Have You Heard Of Lean Recruitment?

Have you heard the term lean recruitment circling around your work space?

What is a “lean” process?

Toyota is sometimes called “one of the world’s great manufacturing success stories.” General Motors was actually the world’s biggest automaker from 1931 to 2008 (heck of a run), and Toyota took the title from them, largely based on a set of factors internally known as “The Toyota Way.” 

One of the major tenets of how Toyota produces cars is “lean manufacturing.” Essentially, the idea of “lean” is to eliminate waste in the production process. Toyota has seven main “wastes,” including overproduction (manufacturing an item before it’s actually required) and waiting (when goods are not moving or being processed). 

Sometimes the Toyota process is called “just-in-time” because each item is made only and just when it’s actually needed.

So, what exactly does this all have to do with recruiting?

The idea of “lean recruiting”

You can potentially already see some parallels with lean manufacturing and recruiting, and, indeed, there are now companies embracing “lean recruiting.”  

The easiest way to think of lean recruiting is proactive vs. reactive. Many hiring processes right now are reactive: Someone leaves a role, or new headcount is granted, and the recruiting team will talk with the hiring manager, build out the specs for the role, and follow traditional routes to hiring that person. But everything starts with the open seat; the open seat creates the reactive process.

Lean recruiting is more proactive. It includes capacity planning, forecasting, and understanding future role needs. You’re trying to determine what employees are needed before you actually need them, so that your hiring can shift to “just-in-time.”

Getting started with lean recruiting

Remember: In the eyes of Toyota, “lean” is about reducing waste. So if you want to embrace a lean method for recruiting, you need to:

  1. Reduce waste in your recruiting process, by being better at time management, and smartly automate where you can. You want your recruiters focused on the most valuable tasks, not the most time-consuming, rote tasks. Those latter tasks are waste; a lean process seeks to reduce those. 
  2. Begin with recruitment automation, which is an increasingly-strategic value of HCM software nowadays. 

And as you become lean…

… if you’re running a standard recruiting team right now, there is almost no way your people have the time for capacity planning, employee network development (i.e. referrals), hiring manager relationship-building, and the like. They are probably very focused on filling open seats and the tactical parts of doing that, i.e. screening, sourcing, scheduling, and presenting lists of candidates. 

But as you become lean with the early steps of automation, your people will have more free time. That means they can:

  • Work on capacity planning
  • Look at future quarters that may need more employees
  • Look at what business development is doing and tie the potential acquisition of a large client to future hiring needs
  • Meet with A-Players in the local market to develop relationships should they want to leave their current job
  • Attend networking events
  • Build relationships with hiring managers
  • Continue to learn how the business works
  • Continue to learn how each department works

If your people are doing these things, they’re being more strategic and getting ready for the advanced stages of lean recruiting. It all begins with intelligently automating what you can to create time for recruiting activities of more value. 

Questions about lean recruiting?

We’d be happy to help start you moving in the right direction. Some companies have even been working on lean recruiting methods since 2011, so there are a lot of successes and processes we can point you towards.

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Bill Hutzul

Senior Enterprise Account Executive at Ideal
Bill completed his education with an HBA from Wilfred Laurier University and has continued working in sales at various software companies ever since. Working in a startup that disrupts a space and changes the way that people do their jobs excites Bill, as he considers himself to be a "nerdy sales guy". Bill believes in selling with the mindset that he "only wants to sell to people who will buy 2, 3, or 4 times from him". In his spare time, you can find him playing baseball, golf, football, soccer, basketball, or tennis, while planning his next country to visit.
Bill Hutzul

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