The Slowest Part of FMCG - Expediting the Hiring Process
There's a popular opinion in the FMCG sector that food and drink products are generally the'fastest' and most demanding category of product to deal with. Professionals coming from outside the sector are sometimes dismissed for roles on the ground that they wouldn't be able to adapt to the pace of the sector.
This sense of urgency and precariousness is something professionals are sometimes encouraged to thrive on. These principles often carry over to a business' approach to recruitment - for most of my assignments, professionals are required ASAP, and hiring managers will stress the importance of the vacancy, whether it be a replacement or a newly created role.
Despite this, it's extremely common to encounter delays in the recruitment process. Managers are frustrated when ideal candidates aren't presented immediately. Candidates are frustrated when they're made to wait for weeks between interview stages, only to be asked the same set of questions by a different manager. For everyone caught up in these delays, recruitment can seem like the slowest part of FMCG. The hiring process can feel like a chore, where one party is always chasing after another for updates or progress reports.
It's important for all parties to recognise that some delays are unavoidable, but equally, it's critical that recruiters should take responsibility for offering solutions, and seek ways to improve the recruitment experience, whilst mitigating against delays.
There are deep-rooted flaws to all the recruitment solutions presently available to SMEs in the food and drink industry. At Spirit, we've spent the last year engineering a complete solution to address all these flaws, based on proper consultancy, superior candidate choice, more efficient service delivery, and a reduced overall cost. We're currently running trial projects with a handful of clients, and will be expanding the model to other customers in the New Year.
The Talent of Talent Planning - Hiring effectively for SMEs
With long-term talent planning, it is not unusual for SMEs within FMCG to find it a struggle. Knowing who, what and when you will require additional talent is often challenging to forecast more than 3 months in advance, let alone 6 months or more. Particularly when scaling-up, as each new experienced hire represents a serious financial investment.
The difficulties are understandable given the variables in play. SMEs are used to a small number of people with a wide range of skillsets covering many job functions. In most instances, companies contain ambitious employees who want to progress, so it can be a balancing act to decide whether to promote those that joined earlier in the journey or hire external talent.
Most FMCG SMEs are also quite agile when it comes to attributing resources to the most profitable channels and "plugging the talent gap" in the interim - a hire could be anticipated for Q.2 with a specific sales focus, but this expertise may not ultimately be required until Q.4.
There is the issue of time & resources as most SMEs lack the time to talent-plan in detail for the variables listed above. The financial justification for an internal HR professional is not yet strong enough, and the investment in an internal recruiter is similarly not viable.
However, to properly talent plan, you need a deep understanding of what is available; no one can do that effectively on a part-time basis. It is this lack of resources available to properly identify talent that leads to extensive time taken in the hiring process too.
Many companies are forced to recruit on a reactive basis, and often use recruitment agencies as the path to identify what they are looking for, and can attract, in terms of talent. Then there is the crucial aspect of "cultural fit", which often takes the longest.
Spirit offers a different better way to talent plan & recruit more proactively. We enable FMCG SMEs to seamlessly connect their planning to hiring, in-step with the variation in talent demand they will inevitably experience. The efficiencies we create deliver a considerable return on investment versus any other hiring methodology.
We will explore talent planning in more detail, and other aspects, in our upcoming series of blogs.