More than any other back-office business function, recruiting continues to experience profound transformation.
Everyone has high expectations and demands for accelerated staffing delivery. Today more than ever, talent competition is ultra-competitive, sometimes contentious, and its needs to continually increases over time. Recruiters must be faster, more efficient, have transparent communications, and clear recruiting goals and deadlines. Recruiting Innovation is no longer optional, it is now mandatory.
To succeed in this competitive talent market, recruiters need to apply innovations in people, processes, and tools. This includes people in their network, processes that drive efficiencies and quality, and tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smart technologies that shorten the recruiting lifecycle. Some companies are experimenting with these innovations. So, what is next?
Innovative recruiting is comprehensive and can be challenging to implement. Proper implementation includes two significant elements 1) how you immediately implement it and 2) building a culture that values innovation and its perpetual evolution. Following details, one and two, and defining problem statements, collecting data, interpreting data, and rendering decisions led me to choose Agile recruiting. Perhaps it will lead you to Agile recruiting, too.
Thankfully, a friend of mine involved me in the early battles as Agile pioneers fought the wild west accusations (if you know, you know). Early Agile adoption—literally and personally— helped me understand how Agile recruiting naturally aligns with Agile software development principles. It gave me a better appreciation for the potential issues, challenges, and critical success factors needed for success. In its abstract, Agile is about efficiency and continuous improvement. Too much clutter in your people, processes, and tools will not work. Failure will find you if you incorporate dozens of outdated artifacts such as technical questionnaires, job descriptions, g2 sheets, and the like. Building a bottom-up Agile recruiting approach is essential because it considers inputs from all areas of the organization.
Time for some situational assessment—you have to know where you are before you can chart your future—effective change starts with understanding where you are. To that end, do a complete audit of recruiters (people), recruiting process, sourcing tools. This audit should include key recruiting processes, procedures, systems, metrics, and internal controls to improve productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
An Agile Recruiting Approach shortens the recruiting process by breaking recruiting tasks into manageable pieces; 1-2 week sprints depending on project complexity. This provides frequent touchpoints, which ensures all stakeholders are engaged. The approach also improves collaboration. It starts by setting collaboration metrics at the kickoff meeting and is reaffirmed with every touchpoint. This provides real-time feedback. Agile ensures continual feedback and iterations—minimizing the need to wait until the end of the process for feedback. This allows for greater flexibility to adjust without burning everyone’s time. This approach, combined with data-driven analytics, makes for better hires and happier employees.
People resist change. Change is hard. The ideas and rules that have governed recruiting for years are replaced with new ways of thinking. People naturally resist this change because the new mindset seems wrong. However, you can effectuate success if you guide the paradigm shift with a proven approach. Throughout my 25 year career, I have come to embrace that adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” As cliché as it is, nothing is broken when it comes to Mr. Stephen Covey. In all my lessons learned and Agile retrospectives, I have found the best way to implement paradigm shifts is to follow Mr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effectively People. His steps are 1) Be proactive, 2) Begin with the end in mind, 3) Put first things first, 4) Think win/win, 5) Seek first to understand then to be understood, 6) Synergize, 7) Sharpen the saw. This is not a paid advertainment, just my honest feedback. For more information on Mr. Covey’s book, click here.
For increased user adoption, you can use some of the following methods. The key is to engage the recruiting and operations teams in daily Scrum Meetings. The agenda must be consistent and efficient. Much like an Agile (software) Scrum, the meeting leader will ask individual team members the following three questions 1) What did I do yesterday? 2) What will I do today? What challenges or delays do I foresee? Additionally, if used correctly, a weekly Scrum of Scrums can provide the necessary feedback to remove all bottlenecks—whether internal or client-driven—with a sense of inter-team and inter-stakeholder collaboration. We use Scrum of Scrums meetings to connect multiple teams and stakeholders who must work together to deliver staffing solutions. The meeting leader, typically the recruiting manager, facilitates and encourages dialog using the following five questions. 1) what has your team accomplished since our last meeting? 2) what problems occurred, if any, that negatively affected your team? 3) what does your team want to accomplish before we meet again? 4) what output from your team in future Sprints do you see as possibly interfering with other teams’ work? 5) does your team know any interference problems coming from the work of other teams?
Having internal Scrum meetings with the recruiting and operations teams are essential for success. However, to truly maximize success, you must involve your customers in the agile process. How? By conducting Agile Retrospectives is an excellent way to ensure a smooth partnership with customers. As a best practice, customer retrospectives should happen at least quarterly. The more frequent the retrospective, the better we can identify and track risks. Customers are invited to speak openly about things that went well and things that did not. This helps to ensure everyone hears relevant first-hand feedback. Customers and teams collaborate in a formal meeting, usually with a dedicated and objective facilitator. This facilitator encourages everyone to share ideas, opinions, and experiences so that the team can learn, collaborate, and improve. It is essential to recognize there are always ways to innovate and grow. Retrospectives offer the opportunity to celebrate milestone successes, identify blockers, issues, or anything that slow down a schedule.
This Agile Recruiting approach provides infinite value. It is designed to scale to any agency’s mission, or staffing needs irrespective of technology or skill. This approach, combined with innovative thought leadership, ensures a smooth partnership with customers and, more importantly, a better way to recruit and staff projects of all complexities.
Author: Sean Delaney, GovCon innovator who helps federal agencies with recruiting and staffing solutions that improve performance, reduce risks, and increase efficiencies, is a Sr. Vice President at MBA CSi and leads the Recruiting Center of Excellence
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