Daily Archives: June 18, 2015

Organizational Damnation 60: Human Resources

Does the doctor even have to write this post? I’m sure many of you are already cringing from the title knowing how an overly process driven human resources department, free of logic and common sense, can ruin the best and worst of plans and inspire your best talent to run to the hills and run for their lives.

Why do human resources often bring damnation to Procurement? Simply put,

  • They exacerbate talent tightness. (Societal Damnation 51)
  • They drive talent away. (Societal Damnation 50)
  • They think they know what Sourcing is.

They exacerbate talent tightness.

HR will insist on owning the talent recruitment process. Now, it’s true that, in most organizations, HR should own the process because most departments wouldn’t know how to go to market for talent if the market came to them and bit them on the thigh like a boghog of NowWhat, but a good Procurement organization knows how to go to market for talent. In fact, a good Procurement organization knows how to go to market for everything the organization needs, and, more importantly a good Procurement organization knows what defines talent to the organization.

But this isn’t the problem, it’s the way that many non best in class Human Resource organizations go about the talent hunt. They blast a poorly written advertisement with a list of requirements no living or dead human can meet across multiple channels, collect hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, and then go through a last-man standing vetting process. They create a ridiculous checklist, a set of arbitrary rules for checking the boxes (because they don’t understand what the boxes are), and then eliminate every resume that doesn’t check every box. They then interview the last men, or women, standing, eliminate those that they feel won’t be a good organizational fit (based on gut instinct), and pass you the candidates that remain.

This is almost guaranteed to eliminate a large number of good candidates, if not the best candidates, because Procurement doesn’t need a candidate that checks all the boxes, training can often handle that, it needs a candidate with the aptitude to learn what he or she doesn’t know because organizational needs are always changing and no Procurement professional will ever know everything he or she needs to know.

They drive talent away.

Many HR organizations institute policies that are so onerous, they will drive every individual in the organization insane. These will typically take the form of expense claims and pre-performance review. In the latter case, these will take the form of ten page questionnaires asking the individual to update their resume in detail and list all changes since the last review, describe all of their accomplishments since their last review, list the top ten reasons they deserve a 2% raise, do a 360-degree review on their boss, rate the HR process, etc. until they want to scream and jump out the 10th story window. In the former case, since the review agony comes at most once a year, they will insist on nonsensical requirements for even the simplest of rebates. For example, some organizations have a policy that, in order to get an expense claim reviewed, every employee had to send in an envelope with their expense receipts (and their name on it) stapled to the expense claim to get a refund. This sounds like a good policy, since good fiscal accountability means that receipts should be provided for any expense over a nominal amount, until it’s enforced to the extreme. And some organizations enforce this to the extreme. For example, as described by Sigi in his recent book (reviewed in Gettin’ Sigi With It), one organization refused to honour an expense claim without an envelope, even if their was no receipt. For example, Sigi recounted the story of when one of his team members came to him with a printed e-mail that said an empty envelope with the team member’s name on it was required to be sent in by the team member to get his mileage claim reimbursed. Wow!

They think they know what Sourcing is.

In some organizations, it is HR that thinks they do the Sourcing because, as far as they are concerned, Sourcing is the process of acquiring talent and nothing else. So if you say you do Sourcing, they try to beat you down and kick you unconscious. It’s crazy.

the doctor could go on, but you get the picture. Human Resources is yet another damnation Procurement has to live with. They are the gatekeeper and we are still waiting for the key.