About 2 years ago I received an odd telephone call.  Here is a summary of the call:

Caller:                  Is this Steve Lowisz (he said almost whispering!)

Me:                       Yes.  Can I help you?

Caller:                   I can’t tell you who I am, but I am the Head of HR and Talent Management for a MI based out supplier. 

Me:                       OK, how can I help you (Very curious at this point.)

Caller:                   I have a problem that I am hoping you can help with.  I report to the CEO of a $500 million company and we never seem to see eye to eye on the great progress we are making in recruiting.  Before I got here our cost per hire was through the roof, our days to fill was out of control and we had lots of open positions.  Today we fill our positions in 42 days on average and have cut or cost per hire by 50%.  I report this info to him and the executive team each month and I almost don’t get any acknowledgement…. 

CLICK:                   The phone line goes dead.

The caller ID to the call was blocked so I could not see where the call was from.  Assuming that the call was cut off, I waited another 15 minutes for the mystery man to call back and he didn’t – so I forgot about the call and moved on with my day.

Approximately 2 weeks later I was on a plane to Hollywood Florida to conduct a workshop at the ERE conference and struck up a conversation with the gentleman seated next to me.  Edited for space, the call went something like this:

Passenger:          I am heading to Florida to meet my wife as we are building our retirement home there.  Four bedrooms, five bathrooms and approximately 7600 square feet.  (Really?  A retirement home?)

Me:                       Great retirement home!  You will need to retire just to spend the time to keep in clean!

Passenger:          CHUCKLE!

Me:                       So what do you do for a living?

Passenger:          I am the founder and currently the CEO of ABC Company (Name withheld to protect to the innocent).  I have about 18 months left on my contract and will then move from Michigan to Florida.  (Lots of additional talk about when the company was started, its success, etc.)

Passenger:          So why are you heading to Florida?

Me:                       I am speaking at a conference in Hollywood

Passenger:          That great!  What’s the topic?  What industry are you in.              

Me:                       I am leading a session on recruiting best practices.

Passenger:          OH! (Said in a very condescending way as he shifted away from me in his seat.)

Me:                       OH?  What does that mean?

Passenger:          You’re one of them!

Me:                       One of them? 

Passenger:          Yeah.  One of the “them”.  I have little respect for my head of talent acquisition.  It seems like he and his team are never in the same page with my leadership team.  He’s always talking about how great his team because they fill our positions faster than ever before and cheaper than ever before.  I don’t give a crap (not really the word he used – use your imagination) how fast he fills the damn roles if the people don’t produce or run out the back door faster than we can get them in.  Am I really saving money? 

I will spare you rest of the details of the conversation.  The point is that this CEO and his business leaders were focused on getting quality candidates to fill their roles.  Sort term cost savings is great, but not at the expense of long term results.

Approximately 3 weeks after returning from Florida, I was back at my desk when the phone rang again.  The caller introduced himself as Bob and indicated that he was the crazy caller who had called the previous month and had abruptly hung up on me.  I immediately recognized his voice and asked what had happened.  Here is the final exchange to this story:

Me:                       Did we get disconnected last time?

Caller:                   No.  I hung up on you when my boss came into my office?

Me:                       Why???

Caller:                   My boss is the company CEO and we continue to fight about recruiting when we continue to make progress at the same time.  I just can’t figure him out!

Me:                       Ok let’s take a step back.  Who are you and where are you calling from.

Caller:                   Please keep this confidential.  My name is Bob Smith (Name withheld to protect the innocent) and I am the head of HR and Talent at ABC Company (Yes – the same company that the CEO was from!!)

Me:                       Complete silence…….

Although there is a bit more to the conversation and the story, this perfectly illustrated the huge disconnect I often see between the metrics we use and report to the executive team, and what’s really important to them.  In this case the metrics being used to hold the recruiters accountable drove horrible results in candidate performance, longevity, and bottom line contribution to the company.

The end of the story is not as bad as you might think.  12 months after this initial series of events, our head of HR and Talent is using an entire suite of different metrics that focus on driving results that have had a positive impact on the overall company performance.

I see similar situations like this across the globe.  Regardless of industry, company size or location, there seems to be a huge disconnect between business leaders and many HR/TA leaders.  Due to the attention this topic is getting, I am asked to speak and present workshops on metrics all over the world.  One recent webinar that I conducted may be of help to you if your organization is struggling to address this issue.

Click HERE for a link to the Slide Deck.

Click HERE for a link to the recent webinar.

Should you have comments, thoughts or questions, please reach out to me!


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