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HOW TO: Build & Maintain A Talent Community

What is a talent community?

According to Wikipedia:

A talent community is a collection of social cliques (or talent networks) of people that are part of the job seeking process. These people may be seeking a job themselves, offering career advice to others, recruitment professionals, college campus recruiters, sourcers, and friends seeking jobs or advice. Talent communities inherently provide 2-way interaction between the individuals.

A talent community is not a list of candidates on a web page or in a spreadsheet; it is an environment consisting of people who can share ideas for the purpose of career networking or social recruiting of candidates.

Employers can interact and communicate with prospective employees as well as inform candidates about employment opportunities, receive referrals, and handpick qualified individuals from inside the group. A talent community can include prospective candidates, past applicants, current employees, and past employees. Talent Communities are managed by recruiters and/or hiring managers.

The benefits of building a talent community

  • Qualified candidates at your fingertips
  • Less dependence on expensive, ineffective job boards
  • Less money spent on job advertisements
  • Increased interaction with potential candidates in order to help them understand what your organization does
  • Better quality of applicants to job openings
  • Creates a talent pipeline for future job openings
  • Attracts passive candidates

How to build your talent community

Turn your “careers” page into a central hub for past (“alumni”) employees, interested candidates, recruiters, hiring managers and current employees. Incorporate tools for communication and interaction to drive conversations in your talent community. Provide an exclusive look into your organization, its employees and the culture behind the company. Use video, multimedia, photos, testimonials, etc.

Create smaller talent “networks” within your talent community to target specific audiences.

Social recruiting solutions (such as Cachinko) provide separate plugins or an overall solution for managing talent.

Maintaining your talent community

When you start engaging candidates through a talent community, it’s important to continue to provide value on a regular basis. There are a variety of ways to do so, such as sending updates or an e-newsletter, providing additional information on new job openings and internship programs, creating contests, writing blog posts, or connecting via social media.

ERE.net author Kevin Wheeler said in an article about talent communities, “Communities of candidates are powerful and reduce the need for special sourcing or the use of outside recruiters. They can increase the number of positions a single recruiter can handle and provide higher quality candidates in a shorter time. They always trump databases.”

What do you think? Ready to start building your talent community today?

Vitality of New Talent Engagement

In the original Toy Story – the toys didn’t understand why Buzz Lightyear thought he was real. They tried everything they could to have him “get it,” but he resisted and resisted all the cues around him until it was almost too late. Thankfully Woody saved him and Buzz finally was part of the gang.

Sound like work to you?

When new employees join your company, you assume that they should just jump right in and know all of the established traditions and norms of your culture. Different than Toy Story though, we just expect newbies to simply “get it.” It is astonishing how quickly we forget that we were once new at a company because existing employees fall into the trap of “assumed culture.”

For instance, your office practices Casual Friday, but you don’t tell the new hire. You all go out to a certain restaurant for Chinese Tuesday, but don’t even see if the new person in your department wants to go – or if they even like Chinese.

HR and hiring leaders are notorious for this. We spend so much time during new hire orientation on paperwork, manuals and a facility tour that we miss the chance to educate new folks on the company’s workplace culture. This needs to change. You can’t aspire to be a great place to work if you don’t work on engaging people from the first time you contact them as a candidate through the entire process when they get to join you.

Leaders – Take the time to be Woody. Go out of your way to do everything you can to break through to the new hires in your company to make sure that they learn ALL of the culture around them. What you’ll find is how awesome they really are and that they will add to your unique culture.

Don’t let anyone just exist. Be intentional and engage. It’s vital for company growth and creating a positive workplace culture.

Workplace Culture Fatigue: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney, one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Fortune recently released their annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which takes into account such factors as internal mobility, inclusion/diversity, employee training and satisfaction, among a litany of seemingly disparate criteria that, together, comprise what’s often referred to as “Corporate Culture.

It’s no surprise that the companies on Fortune’s list are widely recognized, in best practices publications and in recruitment literature, for having developed distinct and unique corporate cultures designed to attract, develop and retain top talent.  After all, it’s culture that defines the best (and the worst) places to work.

For HR professionals, Recruiters and Executive Leadership, culture is often a top down directive, but its employees on the front lines who truly define a corporate culture and create its impact.  Culture’s a lot like meetings and memos: it’s an inescapable, and inevitable, part of the employee (and candidate) experience.

That’s why “fit” is so important to talent acquisition and development; but what does it take for new employees, their managers, executive leadership and customers to fit in, and thrive, in a unique corporate/workplace culture?

Join the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT. We also enjoy hearing from our global community and hope you can join from wherever you might be. Let’s explore what companies can do to create, implement and evolve the kind of corporate culture which drives employee satisfaction, engagement and ultimately, bottom line results.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 1.25.11

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some background reading, to help prepare and inform the #TChat conversation.  While this isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s #TChat action, we suggest checking out these articles by top career advice and talent management thought leaders to explore the possibilities (and pitfalls) of workplace culture:

Q1) In 3 words, describe the culture of your current/recent employer; was it the culture that lured you there or that drove you away?

Read: Personality and Corporate Culture: Where’s A Person To Fit?

Q2) In “Employment Rage”, Howard Adamsky wrote, “Corporate America is not human.” If this is so, does culture really matter?

Read: The New Rules of Engagement (Excerpt from “Employment Rage”)

Q3) What is your definition of “office politics” and how does it impact hiring and retention?

Read: Office Politics: How Well Do You Play the Game?

Q4)  What tools does your company use to assess “fit” during recruiting; how do these “track” to your culture?

Read: Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent

Q5) What should CEOs be doing to create and lead a culture that generates shareholder value and what is this “value”?

Read: The Cornerstone of An Engaged Workforce Culture

Q6) What should all employees be doing to develop a culture that generates shareholder value?

Read: It’s Not the Stupid Culture; It’s the Culture, Stupid!

Q7) How would you conduct a workplace culture audit? How often should this be repeated?

Read: Practical Ways To Address Employee Engagement

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

#TChat is brought to you by @TalentCulture, @MeghanMBiro, @KevinWGrossman, @monster_works, and @MonsterWW – They will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

5 Simple, Affordable Ways to Retain Workplace Talent

Offer professional development opportunities

Professional development doesn’t have to be time-consuming—or expensive. There are many inexpensive or free resources available today to continue the learning process for talented employees. Follow industry blogs, read magazines and whitepapers, and check out the latest books in the field for opportunities to share with your current employees. Be on the lookout for webinars, teleseminars, Twitter chats, and conferences that they may be interested in attending—and determine how your company can help make that happen.

Think about how you can provide a better work-life balance

Telecommuting, virtual meeting and flexible time off policies are all highly desired qualities in a workplace. Many top performers are constantly striving to maintain an ideal work-life balance because they are innately hard workers. Examine your internal policies to see if you can make this balancing act easier for your employees.

Provide a variety of projects to keep the work interesting and meaningful

No one wants to work at a job for the rest of their life where they do the same thing every day. Employees want to feel that their work is making a difference to the organization and its audiences. Talented employees crave challenging tasks that can add to their skills and growth as a professional. Cross-training and team projects are a great way to provide additional opportunities.

Look into tuition reimbursement initiatives

If an employee yearns to go back to school to complete another degree or certification, determine how the organization can help them make that happen by helping out with costs.

Provide quality feedback in a timely manner

Instead of waiting for an annual or semi-annual performance review, give your employees feedback about their tasks as soon as possible after completion. Feedback is an important piece of workplace satisfaction—even if it’s a simple “Great work!” e-mail or note.

Looking for more ways to retain top performing employees? Susan M. Heathfield in an article on About.com outlines the following 10 ten ways to retain great employees:

  • Management thinkers agree that a satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him every day at work.
  • The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention.
  • The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organization is another key factor in employee retention.
  • Talent and skill utilization is another environmental factor your key employees seek in your workplace.
  • The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important in employee retention.
  • The easiest to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training.
  • Your best employees, those employees you want to retain, seek frequent opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, knowledge and skill.
  • A common place complaint or lament I hear during an exit interview is that the employee never felt senior managers knew he existed.
  • No matter the circumstances, never, never, ever threaten an employee’s job or income.
  • Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated.

Does your company have any unusual or non-traditional tactics for retaining talent? I’d love to hear them!

The New Old World is the Power of Network: #TChat Recap

This is personal.

As it is for anyone right now looking for work.

A recent Monster+HotJobs poll found that 98% of American workers are “primed and ready” to look for a new job in 2011, their optimism buoyed by a recovering employment and economic picture.  (Read the entire pre-TChat post from @MattCharney at Monster Thinking here. Kudos to Matt and his moderation last night!)

And anecdotally speaking, one of my old background screening clients told me yesterday that business has spiked dramatically the past 3-4 months.  It’s across the board of industry and positions, but it’s primarily churn hiring — a musical chairs if you will — which validates the exodus chanting of late.

Combine that with the folks who have been out of work looking for work and you’ve got one heck of a job hunting mob.

Torches lit, walking arm in arm, resumes spellchecked (well, some spellchecked), outfits dry cleaned and pressed, breath mints in mouths, smart phones in hand ready to taser their respective employees and references alike…

This is the new old world of job hunting and hiring, and its landscape is familiar yet radically stranger than it’s ever been.

Here were the questions from last night’s #TChat:

  • Q1 – Jobseekers: What do you think of when you hear about “old world” job hunting?
  • Q2 – Jobseekers: What is the freshest new idea that you’ve used in your job search and has it worked for you?
  • Q3 – Jobseekers: From your experiences, how would you describe how companies are hiring today?
  • Q4 – Recruiters: What are some of the most egregious “mistakes” jobseekers are making?
  • Q5 – Talent Managers: What can jobseekers and employees do to better manage their careers?
  • Q6 – All – Which matters more to candidates and recruiters: the job or the possibilities of what the job might lead to?

You can read the transcript here from the many fine folk who participated last night.  Lots of great recommendations, many tried and true, and many more that were kind of new.

But for me, new old world is all about the power of “network” — and not just the online connections either.  You have to get on the phone, on the Webcam, and meet in person as much as possible.  This goes for both job seekers and employers.

You must maximize your network investment. Meaning, invest in building one out first. Then pay it forward and pay it back.  We are all informal mentors to each other.

Great question from last night:  Doesn’t anyone do informational interviews anymore?  That’s a great way to network as well.

Here are the top contributors from last night:

  1. @talentculture – 263
  2. @HRMargo – 92
  3. @dawnrasmussen – 91
  4. @meghanmbiro – 86
  5. @jillianwalker – 84
  6. @JeffWaldmanHR – 80
  7. @IanMondrow – 77
  8. @KevinWGrossman – 76
  9. @juliaerickson – 52
  10. @levyrecruits – 46

The greatest single predictor of one’s success and happiness during a time of challenge, every single time, is one’s social support network.

Torches lit, walking arm in arm.  It’s time to light up the business world, kids.



2011 Workplace Culture Predictions and Commentary: #TChat Recap

It was almost like science fiction.

Almost.

The fact that last night’s #TChat was about 2011 workplace culture predictions and commentary, and we as pseudo-soothsayers and part-time prophets were locked in a post-economic-apocalyptic vault painting the walls with phosphorescent Twiffiti.

Some of which was right on the bottom line, and some of which was, well, not.  Smart, but not.

Here were the questions:

  • Q1: Given what you believe to be true – and factual – will 2011 bring more or less net hiring – and why?
  • Q2: In 2011 will there be a change in rate of A-player exodus? Why or why not? If yes, initiatives can be taken to improve retention?
  • Q3: Will innovation and R&D be taken off life support this year? If yes, what leadership initiatives can be taken to drive it?
  • Q4: Leadership development always on the lips of executives, analysts but will this be the year organizations invest? Why or not?
  • Q5: Managing greater mobile/contingent workforce appears significant business initiative; what are orgs doing to ensure its success?
  • Q6: Social networking will continue to be a critical marketing and recruiting tool, but will the ROI be there?

Some things that struck me were:

  • Hiring will pick up (and is), but there just won’t be enough jobs for all those unemployed, and more of the jobs are in emerging economies outside the U.S.  Read this and that.
  • The contingent workforce will be on the rise.
  • Virtual mobility will be on the rise.
  • Although no one likes to work for jerks, A-players will only jump if they have viable opportunities to jump to, or they get the entrepreneurial bug.
  • Barriers of entry into many markets are so few these days that the companies that want to stay in business never stopped innovating, and investing in R&D, and collaborative partnerships, and marketing, and business development…

I’m telling you — the vault was aglow with prime Twiffiti. You should view the transcript if you have a moment.  Over 300 contributors this week, the top 10 of which were:

  • @talentculture – 249
  • @meghanmbiro – 151
  • @KevinWGrossman – 73
  • @HRMargo – 67
  • @LevyRecruits – 60
  • @JeffWaldmanHR – 58
  • @IanMondrow – 58
  • @dawnrasmussen – 56
  • @CyndyTrivella – 55
  • @ValueIntoWords – 46

Next Tuesday, January 11, from 5-6 p.m. PT/8-9 p.m. ET, we’re tackling The New Old World of Job Hunting and Hiring.

Now, how do I get this glowing paint off my hands?