Empowering HR Recruiters to Shape the Company-
by CRYSTAL HUANG
Co-Founder and CEO, Crystal Huang, comes from an extensive marketing background, having done projects for Nike, MAC, DKNY and Cannon. She was also the Marketing Director for Vivint Home, one of Forbe's most promising companies. Jules Ferreira is our boy-wonder CTO/Co-Founder, having been coding since age 7. He singled-handedly built the infrastructure and demo IOS app for ProSky during the 2013 Gates Foundation/Facebook HackEd 2.0. Tim Huang, our Co-Founder/COO has been engaged in Sales and Operations for well over 10 years for companies like Vivint, AMP and SolarCity. Over the years, he has brought in and manage offices with sales volumes of over $200 million. Together, we are passionate about Education!
Announcer: She is the CEO and Co-founder of ProSky Ink, a SaaS company that offers a cloud-based, all-inclusive recruiting and training RMS that streamlines and manages all recruiting and training needs. Prior to launching ProSky, Crystal ran marketing for Vivint, where she spearheaded their national marketing efforts and initiated campaigns to improve company culture. She's passionate about starting and continuing workforce initiatives that are innovative, creative, and collaborative in nature. We're excited to have Crystal with us at Elevate 2015. Please welcome her as she speaks about how to empower HR recruiters to shape your company.
Crystal: Sometimes I hate the word "HR". I like the word "people" better. HR is about the people in the organization and those who may come into it. This role is gaining importance like never before.
It's moved away from a cost center focused on support or administrative task to become the function that enables business strategy. Now that's some big talk there. So how can HR define business strategy? Well, you've all heard the phrase "Our people are our greatest assets." Ultimately, it is the people, talented people to be exact, who can make or break a company. It is the talent that can determine how successful a company is, and if talent strategy isn't a prime priority of your organization, it should be.
With that in mind, HR now becomes a partner to the CEO and leads to conversation on topics like talent development, team composition and managing culture. As the CEO, it is your role to elevate HR to be your strategic partner, your sparring partner so to speak. Just as CEOs have boosted the finance function from simple accounting and separated marketing from sales, the CEO can help redefine the role of HR. The problem, however, is that we see that most HR recruiters and generalists, for that matter, are too process-oriented and they focus too much on managing those processes.
What they do not do well in is bridging HR to the real-world business needs. They are not read in nor do they understand how key decisions are made, and they don't have enough influence to analyze whole parts of an organization to see what is working and what isn't to meet key performance goals. HR recruiters in particular shoot focus on improving the people capabilities of the business. So how can we empower these recruiters to fulfill their function of business strategist rather than candidate mill processors? Well, first, HR needs to figure out its initiatives and activities that can yield a talent pool that is better prepared to innovate within the company.
There are three important activities that are critical for recruiters to define their role as key company strategists. The first is assessing. C-level executives generally put together time strategy plans for their organization alongside with detailed budgets. HR should be able to assess the odds of meeting those goals with the right understanding of their current talent pool. Not only do they need to understand what a particular job requires, they need to assess whether a candidate in or outside their organization has the ability and skill sets to accomplish those goals.
The recruiter must bring people who could be future value creators to the table. To be able to do that in an efficient manner, HR needs to analyze the tools they are currently using. Perhaps it is time to throw out any tool that is not helping to automate the process of recruiting. Instead of spending time finding leads, organizing resumes, and guesstimating the candidate's abilities, their time should be spent in evaluating candidate's skill sets and culture fit.
I coined the term "Project Ships." Project Ships are essentially projects given to a team of candidates for the benefit of recruiters and hiring managers to test their practical skills and see what kind of results these candidates can yield in a short amount of time. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to see how the candidates can interact in a team setting and it helps them identify the innovators, leaders, collaborators, well, and the slackers. Projects Ships in its highest forms gives recruiters and hiring managers the ability to take a behind-the-scenes view of a candidate's personality because trust me, no one can be in presentation mode the whole scope of the project. You will, at some point, see the candidate's true personality and identify if that candidate is the right culture fit for your organization.
Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. It minimizes the hiring risk and brings down a company's turn rate, which in turn boosts employee morale. Now, if I had to choose between skill sets and culture, skill sets can be taught, but personality, that can't be changed. Do everything you can to evaluate the candidate and be confident that you have hired the right candidate with the right fit.
The second activity is conversations. I hate interviews. I dreaded every time I had to interview someone on the phone or in person, I still do. In an interview, you are meeting the candidate's representative. If a candidate is great and charismatic, you feel like you have a winner while more introverted candidates may cause an interview to be strictly Q and A.
Why do interviews, when they are not the true representation of the person you are interviewing? Instead, have conversations. Get to know the candidates like you're on a hunt for your next best friend. Learn where they come from, understand what motivates them, and find out what they want in life and career. Until you have a real conversation with a potential employee, you will not be able to asses if that candidate is the right fit for your company's culture.
I remember a particular interview I had for a marketing executive. This candidate was excited, bright, and bubbly during the interview. She seemed to possess all the traits and skill sets I was looking for and she was definitely more passionate in appearance than the rest of the candidates. But by the fourth day of the work, oh boy was I in trouble. She had the most boring personality and could not carry a conversation.
I mean, who was that person I was interviewing? Her twin? The employees did not enjoy striking conversations with her and never invited her to lunch because they found out off the bat that she was picky and did not have the same love of food as, well, the rest of the company. She did not fit in with the culture. And because I was too busy with my recruiting processes, I did not have the time to open a conversation with her. I never really knew her until she was hired and we had to spend every minute with her. Have real conversations with your candidates.
The third activity is to diagnose the problem. More than often, most company problems are people problems. HR needs to be able to pinpoint exactly why an organization is not performing well. A recruiter should have the ability and bandwidth to watch for internal employees who are innovators and push for their talents to be developed. Why bring in more talent when you could already have untapped, hidden talent within the company? This is exactly why it is important for HR to be a partner to the CEO so that they may have the influence, to evaluate what's going on in every department.
Recruiters can be the internal talent champions as well. They can be instrumental in moving an employee from one boss to another, hence improving his performance. They can reassign an executive to a position that better fits their skill sets and personality, and they can help form teams who produce the best results when together. Such actions can be observed and verified and most importantly is so closely tied to a company's performance, they can be measured. Recruiters must be empowered to become evaluators.
To become the organization's key people strategist. You can have the best idea or solution in the world, but if you do not have the right people to execute it, the business will not be as successful. But imagine, with your organization's underlying strategy, was all about the people, how to have the right people in the right places, the right team dynamics, the right culture alongside with a great product. Well, your company would be impossible to beat. Your people are your greatest assets, so make your people your greatest priority.