As this is being written the day after Anthony Bourdain died, it might be appropriate to start with a kitchen metaphor. If you’ve ever had a chance to see how a professional kitchen operates (and in this age of Gordon Ramsey and Padma Lakshmi, everyone knows how a kitchen works even if they’ve never peeled so much as a potato), you know it’s a complex machine. Food gets delivered, inspected, and shelved. Prep cooks break down the raw foods and build dish components like stocks, sauces, and prepped meats or veggies. The chef dictates the menu and establishes the quality of things that the various cooks and sous chef build throughout the meal service. And the wait staff ensures that food arrives at the right table, in front of the right guest as ordered.
So who’s in charge of your amazing meal? Sure, the head chef is ostensibly “in charge” but if someone in the machine doesn’t do their job, the chef can’t do his or hers. With sub-par ingredients, poor prep, lax standards, sloppy plating and lazy wait staff, the best meal can be turned into the dog’s dinner in a blink.
The trick is that the chef is there to hire staff, set expectations, align all efforts towards a perfect meal, and identify gaps where a great potential meal misses the mark. The head chef is responsible and has the authority over all positions, and thus is in charge.
Now look at your average business (maybe yours!). If we use the kitchen as a metaphor for hiring talent for the business, what’s happening? HRBPs are there to ensure that the hiring need is aligned to the business need and leveled appropriately. Brand and sourcers are responsible for bringing in potential candidates. Recruiters are there to evaluate and screen candidates for the hiring managers to select. HR is there to make sure the “t”s get crossed and that paperwork is completed.