<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Get Smarter About Our Recruiting Habits?

October 26, 2006
Dear Grappling:

Starting with verifiable data is a great way to get smarter about recruiting, and with your organization's extended growth spurt, the timing could not be better.
When demand is on the rise, the traditional approach to recruiting is to react with fervor: filling vacancies as quickly as possible at the lowest cost, no questions asked. Companies barely take the time to develop recruiting strategies and plans, let alone try to create an overall plan for the workforce. When it gets busy, they don't have time for planning, and when it's not busy they don't see the need for it. Even when organizations figure out how to make the time, many just don't do a good job of workforce planning.
With limited HR systems and processes, it may be more challenging to pull together the data, but here is an approach you can take.
First, start with the headcount of your current workforce. You will want as much data as possible on this so you can analyze by different variables such as department, job classification, exempt vs. nonexempt employees or geographical locations. Then, take a toll of your active requisitions and map them to these variables. If you have informal systems or processes and your requisitions arrive on the back of a napkin, instead of through an applicant tracking system, you may need to estimate. The last pieces of data you will need are your historical attrition rates, sorted by the same variables, as well as your average time to fill (again, you may need to estimate).
Based on your average time to fill and your attrition rates, you can now produce a forecast of what the workforce will look like three months to six months out. You can show projected net gains or losses from a departmental view, job classification, geography or any view that is important to the organization. To take this a step further, you could convert any net gains into estimated cost increases and compare this to existing budgets, or analyze any projected losses to determine the impact on operations.
In human resources we have been longing to prove ourselves as business partners. If you arm yourself with this type of data, not only will you be able to challenge management's thinking on the growth of the workforce, but they will probably also listen to you.
SOURCE: Ed Newman, the Newman Group, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
LEARN MORE:How to Overcome the Recruiting Blahs
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