Making Lean Culture Work in Talent Acquisition of Outsourcing Ventures

Lean culture is a management principle that’s often applied in the manufacturing sector. Its standout followers include Walmart, Southwest Airlines and GE Healthcare. But can Lean principle ever be applied in the business process of outsourcing, particularly for talent acquisition?

This is an argument once popped by Zachary Misko and has even written an article at Outsource Magazine entitled “Embracing a Lean Culture in Recruitment.” The basic assumption may be around whether or not applying lean culture in HR recruitment processes will finally help find gems of talents and retain those who contribute to lifting the value of the outsourcing provider and buyer. Of course some theories are better only at staying as theories. Sometimes realities are harsher than initially thought.

Bringing up the idea of Lean culture in resolving the shortage of high-value talent force could possibly help. Other than what’s already tested and tried by outsourcing companies in standardizing and streamlining their talent recruitment procedures, Lean principles could offer to yield more valuable talents.

For the uninitiated, Lean manufacturing is one of the quality system principles that many multinational companies use to help identify value-creating activities, eliminate waste, and focus on continuous improvement.  So the next question is how adopting Lean principles will lift recruitment and other back-office functions to better heights of efficiency and quality. But one certain outcome is the insight that this disciplined initiative will provide business partners.

Another valid question is, “Is Lean culture just fad?” Definitely not when this principle is taken as a lifestyle. With the practice, organizations are enabled to reduce development cycles so that higher quality services and products at a lower cost are produced. And let’s not forget, resources are efficiently utilized using the Lean principle.

The next question is how to getting started in talent recruitment using Lean. Talent acquisition is a strategic service that can give real competitive advantage to any organization. How? The overall time to approve and fill staff positions will be reduced dramatically without the system adopted. This principle can also help HR to identify non-core, ancillary activities that occupied their time, which in the long run helps in simplifying and expediting the entire process.

Misko cited the GE Healthcare experience in driving his point. The company sought the support of its external recruitment service provider to implement Lean culture. The result is an overhauled internal processes within GE Healthcare and its external recruitment service providers. With the success of the adoption, the global outsourcing service provider is bringing its Lean expertise to other organizations.

It is also underscored that practitioners be able to train themselves to remain vigilant in identifying and solving breakdowns in their processes. Complacency is guarded throughout the course of the application of the principle.

There must also be commitment within the organization to adopt Lean culture. This means executive champions, buy-in from the rank and file must be ensured along with the patience and resources to make this culture work. Finally, when executed well, the effort can significantly improve how you acquire talent.



Embracing a Lean Culture in Recruitment