Many of us in the human resources field find ourselves sometimes feeling like maybe our voice doesn’t always have the highest priority – but it is vitally important to ensure you find your voice. Whether you are a recruiter or an HR business partner or serve some other vital function in your organization, remember that your perspective, while it may not always be the popular or the easiest solution to a potential problem, is an objective and experienced view that the business you are supporting likely doesn’t have.
As an example, you are an experienced recruiter and a senior executive that you are supporting requests a headcount (backfill or new) with what appear to be unrealistic expectations. Whether the essence of the unrealistic expectations is around the compensation package he/she wants to offer for the role, or has in the budget, or whether the job description is too rich for the role – make sure you find your voice or you will set yourself up for either eventual failure or a painful process that could end up successful but only by altering the role during negotiations upon finding the best candidate. Now, I know some of you are thinking – that’s easier said than done! Yes, that’s true – so let’s go through some options of how to make your argument without sounding like you’re digging in your heels and arguing with your executive:
- You are the expert in your field – so leverage your database and industry peers to get actual concrete data and feedback on the job description and compensation package in comparison to location (Keep in mind of course that every company is different as well – so think about how competitive you are from that perspective, are you a large company with amazing perks? Are you a small company that doesn’t have a ton of intangible or tangible draws?)
- If you are still in the same position after making your opinion known on the topic – your second option is to get a really good sampling of candidates from those that applied directly to the role and those that you’ve sourced – gather your data on their comp requirements and feedback about the position, chances are the proof will be in the pudding.
Sometimes, unfortunately, the voice of reason may not be heard until the 11th hour – in which case, all you can do is do the best job possible given the parameters, take copious notes and document your metrics, and when everyone comes around, and they probably will come around, you’ll be there (trying really hard not to say I told you so) but rather using that as an opportunity for future opportunities to influence the business correctly.
This doesn’t only apply to recruiters of course, this also applies to hr business partners that advise the business on performance management, compensation planning and so on. Many of the same principles apply here as well. For example, if you know a person has been a problem in their role for years, but have gone through so many managers that each time they get a do-over, you have to apply some of the same principles as above:
- Collect all of your previous data (performance reviews, documentation on performance, complaints, etc) – present it to the manager in the most objective way possible.
- If that doesn’t work, all you can do is continue to move forward, documenting and trying to help steer the ship in the right direction so that you are prepared to take action when the business arrives in the place you anticipated. (There are rare occasions where management change is just what the doctor ordered, but if you’ve seen many iterations of management and things never progressed in the right direction, it’s probably a tall order).
The moral of the story here is figuring out a way to best influence what you know to be the right thing for the business, while staying credible in your role and keeping as objective a perspective as possible. Some managers are much more coachable and able to take advice, while others are more resistant to it. The trick is to find the balance because even though you were right at the end of a debacle, it doesn’t make the debacle any more fun to participate in or work through, which will ultimately land on your plate anyway!