HR biased view of 2010

Ok, forgive me if this only gives half the opinion, half the answers as I am looking into my crystal ball again.

I did a blog at the beginning of the year "So what does 2010 have in store?" and this sort of sits along side that but with an HR bias. The recession has changed how organisations acquire new talent.  I guess when I talk about organisations I am talking Corporate rather than SME.  The SME market place hasn’t changed quite so dramatically, although that is another blog.

I might be wrong and please tell me if I am but I think the pre-recession talent acquisition model will never come back to the way it was.  In the recruitment world I think we have seen more than just a recession, the pause in recruitment has allowed corporate recruitment teams and their HR colleagues to do a lot more in house, with mixed results but nonetheless they have the opportunity to play with new technology, try out new approaches.

What I also believe, based on conversations with a number of my ex-colleagues still in their corporate environments is that morale is low, loyalty is also low, cutbacks, redundancies and lack of progression is making people think a lot harder about moving when the recession is finally over.  This realignment in talent attraction and employer loyalty through the loss of effective employer branding means that when the recession is over and the job market does return it will look different.

Jobs could look different or have different requirements purely because the big corporate organisations have learned to live without certain roles or functions.  Whilst there some ‘green shoots’ and I have certainly see an upturn we are not there yet.  Retailers had a good christmas but now we are thinking about UK plc’s debt mountain and what cuts are coming to fund it.  It is going to be a while longer before things get better but then I am naturally a pessimist.

Back on with the point of the blog.  How will HR teams and their talent acquisition people lead their organisations back to recovery with a mixture of effective recruitment techniques, business transformation and technology?

HR and the talent teams will need to look at a number of things.  Some they will be able to do themselves,  after all some have been doing it throughout 2009 but some will need help from good recruiters that are more than just ‘fill the job’.  So what are our HR colleagues going to be up to:-

  • HR will learn how to use social media properly. The first wave of twitter use in the main has been “I have a job, pass it on”.  This will develop into something more, tangible, more engaging.  HR will engage with candidates and employees aliketo create communities that work.  Giving employees the steer they need, candidates something to aspire to.  As with all social media HR will have to commit, too many people come and go, it takes time.  This might also stop some of the “@jobs” type twitter feeds, they are on autopilot feeding out jobs into the ether.  No engagement, no reality behind it, people want expect more andthe HR teams are ready.
  • Employment Brand - we will all live and die by our brand.  I am obsessed with the power of a strong employment brand, so many organisations get it wrong and to be fair it has always been a bit... well fluffy.  Employment brand has always been lost somewhere in the marketing team where spin has outweighed substance.  2010 will see this change.  The internet, the recession and the malaise employees have will kick in.  People know where they don’t want to work just like they know where they don’t want to eat or the music they don’t need to listen to.  The internet is full of peer reviews, google say 78% of us trust peer reviews over corporate spin.

Some organisations have all but destroyed their employment brand through poorly managed redundancy, mixed messages to the market place and uncertainty.  This year will see some organisations really get their heads around it, developing a brand that is believable and credible.  HR will need to get their act together using external consultants to support them in building an internal and then external brand.

This means HR marketing people will come to the fore, who would have thought it HR and Marketing in one bundle.  Cynics out there are already laughing, organisations that take some brave steps will get the benefits.  Brand can be destroyed quickly so get a plan in place, treat it like the valuable business asset it has become.

When the green shoots become something more
My personal belief (and please do tell me i’m wrong) is that a lot people in employment today are keeping their heads down, doing enough to keep out of the redundancy firing line and the money coming in and why not.  What will happen though as things change is that people will get their choices back again, those employees that are less than happy with their employer will move.  Organisations have asked a lot of people in extended hours, reduced pay etc. unless that investment has been worth it then employees will leave, potentially on a large scale.  I have already seen dormant recruitment areas coming back to life with a vengeance, just need a few more employers to do this and everyone will be off.

How you have treated your employees during the tough times is going to be tested and it is probably not too late to sort things out.  Get them involved, like branding this is real and probably more tangible.  If you think it is too late then start succession planning now and as before get someone in to help you so you are not caught short later in the year.

HR faces some tough times in 2010.  Many people in my industry dismiss them as blockers or process obsessives but it is worth remembering what they actually do.  In the main their role is to police managers so that the organisation doesn’t finish up in a tribunal and/or court.  They have to work to facilitate learning, recruitment and reward.  Rather than a blocker recruitment businesses should try to engage with value added services, not the traditional pile of CV’s.

Tell me your thoughts, share with your HR colleagues and get them to share their own 2010 predictions. 

2010 is going to be another tough year, I believe we are out of the worst of it but it is by no means a done deal yet.  If you want my help with your recruitment strategy, from inception to delivery, help in the creation of a 3 year business vision or practical onsite recruitment support then contact me, Martin Dangerfield on 0161.408.4005.