Building a Talent Acquisition Strategy That Works
An effective talent acquisition strategy helps you stand out from everyone else clamoring for top talent. Companies that project their needs in advance and proactively scout the best talent are better positioned than companies that react to unanticipated needs and are unprepared for market challenges.
Building an effective talent acquisition strategy isn’t easy and can’t be implemented just once. After all, good strategy is a process that’s always in flux to match the demands of the market. An effective talent acquisition strategy has many facets and variables, regardless of the size or scope of the business.
What is Talent Acquisition?
Talent acquisition is a long-term strategic effort to seek out qualified candidates, cultivate relationships, and ultimately convince those candidates to bring their skills and expertise to your company.
Talent Acquisition vs. Recruiting
There’s a common misconception that talent acquisition and recruitment are the same thing – they are not and shouldn’t be confused. Talent acquisition focuses on long-term human resources planning and finding appropriate candidates for positions requiring a very specific skill set to help meet business goals and objectives.
Recruitment is a short-term, tactical process focused on filling a specific position or positions in order to address immediate needs. Both play important parts in the human resources process, but they are very different in terms of process design, time frames and objectives.
In What Instances Would a Talent Acquisition Strategy Plan be of Most Value?
Times passes and the mass Boomer Generation exodus from the workforce has begun. It’s been estimated that as of two years ago, 33% of the workforce, including 48% of supervisors, are or will shortly be eligible to retire. Those statistics really underscore how vital talent acquisition is becoming. Generation X and Millennial are the workers and future business leaders who will be in high demand, and effective talent acquisition strategies recognize the changing nature of the workforce and the marketplace.
Here are segments where talent acquisition strategies are of particular value:
Certain niche industries like technology, medicine, law, or financial management need a talent acquisition strategy to attract top talent with specific skills.
The more competition there is for top talent – and the more compensation and benefits other companies are offering – the more important the talent acquisition strategy becomes.
A company that is growing faster than normal should use a forward-thinking talent strategy to reduce time-to-fill as much as possible.
A talent acquisition strategy helps with executive succession planning and helps draw in leadership for complex markets, products, industries, or business areas.
Benefits of an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy
Talent acquisition is more than selecting a candidate from a pool of interviewees or a pile of unsolicited resumes. Talent acquisition is the process of seeking out the most qualified individuals, assessing their skills, determining where they would best fit in your organization, and ultimately convincing them to join your enterprise.
An effective talent acquisition strategy has many benefits, including creating a competitive advantage, adding value to the business, and positioning it for long-term success.
It is not an overnight process. It’s a long, slow build, but the payback can be substantial.
In its study, Talent Acquisition –Adapt your Strategy or Fail, the Aberdeen Group provides detailed information on the business necessity of talent acquisition. The rewards for the companies that get it ‘right’ are significant. Companies achieving ‘Best-in-Class Performance for Talent Acquisition’ experience, on average, 94% retention rate of first-year employees, 80% of employees receiving rankings of ‘exceeds performance’, and a 15% year-over-year improvement in hiring management satisfaction.
Here are four ways an effective talent acquisition strategy provides benefits:
A talent acquisition strategy is one way to reduce a company’s financial risk during the hiring process. Recruiting to fill a job vacancy often takes a lot of time and resource investment and can be expensive when the costs for job advertisements, resources in HR and management for the application process and interviews are taken into account. A talent acquisition strategy minimizes the risk of hiring the wrong person, and then having to restart the process.
Rather than having to initiate searches when unexpected needs arise, a talent acquisition strategy provides the means for an immediate response.
By aligning long-term staff planning with business strategy, a talent acquisition strategy provides a framework for identifying the best candidates for your needs and eliminates candidates who aren’t suitable.
Because talent acquisition is an ongoing process, it builds a storehouse of already vetted, qualified candidates. Best-in-Class strategies usually include efforts to identify and cultivate ‘passive candidates’ (i.e., currently employed and not looking for new employment) because those individuals possess skill sets and expertise that could be immediately transferrable to your organization.
How to Build an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy
Developing a talent acquisition strategy is complicated. It takes on many forms based on an organization’s culture, industry, location, business needs, and readily available talent.
Clearly Define Your Ideal Candidate
What are your needs and what are the employee skill sets you are seeking? Once you have defined your talent acquisition strategy, point out the areas where you need help, or you need fresh ideas. If you need help with employer branding and putting your best foot forward, set up regular meetings with your marketing team. If you need help analyzing data, set up meetings with a data guru.
Assess Current Hiring Process
An effective talent acquisition strategy always begins with an overall analysis of HR. Whether HR functions are performed in-house or are outsourced, effective talent acquisition relies on HR functions that are aligned to the overall business strategy.
Examine the hiring process that is currently in place. Create new ways to augment those practices. An often times overlooked, and underutilized source of information is your staff. In many cases, insight can be provided by the type of people you’re looking to hire. For example, if your talent acquisition strategy has an objective of hiring a top-tier electrical engineer, you should initiate conversations with high-performing electrical engineers you currently employ to understand what attracted them to your company and why they enjoy their jobs.
When you understand what your current high performers look for in their role, you are in a better position to offer targeted, high performing candidates what they really want.
Align Goals with Human Resources
Simply put, HR must recognize, define, and communicate the value of talent acquisition to all stakeholders, including current employees and potential candidates.
A complete understanding of the business and business strategy is essential. Many HR departments, however, are busy with day-to-day urgencies and communication with the business’s executives is limited. It’s therefore essential that company executives communicate the overall business objectives with the goals of the talent acquisition strategy. Then the HR function can incorporate that communication into its procedures and standards.
Examples of Talent Acquisition Strategies That Work
Good talent acquisition strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Here are two different ideas to consider for your strategy development. A talent acquisition strategy has many ‘moving parts’, but these are usually present.
Using Data to Improve Talent Acquisition
Effective talent acquisition relies on data-driven decisions throughout the process to determine how and why someone will be a good fit.
The use of data in HR is growing daily, and new tools are moving to measure long-term metrics like performance, retention, and overall fit. Armed with that data, HR professionals can predict future success at the company based on the qualities of past high performers – which adds insight and clarity to talent acquisition efforts.
Collaborating with Multiple Departments to Leverage Ideas
Collecting input from across your organization is vital because effective talent acquisition can never occur in a vacuum. For example, your marketing function could contribute by producing more engaging, focused print and digital recruiting materials that clarify your ‘brand’, increase market awareness and attract more candidates.
You can also work with accounting, analytics, or other data-focused departments to help you analyze your new trove of data. Work with them to understand how to pull actionable insights from your recruiting data.
This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.