Sourcing Education: Philosophy First, Then Training

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Jan 30, 2012

In 2010 I had the opportunity to put a sourcing workshop together for a group of local recruiters.  As I began to formulate a sort of “wire frame” for my presentation, it became obvious to me that I needed to make some decisions about how to adequately cover what I felt were the base components of good, comprehensive sourcing strategy and training.  My audience had a wide range of background and experience – what would tie it all nicely together?

As I reflected on my own background and observations, I realized that I wanted to help the newbies catch hold of a true sourcing philosophy…a “true north” that they could stay focused on.  I wanted to give the senior recruiters a different, upside-down perspective that they had not considered before.  And to the managers, I wanted to convey a bigger sense of aptitudes, collaboration, and far reaching strategy to help them build and develop competent teams.

In the end, my little workshop developed into a 4-hour, 2-part series, and the “binding glue” became a discussion about our view of “Knowledge Capital” and “Information Management.”  In short, I presented this observation to the group:

If you (and more importantly, your senior leadership) do not place a high value on collective knowledge capital and information management practice, then the advanced tools and techniques portion of my training (or any training, for the matter) will have little value for your staffing effort going forward.   

I saw gears starting to turn with a couple of them, and so I continued by fleshing out some definitions:

Knowledge Capital: describes Knowledge Capital this way:

Know how that results from the experience, information, knowledge, learning, and skills of the employees of an organization. Of all the factors of production, knowledge capital creates the longest lasting competitive advantage. It may consist entirely of technical information (as in chemical and electronics industries) or may reside in the actual experience or skills acquired by the individuals (as in construction and steel industries). Knowledge capital is an essential component of human capital.

Information Management: describes Information Management this way:

Application of management techniques to collect information, communicate it within and outside the organization, and process it to enable managers to make quicker and better decisions.

In 2010, Symantec built a study called the 2010 Information Management Health Check Survey.   At first glance, this survey did not interest me that much with regard to sourcing, because it speaks more to the way corporations tend to get rid of or archive old data.  But, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that a large percentage of corporations struggle with management of their basic tangible information.  Maybe this is why they really struggle to manage that intangible but critical “real world” knowledge locked inside the head of each employee.  After all – if you can’t develop best practice around simple digitized data, what must it be like to grasp a 5-year span of knowledge (KC) carried in the noggin of one of your best marketing application engineers, or your top sourcer?  Now, If there is a silver lining to the discovery that your corporation does not have a sound information management process, then it would have to be the fact that you are not, perhaps, the worst offender.  You’re just one of many according to this Symantec study.  Nice little consolation, huh?

The short version of my message is simply this:  As professionals within the talent acquisition sphere of our corporate organizations, we must be proactive change agents with regard to how our company views Knowledge Capital and Information Management.  We have to become champions of “Big KC” and “Big IM.”  And, we cannot assume that because we work for a large Fortune 100 company that this is all being “taken care of” by smart people in another department.  I would like to suggest here that talent acquisition leaders who build teams and create policy and practice around a high value of KC and IM will find that their resulting talent acquisition organization will be better prepared to not only receive training but also to internalize it and then practice it as a fine art form.

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