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HR Connection: Holistic, strategic approach to securing quality talent

Rick Nangreave

Rick Nangreave

Some traditional leaders approach recruitment with a “post and hope” philosophy. This philosophy is not pro-active and it does not employ a strategy, which ultimately could result in a missed hire. Recruiting in this traditional sense it is not connected to a larger plan or purpose.

A talent acquisition strategy must be part of a holistic review and approach to Human Resources. It is important to understand the dilemmas facing the business and what Human Resources can do to support the business to achieve its goals and objectives. Here are some examples:

Business dilemma 1: Insufficient strategic partnership with business leaders to achieve defined business goals and objectives.

HR strategic remediation 1: Assess all levels of engagement, the client experience, HR employee engagement and competencies. HR needs to be viewed as a trusted advisor.

Business dilemma 2: Talent management strategy and initiatives are nonexistent.

HR strategic remediation 2: Create talent management strategy, framework, programs, measures, and tools that align HR to business outcomes.

Business dilemma 3: Talent shortages, rigid staffing models, excessive turnover.

HR strategic remediation 3: Analysis of workforce turnover, review of HR programs and policies, creation of employee development plans, implementation of a retention strategy.

Business dilemma 4: Lack of engagement.

HR strategic remediation 4: Ensure you have the right people in the right seats doing the right work. In other words, implement well-defined job descriptions, assure clarity amongst employees with regard to their roles and set clear expectations (what the organization expects from employees and what employees can expect from leadership).

A comprehensive talent acquisition strategy defines the purpose, vision, competencies and behaviors related to an exceptional hire. This foundational base will set the stage in achieving the talent objectives of today and tomorrow.

An integral component of the talent acquisition strategy is creating a talent mindset throughout the entire organization. To accomplish this, business leaders need to have the tools to effectively manage their human capital investment and measures must be put into place that are tracked and monitored.

A talent acquisition strategy has eight essential elements:

1. Core fundamentals

2. Workforce planning

3. Scouting talent (sourcing candidates)

4. Assessment and selection

5. Drafting talent (extending the offer)

6. Pre-boarding and onboarding

7. Technology

8. Measures and metrics

The core fundamentals of your talent acquisition strategy include well-defined policies, processes, a supporting structure and the right tools.

With workforce planning, it is imperative that you understand the company’s current and future talent requirements. Once fully understood, then the gap is measured and assessed and you begin to implement a process that will move your organization to its desired end-state.

To achieve the desired end-state, you will need to determine if the organization should hire, rent or grow its talent. If hiring or renting talent, you will have to assess what positions should be employed directly by the company, which positions should be outsourced, and what positions can be filled on a temporary basis. If you determine you can grow your talent pool, then you must determine by what method you are going to achieve this objective.

After completing the workforce planning assessment, you must focus on scouting candidates. You must put forth a scouting plan that will meet your current and future talent requirements. While using tried and true historical methods may work for today, ask yourself whether these methods assist in achieving your future desired end-state.

Scouting candidates from the Internet is a strategy that cannot be overlooked and you should take full advantage of this technique in meeting your organization’s staffing needs.

In addition to scouting talent, any world-class talent acquisition strategy has a well-defined process for assessing and selecting. The process must be efficient and effective from end-to-end. If not, your assessment and selection process may result in hiring an individual that is not the ideal candidate for the role.

You are better off leaving the position vacant than hiring someone for the sake of filling the position. If the latter approach is used, it ultimately costs the company more time and money than if the position was left open.

After scouting, assessing and selecting the right candidate for your vacant position you must then be able draft the candidate onto your team. In other words, “close the deal.” An effective talent acquisition consultant (recruiter) must have an innate ability to sell. Many do not readily see this as an essential attribute of a talent acquisition consultant. However, without it, the candidate you worked so hard to find may end up slipping through your fingers. 

When putting your offer together you must first determine what approach you are going to use. The two approaches that are commonly used are “first offer/best offer” or the art of negotiation. If using the “first offer/best offer” approach, it is imperative that your candidate understands the principles of this approach at the time you extend the offer. Whichever approach you use, you must ensure your offer is competitive for your market and industry and that it is internally equitable.

A successful onboarding program can greatly influence a new hire’s experience and success. To capitalize on the candidate’s experience, focus on pre-boarding activities and initiatives that support the onboarding experience. A truly successful onboarding program is grounded in pre-boarding work that is done prior to an individual even becoming a candidate.

Once the candidate is hired, be sure you have in place a well-written and detailed plan on how the applicant is going to be integrated into the company. When creating an onboarding plan, no task/initiative is too small or too big. Cover everything and engage the employee right out of the gate. You want to ensure your new hire feels and believes they are a welcomed member to your company and team.

Lastly, implement metrics that are meaningful and purposeful. Instead of measuring the traditional recruitment metrics (i.e., time-to-fill or cost-to-hire) consider measuring the applicant’s and hiring manager’s overall experience. At minimum, incorporate both aspects.

At the end of the day, regardless of what metrics you decide to implement, what you truly want to assess is whether or not your talent acquisition strategy is truly meeting the needs of your clients and the organization’s goals and objectives.

Rick Nangreave is a results-driven Human Resources professional and business partner to senior management and leadership executives at The Lifetime Healthcare Companies, Inc. (Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield). As an organizational leader of high performance with an entrepreneurial drive and vision, Rick has been able to implement a series of innovative Human Resources initiatives influencing organizational outcomes, with a strong aptitude for critical and analytical thinking, creative problem-solving techniques, interpersonal relations, mentoring, mediation, and verbal and written communications. This article is brought to you by the Rochester affiliate of the National HR Association, a local professional HR organization focused on advancing the career development, planning and leadership of HR professionals. Visit www.humanresources.org for more information.