The CHRO in Akhil’s new start-up just put down his papers because he wanted to pursue a better career opportunity. Akhil has never thought something like this could happen. He is now in a soup. He has no idea how to hire for the role quickly when his business is at a critical juncture.
In Rita’s new venture, the CTO has put down her papers because she wanted to go on a career break. Rita has been smart and she understood the importance of building a talent pipeline. She has been making an active network of talents, and so she could immediately send out offers to suitable candidates in no time.
The above two scenarios briefly highlight why building a talent pipeline is essential in a young company. People are critical to any business growth. Companies that are proactive in their hiring approaches are always a step ahead of their competition who works on a reactive hiring method. However, it doesn’t end there with an active hiring strategy. Organizations and hiring managers need to continuously focus on nurturing their employees through different training methods to make their talents future-ready. This article will focus on some of the best practices for talent building in a young company
You shouldn't be hiring to fill a gap in the company, but you should have a long-term vision - what skill sets you to want to have in your company so that your hiring strategy is aligned with the future goal strategy.
Why is talent building important?
Before we understand how to build a talent pipeline, let’s know why it is essential to make it.
Identify the right candidate: When your hiring is reactive, you often end up with a wrong hire because your focus is to fill the gap immediately. But when your hiring is proactive, you have a talent pool build-up already. You get more time to scrutinize their talent and understand if they would align with your organisational culture.
Higher retention rate: When candidates are not rushed in to fill in a vacant position, the prospective employees get to know your organization better and make an informed decision. When you hire the right candidate, the retention rate is much better, which improves the company’s bottom line.
Build your employer brand: When you build a talent pipeline, you are reaching out to prospective candidates proactively. This helps to make a strong employer brand. People know you as a trusted career partner, and when they look out for jobs, they will consider joining your organization.
Engage with passive candidates: Passive candidates are candidates who already have a job and are satisfied with it, so that they don’t look actively for a job change. If you want to hire the best talent, then you should engage with the passive candidates effectively. When it is the right time, offer them a role that is just right for them. If you want to build a talent pipeline for your company, you cannot ignore engaging with the passive candidates.
Improve diversity: Building a talent pipeline ensures that you have a diverse team across the organization where each employee is different from one another. Having a diverse team is essential to bring fresh and new perspectives to the organization.
Best practices for talent building in a young company
Determine the present need
If you’re a young organization, the first step is to identify and analyse critical roles. Once you identify them, work towards building the talent pipeline for the future.
What is your candidate persona?
A candidate persona is the ideal qualities that you want to see in your employees. For example, do you want your employees to be customer-friendly or aggressive? Do you want them to be good at working in teams with good leadership qualities? All these together make a candidate persona. Know your candidate persona and then work on your training methods and recruitment strategies to hire candidates who match your candidate persona closely.
Building the candidate persona
So, you know that it is essential to know your candidate persona to build the talent pipeline. But how do you know what would be the right candidate persona for your organization? The candidate persona should be based on data, research, survey, and data analysis and not on your assumption. Start by asking your existing employees – what they like about the organization, what they do not like, their career goals, and what aspires them to come to work every day. Compliment your findings by interviewing the hiring managers – what kind of candidates do they like to have in their team. Now combine the results, and you have your candidate persona.
Know the watering holes
Once you have your candidate persona, find out where they spend time online? Tap these channels to engage with your ideal candidates. A good idea is to explore how the existing candidates found out about your company. Which social media channel gets you the most traction?
Determine the future needs
As we mentioned, a proactive hiring strategy is not enough. You need to determine your future needs too. Where do you want to see your organization in the next five years? What resources you have, and how you want to nurture them to make your employees future-ready? Once you have analysed these questions, work towards developing suitable training methods to train your employees.
Best ways to fill the gap
While hiring external candidates is always an option; training your internal employees to fill the gap is a great way to nurture and engage employees. This way, you create internal job roles, put your employees on job rotations for better exposure, and fill up the gaps internally.
Build a pool of resources with internal candidates
Assign your internal employees to specific talent pools, develop them by encouraging them to go through different training methods, and get them ready for future leadership roles.
Build a pool of external resources
Work on your external talent pool simultaneously. Keep a database ready for external resources according to their skills, competencies, and talent profiles so that you can visit the database at a later date when the need arises.
Roles of managers in building a talent pipeline
Great managers are defined by critical attributes like leadership quality, being in charge, and excellent performance history. But they have another vital attribute that is often underrated: talent management. Great managers are visionary and can identify talents before anyone else does, transform them by nurturing their potential, and build a successful team’s future resources. However, it is easier said than done. Managers need to overcome their age-old hiring prejudice to become top talent agents. What managers need to focus on:
Think beyond. Think ahead.
You should be ‘playing like the ace cricketer Rahul Dravid when hiring your talent. Most managers hire prospective candidates to get their immediate job done. Remember, if you need to build a future talent pipeline, you need to think beyond and gauge if the candidate has the potential and skills to align with your long-term strategies. Not all candidates will stick around, so hire with your long-term focus in mind. Ask yourself your talent strategy for the next five years when asking your candidates where the candidates want to see themselves in the next five years.
Identify and focus on the right trait.
The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of today’s jobs will be obsolete in the next 15 years. So, as a hiring manager, you cannot focus too much on experience, hard skills, and a candidate’s resume, although most hiring decisions are made on these factors. Hiring managers must focus more on learnability, emotional intelligence, drive, and soft skills that are fundamental to learning and acquiring new skills.
Take a data-driven approach.
Making a wrong decision is human nature, hiring managers are no different. Hence, your approach should be data-driven as much as possible. When you hire someone, set out definite performance matrices so that you can measure your hiring decision.
Be inclusive in your selection.
“The engine of progress is changing.” Hire people who are different from you, who challenge the status quo and bring a fresh perspective to the team. When you embrace people for their differences and not because they follow your suit, your hiring decision will be unbiased. As a result, you will be building a team that is diverse and inclusive.
Don’t just build. Manage your talent effectively.
As a hiring manager, your job doesn’t end with just hiring the right talent. You need to nurture them and manage them effectively too. Start with a solid recruitment strategy, hire the right talent, and work continuously to learn, train, and develop. Try out different training methods to see which works best for your organization. Take care of employee performance management, and finally work towards succession planning.
A Case Study: How Black Rock built a game-changing talent strategy post the 2008 recession.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, rewrote the playbook in financial services when its peers were stumbling from the 2008 recession aftermath. What was interesting to observe was, BlackRock focused on delivering high performance. Four principles guide the firm’s 11,000+ employees.
Fiduciaries to its clients
Be “One BlackRock.”
Among several strategies that BlackRock adopted, their game-changing talent strategy was something to take a note of. Putting the right talent in the right roles at the right time is one of the differentiators that worked for BlackRock.
If you have an innovative business model, you need to have the best talent building strategy to source top talents to the organizations. Here are some pointers to get you started:
Establishing a high-performance culture
Along with taking care of the employee engagement processes, the leaders at BlackRock focus on raising their performance standards. For example, high performing employees are identified, and high potential talents are promoted to maintain the high-performance culture.
Leadership behaviour prioritization
BlackRock protects and promotes its leaderships not just based on their performance and technical skills but also on how well they live by and promote the company’s four guiding principles. This standpoint of the company has helped BlackRock to drive a high-performance culture and build a team that stands as “One BlackRock.”
The leaders of BlackRock have long realized the need for different training methods to nurture and develop their employees. ‘Managing at BlackRock’ is one such program that enables managers to be more effective drivers or high performances, coaches, and delegators. As they climb up the corporate ladder, they can reap benefits from different programs like Influencing for Results, Enterprise Leadership, Driving Performance Through Teams, etc.
Regular talent reviews
Regular talent reviews ensure that performing employees are identified and promoted. This ensures the high-performance culture is maintained at all times within the organization.
The talent review process is a critical step in succession planning at BlackRock. Who moves to the next order in the hierarchy is wholly based on the results of talent reviews.
Be global, but be relevant locally
Finally, build your talent pipeline locally, even if you’re a global company. To grow and succeed as an organization, it is essential to identify, develop, engage, and retain talents locally. There is not much relevance to move expats in and out of their local countries in today’s world. Offer them leadership roles in their home countries, and they will soar high.
Over to You
To grow as a young company, it is essential to consider building your talent pipeline strategically. Hiring should align with your overall organization growth plan and not just as a stop-gap to fill crucial roles. Finally, employees should continuously be nurtured, engaged at work, and subject to various training methods to help you build a talent pipeline aligned with the overall organizational goal.