Why Is Talent Acquisition Important

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Why Is Talent Acquisition Important

75-77% of employers are struggling to fill job vacancies (according to Manpower Group). That means potentially 4 out of 5 people who are reading this are frustrated- struggling to find relevant talent for your open roles. If you're the one who isn't, you're lucky.

In a labor market that is more competitive than ever, organizations around the world report workforce shortages between 71% and 85%- a staggering statistic. I don't mention this to discourage you, or belabor a point- I'm bringing this up to let you know that if you're struggling to find and hire great talent, it's not your fault, and you're not alone.

What is Talent Acquisition and Why is it Important to Your Organization?

Talent acquisition is the process of identifying, attracting, and acquiring top talent for an organization. It is a critical aspect of human resource management (HRM) as it plays a critical role in building and maintaining a high-performing workforce.

But why is talent acquisition important? The answer to this question lies in the fact that businesses are only as successful as their employees- and can only produce to the level of their "weakest link." Now, we don't like to view people as "weak links" but the reality of a team is that they can only produce as much as the least productive member.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric used the famed "Vitality Curve" when it came to managing employees. He believed that 20% of employees were top performers, 70% were average and 10% were underperforming- and the bottom 10% was cut from the company every year to motivate the others. Now, we're not suggesting that near-barbaric firing practices like this are good for the company's morale, nor are they good for suppliers, vendors, or even customers for that matter- but the Pareto principle generally holds true in hiring as it does every other area - the top 20% generate outsized results.

So how do you hire ONLY the top 20%? How do you ensure that your organization is filled with high-performing individuals who are dedicated, talented, and aligned with your company's vision? That's the role of talent acquisition and what we're going to talk about in this article.

Talent Acquisition Versus Recruitment

Now some of you may have heard talent acquisition strategy and recruitment used interchangeably. This is actually a misconception, as there are distinct differences between the two.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment

Recruitment is typically seen as a reactive approach to filling immediate job vacancies, while talent acquisition takes a more proactive approach to attracting and acquiring top talent for an organization. In other words, recruitment is filling currently open roles and talent acquisition strategy is the planning of company growth to achieve optimal results.

To add further comparison, Recruitment often relies on traditional methods such as job postings and job fairs, while talent acquisition involves elevating the company brand profile and building networks and relationships with potential candidates through various channels such as social media, networking events, and employee referrals.

That said, both recruitment and talent acquisition are necessary components of an effective hiring strategy.

Implementing a Talent Acquisition Strategy:

Before an effective talent acquisition strategy is implemented it must be built. This means creating an ecosystem that attracts the "top 20%" candidates who will drive the organization forward. The core aspects of such a strategy include a clear understanding of your company's current and future goals and needs, a compelling employer brand, a focus on candidate experience, and the use of data-driven decision-making tools like interview intelligence software.

First, align your talent acquisition efforts with your company's strategic objectives - breaking down your company goals, and metrics quarter-by-quarter if possible. This will allow you to "get granular" with your hiring strategy and understand the skills, experience, and qualities that your top performers must possess. Once you've done this you can use these metrics to create profiles with the necessary skills and experience that your candidates must possess - make sure to include the culture of your team here or you'll end up putting the wrong people into the wrong place.

Next, you must build an attractive brand. Top brands like Lilly, Tesla, SpaceX, Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), Goldman Sachs, and others don't have to fight for talent, they attract it. This means showcasing your company's culture, values, and opportunities for growth and development anywhere great talent gathers. A positive and well-communicated employer brand makes your company desirable to work for and attracts high-caliber candidates.

The candidate's experience during the recruitment process also plays a critical role. Top talent is likely evaluating multiple opportunities, so a streamlined, respectful, and engaging process can set your company apart.

Lastly, leveraging data through tools and technologies to inform your strategy can make your efforts more targeted and efficient. Understanding where your best candidates come from, how they interact with your brand, and what they value in an employer allows you to refine your strategy over time.

Talent Acquisition Strategy Template

  1. Define Your Objectives: Clearly outline what you hope to achieve with your talent acquisition strategy. Consider your company's long-term goals and how top talent will help you reach them.
  2. Understand Your Top Performers: Analyze the traits, skills, and backgrounds of your current top employees. This will help you create a candidate profile to target in your search.
  3. Strengthen Your Employer Brand: Develop a compelling employer value proposition (EVP) and make sure it is consistently communicated across all platforms and interactions with potential candidates.
  4. Optimize Candidate Experience: Review and refine your recruitment process to ensure it is efficient, transparent, and respectful. Consider candidate surveys to continuously improve the experience.
  5. Leverage Technology and Data: Implementing ATS systems, AI sourcing, digital assistants, interview intelligence, and other platforms that streamline the hiring process and provide analytics to measure success will help you make informed decisions and strengthen your hiring strategy.
  6. Engage in Strategic Sourcing: Beyond job postings, actively identify and reach out to potential candidates through networking events, social media, and professional associations - or you can use platforms like HireEZ to accomplish this.
  7. Build Relationships: Create a candidate pool by developing relationships with potential future candidates. Even if someone is not the right fit right now, they may be an ideal candidate for future roles. One excellent example of this is Lilly's talent acquisition strategy at top schools around the world. Top-performing employees are sent to universities to meet students and generate buzz for internships and the brand.
  8. Focus on Retention: Retaining top talent is just as important as attracting it. Implement strategies for employee engagement, professional development, and career progression to keep your top performers motivated and loyal- but we'll leave the details of this for another article.

Now that you have a template, what do you do with it?

The Significance Of Effective Talent Acquisition

A powerful talent acquisition, strategy, and framework will completely change the future of a business. Implementing a talent acquisition framework like the one outlined in the previous section (or one like it) will allow you to build the right company culture to tap into the right people, when you need them, and get the best out of them. This last point alone illustrates the importance of a talent acquisition strategy that is holistic and operates optimally, like a finely tuned race car.

By aligning your strategy with your company's long-term goals, you ensure that each hire not only fills a current need but also contributes to the future success and growth of the business.

So let's turn our attention to the implementation process and highlight the significance of an effective talent acquisition process.

Implementing the Talent Acquisition Strategy

Implementing the talent acquisition strategy effectively requires a focused, step-by-step approach to ensure all aspects of the strategy are realized to their full potential. The keys to successful implementation include:

  1. Leadership Commitment: Securing the commitment and support of senior leadership is crucial for allocating resources and prioritizing talent acquisition within the organization.
  2. Cross-functional Collaboration: Engage different departments (e.g., HR, finance, marketing) early in the process to align goals, leverage various expertise, and ensure a seamless candidate experience.
  3. Training and Development: Equip your talent acquisition team with the necessary skills and tools to execute the strategy effectively. This may include training on new technologies or methodologies.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Utilize a continuous feedback loop from candidates, new hires, and hiring managers to refine your processes. Data analytics plays a key role in identifying areas for improvement.
  5. Measurement and Analytics: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your talent acquisition efforts, such as time to hire, quality of hire, and employee retention rates. Use these metrics to gauge success and make data-driven adjustments.

Once you've effectively implemented the steps in the previous section, here are some of the benefits you can expect to see in your organization.

Benefits of a Well-Implemented Talent Acquisition Strategy

The benefits of a well-implemented talent acquisition strategy are extensive, impacting not only the HR department but the entire organization:

  • Attracting Higher Quality Candidates: A strong employer brand and efficient, respectful candidate experience attract top talent to your organization.
  • Reduced Hiring Costs: By streamlining the recruitment process and reducing time-to-hire through efficient sourcing and selection methods, companies can significantly lower their overall hiring costs.
  • Improved Employee Retention: Hiring individuals who are not only skilled but also a good cultural fit leads to higher job satisfaction and, consequently, improved retention rates.
  • Enhanced Competitive Edge: Companies that can quickly fill open positions with high-quality candidates are better positioned to respond to market changes and maintain a competitive advantage.
  • Alignment with Strategic Goals: A strategic approach to talent acquisition ensures that new hires contribute to the long-term objectives of the company, fostering sustainable growth and development.

In summary, by following a structured implementation plan and focusing on vital metrics like diversity hiring, time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and employee turnover, organizations can realize the full benefits of their talent acquisition strategy, driving the company toward its strategic goals and objectives.

If you're struggling to implement an effective talent acquisition strategy, chat with someone from our team. At Pillar, we've helped customers drive vital metrics like increasing diversity hiring by more than 57% and lowering employee turnover by more than 50%- all while saving time and reducing hiring costs. Book a demo of our interview intelligence software to see how we do it. Happy Hiring!