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Advice for Closing Out The Year Strong While Planning for Next Year

Mike Joyner

It’s been a fun several weeks where we’ve had an opportunity to get back to connecting in person with many of you. We hosted talent in person community events in Nashville, Raleigh, and San Francisco and a virtual event last week. We’re so energized by the work all of you are doing and hope to continue finding ways to bring the community together.

As Fall settles in and the leaves start to change colors, it’s a signal that we’re entering the season of the year where recruiting leaders are balancing the need to close the year strong while also starting to plan for next year’s budget and (likely uncertain) hiring plans. We want to share some ways we’ve found to navigate these next several months.

  • Be prepared to make trade-offs with your operating budget - now is the time to think through the trade-offs between people, process/programs, and technology investments. Take time to understand the impact of each of these over this year. It’s also important to understand what budgeting philosophy the business will be taking - flat budgeting where you solve within what you had this year into next year, some % adjustment (e.g. you’ll have 10% less to work with), or zero-based budgeting where you’ll need to rejustify all costs going into the new year.
  • People - plan for flexibility and adaptability in the make-up of your teams. There will be a need for a healthy mix of FTE, contractors, and external partners to continue working through choppy hiring demand. Given the on-going uncertainty in the markets and hiring plans dependent on tough-to-predict attrition, step into the space of proactively bringing the teams together (recruiting, HR, finance) to align on backfill assumptions. Scenario planning will be key in your ability to get alignment. Define the upper and lower bounds of what hiring might be needed and where do the teams want to align (low→mid→high).
  • Process/Programs - these can range from quality to efficiency programs. Now is the time to analyze the impact of these programs. For quality, look for improvements to the interview-to-offer conversion rates, diversity of pipelines, manager and new hire satisfaction, and first year retention and engagement. For efficiency, look for improvements to time-to-hire, referral response times, number of interviews and hours of interviewing time per hire, and interview scheduling turnarounds.
  • Technology - take an inventory of tools, contracts, and potential pricing changes that are coming (cough, LinkedIn Recruiter every year). Many teams we’re talking to these days are looking for ways to divorce LinkedIn Recruiter with a combination of tools like Findem, Seekout, HireEZ, Gem, and Recruiter Lite. Look at usage of your existing tools to confirm the team is actually using what you’re paying for. You might be surprised when you dig into the data. Many vendors are expanding into broader feature areas like Ashby, Gem, and Rippling all announcing new ATS capabilities. There may be opportunities for tool consolidation and cost savings that didn’t exist earlier this year. If you’re looking for help doing a tech stack evaluation or optimizing the tools you have, we’ve done a lot of this type of advisory work. We also recently launched our ATS Evaluation and Selection Guide to share best practices and templates for running an effective process.
  • Understand your recruiting capacity - capacity planning is about understanding the historic hiring output of the team and then determining if that rate will positively or negatively change in the future. One of our partners, Mike Joyner, shared some advice on how to approach this complex topic on a recent Ashby recruiting ops webinar about capacity planning. If you or your team is looking for help with your capacity planning, please check out our capacity planning tool, Recruitingplan.io, or reach out to us at: hello@gbdtalent.com

    In addition to taking into account the above factors related to people, process/programs, and technology, it’s often helpful to have benchmarking data to put your results and recommendations into context. Ashby published a trends report on recruiter productivity, interview time, and application volume. GBD is also launching our 2023 Recruiting Team Size and Operating Metrics benchmarking survey. Our survey includes questions related to recruiter productivity, team ratios, req loads, time to hire, cost per hire, and quality of hire.
  • Take time to reflect and celebrate with your team - recruiting can sometimes feel like the never ending flow of changes and reqs to fill. It’s important to close out this year before launching into the next one. Whether it is a team get together or an all hands meeting, or even just a note of recognition or reflection from you, start planning now for something early December that will help your team connect and feel the progress that you’ve made over the year. We’ve seen scrappy videos recorded on cell phones and shared with the team have a big morale boost. These can be short clips by business leaders, hiring managers, new hires, and cross-functional partners to acknowledge and thank the team.
  • Don’t forget to think about your own career journey and where you get energy - last week during our quarterly community event, Kate Kodesh and Glen Evans shared some valuable insights from their personal experiences transitioning from talent leader to Chief People Officer and from in-house talent leader to VC partner. Here are some key takeaways:
  • Make time to stay connected, get to know people personally, and grow your network. Many of the best opportunities will come from peers sharing through warm intros and being top of mind when future opportunities open up.
  • Reflect on your career options and align them with your interests and values. Don’t let imposter syndrome get in your way. Seize opportunities within your current company to grow professionally. Proactively find ways to develop additional skills that address any gaps to your next career move - take on side projects to get more exposure into areas where you have less depth, don’t be afraid of it. We’re all problem solvers.
  • Leverage your personal brand and connections to get advice on how to tell your story. 
  • Be open to unexpected opportunities that come your way. 
  • Identify transferable skills that can be applied to different roles within your field. If you’re thinking about the CPO path, it’s a good opportunity to expand within your own company by taking on other elements of HR in an environment where you’re more known and have relationships to be successful - onboarding, succession planning, org design, headcount planning, or other areas of employee experience.  
  • Listen to the entire conversation here (passcode: *9ZZaqK+)

We know that this can be a difficult time to focus on both the current year hiring push to close the year and thinking ahead to build your plan and strategy for the new year. If you need help with putting your strategy together or building your capacity model to navigate planning, please reach out and we’d love to help set your team up for success!

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