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Proving How Resourceful HR Can Really Be

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Proving How Resourceful HR Can Really BeIt’s 2011 and what has seemed like a never-ending recession is finally, well, receding. Companies have been managing with overworked, overextended teams and while business is growing, the law of diminishing returns is rearing its ugly head. With layoffs not a too distant memory, many businesses are apprehensive about adding head count, but what happens when you are stretched to capacity?

This recession taught us all that managing expenditures and efficiencies were keys to emerging in one piece, so it may be challenging to convince company leadership — still focused on the bottom line —  to add more salaries to payroll. After all, aside from real estate, people are your biggest expenditure, yet also your most vital asset.

With all this in mind, I stumbled across an excellent webinar entitled: It’s 2011, Do You Know Where Your Next Hires Are? by Christine Nichlos and Elain Orler. Here they discuss the characteristics of successful organizations and the steps required to help get company leadership on board.

Nichlos and Orler defined the three main characteristics of successful companies as:

•    Not requiring upper management buy-in
•    Having the majority of staff believe in the cause
•    Having the cause understood throughout the organization

Sounds easy, right? This involves thinking like your senior leadership — with a focus on growing the business — and conveying the benefits, and potential returns of bringing on additional staff.
In order to align the senior leadership’s vision with your own, it is important to convey the following characteristics:

An Optimistic Vision. There will always be naysayers within your organization, but it is important to transfer some of these out so you can focus on successes. If the majority of the company feels that business objectives can’t be met, then there will be no alternative. By utilizing metrics, examining the process, identifying bottlenecks and building internal relationships, you’ll better manage both the HR function and the general operations of the company. With a more optimistic environment, you’ll be better equipped to punch through the bureaucracy and convey what these existing vacancies are costing the business.

A Well-Balanced Process. To get senior leaders on board, it is essential to demonstrate a well-balanced recruitment process where initiatives and processes are clearly mapped and talent is effectively matched to the right role and department. This may involve a combination of permanent and temporary staff as well as contractors and possibly outsourced operations. Talk to outside suppliers, assess strengths and weaknesses and use metrics (including potential cost savings) to help present your case.

Managed & Executed Passion. In order to influence and achieve buy-in, try to align yourself with reasonable and calm personalities. There will always be a vocal, often vehement personality who is ready to counter any idea that challenges the status quo. By identifying and building relationships with level-headed and logical personalities, you’ll have the backing you need to demonstrate your passion and fight for your cause.

An Understanding that Technology Can Be an Enabler.
This is a big one and one that I think offers recruiters an opportunity not previously available. The advent of technology for recruitment has radically changed how you can approach your day, and thus your efficiency and effectiveness on the job. From Outlook to your databases to social media, master the basics then format according to your preferences. Another benefit is that it is easier to measure the financial impact of having (or not having) certain technologies in your work.

An Eye on Areas for Improvement. Once you’ve identified your technological needs, look at how you can propose its business value to the larger organization. Consider partnering with other departmental leaders and demonstrating the impact and value of technology. Those who challenge the status quo are better equipped to help define a company’s future and will suggest process improvements that make financial sense.

Nichlos and Orler make a convincing argument — tie HR, an often misunderstood and undervalued function, to the greater business operations and focus on growth. After all, if you don’t have the proper resources in place, you will not be able to leverage the emerging business opportunities that accompany an upturn. As we again enter a candidate-short marketplace, those companies that can attract, retain and cultivate the strongest talent will have an advantage over the competition, and therefore will see the ensuing profit and prosperity.

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