Is resource planning best approach for e-commerce startups ?


I have been providing talent management solutions to ecommerce start-ups, helping them make better hiring decisions. In the course of this process, I have realized that these start-ups are mostly focused on their core product, and don’t have time to invest in managing the hiring process. Also they have no clue about human resource planning. We’ve receivied requirements saying things like “Can we have UI/UX person on board in 2 days?” “Find the best person for the job. Salary is not an issue.” “Get us absolutely anyone, as long as they can get their work done.”

These kinds of requests led us to believe that these companies are under lot of stress, and have no idea how to manage the pay scale, come up with the right pitch for qualified candidates, or meet their current demand and forecast the future human resource needs. We decided to provide them comprehensive resource planning solutions on a project recruitment basis. Key steps included:

  1. Need analysis: Determining scope and modalities is the first step towards the need analysis. This helps to drill down the areas they have an immediate need to achieve their goals in.
  2. Internal vs. external approach: What could be managed internally by HR, with their resources? Where would they need external support in effectively managing the hiring process?
  3. Competitive analysis: What makes them unique – culture, career, growth, learning? Define it, and make a proposition to prospective candidates – branding.
  4. Viable solutions for current and future needs: Work on immediate solutions while carrying out long-term resource planning, so that the company doesn’t get stressed out and thereby make wrong hiring decisions.
  5. Process training: Train the key hiring managers on the subject of interview questions. Prepare a template to track data from inception to hiring, and also educate them on selling the position and organizational culture to prospective applicants.
  6. Actual implementation: Chalk out each & every step/process, prepare a plan, and get the buy-in from the senior management team. This fosters a spirit of ownership and commitment in everyone who is involved in the process.

Another important feature of this whole hiring process I wanted to highlight is transparency. A lot of time (for both candidates and organizations) can be saved when recruiting practices are transparent and open. Transparency goes beyond simply revealing salary ranges; it includes things such as how an organization shares recruitment information, what the next step entails, company’s culture, approach, leadership style etc. Transparency may allow potential candidates to assess their fit with the organization, thereby choosing whether to apply or not, possibly saving both time and resources, rather than engaging in a complex and expensive recruitment process.

We know that every business, specifically e-commerce businesses trying to maintain a flexible system, requires unique solutions to be able to react quickly to changes or competitive pressure, and evolve quickly. Most e-commerce businesses start small in size, so while deciding on business operations, it would be important to evaluate what their core strengths are, know what can be done internally, and look to outsource human resources services that require high levels of specialization. Also, the pre-requisites of hiring should be defined and streamlined before starting the process. Job specification, interview methodology, processes and the timeline should be outlined from the onset to determine the full cycle of hiring process. A solid and effective recruiting and selection process more effectively identifies individuals who best fit the job profile.

A direct correlation can be noted between how well organizations recruit/select people and the company's ability to hire and retain employees. An integrated approach toward recruiting requires ongoing interaction between human resources and business leaders, to clarify how the company’s goals will impact future hiring needs, and to ensure that the company will have the talent it needs to sustain business operations and growth. It is a fact that if human resources’ visions aren’t aligned with the company’s business requirements, the company could face many challenges. These are a few basic steps that are universal in the corporate world and if followed, always bring about structured and time-saving results.


About the Author: Dr. Mahru Sultana is CEO of and has 15 plus experience in human resources and talent management solutions

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