Tag Archive for building a talent network

The Talent Tipping Point

I’ve never been a big fan of the talent community concept. I get the idea. It would be nice if jobs, careers and companies were interesting enough to support real communities. A real community in my opinion, enables everyone to be able to connect, communicate and set the agenda for conversation. Whilst there was a lot of talk by companies wanting a community, what most really wanted was a talent network. The talent network can be defined as up and down communication between the recruiters and potential candidates when the messaging is relevant. Companies like AT&T have done a great job of this by utilising technology like Findly, that enables a simple sign up and the segmentation of data.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the Talent Tipping Point, and what this might be for different organisations. What I mean by this is the number of connections an organisation needs to reach the point of having all the message points they need to fill all of their future hiring needs. This need not be in a formal way via an organised talent network, it might also include social media connections such as fans of the Facebook career page, followers on Twitter or a LinkedIn page. All of these data points are searchable, which simplifies segmenting data, matching to content and jobs, and relevant messaging.

When we consider all of the data points that might be open to recruiters:

1) Current employees for internal mobility. All of the source of hire reports indicate internal mobility and promotions as the number one source. When employee data is retained in the CRM for matching and access by recruiters without the need for permission, and employees are made aware of every relevant opportunity.

2) Ex-employees for boomerang hires. As attitudes are changing to rehiring, organisations are increasing their percentage of rehire’s. This provides another pool of data within the CRM for recruiters, and increased connections. Ex-employee data is valuable because past performance, conduct, skills and achievements are known.

3) Social referral data. Modern referral technology such as RolePoint, (Disclosure: I serve as the lead advisor to RolePoint), enable recruiters to match opted in employees social media and other connections with content and new opportunities. When we consider that the average employee will have 125 Facebook friends, and 240 LinkedIn connections, it is easy to see the potential of gaining access to this data, with the opportunity for matching and messaging.

4) Previous applicants. Consider the high volume of applicants who have shown an interest in the company in the past. When this data is organised for search and retrieval, (rather than simply storage), this provides a huge pool of qualified data of people, some of whom will have already been met and assessed. When the candidate experience has been a good one regardless of the outcome, there could well be an interest in reapplying for the right opportunity.

5) Friends, fans and followers. Individuals are increasingly connecting with companies via LinkedIn and other social pages, Fan pages, Twitter accounts etc. The numbers will increase, and whilst there may be some attrition in connections as people choose to disconnect, other branding activity will bring in new people. This will also include people who choose to sign up for a talent network to keep in touch, in the same way as they might follow a company page.

When we look at these five data sets and consider the volume and relevance of connections, it is easy to see the potential for reaching a Talent Tipping Point of all the connections you are ever likely to need for future recruiting. If we can identify this point, (including relevant skills), backed up with technology for accurate and timely data retrieval in real-time, analytics, data mapping for succession planning and workforce analytics, and relevant messaging, then the focus of the talent acquisition team takes on a new dimension. Hit the tipping point of connections (and you may already be there), and its all about maintenance of relationships and cleanliness of data over new talent attraction.

Exciting times!

Bill

Accelerating Talent Networks/Communities With Talent Maps #SocialRecruiting

Talent networks and talent communities take time to build. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot recently. One of the most interesting businesses I got to spend time with last year was Talent Works International, based out of Northampton, who have 9 offices across the globe. Talent Works are an evolution of a recruiting business, launched by I.T. recruiter Neil Purcell. Talent Works International are experts in the art of talent mapping, and it is talent mapping that I believe that might just be the accelerant needed in the talent network/community building process.

Talent mapping  means  identifying talent by company, job role or department and profiling them. Talent Works sit somewhere between researchers who name gather and recruiters who are looking to fill job roles with interested candidates. Theres quite a few benefits to taking this approach beyond hiring. You get real-time feedback on your employer brand, get to understand the real perception potential employees have about you as an employer (whatever that may be), and get to identify who to hire now, and who you might want to revisit at a later date.

Recruiting projects tend to be concerned with who you want to hire now. Who fits a job and who is interested in a particular opportunity at this moment in time. Understandably recruiters are largely transactional and concerned with the now. Pressure from clients or hiring managers mean they need to operate this way, with little time to look to longer term requirements. Talent mapping allows for a longer term view, a more comprehensive look at all the talent in the market, and to build relationships for the future. Talent mapping isn’t about list building or putting names in a database, it goes well beyond that. Profiling the talent identified, which can only be done by conversation and a relationship that goes well beyond the first approach, and it’s also not exclusive to social media or on-line research, with about 40% of talent choosing to exclude themselves from social channels. If it is an approach you are considering, I recommend you take a look at Talent Works. They also have offices in Miami, China, Israel, Holland and Romania, so they can take a global approach. 

Building effective talent networks or communities takes real-time. The Kevin Costner adage of “If you build it they will come.” doesn’t really apply.” I’ve heard Quezia Soares, the recruitment marketing manager of Accenture speaking, and explaining that they are not expecting a real return from their talent network for 3 years.(Quezia will be a track leader at #trulondon so expect more of this.)

The companies that are performing well in this area have all been active for a number of years. Networks, communities, followings all need to be built piece by piece by piece, tweet by tweet and post by post.Success and rewards are coming now, but it has taken time. The biggest lessons I’ve learnt from Oracle, and other projects is that the results aren’t instant, and in the first few months it can seem like you are wasting your time. You need perseverance and belief before the rewards come. There are exceptions to this rule, like the Hard Rock Florence story I have blogged about many times, but the exception came about because there were immediate hiring requirements and a strong employer brand.

I was discussing this problem with a client last week, putting together the plans to build a talent network. They understand that it’s going to take time to build a network that gives a significant return in hires, but they don’t have the time to build it. We need a plan that will speed things up, which lead us to discuss the sourcing and re-sourcing team, and how their role might change. The reality is that if you can make all the candidates who have applied to you in the past and are lost in your ATS searchable and accessible,then you have a good base to start a talent network. You can bring in an expert like Talent Works to do this for you, or consider how you might be able to structure your own team to do this.

One consideration in this area is how the sourcers roles might change. If you can map out the market, in terms of organisations you know employ talent with the same skill sets as you, and you map out the people you are already connected with in those organisations and roles, then you can identify where you have holes in the map. Once you know where the holes are, a good sourcer can go about the process of identifying the names to fill the gaps, creating a target list for conversations. Mapping should look internally in your organisation, as well as externally. Internal mobility is becoming increasingly important to organisations these days, and a talent map should cover and profile all the talent, including your own.

This takes the role of sourcer from finding talent for open requirements, to finding talent to build the network. Proactively using their talents and skills to recruit in to the talent network or community rather than in to open requisitions. Changing this focus (and targeting) I believe will accelerate the building of an effective network or community for the hiring organisation.  The role of the recruiter is focussed on always searching the network or community first. It is conceivable that if the sourcers are building have built the network or community to critical mass, there will be no need to look or advertise outside.

U.K. Sourcing expert Katharine Robinson aka: @TheSourceress will be leading a track at #trulondon on the role of the sourcer. Martin Lee of Talent Works International will be leading a track on the art of talent mapping. I’m expecting the part this pro-active approach to building talent networks or communities to play a part in the conversation. If your thinking talent networking or communities, then you need a plan for populating them, because if you build it, they won’t just come!

Bill

LINKS:

Talent Works International

Quezia Soares

Katharine Robinson

Martin Lee

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