Hire Power – How to use Strategic Resourcing to Sharpen Your Competitive Edge

Written by: Alastair Blair
Published on: 29 Nov 2017

Hire Power is a new book by John Wallace, who has worked in senior resourcing positions with a number of the country’s major finance/banking companies.  The primary audiences are HR Directors, HR Business Partners and in-house recruitment people. However, it will also get CEOs thinking and is essential reading for everyone along the recruitment industry supply chain who wants to understand the challenges that a head of resourcing faces.

Drawing on his wide-ranging experience and contacts, Hire Power has been written to help the reader understand the critical difference a thought-through resourcing strategy can make to their business. In particular, John examines the risks that the right resourcing strategy will mitigate and, on the other side of the coin, the opportunities that it presents. Crucially, rather than just describing what to do, he outlines why this is important, what the challenges are and how to go about developing that ‘right’ strategy for your organisation.

He does this in three different ways. Firstly, the book is peppered with real-life case studies, good and bad, from his own experience and that of other heads of resourcing, HR directors and business leaders. Secondly, in each chapter he explains his own thinking, offering guidance and observations at each step in the process. Finally, there is a story that runs through the book of a fictional bank developing their own strategy, parallel to his thinking, augmented by several fine case studies.

Before writing the book, John was working as a consultant in the Middle East. In conversation with me, he explained what caused him to put pen to paper…

“I am a classic example of the squeezed generation working abroad but with elderly parents and teenagers with demands in the UK.  The pull to return to Blighty was too strong. In particular, my mother was living alone and it was becoming clear that she was losing the ability to keep herself safe as her dementia advanced. Left in the position of having the kids in Scotland and travelling over to Northern Ireland to try to resolve what would happen to my mother and the business she had run for 30 years, I was simply unable to commit to employment or any meaningful consultancy. However, I didn’t want my expertise and network to decay and thought this gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts down in a way that people might want to read. It was a new experience for me – both tough and rewarding - but one of the keys to success was that, through a friend who has had a couple of books published, I found a publisher – and editor - willing to work with me.

“I’m fortunate in my career to have worked in RBS, Tesco and Barclays, which means that there is a diaspora of former colleagues in senior positions now working across a wide range of financial and other sectors.. I also spoke to many others through networking events, LinkedIn connections and a host of casual conversations.  The problems that I had faced were echoed by many others. As I describe in the book, it was often difficult to find examples of a properly thought-through strategy and a genuinely good strategy was even more rare.

However, excellent examples came from Simon Heaton, Chief Talent Officer at Stout Consulting in the US and Craig Donaldson, CEO at Metro Bank. Andrew Wilkinson, CEO of TMP, shared some great examples of how his company have helped in candidate attraction and assessment.”

The basic premise of Hire Power is that the world of work is in a state of flux and fluidity as never before, and this is only increasing. The changes to work caused by technology, current high levels of employment and, crucially, a younger generation entering the workplace that expects to move jobs every couple of years, means that HR strategies based on the assumption of a static workforce are missing the target. Against this constantly changing background, there are significant barriers to having a resourcing strategy in place. Recruitment is an undervalued, under-resourced part of most HR functions: the different elements of the resourcing mix (external hiring, internal mobility, succession planning, contract labour, redeployment etc.) are typically in silos with no joined-up approach, while resourcing planning cycles are too short and hiring decisions are left in the hands of the ill-qualified. No wonder 87% of CEOs say finding the right talent is the number one people headache!  Hire Power is an excellent book for anyone working in recruitment and it’s well worth making the effort to seek it out.

Alastair Blair, thePotentMix