Recruiting Leadership in a challenging economy

There was a discussion I was involved in on Recruitingblogs.com the other day, which took many directions, from the effect the US economy has on the rest of the world, to Leadership situational leaders v top down leadership. I saw and was intrigued through the conversation and the different angles people were coming from.

It did get me thinking about about the Situational Leadership (Thanks Steve) and relating it to myself and my situation… yes I do tend to make things all about me. Why not.. I like me. But then I expanded it a little.

When you are a leader in an internal Recruitment function and there is a freeze on or a slow down, how does one keep a team motivated, busy, productive and adding value… after all we are a “cost center” in most companies 🙂

How can you lead when a clear concise message from the business is missing? Lots of companies are in survival mode at the moment, unfortunately Recruitment is not at the forefront of business leaders thinking. If you can’t relate Recruitment to the business goals how can you keep yourself relevant? Saying that is a cop out… as a leader, you should know the goals of the business, how can you sell it to candidates if you don’t know? You have to deal with what you know.. if it changes, goalposts moved or something, deal with that when you know it for sure.

I have a few ideas/suggestions.

1/ Impose yourself in discussions at the top level. Recruitment is a business function, you need to get yourself involved in discussions at the right level. Just like getting involved in online communities.. don’t be shy get in there, say something Dan (good name for a blog that 🙂 )

2/ Engage many areas of the business, CEO, CFO, IT, Sales, HR, interstate, they all need you when the pressure comes on. Build up these relationships now, or even better, get your team to build their relationships with business functions they haven’t been involved with previously.

3/ Keep the communication strong within the team. Keep your communication open, keep having team meetings, one on one’s etc to ensure consistency and that any fears, frustrations etc can be allayed.

4/ Celebrate wins. Make a noise, ensure the whole business knows how your team rocks

5/ Gimmicks
. Ok this is a weakness of mine… I love a good gimmick. We have a mascot in our team.. the envy of the business. Pete King, the Recruitment duck. Agencies ring bells (well they used too in my day), we quack the duck. Whoever makes the latest hire keeps the duck! This mascot has had his own column in our newsletter, presented at company meetings etc. Now the gimmicks don’t always work… I have had many a lead balloon moment… more of those another day. Be careful, they need to be relevant to your team, not just amusing to you. (lesson learned)

6/ Don’t let you frustrations show to the team. As a leader you are the barometer, if you are always moaning about everything, being slack as there is no urgent need to hire etc.. your team will reflect this too. You and your team cannot afford that.

7/ Brainstorm for the upturn coming (they do follow downturns.. trust me.. the dates are just not set yet. I love these discussions, the freedom to think.

8/ Educate the business about your market. Get your team involved in this. You are the front line. Management/Directors, will and do make assumptions based on something they’ve read or heard or plainly assumed… make a Mgt newsletter or equivalent to add your market intelligence to their thinking. Biggest misnomer at the moment I think is that it will be easier to hire good people at the moment and those great people will be cheap as they will be thankful to be in work. Don’t let your Executive sound mis-guided, help them understand our world. (or is it just mine?)

9/ Educate your team – Do team webinars (ERE.net is a great source for these, ensure that everyone is reading articles and getting involved in online communities, (Recruitingblogs.com is a great area for this) and get them to report back to the group as to what they have learned or discussed etc. Or of course run some training yourself.

10/ Don’t stop Recruiting – But don’t lie to the talent pool you are building, ensure that your candidates understand where you are coming from. However, you need to keep building. The market moves quickly, people leave etc, you may be required to adjust and react quickly. If you are prepared with a real, well managed Talent Pool, which delivers, you and your team will really stand out.

It is a challenging role at the moment, hard to build momentum, to allow your team to feed (as I like to call it). I would like to hear other tactics people are using Internally to ensure that their area is still rocking even in this market. Don’t be down hearted, we aren’t in this alone. Have fun, enjoy yourself and bring your team on the journey, when the world turns once more and you are overloaded with requirements everyone will look back on these times with rose coloured glasses… “ahhhh remember when we had time to read and think?”

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Posted on January 6, 2009, in ere.net, gimmicks, leadership, learing, management, rbc, recruiting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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