The benefits of strategic recruitment

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In many pockets of New Zealand business, there’s too much of a focus on recruitment as an administrative function, which makes it process-driven and too reactive, according to David Gordon, business manager of the recruitment specialist firm virtualRPO.

“You need to elevate the recruitment conversation to being a strategic conversation. What we’d ideally like to see is a shift in thinking and action, turning recruitment and staffing from a reactive, business as usual practice to a proactive, competitive business advantage.

“For example, virtualRPO recently helped a client go into a completely new category, made possible by mapping and shoulder tapping the right people at the right time. Our client reaped a significant cost saving, at about 85% of their traditional recruitment costs. Half a year ahead of the go-live date of their new category, our client had market mapped their competitors - who were new competitors in that space - and from there they progressively started to tap people on the shoulder.”  

Gordon said that the client’s approach meant no downtime, no lost revenue due to unfilled roles or a lengthy, costly recruitment campaign.

“It’s all well and good building a pipeline or list of talent, but you also need to figure out what your pull factor is. And by that I mean: what attracts people to your firm? A key question we see firms struggling to answer is this: Why would I want to work here? If you can’t answer that question then you will always struggle to attract and retain high calibre people.  

“Think about workplace flexibility, clearer progressions and pathways for your employees.”

Gordon said there were several sectors adopting innovative, effective methods of recruiting staff, mapping talent and resourcing specific projects.

“For example, we’re currently seeing some of the more progressive construction firms thinking about their people and resource component very early on in the bid/tender process, whereas in the past they might have been satisfied to put together something of a ‘phantom’ team that often didn’t materialise come project time. It puts more credibility and surety behind your pitch for tender.”

“Similarly, and as readers are likely aware, we’re in the middle of a technology boom for several small to medium, high-growth tech businesses in New Zealand - a number of which are competing for exactly the same skill set. As such, those tech firms are being forced to think very proactively with regards to their workforce planning.”

He said businesses were re-entering a talent war that hadn’t been seen since 2007 and businesses needed to be at the top of their game to attract the best people.

“Firms that hire right are financially better off, because they are able to make the smart, strategic decisions. At the end of the day, that’s what we are talking about when we refer to what’s ‘right’ or what’s ‘wrong’ with how any given sector recruits its people.”

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