Building a Talent Pipeline to Achieve Strategic Hiring Goals

June 30, 2020 | Shannon Shoemaker

Every industry has been experiencing widespread digital transformation. Despite the recent recession flooding the market with new candidates, the competition for specialized talent is hotter than ever. Facebook and Goldman Sachs recently went head-to-head over the top tech talent in New York, demonstrating how valuable highly-skilled talent is — and how hard it is to come by.

In an age when every company seems like a technology company, enterprise organizations require highly specialized, innovative talent to evolve. Talent pipelines offer a solution. They minimize time-to-hire and provide candidates well-suited for the role who tend to stay longer at your company longer.

But there are challenges to building talent pipelines in large organizations. So how can large enterprises build a talent pipeline to help them achieve their strategic hiring goals? Here are some of the latest best practices for building talent pipelines in the evolving talent acquisition landscape.


Start With People Analytics

Before you can build a talent pipeline, you need to understand your organization’s specific talent needs. Developing an internal people analytics team will help you understand who your top performers are and lay the groundwork for identifying the same traits in potential candidates. “Investing in an analytics team is the most productive step you can take to improve your hiring goals,” says Atta Tarki, CEO and Managing Director of ECA Partners and author of Evidence-Based Recruiting. People analytics is a data-based approach to understanding the talent that will take your enterprise to the next level.

But building out a full-scale internal pipelining team can be very costly, says Andy Ryan, a Senior Client Partner at 6 Group, a global executive search firm. The best results, he suggests, come from a combination of an internal team and an external talent pipelining source. Building out your people analytics team internally gives you a better handle on your workforce and future talent needs, while partnering with an external agency will help you find and attract that talent you need.

For example, the candidates flooding the market because of COVID-19 may not be highly specialized in the areas you need. A people analytics team will help you focus your search so you only spend your resources on the best talent for your specific needs.


Evaluate Your Talent Processes Frequently

COVID-19 has demonstrated that work can change in the blink of an eye. You should be able to pivot your talent pipeline that quickly, too. Keeping your talent pipelines optimized requires a recursive process of reaching out to, evaluating and ranking candidates. “It’s a dynamic strategy that needs constant attention,” Ryan says. The evidence-based approach can help you pivot your processes to meet work’s changing needs.

“To improve the productivity of your talent pipeline, you need to establish a feedback loop,” Tarki says. “Set up controlled experiments where you test one hypothesis at a time.” Your organization might be attracting a lot of talent but have low conversions, for example. Frequently examine your processes and make small, measurable changes to identify what’s working — and what isn’t.

For example, traditional recruitment methods may be geared towards older definitions of a good candidate. Financial services, for instance, is now a data and technology-driven industry, and that changes how you need to brand yourself to attract talent. “They’re motivated by the ability to solve problems,” Ryan says. “That changes the message you go to market with and how you get talent interested in an opportunity.”


Increase Candidate Conversions Through Engagement

Don’t settle for a quick hire. Talent pipelines help you find the right talent, but you have to be willing to nurture that pool before you can expect conversions. “Keeping your pipeline warm requires investment and dedication,” Ryan says. Consider tapping into your marketing team and resources to analyze potential candidates and attract them based on job prospects and employee experience.

For example, the best tech candidates are often slow to convert to financial or other non-tech sectors. They want to create and innovate, and for that reason are often attracted to startups. But startups don’t typically have unlimited capital to support them. Large enterprise organizations need to show those candidates they offer opportunities to innovate while being backed by large, stable companies with the financial resources needed to support creative approaches to industry problems.

As the world of work continues to evolve, a steady pipeline of specialized talent will help your large enterprise remain competitive. Highly-skilled candidates that bring the skills and expertise your company needs to thrive in an uncertain future will be your greatest asset moving forward.

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