So what does Talent Acquisition mean?
I find it helpful to think of it as finding the sweet spot that is a match between:
- the right employees for you
- what they are looking for
- what you can offer – and making sure people know about this!
In the current climate, where many businesses are struggling with vacancies, it is tempting to say you will take anyone who comes along! But we would always advise taking the time to work out who you really want to attract and appoint – a recruitment mistake can carry a cost in terms of time, money, and customer experience. It helps to have a really clear idea of who your ideal candidate is – in terms of their skills but also their values and attitudes.
Finding someone who is a good fit for your business doesn’t mean finding someone who is exactly the same as all your other employees – it can be more helpful to think widely about where you recruit from to make sure you are not cutting yourself off from a good pool of applicants because you aren’t considering a more diverse workforce.
In terms of what people are looking for, the good news is that it varies a lot, depending on individual circumstances. For example, there is a suggestion that since the pandemic increased the spread of working virtually, now everyone wants to work from home. Whilst it is true that a lot of people enjoy the benefits of having a more flexible base, equally there are a lot of people who want to be able to get out of the house for work and go to be with other people. Indeed’s new “Happiness Index” looks at a wide range of factors from flexibility to a sense of belonging, that add up to a positive workplace.
It is important to recognise that some crucial factors can be applied whatever your budget. Whilst of course pay is important, feeling supported and appreciated will always be near the top of what employees are looking for.
It is worth spending some time building a picture of what benefits you do offer – including the “soft” benefits. You could start by asking your current employees what they like and value about work. Think about your values and culture: you don’t have to have a highly polished mission statement, you could think in terms of words that describe you as an employer or a business – kind, compassionate, reliable, professional, fun, passionate, spontaneous.
Of course this needs to be a fair reflection of how things are – your new recruits will soon spot if what you promised doesn’t match up with the reality once they start working with you.
Once you have a clear idea of what you offer, then you need to make sure that potential applicants know this. Think about your branding as an employer. What image do people have of you? What do your customers see when they come in, or clients experience when they are working with you? As with all things, word of mouth is vital – what are your employees saying about you? You can shape this dialogue yourself by sharing “behind the scenes” on social media (with consent of course!) – perhaps celebrating a member of staff’s birthday, having a team day out, investing in learning and development. Think about the message you want to convey and who you want to reach.
It is important to consider what your recruitment process tells applicants about you. Does the process seem well organised and do you communicate effectively? Do they feel welcome when they come in for an interview? What behaviours are they likely to see? Remember, just as you are assessing them, they are taking in information about you and the company.
Finally once you do have your new recruit, make the most of them by ensuring you have a strong onboarding process in place, and they feel as valued once they join as when you were trying to attract them!
As you can see talent acquisition is not a “one off” but links many parts of your business and employment practices. If you’re not sure about any of these stages do get in touch, and we’d be happy to help.