what is genuinely value adding; and secondly, that there is a real need for those responsible for resourcing outcomes to become familiar with how to manage, measure and evaluate the quality of the channels that are now used by recruiters and job seekers alike. There is a risk with the unfamiliar that choose to abdicate rather than outsource and in the digital space we should take time to reflect on how confident we really are to evaluate what is happening and direct what needs change. My reflection on what follows is that regardless of where you are and what you decide going forward, ensuring you have made the compelling case for the value you add to the business and that you then have right capabilities in-house to deliver the best outcomes remains a major challenge.” Professor Chris Bones WHEN I STARTED IN HR IN THE EARLY 1980S OUTSOURCING RECRUITMENT WAS YET TO COME. ‘‘
  3. 3. HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 3 AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM Making the case for in-house recruitment 4 Insider stories 10 The ins and outs of resourcing 16 Mostly insource 18 Mostly outsource 19 50/50 – depending on circumstances 20 50/50 – where opinions differed 21 Afterword by Simon Howard, Chairman of Work Group 22 Final thought from The FIRM 23 CONTENTS
  4. 4. PAGE 4 | HIRE PURPOSE AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM MAKING THE CASE FOR IN-HOUSE RECRUITMENT THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY COMPANIES HAVE DECIDED TO BUCK THE OUTSOURCING TREND AND BRING RECRUITMENT BACK INTO THE COMPANY. In the opening half of the session, we explored some of the justifications for this. On the following pages we explore the strengths and weaknesses of these as arguments for in-house recruitment, based on the contributions of participants around the room. Our participant group included some people using recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers, some using a partially outsourced model, but also some who had entirely in-house recruitment functions. Significantly, there was some debate over the extent to which weaknesses in outsourced elements were intrinsic, or perhaps could be due to a poor provider or poor contract management. This brings things back to the overarching point that priorities both for and against in-house alter depending on the size of the business and the scale of the resourcing challenge.
  5. 5. HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 5 AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM I COULD MEET THOSE METRICS BY HIRING THE LOCAL PAPER BOY ‘‘ ‘‘
  6. 6. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM Alignment to business strategy Probably the most universally popular justification for bringing recruitment in-house was alignment to the wider business strategy. Most people felt that even embedded outsourced providers are not “part of the tribe”, so they won’t be able to identify with the employer in the way that the in-house team does. Because in-house teams know the business better, they also “know how to attract the right talent”. RPOs can have their own agendas, so conflicts of interest emerge. People agreed that the relationship between business and RPO can be good, but it’s built on contracts and formal scopes rather than organic, office-based interaction. So there’s not as much opportunity to really get to know the ins and outs of a business and identify with its fortunes and challenges. That said, some commented that if you set up your RPO properly, there’s nothing an outsourced solution can’t deliver that an in- house function provides. It does depend, however, on the quality of the provider and effective management of the contract. Long-term advantage Closely aligned to the above point about business strategy, there was substantial support for the idea that in-house teams are more likely to look at long-term benefits for the company, rather than short-term contractual compliance. Some felt that reputation ownership comes from being in-house, and it affords the company a degree of integrity that might be hard to attain through a third-party provider. Others felt that in-house recruitment leads to a higher quality candidate experience, candidate engagement and employer reputation. One commented: “In-house is a long-term strategy whereas RPOs are a tactical short-term solution.” Ability to react to change This was often viewed as a result of being aligned with business strategy, and well-versed with the company, which only really happens when you keep recruitment in-house. “The in-house team will understand the business drive and strategy and be able to react to change.” Teams agreed outsourced relationships may be hamstrung by KPIs and contracts, whereas the in-house team might have better insight into the landscape and understand the industry in which they operate better. Conversely, one person observed that outsourced relationships are easier to scale up and down, and it’s easier to “get rid of” poor-performing outsourced recruiters than it is to fire an ineffective in-house team/team member. This brings things back to the overarching point that priorities (both for and against in-house) alter depending on the size of the business and the scale of the resourcing challenge. Time, cost and quality of hire The most intense debate at most tables centred on the importance of time, cost and quality of hire, and the relevance of each shifts substantially with the differing priorities of individual companies. One group entirely discarded “cost of hire”, on the basis that it’s irrelevant, or just not a top priority. “I could meet those metrics by hiring the local paper boy”, said one. In particular, many participants from “knowledge capital” businesses felt this was not a significant priority. But conversely two groups did have cost of hire in their top five factors, commenting that “this is the key that opens the door”, and that few Finance Directors would contemplate allocating budget without being reassured on this factor. For some, it’s been a significant part of the justification for setting up an in-house team and they are delivering on the promises made. Quality of hire was universally agreed to be important - “the quality of hire is what CEOs are interested in rather than cost”. But others raised the issue that often this is only partially within the control of the recruitment team, with line managers making final hiring decisions, sometimes in a manner that can be hard to influence. A number of participants dryly noted that in reality this is extremely difficult to measure, and therefore while it might make an attractive business case to set up an in-house function, it can be very difficult to show a measurable return against these criteria. Time to hire is particularly critical to project or contract-driven businesses, often needed to scale up in specific skill areas at very short notice. That said, if time to hire is to be kept to a minimum, this requires active management of a talent pool of candidates, and the extent to which an in-house team are able to achieve this will depend on their scale, and the frequency of opportunities they are able to offer to that group. Some commented that in very specific skill areas where they only have occasional roles, they are unlikely to be able to match the speed of headhunters who are in regular contact with these specialists. One participant commented that what you really want to measure is “time to effectiveness” rather than “time to hire”, but how would you measure it? PAGE 6 | HIRE PURPOSE
  7. 7. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 7
  8. 8. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM Interestingly, several groups commented that both speed and cost of hire are usually the business case put forward by RPO firms for outsourcing elements of recruitment, but the extent to which this is true for in-house or RPO solutions will depend on the talent pool being targeted, and the volume of recruitment. Although the above criteria are often staple targets for the recruitment function, at least one participant was able to tell the room that their organisation has concluded that they were not actually linked to business performance and that “we threw out all the KPIs”. Global consistency Global consistency was quite a divisive subject, as being a key priority for some organisations, but an irrelevance for others. There seemed to be some consensus that global consistency would probably be easier to achieve in-house, but that this wouldn’t necessarily make a good business case in some organisations. Others felt quite the opposite could be true, with RPOs sometimes resourcing global or international contracts from one or a few locations, versus in-house teams who would be embedded with individual business units around the world. In this scenario, a strength of the case for in-house recruitment could be the ability to adapt to local recruitment markets, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all solution into locations where it’s not appropriate. Ability to build talent pools Some participants are actively building talent pools in key skill areas, but this is a significant time commitment requiring a substantial in-house team. There was some support for the view that if this is possible to achieve, the business benefits from having a direct relationship with this talent pool rather than through a third party. But for many, this remains an unrealistic target for them to achieve in most of the skillsets they recruit, and this would often be an advantage for external recruiters with a specialist focus. Insight into talent landscape Again, the extent to which this could be achieved depended largely on the scale of the in-house function and the diversity of roles they recruit for. In businesses which recruit from a small number of disciplines, this can be a significant advantage of in-house recruitment, but for those recruiting a far larger number of disciplines, they would be far less likely to achieve this. Better candidate experience This featured in many groups’ top five. Some people view better candidate experience as a contribution to process effectiveness, and quality of hire. “From the first touch with people, you can’t afford to delegate contact with key talent, because it’s the quality of the people that makes the difference”. Someone noted, “At some stage in the process, candidates realise the person they’re talking to is not one of us, and the level of engagement is correspondingly lower, until they feel they are interacting with the actual business.” People discussed that the more direct contact applicants have with the company, the better their reputation is: a long-term advantage. “There’s a lot to be said for direct hire,” said one attendee, explaining that it feeds into reputation and engagement of high-quality candidates: “We see better retention and better performance when we direct hire.” Wider reach of employer brand No-one placed this in their top five in-house priorities. There was confusion amongst some as to why this was there at all, as widening reach of brand isn’t necessarily an outcome of in-house recruitment. Very divisive conversation around employer branding took place during the “swingometer” activity. Debate was sparked over whether employer brand should ever be in-house, let alone “widened” by in-house recruiters. “We’d never do that”, said one group member. Some felt that professionals should provide this non-core area of knowledge, while others contested. “There’s no way any company I know would ever outsource employer branding, they’d firmly hold on to it because the responsibility for success is theirs only.” PAGE 8 | HIRE PURPOSE
  9. 9. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM FROM THE FIRST TOUCH WITH PEOPLE, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO DELEGATE CONTACT WITH KEY TALENT, BECAUSE IT’S THE QUALITY OF THE PEOPLE THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. ‘‘ ‘‘ HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 9
  10. 10. INSIDER STORIES WHEN I JOINED, THEY SHOWED ME THE £100,000 COFFEE MUG... ‘‘ ‘‘ AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM PAGE 10 | HIRE PURPOSE
  11. 11. “When I joined Mintel, I was shown the £100,000 coffee mug. In the previous year, we’d spent £100,000 with a recruitment consultancy, but none of the candidates had stayed for long. But they did send us a free mug. The reason this was happening was that we have a lot of very niche roles, so agencies were sending through CVs as soon as they had a vaguely plausible technical match, even if the people weren’t really suited to the role. Actually, that’s much more than a cost problem, as managers were wasting time on inappropriate interviews, and ultimately offering roles out of frustration. Over three years, we managed to get from 100% agency to only a handful of roles. We manage a much better talent pipeline of people through LinkedIn groups. But there’s a tricky issue there – how long can you keep someone in a pipeline without having a job to offer them? We don’t try to do everything in-house, but we do more than most in collaboration with our PR and marketing teams – which works well because I hired almost all of them! One of the key parts of our success has been to be very public about what we’re doing internally. Everyone knows what we’re focusing on, and with direct support from the CEO, recruitment is at the forefront of eyeryone’s agenda. ” Simon Hollowood, Mintel International Group AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 11
  12. 12. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM “I’ve been in recruitment for seventeen years, and in-house for the last twelve of those. I joined Skype four years ago just as we were acquired by a VC Consortium and starting to prepare for an IPO, which meant a lot of pressure on Staffing to ramp up hiring really quickly without compromising on quality, which is easier said than done! Then just as we were getting ready to IPO, we were acquired by Microsoft, which was fantastic for Skype but required our team to completely re-engineer our recruitment model to align it more closely to Microsoft, again without any loss in quality and quantity. It’s been a busy few years! During this time, Skype’s definition of recruitment value has changed, which has allowed us to evolve the recruitment team significantly, not just in terms of size but in terms of capability and competence. We’re successfully shifting the conversation away from the numbers-only focus of the early days to conversations about what will also deliver competitive advantage to Skype and to Microsoft over the medium to long term. We’re still on a journey and we’re not there yet, but we are changing the way we drive commercial success within Skype. ” Gavin Russell, Skype PAGE 12 | HIRE PURPOSE
  13. 13. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM “Recruitment used to be a pretty reactive role – waiting for responses to roll in from job boards. Now it’s hugely pro-active – chasing down the talent your business needs and calling them directly. It was interesting discussing the difference between RPO and in-house, but I’m not sure it necessarily has to be as different as some people think. I used to run lots of outsourced IT contracts, for example, and despite the same terms, you’d get very different behaviour from providers. At Symantec, having recruitment in-house is part of a wider strategy to bring functions back in-house – for example IT’s come back in too. That said, we still have to convince individual hiring managers to drop agencies and use us instead. One thing we do which works really well is that the recruitment team go on secondments, or even on training courses, with client departments. It gives us a level of insight into the roles that an external agency couldn’t match, and candidates can tell we know about the specific team we’re talking about, rather than just the company in general. The hardest thing in many ways is getting the parts of the business to acknowledge when you’ve achieved something good or overcome a tricky problem. If they’re not paying for your time, they don’t always realise how much it took! ” Martin Dangerfield, Symantec HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 13
  14. 14. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM PAGE 14 | HIRE PURPOSE
  15. 15. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM “It’s an exciting time at the John Lewis Partnership, as we’re launching our new Resourcing Operations Centre in May. It forms part of our shared service division, Partnership Services. It makes sense to pull all our services across the Partnership together, and although there’s a lot to do it feels like a fantastic team effort, with a defined goal that will deliver a great candidate experience and service to the business. The Resourcing team will be structured into three areas: strategy, delivery and account management. Organising it this way means the delivery team attract and select top talent into the Partnership, whilst the account management team work closely with the hiring managers, planning peak campaigns and feeding back to the delivery team, and the strategy team deliver the cutting edge systems and process developments. We’ve assembled a really well-balanced team with mixed experiences – we have a wealth of experience from across the business and new Partners that bring a wide range of skills and experience. The plan is that this joint service will make it easier to build talent pools the whole John Lewis Partnership can use, and also help people who work here move around within the business. We’ve already made massive investments in systems to help people internally and externally find the right roles for them. With only a few weeks to go live now, we’re really looking forward to seeing it all in action! ” Jenni Workman, John Lewis Partnership HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 15
  16. 16. THE INS AND OUTS OF RESOURCING BUY EXPERTISE? OR RENT EXPERTISE? The particular issue for debate was to what extent these should be in-house activities, and when it was pragmatic to outsource these to a third party – whether a boutique specialist or an RPO provider. This is a critical strategic issue for many of our participants, as it dictates what skills they need to add to their team through training or hiring, and what skills they will never need enough to have within their function. Ultimately, this is a question of whether you buy expertise, or rent expertise. There were some issues where people generally agreed, some where people differed due to the circumstances and scale of their recruitment, and some where people differed philosophically and strategically. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM PAGE 16 | HIRE PURPOSE
  17. 17. Social media Role design Channel strategy Executive search Application screening Telephone interviewing Assessment delivery Website management Employer brand Exit interviews Strategic workforce planning Succession planning Process management Onboarding Compensation and benefits Offer management Hiring manager training INSOURCE MIDDLE-ISH OUTSOURCE ATS management Market insight Website creation Job board/media management Comms/ad creation Application handling Assessment design Psychometric assessment AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 17
  18. 18. MOSTLY INSOURCE Strategic workforce planning Given that our earlier discussions had identified that alignment with strategy is critical to the case for in-house recruitment, it’s not surprising that this was seen by the overwhelming majority of participants as a function that must be fulfilled in-house. Some suggested that it can be worth engaging external consultants to assist in this process, but only in an advisory capacity. Succession planning Although most participants were agreed this should take place in-house as part of the workforce planning, many felt that in reality they didn’t have sufficient resources to be fulfilling this function. One commented that this isn’t something that would be outsourced, but if there isn’t capacity for it to be done in house, it generally isn’t done at all. Process management Possibly related to the fact that people were relatively positive about outsourcing many other components of the process, there was a strong consensus that the overall process needed to be controlled in-house. Where opinions differed, it was largely an issue of resource, rather than philosophy on this issue. Onboarding Many participants didn’t actually have control of this process – as it’s often fulfilled by other HR or L&D professionals within the business. That said, there was a clear majority in favour of delivering this in-house, even if parts of the communications and materials might be created by an external partner. Compensation and benefits At least one group felt that this shouldn’t fall within the recruitment function, but most felt that this should be held internally. From discussions, this is often a critical negotiating point with senior hires, and many felt it was critical they were able to influence what’s on offer to these high-worth individuals. Offer management Most participants are already undertaking the offer management function (although some commented there are administrative elements that might be done by a third party). Again, it was felt that this is a critical stage for the success of the recruitment function, and most would prefer to have it within their direct control. Hiring manager training Although a few participants did use external parties, the vast majority felt this was a critical opportunity to engage with the line managers who are ultimately their customer base. It offers another opportunity for recruiters to gain further insight into the priorities and preferences of these stakeholders, but it also ensures that those stakeholders are conducting interviews in a manner that is consistent with the employer brand. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM PAGE 18 | HIRE PURPOSE
  19. 19. MOSTLY OUTSOURCE ATS management Most groups placed this one as an external activity relatively rapidly. Few felt they had the expertise in-house to select, customise or manage the ATS systems available, although clearly this is a process they would need to participate in heavily to ensure it is fit for purpose. Market insight Although a few participants have some capabilities in this area, most agreed that a specialist third party will generally have access to information sources not available to an in-house market researcher. Opinion was split as to whether the analysis should be done in-house or externally, as there are advantages to knowing the business context, but conversely advantages to a dispassionate analysis of the data. At very large organisations, however, there may be a case for bringing this into the recruitment function. Website creation and Comms/job ad creation Almost all participants were using a third party to create communications materials, whether ads or websites. In some cases, participants were unsure if their external partner sub-contracted this out further to another company. There was little enthusiasm for bringing this in-house, with some people commenting that specialist agencies offer a creative environment which would be hard to replicate in-house, even if the relevant skillsets could be hired. Job board/media management A clear majority felt that external specialist media buyers would have stronger relationships with the relevant media, and volumes of purchasing which would enable them to get a better deal than by going direct. One commented that digital media in particular often involves negotiating complex packages of different inventory, and that this requires specialist knowledge to purchase effectively. That said, many participants have existing direct relationships with one or two critical media providers, such as LinkedIn. Application handling Few felt they had the capacity in their team to deal with any kind of high-volume application handling, and for those running annual campaigns, access to the flexible resources available from an external party was seen as critical. Assessment design and Psychometric assessment Few participants had any Chartered Occupational Psychologists on their team, and therefore most felt it was appropriate to outsource technical activities like this to specialist providers. In some cases, this is done through hiring a specialist on a fixed-term contract or project basis, however in most cases people are using an external company which can not only provide this service, but also quality check the resulting work. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 19
  20. 20. 50/50 – DEPENDING ON CIRCUMSTANCES Role design/job descriptions For large-scale, junior level campaigns, such as graduate recruitment, many felt that this could well be outsourced to a specialist in the area. But at senior level, many felt that this must be done in-house, as it would require an extensive understanding of the business context. It’s worth noting that some felt this should be done in-house at all levels, but in businesses with many specialist roles this would be hard to achieve without a detailed understanding of each of these areas. Channel strategy Although earlier we saw that people were happy to outsource media buying to external parties, channel strategy was seen as a more nuanced issue. In many cases, large-scale campaigns like graduates or apprentices would be largely done by external parties, but for senior level roles it’s more likely that this is determined in-house in partnership with the hiring manager. Executive search Many recruiters are already effectively fulfilling executive search for many roles, but most tables had a debate about the trickier issue of highly specialist roles. For roles that are recruited infrequently (either due to seniority or rarity), it was felt that an external party might well be able to fulfil this more effectively than an in-house team. In a few cases, people were using an executive research company to produce a hybrid solution – the research and sourcing done externally, but then the contact and recruitment done internally. Application screening Again, this is largely a scale and/or seniority issue. For large campaigns with clear gross disqualifiers (e.g. graduates and degree qualifications), this is generally done externally, but for more senior or specialist recruitment there was far more nervousness about allowing an external party to undertake this role. For those with no large-scale hiring programmes, this can be fulfilled in-house, but it does require an admin function within the recruitment team if it’s not going to become overwhelmingly time-consuming for those who should be focused on other tasks. Telephone interviewing As with the above, this was largely an issue of scale and resource. Participants were happy to outsource this activity on high-volume campaigns, but preferred to keep it in-house for senior roles. This was also their preference for specialist roles where even rejected applicants can play a critical role in building an understanding of the talent landscape. Assessment delivery Assessments were generally conducted in-house at senior level, but at more junior levels many people were using external providers to at least some extent. A few participants were also using external consultants right up to senior level – for example using one external consultant on a panel of three for assessments to provide expertise and ensure best practice is followed. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF TOPICS ON WHICH EITHER DIFFERENT GROUPS CAME TO OPPOSITE CONCLUSIONS, OR INDEED WITHIN THE GROUP THERE WAS AN AGREED POSITION OF “IT DEPENDS”. IN MOST CASES, THE CRITICAL FACTORS ARE THE SENIORITY OR SCALE OF THE ROLES IN QUESTION. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM PAGE 20 | HIRE PURPOSE
  21. 21. 50/50 – WHERE OPINIONS DIFFERED Social media Social media is critical to the recruitment strategies of most companies, but there were significant differences of opinion about whether this meant using a specialist external provider, or managing it entirely in-house. As one participant noted, “we manage our LinkedIn presence in-house because it’s important, but I’m not sure we’re getting as much out of it as we should”. Professor Bones joined the debate on this issue, observing that if it’s a critical channel, it may no longer be appropriate to accept a lack of knowledge or expertise on the issue. There seemed to be even greater complexity when examining different “social media” channels, with the PR or Customer Relations teams “owning” presence on networks like Facebook or Twitter, but Recruitment retaining control of LinkedIn. The reality is, it can be hard to define whether a channel is primarily about customers/clients or recruitment. Some felt very strongly that if content is going to be current and authentic, it must be generated internally. Others were equally adamant that the detailed knowledge of the platform in question that specialist providers offer outweighs this. Website management In a closely related issue, most were clear that their recruitment website, or the careers page of their corporate website, plays a critical role in their external face to market. Reasons for preferring an outsourced solution included specialist expertise again, but in some cases also a faster or more responsive service than would be available from the internal website team. Conversely, many felt that it would be utterly unacceptable to rely on an external party to manage this critical part of the company’s image, even if they use an external party to design the careers page. Employer brand In probably the most dramatic difference of opinion, some felt that the employer brand could only possibly be authentic if it was developed in-house, while others felt that such an important task should only be undertaken by communications professionals with extensive experience of developing these for many different organisations. Discussions revealed a substantial variety in terms of in-house expertise in this area, with some confident in their abilities to develop and manage an employer brand with little or no outside help, and others equally clear that while they would be involved in commissioning and briefing a provider, they would not be confident to undertake the bulk of the task. Interestingly, this didn’t seem to be related to the size of the recruitment function or organisation, with large and small organisations on both sides of the debate. Exit interviews Some participants felt that the subject matter of exit interviews was sufficiently complex or confidential that they could only be conducted internally, but others felt very strongly that an external party would bring an objectivity and independence that would allow interviewees to be more honest. THERE WERE A FEW TOPICS DISCUSSED WHERE THE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION WAS NOT ABOUT PRAGMATISM OR CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT ABOUT A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF HOW THIS SHOULD BE DONE. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 21
  22. 22. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM You don’t have to read too many headlines to see that life is returning to normal: House prices are booming; there’s parental outcry at the price of overseas holidays during half term (an unthinkable squeal during The Crisis) and skills shortages are back in the news. Again. Of course skills shortages have always been an endemic feature of the British economy, and one way or another we’ve managed to muddle through. But this time the headlines might just be heralding an altogether new challenge for UK employers: an unbridgeable talent gap. It’s all about the big numbers and it’s beginning to look like something of a perfect storm for recruiters. Put simply, rising demand for skills could not have come at a worse time, because on the supply side the working population is entering a period of accelerating contraction. And there are three big drivers behind this: First, we’ve known about it for years, but the baby-boomers are reaching retirement age at record rates. Most still have comfortable pensions – especially the more highly skilled, and so there is little temptation to stay on. You may have read about ‘working until you’re 70’ but the ‘working-longer’ generations have yet to hit their fifties. The time has come when employers must face up to the fact that the demographic time bomb is beginning to explode. Second, politicians could not have chosen worse timing to start choking off the supply of talented and qualified migrant workers. For decades, skilled Australians, Kiwis, South Africans, Canadians, Americans – you name it – have boosted the poorly qualified (by comparison) output of our own education system. But that inflow of talented migrants is now becoming a trickle and it’s already being felt in the IT, accounting, finance and health sectors, where temp and contract pay rates are booming. So there’s no easy fix for the time bomb here. The third culprit is the employers themselves. During ‘The Crisis’ collectively they, or rather we, have not been bringing young people into the workforce in sufficient numbers. Where is the class of ’08 or ’09, who now have five solid years’ experience behind them? Answer: they were never hired in the first place, or at least not in sufficient numbers – and nor in any year since. Hence employers’ short-term hiring horizons have only made a bad situation worse. So there you have it: Demography, politics and short- termism all conspiring to create an unbridgeable talent gap. And the next headlines to expect? ‘Wage inflation threatens growth’ and ‘Uncompetitive UK sees more jobs go abroad’. And before too long, The FIRM members will be arguing for increased budgets. Simon Howard is the Chairman and a founder of Work Group WHY A LOOMING TALENT GAP STRENGTHENS THE CASE FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN RESOURCING. PAGE 22 | HIRE PURPOSE
  23. 23. AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 EX INES 8.00am jan 02 EX PLESAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefing 8.00am jan 02 C PUS AMFORUM FINAL THOUGHT FROM THE FIRM We are delighted to have partnered with Work Group on our inaugural AM Forum breakfast meeting. The role of in-house recruitment is one that is continually debated and it will be fascinating to track this conversation moving forwards as we see trends for insourcing and outsourcing shift and evolve. It was great to see the pro-active debate amongst our senior members and the open conversations were refreshing and insightful. We would like to thank all at Work for making the session possible and we hope the AM Forum series will continue to grow and form a key part of our membership events calendar moving forwards. Gary Franklin & Emma Mirrington, founders of The FIRM HIRE PURPOSE | PAGE 23
  24. 24. AMBriefi 8.00am jan EX 8.00am ja EXAMforum AMforum AMforum AMforum AMBriefi 8.00am jan C AMFORU Event designed and report compiled by Work Group www.workcomms.com Sinead Tyro / AMEC Finola Gallagher / Anchura Partners Jeremy Russon / AXA Maria McLachlan / Barclays Claire Darnell / Barclays Lauren King / Barclays Daniel Whitehead / BlackRock Richard Essex / Broadbean Clair Bush / Broadbean Melanie Hayes / Care UK Kate Bugler / Co-operative Group Sarah Dingwell / Coutts Ed Kent-Jones / cph Tim Le Maire / Cushman & Wakefield Gemma Lockhart / Essence Mardi Smouha / Eversheds Kevin Keegan / Fidessa Heather Mancini / Hult International Business School Ruth Loftus / Hult International Business School Graham Butler / ISIS Equity Partners Jessica Leupolz / ITV Jenni Workman / John Lewis Partnership Colin Crowley / KCOM Chris Whitaker / KCOM Simon Hollowood / Mintel International Group Helena Gray / Net-a-Porter Michael Queally / News Corporation Glenn Lindley / Pearson Gillian Ong / Pearson Elaine Marron / PwC Sarah Ridley / Qualcomm Carl du Plessis / Royal Mail Rachel Taylor / Sally Beauty Joanne Zadro / Schroders Harvey Levene / Shell Gavin Russell / Skype Martin Dangerfield / Symantec Chad Horne / TalkTalk Lewis Turner / Tim Group Claire Wragg / True North Brian Dean / Vodafone Emma Jones / Wipro Amber Shankland / Wipro Catherine Schlieben / WorldPay Andrea Kirby Krysta Gough WITH THANKS TO ALL THE PARTICIPANTS:

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