The pressure is on for all of us in the recruiting world. Yes, the company is counting on you. That new product launch needs an experienced developer. The customer support team is adding people to hit that customer service satisfaction score. And the sales team—the open territory means a revenue gap. Finding those great candidates is essential, no matter how tough it is out there.
And it is tough. Unemployment rate is 3.5%. No matter the labor market, high-quality candidates, especially the strongest or those with popular skills, are in high demand. Connecting with these candidates has become more complex, requiring new ways to get their attention through the huge swirl tactics, including marketing automation, LinkedIn outreach, job boards, advertising and in-person networking. For some clients, we’ve tracked a 25-40% higher effort to fill roles this year compared to previous eras.
Hiring the right candidates requires more recruiting, more candidates and more processing than ever before.
As an HR team, you face a new world of recruiting and your business leaders need you to lead the way. That means it’s time for a fresh look at your talent acquisition approach—what’s working, what’s not, what new recruiting skills you need, and how technology fits in. In fact, the #1 first step for companies we work with is usually creating a modern hiring process for modern candidates.
How can we create a hiring solution that aligns with business strategy?
A talent acquisition strategy should be an enabler, supporting the company goals by finding the best people to make things happen. Too often, especially with all the daily demands, HR teams focus on the HR world and lose that important connection with what the company needs. And today, with the stiff competition for top talent, business leaders need HR to be in touch as a strategic partner that anticipates needs, offers advice, and leads the way in workforce development.
Talent acquisition strategy must align with business needs
To build an effective hiring solution, you need to connect to the strategy and examine what’s happening in all areas of the business. What are the company’s main goals over the next few years and what talent must be in place to support them? Is there a product rebuild planned that uses new technology and requires specific skills? Are any business areas going through a transition that changes the team profile? Will the company increase its use of big data, which means more employees with analytical skills?
A great starting point: talk with key stakeholders about needs for both today and tomorrow
Finance can offer a view into revenue targets, where growth is projected in product lines and divisions, and what recruiting investment offers the strongest impact on the business. In addition, since Finance approves budget needs, this conversation also offers education on hiring to facilitate future approval of recruiting budget dollars.
After gaining an understanding of the revenue picture, it’s time for a close look at how the revenue growth will occur from Sales & Marketing. A peek into product development plans will show the skills and type of talent to make growth happen. Then there are sales plans, including regional and national sales targets, and the talent needed to hit revenue goals. If there is expansion of distribution channels and locations planned, knowing the specifics will need to have a spot in your hiring plan.
Finally, there are the folks who build things, create the company infrastructure, and keep clients happy—Operations & Technology. Since positions in these areas often drive how fast a new product can be launched or implement important software to support a new company initiative, you’ll want to be familiar with planned investments and operational changes.
How to keep talent acquisition aligned with business needs (and changes)
In addition to these conversations, these steps will also ensure you adapt as organizational needs change throughout the year.
1. Get involved in strategic planning.
This often involves both the upcoming year as well as the next 1-3 years. You’ll discover shifts in business goals, the economic outlook, market trends, new product and service plans, and more.
2. Create a talent acquisition roadmap.
Recruiting today has become incredibly complicated so a roadmap is essential. The roadmap should support the business plan but also keep you ready for growth from hiring spikes to expansion of R&D, engineering or sales teams.
3. Know your talent markets.
Your team should be the “go to” resource for hiring managers, understanding where to find talent to fill organizational needs. That means proactive research on the labor analytics, talent supply, demand by region, demand by skills, and more.
4. Serve as a resources to the executive team.
As you engage in the strategic planning process, you’ll build credibility and gain the opportunity to help the senior team connect the strategy plan to a people plan.
5. Proactively provide data.
From sourcing data to hiring metrics, data plays a critical role in building a successful hiring solution. Share what you know in the planning stage and throughout the year.
6. Schedule quarterly meetings with leaders.
It’s important to stay in touch to monitor changing needs, communicate progress and ensure continued funding. Keep them up to speed on the latest learnings, trends from the hiring dashboard, new hire survey results, changing market conditions, and key hiring indicators.
Turn Detective Work into a Talent Acquisition Strategy
Once you do this detective work, you’ll have a wealth of information that can go into building a hiring solution that meets your company needs. Instead of last minute requests, a hiring forecast can be created to strengthen planning. You’ll gain the advantage of anticipating needs to plan for volume, timing and priority hires. Talent pipelines can be developed with more precision based on what you learn about current talent, strategic plans, and important programs. The result—a talent acquisition strategy that aligns to business goals, establishes HR credibility and earns a seat at the table.
With the strategy in place, the important next step begins of defining the best hiring solution for your situation. An audit of your current process, technology, and metrics mapped to the new strategy will highlight what’s working and where gaps exist. You’ll then need to explore how to close those gaps which can include building up skills on the internal team or partnering with someone like Advanced RPO, an experienced Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider. Due to the complexity of talent acquisition today, many companies are choosing to leverage partners who specialize in recruiting to ensure a leading edge, focused and measurable program.
Even with increasing recruiting pressure and a tough job market, it’s an exciting time for talent acquisition teams. You can truly make a difference with a recruiting strategy aligned to company goals … and earn your leadership stripes as a strategic player.
A company’s hiring processes and procedures play a significant role in its ability to attract and engage talent. Though typically unintentional, they are often set up in a way that prevents organizations from reaching their full recruiting potential. An internal recruitment scorecard becomes an indispensable tool.