A Better Approach to HR

Formerly, when operational people in the business units at Devon Energy did a search for a new employee, HR would hand them a list of candidates. It would be their job to decide which candidates to see and to sell the candidates on Devon.

Now, we in HR sit down with the business leader and talk about the need, and the strategy to fill the need. From there, the recruiter handles everything from sourcing to the selection process. The recruiter ultimately makes the offer. In addition, our recruiters give a great deal of attention to the candidates by educating them on our organization, and providing regular updates about what to expect next. This is a very high-touch approach, calibrated to make sure that it’s always Devon’s decision whether or not someone joins. We don’t want candidates to go through the recruiting experience and think, “Geez, I’m still mixed on whether to join Devon.” In 2007, about 42 percent of the external offers we made were accepted. Today, the number is above 90 percent.

Before they leave, the candidates are asked to fill out a 12-question survey evaluating the process of interviewing at Devon and the recruiters they met with. We look at the recruiters’ scores monthly. In effect, that allows us to measure how well we’re delivering on our high-touch approach.

We have also improved our practices on developing people and promoting from within. Generally, the data say that world-class companies promote from within 60 percent of the time. Our percentage is 85 percent, and we want to push it to 90 percent. That’s a very powerful brand statement for prospective employees; if you come here, you can expect to be developed, and to be rewarded well for your performance.

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