Strategic Human Resources Management. Recruitment and Selection
In order to succeed in the market, companies need to ensure they provide efficient management of human resources. Companies can perform well only in such a case when all of the employees are able to realize their potential, apply their skills and make sufficient contribution to the development of the company. However, one of the crucial tasks which human resource managers need to accomplish in order to ensure the profitability of the company is the correct selection of employees.Organizations can apply different approaches to recruitment: 1) hire people randomly, with selection based only on their qualifications and education; and 2) hire employees according to the recruitment plan which has been created in accordance with the company’s strategic goals.
If organizations apply the first approach, they can often discover that no matter how highly-qualified their employees are, they do not contribute to the organization’s goals in the long run. The second approach can be described as a strategic approach to the human resource management in the company. In such a case, every single employee is selected in such a way that he becomes a cell of the company’s organism. Each separate employee might not be the most highly-qualified professional in the world by himself, but all of the employees together enable the company function the most efficiently. The task of the recruiter thus becomes the selection of employees who could make the largest contribution to strategic goals of the company and who can be the best members of the company’s team.
In this paper, strategic approach to employee recruitment and selection is analyzed. Extensive literature review is followed by recommendations for companies’ recruiters and examples are given on strategic human resource management in Hong Kong hotels.Literature Review.Even though it usually takes plenty of time for companies’ recruiters to select future employees based on strategic approach, this approach to recruitment and selection is currently considered the most progressive. Millmore (2003), Canada (2001), Odom (1995), Slowik (2001), Clarke, Layman (2004) all agree in the fact that strategic human resource management is much more useful for companies than previously used traditional approaches because it integrates human resources management with corporate startegy. Millmore (2003) mentions that “the integration between the management of human resources and organisation strategy is arguably the prime factor delineating HRM theory and practice from its more traditional personnel management origins.
” (Millmore, 2003, p.1). The author states that in human resources management, recruitment and selection are the major elements which need to be altered according to the company’s long-term and short-term goals. “Recruitment and selection is just one element of an array of human resourcing practices that need to be integrated into a coherent bundle by organisations in order to support the delivery of corporate strategy.” (Millmore, 2003, p.1).
Canada (2001) mentions that strategic approach to recruitment determines the quality of skills of people applying for the work in the company. If the organization manages to show what its goals are, most likely it will receive applications from specialists able to contribute to those goals. “Strategic recruiting also allows you to do a better job of explaining to applicants who you are, which in turn can improve the quality of applicants you get.” (Canada, 2001, p.52).
In such a case, it would be much easier for the recruiters to make correct choices of employees. “In a competitive environment, the better the job we do of projecting who we are to prospects, the more likely we will be to interest high-quality people who are attracted to our mission and plans and who will be the best matches for our unique needs.” (Canada 2001, p.52). The expert argues that strategic approach to recruitment enables organizations to select only those candidates who would contribute to the companies’ long-term goals achievement. Companies at first determine what goals they want to achieve and then find employees able to help them in that task.
“Strategic recruiting means taking a long-term view…; examining the gap between where you are and where you would like to be; determining what skills it will take to get you there; and then recruiting for those specific skills.” (Canada, 2001, p.51).Clarke and Layman (2004) support this point of view. They think that the company has to keep in mind the outcome it wants to achieve when recruiting employees.
“…It is important to begin any project or initiative, either personal or professional, with an end in mind. As the organization sets out to hire the right staff, the first order of business is to develop its organizational identity” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.80). The authors suggest regarding an organization as a kind of a mosaic. The only way to assemble it is to choose the right pieces. Therefore, only the most useful employees for the company have to be employed.
“It is critical to go out and assemble the components to build the mosaic; those component members will assist the organization in satisfying its goals and objectives. The staff members who are selected to build the mosaic will make the difference between mediocrity and excellence” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.80). Those organizations which have failed to employ correct people for key positions are destined to fail in the market. “If the pieces to the mosaic do not fit, forcing the “fit” eventually runs the risk of the mosaic breaking apart.” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.
81). The authors also share Canada’s (2001) point of view concerning the fact that only well-determined strategic goals of the company will attract qualified applicants to it. They state that it is often very difficult for the company to make good choices in recruitment because they do not have right people applying for positions. “The challenge is to attract the right people to one’s organization, and then have the right people in the right positions” (Clarke, Layman 2004, p.81).
According to Odom (1995), every company which wants to be successful in the current constantly changing and competitive environment needs to apply strategic tools when recruiting personnel. “Pre-employment screening is the key to a quality work force for the company that wants to survive into the twenty-first century. Whether the search is conducted by a third party or the company itself, it is an essential part of the recruitment process.” (Odom, 1995, p.66).
The author agrees with the fact that this approach might be more costly for the company in the beginning because the hiring process will take more time. However, after employing right people for all of the key positions, the company will not need to look for new employees for these positions in future, as employee turnover will be very low. “New hires cost the company not only in time and money, but also in lost productivity as they master the job. A good employee selection process that helps management find the best candidate reduces overall corporate recruitment costs by decreasing turnover.” (Odom, 1995, p.66).
Slowik (2001) also supports strategic approach to recruitment and selection. However he mentions that it does not need to be as complicated as some companies offer. There has to be balance because extremely complicated recruitment process will scare away potentially qualified employees. “I have worked with thousands of background investigators, human resource interviewers, and oral board panellists who have become so focused on the selection and credential verification process that applicants often report that they felt like criminal suspects in a police interrogation!” (Slowik, 2001, p.77). The top employees might find it humiliating to go through complicated recruitment process.
“The “best of the best” frequently select alternative employment, commenting that they were alienated by the techniques, and were never told one good reason why they should have considered, or waited for, a possible offer.” (Slowik, 2001, p.77). The author emphasizes that for best results, recruitment and selection process needs to be very goal-oriented and simple at the same time. “In essence, recruiting, selection and retention issues can be managed effectively by correctly targeting the information that predicts hiring mistakes and high turnover while encouraging candidates with potential to view the employer and possible job offer favourably.” (Slowik, 2001, p.
78).Tips for Successful Strategic Recruitment and Selection.Most experts in human resources management nowadays agree that it is very important to create a recruitment plan in order to employ the best resources for the company in the shortest period of time. The plan needs to be brought in accordance with the company’s mission, as well as its long-term and short-term goals for maximum efficiency. “In selecting the right people for an organization, it is necessary to prepare and design a recruitment plan that will respond to the uniqueness of the organization’s mission.” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.
82). Recruitment policy in the company needs to be published as an official document, so that none of its paragraphs are neglected. “The company should establish a clear recruitment policy. Once the policy is established, it must be documented and published.” (Slowik, 2001, p.
78).The recruitment plan has to be based on the strategies and principles which are common for every company. According to Clarke and Layman (2004), “the four core strategies should include: branding, pursuit of a diverse labour pool, marketing the organization’s brand and career opportunities, and public relations.” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.83).
Even though organizations function in various industries, these general guidelines can help them to establish the most efficient recruitment policies. The strategies all need to be used as an undividable complex for maximum efficiency because each of them is an equally important element. “Active use of the four strategies brings forth the needed diversity of thought, attitude and job competencies of individuals reflecting the mission, vision and objectives of the organization, and the creation of the organization’s unique, individual mosaic.” (Clarke, Layman 2004, p.86).
The strategy of branding refers to the strategy of establishing the image of the company which potential employees are able to perceive. As it was mentioned above, sometimes companies fail to attract those employees who would be able to help them achieve their goals. After creating a unique image of the company in the labour market, the recruiters might be surprised to see new highly-qualified people applying for jobs in it, those who never thought of applying before.According to the strategy of the pursuit of a diverse labour pool, the companies need to ensure the recruiters conduct an extensive analysis of skills which current employees have and their influence on the performance of the company. The research of skills and qualifications which the company is currently lacking also needs to be provided.
Based on the available information, recruiters will be able to tell what employees need to be hired in future in order to fill the gaps in skills and qualifications among current employees. “An organization must understand the basic characteristics of current employees and determine those skills that are lacking and then actively seek individuals with those skills from external sources.” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.83). The company also needs to ensure that the interviewing process for future candidates is conducted according to the goals of the recruitment.
“There are three basic components to Objective Pre-employment Interviewing: identifying, defining and quantifying information targets; the interpretation of applicant behaviour during the interview; and interviewing techniques to encourage more accurate information, even when applicants perceive that accurate information will result in disqualification.” (Slowik, 2001, p.79).The strategy of marketing the organization’s brand and career opportunities is also very important to address. First, the companies have to realize that they need to engage their current employees in the recruitment process. “Never underestimate the value that employees play in an agency’s recruitment efforts; many times they are the best recruiters.
” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.84). This issue is often neglected by many companies. Their recruiters do not understand that sometimes it is easier for current employees who deal with the achievement of certain goals to determine what team players would be the most useful for their team. “A great resource on learning the most effective way to reach people for recruitment purposes is through current employees within the agency, tenured as well as those new to the agency.
” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.83). In order to take advantage of this approach, recruiters can apply brainstorming techniques among their current employees, including the recently-employed people. “Employees can be brought together to brainstorm ideas to include radio ads, a user-friendly Web address, one-stop online applications, ads in local sports programs, billboards, specialized open houses and the use of employee volunteer recruiters at job fairs.” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.84).
A well-developed public relations strategy is also very important for the companies seeking to recruit well-qualified employees. Such companies need to make sure they widely advertise themselves and especially provide public relations campaigns to attract talented students of top educational establishments. Even though many students do not have enough working experience, the organization gets a rare opportunity of hiring the most brilliant of them and building top professionals for their companies out of these students.As long as the companies apply all of the discussed strategies, they have a good chance of being highly competitive in the market because all of their employees will be working to achieve the goals of the company. “Remember that the mosaic- the particular correctional organization- is unlike any other. It is unique, intricate and it reflects an agency’s particular mission, vision and objectives as well as the culture, political inclinations and other characteristics unique to the particular location.
” (Clarke, Layman, 2004, p.86).Strategic Human Resources Management in Hong Kong Hotels.The strategic recruitment and selection process is particularly challenging in those industries which have a supply of jobs higher than the demand for them. In such situations, recruiters might be forced to hire employees who will not help companies to achieve strategic goals but who are available in the market. For example, recruiters in Hong Kong hotels have recently started facing the problem of locating qualified personnel as more and more hotels open in the area, and there are not enough employees to work in them.
Overall, the labour market in Hong Kong “has been extremely active in all sectors. No sectors I can see have been quiet. There is demand across the board.” (Zavadszky, 2005, p.12).The hotel industry is currently booming as Hong Kong becomes one of the top destinations of the world.
“The high-end hotel sector of Hong Kong has become more luxurious with a spate of new openings and refurbishments designed to cash in on the Chinese city’s newfound position as a top travel destination.” (Cord, 2005. Luxury checks in at new Hong Kong hotels. Available at URL: www.int.iol.
co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=420&art_id =qw1129118402463T614 ). If in the past Hong Kong did not need as many hotels because there were not enough tourists, recently more and more hotels open to meet the demand. “Hong Kong is now competing with the likes of London, Paris and New York. It rates very close to the top”.
(Cord, 2005. Luxury checks in at new Hong Kong hotels. Available at URL: www.int.iol.
co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=420&art_id=qw1129118402463T614 ).As the result of this development, managers of the hotels are destined to experience problems with hiring qualified employees for key positions. For example, Kenneth Wai, area director of human resources at the Island Shangri-La has marked that “it is not easy to hire good candidates.
” (Zavadszky, 2005, p.12). The situation with recruitment in Hong Kong is much more difficult for recruiters than in other Asian countries. “You can get quality staff in Singapore far more easily than you can in Hong Kong” (HK’s Future. Available at URL: http://special.scmp.com/hkfuture/index.asp4.html). The companies are currently literally fighting to employ qualified candidates for their positions in the hotel sector. Therefore, applicants for job positions are in a very favourable situation as they are able to choose among employers. “While companies are fighting over the best applicants, the message for most candidates is to look before they leap, not to give up good career prospects for temporary advantages and to make long-term plans to get the most out of the present favourable job situation.
” (Zavadszky, 2005, p.12).Even though the situation in the labour market in Hong Kong makes strategic recruitment and selection very challenging for managers of the hotels, some of its approaches can still be very helpful. For example, by branding their organizations, the hotels will be able to attract the most highly-qualified job-searchers. If the companies manage to show their long-term goals and possibilities for development, they can be sure to attract perfect candidates for their positions. Public relations campaigns can be very useful in this regard as well.
Hotels also need to look into the employment of recent graduates. It could be very useful to employ brilliant graduates and offer them great opportunities for promotion because in such a case companies would have perfect candidates for top positions in future.;Conclusion.In the recent years, organizations have discovered that those principles and approaches to management which they used to apply in the past, do not work any longer. Even though recruiters of many companies used to hire employees only according to their qualifications, they currently discover that such employees do not always let the company achieve its strategic goals.
Strategic approach to human resources management is one of the most important approaches applied by many successful companies. By applying this approach, companies seek to fine-tune their recruitment policies with the mission of the company, as well as its long-term and short-term goals.Most specialists agree that companies need to be regarded as a living organism which functions efficiently only when all of parts are functioning efficiently, or as a mosaic which will fall apart if a wrong piece is added to it. Recruiters need to be very careful when hiring employees for the company because they create its firm base. The most important strategies which employers need to follow in their recruitment policy are the following: branding, pursuit of a diverse labour pool, marketing the organization’s brand and career opportunities, and public relations.
As long as recruiters base their search for candidates on these strategies, they can be sure that their company will be successful in future. Companies functioning in sectors with insufficient supply of human resources, such as hotel sector of Hong Kong, should take advantage of strategic approach to recruitment and selection because it will enable them to attract the most highly-qualified candidates.;