I was triggered to write the blog after reading this great piece by Ben Gledhill.
This is how he kicks it off (strongly):
“Could I please ask a favour…can we all get real? Can we start doing some of the stuff we talk about as an industry at the millions of conferences and breakfast meetings we attend? Can we try and move our industry on to a level where we have the respect of our organisation and more importantly the millions of people we assist every day in securing new roles worldwide?”
Although I highly recommend reading the whole thing, as Ben identifies some interesting areas that need fixing, I’d like to respond to one crucial part of his opening statement, as the manner and pace at which TA develops depends on it.
Namely, moving the industry to another level. And not just one where it gets (more) respect, like Ben suggests. Respect is great, but it doesn’t buy you much, neither does it get much done, on its own.
So what does?
What TA needs to really get things done
From my personal experience interacting with hundreds of in-house TA professionals, directly or indirectly, I come to the conclusion many of them miss two critical factors to move things forward, namely: Budget & Authority.
They are intelligent, educated and experienced people, they’ve been to the events, they spoken with peers and vendors, they understand where their processes can be improved, they get how tech can support them, they’ve seen the demo’s, they received the proposals and they presented the business cases, and then… nothing.
Time and time again. You won’t believe the number of times we’ve heard “I don’t have direct budget responsibility and I can’t decide by myself, but if I present a good business case to the leadership team I’m sure to get the green light”. Nope…
And I’m not talking about operational peeps. This goes all the way to the TA top. The problem is that TA is often still reporting into an HRD, who reports into a CFO or COO, who mostly view the whole thing as cost centre and don’t really understand all the nuances and parallels with marketing and sales. That’s the CCO’s ball game.
To really move TA forward I believe it could use a big dose of (Kenneth Blanchard’s) empowerment and autonomy (incl. over £/€/$), at least on the management level, and a promotion to the board level. Yes, the birth of the Chief Talent Acquisition Officer, or Chief Recruitment Officer. (I personally think CRO looks better than CTAO, but I’ll leave that up to you.)
Making the argument
Finance, Tech, Product, Marketing, Sales, Operations and Legal are already represented on the board level… HR is (finally) starting to get there, but that’s a different ball game, which already has enough complexity managing employee experience, retention, advocacy, learning & development and so on.
TA deals with things like employee value propositions (EVP), employer branding, job advertising, recruitment agencies, recruitment events, sourcing, referral programs, matching, assessment, candidate experience, recruitment forecasting, and (maybe the hardest one) managing hiring managers. Most, if not all, of these things require a strategic approach.
If that doesn’t justify a seat at the board, I don’t know what does… and if you think about it, isn’t it strange, to say the least, that the department that deals with acquiring the most important assets of any business isn’t involved in key decision making on the highest level? It really doesn’t make any sense.
It’s up to you
So this one goes out to all Sourcing Managers, Talent Acquisition Leads, Recruitment Directors, etc.
You haven’t reached the top of your career ladder yet!
Although your company’s current job level framework may give you that impression, it’s up to you to pick up the fight and acquire a seat next to the big boys and girls. Same goes for all the up and coming TA talents. If you have the ambition to lead, make sure you lead all the way from the top and aren’t forced into dependent positions.
It’s the only way to truly secure the budget and authority needed to take our industry to the next level!