Optimising internal and external skills and expertise to deliver successful organisational outcomes.

In practice, most organisations need to draw on a mix of internal and external expertise, but that becomes more acute during periods of major change. Like any task, executing organisational change needs the right tools.  And they need to be available at the right time, in the right quantity and of the right quality. 

A key tool is expertise, not only in the form of advice, but also in application. Much expertise can be provided by the right advisors, but it also needs practitioners. HR expertise is no exception.  And one of the areas of expertise which needs to be applied is the area of integration

In this context, integration means drawing to together the different components – skills and expertise – of a successful organisational outcome.   

We can look at the process of executive recruitment as a good example of this.  Different skills and expertise are needed at each stage of the recruitment process from understanding organisation design, recruitment, project management, reward and legal expertise. All these need to be integrated to achieve a successful outcome of hiring the right person for the organisation.

  1. Define the role and the person specification.

This is an opportunity to look at how other organisation’s structure the role and group its activities.  And this can be supported by external expertise through the organisation’s search partner(s). 

  1. Identifying prospective candidates.

The second step will be the search itself, selecting a search partner if one is not already in place, mapping the market and identifying prospective candidates: both candidates: both external and internal. 

Like all advisory and expert services, they will only be value adding if there is an informed and proactive client or partner within the organisation.  Sometimes with search assignments the role of hiring manager and internal client can be complicated.  To use an analogy from another functional area, the audit committee may be the ‘client’ of the auditors (on behalf of the Board and ultimately the shareholders), but informed and proactive engagement with the auditors will always come primarily through the organisation’s finance team.  In the same way, the internal client /partner for search and recruitment assignments will be the relevant experts in the HR team. 

  1. Interview Candidates

Once suitable candidates have been identified, they need to be, interviewed and the process completed to find the most suitable candidates(s).  This is likely to be the most time consuming part of the process and one where the search firm will work best with active engagement with the HR team.  Part of that process is keeping close contact with candidates and making sure that the hiring proceeds quickly and smoothly. 

  1. Make an Offer

For the more senior roles recruitment is likely to involve employment law advice and some judgement on the level of remuneration.  Drawing on the right external experts to assemble the offer to the candidate, finalise the agreements and close the deal will require close attention from the internal HR team. 

In practice, hiring and other people processes will be happening in parallel. 

This is the third of three articles that Rupert has written on HR transformation. The first two articles are on Configuration and Integration.

Rupert is the Chair of 3XO. He was previously the UK’s Government Chief People Officer (2016 to 2022), and prior to that Group HR Director of Lloyds Banking Group and held senior HR roles at Aviva and Barclays.