Friday, April 3, 2009

Falling at the HR Department Hurdle

Executive Search Service for professional level opportunities involves handling softer less tangible selection criteria than can be found on a person's or by conducting a general interview. Our clients are looking for people that will fit with their company culture. This is where HR2B and other reputable firms of Executive Search in Vietnam can really add value to your business.

We specialize in "getting under the skin" of our candidates, to know them, to understand their feelings and motivations and to help them decide what is best for them in their working life decisions. We verify our experienced perceptions by reference checking and fact checking.

We match this with our client's requirements. That is why it is vital for us to meet, discuss requirements and get feedback from the hiring decision maker. The hiring manager.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact HR2B Executive Search in Vietnam

Human Resources departments play an important role in facilitating this relationship, and in providing us with the confidence that the manager we are talking to does in fact have the authority and permission to make a hire. Many HR departments try and stay in the middle of this relationship leading to slow process, unclear communications and a missed opportunity to make the best possible use of resources and talent.

Recently one of our fortune 500 customers changed their policy. We have been working with them for over 3 years providing a steady pipeline of talented people to their business in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

This client employed a new Vietnamese HR manager who interpreted a global policy as saying that line managers could not talk to executive search companies. He had this inserted in our scope of work. We tried to operate like this for 3 months and had many difficulties. We met with this client and explained the difficulties of slow process and inaccurate or incomplete feedback. Our old route of problem escalation via "Regional HR" had been downsized due to the recent economic crisis. Last week we had the line managers of this company contacting our consultants directly, and asking us to provide them with candidates for review before the "HR Department Hurdle".

Today I have ended the contract with this firm. The reason is that we have an obligation to our candidates to be their partner through their job role change process. The actions of this fortune 500 company prevented us from keeping our promise to our candidates.

The reaction of the Vietnamese HR management was to be 'administrators' of a global policy rather than trying to add value to their employer organisation and partnering with us in the difficult endevour of finding the right people for their business. They have made themselves into an obstacle rather than a resource. A wasted opportunity.

Hopefully soon this company will change and we will have the chance to partner with them again. In the meantime we can already see their employer brand becoming less shiny in the Vietnam market. This will surely be costly to that organisation, but more importantly it is bad for the good people who are working in there whose reputation will be dragged down along with their employer.

In this new connected world where LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites allow instant communications between people of all levels, it is quaint of HR departments to think they can stand between their managers and the outside world. Yes there has to be controls and monitoring, however modern organisations have to open themselves up to allow value adding activities to happen faster and easily.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ebb and Flow of Power Erodes Trust in Relationships

Changing economic times have created a tidal change in the balance of power between the employer - employee in Vietnam.

In the 'good old days' before 2001, talented Vietnamese would join with an organisation and pretty well stay there. Sure there was the labour contract, but there was also the unwritten emotional contract between employer and employee. The employer would continue to provide meaningful work with adequate salary and the employee would enthusiastically apply their skills and experience to the business success.

During the 'over-heated days' of 2007/2008 the tide flowed to the employee side. Talented people left the stable life to join fast growing companies who offered a different contract of high risk / high reward. Employers who did not have their retention programs in place suffered, either by losing talent or by over paying to keep good staff.

In 2009 the tide is turning towards employers having more power. As economies slow around the world, employers are faced with a wider range of candidates for fewer roles. Skilled overseas Vietnamese are returning to their home country, and they are affordable. New foreign firms have slowed their plans for Vietnam while things are uncertain at home. Salary demands have slowed. However can employers offer true job security in these uncertain times?

For the future I am sure the tide will once again change. Employees will again have the upper hand as the pace of economic growth increases in Vietnam and around the world.

So what is the lesson here?

For both sides it is important to remember that whatever the current level of the tide, eventually it will change and probably sooner than later. The speed of these changes recently has meant the erosion of trust, which will take longer to return.

For employers, take actions to build the level of trust with your keys employees (this assumes you know who they are already). Make sure this group is protected in your cost cutting measures.

For employees, understand that your employer or future employer might lack trust in you. Build trust by continuing to work on a strong track record of achievements in your current role. Not only will this increase your employ-ability, but it will also provide you with the opportunity to learn and develop new skills.