The importance of being empowered

Chris Carmon, President, CGI (Carmon Group Inc.)

At CGI, we have conducted hundreds of searches for a wide variety of businesses from Fortune 100’s to small, privately-held companies. Despite the ever-growing need for efficiencies, we still see examples of where the human resources function is perceived as a cost center and not positioned strategically in the organization. This can lead to greater hiring challenges, missed opportunities and what I call a “groundhog day” scenario that repeats itself over and over.

Reflect back on when you were hired by your current company or a previous employer. Was it a great process that made you more motivated to pursue the opportunity, or was it one that raised questions? If it raised questions, the company is fortunate that you did in fact pursue the position. Candidates often include the talent acquisition process as part of their evaluation of the opportunity. They pay attention to the flow and efficiency of the interview process and whether or not the company’s talent team is on the same page. A weak HR structure can be revealing about the overall business. When a candidate engages with an HR professional who is well informed about the business and fully empowered, it makes the right first impression for the candidate.

At times, a hiring manager can take a myopic approach and “plug a hole” without taking into consideration the long-term objectives of their department and the business as a whole. They may not recognize that top talent is not lined up outside the door and eager to join the business. In engaging HR, they must understand the manager’s objectives as it relates to talent, have the ability to look forward from an organizational development standpoint and finally, be given proper resources and budgets to successfully attract and retain top talent. As a result of this, the empowered HR professional on the front end of the talent acquisition process can be instrumental in a positive hiring experience.

On the other side of the fence, HR professionals need to be sensitive to the challenges their internal hiring managers are facing and be effective in partnering with that manager to drive results. HR needs to be empowered to stop a search process if it is setup to fail from its onset or be accountable to increase resources if a search is falling behind schedule. If these areas are lacking, it can quickly drive a wedge between HR and the businesses hiring managers, causing a regression in the talent acquisition process.

All businesses want to make a great hire and ensure that talent is moving forward. To accomplish this, HR professionals need to invest their time with executives, managers and other stakeholders to truly understand talent requirements for the business. Conversely, hiring managers need to be willing to invest their time to ensure that HR is informed, empowered and that clear processes and protocols are in place for the talent and on-boarding process. Communication and calibration are paramount and need to flow in both directions throughout the search process. Keep in mind that talent acquisition will always have a human component and as a result, will never be a perfect science. The hiring team should be able to openly and quickly convey challenges they encounter in the hiring process and recalibrate as necessary to keep the process moving forward.

Continued commitment to empowering and integrating the HR function will save money for any size organization where an HR function exists. Strategic milestones of the business will be better met and the business’ brand to the talent pool will be elevated. Candidates will experience a cohesive management team and in the talent acquisition process can serve as a greater allure to the opportunity, giving greater clarity about their future within the business. As I have stated before, one of the best measures of success in talent acquisition is ultimately who is gaining and retaining the talent … you or your competitor?

Chris Carmon is the founder and president of CGI (The Carmon Group, Inc.). You can find out more about CGI by going to our website: Carmon can be reached at  (216) 328-9060, ext. 1001, or [email protected] Connect with Carmon on LinkedIn at