As of late, hiring the best candidate is turning into more than just a matter of finding the right fit. In fact, more and more employers are beginning to understand that identifying the right recruitment strategy could be a tool to help them achieve their organisational goals. However, in order to deliver employees that are highly skilled and talented, it’s important for hiring managers to look past current needs to future possibilities and develop a holistic approach to recruiting, and this is precisely what talent acquisition is all about.
What Is Talent Acquisition?
Talent acquisition is the process by which organisations identify and attract top talent in order to cover current and future labour needs within an organisation.
Traditionally, recruitment was seen as a standalone process that would help companies hire professionals from time to time. So, unless someone was leaving, being promoted or a new position was presented, companies were not looking at potential employees and what professionals in the labour market could offer to the organisation.
This, however, is beginning to change for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that organisations are now more concerned with their brand and the impact it creates to both customers and potential candidates. Second is the fact that employers have begun valuing more skilled employees as they know that they could make or break their organisation. At the same time, employers are now also realising that a great team could help them beat their competition.
As such, TA is becoming an extremely important all-inclusive function which allows organisations to cover their staffing needs while ensuring that their goals are met. As a function, it falls under talent management, although in many companies talent management is merely an HR responsibility. However, investing in talent management and talent acquisition could help generate better results faster.
The Difference between Recruitment and Talent Acquisition
As TA is a new function, many organisations have incorporated it in their HR department. However, it’s important to make a clear distinction between recruitment and TA as the two follow different processes and strategies.
The main difference between recruitment and talent acquisition is that recruitment is only concerned with the now, while TA is concerned with the tomorrow.
Recruitment is a process that stems from an organisation’ staffing needs and it’s, therefore, usually a pressing process as hiring managers are pushed to fill each vacant position within a pre-set timeframe. Inevitably, this can often lead to mistakes which, in turn, can lead to turnover and more costs.
Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is a process that is not time-constraint. This means that a TA professional has more time to invest in quality strategies, understand the data and create a process that can lead to successful hires.
Challenges in TA
Unfortunately, not everything is rosy in the TA world, and there are still many challenges that need to be overcome.
Complexities in implementing strategies have a lot to do with the fact that keeping up with market trends which are imposed by technological advancements is becoming more and more difficult.
What’s more, as many organisations are yet to build talent management teams, TA professionals are often responsible for duties that vary. This makes the function very fragmented and creates inefficiency.
The Talent Acquisition Process
An effective TA process allows proactive action to be taken in order to cover future staffing needs. What’s more, it ensures that there’s always a Plan B in emergency situations. So, say for example that the company’s CEO quits or needs to be fired; with an effective TA process in hand, there will always be someone ready to take over.
Essentially, a process helps plan for the future to ensure that staffing matters will never intervene with the company’s ability to meet its goals.
Below you’ll find the five steps that are necessary to implement a successful talent acquisition process.
Step 1 – Identify the Skills Required: In the TA framework, this means that you need to understand what skills are required for the organisation to meet its business goals. Is the company planning to expand in a new territory, for example? Listing the skills that will be required will help prevent delays, while it will also ensure qualified staff will be ready to take on the responsibilities required.
Step 2 – Analyse the Company’s Skills Gap: This step essentially helps you identify if there’s anything that is keeping the organisation back or if there is something that could potentially intervene with future plans. Questions to ask include: What skills are existing personnel lacking? Could they develop them with training and continuing education or will needs be covered externally?
Step 3 – Create a Succession Management Plan: This is an all-important step in talent acquisition which will allow you to prepare for future staffing needs, while it will also allow you to develop a clear succession plan for employees.
Step 4 – Plan for Turnover: Essentially, this is taking proactive steps to reduce turnover effects and to help you quickly replace staff. It also helps you get a better understanding of which employees are committed to the company and which aren’t.
Step 5 – Determine Recruitment Needs: These should reflect your succession management plan and they should also include the actions that need to be taken in order to cover those needs (ie: sources you can recruit from, etc).
Talent Acquisition Strategies
TA strategies include actions to be taken in order to enhance the effectiveness of identifying and attracting top talent. Essentially, when followed, these strategies can help organisations make smart decisions and they are, therefore, not merely different ways to source talent but rather have to do with ensuring goals will be met.
1. Ensure TA Aligns with Business Goals
As discussed earlier, the first step you need to take for an effective TA process is to understand what the company’s goals are. This will help you develop a strategy around those goals which can be essential in allowing the company to meet those goals.
It’s important to go deeper than the company mission and its vision; talk to the CEO, stakeholders, managers and owners, and find out what their strategic vision is and what steps they expect to take to achieve those goals.
The closest TA is aligned to business goals the more chances it has of being successful.
2. Improve Employer Branding
Employer branding is responsible for creating company reputation and, as such, needs to be tended to. A great employer brand can help attract candidates, especially passive candidates who are not looking to change jobs, but who will also be inevitably flattered if a reputable company makes them an offer. It also helps reduce recruitment costs as it essentially does all the advertising for you 24/7.
To improve employer brand, you need to promote company culture and values. If employees love coming to work every day and you’ve invested in making them happy, there’s no reason not to use this to your advantage.
3. Use Metrics and Analytics
There’s an increased focus on data and numbers across all industries as professionals are beginning to understand their power. Metrics and analytics can help shape more effective strategies, uncover gaps, as well as identify weak spots which will allow you to take proactive action.
Talent acquisition is becoming a master of its own domain as employers are beginning to recognise its positive effects. There’s still a lot to be learned about this powerful, people-centric approach to recruiting, but what is certain is that, with its help, organisations can turn into forces to be reckoned with. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes the best candidates are already within the organisation, and helping them develop their skills is the most effective strategy.
Do you use talent acquisition strategies? Let me know in the comment section below!