On March 20, 2009, I moderated a panel of recruiting leaders in Chicago about how this economy has affected their processes and the techniques they use in order to lead effective recruiting organizations. The Human Resources Management Association of Chicago was kind enough to ask me to facilitate. Prior to the questioning the panel in front of 75 leaders in staffing and HR, I spent about 90 minutes with each panelist reviewing their practices in staffing, so we could build a robust presentation.
The panel included David Meija of Pepsi Americas, Darcy Zulpo of Citadel, and Melissa McMahon of CDW.
Preparing for the Panel
Realize that as I moderated the panel, I wanted to keep the panel and audience engaged. I really wanted to get our panel to share as much as they could about transforming their organizations, while having the audience heard. Keeping a robust discussion was important, as my conversations with staffing leaders recently have had overtones of concern and confusion around maintaining value when requisitions are low. This has rung true even more in organizations where supporting functions like HR, finance, and IT have a weaker strategic position. I really have not seen any trends on “Recruiting’s value” based on the size of company or an industry – it’s the mindset of the company that has been the common trend. That observation proved true with these panelists and their organizations, as each had varied in industry, size, and design, but clearly all three leaders have influence within their organizations, and the respect (and ear) of executive leadership.
With the permission of our panelists, I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing the answers to the questions that I asked during the panel, and offered some takeaway action items and suggestions. I have added some commentary throughout that reflects insights that I have seen from other companies and also reflects the discussions that I had one on one with each panelist.
A word of advice before you start moving the chess pieces internally – think of change management as a boat that needs to be turned. To drive this analogy home, realize that recruiting may be behind the wheel, but is rarely the captain of any ship and never on a boat alone. You can turn the wheel, but your turn has to match the mindset of your passengers (and how fast they can tolerate a turn), the size of the ship (and how fast it can turn without tipping over or be deemed an emergency), and how the captain and first mate think the turn has been executed. If your company is a cruise ship and you spin that wheel too fast, an alarm goes off, passengers lose balance, and the officer core starts asking questions quick. If you are a speedboat, that same wheel turn could be expected, admired, and even applauded.
Thanks to the panelists, HRMAC, and the attendees for making this a great event. We are doing it again on May 19th, with the staffing leaders from Sara Lee, Exelon, and Career Education Corporation.