Oftentimes in an organization when an HR team is struggling to keep up with recruitment demand it will be suggested by “upper” management to find an agency to help where attention is required. It sounds like a simple solution to a problem but may create a conflict of interest for your HR team, and leave them feeling insecure instead of empowered and supported.
You may be wondering, why would a solution based approach leave them feeling insecure or conflicted? Simply put, some HR leaders feel insecure about utilizing an agency because it is an admission that they were unable to fill the roles themselves and that “FEELS” like a failure. More than that though, how can they be sure the agency will abide by company policy and practices. Let’s be clear, people that are skilled in HR are rule followers and makers by nature, they make lists and check boxes and create policy that supports strategy. They are the masters at systems and do what is necessary to make hiring systematic and efficient. Often they tend to be perfectionists and that is exactly what you need in the role. You need someone to stay abreast of the changing landscape of what can be said and can’t be said in corporate culture, what questions can and can’t be asked in interviews, and what you can and can’t say in exit interviews with soon to be former employees. So when you ask them to divest themselves of authority and use an outside source who is neither familiar nor responsible to comply with their latest “memo” about hiring procedures, it is a scary thing. Not to mention how their bonus structure may be tied into performance.
The goal is to have your HR team and agency actually working in a partnership for the betterment of the organization, not trying to compete with one another for bragging rights. So, the introduction of the agency should come from upper management as a tool that the HR team can utilize to work towards a combined end goal.. Start the relationship strong by starting it from the right vantage point; management lead, and not HR lead. Help your HR Team to see that using the right agency can be a strategic partnership that supports their efforts and adds to their own successes. Help them to see the agency-employer partnership as an alternative source for qualified personnel that reduces time to hire and increases organizational productivity and profitability.
It is important that you set the relationship up carefully so the successes of each build on one another rather than detract from each other. Help them win together so they stop trying to eat each other’s lunch. Creating a clear and open line of communication between the agency and the executive team helps create a vision of the agency being an engaged extension of the organization, rather than a short lived bandaid to put over a wound they are not able to heal.
Whether you are hiring 30 people for your plant, a marketing manager, or 5 weekend drivers, it needs to be brought to the HR team like an asset and blessing not an embarrassment or challenge to their authority. We are here to support and empower you, nothing else because we are Better Together.