Books in Brief

Demystifying Outsourcing; more.

By Compiled by Leigh Rivenbark Jan 1, 2007

HR Magazine, January 2007Demystifying Outsourcing

By Debbie Friedman, Pfeiffer, 2006
List price: $50, 319 pages, ISBN: 978-0-7879-7941-6

You’ve hired a consultant to provide training for your company. But have you oriented that consultant so she knows how your firm really works? Have you explained her role to your own in-house trainers? And have you prepared a kickoff meeting in which you and the consultant define the training together, as partners?

Debbie Friedman, operating vice president at Federated Department Stores, wants training managers to learn to outsource training more efficiently. In this volume—applicable to many outsourcing needs, not just training—she provides a primer in getting outsourcing done.

Demystifying Outsourcing includes a CD with customizable worksheets, samples and a “learning journal” readers use to apply the book’s lessons to their own needs. Friedman packs the book with examples from many industries.

Friedman looks first at general outsourcing principles, then turns to the specific phases of outsourcing projects and includes tools readers can use. She covers special situations, such as working with more than one consultant or managing conflicts.

Readers learn how to identify potential consultants through referrals, professional groups, universities and more. Friedman teaches how to craft a request for proposals (RFP) and includes a sample RFP. A consultant evaluation worksheet provides questions to ask consultants and a system for rating them. Because the book’s focus is on the outsourcing of training needs, it gives tips on auditioning and evaluating trainers or speakers. Readers learn pitfalls to avoid in final selection and get a chart for comparing consultants before hiring them.

Friedman’s chapter on contracts guides readers through the many provisions of a consulting contract. Her tips include using the contract to clarify the scope of work, fees, payment schedule and confidentiality issues.

Once an organization selects consultants, Friedman notes, the training manager and others must develop a good working relationship with the consultants. She examines the position of consultants within the organization and then advises on how to work well with consultants and vendors, from training design through implementation and evaluation.

Friedman provides a sample evaluation form to use after training is over, plus a plan for evaluating training systematically.

101 Strategies for Recruiting Success

By Christopher W. Pritchard, AMACOM, 2006
List price: $19.95, 209 pages, ISBN: 978-0-8144-7407-5

Author Christopher W. Pritchard, SPHR, says that as the recruitment consulting industry has sprung up, companies’ own recruiters have remained poorly trained and badly paid. Pritchard, who has worked as both an internal recruiter and a consultant, believes companies should strive for excellence in their own recruitment operations instead of spending huge sums on outside recruiters.

One company, he notes, used to pay millions to third-party recruiters each year, coughing up an average fee of $25,000 per placement. What little recruitment the company handled for itself was done by “low-level (and low-paid) administrative order-takers,” he says.

The audience for 101 Strategies for Recruiting Success is HR professionals seeking to bolster their internal recruiting operations. A “recruiting excellence workbook” at the end helps readers apply what they’ve learned to their own situations.

Pritchard guides readers by organizing his brief strategies into topics, including:

  • Success in your recruiting operation. Audit your current recruiting operation, examine your current cost-to-hire numbers and manage relationships with outside recruiters better. Consider ways to more effectively manage the flow of candidates who apply for jobs.
  • Successful sourcing. Advertising alone doesn’t reach all potential candidates.› Pritchard advises getting to know outplacement firms and the kinds of candidates they represent. Learn to choose the right career fairs to attend so you don’t waste time or money. Then spend money on the best possible career fair displays.

Learn about government resources and social-services organizations (like training centers) that specialize in employment-related services. Know the professional publications your potential recruits read. Hunt down professional associations that serve the professionals you need.

Other sourcing ideas include building a prominent presence in the community and spreading the word about jobs through everything from the Rotary Club to Welcome Wagon, crafting an employee referral program that offers incentives, tapping company alumni for help by creating an alumni newsletter or an alumni referral program, checking out nontraditional schools such as technical institutes or programs that prepare students for certification exams, and using military outplacement programs that connect departing service members with employment opportunities in the private sector. Pritchard provides web sites and other contact information for many types of organizations.

  • Improving diversity recruitment. Turn to the country’s 39 United Negro College Fund colleges, Hispanic and Latino associations, disability-related groups and sexual-orientation organizations. The book tells you how.
  • Hiring processes. Pritchard gives tips for partnering with hiring managers, formally planning the recruitment process, streamlining application forms, making offers more specific and evaluating recruitment services.
  • Retention programs. Retention is linked to recruitment because without good retention, “we bring new employees in the front door as experienced employees walk out the back door.” The book offers a new-hire checklist of documents and processes (such as getting to orientation meetings) each new hire needs. Other strategies look briefly at mentoring, workplace culture and more.

Great Employees Only

By Dale Dauten, John Wiley & Sons, 2006
List price: $21.95, 200 pages, ISBN: 978-0-470-00788-4

Business columnist Dale Dauten noticed something odd: Some terrific managers also had high turnover. They weren’t “brutally demanding bosses,” nor did they ax people just to meet budget numbers.

Why the paradox of effective and well-liked managers with high turnover? Because these managers were devoted to “helping every employee travel along his or her path” to the best job, Dauten says—and that path sometimes led right out the office door.

In Great Employees Only, Dauten urges managers to move away from firing and toward “de-hiring,” in which employees “aren’t told to leave, but told how to stay.” With anecdotes from managers, Dauten demonstrates how de-hiring benefits both the business, by keeping only great employees on board, and departing employees themselves, by helping them leave on a positive note and move on to jobs that are better fits.

The book presents Dauten’s advice concisely in 48 brief “things gifted bosses know.” Among them:

  • Assume the best of employees and also assume that “employees always know” if their performance is slipping.
  • “It’s less work to get 100 percent improvement than 10 percent improvement.” Getting the weakest performer to decide to leave is less exhausting than creating a flurry of motivational programs that might not work.
  • Think of former employees as your graduates and keep up with them, no matter why they left. They can be sources of valuable contacts later.
  • Explore whether you set up your employees to fail rather than to succeed. Dauten offers examples of both.
  • Expand your hiring pool. Your best hire is only the best person among those who apply. Dauten shows what some managers have done to get the word out about job openings.

Strategic International Human Resource Management

By Stephen J. Perkins and Susan M. Shortland, Kogan Page Ltd., 2006
List price: $55, 258 pages, ISBN: 0-7494-4357-X

Managers, executives or human resource practitioners who are part of their organization’s international efforts—whether they’re in a home country preparing to send employees abroad or responsible for international employees in a host country—are the audience for this second-edition textbook on managing people in today’s global work environment.

Authors Stephen J. Perkins and Susan M. Shortland frame their work in terms of “choices and consequences,” examining the relationships between the strategic choices organizations make as they work internationally.

Initial chapters look at broad international HR management (HRM) theory, discussing globalization and its historic development, including its effect on organizing employment.

Most of Strategic International Human Resource Management deals with practical applications of strategic international HRM, and includes case studies, tables and lists with tips and questions for readers to use in their own contexts. To help readers navigate through the book, Perkins and Shortland outline their aims for each chapter at its start and provide questions readers can use to review chapter material or to start brainstorming.

The authors cover choices and consequences for five major areas:

  • The impact of different cultures and international mobility on employees, including managing the stresses and concerns of people on international assignments. Perkins and Shortland offer 10 specific ideas for managing performance internationally and also guide readers on debriefing repatriated employees.
  • Selecting people (including executives) for international assignments, determining the competencies they need, and adjusting them to local cultures as well as repatriating them on their return home. Readers learn about multinational career paths and international competencies that emphasize “cross-cultural sensitivity” and flexible thinking. Readers also get a sample selection process for internationally mobile jobs.
  • Training and development in the global environment. The book looks at five kinds of training for people who will live and work abroad: initial briefings, pre-assignment visits, language training, cross-cultural awareness training and “culture shock” awareness training that readies employees and their families for the surprises they’ll experience.
  • Compensation for employees who are assigned to go abroad or are hired abroad. This chapter includes help in defining “multinational” employees for compensation purposes and reviews different types of multinational business structures and the rewards typical of each. Readers learn principles for developing and documenting international assignment policies.
  • Issues of employment relations, such as how managerial roles and regulations differ by country and how HR fits in. The authors also lay out how different types of employment systems work in different states (for instance, the market- and individual-driven system of the United States, or the “corporatist” state in Korea and Singapore where state intervention drives fast economic growth).

Perkins, a professor and researcher, has held senior management jobs in industry. Shortland, a university lecturer, has done research in industrial relations and advised the Confederation of British Industry.

Compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va.
Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement by SHRM or
HR Magazine.


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