Return on investments from talent community management
The concept of pro-active talent pooling and Talent Community Management (TCM) is becoming widely spread. To a large extent though, the whole topic is still immature and a number of fundamental elements remain often uncovered. For example, what is the main driver of a good return on investment (ROI) in TCM?
In our view and experience, one of the keys to an optimal ROI lies in the accurate definition of the right pool of talent to proactively build and manage. The more targeted and the more relevant the pool, the higher the ROI. Why? Let’s look at elements backing that argument under the lens of the expected benefits associated with TCM: Speed (decreased time to hire), Cost (lower agency or search firm usage) and Quality (larger pool of candidates and a better fit).
Speed: the more groundwork in identifying, qualifying and screening has been done during the creation of the pool, the faster the hiring process will be once an actual vacancy appears. A targeted pool forces this to happen upfront, whereas a broader pool leaves more of the work to a latter stage (think niche pool of SAP experts vs. all ERP experts).
Cost: from a direct cost perspective a larger pool will take more time and effort to build and more investment to manage. From an indirect cost perspective, a broad generic pool will lack depth (i.e. will cover lots of profiles with few people vs. lots of people for a smaller set of profiles) and the use of agencies or search firms might still be necessary if the required candidates are not found in the pool.
Quality: the smaller and the more targeted the pool, the more intimate and the richer the interaction between its members will be. In addition, a smaller pool allows for more high-touch CRM activities with line managers and human resource professionals from the company, and hence a deeper binding of the candidates.
The key to defining the most relevant pools and achieving the highest ROI is therefore Workforce Planning (WFP). If a formal and regular WFP process hasn’t been implemented, at minimum, a rich conversation needs to happen at the outset between HR and Line Management to identify future talent needs and critical roles that have unclear internal succession solutions. Indeed, the best ROI is obtained from pools that address recurring or critical needs. TCM for recurring roles has a strong impact on hiring speed and indirect cost. TCM for critical roles produces strong benefits in terms of speed and quality (cost is less a driver for critical roles).
Finally, the world is clearly not static and what was the right pool yesterday might not reflect the needs of tomorrow. We therefore view the process of workforce planning and validating of the relevance of the existing pools as an iterative rather than a one-off exercise.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.
President Europe, Middle East & Africa