Building a Strategic Pipeline
By Jacqueline Brito
The first night of my human organization as an “employer of choice” resources management class, I in the marketplace. Your company’s brand started out by asking my talented should create an image that makes people MBA students one simple, yet want to work for you. An authentic, clear direct question to test their critical thinking skills: “What is your company’s most valuable asset?” After several seconds of deafening silence, almost in unison, they replied out loud – “their employees!”
When I asked if they were sure, some responded with raised eyebrows and stares, while others avoided eye contact for fear that they would be called upon. I simply stated, “Employees are a company’s most valuable asset if they are the right employees!”Now that I had their attention (and hopefully yours, too), I proceeded with five considerations aimed at identifying the “right fit” employees for your organization:
1. Develop An Employment Branding Strategy
Effective employment branding can be instrumental in positioning your organization as an “employer of choice” in the marketplace. Your com pan’s brand should create an image that makes people want to work for you. An authentic, clear and consistent message that supports your organization’s mission, vision, and values is crucial.
The same communication vehicles used to market services and products can also be used to create messaging that conveys what an employee can expect from your organization and why they would want to work there. Companies often spend thousands of dollars to develop a corporate website. If you choose this route, make sure the site is easy to navigate and that it is Search Engine Optimized (SEO) not only for potential candidates, but your existing employees as well (it’s equally important to retain good talent as it is to recruit the right new talent).
2. Conduct a Job Analysis
Although a job analysis is time- consuming and demanding, it can be used to document a job in the form of a job description which in turn will support:
Recruitment, establishing performance standards, training and development, succession planning, as well as legal defense if needed.
A job analysis requires a comprehensive review of a job to determine the activities and responsibilities they include. Bear in mind the analysis is conducted of the job – not the person performing the duties. Typically it is created in collaboration with the human resources department, supervisors, and job incumbents.
3. Consider Developing A Recruitment Strategy
Employers often make the mistake of thinking that once they are branded as an Employer of Choice, candidates will come. If it were only that easy. Take the time to understand who you are trying to recruit – that “right fit” candidate. Just as with a branding strategy, start first with your company’s mission, vision, and values—each instrumental in developing an effective recruitment strategy sure to yield a viable talent pool for your pipeline.
Additional items to consider are your company’s potential barriers, differentiators, primary and secondary target audiences and marketing messages. Finally, since you can’t manage what you can’t measure, determine how you will evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy.
4. Invest in Ongoing Training and Development
Once you hire well, train well. Employees are responsible for managing their careers, and the organization is responsible for providing training opportunities to encourage growth — both for the benefit of the individual and the organization as a whole. Quite often, one of the first line items to go during a budget cut is training and development, or trimming those opportunities for only senior- level leaders in the organization.
Before you compromise on employees’ training, I invite you to ask this question: “What are our long-term strategic goals, and what are the implications if they aren’t met?” Then, quantify your justification. Companies that choose this margin versus mission focus do so at the risk of minimizing their competitive edge. If, however, your employees are supported in ensuring their skills remain current, they in turn help to ensure your organization does not fall prey to obsolescence.
5. Consider Succession Versus Replacement Planning
What if your top performing sales team were recruited away by a competitor who was adept at getting steal-share? Do you have successors prepared to transition into their roles or would you simply refer to your list of replacements?
Responsible leadership entails utilizing a performance management system to develop and retain high performing talent; thereby, ensuring retention of the organization’s institutional knowledge.