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Winning where it counts

If you are a business owner or leader, I can tell before I’ve even met you that you have high standards for yourself and don’t like to lose. Part of the journey of becoming successful not only in business but in life is learning to channel that high-achieving spirit into things that both matter and offer the highest return for your emotional and time investment. If you are a perfectionist type this can be a particularly difficult journey because it necessarily (as in always, as in no exceptions) means that you will at some point in your life need to delegate and/or outsource functions in order to maintain and grow. This transition, although inevitable, can be a struggle if you’re not prepared.

Depending on your circumstances, this is tough for various reasons. If you are a manager or leader, it probably means that you will at some point need to delegate functions to people who may or may not have your experience and skillset, may or may not be as invested in the success of the organization as you are and may or may not (although probably not) do things the way you do them. Most of us who have led individuals or teams have learned that peace of mind comes only when one releases oneself and one’s subordinates from the stifling yoke of perfection. Celebrating progress, effort and improvement the key to loving your job as a manager versus being continually frustrated and burned out.

If you’re a business owner or senior executive the premise is the same – if you want to grow, be successful, and/or have a life you can’t do everything yourself. Obviously entrepreneurs just starting out sometimes do have to wear all the hats, but if this keeps up indefinitely, you may be just a really overworked independent contractor.

Fortunately for all involved, we live in an economic period where outsourcing and freelance assistance is available for almost every function. This means that companies can focus almost exclusively on their core service or product and pay experts for whatever else they need. If you own a fitness business, or a sign-making shop, or develop software, you can focus just on that and pay others to perform HR, Financial Reporting, Payroll, Marketing, Accounting and Recruiting to name just a few examples. The beauty of the outsource model is that you can scale up or down as you need. There are providers for every size of business. For example, my business provides small scale talent searches for companies who need help with recruiting while my partner, Source2 provides high volume Recruiting Process Outsourcing for employers who are spending time and money on more than 10 hires a month.

I love the outsourcing models for a lot of reasons. As a coach and consultant, I love that it allows business owners and managers the ability to really streamline their core product, drive efficiencies and become leaders in what they do. It speaks to my coaching philosophy of playing to your strengths, because I believe that’s how you become exceptional. The alternative is usually becoming proficient at best, mediocre or even dangerously poor at performing tasks for which you have no skillset or passion.

Is outsourcing right for you? A good first step is to determine what is working for you right now and where you need help. Ignorance is not bliss here, by the way. If you are not doing anything at all regarding HR compliance, for example, continuing along this path is probably not in your best interest. Your pain point may be that a) you are constantly in a state of low level anxiety about what fines or penalties you may be risking or b) you are actively in danger of a lawsuit or audit. It really shouldn’t be a question of IF you are going to get compliant but how? Do you hire an HR person, learn it yourself or outsource? The answer depends on many factors.

Recruiting is another example. This is not most managers’ favorite activity (to say the least) and is usually not a manager’s strongest skill and yet finding good, quality employees is almost always on the top five list of strategic objectives of a company. If you only hire one or two people a year, you probably suck it up and go through the process of writing job descriptions, placing ads, interviewing and all that. Unfortunately, the more you need to hire, the more complicated it becomes and the less likely it is that you have the time, energy, passion and/or know how to utilize all the best practices like branding yourself as an employer, leveraging that brand across social media and job boards, qualifying applicants in a timely manner etc.

Sound overwhelming and like something that could pull you dangerously away from your core business? Guess what? There are providers for whom your headache IS their core business. At the end of the day, you only have so much time, energy and resources. It only makes sense that you, as a business owner or leader, should spend as much as possible of all of these on the things that you and only you are best suited to do. Forget about ‘rounding’ and instead keep your edges sharp and competitive by winning where it counts and adding other thoroughbreds to the stable when you need them. 

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Recruiting Process Outsourcing – THE reason you won’t hate recruiting anymore

One thing I’ve NEVER enjoyed about HR is recruiting. It may surprise some readers that I say this, based on the large volume of recruiting services I provide in addition to resume writing. The fact is, as an HR Executive recruiting was always one of the biggest needs of every organization I was involved in. As a support center, my job was to make it possible for operations to do their job effectively, and to do that they needed quality staff. It is not the best use of managers’ time to source candidates, screen resumes, arrange interviews, etc. The problem was, as an HR leader I had a lot of strategic things to do; compensation bands, review processes, leadership training, employee investigations (sigh) and I simply didn’t have the industry contacts to develop or maintain the pipeline of candidates I needed for rapid growth.

The only options I knew of at the time were to use staffing agencies (who’d ask for 25% to 30% of first year’s pay), temp-to-hire (with extremely high hourly resource rates and/or contract buy-outs) or to staff an in-house recruiting team, with the associated labor costs, benefits, applicant tracking systems (HUGE cost), career fairs, marketing collateral etc. No matter which way I sliced it, finding talent for my organizations was expensive, time consuming and priority-sucking. But organizations ARE people, and so people-finding is always needed.

If I thought my recruiting days were over when I left corporate HR I had another think coming! No matter who my clients are, at one point every one of them has needed my help recruiting. As an outsource recruiter I have a lot to recommend me – I’m ridiculously cheap based on my model and overhead, I’m an awesome interviewer and I have an instinct for understanding what it takes to be successful and how to find out which candidates are good matches for my clients. With all that being said, I am a boutique agent at best and despite some success I still remain loyal to my core business model – which is to work with business owners and leaders to help them love their businesses again. While I LOVE coaching and leadership development, recruiting is always there, needing to be attended to before the fun can start.

Which is why I am totally in love with the Recruiting Process Outsourcing (RPO) model! Imagine if there was a company who could take as MUCH of your recruiting process as you wanted off your plate? Well there IS! We’re talking job posting, social media engagement, branding, job fairs, applicant tracking, resume screening, pre-qualifying and with the economies of scale to have robust pipelines in most industries/positions. It’s so streamlined and so efficient it’s almost unbelievable!

The RPO model really works best for companies who have high volumes of staffing needs, by which I mean if you hire about 10 people a month or more, because that’s where the economies of scale make sense. Less than that and you’re probably served just fine with me or someone like me, or your HR staff doing your recruiting. But if you’re spending anywhere like $150,000 a year on recruiting this is almost certainly the solution for you. I know in my last job I was spending easily $200,000 just on recruiters, not to mention my ATS, occasional headhunters, ads, etc. When I look at the money I could have saved with an RPO model I….well, that’s all in the past now.  If you’re in HR and are struggling to fill 10 or more spots a week, you can probably save your company significant money, too. It’s worth looking into…if you’d like to know more let me know. As you can tell, I LOVE to talk about this!

So take recruiting off your plate and load it up with all the things you’re really passionate about!