LEAN HR

In Part 1 of the series on Lean HR, I introduced the concept of value and waste and showed several examples of wastes present in human resources processes. In Part 2, I introduced a fictional company called Abilla and Sons. A leader in the pest control industry, they are faced with the challenge of having to hire 300 field sales reps in only 4 months.

A promising Abilla and Sons employee, Angela, thinks she can help the company meet their deadline by streamlining their recruiting process and bringing human resources operational excellence. The CEO of Abilla and Sons, Pedro, gave her the Ok.

In this part we continue the journey of this fictional company and learn how they were able to streamline their recruiting process and meet the needs of the business.

In God we Trust; Everyone Else Bring Data

That quote is attributed to Dr. W. Edwards Deming and is the perfect Segway back to our story.

Pedro, while happy with Angela’s work, wanted some data. So he asked her to go back and try to identify how much effort, time, and money is wasted in the current recruiting process. We now continue Angela’s investigation into the return on investment for improving the recruiting process.

Eager as ever, Angela went back to her notes. It turns out she already had a lot of the information that Pedro wanted. So, she began the process of synthesizing that information into something she can communicate. She makes an assumption that in order to hire 300 field sales reps, having an initial batch of 400 resumes will be sufficient. Here’s her calculations:

  • Resume Screening: 400 Resumes * 3 minutes per resume = 3600 minutes
  • Phone Screen: 350 Resumes * 30 minutes = 10500 minutes. But, Angela makes a point that at best it will be 10500, but the reality is that time and effort is wasted in phone tag and rescheduling.
  • Onsite Interviews: 330 * 30 minutes of a manager’s time = 990 minutes. Again, this is the best case, but Angela knows that there are rescheduling and phone tag issues that eat up valuable time.

Angela chose to stop here, feeling already very overwhelmed with the rough calculations thus far. She thought to herself “Just the first few beginning steps in the recruiting process is already 251.5 hours! How much worst is this going to get????

At this point, Angela wanted some advice. So she went to her professor, Dr. Newman.

Angela presented the issues to Dr. Newman and he sat quietly, digesting the information. Then, in a stoic-like manner, he waved his hand and said “Angela, this is a problem indeed. But getting lost in the weeds will not help you. Remember, what is your purpose????

She thought for a minute then said “Well, I want to streamline the recruiting process so that we can hire all the sales reps by May.???

“Precisely???, said Dr. Newman. “That means, then, that you only have to do a few things???. Then, Dr. Newman went to the blackboard and drew the following diagram:

After and Before process

Then he explained “Angela, at the end of the day, your boss wants results. The way to get results is to reduce the number of steps. By doing that, you’ll reduce time and overall, there will be a reduction in time. Steps. Time. Effort. Money. They are all one and the same???

With great gratitude, Angela said thanks and quickly ran out the door excitedly, ready to make material improvements to the recruiting process.

In part 4, we learn exactly what Angela does in order to improve the recruiting process, allowing the firm to hire 300 field sales reps in time for the busy season.

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