Sunday, May 06, 2007

Winning the War for Talent: Part one - Building the better mouse trap

Editorial Note: So much for the "next posts will come out faster" comment! It's been a month, but I am back, so strap in and let's roll

Your company relies a constant inflow of talented folks to help drive the business. So how do you ensure that you are getting enough of the right talent? The answer is the same as that tired old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice! The practice you need to do is actually some simple stuff though, and I can spell it out in just a few bullet points:
  • Be a CONSTANT TALENT SCOUT. Always be on the lookout for folks who have the kind of talent you need for your team. Whether at a trade show, seminar or at your mates backyard BBQ.... talent is ALWAYS around - you just have to keep looking.
  • Demand that your company develop an excellent EMPLOYEE REFERRAL PROGRAM. But make it measurable and meaningful! Use it to get your team to be on the lookout for great folks to refer to your company. But not just when a job is posted... they should be referring folks who impress them all the time.... it's hard enough to find talent, waiting till you actually need it on hand is only adding troubles.
  • Make hiring good people who become successful on your team a goal. Make sure your recruitment effort and spend was worth it by measuring how long those new folks stay, how successful they are in 90, 180 and 365 days. See how they are doing against goals and track their path to promotions. Replicate the efforts that worked and ditch the ones that bore no fruit.
  • Become an EMPLOYER OF CHOICE. It's hard enough to get candidates to answer the phone when you have a good name, but if you are not recognized as a great place to work, it's a whole lot harder. Being a recognized great place to work (and there are LOTS of ways to get there) will give you something to crow about when pitching your opportunities to prospects. Heck, even if your company isn't a top rated company - you can make your team the most desirable place to work within that company... and that leads me to our next section.... developing internal talent to meet your needs. But that'll have to wait till next time....
Get cracking on these pointers and start up a "bar napkin list" of the 10 people who most impress you in terms of how they could help your team be more successful and START CALLING THEM! Just call to say "Hi, John... I was reading a geeky HR blog about finding talent, and you came to the top of my mind. Let's talk about where you are with your career and where you'd like to go... I just might be able to help you out... " and let that conversation flow to become the first step in a long and prosperous relationship with your next best employee!

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