Key Elements of an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy

“Ultimately, recruiting and hiring data can be correlated with business outcomes, such as increased revenue, which positions talent acquisition as a strategic function in the business.” ~Ji-A Min, Head Data scientist, Ideal Candidate

SHRM Hawaii members gathered on April 30 for a presentation by Scott Ferrin, SHRM-SCP, CAE, PMP, and Field Services Director for the SHRM National Western District to learn about the Key Elements of an Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy.

Scott’s presentation centered around methods for meeting the challenge many employers face in differentiating themselves in an increasingly competitive talent market. Scott shared just how tight the employment marketplace is and discussed how we have seen the number of new jobs created exceeding new unemployment claims for the first time in decades. This tight labor market is made even more challenging as Baby Boomers retire or downsize their careers.  In this competitive environment, the smart business will focus on employment branding and differentiation to attract new employees — and development of the existing workforce. Investing in your people is critical to both retention and winning the talent war.

What your current employees say about your company predicts how well the business can attract and retain the best talent available, and ensure your organization has the right people, with the right skills, who are in the right job and are working against the right requirements.

Scott covered various aspects of Recruitment vs Talent Acquisition, and creating an effective talent acquisition strategy using six key elements:

  1. Conduct workforce planning: Learn what’s important to your employees and make succession planning part of the company’s strategic business plan.
  2. Build your employer brand: Are you an organization people want to work with? Build a career site that sells what it’s like to work for your company and not just job listings.
  3. Source and recruit job candidates: Look for candidates internally first and foremost as a resource; employees value career development opportunities and upward mobility, which is also one of the keys to retention.
  4. Leverage recruiting technology: Social media has become a big driver of your brand and perception as a company. In a recent SHRM survey, 43% of employers reported that social media is the top source of quality hires.
  5. Develop an effective onboarding program: To maximize retention, employers must look past the basic new hire orientation and 90-day review process. Today’s best practice is continuation onboarding of top talent for up to a year. The most effective way to accomplish this is to assign a mentor to each new hire.
  6. Utilize data analytics: Stop “feel and thinking” and start measuring! While there is no one-size-fits-all metric, Scott noted the importance of tracking and analyzing KPIs for data-driven decision-making.

Another takeaway was the eye-opening fact that a whopping 80% of today’s jobs that pay less than $25/hour will likely be replaced by machines. Not necessarily robots, just simple machines like the self-checkout devices at the grocery store and self-service order kiosks at fast-food restaurants. Scott recommended forward-thinking about future job descriptions: Where is the job going? This underscored the importance of internal workforce development and reskilling of current employees as vital for talent retention – and how this leads to increased productivity when workers see themselves as agents of change.

The presentation included a perspective on how hiring the wrong person leads to a domino effect of bad decisions: Bad Hires Have Cost Zappos Over $100 Million

Thank you to Scott Ferrin for making his slide deck available to attendees, and the $20 gift cards for a discount on SHRM National membership renewal. Many thanks also go out to Jackie DeLuz, Vice President at Big Island Toyota, and Team DeLuz for complimentary use of their corporate training room facilities. And mahalo nui loa to my co-organizers and SHRM Hawaii leaders Bill Brown, Manager, Human Resources and Administration, at W.M. Keck Observatory (who also contributed to this blog post), and Amy Nordin, Director of Human Resources, at Cyanotech, for bringing this program to both Kailua-Kona and Hilo. It’s a great pleasure working with you all as part of the SHRM Educational Foundation’s Hawaii Island District.