Last year, I saw something at a conference that surprised me. A speaker asked an audience of about 100 human resources professionals – who has a kickass talent acquisition function. The surprise? Not one person raised their hand.
I get it. Recruiting is tough right now. But not one person raised their hand. I could understand if half of the audience didn’t raise their hand, but not one. It was eye-opening for sure.
The speaker turned the conversation toward the reasons that recruiting is struggling to meet the needs of the organization. Whether it’s candidate quality, time to fill, cost per hire…or any combination of…there’s a disconnect.
But it occurred to me as the discussion was taking place that part of the solution lies in the organization’s talent development efforts. I know it’s tempting to think of talent development as simply the newfangled word for training, but it really is more than that. Talent development also includes career management and development, organizational development, and activities like succession planning.
All things employees want.
I happen to believe that, in order to become good at talent development activities like succession planning, you must understand recruiting. Think about it. How can you create a plan to develop talent within the company if you don’t understand where and how to attract the best talent? How can you manage a plan to develop talent within the organization if you don’t understand what talent needs to be development (versus hired from the outside)?
Conversely, recruiters need to understand talent development. They need to know that the candidates being hired will fit into the organization’s succession and/or replacement plans. They also need to understand how the company’s programs will elevate the candidate’s skills to fit the future needs of the organization.
I completely understand the need for specialization. Some people say the human resources generalist is dead. But this doesn’t mean that we are absolved of our responsibility to understand how the pieces of the HR function fit together. Both talent acquisition and development professionals need to use the same talent terms. I heard a couple of new ones during this session:
Ready Now – Short referring to employees who are able to assume new roles during the next 1-2 years.
Ready Now – Long meaning employees who are able to assume new roles during the next 3-5 years.
This does raise the question: in addition to thinking about the talent pipeline, it’s necessary to think about where the business will be short term (1-2 years) and long term (3-5 years). Both talent development and acquisition professionals must be able to identify and develop skills that the company doesn’t even need yet.
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Organizations continue to be challenged with finding and keeping the best talent. While one aspect to solving this challenge is looking at company culture, another piece is making sure that the company’s efforts to hire and development talent are aligned with the business. Recruiting and training specialists need to learn about each other’s roles and collaborate to deliver – and develop – the best talent.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking on Human Resources change in Reykjavik, Iceland2