Job Seekers: Don't Let HR Drop The Ball

job seeker HR frustration

By Donna Fuscaldo

Human resource departments across the country are dropping the ball, creating a "talent crisis" in finance, information technology, procurement and other business areas, according to a new report by The Hackett Group, the business advisory company.

Through its research The Hackett Group found that businesses say they are getting support from HR in managing employees less than 35 percent of the time on average and that HR is providing a full range of services only 13 percent or less of the time. The study looked at six areas of so-called talent management including workforce planning and succession; collaboration, retention, performance management, learning and development and recruiting and staffing. "Companies aren't satisfied with the support HR is providing," says John Cooper, associate principal and HR Advisory Program leader at The Hackett Group. "HR is being squeezed. They haven't had the budget to do these things." Companies are equally guilty of not engaging in long-term planning and not focusing on developing employees, he says.

According to the report in areas like retention and collaboration/knowledge-sharing, 18 percent or fewer companies in the study gave HR departments credit for providing enough service and expertise. In workforce planning, performance management, and learning and development, 33 percent to 47 percent of companies said that they were getting adequate levels of support.

For companies, this lack of effort on the part of the HR department for whatever reason means that if something doesn't change, the business will have a hard time finding the right talent and keeping them there. According to Cooper, in order for companies to land lasting talent they need to have a clear idea of what skills and experience they are looking for and they have to engage in workforce planning in which they figure out what they want out of their employees in the next five years. What's more, HR departments need to rely less on labor markets outside the company and develop the existing staff. Another option: hiring less-experienced people that have the potential to be developed.

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Once the employee is hired, the company needs to develop and invest in the talent so that he or she can improve and grow. "HR has to take a more aggressive stance in spearheading this," says Cooper. "HR departments can't go get more money. They have to become more productive."

For the job seeker, this lack of support by HR departments means that they need to be more critical of the job they take. "From the job seeker point of view, it behooves them to really look beyond the immediate need to score a job and ask questions around what the company does to develop people's career path," says Cooper. For instance, he says job candidates need to inquire about how the company integrates performance and career development and ask what the career ladder entails.

"Ask for real world examples of people starting where you are and moving up, and find out what happened to them," says Cooper. If the company can't answer any of those questions, then it sends a clear message that not much thought is put into an employee's future. If you do decide to take the job, take it as a way to get experience or a stepping stone to eventually getting a job where you can grow, he says.

Improving the talent companies are landing not only saves it the headache of finding a replacement, but it also boosts productivity, which in turn will increase revenue and net income. "It reduces a whole heap of costs that happen because of constant turnover," says Cooper. He pointed to a Canadian client that had turnover rates of 50 percent in its call centers. It cost the company between $700,000 to $1 million a day as a result.

Given the "talent crisis," job seekers are in a unique position to stand out when it comes to landing a job as long as they possess more than the skills listed in the job description. "It's not enough to be the consummate IT, finance or HR professional," says Cooper. Instead you have to have the ability to solve problems and analyze situations. "There's big push toward those higher order skills that go well beyond just the core functions," he says.

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I wish our HR dept was growing. I've been with the same multinational Fortune 50 company for 6 years. When I started in '06 we had over 1200 people in HR globally... Today it is less than 800 and still shrinking. Cuts have come in all HR functions: Generalists, Talent Acquisiton, Compensation, HR ops, and Employee Relations. If only we had the power that everyone here thinks we have...

September 14 2012 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Read a job posting written by HR. They are hysterical - one can see the HR person struggling to use multi syllabic words to sound smart, to sound as if they really understand the job. And the skill set they list is as broad as a barn door, at the end of the list you can just feel them reaching: .....and ..... and ..... and they must be able to do brain surgery blindfolded.

Not to mention too lazy or stupid to read an actual cover letter and CV - just relying on some software screening tool to avoid actually having to do real analysis.

I was returning from NYC on the train, across the aisle sat a woman who was gleefully talking about how the termination and escort out of the building process was going to work with a particular employee. Her tone was virtually gleeful. That is HR (a/k/a - Human Waste). Oh, now they call themselves recruiters - sorry.

Those who can - do.
Thos who can't but know - teach.
Those who have neither trait - work in HR

September 14 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As representatives of the company most are FAILS places I WOULDN'T WANT TO WORK FOR

September 13 2012 at 8:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

most H.R. employees are in their department because they cannot function elsewhere.

September 13 2012 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When we had "personnel" departments, employees received more humane treatment.. With "human resources" , employees are seen as pieces of equipment. I agree with the observations of others about "dead ends" for us over 50. Grateful for what I have but have spent 12 years watching others with less experience and less knowledge advance repeatedly. And our HR policy doesn't require a department to hire the most qualified, they can simply be "best suited". Translation-who you like and who likes you.

September 13 2012 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The underemployed are a mix of all age groups,..hard hit are the people over 45 years of age and recent college grads, the biggest issue I see with the large corps is the Senior management never does ****..they farm it out to agencies with the litmus tests which were designed by some Pyshc in some basement room at Harvard....and the process is run by people who have never run a washing machine, let alone a business...the computer screen tests and garbage used today miss the I said earlier....

September 13 2012 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First they were called the personnel department, but they screwed up so bad the changed their name to human resources, in our company we changed their name to inhuman resources. This article supports that.

September 13 2012 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I forgot to mention family leave pay, also.

September 13 2012 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a self employed person, and whenever I think I would like
to expand and hire an employee, I have to remind myself, employees have too much rights, such as their right to sick pay, unemployment, vacation, workers comp, and if that's not enough maybe they can sue me.

One side benefit of keeping to myself is I don't need a stupid idiot Human Resources department.

September 13 2012 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The new Corporate hiring scams: 1) We can't find qualified people in the US so we'll use the H1b program and bring in foreigners to staff our jobs. 2) We can't make a big enough profit so we are moving the company to China where there are NO laws to impede our gluttony and expect the US employees to train our new Chinese workforce. 3) We will reduce the work force then bring them back as Temporaries so we don't have to pay any benefits or taxes and will write the whole thing off on our taxes. 4) Sales are down so we don't want to invest in our workforce. This is the biggest scam of all. People that have no money cannot buy the goods that are up for sale. Why do Businesses need to sell their goods when they can take the money and dump it in Wall Street for really quick profits or better yet just open their own bank so the taxpayers can fit the bills for the failures.

September 13 2012 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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