In today’s competitive world, a company striving for success must ensure that its strategic goals are properly planned and reached in a timely manner. The main task of a human resource manager is to align HR strategy with a company’s goals to make sure that businesses’ needs are fulfilled in an efficient manner. If there is a need to fulfill a customer’s order in a short time period, a human resource manager tries to hire additional qualified personnel to complete the order on time, with minimum expenses. Taking into account that the labor market of qualified professionals experiences a high level of competitiveness, a HR manager should carefully develop a recruitment strategy and adopt a proper selection process, so that qualified workforce can work to achieve a company’s goals. Compton, Morrissey, and Nankervis (2009) emphasize that “both horizontal and vertical alignment of human resource management goals, strategies, policies and functions with the strategic business plan are crucial […]. Nowhere this is more important than with an organization’s recruitment, selection, and retention functions” (p. 9). This paper analyzes the recruitment strategic planning and selection process based on the case of the company TE Connectivity.
TE Connectivity is a 12-billion-world leader producing sensor and connectivity solutions for various industries, from the automotive to aerospace and defense. The company employs more than 72,000 employees worldwide. It is ranked as one of the most ethical global companies by Ethisphere, and as Top 100 Global Innovator by Thomson Reuters (TE Connectivity, 2016a). The scenario assumes that a TE plant based in Oceanside, CA, has a task to employ additional 20 skilled set-up men (Production Operator II) in one-month period to start a new production project of designing and manufacturing electro mechanic control components for aerospace, defense, and marine industry (TE Careers, 2016). If this project is successfully accomplished, the plant will have an opportunity to increase its manufacturing operation for the given project on a long-term basis. The main job task of a set-up man is to maintain the machines in stable working conditions, so that no production downtimes occur. There are three main job requirements that are essential for good candidates: 1) ability to use precision measuring tools; 2) experience working on CNC Lathes machine; and 3) profound PC knowledge (MS Office, SAP).
Since the CNC Lathe machines, made for components’ cutting and crimping, are unique, it will be difficult to find qualified employees with experience who will be able to use and repair it. This can affect the staffing process at TE plant in two different ways. First, shortage of the skilled workers on the labor market can make the time of staffing process longer than planned so that the start of business projects will be delayed. It can be costly because it will issue additional penalties from the customer. Also, the lack of qualified applicants to start their career with the company will push the company to review its talent pool of internal less skilled candidates to initiate on-the-job training to work with those machines, but then the company will have to substitute these people as well, which also leads to additional costs and time.
As Dessler (2000) points out “the most striking change in HR’s role today is its growing involvement in developing and implementing the company’s strategy,” aligning HR personnel staffing goals with strategic business objectives (p. 19). TE Connectivity plant’s objective of starting a new production project must be supported by the recruitment strategy as an analysis at a plant level of potential internal candidates suitable for this position, while creating an external recruitment campaign, targeting at professionals with experience by offering them attractive career opportunities with a global company leader.
Deb (2006) defines recruitment planning as “as an act of formulated activity devoted to clearly identify, define and determine courses of action necessary to achieve predetermined goals and objectives of the organization on recruitment” (p.156). To support the chosen strategy, the HR manager’s task is to develop a detailed recruitment plan driving its successful implementation. As proposed by Deb (2006), there can be four elements (p. 156).
1. ‘Developing a corporate image’ provides such information for targeted candidates, so they would want to join this organization and professionally grow with it. TE Connectivity is aleading manufacturing company that operates in more than 150 locations worldwide. It offers various career opportunities and support for growth with one of the corporate policies that internal employees are always considered first for promotion, rather than hiring an external candidate. “We are committed to engaging our employees – and making TE a great place to work – by emphasizing development and training, creating a safe work environment, embracing diversity and inclusion, and supporting uncompromising values” (TE Careers, 2016).
2. ‘Branding the organization’ allows creating a verbal message of a corporate image, so it distinguishes the company from other companies in a competitive labor market. The brand must be characterized by three elements: (1) support company’s vision; (2) communication of motivating company’s values; (3) easy to recognize. TE Connectivity uses slogan Every Connection Counts underlining the importance of each company’s member working for it. Three branding strategies created to attract qualified candidates depend on the target audience and its perception of the company’s image. Targeting graduates and interns from technical schools requires branding strategy by positioning the company as a friendly environment for those who look to start their career with TE, as a best place for technical engineering job, where career growth is fostered and supported at any level. Hiring old workers necessitates a branding strategy with more emphasis on extended medical insurance plans, flexible working shifts, flexible benefit plans or suitable jobs (Dessler, 2000, p. 157). Branding the company for internal applicants will require more input in terms of career prospective, future opportunities to grow vertically or horizontally within a global company.
3. ‘Creating materials and marketing campaign’ should be evaluated and justified according to the chosen recruitment strategy. The company may need flyers with short and accurate information to spread out to candidates, design of an advertisement for a newspaper or internet, short TV commercial or audio clips for the radio. The company may also need small branded presents (business cards, pens, notebooks, etc.) for participation in career fairs. For internal potential applicants, there can be posters with job opening info, internal video clips or open communication from the line manager.
4. ‘Targeting and recruiting’. A recruitment team must analyze all communication methods, reaching applicants considering its relevance to recruitment strategy and target audience. Deb (2006) states that “Recruitment focuses on reaching where the talent is, designing customized recruitment messages and delivering these messages to the target candidates” (p. 156). Reaching graduates and interns requires active participation in career fairs, where a company can communicate directly with students and promote its brand, raising awareness of employment and career opportunities. To reach retirees and old workers, the company may need to use advertisement in newspapers, TV channels or popular radio that retirees enjoy. Since TE Connectivity (2016b) positions itself as a company that supports internal promotions, it should include succession planning of those internal employees who might fit the job requirements. Internal communication of open positions is very important for company’s culture and brand of ‘Every Connection Counts’ because it gives an equal opportunity for all employees to apply for a job opening and receive a qualified feedback. The plant’s HR may use Intranet as a source of communication or arrange a staff meeting on a weekly or monthly basis to communicate open opportunities, while using posters on information boards.
To support the success of an undertaken recruitment strategy one of the tasks of HR manager is the prediction of possible outcomes of the recruitment plan. By the proper integration of branding strategies and communication methods during the recruitment process, it is more feasible to achieve higher results and to reach the target of hiring needed personnel within a given time period. Career fairs for reaching out to students and graduates are good sources of potential candidates. Recruitment team can distribute flyers, give away memorable gifts with company information; all these will help to reach potential candidates, while also attracting potential future employees who are still enrolled at schools. Targeting older workers by using mass media can give a good result until there is a deep analysiss of what exact mass media resources to use; newspapers, TV channel or radio must target its audience of 50 years old and over. It is always good to encourage internal employees to apply for open positions because these workers have a good understanding of the job and company’s business, while strengthening morale and culture of the organization. Using various tools to communicate about the job openings will interest more employees; even if an employee will not apply for this job, he can recommend it to his acquaintances or relatives.
Ensuring that selection methods of choosing best applicants are effectively linked with the recruitment strategy and support business goals is vital. “Selection techniques ensure that investments made in job design, advertising, career fairs and well-motivated new employees who will be able and willing to contribute to the objectives of the organization” (Compton et al., 2009, p. 12). Effective techniques would also attract talents needed for company’s growth and success. Selection process usually means whittling down the applicant pool by using the basic screening tools (Dessler, 2000, p. 173). To hire set-up men for technical maintenance job is good to use two selection methods: 1) achievement testing measuring job-related knowledge and skills; and 2) interview to assess the match of applicant’s competencies with those needed to perform the job tasks well.
The selection criteria are developed after detailed job analysis to identify the most critical. For set-up man position these are: 1) precision measuring tools knowledge; 2) MS Office and SAP advanced user; 3) team-worker; 4) willing to learn; and 5) responsible. These selection criteria are important because employees open to learning, showing responsibility have more influence on company’s knowledge preservation. Willingness to work as a part of a team and being more content with working in a company strengthen employee retention on a long run, while technical knowledge and PC skills ensure that there will be no need to replace them in future.
Next assessment methods are offered to assess the candidates according to the selection criteria. First, is a Technical Aptitude test, or a Technical Test Battery, evaluating skill for technical positions. Second method is a structured interview that, when properly prepared and conducted, can put a light on how suitable the candidate is for the position. Test validity answers the question: ‘Does this test measure what is supposed to measure?’, while “test reliability measures consistency of scores” (Dessler, 2000, p. 174). Achievement testing can be considered valid since it is based on experience and acquired job-related knowledge which can better predict future performance, and is reliable, as it is widely used in employment screening. The main advantage of a structured interview is its consistency because all applicants are asked the same questions and are treated in a similar manner (Compton et al., 2009, p. 97). The validity is high, as studies reported that structured interviews have “validities about twice those of unstructured” (Dessler, 2000, p. 223). It has been identified that an ideal candidate should know CNC Lathe machines, MS Office and SAP programs, use precision measuring tools, is willing to learn new things and work as part of a team, while showing responsibility for the performed tasks. The four job predictors for a candidate are: 1) conducting a past work experience review; 2) identifying previous personal or job-related achievements; 3) asking problem-solving questions to assess his potential; and 4) asking what his previous team achieved and what role he had in that team.
The business success depends increasingly on its people. Their ‘fit’ with the company’s values, culture and policies would distinguish how well a company performs in a highly competitive business environment. One of the main functions of HR manager is to plan the recruitment strategy and selection process, which are linked with the company’s strategy and support its business objective. Failing to do so may be very costly in terms of the time needed for redesigning the recruitment and selection plan, plan implementation, and replacing unfitted employees. The undertaken work of developing recruitment plan and selection process for the scenario of hiring need for twenty set-up men for a manufacturing plant proved that there are many details, factors and components that shall not be overlooked by HR manager when linking the recruitment strategy with the business strategy. Therefore, the strategic approach to organizational staffing is vital for its success and performance.