Is Your Company Missing the Boat By Not Having a Thriving Talent Community?

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By Mark A. Leon

The term “Talent Community” has been defined, interpreted, misunderstood and speculated on for decades.  Year after year, talent acquisition leaders and business executives all agree that building and harnessing talent networks is the key to corporate growth and maturity.  So why then do so few have them and many that do don’t execute properly?

There are many reasons.  Let us highlight a few.

  1. “I need to hire now.  A Talent Community is not going to get me bodies in these seats.” You have heard the immediacy argument.  There is validity.  A successful talent community is a long-term relationship driven initiative.  It must be planned with proper design, executed with a multi-tier launch and harnessed with a strong communication platform strategy.
  2. “I have a Facebook and LinkedIN Page. Isn’t that a Talent Community?”  Yes and no.  A talent community is made up of individuals with common interests or goals.  People that follow your social communities are in fact part of a talent community.  Here is where that logic falls apart.  First, you don’t own the platform.  At any given time, Facebook or LinkedIN can drop your group.  Second, you cannot parse the talent based on skill, geography or level of experience thus making it a challenge to send targeted communications to specific pockets of talent.
  3. Who manages it? This part may be the trickiest of all the concerns around talent communities.  For this to succeed, this must be a partnership between Talent Acquisition and Marketing/Communications.  Recruitment understands the forecast and needs of the human capital and marketing/communications have the knowledge expertise to provide the communication content.  Without both parties working together, your company cannot launch and manage a strong talent community.
  4. What type of content do I provide and how often? This is different for every company, but here are a few recommendations that may help.
    1. Keep the content relevant to your audience, engaging and relatable.
    2. Focus on key opportunities, associate profiles, success stories and culture.
    3. Don’t overwhelm your community. Only provide 3 – 5 communications annually.
    4. Design the communication to look attractive, professional and enticing (Newsletter formats work very well).
  5. How do I grow my talent community? This will take time, but during the design phase you should consider rolling out a three-tier option for people to register and ensure you do periodic reminders with email campaigns, social sharing and candidate interaction. Throughout the years and beyond.
    1. Provide a registration button on your career site – Often, candidates do not know which job to apply for or they just aren’t ready, so the talent community is the next best option.
    2. Team based social share. Get the recruitment team, business leaders and hiring managers to do a big push on their networks to enhance visibility of the new community.
    3. Direct competitor pipeline. Do lead generation and invite those that are the closest fit to your skills and culture to join and learn more about who you are.

We hope this clears up some common misconceptions and provides valuable tips to take back to your leadership.

At the end of the day, we all want to belong.  Networks have been around since bowling leagues and will continue into the digital age.  They are all around and if companies do not realize the importance of the future talent, they will lose their edge.

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