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Does your talent pipeline have a leak that needs fixing?

Talent Pipeline

Posted by: guest_contributor

Business Strategy

Like an increasing number of managers or HR professionals, you might be discovering the growing importance of developing a truly watertight talent pipeline? And why it can positively impact the long-term future of your company and your workforce?

Why is a talent pipeline important?

A talent pipeline is a steady and consistent stream of candidates who are ready to fill an future open position. Essentially, developing a talent pipeline involves creating a database of interesting, relevant and qualified candidates who could be of benefit to upcoming hiring needs of a firm. Good relationship-building skills are essential for this approach.

It also means creating a process for attracting, identifying and developing employees and teams, as well as having an effective leadership succession plan in place.

By having a talent pool of potential employees, you’ll always have a bank of candidates to choose from or to contact should a vacancy arise. A firm that has to continually start the recruitment process from scratch will find that they waste time, money and talent. They could miss out on the best and most suitable candidates for a new opening.

Organisations often forget one important thing: That their talent pipeline should ideally encompass existing employees who are ready to progress and external candidates who are suitable for an open position. This ensures that your talent pipeline also supports the retention of your staff, the development of your employees and the creation of more effective managers.

Like many other professions, recruiters are under stress and burned out in the current economic climate. Not only are organizations struggling to compete for talent, they’re facing growing voids in their ability to source and select.

With this is mind, here are five ways to make sure your talent pipeline stays healthy:

1 – Act like a big name but be authentic

You may not have the budget or mass-market appeal of global firms like Coca-Cola or Mars. Use your niche and your company values to your advantage when you position yourself as a potential employer. And don’t wait for problems in your hiring process to arise before you act.

Be proactive.

Large companies advertise for talent in good and bad times. They plan ahead. They create profiles for potential future openings and continually search for the right people for that job.

In these firms, the role of human resource management teams is as vital for sustaining their market position as the production and marketing departments. By “thinking big” you attract candidates who think big too. But don’t pretend to be something or someone that you are not!

Harness the power of science and technology when you search for talent, and when you build and maintain your talent flow. Applied correctly and strategically, recruitment and selection tools are worth their salt. They support the creation of water-tight job profiling and compelling job descriptions. They also help with matching candidates’ core drives to a particular job to set them up for success.

2 – Everyone needs to be on the same page

For an organisation to maintain a pipeline of suitable and high calibre candidates, it is crucial that all levels of management are committed to the approach. The concept of creating a ‘talent pipeline’ needs to be taken seriously. Top level managers need to be aware of and to have bought into the importance of recruiting in this fashion.

At the same time, employees need to know what role they can play in the future of the organisation. Employee development and clear career pathing is crucial for any company. The fact that it can play a big role in increasing employee engagement and retention levels, should make it a strategic focal point.

3 – Taking stock

In order to best evaluate the talent that you have at your company, it is necessary to carry out an ‘inventory’ from time to time. This is normal practice in relation to your stock, but it also makes sense with respect to your employees. They are your biggest asset after all.

A company using talent management software should be able to run quick checks on the skill sets and base of their existing employees. Scientific data that allows you to reliably profile each person’s core drives and needs can be incredibly useful in order to understand what motivates the people around you.

Jobs change. You can also use these insights to check whether their job is still right for them. This knowledge can fuel your decisions around team building, and how to provide the best working conditions and development plan for each individual in your business. It helps to create happy employees with a clear career path.

The need to take stock does of course not only apply to existing employees but extends to your entire talent pipeline. It’s vital that the skill sets and workplace behaviours in your talent pool still match the future direction of the company.

Hiring teams should also have access to the employment history of their employees or potential candidates. Information on their professional background and an indication of whether they have been successful in that role is vital.

4 – Be SMART

Irrespective of which talent management process you choose, you need to be able to measure its success. This can mean choosing a SMART approach to creating a talent pipeline to keep your business stocked with great employees. That is one which is :

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timed

Including this elements in structuring of your talent acquisition and management process can make it easier to determine, if you are achieving the success you were hoping for.

It may be advisable to set an expectation for a certain number of good quality applications to come in from sources such as social media pages, employee forums or message boards, and even career sites over a particular period of time.

Keeping the organisational chart up-to-date, where key positions and the required attributes and characteristics needed to succeed in that role are clearly marked, will help to give your talent pipeline structure and purpose.

Setting targets for each stage of the talent acquisition and management process can help you to determine what works and what doesn’t. Online talent management software can support you immensely in keeping track of your talent potential and your goals, too.

5 – Always Engage

Your social networking platforms and company website provide ample opportunity to reach and stay in touch with prospective candidates. Creating a soulless database of potential candidates is not enough.

Continuous engagement and check-ins with potential candidates is key for your talent pipeline to remain healthy and to keep flowing. This will help to keep your employer brand front of mind for candidates within your talent pool as they feel recognised, valuable and connected.

Aim to keep your employees, and the potential candidates that you have connected with, excited about your business. Inform them about new business developments, new positions, potential opportunities and company news.

Hopefully, these five tips will help your business to retain a flow of good candidates and employees through your front door and keep your HR department on their toes at the same time. After all, a talent pipeline is generally understood to be an effective people-centric strategy to future-proof your organization.

What are your thoughts on the concept of a talent pipeline? What is your experience?