Tag Archives: Process Improvement

The One Thing You Must Know to Be Successful in an #HR Career

Last week at LinkedIn Talent Connect in Dallas, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the other speakers about his session. Peter Sursi is a talent acquisition/HR pro working in the FBI to modernize some of their approaches to finding and keeping talent. He’s not what you might expect from a government agency: he is energetic, passionate, and forward-thinking. Yes, this is HR/career advice from the FBI, of all places!

During our conversation, we talked about what makes the difference between teams that are successful long-term when it comes to HR and which ones continue to struggle for years with being strategic, creating value for the business, etc. The quote was a powerful one:

We can’t be emotionally invested in the process. We have to be emotionally invested in the people.

The Big Takeaway

hr sparkThis was a light bulb moment for me. So much of the time as HR practitioners we get wrapped up in our process, our way of doing things, and our perspective on the world.

The problem with that? The business doesn’t always see HR as a requirement to getting the job done. They often see it as a nuisance or a blocker of other necessary activities. The “no” police, in other words. This negative perception even discourages people from trying to get into HR in the first place!

In this quote we see that we should flip it: be invested in the people, care about their results, think about how to help them and eliminate barriers to their success.

Don’t get caught in caring more about your process than you do about the people.

Don’t Let the Light Go Out!

So many people I talk to got into HR because they want to help people. Because they enjoy working with people. And so on. But something often happens where you stop really caring about the people and instead become clingy with your processes, tools, and requirements.

I can still remember ~10 years ago when I was early in my HR career and someone told me that my passion for the profession and the people would eventually wane. I’d stop caring so much. I’d just settle for mediocre.

Maybe it’s because I have a little redneck in me (hello from Huntsville Alabama!) but I decided then and there that I wouldn’t easily let go of that spark that drove me. It’s kept me going all this time and I don’t see it going out any time soon. I want to leave a legacy with my HR career, and I want you to do the same.

What about your spark? Is it still going strong? Do you need to relight it and refocus on why you got started in this profession in the first place? Whether you chose it or you fell into it by accident, you’re here now and it’s up to each of us to make sure we don’t turn into the crusty old HR lady that cares more about process than people.

I’ll hold you accountable if you’ll do the same for me. Deal?


Do This Before You Consider An HR Technology Solution

One of the recurring conversations I had during the first day of the HR Technology Conference revolved around using HR technology tools to solve business problems. The issue with that, says Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer at Brandon Hall Group, is this:

HR is a buffet of broken processes.

Applying technology to a misaligned strategy, poor tool selection, or inefficient process isn't going to magically solve anyone's problems—in fact, it's just as likely to make it worse.

When we recently did research on talent management systems, more 27% of companies were actively considering switching to a new system or provider. Consider for a moment how many of those companies might actually have the right solution, but they don't have the right processes in place to support it. Or the opposite could very well be true: the company doesn't have the right processes or technology in place and needs to make a change to one or both.

How do you make sure that you’re in alignment?

Click here to read the rest of the article on the Brandon Hall Group Blog

How Long Is Your Recruiting Process?

So after reading an interesting post by my friend Tim Sackett recently, I stopped to think about the “ideal” length of the recruiting process. Here’s Tim:

People won't read a 700 page book, they want 300.  No one wants to watch a three hour movie, make it two.  Why do we have to have an hour meeting, make it thirty minutes. Being too long is not a weakness you want to have in today’s world.  Being too long is now a sign that you probably don't really know what you're doing.  If you can't be short and concise, you're looked at as ‘old fashioned'. That's what your candidates are thinking of your selection process.  You try and tell yourself, and your leadership, that we ‘take our time' because we want to ‘make the right decision'. But your competition is making those same decisions in half the time.  You're old fashion. You're broken.  You're taking too long. Source: http://www.timsackett.com/2014/08/21/its-too-long/

Here’s a short video where I give both sides of the issue (subscribers click through to view):

So, what’s the right answer for you and your organization? Read the rest of my thoughts on the subject in my post on Talent Acquisition Process Length at the Brandon Hall Group blog.

Recruiting Process-How to Share Job Openings with SmartRecruiters and MailChimp

Recruiting process improvement, at its finest.

That’s the thought that whipped through my brain earlier this week when I was able to conquer a problem with our recruiting process that has plagued me on and off for approximately 20 months. Here’s the gist of it:

I signed us up for SmartRecruiters back in April 2010. I really like the service (the basic tool is free!), and it was a drastic improvement over our previous system of collecting emailed resumes from interested applicants. Blah.

So I’m cruising along and suddenly have an epiphany. At the time I was using MailChimp to deliver my email newsletter for the blog, and I thought to myself, “What if I could tie our job opening feed from SmartRecruiters into MailChimp? Then people who come to our careers page and don’t see a job they are interested in can submit their email address to be notified of our new job openings automatically.”

The basic principle behind the technology (reading a feed of jobs and pushing out an email about new additions to the list) was sound, and I’d seen it work well for the website.

The key purpose: building engagement in our recruiting process

I wanted to increase engagement in our recruiting process and help candidates learn more about us at the same time. There’s a neat tool within applications like MailChimp that allow you to send automatic emails to someone at regular intervals (autoresponders). In my mind, here’s what that meant:

  • Person submits email and gets a warm welcome response immediately.
  • 2-3 days later, the person gets an email that goes over our basic hiring process and how it works if they should ever move into that phase with us.
  • 2-3 days later, the person gets an email that delves deep into our culture, what we believe, and how that plays a part in the hiring process. It gives them a chance to opt out if they see that we aren’t a place they would like working (on the flip side, it also can turn them into an even bigger fan if they turn out to be a great fit for our culture).
  • 2-3 days later, the person gets some general tips on how to prepare for an interview, what to wear, etc.
  • Et cetera. The only limit is your creativity, though you wouldn’t want to schedule so many that you’re becoming annoying.

Starting to get my drift? With a tool like this, I could get a lukewarm person very interested in working with us in under a week and without having any hands-on work after the setup. I’m building our brand and keeping our recruiting process lean at the same time.

Disclaimer: I’m all about a high-touch recruiting process, but when you’re the only HR person around, you have to get creative with how to manage the workload of recruiting. I can’t personally talk with every candidate who applies, and I think this is the greatest gift I can offer to someone, since it is valuable information and could help them in the event we have something open that fits their skills/interests. 

The problem

So that all sounds very positive and encouraging, right? However, when I started trying to test it out, I couldn’t make it work. I’m nerdy, but I’m not a full-blown geek, and even the tech support guys at SmartRecruiters seemed to be stumped.

So I shelved the idea and vowed to give it a few minutes every so often to see if I can figure out some sort of workaround. Approximately twenty months go by with no progress.

Then I accidentally found the solution. Continue reading

HR-Quality Standards from ISO Prep

hr quality standards

How does your quality measure up?

Where HR and quality standards meet

Last week I had to participate in a training session led by our all-star Quality Management Specialist, and she helped me to understand how our ISO preparation is going to impact the HR-quality side of things. I hope to discuss more of them in the future, but the one item that stuck out for me was the 5 Whys technique for digging into quality problems. Basically you keep digging through the use of “why” until you find the root cause. Here’s an example:

  1. We have a problem with turnover. (Why?)
  2. Because we are hiring people who are not qualified. (Why?) Continue reading