Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why Training & Recruitment synergy seems common sense, but does not work

I speak about this every day and thought of making this a public note that I can share. The synergy between training and recruitment businesses appears to be common sense, but it rarely works in practise. I have seen this in a number of training organizations - who see value in adding a recruitment wing as their trainees can find a job - and then expect that recruitment function to compete in the market. I have seen mergers committed on the basis of this common sense expectation, as well as recruitment organizations trying to get into training, as 'our candidates regularly fall short and we must assist them'. 
The problem is that this does not work in practise. Well, mostly, because of two key reasons:

Bias: Recruitment businesses are supposed to be independent arbitrators of jobs and candidates, but if it is to complement a training organization, it must necessarily operate with a bias, that in favour of students trained.

Time: Recruitment is a here-and-now business, while training is essentially long term. One can not find a job for the candidate who will be ready in a year’s time, nor is it possible to place a trainee in a job which requires his end-of-course skills.


This is not to say that this can not work, though. All I am saying is that there is no easy way of marrying an usual recruitment business model with an usual training business model and expect that everything will work better. My point is that there is a separate recruitment-and-training business model, which is separate from the standalone business models, and some organizations have perfected this already.

I have studied those who have done this, and I think there are three distinctive traits in these models which make them different from an usual training or an usual recruitment model. Here are those three differences:
  1. Capacity building as the goal: The organization creates a phased plan to create a full-blown recruitment and training model, building capacity on both sides in the initial phases. So, a best practise model will create capacity on the supply side [by equipping students with workplace skills and seeking employer endorsements of the training courses] and on the demand side [by developing employer preference for its students and by arranging internships which allow closer employer-student interaction]. In fact, I have hardly seen a successful company which has created a recruitment complement straight from their very successful training operations. It has always been gradual and almost always started with an altruistic goal of finding learners jobs.
  2. Benchmarking as the critical skill: The core assumption from the recruiter’s side is that there must be a perfect candidate for every job. The educator’s assumption is that there must be a perfect job for every candidate. The truth is somewhat in-between these two extremes, and a business model, which excels in benchmarking and competence building can successfully bring the two poles together. The benchmarking works both ways - by exposing students as interns or trainees in the businesses and making businesses involved, in a close engagement, with the training process. Most successful business models come out of years of engagement in such interaction activities.
  3. Learner-funded to Employer-funded as the commercial model: There is a shortage of jobs for under-skilled people, and a shortage of people for skilled jobs, at the same time. The training-recruitment business model, while trying to profit from the economic opportunity, needs to move from one end to another. In the context of an existing training organization, the logical path is move from learner funded capacity building to employer funded training and skills search. This gradual transition of the business model has been the key differentiator of all successful combination models, and these stand apart from the usual each-on-their-own business model that most people cherish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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