When the efficiency and profitability of one of the world’s largest software and information technologies companies – a proverbial “household name” in the IT sector – becomes hampered by organizational and communicative difficulties, the stakes are high. This is precisely what took place within the Enterprise Product Groups (EPG) division at the X Corporation. Although consisting of only 12 tenured senior directors and their direct reports, this division currently accounts for approximately 1/3 of the organization’s overall sales and marketing budget. As such, the need to cultivate a streamlined and seamlessly integrated organizational environment was absolutely crucial; a responsibility I accepted with both enthusiasm and anticipation.
In its most basic form, the organization was experiencing a “disconnect” between its various poject teams on the one hand, and the recruiting personnel assigned to their needs on the other. At the very heart of the problem was a break down in effective communications which ultimately served to undermine office productivity while also contributing to an overall climate ill-suited to efficient team-based operations and adequate employee succession. Although not always aparent at first glance, it was clear that this communicative breakdown was hampering departmental performance and limiting the organization's profitability.
Specifically, the highly specific (and forever changing) needs of the individual project teams were not being adequately identified, evaluated, and articulated as efficiently as they should have been. In addition, the intentions, motivations, and operational concerns of each recruiting team were not transparent enough such that a seamless communicative relationship between the two groups could develop. Instead, the relationship was replete with misunderstanding, misdirection, and misinformation.
After a thorough evaluation of the problem, it became apparent that the communication breakdown – and the subsequent losses in terms of employee productivity – was less a product of individual personalities and/or unfulfilled employment responsibilities, and more a product of an organizational structure that required adjustment in the present and ongoing management in the future; the problem was systemic as opposed to episodic.
Above and beyond communication barriers, the organization lacked the necessary procedures to adequately deal with candidate cycles, personal interviews, employee relocations, and other integral tasks related to the hiring process. In short, numerous organizational protocols had to be modified and some had to be created from the ground up.
The resolution involved changes above and beyond a simple clarification of existing roles ad rsponsibilities. In particular, it demanded a series of best practices designed to effectively bridge the communications gap between each of the project teams and their recruiting staff. This specialized approach worked to ensure that the needs of all the teams and their recruiting colleagues received the attention they deserved. Moreover, it helped to ensure that every step of the recruiting process – from the initial identification of team needs to the final introduction of a new team member – was properly evaluated and documented for immediate and future reference.
In its original form, the organizational structure positioned the recruiting personnel such that they were the primary conduits through which the needs and concerns of the project teams were
channeled and/or taken into consideration for recruiting purposes. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of work required to ensure that each teams’ needs were being properly defined, evaluated, prioritized, and communicated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis was beyond the capacity of those working in a recruiting capacity. Moreover, the recruiting teams did not have the time or resources to ensure that team managers were following the proper procedures for initiating the recruitment process. These difficulties seemed to intensify when recruiters were faced with the enormous task of filling in excess of 20 positions per month. Below is a detailed summary of the best practices that I immediately set into motion:
- I attended all project team meetings in a unified messaging capacity. This eventually allowed me to effectively carry out in-depth evaluations and consultations with individual team members, management, and HR generalists while working to clearly isolate, define, and record present and future team needs.
- Routine consultations with project management staff were also necessary in order to ensure that all documentation relating to recruitment was being completed and submitted properly.
- I also conducted routine meetings with recruitment staff in order to keep them up to date on the needs and status of each project team. At the same time, I was able to identify and record their concerns and intended courses of action.
- One of the most critical (and most effective) practices included conducting systematic follow-up evaluations after new positions were filled so as to evaluate the extent to which needs were being met. Data gathered from these evaluations was then compiled and relayed back to those in charge of recruiting in a systematic and efficient fashion. The systematic relay of this information helped off-set the disorganization that followed when internal transfers generated discontinuity within recruiting operations.
- I also developed and monitored trends across teams with an eye toward identifying emergent, broad-based, recruiting needs. These trends were then elaborated upon in quarterly “needs assessment” reports and were made available to those working in a managerial capacity.
- In order to ensure that the most innovative and effective practices were being put into place, I routinely networked and evaluated other successful teams. I then developed strategies based on these interviews and applied them accordingly. This task involved networking with other recruiting departments in companies currently operating in the same or similar fields and presenting those findings to management.
- Finally, I routinely collected data with respect to the speed with which requisitions were being processed and eventually filled. In doing so, I was able to use the data as a proxy measure for organizational efficiency while also being able to identify specific areas in need of improvement.
BENEFITS TO THE CORPORATION.
By improving both organizational communications and procedures, I was able to ensure that the needs of each department were translated into action and that, subsequently, those hired for new positions were ideally suited for the task at hand. After several months, obvious signs of improvement were apparent. Including: (1) reduced training costs, (2) procedural efficiency, (3)reduced employee turn-over, and (4) employee empowerment and satisfaction. With the communications gap bridged and with new procedures in place, both departments now enjoy a relatively seamless integration that has, quite simply, made the organization a better place to work.
Dakotta J.K. Alex