02/10/2013 08:45 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Sailing the Shores of Success With Integrated Recruitment Strategies

Recruiters are the invaluable team that build the capability - capacity and ability, for organisational leaders to work with. If you want your organisation to safely navigate through competition and difficult economic situations, you need to engage, enable and empower your recruiters.

Everyone knows that the captain of a ship has a significant impact on decisions. He is the person responsible for leading the crew. However, it is also clear that without an excellent crew, the technical and operational skills needed to successfully steer the ship would be impossible to fulfil single-handedly. Having the right crew is imperative for success.

In much the same way, recruiters are the invaluable team that build the capability - capacity and ability, for organisational leaders to work with. If you want your organisation to safely navigate through competition and difficult economic situations, you need to engage, enable and empower your recruiters.

Recruitment is a vital, yet often under-invested part of HR. Too many view it simply as a process of sourcing, selecting and staffing talent, but few take the required action to enhance the impact this has on delivering the people strategies that lead to the execution of business objectives. By creating talent acquisition practices and processes that are aligned to the values and beliefs of the organisation, they are able to align people to the business strategy so they ideate, decide and act when dealing with market demands more effectively.

In recent years, the recruitment function has undergone significant changes. Recruitment has been an HR process that has evolved since work first began, although technology and other developments have radically changed it over time. What hasn't changed is the fact that recruiters have the opportunity to really impact both the bottom and top line by hiring the right person at the right time at the right cost with the right skill at the right place. This has a significant impact on the economics of a company! Therefore, it's vitally important that managers listen to what works and what doesn't from recruiters. The key is to form a partnership and sustain a continuous conversation to stay updated and keep a close ear to the market.

This mutual partnership will significantly increase the capability of recruiters to hire the right talent - as knowing the intent of the corporate leaders makes it easier to effectively and efficiently source new talent who can help translate this into action.

Whereas close cooperation between the recruitment department and the leadership can provide the foundation for successful recruitment, it is also imperative to shift with the evolution of tools and platforms. With the advent of social media, new opportunities, platforms and niche skills sites have opened up to source talent even more effectively.

Nevertheless, many recruiters see themselves confronted with a paradox: even though talent seems to be available anywhere and anytime nowadays, many leaders still say that skill shortages are their biggest business challenge. This may be a direct result of many companies not sufficiently incorporating recruitment into their business strategy. Much as a captain and crew work together, HR needs to ensure they are considered co-leaders of the business.

Based on the capability, HR can shape recommendations that enable business strategy. Let me make this absolutely clear: Whenever recruitment is not integrated early enough with the business, recruitment delivery will suffer and the business will struggle.

As a Chief Human Resources Officer, here are my thoughts on developing an effective recruitment strategy:

  • Spend time with the business leader - The most important way to build a recruitment strategy is for the recruiter to spend time with the business leader to find out the business requirements. This will only happen if the recruiter actively takes steps to make it happen. Additionally, they need to look at what is priority, what is possible, what is optimal and make sure that the process has checks and balances, to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Integrate talent acquisition with organisation's strategy - Craft an EVP for different segments and different countries, build talent communities to interact with current and prospective employees and highlight what value you give them, increase investment in technology (focus on applicant engagement, use application tracking systems), focus on diversity (shape the proposition to the diverse needs of your candidates), develop capabilities of the recruitment team (put in place a recruitment certification program and a recruitment incentive plan). But, make sure you have the basics in place...
  • There are many important basic foundations of evolving practices in recruitment. It starts with the recruiters' ability to keep information handy. A lot of data is in emails and that is really not a way to create a knowledge depository. Technology can help in making that transition happen, but recruiters need to buy into the need to adopt technology. That is not an easy task for a recruiter as there is a tendency to believe that what has worked in the past is good enough for the future.
  • Culture, engagement, great policies and HR processes will be the foundation of a successful talent acquisition program. It is a fact that engaged and happy employees will refer others. Providing a consistent experience of the employer brand to your current workforce will help you tap into their networks possibly of passive job seekers that could be a great source of interesting candidates. Lastly, don't treat social media as another job board; it is about engagement and conversation.

From now on, make sure to invite your crew onto the bridge on a regular basis to discuss the recruitment shoals ahead. They are critical to help you navigate choppy waters we see today and find a safe haven and new opportunities.