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Turf Battles in HR: Insights from an HR insider.

Updated: Mar 27

The Human Resources industry is rapidly changing. To stay competitive, companies know they need to adopt new technologies.

However, a big barrier to adoption is the available talent pool to run those technologies. A 2021 Gartner survey of IT execs found that 64% believe talent shortages are the largest barrier to adopting emerging

technologies.  In the manufacturing sector, the overall labor shortage is even more stark with some predicting that the industry will experience a 6-million-person deficit by 2030.


The Problem: Is your talent acquisition strategy a holdover from the 20th century?

Many applicants but few quality candidates.

In-fighting between HR and departments.

Losing out candidates to other companies.

There must be a better way, and it might be time to re-think how you find and hire talent.

This past week I sat down with Adam Hughes of Aspen Surgical Products. We had recently worked together on two IFS related positions, and I wanted to get a first-hand perspective from someone in the HR industry about how to run HR departments in our industry, some of the challenges, and what he has experienced over the past few years as we emerge from this new post-COVID era.


Here’s the result of our conversation:


Me: So I'm here with Adam Hughes of Aspen Surgical and we just did a couple of interviews with IFS resources and this is the first time that we've worked together.

Adam, tell me a little bit about your background and maybe how long you’ve been in the HR industry, and then we can go from there.


Adam: Sure.

I've been a part of talent acquisition [recruiter] for about 15+ years.

I kind of fell into it after college and I loved it.

Ever since then, I’ve been recruiting on the customer side of things. Which is a big difference from the staffing world.

But I immediately fell in love with it.

You know you are making the ultimate sale, which is bringing people to the organization's talent capital. I love building good teams!

I've been on the medical side for, I'd say about 8 years now.


Me: When I came across your job postings on LinkedIn it looked like you were working hard to fill a few positions. How long were you looking without finding much luck?

Adam: Yeah, I would say we were looking for many 8-9 months.

IFS was a newer ERP system for me.

So again, you know you could post all you want.

You could search all you want, but finding the right blend between culture, skill set, and ability to do the actual job and get along with teammates.

And you know, I felt like I went through a lot of interviews earlier on before syncing up with you.


Me: I decided to reach out to you guys and see if I could help. I forwarded the site and followed up with an email to see if it would be a good fit for Aspen.


Adam: Yeah, in this industry you are always learning and evolving. And I think in my own mind, I was trying to keep the staffing agencies at bay because I wanted to fill these positions myself and save the company money.


Me: I find that sometimes there is competition between HR departments and hiring managers. More like a power struggle between adhering to the corporate hiring process and giving hiring managers the freedom to use creative ways to find good talent. Has that been your experience and how have you overcome that power struggle?


Adam: Oh, it’s very common and I’ve seen it a lot.

I would say it’s more of a pride thing.

I think for most talent acquisition people you want to be in control of the process and fill the vacancies yourself, we're very competitive people.

You want to win so you want to only go with the candidates that you source and present.

I learned this almost 8 years ago that at some point you can’t keep up with the volume of positions that you’re working on.

You just can't.

And if, if you're so focused on yourself, you're not doing your colleagues, you're hiring managers, your internal customers, you're not doing them any favors by holding on out of this pride.

You need to let go, and I learned that, like I said, eight years ago.

So, it takes humility to ask for help and let go of some control.

At the end of the day, I want to serve Aspen, and serve the hiring managers.

It’s actually been a relief to me to have partnered with you and

Me: I’m glad we connected. What was the process like?

Adam: Let's be honest, it was a lot easier working with you because all I really had to do was schedule the interviews and talk to these individuals, then pass along the information to the hiring managers. Versus sitting behind a computer trying to find a needle in a haystack, so to speak, when you had everyone right in front of me. It was a win-win-win for everyone involved!

Every organization needs to follow their hiring protocol, but at the same time we need to find ways to make things more efficient to get the right talent because the right talent is a real asset to Aspen’s mission.


Me: It seems that you’ve done some great work at Aspen and are able to get over this tension for the sake of the company. I’m sure we have organizations reading this that are experiencing or have experienced this tension between hiring managers and HR departments. What are 3 tips you could give our readers to help them overcome this for the sake of their company? 


Adam: Sure.

1 - Ask For Help

I would say, one, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is impossible to keep up with the job openings! It is important to find the right help. Whether it is internally from within the company, or externally from an outside resource, finding the right partners is key.

We’re talking about talent that is going to elevate the organization for the next 5-15 years so I want to get this right.

2 - Streamline the Acquisition Pipeline

Secondly, look for ways to streamline the acquisition pipeline.

I'm someone who's always looking to bring value to the organization. If I look at the hiring process from that lens, I am going to examine our hiring process to see if it enables the hiring process or hinders it.

You know, while we are evaluating candidates, candidates are evaluating us. If the hiring process is cumbersome, slow, and tedious it looks bad on the company. I don’t want them to start with a bad taste in their mouths about Aspen.

3 - Get On the Same Page With Hiring Managers

Lastly, Get on the same page with hiring mangers.

The hiring managers know exactly what they want. They’re in the field and know the industry so it is important to take your cues from them. I try to have a conversation with the hiring manager before writing up a draft job description. Then work with the hiring manager to fine tune the final copy. I always identify the non-negotiable must-have skills then identify the nice-to-haves. This gives me the ability to evaluate more than just tech skills. Things like personality and availability.

There also needs to be transparency between HR and hiring managers. If something isn’t working out we need to have the ability to point that out and make changes. That takes a lot of open dialogue.

I try to touch base with hiring managers throughout the week to let them know where I am at in the hiring process. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Something I’ve worked hard to develop.

After an interview, I do a candidate review. This helps me know what was good about a candidate and what could have been done better so that hopefully the future candidates are better candidates.

Me: That was great! I look forward to more conversations with you Adam and helping you fill vacancies as Aspen goes live with IFS.

Adam: Thanks Luke. Let’s keep in touch.



In today's rapidly evolving manufacturing landscape, staying ahead means rethinking traditional approaches to talent acquisition. Through my conversation with Adam, we've gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by HR departments and hiring managers alike. From talent shortages to power struggles, the path to securing top talent can be fraught with obstacles.

However, by embracing collaboration, seeking efficiency, and fostering transparency, companies like Aspen Surgical are paving the way for a more effective and streamlined hiring process. As we navigate the shifting industry demands, it's clear that staying competitive requires a fresh perspective. If you found this discussion insightful, stay tuned for more content on navigating the ever-changing landscape of hiring IFS talent.

Whether it's an IFS Architect, IFS Business Analyst, or IFS Developer.

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