Talent Acquisition in 21st Century-A Big Challenge (Part-II)

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In previous Part-1, I mentioned about thew need to talent acquisition, how it is different from recruitment and ways to evolve effective talent acquisition strategy.

Talent Acquisition Strategies

Basic Strategies

If we were really serious about looking for talent, here are some of the things we would be doing as Staffing, Recruiting, talent Management and as human resources professionals:

1. We would work harder than we do at identifying high performers: Together with high performers themselves, we could establish some indicators of success or of high performance for each position we recruit for. These could have the number of sales they have made in a month, the number of reports that they have written that rejected in consulting assignments, the amount of revenue their group has generated, and so forth. This is hard work though. There are not a lot of benchmarks to go by, but we all know more or less who contribute the most to our organizations. Our task is to quantify those contributions.

2. We would work with managers to develop profiles of the high performers in each group: We would try to find commonalities and things we could identify during the screening process that might predict success. These could be competencies, activities high performers engage in, work methods, or processes. There are many firms that can help you determine what these "critical success factors" are and even help you develop tests to identify them in candidates.

3. We would find out where potential high performers like to go and what they like to do: This step allows you to target your advertising high performers and decide which events are worth attending so that you can get at the kinds of people you seek . Doing this well requires a focus on competitive intelligence, or "CI." CI is well known in the industrial world; Many companies employ CI experts to ferret our information about production capacities and equipment installations at their competitors. The same principals apply to recruiting. You can gather information from competitors and from vendors and suppliers about where good people may be located. You can certainly use your employee referral program for the same purpose.

4. We would do a better job of collecting and capturing critical information about candidates: The knowledge you gradually accumulate is valuable and should be put into some sort of database where it can be shared with other recruiters. A BLOG can form the basis on an internal or external community of recruiters where this kind of information can be changed. This is a form of knowledge sharing and transfers that, when properly done, can save thousands of hours of work and bunches of money. After all, headhunters rely on their own human knowledge management systems (ie their brains) to do this all the time. Our challenge is to make this more broad accessible and to keep it current.

5. Finally, we would recognize the importance of developing people so that they can become high performers: The recruiting function has to move towards becoming more like a talent agency – something it has not been historically. Talent agencies not only recognize talent but also develop it for strategic purposes. We as recruiters need to take our knowledge of what talent looks like and offer people who have "it" a chance to acquire the skills that they need to perform the jobs we have.

Most this will apply to our current employee populations, but it could also apply to people outside as well. The only limits are our own vision and our ability to work within the politics of our corporate environments. One way to find those with talent would be to open all of our screening processes to anyone and then select those who seem likely to be successful. The Internet and our recruiting websites make this very easy to do. The development side could take the form of classroom training, e-learning, internships, action (work-based) learning assignments, or special programs that train a group of people for specific jobs within a company.

The key is that recruiting is not only about finding talent, but also, increasingly, about developing it. If we are to move our profession upwards and start making real contributions to the bottom line, these things I have described are what it is going to take.

Talent Acquisition Strategies for 21st Century

Before we start further lets see what's the mindset of people about "Talent Acquisition":

Old Mindset about People:

A. A vague notice that "People are our Most Important Asset"

B. HR is responsible for people Management

C. We have a two-day Success Planning Exercise once a year

D. I work with the people I inherit.

New Talent Mindset

A. A deep conviction that Talent Leads to Better Corporate Performance

B. All Managers Are Accountable for strengthening their talent Pool

C. Talent Managers is a central part of How we run the company

D. I take bold actions to build the talent pool I need

 Strengthen Your Own Direct Reports

Becoming a great talent manager starts in your own back yard. Set high standards for the caliber of talent you will have on your team and take deliberate action to strengthen that group. Develop a discerning "nose" for talent, and make clear-eyed, insightful assessments of the performance and potential of each person. Are they capable of taking this particular job where it needs to go? What are their greatest strengths and what holds them back from being more effective?

Tell your people, in a straightforward way, how they are performing and what you perceive as their greatest strengths and weaknesses. Only 35 percent of the managers in our survey feel that their company is open and candid with them. Telling people about their strengths builds their own-confidence. Telling them about their weaknesses helps them grow. Give people the performance feedback they so need, and then encourage and coach them to improve their performance.

Give the strong performers new challenges, greater responsibilities and the tasks that they are most passionate about. Accelerate their development and do everything you can to keep them facilitated and energized. Spend two-thirds of your coaching time on the A and B performers, rather than on the C performers, as can so easily happen.

Face up to the difficult task of dealing with low performers. Tell them unambiguously that their performance is not good enough, and tell them exactly what they need to do to improve. Encourage and help them to improve. If their performance does not improve adequately, remove them from the position, either by finding them a different role that will allow them to succeed or by asking them to leave the company. A recent study published in Fortune magazine noted that the single greatest reason why unsuccessful executives fail is their inability to deal with poorly performing subordinates.

While developing the people you already have, hunt for new talent to bring into your group. Look for high-potential people deep within your organization to promote. Look for high performers in other units and constantly scout your networks on the outside for highly talented people to bring into the company.

Finally do everything you can to make your unit a magnet for highly talented people. Give people exciting challenges and lots of room to spread their wings. Help them grow their skills and body of experience. Be a demanding boss who sets high aspirations, but also one who engenders trust and helps others shine.

All of the above actions contribute to achieving a subjective objective: They instill a talent mindset in leaders through the organization. Companies that practice outstanding talent management have the talent mindset embedded in the institution.

Part of a leader's job is to teach others the mindset, skills and habits of good talent management. You do this in part by role modeling effective talent management. Do you give candid feedback to your direct reports on their performance and how they can improve? Do you actively help your people shape their roles so they are constantly growing and stretching? Do you have a number of people outside your reporting line that you actively mentor? If you are not doing these things, why would anyone else in your organization do them?

You also instill a talent mindset by sharing and teaching your philosophies about what it takes to build a strong talent pool and what it takes to be an effective leader. Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen, is very deliberate about this: "I have tried to convince our top managers that if they believe people and people processes are HR's responsibility, they have totally missed the point. People are every manager's responsibility. Way we will strengthen our talent pipeline. "

When we asked Sharer how confident he was that he could convince leaders, managers and scientists to embrace a talent mindset and make talent their job, he responded, "We're making good progress. Pool is not some optional deal. "

Taking an active role in building the talent pool through your company will require anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of your time and attention. But how could you make better use of your time? Becoming a great talent leader may require a fundamental shift in how you conceive of your job. Every leader should make talent management a central part of his or her job, too. This process will direct your company into building leaders while positively impacting the overall performance therein.

 Establish a talent Standard … sharp difference between poor; Average and excellent performance is creating a benchmark for evaluation and promotion.

If you are a leader of a large organization, you also have to extend your influence to the talent pool. Start by setting the gold standard for talent for your organization. Identify and articulate the characteristics and caliber of leaders that the organization should have. You model this every day through the quality of the people you hire, the quality of people you chose to keep in the company and standards you judge people against. But you should also explicitly communicate the type and caliber of managers you want to have in your organization.

 Weave development into your organization

Emphasis must be on the development of your people. Everyone in your organization – even if he / she can not be a superstar – can push the limits of what they can.
But many leaders do not understand how managers grow.

Job experiences are critical in developing people. You can:

K Keep the learning curve steep: challenge managers with tasks do do…………….

G Give people different kind of challenges.

G Give people high-octane special projects assignments: these assignments must require a variety of skills.

Cont Continuously stretch the boundaries of current jobs: challenge people to reconceptualize their roles, reorient their responsibilities. Let the individual define the potential he or she will contribute.

Str Structure jobs to be more developmental.

Pay Pay special attention to some jobs.

Mentoring is a powerful tool to help you weaving development in your organization. A mentor should offer encouragement and believe in the ability of the individual to achieve great things.

Care Carefully assign mentors

Ex Explicitly assign duties

Follow Follow up with mentees

En Enable multiple programs

Note Note the benefits

 Influence People Decisions Far Down your Organization

Defining the standard for leadership talent is not enough, though. Leaders who manage talent well get directly involved in the hiring, promotion and firing decisions for many people as they possibly can.

This does not mean that you needlessly make all the decisions on people two or three levels below you. But you should influence them by making sure that the talent standard is being used objectively and by contributing your judgment in a meaningful way. When a vacancy is being filled, add or remove candidates from the slate, interview the finalists, voice your opinion and then in most cases, let the immediate boss make the decision. Make it your business to know the people two or three levels below you well enough to have an informed, first-hand opinion about their performance and potential.

 Drive a Simple, Probing review of Talent

Do you regularly discuss the talent in your company with the same rigor and intensity that you discuss the budget? You should. Every company, indeed every business unit or division, should have a rigorous talent-review process.

An effective talent-review process has many important benefits:
It is a direct way for a leader to build the strength of the talent pool deep in the organization.
It implies the discipline of having regular conversations and making decisions about people, some things that are easy to let slide.
It is a way for the leaders to engage in discussion about the standard of talent they are seeking to build and how they should go about doing that.
It is the backbone of good Talent Management.

A talent review is a disciplined way for the leaders of an organization to discuss the performance and potential of their people and to decide on action plans for strengthening the talent pool. This is a very different from perfunctory success-planning event that most companies hold-events that are marked by polite presentations, an absence of candor and little follow-up action. The best companies have rigorous talent reviews in each division, with the same intensity and importance as the budget process.

 Hold Managers Accountant for the strength of their talent pools

Each unit- be it Account Dept., Product Division, Customer Service Division, Sales Force- Should set three to six Specific talent strengthening objectives for the coming year. These objectives should be negotiated between the unit manager and the next-higher executive. Assessing how well a manager delivers against those objectives will require judgment and ongoing discussions about how effectively the talent pool is being built. Unfortunately, these conversations are nor taking place in any systematic, comprehensive, probing way in most companies today.

Last but not least lets discuss about another way of "Talent Acquisition" … POACHING … acceptable or unacceptable ??

A Primer on Poaching

Poaching is not wrong and it is not unethical as well. It only shows some loop holes in the retention strategies of the company which employees are being poached. If I identify a talent of my requirement in your company and if I can afford that talent in terms of Compensation and growth then I have every right to poach the same. Poaching talent is the practice of proactively targeting and hiring top talent away from a competitor or top firm, with the specific intention of:

Securing skills or abilities faster than if you were to attempt to develop talent internally through training and development efforts

Securing expanded capacity (ie more bodies) that will require fewer ramps up time
Mitigating high-level talent losses due to attrition

Damaging your competitors' ability to achieve their strategic objectives

The approach is not new and has been deployed around the world for ages, particularly in sports. Take a World Cup soccer (football) team for example. Can you think of a single team that is made up entirely of players from the country that team representatives? The truth is that when winning matters, the best teams seek out the best talent wherever it resides, be it their backyard or a tiny undeveloped country nested between two warring nations.

An Unstoppable Global Trend

The migration to a truly global economy is impacting every nation large and small in both positive and negative ways. One of the most obvious impacts is that it has increased demand for labor in nations that once provided a surplus to developing nations, causing dramatic increases in local wages, in turn making it more difficult to recruit talent abroad. In addition, the rampant growth of offshore outsourcing has imbued developing nations with disposable income, making possible their investment into higher value work.

Combined, these two external forces are complicating the pillage model that for so many years has filled hospitals with nurses and hardware / software firms with engineers. It has also turned the tables; Such that developing nations must now devise ways to steal talent back from hyper-developed nations, ie poach!
Aggressive firms in such nations are following the leaders, they are:

Putting work where the talent resides
Subcontracting outsource contracts for low value activities to other developing nations
Opening offices in locations that compete directly with their clients
Offering very lucrative compensation packages for key players who return or are willing to relocate to a developing nation
In short, the war for talent is no longer a local war, but rather a global one that will drive the evolution and practice of talent poaching.

Three Dominant Poaching Strategies

Poaching activities dramatically fall into one of three categories:

Direct sourcing. Firms use new data-mining techniques and tools, combined with age-old recruiter phone techniques, to mine the organizational structure, employee identities, and employee performance indicators of talent and product competitors. This competitive intelligence is later used to determine whom specifically should be targeted for poaching. All work is transported out internally.

Third-party poaching. This strategy concerns on using a vendor or series of vendors to identify everything from firms to target to what individuals to go after based on your strategic objectives. (It is also by far the most common way organizations that find poaching unethical actually practice it themselves. In their minds, poaching is perceived as unethical only if you do it yourself.)

Attract them with "honey." The third strategy is likely the one that few organizations would associate with poaching, what we call the "attract them with honey" strategy. This approach utilizes six different channels to drive qualified to your organization from other specific organizations, much like product firms steer you to their products in grocery stores.

All three strategies have the same impact in the long run, but offer firms a varied level of "ethical exposure," timeline, and cost. The three strategies outlined above are ranked ordered in terms of their time to productivity and cost, from least expensive with quickest impact to most expensive with slow impact.


This article is quite exhaustive and in this I tried to explore almost all the methods of "Talent Acquisitions" but "Recruitment Managers" and "Talent Acquisition Managers" can still innovate many other "Strategies" for effective Talent Acquisition.

By Sanjeev Sharma
E-mail: sanjeev.himachali@gmail.com or ss_himachali@yahoo.com
Blog: http://sanjeevhimachali.blogspot.com/
You can read my articles on Contact Center and Call Center Industry at http://www.contactcenterworld.com and http://www.bpoindia.org


Interaction with my own friends who are into hiring … from across the globe.

Inputs from the Research Team of 07/09 Management Consultants.

Other books referred are:

1. The Talent Management Handbook: Creating Organizational Excellence by Identifying, Developing, and Promoting Your Best People (Hardcover)
By Lance A. Berger, Dorothy R. Berger

2. Recruiting Excellence: An Insider's Guide to Sourcing Top Talent; By Jeff Grout, Sarah Perrin

3. Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job; By Nicholas Corcodilos, Nicholas Cordilos

4. Hiring the Best: A Manager's Guide to Effective Interviewing by Martin Yate

5. Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, by Techies & Nerds

6. The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People by Johanna Rothman


Source by Sanjeev Himachali