For years HR has been fighting to have a seat at the top table. It wants to be seen as more relevant and important to the business.
The simple reality is that HR is neither operational or strategic to many organisations, and the reason is simple….. a lack of customer care. Many of us have dropped the ball. We have been playing the wrong game, on the wrong court, with the wrong ball! If we want to be strategic we need to talk $$$, that is a topic for another blog (watch this space), on another day.
Not an isolated situation
In a large LinkedIn group I run for HR professionals (>25,000 members), there are regular discussions about the way job applicants are treated, and the problems HR teams face as with each job advert come increasing numbers of applications. Sometimes 100s or 1000s for each single position. There is general consensus from people looking for jobs, that they feel like second class citizens much of the time.
Young people applying for work send 100s of applications with no communications back at all. Can you imagine their view of these organisations and brands? What will happen in 20 years when these people are decision makers, and they need to choose between supplier A & B, where A ignored their job application? Now I am not saying that they should expect a job, but they do deserve the respect of acknowledgement and a “sorry not on this occasion” communication. Many spent hours on their applications to get no communication at all.
A radical approach to HR?
What prompted this piece was an article on the “American Genius” site. This got me thinking, that marketing and customers services are different functions in many businesses. Both of these functions are targeting the “customer”, maybe HR needs the same. A true customer facing team, whose job it is to “sell” and live the brand to all applicants, and a function that looks at different, longer term people issues.
Our future employees expect things to be different
Those leaving university and college today have a different set of expectations to many in the workforce today. It is up to those of us in organisations not to try to mould them into a shape that is not fit for purpose, but to adapt and form a bridge between the two cultures, for it is in this gap that innovation will be found. But let’s not kid ourselves, it is not just the “young” generation feeling the clinical, inhumane approach many HR teams currently deploy. It is all parts of society. The difference between generations is that many of the younger people just will never come back, and they will tell their network.
Should HR be part of Operations?
HR needs to be treated like a Customer Services function, and for all recruitment, and redundancy, we need to consider the “customer journey”. It does not take much in 2014, with half decent systems to acknowledge applications, to send rejections etc.
Learn from logistics
When we order a package, we get a tracking number that shows the progress of our goods. Where it is, what it is waiting for. Why is the same not available for HR? I suspect that these process milestones exist in many of the systems that HR uses, it’s just that we do not look at our processes from an applicant’s perspective. The irony is of course, is that we are all potential customers of recruitment systems.
It would not be difficult to set up a series of activities:
- Application received
- Applications closed
- First round filter
- Interview 1
- Interview 2
With some target dates, and a way of communicating with applicants when delays occur, of course they will, but we also need to communicate that… you want to know when those goods from Amazon or Ebay arrive don’t you… well so do applicants for jobs!
What do you think?
Should recruiting teams in HR be trained in full customer service?