Written by Susan Burns
Do organizations know more about their inventory and customers than their current and prospective workforce? The answer is a resounding yes for many companies. This simple question reveals quite a bit about the opportunity to better support the organization’s strategic business directives. What role can the talent acquisition function play to support today’s evolving organization? The mission and organizational value contribution is steeped in delivering a people response to the company’s strategic directives – either by supporting the pursuit of business opportunities or solving business problems. The mission is to understand and anticipate the organization’s talent needs in order to secure the right mix of talent with respect to knowledge, skills, abilities, potential and cultural fit at the right time to ensure business continuity. The talent acquisition function is a business solutions provider. This also implies that the talent acquisition function, along with talent management, has the greatest depth of knowledge within the organization with respect to finding, engaging, assessing, presenting, and securing talent in the context of the organization’s culture and operating environment.
Designing a strategy to service the organization’s talent needs has become increasingly complex. Shifts in the business climate decrease predictability and require the organization to be more agile and develop the ability to quickly identify changing talent needs to support the pursuit of new opportunities. The persistent introduction of new technologies, which often open new talent channels, requires the talent acquisition function to assess structure, roles and resource allocation more frequently to recalibrate quickly and develop a response capability to deliver results. The ability to evaluate which vendors, technologies and channels are “right-fit” to support the talent strategy require clarity, discipline and a new set of skills for the function. Agile thinking, curiosity and comfort with risk are required skills for talent acquisition leaders. Achieving clarity around the organization’s talent philosophy is critical to realizing alignment across the HR function, allowing talent acquisition to move quickly and unencumbered. An example of this is the resistance and / or lack of understanding around the value of social media. On one end of the spectrum doubt and fear persist, which is comparable to the response when the Internet arrived and offered up an opportunity for mainstream recruiting use. On the other end of the spectrum is the over zealous who partake in what I’ve referred to as “socializing” job postings and reducing an important strategic element to tactical application by seeing social channels as one more place to push out jobs without taking the time to understand either the nuances or risks.
Talent Acquisition as Talent Broker
If we agree that the mission of talent acquisition is to effectively resource the organization to solve business problems, support the pursuit of business opportunities, enable effective competition and sustain an appropriate level of momentum then an opportunity exists to assess how effectively the organization is resourced. Determining the current state of talent acquisition – talent philosophy, structure, resources, and technology, will be required to effectively develop the response capability to serve the organization’s needs.
Developing a talent community strategy can answer many of the organization’s resource needs. Depth of knowledge around the existing workforce and external talent market work in synergy to frame an effective strategy. Insight into the composition of the existing workforce – succession planning, skill gaps, competencies, employee interests and potential inform external recruitment needs when aligned and recalibrated with the strategic business plan. Identifying needs around skills, experience, level, geography and cultural fit offer a starting point. Developing a talent plan that identifies the type of talent – employee, contractor, contingent, or temporary, is what will further support the organization’s agility needs and allows the talent acquisition function to operate as a Talent Broker and business service provider. Today’s approach to managing this talent mix is often fragmented and doesn’t serve the organization, business leaders or Talent effectively. Designing a strategy that supports building a holistic community that allows Talent to identify the type of work relationship that interests them advances talent acquisition’s contribution in servicing the organization and delivers a more robust view into available talent. This approach also recognizes the shifting preferences of the workforce. Desire to have greater flexibility, mobility and choice in how and when people work and what they work on is increasing. Operating from a Talent Broker model allows leaders to have a single point of contact to find the right resource to support their business needs.
Extending the Value of Community Management and Brand Engagement
The competition for flexible “project talent” will increase as organizations seek to achieve workforce strategies that are sustainable and adapt quickly and easily to shifting business needs. The influence of social technologies, ease of access to networks and desire to connect has made Talent a shared global resource. Keeping talent engaged and interested in your brand and business is not going to get easier. Building a holistic community strategy is a natural extension of sourcing. Leveraging smart, targeted reach to identify and attract targeted Talent into a community relationship is just the beginning. The artistry and value comes through developing strategies around engagement to keep Talent connected. Extending sourcing to include initial screening to assess for skills, cultural fit, interest and readiness to join the company provides recruiters with a valuable community from which to re-partner with sourcing when business needs arise requiring a talent response. Tracking deployment against active projects and accumulated experience results in rich and valuable talent profiles that not only allows recruiters to respond quickly to hiring managers but to also be proactive when working with their business partners on anticipated needs. However, Talent needs to be kept engaged and continuously reengaged. By pursuing an integrated community management approach that intersects with sourcing and recruiting, the talent acquisition function evolves to a new level. Crafting relevant communications and designing opportunities for Talent to further engage with the brand through co-creation programs, “idea labs” or collective innovation projects is what can differentiate the brand and a recruiters ability to learn more about Talent and identify key contributors. The talent community manager’s role is to coordinate the creation and dissemination of targeted content, facilitate conversation in partnership with internal stakeholders, and potentially identify Talent for recruiters to further engage with. This approach leverages the interdependent relationship between the organization’s business strategy, talent acquisition and Talent. New talent acquisition tools like CRM support Talent segmentation and targeted communication. Combined with social tools like Socialcast takes Talent’s experience to a new level, supporting further connection, learning, engagement and possibly even loyalty.
This approach doesn’t necessarily require additional resources. It does however require talent acquisition functions to restructure in order to leverage the value of social media and engage Talent at a more relevant and visceral level around the business. Reallocating recruiting advertising / marketing budgets and assessing existing people resources can support designing a new structure that supports a community – based talent strategy. The benefits are significant. The organization benefits from increased Talent agility and enhanced market awareness – who is interested in the brand, what are their ideas, what do they want to do and when do they want to do it. Engaging Talent around the “business of the brand” facilitates increased collaboration to drive innovative ideas. Talent benefits by having a fun, engaging experience with the company, continuous learning and the ability to share their interests to move in and out of the organization in alignment with their career objectives. The talent acquisition function benefits through a holistic view of Talent to resource the organization and advance to the role of Talent Broker to deliver additional value and support the organization’s strategy.
In closing, I can’t think of a better quote to sum up the opportunity for business and Talent to connect in a more meaningful way and for the talent acquisition function to assume the role of Talent Broker.
“We grew up isolated.
The future is connected.”
“I think this changes everything…
If we let it.” Seth Godin
Made Wednesday, 22 of December , 2010 at 6:08 am
[...] the discussion we all love, talent, we have two wonderful posts; Susan Burns on Planning for the future and Jennifer Millers chat with Dave [...]