recruiter april 2015

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  1. 1. WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK Profile RECRUITER APRIL 201526 PHOTOGRAPHY:AKINFALOPE Charlotte Harris COLIN COTTELL SPOKEWITH THE GLOBAL HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR AT FLEXIBLEWORKPLACE PROVIDER REGUS ABOUTTHE OVERHAUL OFTHE COMPANYS RECRUITMENTSTRUCTURE 27WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK RECRUITER APRIL 2015 Imagine an organisation that goes from having 50 or 60 recruiters to more than 2,000 within the space of just over a year. It seems an unlikely scenario. But for Charlotte Harris, global HR director at flexible workplace provider Regus, it is very real. The exponential growth in the number of recruiters at Regus was just one element in a two-year period of change that saw a dramatic and fundamental overhaul of the companys field recruitment meaning recruitment of customer service staff working in Reguss network of centres, rather than senior executives. I dont think we anticipated the level of change that this would cause, but that is Reguss way we did it so quickly that a lot of people didnt get a chance to catch their breath, says Harris, speaking to Recruiter at the companys modernistic Bruton Street business centre in Londons Mayfair. Regus is a company in a hurry. In the last couple of years it has opened in roughly 450 new locations around the world, bringing the number of employees to more than 10,000 in 105 countries. The firm expects to hire 3,000 new staff this year. And it is clearly a company in which Harris believes she and her team have a vital role to play. The work that I do now is really enabling that growth, and that is rewarding you can really influence and change what is happening. I am hooked on Regus simple as that, she says. Harris is clearly in her element at Regus as she enthuses about the company and recruitments PHILOSOPHY OF RECRUITMENT Alotofpeopleseerecruitmentas afunctionalservice.Itsnot;itsfar morethanthat
  2. 2. 29WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK RECRUITER APRIL 2015 pivotal role in it. But the picture she paints of Reguss recruitment going back just a couple of years is a very different one. It was slow, it was impractical, and disjointed between HR and the field. The field was saying I cant grow my business because HR arent recruiting people fast enough, she says. The companys separate recruitment teams in each of Reguss geographies the Americas, the UK, EMEA [Europe, Middle East & Africa] and Asia Pacific were quite heavy in terms of manpower, admin and spend, she continues. We were asking a junior recruiter in Hong Kong to recruit local people in Brisbane. It was just ridiculous, so quite clearly we needed to do something drastic. It wasnt HR or recruitments fault. It was just they were under-resourced, and didnt really have the skills or the accountability to do what they needed to do. So we tore it up. If that sounds overdramatic, Reguss rapid Profile expansion and plans for further growth suggest that this is not a company that shies away from change. Indeed, the subsequent transformation of recruitment within the company was conceived from the very top of the organisation by Regus chief executive and founder Mark Dixon. The changes have been twofold, says Harris. We have created more regions, but put in more accountability and responsibility at the country level. At the same time, we looked to standardise and streamline everything that we do centrally to so that we can scale for growth. It was the way he [Dixon] wanted the business to go, Harris continues, to localise and decentralise that process, so instead of having core HR teams running recruitment, he wanted everybody on the ground to basically own it themselves. The result is that rather than HR being responsible for recruitment as before, area directors now have the responsibility to hire general managers, while general managers, who manage Reguss centres, in turn recruit customer service representatives. However dramatic these changes are, she says there was always a realisation that they wouldnt work on their own. We quite clearly couldnt just say it is your job to do this now It needed to be a lot better than that because we needed to embed it and make it part of what we do. With recruitment only a part of hiring managers busy day jobs, we needed to make it as quick and as easy as possible. What was needed was a practical solution they could follow. The introduction of what Regus calls recruitment champions has been pivotal. Chosen by Reguss area directors, recruitment champions do not actually recruit themselves, but play a central part in the new decentralised system. Following a two-day workshop covering all the basics of recruitment at Regus, and train the trainer sessions, their first responsibility is to train Reguss hiring managers, says Harris. But thats not all, she explains. They also act as a conduit for us into the business, taking any issues and challenges that recruiters are having locally and feeding them through to their local HR team. Quite clearly my team cant handle 2,500 people [hiring managers] ringing them up saying I cant log in I cant post this job, I havent got any candidates, what do I ask at interview all those questions that a hiring manager would ask because recruitment is not their day job. It is about having a network of people on the ground that live and breathe recruitment as part of their job, and an escalation point to us. GlobalHR director,Regus 2014-present Globalheadof recruitment, Regus 2012-14 VariousHR/ resourcing contract assignments,JC Consulting (herownlimited company) 2007-12 Executivesearch consultant, ImprintSearch& Selection March 2007- December 2007 Various recruitment agencyroles (includedperiods atHays,Robert HalfandAdecco) 1989-2007 CV: CHARLOTTE HARRIS SECRETOF SUCCESS Luck,hardworkandhaving fantasticpeoplearoundme PHOTOGRAPHY:MANUELVASQUEZ
  3. 3. 31WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK RECRUITER APRIL 2015 Harris says a good word to describe recruitment champions is facilitators, giving an example of how they get hiring managers working in offices that are geographically close to interview together, rather than operating in silos. That is how it works now, she says. The aim is to have as many recruitment champions as possible, says Harris, with area directors, for example in London, New York or Singapore, where there are several Regus centres, encouraged to have as many as they want. Once appointed, Harris emphasises that recruitment champions are not simply left alone to sink or swim. Each of Reguss countries and regions have weekly conference calls, where they can discuss issues and challenges. The wholesale transformation of recruitment at Regus doesnt end there, however. With hiring managers in busy day jobs now replacing recruitment specialists, came the recognition that the recruitment process needed to be made as simple and easy as possible. We clearly needed to automate, says Harris. To avoid local centres receiving as many as 500 to 600 applications for just one or two jobs, a new assessment process, which identifies the top 50-60% of applicants was introduced. In addition, working with international employment solutions and retention firm Kenexa, hiring managers now have Profile a recruitment tool that is intuitive and really easy to use 13 clicks to hire somebody, says Harris proudly. This is combined with a job description and advertisement that is completely locked down. Harris, who joined Regus in 2012 after a career which spanned interim, search and agency recruitment, is clearly at home at Regus, and relishes the pace of change. I can come up with ideas, she says, and a decision is very quickly arrived at whether [those ideas are] approved or not approved, she adds. However, she accepts that the dramatic changes introduced to recruitment at Regus over such a short period, including implementation in 13 languages, has not been without its challenges. Crikey, how long have you got?! she says, when asked about the problems encountered. Harris says the biggest challenge was getting the HR community to adopt the changes. It is a massive change of behaviour for them, she acknowledges. Instead of them physically doing the recruitment, they were changing to become supporters and enablers. Further, while Reguss HR team of around 100 retains a local or regional presence in each of Reguss territories, the changes have meant some HR staff leaving the business. A one-size-fits-all solution across the whole company has also proved problematical, particularly in parts of Asia Pacific. For example, the new situational judgement test, which takes candidates 10 to 15 minutes to complete, has proved unsuitable for China, and the process is being redesigned. They call it the three-second principle, she laughs. If you cant allow a candidate to apply for a job within three seconds you can forget it. Things just work differently over there so we are working our way through Asia-Pac at this moment. A further difficulty is that some country managers have baulked at hiring being devolved locally, taking the attitude Why should I do that? That is HRs job. It is really easy to develop something and roll it out; the difficulty is getting people to embed it and embrace it as part of what they do, she adds. For Harris, the way to get buy-in is communication or over-communication as she puts it. You have got to tell them, tell them what you told them and tell them again it is really as simple as that. That and having your leadership involved, and helping to drive change. Harris says there are signs that HR is growing into its new role of supporting and enabling those in the field, improving the recruitment toolkit and Reguss various recruitment channels. The improved transparency of the new system allows HR to spend more time on identifying recruitment hotspots to where they can drive traffic. It is more of a partnership role there isnt this kind of tension now between HR, global HR and the guys on the ground. They literally work in tandem with each other, and it is really nice