It’s a safe bet that managers and project leaders everywhere keep lists of people they want to have on their teams – lists they can turn to whether they need someone for a temporary project or for a permanent slot. At the very least, they have their social media connections.
But companies that want the best employees must develop a talent ecosystem that extends beyond corporate boundaries. When a company’s workforce needs to shift rapidly, business leaders shouldn’t leave it to individual managers to identify the individuals they should try to hire. HR needs to step up by doing the following:
Keep in touch with alumni. Good employees often leave companies for reasons that have nothing to do with their performance: they find better opportunities or get laid off when business needs shift. After the exit interview, any relationship they have with their former employer usually depends on the personal connections they maintain. Companies that want to lure the best workers back need to make them welcome.
For example, Jeanne Meister, a former Accenture vice president, notes that Accenture maintains a robust alumni network, providing former employees with networking opportunities and information about the company, including current job and short-term contract openings. “If a bigger percentage of your workforce is going to be contingent workers, you should consider forming an alumni network for them,” she suggests.
Establish relationships with talent placement firms. They’re not just for filling temporary vacancies. While some companies may have internal pools of software developers who move from project to project, for example, a lot of that flexible work will likely be provided by contingent workers in the future. Companies can tap talent placement agencies to manage the assignment and reassignment of those workers and even assist with training them.
Dive into social media. Job seekers now target companies where they want to work by following them and their employees on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. They’re building relationships with people that they want to work with, until they know them well enough to send them a résumé. HR managers can get in on the action by using social media the way some big recruiters do: by analyzing publicly available social data to identify people whose activity suggests they might be interested in a new job.
Be a great place to work. At a recent meeting of technology executives, a chief technology officer (CTO) was asked how he was coping with the perceived shortage of IT talent. The CTO responded that he had no trouble finding workers because the company has a reputation as a top employer. Research from Gallup shows that workers are most engaged when they believe in the purpose of their work. They’re also more loyal when employers help them develop their skills and mentor them along a career path. According to Meister, who is also the cofounder of Future Workplace, it’s up to HR to cultivate and promote the company’s employer brand. That includes the company’s values, purpose, and opportunities for career growth.
The best workforces no longer come from within, nor do they come from whoever is available on the job market at any given moment. HR leaders need to remain constantly engaged with their workforce ecosystems to ensure that they have the right person for the job.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BUILD A MORE SUSTAINABLE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY, DOWNLOAD THE IN-DEPTH REPORT A NEW VISION FOR HR: THE WORKFORCE ECOSYSTEM AND THE Q&A HOW TO BUILD A MORE SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMPANIES AND EMPLOYEES.
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