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Why You Need a Total Talent Acquisition Strategy

Why You Need a Total Talent Acquisition Strategy

Your company no doubt has a well-thought-out business plan. Ditto for a marketing strategy and clear sales process. But what about a workforce strategy? Many companies don’t have a talent acquisition strategy in place and slip into reactive hiring and firing cycles when business expands or contracts. All too often, this results in unfilled mission-critical roles, rush hires of people who aren’t right for the position, or layoffs of employees who were valuable to your organization.

What Is a Workforce Strategy?

A workforce strategy is a proactive hiring plan. Effective plans are based upon a clear-eyed assessment of a company’s current workforce, as well as business projections for the short and long term. They usually include hiring goals for specific positions, as well as timelines and accountability. Because business growth predictions always include unknowns, the strategy should include multiple contingencies.

.Having a strategy in place is particularly critical in today’s tight hiring market. Unemployment is low and there’s intense competition for top candidates. A robust talent strategy strengthens your company’s appeal to these candidates, as well as to current top performing employees whom you’d rather not lose to other offers.

It can feel like another challenging to-do on an already packed list, but companies that devote the time and resources to workforce planning gain the edge over competitors. These organizations are less likely to be caught short on talent with the right skills at critical moments for their business. Here are a few more ways a talent acquisition strategy bolsters your business:

  • Reduces time to hire
  • Reduces the financial and productivity costs of unfilled roles
  • Improves the morale of existing employees because they aren’t loaded with extra work
  • Improves morale through employee development and training
  • Reduces turnover—a direct result of the previous two bullets
  • Minimizes the loss of high-demand candidates to organizations with a clear strategy

What Does a Workforce Strategy Look Like?

Workforce plans will vary by company and sector. A small Internet of Things startup is clearly going to need a different strategy than a multinational financial services company. However, creating and implementing useful hiring strategies usually includes these steps:

Skills Assessments and Needs Projections
You won’t know where you need to go and how to get there unless you take stock of where your organization is today. This phase involves evaluating employees, as well as current and looming skills shortages. For example, if a medical device manufacturing company is adding healthcare analytics to its offering, it’s important to begin hiring for the skills the new product line entails. Possible questions to ask: Is your organization facing a looming hiring bubble? Is a particular department experiencing higher turnover than others? Are you offering enough advancement opportunities, training, and feedback to improve retention?

This stage benefits from employee and management surveys and workforce analytics, that can pinpoint shortfalls that are tough to spot, or that busy hiring managers are too busy to notice. This phase is the foundation for a future workforce strategy and needs to be repeated and adjusted regularly.

A Hiring Timeline and Talent Pipeline
Once you’ve determined the hiring need for your organization, you need to map out how you’re going to make it happen. Creating strong teams doesn't simply boil down to hiring a certain number of employees by a specific date—although that is part of the process. Start by establishing talent profiles based on the ideal skills and qualities needed to move your business towards its goals.

Ongoing engagement with top talent is critical even when you are not immediately hiring. This can mean polishing your employer brand or creating an employee referral program. Predictive talent analytics can identify when stellar candidates are readying to switch jobs, which makes them more likely to accept offers.

Additionally, issues causing talent shortages need to be addressed as hiring moves ahead. An organization with high employee churn, for example, may focus on positive engagement strategies, such as mentoring or training. Companies that are struggling to recruit star talent may work to improve their employer brand through a career page refresh or social media outreach. Or they may need to improve compensation packages to better align with the competition’s offerings.

Today, achieving hiring goals is usually a multi-pronged approach. This complexity makes it critical to have buy-in from key decision makers and communication between those leading hiring initiatives. It’s also important to establish key performance indicators, target dates, and accountability.

Finally, once you have created your workforce strategy, remember it is not a static document. While it is important for key players to stay focused on hiring targets and employee management goals, they should be flexible enough to adjust course with shifting industry outlooks and business needs.

Need help with your Total Talent Acquisition Strategy? Contact Hudson.


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