The Impact of Implementing a Differentiated Recruiting Model – An Interview with Jim D’Amico

The Impact of Implementing a Differentiated Recruiting Model – An Interview with Jim D’Amico

Currently the Global Talent Acquisition Leader at Celanese, Jim D’Amico is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in Talent Acquisition. Throughout his tenure, he has seen what’s worked and what hasn’t – and has some advice on what we should change to put our recruiting team on the path to success. We sat down with Jim to learn more about his unique approach to the recruiting function – the Differentiated Recruiting Model.

1. You’ve previously discussed the concept of a differentiated recruiting model. Can you remind our readers what this is, and where you got inspiration from to implement this with your teams?

Let me start with the point of inspiration, and then discuss the application to talent acquisition:  Twelve years ago while with The Schwan Food Company, we worked directly with Mark Huselid, who along with Brian Becker and Richard Beatty had conducted years of research and published their book The Differentiated Workforce, to implement their teachings into our Talent Management structure.  In a nutshell, their research shows that there are three types of roles in every organization: Strategic roles, Support Roles and what they termed Surplus Roles, but I refer to as Tier II Support Roles. Strategic roles, directly impacted share/stakeholder value, Support roles enabled the effectiveness of strategic roles, and Tier II Support roles performed necessary functions, but didn’t have a significant impact on value.  The number of these roles tends to be pyramidical in structure with the fewest roles in the Strategic tier, more in the Support, and the most in the Tier II, however the width of the pyramid can vary widely by company.

Here is an example to help clarify:

At XYZ Widget Manufacturing the VP of Sales is a Strategic role, that role is responsible for creating the sales strategy that generates the company’s revenue.  The TA Manager is a support role, that role provides talent to fill vacancies, but doesn’t directly impact sales, only support their success. The Custodian is a Surplus role.  It is needed, but the performance of that role does not have a material impact on company value.

So in the Differentiated Workforce model, you structure your HR to support each tier differently as they have different needs, and it behooves the company to provide the most support to where the most value resides (note this does not mean there are roles with no value, but to enable success, you have to help enable efficiency and support where it can have the most impact first).

So again, as an example, let’s look at how a company may structure their onboarding for the three roles mentioned above:

VP Sales onboarding may include a new leader assimilation off site for a day, a 1:1 session with the benefits team to ensure they understand benefits and are properly enrolled, a formal 30-60-90 day follow up sessions to add new information.

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