Value Creation – Are You?

Times are tough. Many recruiting managers find themselves laying off contract recruiters, piling tough-to-fill requisitions onto regular staff, and worrying all the time about what the future holds. We are experiencing the natural enforcement of the laws of economics: an organization has to have a sound business model (that means it makes more money than it spends) – or it will go away. But, this short-term correction does not change the future. What the future holds is clear – and has been for some time. It holds increasing shortages of skilled IT, computer science, medical, and engineering staff. And these are people who will be concerned about the financial health of your company and what you have to offer. In short, recruiting has gotten even harder than it already was! The recruiting function that thrives will know how to add value to its organization by providing great people in a timely fashion. It will know how to answer the computer scientist that is deciding between the relative safety of an associate professorship at UC Berkeley, for example, or the riskier position it has to offer. All the principles we have been preaching over the past year are truer than ever and worth a review. Principle #1 Have a talent community you are always in contact with. These are people you have already screened to some degree and know something about. They are probably qualified to work at your company but will need to go through some final interviews. These are people to whom you should be explaining any financial issues or any layoffs. They should be “in the loop” as to what your recruiting plans look like and why you are still (or no longer) interested in them. This act of informing them will build loyalty and make it easy to recruit them whenever you need to. You also need to be clear, if you have had layoffs, why you are still recruiting. Principle #2 Start a community of any people who were laid off. Get email address as they leave and invite them to be part of your ongoing recruiting efforts. While they may be confused at why you are recruiting while they are being let go, clear and honest explanations can help. Explain the demographics of the market to them. Communicate your longer-term strategy of building a well-tested talent pool for re-recruitment whenever business gets better – which it will. Continue to keep them up to date on what’s happening in the organization and whether or not there are openings they may fit. This act of loyalty to former employees can pay what I call extreme dividends when times get better again. Principle #3 Educate the management team about labor shortages and supply and demand issues – for the long term. It is too easy to focus all your thoughts on the short term and forget that only a few years ago we were all in a much deeper recession with unemployment rates at astronomical levels. Make sure the management team is spending at least a little time looking at the future and what the demographic picture looks like. There will not be a labor surplus in the computer or IT areas again in our recruiting careers. Many other fields, including engineering, medicine and sales, are also suffering a long-term talent shortage. They need to know this and believe this and work with you to put in place strategies to develop people that can be hired later. Principle #4 Continue to use this time to make your website and e-recruiting efforts stronger and more effective. Test your website and add features (even if it’s only on paper at this time) so you will be ready for the next binge of recruiting. Analyze your entire recruiting process and streamline it to remove all bottlenecks and constraints. Take the time to put together focus groups and get ideas on changes and improvements you can make to your web site and advertising process that will result in better hires. Conclusion But, most of all, be certain that you are adding value to your organization. If you don’t know what “adding value” means, that is a clue that you have some work to do. Ask yourself this question: why would this organization keep me and my staff employed if business got worse? If you don’t know, try your best to find out by asking questions and uncovering any issues that may exist between your function and the management team. If you do know the answer, do even more to reinforce the value you bring. Education, proactive deeds, and internal communication are all critical elements of a successful positioning of recruiting – better know as talent strategy implementation in the most successful firms. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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