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The successful resourcing of organisations has never been more challenging

Word Count not: 2732


This essay discusses the key issues of people resourcing activities and approaches. It also
highlights the debates around the strengths and limitations of a variety of resourcing
techniques. Resourcing and talent planning in the context of the modern, fast changing and
turbulent environment is difficult. Because, forces of globalisation are affecting both the
external and internal environment of the organisations and its people. It argues why people
resourcing should be done in the context of the big picture. This essay also suggest ways to
tackle the limitations of some of the resourcing techniques based on examples of real
organisations.

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Introduction:
People resourcing is a part of human resource management that is concerned with the
recruitment and release of the individuals as well as their performance management (Pilbeam
et al, 2010). He also comments that in contemporary HR parlance people resourcing is termed
as talent planning and resourcing. Resourcing and talent planning in the context of the
modern, fast changing and turbulent environment is difficult. The definition of talent is about
future leadership; it is about the individuals who are high performers and have the potentials
to reach the top of the organisations (Croney, 2008). Therefore, talent is all about the
individuals with sophisticated intelligence. According to Mellor (n.d.) talent planning is
about intelligence-gathering: assessing capabilities, analysing behaviours; understanding
available skills and corporate values; challenging company structures and processes;
identifying market trends.

A one-size-fits-all approach to a dynamic subject like people resourcing is inadequate.


Organisations operate in a varied environment. A panoptic vision is needed to review people
resourcing activities and approaches in terms of the contexts and the changing patterns of the
environment in order to see the big picture. Raiden et al. (2007) also commented that in
recent years the literature on people resourcing has consistently advocated the importance of
adopting a holistic, strategic approach to employee deployment decision making.
Organisations can run smoothly if they are updated with the changing environment. A mere
development in a remote part of the globe has the ability to affect the entire globe because of
the forces of globalisation. For example, this is the time when ideas are originated in the US
designed in UK and put to practice in China. Winds of globalisation are affecting both the
external and internal environment of the organisations and people. Hence, Securing the
services of the right people, in the right place, at the right time (Taylor, 2002, p1) is the aim
of people resourcing. The definition of right people is relative without right place and right
time. Right people today may not be right tomorrow even for the same job. Therefore, The
successful resourcing of organisations has never been more challenging. A new set of skills
is required tomorrow to be right people. Skill-match differs in terms of place and time.
Mobile engineers with outdated knowledge and skills cannot cope with the newer knowledge
and skills unless he/she learns new skills and technology. According to Ryan & Sinning
(2010), if there are such skill mismatches, these may create high costs resulting in a loss of

productivity associated with wasted skills, consequent low job satisfaction among workers.
Therefore, organisations need right people, at the right time also in the right place.
Key people resourcing activities:
People resourcing is one of the key strategic human resource management (HRM) functions.
Matching strategic and operational resources to the needs of the organization and ensuring
the proper utilization of those resources (Armstrong & Baron, 2002) are its functions. As
such, it embodies core HRM activities such as the recruitment, selection, and deployment of
employees within the organization, which should be managed in such a way as to support the
strategic objectives of the firm (Taylor, 2008, p. 3).

According to Taylor (2008, pp.3-4) resourcing functions can be grouped under four major
groups: staffing, performance, HR administration and change management. The four groups
then inform the following key people resourcing activities: forecasting the demand for
employees, forecasting the supply of employees, drawing up job descriptions and person
specifications, recruiting new employees, selecting new employees, issuing offer letters and
contracts of employment, the induction and socialisation of new employees, monitoring
employee performance, improving employee performance, reducing absence, reducing
employee turnover, managing redundancies, managing retirements, carrying out dismissals.
The CIPD annual survey report (2010) presents new findings on the people resourcing
activity: top three objectives of resourcing activities are attracting and recruiting key staff
(79%), enabling the achievement of the organisations strategic plan (59%) and meeting the
future skills requirements of the organisation (47%).
Raiden et al. (2008) expressed that people resourcing activity focuses on sourcing suitable
numbers of people with the appropriate skills and then deploying them in the right places at a
time they are required. Literature suggests that resourcing is a dynamic process: the
movement of human resources through an organization. The movement of people should be
done in such a way that right type of recruitment, selection and deployment can take place
based on talent planning leading to the retention of the high-performers and shedding of poorperformers in a low-cost and professional way.
More importantly, the key objective of the people resourcing activity is adding value. It can
do so by strategic integration that can be both vertical and horizontal (Raiden et al. 2008,
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Pilbeam et al, 2010). Specifically, adding value is possible by linking HR practices to the
achievement of corporate strategy and business objectives; deploying HR practices to lever
individual performance and linking HR practices to each other to create complementarities in
the pursuit of synergy (Taylor, 2005, Pilbeam et al. 2010). This link was overlooked earlier as
observed by Pilbeam et al. (2010, p. 22), none. identified HR strategy as driving business
strategy, but many identified business strategy as driving HR strategy. Thus, it is evident that
organisations need tailor-made people resourcing activities that again reflect that the
successful resourcing of organisations has never been more challenging.
Approaches to people resourcing:

There are three approaches that managers can adopt when dealing with people resourcing
matters. These are: traditional paradigm, new paradigms, and contingency-based people
resourcing (CIPD, n.d.) Traditional paradigm represents good practices about the
management of the resourcing function assuming that organisations are structured with a
management of hierarchy, defined lines of accountability and roles assigned to the staff
leading to effective human resource planning, recruitment and selection, induction, training
and development, performance review/management, employee retention, recognition and
reward and release (Taylor, 2005, CIPD, n.d). However, recent developments within the
business environment and within organisations are continuing to pose new challenges for
recruitment and selection strategies rendering the traditional approaches to be inadequate and
insufficient (Heraty and Morley, 1998; Holbeche, 2009).

The new paradigms go beyond the traditional paradigm in that it encourages innovations in
organisations leading to the creative environment where out-of-the box thinking usually takes
place. According to CIPD (n.d.) the new paradigms focus on the development of aspirational
visions for people performance, contribution and commitment; systems that convert these
visions into reality; people resourcing practices in the organic enterprise. Taylor (2005) also
supported that managers who want to think differently should be supported by the P&D
professionals. But thinking different or innovations may not work at all times in resourcing
process. Therefore, innovations and experiments can be applied in a limited way, not across
the whole organisations as the literature suggests.

Contingency based paradigm as defined by the CIPD (n.d), is unlike above two paradigms in
that here resourcing decisions depend on the nature of situations. What is relevant for one is
not relevant for other. Contingency based paradigm discourages a one size-fits-all approach.
This approach also argues that the effectiveness of resourcing activities depends on how
closely organisations fit with external and internal influences. A contingent approach to
talent planning and resource planning is also in accord with the CIPDs notion of an HR
professional who applies a critically thoughtful approach to the job in order to make a
contribution to the survival, profitability, vision and strategic goals of their organisations
(Whittaker and Johns, 2004).

However, there is no one right way to resource organisations with talent as it all depends on
the uncertain characteristics of the organisations and the environment. The contextual nature
of the HR activity makes it necessary for managers to be aware of influences in the internal
and external environments- context is the key (Pilbeam et al, 2010). For example, in the
context of economic recession, for some organisations the economic challenges were such
that development budgets were cut, recruitment was frozen and redundancies became the
order of the day (CIPD, 2009).

Debates around the Strengths and limitations of a variety of resourcing techniques:


Resourcing techniques vary depending on the forces for change, internal and external
environments. Therefore, organisations are looking to win talent by tailoring employment
policy to capture the dynamism of the modern era (Ashton & Sung, 2002, Bearfield, 2003,
Hull and Read, 2003). Typical resourcing techniques and measures can include offering
career development opportunities, providing challenging, enabling and flexible work,
providing incentives, encouraging participation and open communication (Corporate
Leadership Council, 2000, Hewitt Associates, 2000).

Evidences suggest that competition for talent is greater now. Employers are engaged in a war
for talent. But, according to Mills (2007), very few know exactly how to increase their odds
of finding just the right person. Selection of a wrong person is costly for the organisations.
International benchmarking estimates that it costs 50 per cent of annual salary to replace an
employee (Cambridgeshire County Council, 2006). Therefore, employers are keen to have
good resourcing techniques in place for attraction, selection and retention and release.
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According to CIPD (2011) structured graduate recruitment programmes appear to be on the


increase as an effective way for attracting applicants across all sectors. But increase in
university tuition fees impacts negatively on the number of graduates in the marketplace.
Therefore, in response to the deficit, one in ten organisations is considering sponsoring
students through university.
Internet is becoming the popular option for the recruitment and selection; organisations own
corporate website has been reported as the most effective methods for attracting candidates
along with recruitment agencies (Taylor, 2005, Pilbeam et al, 2010, CIPD, 2011). The
advantages of internet recruiting are many: shortening of recruitment cycle, reducing the
volume of paper work and reducing the cost (Frankland, 2000, Taylor, 2005, Pilbeam et al,
2010). However, one major drawback of internet recruitment is the confidentiality and fears
many people have about allowing their CV to circulate in cyberspace outside their own
control (Taylor, 2005).
The classic trio (Cook, 2004) refers to the traditional set of activities used by organisations to
select new talents are: application form (used by over 80% of employers) interview (used
almost universally), reference-checking (used by over 75% of employers) (IRS, 2002, CIPD,
2003, cited in Taylor, 2005). Literature suggests that although extremely popular in practice,
these techniques have been criticised by occupational psychologists on the grounds of
validity as to how accurately they predict job performance.

Resourcing organisations with people includes not only recruitment and release policies but
also a range of policies related to the effective management of people at work i.e., significant
retention tools, work force planning (Succession planning, Flexible working Talent
management- top three activities related to work force planning (CIPD, 2010), reward
strategies, performance management, training and development and the effective
management of the employment relationship (Guthridge and Lawson, 2008, Pilbeam and
Corbridge, 2010). Of these, different organisations follow different resourcing techniques
depending on the contexts. For example, in 2002-2003, as there was a skill-shortage UK
National Health Service NHS relied heavily on international resourcing (Wilson, 2008). But
now it is less reliant on international recruitment especially on non-EU recruitment because
of new immigration cap (Everett, 2011). But chances are that it can again resort to
international recruitment because of the increasing university tuition fee for the home
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students as increased tuition fee results in decreased number of graduates. According to


Talent Management (2010), NHS has introduced talent management programme to address
the skill-shortage. Because, talent pays in achieving the strategy (Pilbeam and Corbridge,
2010). However, economic recession adversely impacts on the talent practices. As a result,
organisations now focus on developing more talent in-house. According to CIPD survey
(2011) Two-thirds plan to develop more talent in-house (compared with one-third in 2010).

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council suffered much as there was no proper workforce
planning. Later on it benefitted by devising a proper workforce planning. Effective
workforce planning has been crucial in supporting our organisational change programme and
developing a more flexible environment (Employers Organisation for local government,
2003). The result is also spectacular- the redeployment of home care staff to classroom
assistant roles, following a decision to increase the outsourced element of the home care
service from 33% to 75%.

According to CIPD survey (2011), nearly three-quarters of organisations have made efforts to
improve their employer brand over the past year. The most popular approaches to improving
employer brand are employee surveys, developing online careers sites and flexible working.
Flexible working arrangement is one successful technique for increasing efficiency. Islington
Council has been under pressure to increase efficiency over a number of years delivering
better services with fewer resources. With the launching of Smart working programme or
flexible working in 2005 things started to look better. This led to a 10% reduction in
accommodation running costs (Smart Working at Islington Council, 2009). However, Smith
and Wedderburn (1998) highlighted negative factors linked to compressed working weeks
with extended shift periods: fatigue errors; continuity and isolation at work; and the impact of
employees failing to cope with the working hours system.

Organisational and macro-level environmental factors and critical discussion of how


these might affect organisations resourcing approaches:
The world of work has become complex. At organisational level addressing reward,
international mobility, employee engagement, development and learning have surfaced as big
issues (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007). The CIPD Annual survey report (2011) revealed
several conditions necessary for the people resourcing approaches in light of the internal and
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external environment: resourcing in turbulent times, diversity, workforce planning and


managing labour turnover. As a result, management researchers/practitioners continue to
review periodically how external drivers are shaping resourcing strategies in organisations.
For example (Lievens et al., 2001; Redman and Wilkinson, 2009) observe that external
influences such as globalisation and labour market changes, technological developments,
demographical social changes and government policies and legislation are the major themes
that are significantly shaping organisations resourcing and talent practices. Scottish Court
Service can be cited as a good example of how the organisational and macro-level
environmental factors impact on the organisations resourcing approaches. Scottish Court
Service (SCS, 2007) has diverse stakeholders. In order to address the needs of the ethnic
minority groups as part of its diversity strategy, SCS has revised its guidelines. At an
organisational level the SCS used to resource internally but now they have recognised the
necessity for external recruitment. They assert that mere internal resourcing of staff means
that many leaders and managers are going to have limited external experience that may
hinder innovation and creative thinking in future.

Resourcing approaches are greatly affected by the economic situation. Changes are evidenced
by the CIPD Survey (2011): more organisations plan to reduce reliance on recruitment
agencies and external consultants for resourcing and development. The proportion of
organisations planning to focus more on retaining rather than recruiting talent has increased
to 51% in 2011 from 28% in 2010. The bottom line is organisations now follow a cost-cutting
strategy.
The abolition of the default retirement age (DRA) is also compelling many employers to
reduce the number of posts they would otherwise offer to young people. Hiring of less
experienced staff is adversely affected.
Employers now emphasise on flexible working practices, requiring multi-skilled workers.
CIPD survey (2011) also reveals that demand for temporary and contract workers will
increase. Moreover, because of technological innovations employees are telecommuting and
working in virtual offices. Given the present globalised situation where competition is fierce,
employers tend to shed the redundancies (Jenkins and Leaker, 2009) by employing multiskilled individuals. The philosophy is pay them double and cut the workforce in half as the
literature suggests.
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The general impacts of the migrant workers are to increase the supply of labour at lower
wage rates. It happens because they usually come from low wage economies as the literature
reveals. Many migrant workers because of their limited English speaking ability apply for
jobs that do not match their skills. CIPD (2011) findings also suggest that there is an increase
in the number of unsuitable applicants.

Conclusion:
There are four pictures that are important as is discussed: the big picture (globalisation,
environmental scan, technology), the corporate picture, the people picture and the future
picture. Any resourcing and talent planning must consider these pictures when dealing with
people resourcing issues. Visualisation of four pictures simultaneously is truly difficult for
the organisations. It is in the context that the successful resourcing of organisations has
never been more challenging. Employers adopt right people resourcing approach when they
take into account the four pictures.

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