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Submitted by hrjen on


For the first time ever I have had to fight for personnel. Here are the details:

-One of my personnel (a recruiter) resigned
-I had an employee in another organization that has already been groomed to move up ready and waiting in the wings.
-I was set to move the employee into my org and promote them.
-My VP got wind of it and stopped it saying that he thought we may have too many recruiters company-wide and he needed some time to evaluate (1-3 months) backfilling my recruiter
-I can't wait - I'd be down one recruiter and my recruiter assistant goes on maternity leave in a month and half of my region's recruiting capability goes out the door...

Soooo, that being said, I had a meeting with the VP yesterday -
I explained to him that I didn't want to backfill just to have headcount
I gave him an example of a time that I didn't backfill an employee in the past because I didn't have the workload to justify a backfill.
I had my facts - current initiatives that we had committed to, open positions nationwide, the workloads of each recruiter.
I gave him a picture of the current environment and the level of service that our internal customers were requiring.

But for some reason my VP was still frustrated that I could not give him a few months to make a decision...He approved the backfill but is now saying this could affect the headcount in other areas - ie I won the battle but may have lost the war.

Ok, time to troubleshoot my approach...what can I say/do/show to alleviate an exec's mind about justifying headcount.

Ideas? Is there a podcast here?

jhack's picture

Maybe it wasn't about your team. Maybe the budgets are being revisited at a higher level due to the economic climate. You may not need to hire so much soon.

Did you look at the issues above and around your VP before fighting for your team? A conversation about how to help in a new (tighter) economic climate might be a good next step.


thaGUma's picture

Hrjen, in my opinion the increased performance of your team will alleviate the VP’s concerns in the most concrete terms. Fee income past and present is readily measured. Increased customer positive feedback will also demonstrate the sagacity of your decision but could be less valuable short term as it cannot be banked.

You have had the benefit of hiring someone you have been actively wanted to hire into your team. I presume that they will contribute positively to your team’s performance resulting in increased fee income.

The loss of your assistant on maternity will impact and ideally the fee income will grow regardless to a level greater than before.

John is correct in considering the larger picture and while the VP didn’t share reasoning with you, I would try to find out if possible. Awareness informs better planning.

You may benefit from increased profile as the VP will remember your actions and give increased weight to your future input.

Good luck. I hope your new direct performs and your VP recognises your contribution.


HMac's picture

hrjen - if I understand the scenario, you'll have the opportunity to revisit levels when your recruiting assistant goes on maternity leave - that will give you a reason to discuss staffing levels with the VP.

And you'll be wise to go into those discussions with the assumtion that you WON'T be backfilling the position during the leave - and that you can outline a plan for how the workload will be shared, etc.

I only bring this up because it will give you another chance to get a sense of the VP's concerns - maybe some organizational changes or budget realities will become more obvious by then...

But at any rate, the maternity leave gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you're sensitive to your VP's concerns, and that you're not going to try to automatically backfill.


hrjen's picture
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Thanks for all of your input. Its all great...

I will try again to get his concerns more spelled out. I do think, John, you are right - it isn't about my team but probably the nationwide picture - I still think I needed to fight for my team, so I hope I did the right thing.

Revisiting when my RA goes out is a good idea...I'll keep you posted.

I think the thing that bothered me most (after thinking it over this weekend) was that he wanted a few MONTHS to evaluate his staffing levels. I run the metrics for his department and I know the numbers he sees - he shouldn't need a few months to make any decision at this point. Hmmm...maybe I need better metrics - but that's another thread...

Thanks again for the input everyone - top notch stuff...