Is Your Best Talent Underfoot?

When we look at our big picture plans for our organizations, we often forget to plan for the types of employees we’re going to need, even when we’re being predictive about all sorts of other necessary resources. But with 36% of HR professionals naming recruiting as their biggest staffing issue, it’s clear the competition for top talent is hot. Let’s talk about the benefits of developing talent instead of sourcing it.

The Power of Interns
We’ve previously discussed how to attract interns who demonstrate initiative. Part of the reason for doing so is that nearly 50% of interns go on to become full-time hires. What if you looked at internships as the first step on a continuum to higher level positions?

Build a Talent Pipeline
Consider the alternative HR model referred to as “talent pipelining” (although comparing it to gardening or engineering might make more sense.) In this model, instead of reacting to a need that’s already imminent, you prepare for it. How? By focusing on cultivating the talent you need instead of recruiting people on the fly, as need arises.

There are a myriad of benefits to this model. First, you can assess new employees and immerse them in your organization’s culture from the beginning, before they’ve picked up bad habits or rigid mindsets. You can also see which employees fully embrace that culture—talent pipelining offers a much more thorough vetting process by the time hires become candidates for higher level positions. This offers an additional benefit: hiring for critical positions can be done much more quickly if an unexpected opening does arise.

Create Specific Talent Pools
While engaged in the process of developing your pipeline, look at the key positions within your organization, and drill down into the actual skills and competencies required to excel at those jobs. Once you know, you’ll be able to define multiple talent pools within the company, which in turn will help you focus trainings and other opportunities for specific groups of employees.

Stop Recruiting and Start Cultivating
The pipeline model makes recruiting a much more exciting and fulfilling job at your company, because instead of the stress that comes with trying to find the best candidate available at that moment, your recruiter will constantly be sourcing the best and brightest potential new hires, with an eye on their long-term future with the organization. They might find themselves networking with schools and related organizations to create a referral program, and with upward mobility hardwired into your HR practices, that program will only grow over time. In a pipeline system, recruiters are much more proactive players in your company’s long-term strategy.

Cultivating talent in this way isn’t just a different way of hiring, it’s a fundamental paradigm shift, and It offers the opportunity to innovate in HR, just as you innovate when it comes to your products or services.

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