Why you need a strategy – rather than simply adopting “best practices”
You would think, especially if you subscribe to a plethora of TA subscription services, that cobbling together a bunch of seemingly relevant best practices might yield a pretty fool-proof model for your recruiting organization. The problem is that best practices are, best case, how someone else has purportedly solved their particular talent acquisition challenges. Arguably, however, the what is unique to each business; it is the reason any given business is successful in the face of tough competition in the first place; it is why investors invest in your company and perhaps not another. What are the talent requirements that are particularly unique to the way in which your company creates business value? Understanding the answer to this question is the first step in determining how to best compete in the talent marketplace. Once you are grounded in this way, you are able to consider alternatives to achieving your talent goals (which will, not surprisingly, include components of off-the-shelf best practices) and choose the ones that best address your needs – these will form your strategy.
What you need to know first
Drilling into this concept a bit deeper, to form a strategy and execute the best TA approach, you will need to know what positions in the organization are being relied upon most to create business value – and, what the market conditions are for talent that can actually fill and sustain those roles. What is the best way obtain this information? Clearly, being inside the company, you have a reasonable starting point based on what is understood about the company’s plans and aspirations. Successful companies have winning business plans – everyone else – well, they don’t last very long. A primary target audience for these business plans are investors; the work of Investor Relations. Investor presentations are a great source of information for understanding a company’s most important talent needs. You can take this information about your company, interview select hiring managers, and formulate your own view of critical talent needs. Your view, once completed, can be reviewed with, and affirmed or edited by, relevant managers across the business.
Knowing what roles the business is most dependent on for growing its value, an assessment of talent market availability can be conducted and determined.
This knowledge of role criticality and talent availability provide the crucial information to form a winning talent acquisition strategy and model. The roles that are most critical to driving business value and for which talent is relatively scarce will be the highest recruiting priority – they will require more resource per hire (people, specialized process, technology), but will also provide the highest return on investment. This TA model allows you to prioritize all talent needs accordingly.
Why prioritizing is imperative
When is the last time your budget was approved as an ‘open checkbook’? If it ever was, believe me, that was the last time. The fact is, even while leading companies are growing top line revenue through product and service innovation, there is simultaneously a relentless focus on rationalizing cost. This will not cease. Resource scarcity and limitations are an economic reality and force the need to prioritize. In recruiting, this means choosing between efficiency and effectiveness; as we have already seen, not all positions are created equal, and as such, investment in acquiring talent must be planned according to how important the role is and how difficult the talent is to find. This is actually good news, if you choose to view it that way. There are many roles in the typical organization that can be efficiently hired, fully utilizing technology to identify, screen, select and hire, with very little manual intervention by recruiters. So-called “B” players or even “C” players are fine in many roles; solid performers that can be screened for fit and efficiently hired. This fact allows you to deploy proportionately more resource to the effort needed to secure hard-to-find talent for critical roles where both the quality of hire and availability are the challenges to overcome – these roles require a higher cost to fill; the goal for these is effective recruiting rather than efficiency, and the necessary investment is made to achieve the requisite outcome.
In conclusion, your talent acquisition model should be unique to the needs of your business. It is rooted in your business strategy, talent marketplace realities, and sound financial stewardship. Existing, generic, best practices are useful as a sanity check and but should not be adopted or relied upon pell-mell; there is no competitive advantage to simply copying stuff. Prioritizing your unique role requirements and deploying approaches that reflect their business value and the market availability of corresponding talent, will yield the most effective talent acquisition model possible.
Want to learn how Talent Growth Advisors can help you develop or evolve your company's Talent Acquisition Model? Contact us; we'd love to talk shop! In the meantime, check out how a Recruitment Audit can illuminate opportunities for your organization.
You may also want to read The Most Effective Recruitment Process in the Toughest Talent Marketplace: 5 Success Factors or How Many Reqs Should a Recruiter Carry? Finally…a Recruiter Workload Calculator.