Everybody wasn’t kung fu fighting in HR, until now

When my old friend and colleague, Scott Weston, published HR Excellence almost a year and a half ago, I wondered how far HR had come in becoming a strategic business contributor.

I mean, I had a hand in helping him put the book together and had been reading for years how HR was supposed to be implementing process-improvement initiatives to get their “seat at the executive table” (how many times have we heard that over the past two decades?). Scott’s a Six Sigma black belt, no small feet for those of you familiar with Six Sigma, and he had the foresight to create a set of guidelines of how HR could use aspects of Six Sigma (SIPOC diagrams, DMAIC, etc.) to reduce costs and improve its contributions to the bottom line.

But for many folks Six Sigma is still commonly associated with manufacturing and reducing waste and inefficiencies – not HR. With the rare exception, I hadn’t come across any recent real world applications of Six Sigma in HR.

And then one of our HRmarketer members, recruitment and staffing firm Volt Information Sciences, shared with me that not only has their account teams been using Six Sigma processes to help their customers reduce cycle times in recruiting and to manage processes associated with large-scale staffing programs, they’ve even applied some of the principles to improve their marketing processes (need to find out more about this).

Fascinating and exciting (see the savings numbers below). You can read more about how one of Volt’s Black Belts used Six Sigma in an RPO program for one of its customers.

“One of the largest factors impacted by cycle time reduction is the cost of vacancy. Cuts made in on-boarding time by a mean of 11 days from August to November of 2006 through the streamlining of the pre-employment screening, testing and offer process, will save this client approximately $38,500 per hire if cycle times remain at current levels. During the first quarter of 2007, the client hired 14 candidates in the related discipline with the calculated cost of vacancy above, which meant a soft cost savings of approximately $539,000 for that group of candidates alone. The client has plans to hire more than 2,000 people in 2007, so the depth of their overall cost savings potential is highly significant and with continued performance at varied cost of vacancy will translate to soft cost savings in excess of $15 million in 2007.”

Get those books ready, Scott!

Posted by Kevin Grossman

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