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growing imperative to be globally competitive as well as the increasing sophistication of customer needs, organizations must hire the highest quality employees. Unfortunately, however, many companies do not have an effective hiring system in place. Since the hiring process has been such a fundamental part of an organization's human resources ongoing responsibility for such a long time, it is often taken for granted and not reviewed and critiqued on a regular basis. Many organizations believe that since people are being hired to fill the openings, the hiring process is working effectively. Yet they do not understand why they have a high turnover rate or employees who cannot meet their responsibilities. The organization may be hiring candidates, but not those who fit in with the culture or want to stay with the organization. Filling the necessary number of positions is important, but choosing people who will appreciate, share, and promote the company's strategy is equally essential. New hires must have more than a strong working experience and the skills required for their job. They also need to be able to readily adjust to the organizational culture, be committed to doing their best in their jobs, and care about being promoted and remaining with the company for the long-term. A strategic hiring process requires a clarity of what is important to the organization. The core mission, vision, values, culture, and strategy need to be considered when developing a hiring strategy (Segal). An effectual hiring process is an essential factor in hiring and retaining valuable employees.
Interviewing potential employees continues to be the major decision-making tool for filling nearly all jobs worldwide (Erker and Buczynski), but integrating HR management into organizational strategy is a direction that some, but not enough, companies are taking. Regardless of the value recognized for strategically-based recruitment and selection and the many positive examples provided for its support, a study conducted by Millmore concludes that the use of the strategic recruitment and selection (SR&S) process is virtually nonexistent in most companies. Businesses may want to recruit high-quality people, but hiring still remains one of the least defined of all key organizational practices. Although companies typically make their financial decisions with a great deal of prudence, professionalism and insight, in too many situations, they are making their hiring decisions quickly, with little consideration and not based on any pre-set established parameters.
Organizational recruitment and selection practices have mostly remained unchanged for decades, having evolved into a fairly standardized "traditional" approach (Storey). This traditional method grew out of the psychometric model (Newell and Rice) where the company places its HR efforts on defining the type of individual who will work best in a specific job and measuring potential candidates against determined personal characteristics to establish a person/job fit. The majority of organizations continue to use this traditional hiring approach (Wright and Storey) and research concludes that there is a dearth of strategic practices in place. Such studies are not promising, considering the major changes that are taking place globally. Poor hiring practices exist even at many of the top Fortune 500 corporations. In a study conducted with over one hundred senior executives from the U.S., Germany, U.K. And France, only half thought that they were actually successful at determining top performers (Fernandez-Araoz). If a consistent system is not followed, the company suffers by hiring the wrong people. Organizations need to ensure that executives are aware of how important it is to integrate HR into the company's strategy and have SR&S practices where an emphasis is put on hiring employees against organizational instead of job-specific criteria (Bowen et al.). A well-thought out SR&S program requires utilizing more sophisticated selection methods, greater participation of line managers in the overall hiring process (Storey; van Zwanenberg, Wilkinson and Anderson) and extensive planning, which are all worth the effort that is invested (Segal).
A distinct and thorough HR strategy plays an essential role in attaining the organization's overall goals and objectives and clearly exhibits that the HR function completely comprehends and supports the course that the organization is taking. A thorough and well-thought-out HR strategy also provides anchoring for the strategic objectives defined by marketing, finance, operations and technology. With SR&S, the company matches its resources for the long-term to the expected requirements of the changing environment (Johnson and Scholes). The workforce develops into a significant part of the organization's resource potential. Human resources management reiterates that people are the essential company resource. They are an organization's most treasured asset and primary resource to gain a competitive advantage (Bratton and Gold). The companies that are using SR&S throughout the world are claiming success. Strategic selection is recognized to be as a valuable support system for acquiring necessary specialists to promote the delivery of high-quality products and services. SR&S allowed these organizations to increasingly move from a focus on selling product to offering total business solutions with a wide variety of support services. Brewster, Sparrow and Harris report how acting strategically to business changes including restructuring, globalization and lean operations, can lead to a greater need for hiring new employees who have the necessary skill base. The implementation of new organizational directions required a more strategic method to the hiring process.
Overall, these researchers are saying that an HR strategy needs to understand what is called the "the people element" of what an organization hopes to attain in the short to long-term. Companies need to make sure that they have the right people in place who have the necessary capabilities and skills, display loyalty and commitment, and are trained and developed to be supportive providers to the company as it transitions into new areas. Human resource management must make sure that the HR strategy is incorporated into the company's broader organizational goals and objectives. To accomplish this, HR needs to ensure that the rest of the organization accepts the recruiting and hiring strategy (Millmore). HR management has to get in the input for the strategy from all the participating stakeholders, encourage support of the strategy through interpersonal communication, feature the benefits that this strategy will provide in discussions with others involved, promote through company-wide communication the advantages of the strategy that include specific examples of the way it already has and will further assist the organization, emphasize that the strategy needs the commitment of people throughout the organization, and continually provide feedback and avenues for input on the implementation of the strategic plan through employee communication vehicles and activities (Holbeche).
Once the strategic plan is in place, human resources must ensure that the goals and objectives are incorporated into the specific hiring elements. Otherwise, the people with the necessary skills and interest will not be hired. Job descriptions that clearly specify the skills and abilities needed to perform the required tasks are essential for all companies. These descriptions, which must be written by the department managers along with those who actually perform the work, need to correctly define the type of employees needed and for what type of work and responsibilities. If HR goals are incorporated into the organizational strategy, these job descriptions will be directed toward meeting company objectives. Segal reports that when hiring, many companies only look at the candidate's work experience and education. The job descriptions do not include the specific behavioral competencies that are just as essential, such as being able to handle change, problem solving ability and displaying vision. Frequently, a new hire does not perform well in a job due to deficiencies in behavioral competencies rather than skills (Bohlander and Snell). In order to hire the highest quality people, the job descriptions need to include the corporate values as well as technical competencies or work experience. Companies that have high retention rates take the time to analyze each job and define more challenging specifications that in sync with fundamental demands of the position's responsibilities. By establishing the correct specifications for each opening, the company progresses closer to hiring those people who are the right fit for the position and their organization (Perry and Kleiner). If the job descriptions are poorly written or not written at all, the chances are someone will be hired simply because the interviewer likes him or her (Yate) and with little regard for needed job essentials.
Owen adds that it is also necessary to hire those individuals that fit comfortably into the company's cultural personality and want to contribute to the organization's success. Companies have much more of an opportunity of developing a positive reputation and with their customers and being a credible brand when hiring those individuals who share the same values as noted in their mission statement. For example, if integrity and commitment are essential aspects of a business, then it is necessary to recruit those individuals who have these specific values and will provide a much greater chance of a positive delivery to customers and clients. According to Owen, strong company values are essential for an organization to differentiate itself from competitors. The organization's personality should be embedded in its mission statement,…[continue]
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