What is your Talent Strategy?

By Rick Cassidy

In the early stages of a company, finding the ideal talent to grow your team can seem like an uphill task. According to a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review, the amount of input a highly talented person can provide, compared to an average performer, is more than 400 percent. A talented person’s sense of belonging in the organization is what compels their dedication to their duties. It explains why high performers think and act proactively to fulfill the organization’s objectives.

If your organization is struggling with finding top talent, you are not alone. In todays fast paced world economy where business cycle times continue at an ongoing fast pace, and technology continued to enhance business process and performance, you need to adopt some form of a Talent Strategy to stay competitive and ahead of the competition.

Attracting and nurturing talent

Finding talent used to be a cumbersome process that required companies to carry out a recruitment process without technological inputs. Today, they can use social networks and internet sourcing tools, which means getting talent with skills they are seeking can be done with the click of a button. For this reason, the world has become a global village and people are becoming more accessible.

As much as new technologies make it easier to identify and recruit talent, the dynamic setting of the social media landscape makes it a complex task. Applicants are now segmented across the internet. Professional recruiters need the skills of a salesperson, a computer geek, and a detective. Consequently, they need to use a multi-channel sourcing and talent attraction approach to meet their goals.

One word of caution when accessing the abundance of talent on social media sites – typically, candidates who post their resumes, bio’s, skills and background on social media sites tend to be active talent. While this is convenient for companies to find potential talent, our experience is the best talent is not even looking for a new position or career, they are passive talent and often are much harder to access. (Look for a future article on recruiting and sourcing passive talent).

The importance of a proactive talent strategy

Exceptional companies already understand the need for a strategic search for talent. They are aware of the need to nurture potential applicants, so they are prepared whenever vacancies come up. Since 90 percent of all experts around the world keep applying for new jobs, it is important for companies to adopt proactive measures for the following reasons:

Save time in active sourcing

Proactive companies predict the future to beat the competition. They narrow their search to the ideal candidate profile. This gives them enough time to come up with a plan on how to attract and recruit talent.

Tactically interview the right personnel

Even if companies recruit talented people, they might not benefit if those people are not a good fit for the organization’s culture and goals. During the recruitment process, proactive recruiters get inside applicants’ personalities to understand whether they will stand the test of time. Companies can achieve this by examining applicants before the recruitment process comes to a close.

Filter poor cultural fits

The most successful executive recruiting firms and the most successful companies understand the critical importance of culture fit as a fundamental prerequisite for recruiting success. This is an important topic worthy of a full article on its own. The key point here is in the initial screening phase is that you understand the values of the candidate. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. One great question is to ask a candidate: List the 3-most important values to you in descending order. These should be evaluated against the values of the company – if there is any misalignment this should be a red flag.

Guaranteed employee retention rates

The proactive approach not only works to fill open vacancies; it also allows employees to understand the consequences of their decisions once they have accepted the offer. This approach means new employees have enough time to learn about the cultures of the company to ensure they fit into it.

What exceptional companies do to stay ahead?

Giant companies have enough machinery to understand their upcoming openings and already utilized talent. By understanding their workforce better, they can approach talent management as a whole and proactively. How do they do that? Here are three things they have adopted:

Evaluate the type of workforce required for their organizations

Before the recruitment process, the talent search team will evaluate the needs of the organization and create a job description. A well written job description is critical to attract top talent. They should include, at a minimum: title, position overview, major responsibilities of the position with performance and minimum production standards for each major responsibility, finally each of the major responsibilities should be weighted on their highest importance to lowest in order to give the employee or candidate in the interviewing process a true understanding of what the job looks like when it’s performed both at and above expectations. If they skip this step, then the delay between finding the missing skill set and attracting talent can be harmful to the organization. It is difficult to predict the future, but proactive companies do attempt to look ahead to fill vacancies proactively. They are always a step ahead, acting as soon as possible to meet sudden changes, such as if an employee retires or decides to quit at short notice. They evaluate how their company is doing with regards to objectives, market drifts, and the staff demographic structure to understand what the future holds for them.

Evaluate the current workforce

Once they have understood their needs, recruiters must evaluate the current workforce. They already have sitting employees who will either be promoted or demoted depending on their job performances. By having a solid background for their talent base, including expertise goals, input potential, and the zeal to acquire new skills, they will have an easier time recruiting from their current workforce. Companies who use the discipline of TopGrading have often found formulas for successful talent management that aligns with recruiting needs.

Recognize existing skill sets and training opportunities

These companies have already identified their strongest assets: people who can fill specific vacancies. They have evaluated the skill sets possessed by their current workforce and the ones they can learn to bear the workload. Junior employees who are likely to get promoted will receive training on how to be leaders, while the rest can go for regular training to buff up their skills. The best of the best companies deploys a full Talent Management process and program. These take time and a significant investment from the board of directors and executive leadership team. (Look for more on this in a future article)

Exceptional companies have five things in common:

Solid leadership

They understand that leadership starts at the top; hence they find value in attracting and nurturing the ideal people with passion and expertise.

Deliberate structure

To achieve a high-level performance, it is mandatory to create a planned structure. This explains why proactive companies adopt strategies such as wise decision making, accountability, and skilled performances in their objectives. They have institutionalized a formal strategic planning discipline and process that is aligned with their markets needs and their operating plans that cascade down and across business departments, functions and teams. They regularly evaluate performance against these plans and benchmarks.

Perceiving people as assets

Searching for the right talent should be an organization’s priority. They have a solid partnership with their employees since they are valuable assets to the company. We’ve found that companies that put taking care of their people first, allows the employees to take care of the customers who in turn take care of the company. If this sounds simplistic, it is, and it should be.

Evolutionary management

They understand the dynamic scenario of technology. For this reason, they take proactive steps to create positive changes in employees to meet the current corporate demands. The understand the value of talent management and building talent benches for future leadership of the organization and career development for their top performers.

Positive work culture

These companies understand the impact culture has on leadership, objectives, and priorities. That is why they build talents, foster engagement and improve individual efficiency.

Proactive talent strategy is a familiar concept that most thriving companies have adopted to stay in shape. Not only does it save on the time required to hire and fire; it also instills a sense of belonging for employees who already understand the company’s culture and values.

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About Sky Search Partners

Rick Cassidy, Sky Search Partners president, founded the firm for one primary reason: We love putting people to work. Sky Search Partners has developed a rigorous platform for engaging, researching, and connecting with the most successful executive talent. The firm executes with a laser focus on to identify candidates precisely aligned to search specifications. A proven formula of integrity and “people first” enables it to build trusted relationships with organizations and top-tier talent across key disciplines, job titles, national markets, and industry classes. This enables client organizations to create their “dream team,” especially in highly competitive environments where results are imperative.

Listen Now to Talent Talk Radio Show

Listen now to Sky Search Partners President, Rick Cassidy, as he talks about finding the right talent for new consumer-centric strategies in healthcare.

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