No Power (In Your Talent Acquisition Planning)?


This crazy winter has taught me a valuable lesson about planning and the things we take for granted (like power), because yes, I was one of those in the Northeast with no power for about four days.

First, what is the deal with this weather? I know the reality is that it’s probably not bad as winters go, but come on, we haven’t had a real winter in years, and we really didn’t want one. And how come it takes four days to get power back on? Hasn’t someone invented a really big extension cord or something? OK. That’s the extent of my rant on that.

I know – I should have been prepared

So what did we learn? We learned that most of us (yours truly included) let their guard down and figured that we wouldn’t get a bad or even average winter. And now we are paying the price.

This is exactly what happens with many talent acquisition programs, recruiting teams and hiring plans. Without proper planning, support and execution, you can easily get caught without the proper resources to react when you need to. For example, when a big project gets green-lighted or when your business suddenly takes off.

So are you ready for a talent acquisition outage?

It’s a tough question, right? And I don’t think many people think there’s anything they can do about it. Here are some of the reasons companies have for not adequately planning for a talent acquisition outage or increased demand:

You can’t see one coming – Or can you? Are you looking at critical areas in your organization where talent just keeps the lights on versus areas that really pay the bills (shareholders) or foster innovation? That’s where you need to invest in building your talent community to support your talent acquisition needs. Also, just like an extended weather forecast, you can monitor what’s happening in your industry and which skills are in demand too. You should also make sure you know what your employees are thinking (as in, who might leave) through employee engagement efforts.

You can’t store it up – Or can you? Of course you can’t hire 10 people when you only have budget and work for five. But you can extend your talent acquisition efforts to network with the types of people you are going to need. It’s about looking at where to reach people, so that you have a backlog of people you’ve spoken to, resources to tap and a general inventory of the skills and quantity of skills available in the market. It’s like knowing which store will have rock salt when you really need it, rather than driving all around town looking for it (not that I would know anything about that).

There’s no backup generator for recruiting – Or is there? Yes, they do make backup generators for talent acquisition. They are called RPO providers and staffing companies. This is where you go when you don’t have internal resources, need additional support, or just choose to not generate the recruiting power on your own. Like the other options above, it’s also good to talk to a potential partner before you have the need, or at least be educated on how and when you might use an outside resource.

Planning to Plan

You get the idea here. Like many things, unless you stop and consider the alternatives before the outage happens, it’s hard to regroup and put effective resources in place while you are in the middle of the crisis. It’s much easier if you plan ahead.

So, the power at my house is now back on and I am buying and planning for next winter. Which means that my official prediction is that we will have a mild winter next year.

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