HR Strikes Back at the HR Grapevine Conference!

Posted 20 March 2014 by
Julia Nickless, Key Account Manager at OPP
OPP's stand at the HR Grapevine event

Last week I attended the fabulous, fun HR Grapevine Conference, HR Strikes Back – and the organisers had really gone to town on the Star Wars theme, with Darth Vader and his storm trooper pals photobombing the stands and taking an interest in talent management that seemed more measured than usual! Gimmicks aside, the conference proved to be a fascinating opportunity to talk to key HR people from some high-profile organisations, and to get inspired about the latest thinking from companies looking to get the best from their people.

I was particularly interested to hear the points raised by Caroline Roberts of Fox International Channels, who talked about how making recruitment more rigorous was a ‘quick win’ for her when she started as HR Director of the global media company in 2012. Moving into a new HR role, she wanted to build her reputation and credibility, and this was a great place to start – especially as she needed to co-interview with senior leaders, and was determined to make their process more evidence based. This was backed up by Colin Minto from G4S, who emphasised the importance of using data and metrics when resourcing to get better results.

We’re seeing a lot of people talking about nurturing a better, more collaborative relationship between HR and line managers when it comes to recruitment, and this was a theme that came out of the conference. When I speak to clients of OPP, they emphasise how crucial it is that leaders and business decision-makers see HR as a partner and centre for advice, rather than a department that enforces what they sometimes see as pointless box-ticking. Traditionally, with access to psychometric tools restricted to those who are trained to administer and interpret them, there has been a risk that those outside HR don’t see their value, and aren’t bought in to why a company is using them. Or, on the flipside, those with little understanding of the tools can view them as a cure-all, and are willing to blindly trust the results without taking into account any information about candidates collected through other assessment methods.

Of course, we know that psychometric data gives you valuable insight into someone’s personality and aptitude, and that they should therefore be a vital component of any recruitment process. Promoting access to accurate, objective and fair assessment for everyone involved in the recruitment process, including the line manager, was one of the inspirations behind our new product Sirius. Sirius users don’t need to be qualified in psychometric tools to make the most of the results – it’s open access. Sirius gives us an intuitive way to gather vital candidate data painlessly, by providing a structured web application that guides users through the process of creating a job profile and vacancy, and defining competencies needed for a particular role – whether you work in HR or not.

I also heard a lot at the conference about HR needing to take the lead in encouraging diversity and fairness. HR managers are concerned about the challenge of coaching leaders to manage people from different backgrounds, and about the imperative to remove unconscious bias from selection. We’ve blogged before about how using personality assessment reduces this risk.

Rigorous recruitment is also about giving people the best possible chance of being successful, both during the selection process, and, if they are successful there, in their later career with an organisation. Caroline Roberts talked about this too – suggesting that talent management begins before a person even joins a company. Onboarding acknowledges that whilst you will obviously select the person who is the best fit for your role, no-one will ever be a perfect fit; so why not use the data and insight you have about them from the recruitment process to help them succeed in their role? Incidentally, the Sirius package also includes an Onboarding Report, which helps you to do exactly that. Maria Horn from Whitbread talked about end-to-end talent management at the conference – sharing a utopian vision of how information from initial selection can be built upon throughout an employee’s life with a company, and can even feed into succession planning. Data about personality and performance help HR and L&D professionals really get to know their staff, and look at trends in the data to understand where the leadership of the future will come from. It was so exciting to hear about someone taking this long-range strategic approach to HR, and to reflect on how psychometric assessment can help make this a reality.

With such a wealth of topics and richness of discussions, it seems as if HR really is striking back – so we’ll hopefully be sending our space crew back next year!

If you want to find out more about how Sirius can help you find your brightest star, why not watch our free webcast, ‘How SMEs can avoid hiring mistakes’, which showcases the system?

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