In recent years, there has been considerable discussion among HR professionals about how to “get a seat at the table” and be viewed as a strategic partner by other functional areas of the organization. Improving HR productivity is one way to make progress toward this goal.
Unfortunately, all too often, as HR expert Dr. John Sullivan notes, HR gets bogged down in transactions rather than creating programs that boost organizational productivity. It’s essential HR teams take a step back and take a bigger picture view of how their work fits into the organization’s broader business objectives. At a SHRM Thought Leaders Retreat, panelists suggested HR must understand the company’s entire value chain. In addition, HR teams must strive to improve their own productivity, as well as that of employees in general. That requires measuring the impact of HR interventions and demonstrating how they affect the organizations.
The beginning of the employee lifecycle—the recruiting process—is a good place for HR to start its self-examination. Here are four tips to improve productivity through better recruiting processes and practices:
Analyze the application and interview cycle: Determine which activities add value to the organization and which do not. For example, the time that HR professionals spend interviewing candidates and assessing job fit, as well as cultural fit, is extremely important. These interactions determine which applicants are most likely to perform well on the job, as well as get along with other employees. In contrast, routine activities, such as position posting, routing applications to hiring managers or scheduling interviews, fall into that “transaction” category that Dr. John Sullivan mentioned.
Determine which parts of the recruiting process can be automated: Implementing an applicant tracking system is a proven way to automate the low-value, routine aspects of hiring. This frees time for HR professionals to focus on the more strategic work of hiring: finding the best candidates and passing a carefully curated set of applicants on to hiring managers to interview. In this way, technology improves HR’s productivity and also improves the productivity of hiring managers who only interview those candidates who are the best fit for their open positions.
Establish metrics to monitor HR productivity: A well-known management maxim is, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” The same applies to HR productivity. Metrics like time to hire and the best sources of applicants help quantify the impact of HR’s work on the organization as a whole. Calculating these types of analytics manually is onerous, but many applicant tracking systems automatically generate this information in easily consumed reports.
Partner with hiring managers to improve productivity beyond HR: The recruiting process isn’t contained neatly within the boundaries of the HR department. It requires interaction with hiring managers throughout the organization. Effective HR teams collaborate with hiring managers and create processes that contribute to hiring manager productivity, as well. A well-orchestrated, streamlined recruiting and hiring process leaves hiring managers more time to do the “real work” of running the business. For example, applicant tracking systems include workflows that route electronic applications directly from HR to hiring managers’ inboxes. There are no more lost papers. In addition, interviews can be scheduled electronically, so no one spends time playing phone tag.
When it comes to recruiting, the key to improving HR productivity is identifying, hiring and retaining high performing employees. HR teams that accomplish this goal are well on their way to demonstrating their value to the organization and gaining a seat at the table.
Want to learn more about how an applicant tracking system can make your recruiting processes and practices more productive? See this eBook!