Creating an Effective Candidate Care Strategy
It’s no secret that there is a global talent shortage. While this shortage is most pronounced in industries with jobs that require special skills and experience, there is a growing concern that this shortage will significantly impact more businesses in the not too distant future.
While I am aware of some debate about the reality of this shortage, consider these findings from PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey.
- 63% of CEO’s said availability of skills was a serious concern.
- 93% of CEO’s said they recognized the need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent.
- While 39% reported an improvement of trust between employer and employee, will this translate to employee loyalty?
Even though most everyone understands the nature and scope of this challenge, many organizations continue to deal with talent acquisition as a mechanical process.
Rather than being strategic, most job searches are tactical. They are usually posted internally and externally based on past experience. Those tasked with finding talent are often under-resourced and balancing a variety of other HR functions. Candidates who send in resumes or contact the organization may never receive any communication from that organization!
I have seen a number of surveys revealing a significant gap between CEO and senior human resource alignment. Many CEO’s don’t believe their internal human resource departments are up to the task of attracting the necessary talent. Senior human resource executives are frustrated by their exclusion from the highest level where talent acquisition strategies are created.
Despite the increasing complexity and urgency of this challenge, the production process continues. There is an alternative, it’s a Candidate Care strategy. Senior leaders are realizing the value of turning job applicants into brand ambassadors, sometimes these ambassadors are telling others about open positions in a company even when they have been turned down.
A Challenging Landscape
The competition for skilled resources is fierce and it’s global. The globalization of the workforce means workers have an increasing array of options. Many industries are changing their business model in an effort to fill their product pipeline with innovative new products. Finding talent with specialized skills and experience in science, math and technology is increasingly difficult.
In an effort to reduce risk and costs, the Pharmaceutical industry scaled back their new product research resources, choosing instead to outsource this function to CDMO’s, (organizations that specialize in development and manufacturing for their clients). Another option is waiting until a more innovative company develops and brings a new product to market, then purchasing the company.
For companies using mergers & acquisitions to strategically grow their business, combining resources often creates organizational stress due to the workforce reductions typically required to justify the promised new efficiencies. These scenarios add to the challenge of trying to retain qualified talent.
What is Candidate Care?
Company executives expect their marketing resources to develop and articulate their product or services unique value proposition (UVP). Without a clear positioning strategy, it’s almost impossible to differentiate one product or service from the competition. But how many companies create an employee value proposition (EVP)?
Candidate Care is a talent acquisition strategy that encompasses all facets of the talent acquisition process based on a clearly defined EVP. Firms leveraging this strategy recognize that every interaction throughout this process is a branding opportunity.
Effective Candidate Care strategies elevate talent acquisition strategies to the highest levels in the organization, and most importantly, they respect the time and effort of all candidates.
Why is it important?
Some of the most qualified candidates are not actively searching for a job. First they must be identified, next they’ll need to be sold on the opportunity. Once convinced, a consistent experience plays a crucial role in determining the ultimate outcome.
Creating a compelling employee value proposition requires input, commitment, and involvement at all levels in the organization; it’s a strategy not a tactic. Without senior level support there is little hope for the substantive change required to implement this kind of strategy.
What is the goal?
The goal of Candidate Care is consistently sourcing, screening, selecting and onboarding qualified candidates in a manner that aligns with the company’s EVP and builds a positive brand experience for all stakeholders.
Respecting the time and effort of all who express any interest in a company helps to build a positive brand awareness, even for prospects who are screened out of the search process. Sometimes applicants who don’t qualify recommend other candidates.
What is the first step?
Focus on the candidate experience from their perspective. How do they find out about opportunities in your organization? Think about the different options at their disposal. To do this, I believe an ecosystem map is helpful.
An ecosystem map is a diagram that identifies potential touchpoints for those seeking opportunities in your company. I like this exercise because it encompasses options outside the formal processes in an organization.
Often there are an array of resources outside the purview of an organization. While you can’t manage these, it’s important to recognize their potential influence. The ecosystem map is not a static document; continue to refine and update it as you become aware of additional resources.
What’s the next step?
Once you’ve created the ecosystem map it’s time to identify the specific internal journey. From the very first request until the onboarding process is successfully completed, define this journey. Even though you probably have all the procedures and documents, the process of drawing a diagram or flow chart is a useful exercise.
If possible, I recommend creating this as a group that includes members of other functions. If you already have the procedures in place, consider this practice as an audit of the process. Try to identify any gaps or shortcomings in the journey. Seek feedback from each of the stakeholders.
Review the ecosystem and journey maps on a regular basis, the specific review frequency may vary. Remember the ecosystem is dynamic so a regular review process will help to ensure that the internal journey doesn’t have any gaps. This must be a group effort. Make sure all appropriate stakeholders are involved. Ask for input from those regularly involved in the process.