"Making it simple is certainly the most sophisticated goal in the world" (Steve Jobs). While all companies today want to "become more agile", "build a startup culture" or "lighten their processes", new management methods are gaining momentum, foremost among which is lean management. This method of fight against waste, initially developed in the industrial environment, can allow very important performance gains if it is applied to recruitment.
When Ernest Hemingway wrote the novels that earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature later, his writing method was rather surprising: once he wrote the first draft, he began to resume, to simplify, to prune his text and to delete it. whole swaths, until there remains only the true, the heart, the important. Lean management responds to this same principle: it is by eliminating all the superfluous that we manage to maximize the value of his product or service.
1. DEFINITION: WHAT IS LEAN MANAGEMENT?
Lean ("lean", "fat-free" in English) is a method inspired by the modes of production put in place by Toyota at the end of the 20th century, and aimed at minimizing waste. Because in the company, waste is omnipresent! We waste time, resources, energy, motivation ... Now, it is by eliminating these wastes that a company is gradually able to go towards a better satisfaction of its customers, its collaborators, and its partners.
Lean therefore promotes a method of continuous improvement of productivity, time and cost management, through the reduction of waste (or muda in Japanese).
The wastes identified by the method are 7 in number:
- Useless steps
- Useless movements
- Corrections and retouching
2. ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES: HOW CAN LEAN AVOID WASTE?
Lean is based on 4 complementary organizational principles.
First, the right processes will work well. To optimize this process, the goal is to identify all the steps that make up the process, until you can identify all the tasks that succeed each other to achieve your result. Second, non-value-added tasks must be identified and removed, while those that add value to the process must be standardized, improved, and automated as much as possible. Simple visual indicators should help identify problems quickly and track success KPIs.
This construction of the right processes, therefore, requires a continuous problem-solving. Once identified, the goal is to work as a team to identify their root cause (why do we have this problem?), And look for solutions to solve it sustainably rather than simply bypass it. Lean relies heavily on a step by step approach.
Collaborative approach par excellence, lean requires to go on the ground: everyone must be associated with the identification of problems and solutions. The method does not distinguish between, on the one hand, experts who think, and on the other hand, the operational ones who do: the objective is to build a culture where each employee can bring his expertise from the field.
This strong link with the operational staff must push any company wishing to adopt the lean-to cultivate its leaders: people guarantors of the implementation of the method, convinced of its long-term interest, who make it live and who teach it to others.
3. LEAN RECRUITMENT: WHAT CAN RECRUITMENT WIN TO INSPIRE LEAN?
Lean is certainly a method initially developed for industry, but all sectors can be inspired by its principles of operation. Waste is a major source of frustration for recruiters, operators, and candidates, and eliminating them will help make your recruitment process much smoother.
Also, the exercise that requires getting out of established processes to focus on the tasks that have the most added value is extremely valuable if it is performed regularly, especially because it gives more meaning to the work of your collaborators. Lean management can, therefore, benefit recruitment and human resources sectors.
4. HOW TO PLACE IT?
The first step in appropriating the method is to be able to define one's own goals. Would you like to recruit more candidates? Accelerate your recruitment process? Recruit "better" to reduce turnover in your company? Once these objectives are well identified, it will be relevant to look at the different sources of waste mentioned above.
You produce too much. Too much of what? Probably too many intermediate documents, job offers that will not find takers, too many conflicting demands ... While the first step of recruitment is to define a job description, it is still too often to brush the portrait of an ideal candidate who already possesses all the qualities and would have no defect. Paradoxically, the needs associated with a position when they are collected will often have to change over months or years. following.
By flexibilities the way you define the job description, you can move faster! The important thing is to agree on the overall spirit of the tasks to be accomplished and the skills that match them rather than on a vast inventory of skills that may prove to be obsolete. This will allow you to broaden your pool of relevant candidates and enhance the value of the skills, instead of just know-how. And above all, your needs collection phase will be even faster!
Often the biggest pain point of the candidates, the recruitment process tends to be very long. And again, the candidates see only the tip of the iceberg: even before the publication of an ad, how long did it take to collect the needs? Build the job description? Has it validated?
To reduce decision and recruitment delays, anticipation is necessary! Setting up a participatory recruitment method, involving both recruiters and operational staff, is an opportunity to reduce the number of steps required for recruitment. Also, optimized processes make it possible to respond more quickly to candidates and reduce frustrations.
For example at FP Executive Search & Recruitment, when we send shortlisted candidates to our clients, we encourage all our clients to respond to applications within 3 days after the candidate has applied. More to improve the image of the company with candidates, it also allows recruiters to be sure to meet candidates who are still actively seeking.
A company is a vast whole, flows of all kinds: often product flows, financial flows sometimes ... But most importantly, information flows! Lean recruitment must facilitate the accessibility of information, which results in significant time savings. Where do you centralize the candidates' CVs? Your interview notes? The result of their technical tests? Do you have a tool to easily track all candidates at each stage of your Pipeline so you can identify or anticipate gaps? By making information accessible to everyone at all times, you can become an agile organization.
Lean is based on the decomposition of processes into increasingly simple tasks and aims to distinguish tasks that create value from those that do not. You have found a candidate that you like? Do you have to wait 10 days to complete another process, in case the other candidate is even better? Do you prefer to recruit a candidate available immediately but need to be trained on several topics, or leave the vacancy for the moment?
Depending on your objectives, you will be able to identify the actions you put in place that are valuable (that is, you can measure the impact on achieving that goal). As for the others, it's an opportunity to try to do without ... And enjoy the time you gain through this to test new things!
As the maintenance, monitoring and rotation of physical stocks are a source of cost in an industrial structure, as recruitment is the job par excellence in which there is no inventory. And yet, each company, each recruiter has a pool of candidates in which he can go dig when looking for a profile.
The interest is not to get rid of this stock, but to optimize this pool to use it as a reliable asset. Are the CVs that make up your pond up to date? Have you planned a process that will easily allow candidates you have met in the past to indicate that they are in search again? Does your team call them, 2 or 3 times a year, to take stock of their medium-term goals and skills?
For the operator of a production line, some repetitive tasks do not create any value. The logic is the same for the recruiter, even if these tasks are not of the same order. Do you feel that you often send resumes to the operational staff without receiving an answer? That what you consider to be the final version of an ad is finally faked on the pretext that the context has changed?
Setting up a culture of anticipation based on feedbacks allows you to be more proactive in managing your recruitments. Whether these feedbacks come from your team, your operations, your ecosystem or your service providers, your objective is to confront you with as many points of view as possible about your actions. It will bring out a conviction on the alignment between your actions and the overall strategy of the company.
Corrections and retouching
The last source of waste, corrections, and retouching correspond to a delivered product that does not finally meet the initial promise. In other words, in a recruitment process, it is all the cases where a candidate leaves your company during or at the end of his probationary period, or even after only a few months at your side.
By creating a fluid candidate experience, from the publication of the announcement to the recruitment of the candidate, but also, then, its onboarding and his daily life by your side, you will deploy a real long-term approach that will allow your company to always have the human resources you need, in the right place, at the right time!
In conclusion, the Lean methodology has long been proven in the industry and has helped some of the world's most prestigious companies to establish themselves in their markets. While the method has been extensively tested in the sector industrial and is beginning to spread to other universes, would HR be the next sphere to turn to lean?