Last time we saw this kind of battle for talent was in the late 90s with a hot economy put on steroids by Dot Com and Y2K. Our reaction at that time was to build out world-class externally facing Talent Acquisition functions to bring the war to the marketplace. High turnover was the norm and our answer was more external recruiting.
In 2019-20, the situation and opportunity are very different. We now have the technology and access to data that allows us to assess and recruit people from all possible sources of talent both externally and internally, in real-time. In other words, as people’s skills develop and they change jobs, we are able to monitor those developments as they unfold, as opposed to viewing their skills on a resume if we get one.
Smart companies are recognizing that one of the most important competitive elements is speed. External recruiting alone is slow and transactional. It simply takes too long to open a new recruiting requirement, find a candidate, and manage the interview process from beginning to end, which can ultimately take months.
By combining external recruiting with internal recruiting, you have an engine built to perform through every stage in the recruiting process.
This combination creates a Perpetual Pipeline and it is always turned on and ready to deliver candidates.
The holy grail for hiring managers is to always have deep bench strength at every level in the company plus, an equally deep pipeline of external candidates. Pivotal to that is the ability to grow people from within, through precise skills and competency gap analysis, and proactive training, as opposed to constantly going outside the market to fill those gaps.
What was done in the last war for talent will not work in this one. Unlike the 90s era of hidden away, dog-eared folders of resumes; everyone has access, in some form or another, to all possible candidates to fill a position. We have the opportunity to deploy next-gen technology platforms and processes to get to those candidates quickly and effectively and to stack rank them in real-time as the candidates acquire new skills and experiences. By leveraging technology and analytics we can combine the externally focused talent acquisition and internally focused employee-development functions into unified talent acquisition, development, and management function.
Companies that embrace a Perpetual Talent Pipeline model will create a center of gravity and employment brand that people will want to work for. This will reduce turnover, improve hiring performance, and reduce cycle time when companies need it the most.
Oh, and by the way, employees will love this.
Why does a great employee have to leave the company to get the promotion they deserve? How does that help the company?
A Perpetual Talent Pipeline model is employee engagement at its most effective. This is what employees want most – upward mobility, the opportunity to work on new and interesting projects, or to be recognized for learning new skills. If the employee knew that an internal talent manager was tracking their progress the same way the Talent Acquisition manager was prospecting in the open market, they would work hard to fill whatever knowledge or experience gaps that are required in order for them to move up. In a perfect world, they might even be able to look at the people they are being compared to.
The hiring manager could have a living, breathing pipeline of talent options, both internal and external, that are unified into one, 360-degree view of their talent. The same hiring manager would be on the pipeline themselves for their own internal mobility.
Conversely, and sorry for the tough love, bad hiring managers would be very quickly revealed. We already know that a bad boss is the #1 reason for turnover, even above the quality of the company. It is time to make managers compete for talent internally in the same fashion as they do externally. That will put the spotlight on management to create an environment that people want to work for.
It’s early, but progressive firms will be looking at this closely as they consider their 2020 HR budgets in the context of an ongoing “War for Talent” and the need for faster business cycles. The result of a well-executed Talent development and mobility strategy and supporting technology platform will include improved employee retention and satisfaction.
Satisfied employees that are growing professionally are less likely to leave the company. That enables a much needed competitive advantage for the company in an overheated talent market.
It’s time. The technology is ready. The TA function is ready. And the company needs this to compete.
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