Influence Happens In A Context

Influence Happens In A Context

Posted on 14. May, 2009 by in Blog, Top 100

By John Sumser

As the Top 100 Influencers project unfolds, we’re going to provide a guided tour of the industry. After all, it’s a little illy to say “these people drive the thematic rivers of our industry without being really clear about the industry itself. For starters, we’ll just get the lay of the land.

The HR-Recruiting Industry is a vast assemblage of 80,000 companies and over 1,000,000 working professionals (1.5 Million by some estimates). Generally, one percent of the workforce earns a living in the HR-Recruiting Industry. Depending on who you ask, Recruiters make up as much as a third of the total number.

Tallies of size and complexity are complicated by the fact that the role is performed informally in smaller companies even though vendors deliver HR products and services to the tiniest of companies.

There are two coexisting components of the industry. An ecosystem of experts, recruiters, accountants, payroll processors and benefits managers serve the needs of the professional HR community, their management and stakeholders. The two sides, buyers and sellers, serve the needs (in the domestic American MArket alone) of 50 Million discrete job transactions per year as well as the payroll and benefits of the 150 Million in the American workforce.

The elements of the industry are



◆Compensation Analysis / Management


◆Organizational Development

◆Talent Acquisition

◆Succession Management

best price cialis style=”font-family: Lucida Grande; font-size: small;”>◆Talent Management

◆Workforce Planning



best price cialis small;”>◆Vendor Management

◆Labor Relations

Typically, each of these segments has a range of vendors providing a range of services. HR is rarely practiced as a standardized discipline. It’s more common to see each company develop and execute its own cultural approach to the HR question.

Over the last decade or so, larger companies experimented with Outsourcing

◆HR in its entirety (HROs)

◆Ownership of employees (PEOs)

◆All or Part of the Recruiting Process

Recruiting and staffing are unique. According to Elaine Orler, VP of the Talent MAnagement practice at KnowledgeInfusion, “Recruiting must move at market speed. The rest of HR can readily move at enterprise speed.” What she means is that Recruiting focuses on meeting critical needs on the open market while the rest of HR is a purer overhead function.

This bifurcation of HR leads to conflict “in the house”. The administrative component wants careful movement and is a fundamentally conservative function. The Talent Acquisition team, on the other hand, has to be extremely resourceful and competitive. There is real and sustained difference between the mindsets.

There are about 7 Million companies in the American economy. Each of them delivers some form of HR to its employees. It’s a vast market with huge differences based on geography and industry.

Additionally, the industry behaves differently based on company size. The Fortune 2,500  are typically referred to as “enterprise companies”. They use industrial strength solutions like Oracle, SAP or Microsoft. Workday, a newcomer founded by the fellow who started Peoplesoft is a promising up and comer.

The remainder of the industry, the other 6,997,500 (or so) companies use a patchwork quilt of products and services,

Over the coming weeks, we’ll look deeper into the details of the industry on a niche by niche basis.

This is the environment n which influence is earned, delivered, purchased and deployed. While most marketing discussions treat the HR-Recruiting MArketplace as if it were monolithic, it is tremendously fragmented with most companies developing unique solutions.

Influence is therefore really important. Each company tries to navigate its way through the hurdles of regulatory requirements, talent needs and employee perks. The greatest HR-Recruiting Managers think for themselves. The issues are complex enough that the hint of truth is goodenough to make decisions, sometimes.

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6 Responses to “Influence Happens In A Context”

  1. Maureen Sharib

    14. May, 2009

    This is a great overview and exactly the kind of information that is ( generally) missing in the action.

  2. [...] Influence Happens In a Context The Top 100 Influencers Project at is going to include an ongoing tutorial about various aspects of the HR-Recruiting Industry. This broad overview is the first installment. [...]

  3. [...] Influence Happens In a Context The Top 100 Influencers Project at is going to include an ongoing tutorial about various aspects of the HR-Recruiting Industry. This broad overview is the first installment. [...]

  4. [...] Influence Happens In A Context [...]

  5. Paul Madsen

    18. May, 2009

    A business listing firm I know has identified well over 14 million separate companies in the US. Even if a chunck of those have just a small number of employees, shouldn’t THEY be in cluded in this statistically-based overview (“There are about 7 million companies in the American economy.”)?

  6. John Sumser

    09. Jul, 2009

    I just saw an estimate that claimed 3.5 Million workers in the HR disciplines.