Published on February 27, 2014
Recruitment and interim management support
Contents Where to start? 1 Collinson Grant and recruitment 2 Psychometric assessments 4 Interim support 6
Recruitment and interim management support Where to start? All companies need to recruit – for permanent or interim positions – but many start off on completely the wrong foot. The first question to be asked is often: 'How are we going to fill this vacancy?' Instead, line managers and HR practitioners ought to be asking themselves more fundamental questions, such as: 'Do we really need an extra employee?' 'What will be the full cost of taking a new person onto the payroll?' 'How much will the recruitment process cost?' Even jobs that appear to be like-for-like replacements should be carefully scrutinised. When somebody leaves there is an immediate opportunity to examine carefully the work that they did and ask some searching questions. The last of those questions is 'Should we recruit?' Ahead of it are ten others: How did the need for the job or task arise? Investigate the who, where and why of the apparent need. Can we stop doing something we do now in order to reduce the need for a replacement? Can we change or improve our processes to avoid recruiting a new person? Can the job or task be done somewhere else in the company where there is some slack? Could we make an internal transfer, so avoiding an increase in the overall headcount? Can the task be added to someone's current job? Why not try it and see? Is a bit of overtime the solution? Instead of recruiting a new full-time person, would a temporary, contract or part-time job be a solution? Does the job or task directly add value to what the customer buys? If not, is its function essential to run the business? If you are the manager – how is your work load? A bit of simple formality – a tick list of the alternatives submitted in support of an application to recruit – might slow the rise of the payroll. Most companies in distress (or administration) have formal procedures for authorising recruitment. So why should businesses in a healthier state not use them as well? 1
Recruitment and interim management support Approach Of course many companies do apply a rigorous and objective approach. The days of large scale recruitment drives for graduates or other aspiring professional workers are over or at least much reduced. The high cost of labour means that decisions to recruit must be made objectively and that any newcomer to the business should represent value for money. Our work with a number of large companies has revealed myriad, conflicting and often highly inefficient mechanisms for finding new members of staff. Frequently recruitment is uncoordinated, with line managers in different departments trying to adopt their own approach and: being reluctant to involve HR managers (or only telling them when the process is half-completed) engaging their own recruitment agencies at widely varying cost using different media without knowing which is the most effective failing to cross the 't's and dot the 'i's so that some critical factor is overlooked and a wrong selection decision made. It doesn't have to be like that. Collinson Grant and recruitment Some talent is scarce but virtually all jobs can be filled – at a price. We are not proponents of continuing skill shortages. Opportunist recruitment, where a candidate puts themselves forward or is referred by a trusted third party for a non-existent vacancy, can occasionally work. Such a recruit might bring additional skills, experience or energy that is otherwise lacking, and access to useful contacts or potential customers. But usually successful recruitment depends on a carefully structured process, with an agreed timescale, budget and objectives. This is the approach that Collinson Grant uses. Recruitment also includes the selection of an incumbent employee, who might already be doing the job on a temporary basis. In this case a lot more is obviously known about the candidate – but not necessarily their suitability for the post in question. This is where psychometric assessment can help (see the next section). When commencing a recruitment exercise we are assiduous in making sure we understand our clients' needs, their culture and business plans. The main elements of our approach are: Confirm the (following) elements of the process and timescales Agree on the recruitment brief: rationale for the vacancy profile of the role 2
Recruitment and interim management support critical requirements, qualifications and experience competencies/skills organisational structure, reporting and accountability salary range and benefits terms of employment. Confirm the precise selection process – screening, initial interviews by telephone or in person, psychometric tests/assessment centres, references and other mandatory requirements, final selection interviews Determine promotional tactics – choice of online and/or print media Draft and agree advertising copy and response mechanism Research online and offline sources to find potential applicants Screen initial applicants for critical requirements Preliminary interviewing – in person or by telephone – and preparation of a shortlist Discussion of the shortlist. Is it an adequate pool for interview or are more candidates needed? Finalise arrangements for interviews (and for assessments if needed) Invite shortlisted candidates for interview and support client at discussions if required. The cost of making the wrong recruitment decision can be very high. The exercise itself is costly without even considering the disruption and possible expense created by having to get rid of an unsuitable appointee. For all senior and middle-ranking managerial jobs we recommend that clients consider the benefits of structured psychometric assessments (see the next section). brand' The employment 'brand' Many large companies work hard to create an employment 'brand', providing prospective recruits with a strong image of the business and what it would be like to work there. The messages are reinforced on websites and in corporate literature. But this is not the only way to impress potential candidates. Attention to detail and efficiency throughout the recruitment process will send an equally positive message. This should include: a rapid response to web-generated, e-mailed and written enquires a transparent process, giving candidates a clear picture of the next steps a strong commitment to confidentiality at all stages an overall approach that emphasises professionalism and competence. 3
Recruitment and interim management support Measuring results It is good practice to keep simple records of the success or otherwise of recruitment initiatives. For example: media used and response rates candidates screened and interviewed results from assessments – and their overall appropriateness overall costs. Psychometric assessments Psychometric (or psychological) assessments use systematic and standardised procedures to measure differences in individual characteristics such as intelligence and personality. They provide a greater understanding of potential employees. They help to predict, objectively and fairly, how successful they will be in a job. They are used in some form by 70% of employers. Collinson Grant has been using them to support clients for more than thirty years. Tests fall into two principal categories: ability (where there is a right answer) and personality (no right answer). Some personality tests are not suitable for recruitment but are used for coaching. Some assess motivation and values. Assessments can provide information on: intellectual functioning interpersonal and leadership style values and vocational interests managerial judgment, numeracy and verbal ability development needs. Assessments can be used for recruitment, picking out people with the potential for promotion and redirecting career paths so that people are in jobs that more closely match their skills and aptitudes. The process reduces the likelihood of poor and expensive selection decisions and helps current employees to understand their behavioural style, their strengths and areas for development. Often they are used in conjunction with other assessment measures such as a structured interview, presentation, group exercise or workbased activity to provide a rounded view of a candidate. Design and process Collinson Grant offers a full-day assessment for prospective middle and senior managers. This is a comprehensive and challenging day. It produces a full and objective picture of each candidate. The main steps are: 4
Recruitment and interim management support to agree on the purpose of the assessment and determine the battery of tests and other activities that will be used – including ability, personality and interview to invite the candidates or employees to the assessment, providing them with information about the assessment process to complete the assessment and provide each individual with feedback. Assessments can be held at our premises or at a suitable 'third-party' venue. There are advantages in the location being neutral. We prepare a written report about each person. It presents the performance in each test and compares it with suitable norms – the general population and/or the client's managerial population if data are available. We summarise how the candidate performed during the day and our views on their suitability or otherwise for the post envisaged. Content A standard assessment might comprise tests of: intellectual functioning, including numerical and verbal reasoning, which are graded in difficulty according to job level personality spatial and mechanical reasoning business decision making situational judgement. There also tests for assessing managerial judgement and estimating, and more extensive 'case study' assessments which require candidates to analyse information about a scenario, develop conclusions and recommendations and provide a written report or make a presentation to assessors. Assessment centres Where a number of candidates are to be assessed at the same time an assessment centre can be organised. It might be particularly appropriate not only for a large-scale recruitment exercise but also when a restructure means that job-holders whose posts are disappearing must satisfy a prescribed standard for a new type of job. Some organisations offer online testing in different formats. Our view is that only personality tests (we use OPP 16PF) are suitable to be completed online, either remotely or in the workplace. Ability tests should be completed in a supervised environment, usually in the workplace or during an assessment. 5
Recruitment and interim management support Interim support Most organisations need interim managers from time to time. Sometimes it is to provide cover for a vacancy or a prolonged absence; or it may be to manage a project where a permanent role is unnecessary. Good interim managers add value straight away because they are skilled in making a contribution quickly and in completing assignments effectively and to agreed timescales. Interim managers help a business in three ways: Change management An organisation gearing up for a merger, integration or other big change may need extra help to lead the restructuring, assess and manage the risks, and set up new working practices. It can make good use of an external executive who has seen and done it before. Gap management Executives often resign at awkward times. They may leave an organisation desperate for someone with specialist skills who can bridge the gap. An interim manager can provide temporary cover when a director quits, falls ill, or takes maternity leave or a sabbatical. Project management Line managers are usually up to their eyes with day-to-day responsibilities. They have little time to spare for major improvements. But interim managers are used to taking on challenging tasks and being judged on the results. So they can relocate a factory, set up a new business system, change the HR strategy or conduct a major review of the market. They offer fresh eyes and a disciplined approach. This adds skills that your business may not have at hand. Some recent examples Some, but by no means all, of our interim management assignments are to provide senior HR managers to assist clients during significant periods of change. For example: we supplied an experienced HR Director to support the Chief Executive of a foreign exchange business during a difficult restructuring, including changes in the ownership structure. We designed a better and more cost-efficient organisation, reduced costs and helped recruit and coach a new leadership team while a large financial services company was undergoing a major transformation, Collinson Grant supplied an interim Group Human Resources Director to work with the board for almost two years. He took day-to-day control of HR, improved reporting systems, simplified the structure, maintained output and oversaw a reduction in the workforce from 3,500 to 800, without incurring any significant additional costs. 6
Recruitment and interim management support Getting results Effective interim managers make a contribution from day one. They have the skills, experience and authority to take charge of a function, division or operating unit and to improve its performance quickly. By nature they are practical, results-oriented and used to meeting challenges. Close knowledge of the sector is often an advantage – but by no means essential. Good candidates take immediate responsibility for agreed outcomes and are able: to appraise the situation and draw up a rapid plan of action to engage with the staff, galvanise teams and boost morale to lead projects, set targets and monitor progress to solve problems that have been ignored or glossed over to improve processes and change working practices to achieve results and offer excellent value for money. Contracts Interim assignments vary in length but some last more than twelve months. Clearly there is a decision to be made at some stage as to whether a permanent appointment is necessary or likely to be more cost-effective. Good interim managers are aware of that debate – and should consequently work hard to demonstrate their continuing value for money. Some other interim appointments Interim Factory Manager A pharmaceutical company in Ireland faced premature closure because its General Manager had left and there was no one to fulfil the role of 'Qualified Person' as demanded by European Union regulations. We found a suitably experienced chemist with the requisite qualifications and experience to fill the post of Factory Manager on an interim and part-time basis. Output was maintained and quality increased to such a degree that the holding company postponed for several years its original decision to close the plant and consolidate production at a larger factory in France. Interim Programme Manager – Improvement projects Our client was a manufacturer of household products with plants throughout Western and Central Europe. It had set out on a series of ambitious, inter-related projects to improve operating performance, reduce complexity and rationalise the manufacturing footprint in Europe. It became clear that the workstreams needed to be better coordinated and communications improved throughout the business. Collinson Grant supplied an experienced interim Programme Manager to support internal project managers, provide a single point of contact and keep the Steering Group fully apprised of progress. In a longterm assignment, he quickly got a 'grip' of the overall programme, ensured that tasks were properly tracked and completed on time, minimised risks and maintained accurate measures of benefits. He brought objectivity, discipline and rigour – ensuring that the large investment yielded the expected returns for the client. 110409 7
Costs People Organisation Productivity Performance Restructuring United Kingdom Mainland Europe United States of America Complexity, Direct costs, Employee relations, Employment law, Implementing change, Integrating organisations, Lean, Managerial controls, Organisational design, Overheads, Performance management, Pricing, Process improvement, Procurement, Reward, Supply chain, Transitional management, Value chain analysis, Workforce planning collinsongrant.com collinsongranthr.com
33 St James’s Square London SW1Y 4JS United Kingdom Telephone +44 20 7661 9382 Facsimile +44 20 7661 9400 Ryecroft Aviary Road Worsley Manchester M28 2WF United Kingdom Telephone +44 161 703 5600 Facsimile +44 161 790 9177 Web www.collinsongrant.com www.collinsongranthr.com
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