Feel like you’re on the recruitment treadmill? Finding it a challenge to find the right people who are the right ‘fit’ for your business, at the right time? Then you’re not alone, but with some simple structures and processes in place, you can transform the reactive way you find new talent and who knows… the right kind of candidates may even come knocking!
What is a talent pipeline?
Having a ‘talent pipeline’ means attracting and cultivating interest with a constant inflow or ‘pool’ of potential candidates with the right mix of skills and attributes, in order to more effectively fill a need for talent or skills in your business as and when it arises.
Why build a talent pipeline?
Whether you need a position filled now or in the future, with a successful talent pipeline you are more likely to have the right person available to fill a need at the right time.
Sounds like a lot of work – what is the alternative? Many businesses are reactive when it comes to attracting and sourcing talent and focus their resources on traditional candidate sourcing strategies like advertising via online job boards like SEEK and Trade Me. A reactive approach becomes particularly problematic in a ‘candidate short’ skills area.
Does this sound like your business? A resignation or promotion leaves a role to fill, or sign off is finally given to an already stretched team to increase their headcount, and it is often at this point that the wait for ‘talent’ is only just beginning. The likely ‘lag time’ is at least 6 to 12 weeks (and more like 12 if a candidate has a notice period) between placing an advertisement and your new employee’s first day in your business. Add to this the time it takes for your new employee to become fully competent in performing their new role, and you’ve now got some serious reasons for looking at a more strategic and proactive approach to talent sourcing.
What is the downside? Your business has been operating without key skills / expertise or has been ‘borrowing’ from other areas to cover the skills gap – you may be losing your competitive edge with the loss of efficiency and potential loss of business and there may be pressure placed on those team members picking up the slack in the meantime, which could in turn affect morale and productivity… and so the spiral could continue….
So why not plan ahead for skills gaps that may arise? You may not need a position to be filled at this very moment, but to avoid the costs to your business of a lengthy wait for the right talent, a mix of Workforce Planning and Succession Planning will ensure you identify key critical roles to your business and where future gaps could arise. By building a talent pipeline, you can then work on attracting and sourcing candidates – either from within your business or externally – who could take over as soon as any critical skills gaps arise.
How do you attract and develop a talent pool? Further to attracting candidates and creating interest amongst your ‘talent pool’ with strategies such as having a strong Employer Brand, a key part of building a successful talent pipeline is then to be able to identify the right talent – those candidates with the right mix of skills and attributes who will enhance your business. By establishing a relationship with these candidates, you are in the best position to be able to make the right match at the right time.
Considerations when building a successful talent pipeline
- How to identify critical positions and the competencies they require
- How to identify which employees have the right competencies, past experiences, and aspirations to fill key positions and how to keep this information current
- How to efficiently identify people in candidate pools who have the right competencies and past experiences to fill key positions
- The most effective candidate sources to obtain key skills
- How to keep the business’s employer brand top-of-mind with candidates who can help fill key roles
- Weighing up the benefits of sourcing the right talent from the existing employee base or from external candidate pools
- Ensuring the right assessment tools are in place for external candidates and internal employees that will reliably identify the best people for key positions
- Defining and implementing Career Development programmes that will prepare employees to step into critical roles
What does an effective talent pipeline structure look like?
Effective talent pipelines ensure a flow of the right talent for skills gaps over time, and can be built by:
- Identifying gaps and understanding what talent will be needed in future by undertaking Workforce Planning
- Assessing internal talent pools as part of the Performance Appraisal and Career Development process and how this talent pool will potentially develop over time by undertaking Succession Planning
- Assessing external talent pools and developing a strong Employer Brand within this community that forms part of Recruitment strategy
- Assess the gap between what is needed and what is available
- Determine the best strategies for retaining, developing and acquiring the talent to fill those gaps by focusing on Rewards and Recognition and Recruitment strategies
- Continually executing, monitoring and refining talent pipeline strategies