In the corporate world, the staffing department is almost always part of the HR department. Over the years, some protagonists have argued that the staffing department should be separate to HR. That discussion is not the subject of this particular post. This post is about the relationship between the staffing department and HR, a relationship that is often tenuous at best and a relationship that often doesn't work as well as it should.
Staffing is responsible for filling employee requisitions and hiring the people that the organization needs when the organization needs them. Usually Staffing is involved from when the need is identified until a person accepts an offer and sometimes through on-boarding. In many organizations, Staffing works autonomously up until the point that a new employee starts. In others, Staffing works with the Compensation Department to make sure that offers are equitable with existing staff compensation. There are many different relationships between Staffing and HR, ranging from totally integrated to almost separate and sometimes but rarely completely separate.
Following are some things that I've observed:
- HR is very concerned that Staffing follow all the applicable laws, rules and procedures to keep the organization out of trouble and to make sure all applicants, including internal applicants, are treated fairly. I've noticed that HR can be very firm on what should happen except when actually hiring for HR. It's funny how candidates who meet basic qualifications are rejected for a whole host of reasons that would not be accepted from other parts of the organization.
- Staffing believes that a lot of what HR does is pretty much a waste of time. Staffing rarely sees the link between the questionable hires it makes and an increased load on the Employee Relations Department in HR.
- HR will question any hires where compensation doesn't fit within established guidelines. Sometimes it's necessary to be creative to land a franchise player. HR doesn't usually care too much about that.
- Staffing thinks that HR is always slow to respond. HR thinks that Staffing's desire for an instant response to questions is insane.
- HR thinks that recruiters can barely be trusted to do a complete and thorough job. They expect incomplete and shoddy paperwork from Staffing. Staffing thinks that HR is a bunch of knit pickers and wonders why they can't run with what they have?
- HR thinks that outplacement company databases are great places to find available and talented candidates. Staffing thinks that the best outplaced candidates will apply online for the jobs that interest them and will network their way into the organization.
- HR thinks that responding to every resume that is received by snail mail is the right thing to do. Staffing thinks that if someone can't apply online that they aren't worth speaking with.
- Staffing wants everything done now. HR wants everything done later.
- Staffing wants to take obvious actions that are needed. HR wants to research and consider all the options.
- HR is very concerned with providing a high level of service, especially to the executive level. Staffing wants to fill requisitions.
- Staffing is expert at removing road blocks to get things done. HR can be a road block.
- Staffing handles the fun part in hiring people. HR deals with the challenging parts in disciplining poor performers and firing people.
- Sometimes Staffing has nothing to do when there is no hiring to be done. HR always has work to do.
It seems to me that we have two very different groups of people with different roles and responsibilities and different views on what is important and how to get things done. And yet HR and Staffing must work together. Does HR see Staffing as its rebellious child? I suspect that often it does. On the flip side, however, Staffing often sees HR as a meddlesome parent who just won't leave it alone. Maybe Staffing is the rebellious teenager, full of energy, enthusiasm, and ready to try almost everything new? Sometimes teenagers need their parents to set guidelines and to curb unruly behavior.