Talent Acquisition: The Primary Benefactor of the “Big 3”
When we talk about leadership, culture, and engagement – the “Big 3” – we often refer to existing team members… those who already contribute to the success of our organizations. And that makes sense; we certainly want current employees to feel valued and to contribute to a positive, productive company culture.
However, the Big 3 also has a major impact on another critical aspect of our long-term success: recruiting.
A Brief History of Recruiting
In the old days – or, rather, in the “old school” days – we’d post an ad in the Sunday newspaper and wait for the mail to arrive or the fax machine to ring; this was how we knew a job seeker had applied.
Then along came the internet – and with it, monstrous job boards, career building job boards, local job boards, professional association job boards and niche job boards. Indeed, all the applicant had to do was click the ‘Apply Now’ button and good things happened.
Human resources… stopped being human.
With that creative destruction, however, came a series of unfortunate side effects…
Human resources departments, drowning in the volume of applications and sensing the desperation of the job seekers, began hiding behind ATS processes (virtually) and huge CRT monitors on their desks (literally). They stopped answering the phone. They failed to return voice mails and emails.
Human resources… stopped being human.
They stopped caring. They stopped leading. They stopped engaging. Human Resources, via a terrible (but widely accepted as “just the way it is now”) candidate experience, became the very opposite of a catalyst for a positive, productive company culture.
Then Along Came Social Media
Fueled by frustration and smelling a rat, candidates became unwilling to accept carefully-crafted messages from a potential employer about what a great company they were to work for. So – in Twitter chats, Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups and Q&A sites – they started asking a really good question:
“What is it really like to work for ABC Company?”
And they got lots of answers. Good answers. Yes, filtering of the trolls-feeding-on-sour-grapes (as well as those a bit too excited about the company) became necessary. However, the end result was considered far more reliable than company sound bites and regurgitated recruiting copy.
After all, who is a job seeker more likely to believe? Those, who have already shown they don’t care? Or those “objective” souls on Glassdoor, Quora and LinkedIn?
Social media enables alternative opinions; it amplifies dissenting voices.
The Worst Kind of Hypocrisy
That is how many candidates perceive a company who talks a good game, but their reality seems much different.
Take a real-world organization that – on their beautifully-written ‘About Us’ and ‘Careers’ pages – talks about how much they care about team members, what an innovative, open company culture their employees enjoy and how their founders are considered collaborative innovators who have been recognized by their industry for… blah, blah, blah.
And then – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups and job seeker dedicated forums – quite the opposite seem true. The founders, while Steve-Jobs-brilliant, are thought of as ill-tempered autocrats who expect every employee to work well into the evenings and weekends without compensation; the direction of the company seems to change every time the VCs visit; and, those nap pods, for months, have been used more for storage than power sleep.
Social media enables alternative opinions; it amplifies dissenting voices. As a result, candidates are more informed. They know better. The foosball and ping pong tables in the break area fool no one.
The Best Kind of Employer
Of course, smart organizations like Whole Foods, TOMS, Taco Bell and Northrup Grumman have embraced this new reality. They deliberately, actively listen. Based on the social criticism, they act to improve. They admit their mistakes and failures. Both online and in the office, they are accountable.
They deliberately, actively listen.
It is these companies that a new candidate perceives as authentic. They’ve shown leadership. They demonstrated a willingness to engage. Their organizational culture is continuously improving.
In other words: after digital due diligence is performed, both the active and passive job seeker says:
“This is the kind of company I want to work for!”
The result is simple: top talent migrates toward these companies (and away from the old-school orgs afraid to listen and too bureaucratic to change). Recruiting becomes largely a matter of mining employee referrals. Hiring becomes less about messaging, advertising and compliance – and more about picking from the best available talent for each open position.
And talent acquisition – without a doubt – becomes the primary benefactor of motivating leadership, mutually-beneficial engagement and an open, caring culture.
How is the “Big 3” helping (or hurting) your ability to attract world-class team members? What would have to change so leadership, engagement, and culture became a competitive advantage for your recruiting teams and hiring managers? Let’s discuss…
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