March 08, 2021

JUST WHAT DOES HR DO?

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Payroll. Employee Relations. Benefits.  Hiring. Onboarding. Learning and Development. Performance Management. Endless climate surveys. These may answer the question, “What does HR do?” but it doesn’t begin to explain who we are or begin to explain, when organized and employed correctly, the immense and exponential value HR can bring to a company’s ecosystem.

I am a Talent Acquisition professional and have been passionate about my function for over 20 years. When asked “What do you do?” there is a myriad of answers I could give, and most would be expected, such as, “I am in recruiting,” “I am in staffing,”  “I help people get jobs,” and most would understand easily. But what I do, “I bring talent solutions to business problems” – full stop.

This simple definition sometimes confuses people, but it is exactly what I do and what I am valued for, and when you get right down to it, it’s what hiring managers and leaders expect from me and those in my function. Many times, we, as a function, and our own worst enemy, are not clearly articulating our purpose and value to the whole of the business.  Human Resources and Talent Acquisition specifically are the gateway to all product, customer support, and revenue-producing functions in a company. Yet, we don’t articulate and champion the concept of “talent solutions.”  The manager further compounds this after asking to “fill a position” or “I have a headcount, and I needed the hire yesterday.” This is quickly followed by a laundry list of objective requirements, such as minimum years of experience in multiple roles and many additional lines having nothing to do with the attributes needed for success in the role.

As we spoke about in “The Talent War:  How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent,” this example of fear-based hiring is one of the things I often see. Hiring is driven by the worry of not filling an empty seat or losing headcount, avoidance of ‘green flags’ and over-rotating on ‘red flags’ and then being measured by speed and incentivized at the volume level. 

At the root of all of this, providing fuel to the fire is simple – the absence of a talent mindset. This mindset is an understanding that talent is the only competitive advantage you can achieve and maintain in your space defines your mindset towards hiring.

To solve business problems with talent at the ground level requires, at a minimum, a strong relationship and partnership between your Talent Consultant and Hiring Managers. Second, having a clearly defined success profile, or the list of character attributes needed for success in the role. Lastly, solid A-players are trained on how to select and assess talent. 

Filling requisitions and hiring isn’t a solution; it is a task. Defining, attracting, assessing, and selecting talent for your organization is a solution. It’s a business-oriented solution that drives the company forward toward winning in our space. It’s what I do.  

George Randle is the Manager Partner at EF Overwatch, former US Army officer, and Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at Forcepoint, a human-centric cybersecurity company. George has more than two decades of experience in talent acquisition at Fortune 100 and Fortune 1000 firms.

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