After working in a number of talent acquisition groups over the course of my career, I have often reflected on the many comments and sentiments that have been shared with me about the function. My belief has been and always will be that talent acquisition is the only function within HR that can destroy the business and HR.
If you can’t get people through the door, there is no need for benefits, compensation, employee relations, or any other facet of HR because there is no one working at the company. Surely, if there are no people or hires coming through the door there is no way to keep the business going.
In many ways, the talent acquisition job is a thankless one. If you hire someone who doesn’t work out it is your fault. If a job needs to filled yesterday and other logistics prevent the group from proceeding in a timely fashion, it is Talent’s fault.
However, there are many instances in which talent acquisition misses the mark in delivering upon its inherent value proposition and there is no one to blame but itself.
One of those areas is strategy. Unfortunately, strategy for the sake of strategy does not work. I have worked for companies where the meat of their strategy was in satisfying compliance requirements, posting jobs, and filling jobs. A strategy built upon these three premises is one destined for failure. It lacks vision, creativity, and it does not begin to solve any of the issues of internal stakeholders. A strategy like this will make you the eyesore of HR in the same way a haphazardly kept house does to a block of well-manicured homes.
The key to a talent acquisition strategy that establishes and accounts for the needs of all involved is communication. Working in a vacuum or silo is a Personnel circa 1980 move. Get out of your cubicle or office and meet with your internal partners. Find out what is going on in the departments and understand their present and future needs for staffing. How can you begin to carry out a strategy without understanding the needs of the customer?
Second, calibrate your internal stakeholders’ needs with any compliance or regulatory requirements. Evaluate what you must get done and what they expect of you. Through communication, ensure that your stakeholders understand what you are required to do so everyone is on the same page.
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Last but not least, create a strategy that is consistent with the needs of the business, compliance requirements, and the needs of the internal stakeholders. Meet with your internal stakeholders about the strategy. Make sure they understand it, buy into it, and observe it as a guide for interacting with the group.
Any deficit in communication or execution is where talent acquisition becomes the eyesore of HR. If people know what to expect, it is consistent, and the strategy makes sense for what they need to get done — you will find that your partners will no longer go against you but work with you. You will no longer be seen as a roadblock but a valued ally. With a customer-focused strategy you build credibility, which is vital to talent acquisition’s success and continued existence.
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