The hiring landscape has changed drastically over the years. Especially now, after the Covid-19 pandemic, it is far more common to adopt a remote work or hybrid model. With changing desires and preferences, employees are more and more particular about the organizations they work with. Maintaining a work-life balance, enough room for growth and future opportunities, the flexibility to work from home, etc., are just a few examples of the criteria employees look at.
Certain company policies may never change or are hard to change. When this is the case, how does an organization find the right talent at the right time? For HR teams, it is no longer about scouting for the right talent only when a position opens up but rather about maintaining a pool of candidates the organization may want to hire now or in the future. Furthermore, with high attrition rates, the burden falls on the HR team to build pipelines that are strong enough to onboard, nurture and develop leaders. Without this, there is a substantial impact on company culture and business success.
What is a talent pipeline?
A talent pipeline is a pool of potentially qualified candidates that an organization or HR team keeps in its database for immediate job vacancies and future opportunities. This pool can include internal employees who have shown the promise of taking on different or more senior roles, as well as external candidates that you may have spoken to previously or come across through referrals and job portals.
This relationship-first approach to hiring is proactive, strategic, and saves time and money. Talent pipelines can also be maintained at different levels – C-suite executives, senior managers, managers, team leads, associates, and freshers. This effective grouping ensures when the need arises, hiring teams are reaching out to the suitable candidates in each category.
Multi-fold benefits of creating a pipeline:
- Save time and money: With shortened time spent in searching for new candidates, an organization can save money and reduce their cost per hire. With a talent pipeline in place, there is less need to expand one’s search or spend too much time in convincing a candidate.
- Ready for a rainy day: If a senior manager who has been leading the reigns for years together decides to move on, you don’t want your business to be left in a lurch. When HR teams have a pipeline in place, it ensures minimum disruption, both for the company and the team. The time to hire a replacement is reduced, keeping morale intact, too. And, if there is an internal employee who fits the vacancy, HR teams can also make informed decisions about promotions.
- Better candidates: With a proactive approach where relationships are nurtured over time, there is a higher chance of hiring better candidates. Rather than rushing and hiring the first or second-best option at hand, the pool ensures no dearth of qualified and capable talent.
- Business success: With money saved, minimum disruption, and talented candidates, there is a better chance sales and overall business will continue to thrive, despite a change in manpower. Even a company’s culture will not have an overbearing impact.
How to build a talent pipeline?
- Go back to the basics: Start with analyzing your manpower structure to evaluate possible gaps in the future and expected challenges. This way, you have a base plan in place if one of the building blocks of your structure is not there.
- Start sourcing: You will have to spend ample time browsing through job portals, Google listings, social media platforms, portfolio sites, etc. You might even have to put out ads. Connect with candidates. See if they fit the bill in terms of criteria that you or your organization have in mind. Be slow and strategic in your approach. After all, you are looking for quality candidates.
- Nurture your pool: Engage with them regularly once you’ve started filling up the pipeline. It’s time to begin nurturing your candidates by connecting in an efficient, personalized way. You don’t want to come off as ‘spammy,’ nor do you want to be forgotten. You can automate personalized campaigns, too, if a one-to-one approach is time-consuming. Nurturing your pool is essential if you want candidates to say yes when a vacancy arises.
Talent pipelines and leadership
Maintaining a talent pipeline is directly related to leadership. Building better leaders committed and dedicated to your brand starts with the first impression they get when engaging with HR teams. When a leader is motivated and doing an outstanding job, their team will follow suit. This improves the retention rate and ensures better output from leaders and their teams.
For existing leaders – Let’s say a leader loses a team member. There is often a worry about how it might impact the rest of the team morally or how performance and metrics might be affected. When suitable replacements are found quickly, there is little to no disruption.
Potential leaders – With a talent pipeline in place, it helps foster and develop new leaders. Firstly, new candidates are already having a warm and positive experience with the organization when engaging with HR representatives. There is more motivation to work hard and show exceptional results. This improves the chances of them staying longer with the organization and taking on leadership positions over time. Secondly, HR can spend time understanding the leadership qualities in candidates and if they might make suitable leaders in the organization. So, when the time comes for promotions or replacing a leader with an internal resource, informed recommendations can be made. And lastly, when the said candidates take on leadership positions, they will have a robust, holistic, and committed approach to building and managing their own teams.
Building a pipeline can go a long way to ensuring an organization runs smoothly, maintains its sales and revenue targets, and achieves business success even with manpower changes.