Beyond the Numbers: Demonstrating the Full Value of Sourcing (Part I)

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Mar 19, 2013

Editor’s note: Part II will run in the next few weeks. It will be linked to here as well. 

Asking the Questions

If the value of sourcing is not always about direct placements, then how do we effectively demonstrate its value? Like many other sourcing professionals who work on the corporate side of the recruiting world, I began my current sourcing role with the sense that it would be important to show my organization that sourcing adds much more value than simply placements. Oftentimes, senior-level management is known to struggle with how to precisely calculate sourcing’s value.

The idea of using placements to discern the value seems to be the easiest method to utilize, because every placement resulting from in-house sourcing efforts indicates money saved by the company that may have gone to a third-party agency instead. And, with each additional placement, savings can grow substantially. If we only focus on showing sourcing’s value through placements in this manner, it is quite easy to demonstrate. But what else is there? How else can we show senior managers our value? What if the sourcing team is not directly responsible for large amounts of placements? What then?

It has long been discussed that sheer numbers of hires isn’t necessarily the sole expression of value for sourcing. Shally Steckerl says something similar to this in his 2011 article, “Mind the Gap! Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Sourcing Function,” when he says, “As such, a ‘number of hires’ metric is inadequate at expressing the value of the sourcing function.”

Since I began my tenure at Raymond James several months ago, I have been actively amassing as much knowledge as I can on how to best express the value of sourcing to my company. There are many models that try to express in-house-sourcing’s value, either through metrics or, sometimes, through service-level agreements. However, I quickly discovered that, with sourcing, one size does not fit all!  There are so many sourcing models out there. None of the ones I reviewed (there are still many I have not seen) quite fit with how the sourcing function works within my organization. So, after a great deal of reading and asking around, I had gained a lot of knowledge about how the sourcing function may demonstrate its value through various models, but no straight-forward way to apply it here. So, I came up with my own working model to express the value of sourcing as it has developed here at Raymond James. I don’t know if this model will work for everybody else, but like I mentioned before, one size does not fit all!

When I was at PwC as a sourcing manager, one of the leaders over our team tried to express sourcing’s value by saying, “it is not just about numbers. There is also a story behind the numbers.” I agree that this is true. But what is “the story?” And, how do you present it in such a way that management truly understands the overall value sourcing brings?

Some very supportive sourcing gurus, including Rob McIntosh, senior vice president of global talent acquisition at Avanade, offered me some helpful and useful ways to structure a sourcing department and create metrics around it to try to demonstrate the value. One piece of advice Rob gave to me was that it was very important to clearly define my mission so that I can then demonstrate how I meet the goals of the mission through metrics and/or other measurements. He suggested I try to answer questions like: Why am I here? Is my purpose to shorten the days a requisition is open? To improve the quality of hires? It is really within Rob’s framework that I began to see the solutions to expressing sourcing’s value at Raymond James.

Why am I here? I found out that I am here for a lot of reasons. For me, the key was to express sourcing’s value by encompassing all of these reasons, but somehow not spreading myself so thin that the value is lost.  My department and organization leverages sourcing in a variety of ways, depending on which business unit or individual we’re talking about. Our recruiters support different business groups and each one has different needs and therefore values how we provide support in different ways.  As the one and only sourcing professional here, I decided that the way I express value must reflect how I fill all these various needs, yet still be strategic in doing so.

So, if sourcing is not just about the sheer numbers of placements, what else is it? And how is the rest of it valued in my organization?

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