ACE 2012 - Change Required for HR, Recruitment & People Leadership

By Mike Morrison

By the end of day 2 of the annual CIPD conference, there were some underlying trends that I have been increasingly aware of and felt that rather than blog about a particular session or speaker, that these themes should not get lost between the cracks.

These trends or themes include Confidence, Respect, Trust and by implication, Professionalism.


Several speakers have talked about youth employment and unemployment. That these (young) people have great attitude, but lack "work experience" due to a wide range of factors - not due to laziness that many think. But because of this, and despite the outgoing attitude or "front" of many young people the real issue is confidence. Quite simply, many young people do not have the confidence they appear to project. We as HR and business professionals need to recognise this.


This has been mentioned in the survey with respect to young people applying for jobs, but not getting any real feedback when they have not been successful (this leads to increasing confidence issues). Nor in many cases do people get an acknowledgement, other than an auto responder on initial receipt.

This topic has also been a hot one in the CIPD members group on LinkedIn. With HR professionals believing it should happen, but realise that few firms do. It's time for change here - for the potentially negative image we leave job applicants with, could easily impact the brand image with that individuals and their network.


As the pace of change increases, firms of all sizes need to adapt fast. They need to innovate, they need to meet the changing expectations of customers. To do this front line employees need to be trusted with the resources required. Managers and leaders need to realise that the data they can get from front line staff and customers can be a real competitive advantage. This means a whole new way of working. The end of 100 years of "the science of management" and hierarchy, and we need to have employees clear about the vision and goals of the firm, and given easy access to the resources to "make it happen". Leaders need to start working very differently, and learn to communicate and collaborate with their best assets - front line staff.


By not doing any of these things on a regular basis, in 2012 and beyond, can we really claim to be acting in a professional way? I don't think so.

We need to learn to respect and trust our people, and almost more importantly for HR and recruitment, we need to start thinking about job applicants (ALL OF THEM) as CUSTOMERS and advocates for the business in the wider world.

As social media grows, its not difficult to see what happens when a graduate or undergraduate has a poor - or good experience when job hunting. They know it's a tough market and do not blame the employer for not being given the post, but they do hold the company accountable for the way they were treated throughout the process.

HR and in particular recruitment needs to change. Dramatically. It is not difficult. For those that say they "do not have time, they need a refocus - applicants can no longer be treated as meat in a butchers, but as customers of the business. If we treat them poorly this time, they may not buy for us for life. For those of us in b2b and thing this analogy is irrelevant - think again. For these people WILL get jobs, and many will be key purchasing decision makers of the future. Given the choice of supplier A or Supplier B - they will chose the OTHER supplier. Gone are the days when people buy just on price. It's about trust and relationships. If you destroy that relationship before it has a chance to take hold, then it is us that puts the future sustainability of our businesses at risk!

What are your thoughts about these issues?

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