Talent Pipeline Running Dry?

Here's How to Build One from The Ground Up

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By Andy Medici

Finding talent has been a tall task for much of the past two years, but it’s been particularly tough for businesses that lacked a dedicated workforce pipeline.

Experts say those companies regularly found themselves missing out on candidates because they were too slow, too reactive or lacked the infrastructure to succeed in an intense, fast-paced hiring climate.

Even as the job market softens, experts say businesses can’t afford to ignore their workforce development efforts, as demographics suggest finding talent won’t be much easier in the years to come.

“Not unlike a fiber-optic cable installation in a new neighborhood, a talent pipeline starts with a keen understanding of what the core talent needs are, where those people could come from and, as importantly, where they might progress over time within the organization,” said Bill Catlette, a partner at leadership and employee engagement firm Contented Cow.

FedEx Corp., for example, requires mostly couriers and cargo handlers, while restaurants need servers and chefs, but managers also need to identify how employees could move through their organization over time and ensure they have candidates at all levels.

That all starts with the basic questions. What are you hiring for? What qualifications are absolutely necessary? What type of experience is mandatory?

Answering those questions is a critical part of the process, but they are only part of the equation.

Here are more tips on how to build a talent pipeline from scratch, straight from the experts.

Have the basics down pat

Does your company make a good first impression? Does it have a good logo and website? Have you put in place the right HR and payroll processes to hire new employees and onboard them correctly?

Jennifer Morehead, CEO of Flex HR, said these pieces are critical when bringing on new employees. 

“It’s so crucial to think about the perceptions of these new potential employees before you start building a talent pipeline from scratch because it’s going to be a big effort,” Morehead said.

Mind your social media presence

Start posting open jobs on LinkedIn and share any openings on your company’s social media pages and, if using job sites, make sure you’re posting on several, said Sara Grimstead, regional vice president at Insperity Inc., an HR consulting firm.

She stressed companies should also use Glassdoor, an employer review website, to check out what their organization’s reputation looks like.

“Prior to establishing a recruiting process, employers should read their reviews and reply to them. This demonstrates they listen to employees and act on the constructive criticism provided. A negative reputation online can deter candidates,” Grimstead said.

Go to in-person recruitment events

Companies should also have a presence at recruitment events within their community to help meet multiple candidates quickly and decide which ones would be good for a formal interview. 

Consider an internship or apprenticeship program

A short-term internship or long-term training program can help develop an untrained candidate into a potential new hire. While not great for urgent staffing needs, it could help create a pipeline of future talent for the company in a setting that allows them to prove themselves, Grimstead said.

Build an email list of potential candidates

Kendra Nicastro, director of business development and marketing at health-care staffing and recruiting firm LeaderStat, said her company identifies where their workers will be spending their time, whether that’s Facebook or in-person industry events. They then offer up a chance to sign up to receive emails on upcoming potential jobs.

Participating in industry events also allows them to get a list of attendees and to create email campaigns around open jobs.

“The emails we send are not all promotional but instead educational and will include links to articles tailored to that audience, such as leadership blog articles when we are looking for executive level candidates, job searching tips, what to look for when selecting a recruitment firm, etc.,” Nicastro said in an email. “This helps us stay top of mind so when that individual is ready to make a career change, they remember LeaderStat.”

Companies need to make sure they get it right, too, because a bad hiring and onboarding process can send that worker running for the exits, according to a Paychex Inc. survey.

While about 50% of newly hired employees said they planned to quit their job soon, that number rose to 80% from those who said they felt undertrained for the job. Only 7% of those who felt well-trained from their onboarding said they planned to leave their job soon.

Source: Charlotte Business Journal