Must-Read Highlights from SAP #SAPPHIRENOW

Best week ever? Best week ever.

My week was an all-time highlight because I was in Orlando for SAP’s #SAPPHIRENOW. I’ve been to a lot of conferences, but this one was incredible. I won’t bury the lede: It was mostly such a high for me because I got to see former President Barack Obama speak on Monday. Being in the room with someone I respect so deeply was incredibly moving for me. His message was about the power of great teams and how you can’t really fake or easily recreate that special sauce known as culture. I cried when he wrapped up. For reals…

His message was one of hope. Why is he so hopeful, even in such divisive times? Because of the young people he meets. He believes in the power of people, and he called on everyone in the room to find ways to use technology to train the next generation of leaders, bring them together, create organic networks, remove the isolation we’re all battling and encourage them.

But wait, there’s more! I was also encouraged by the many other leaders and speakers I talked to this week. Here’s a sampling of what they taught me.

Making Work More Human

Human resources is about humans, and that’s what Thrive Global and SAP want to remind people about. I talked to Ruslan Tovbulatov and Kristi Sanders about the partnership between SAP and Thrive Global. Ruslan described the Thrive Global mission as being to end stress and burnout, help people find purpose and meaning and guide people on how to manage their relationship with technology.

Thrive Global is partnering with SAP to make an impact on how people work. “There’s a culture of being always on that’s really impacting people’s ability to create,” Kristi says. So, the two companies are creating a new model to proactively support employees and encourage them to bring their whole selves to work. That “whole self” model includes all aspects of wellness, including body, mind and purpose.

The new program, called Well-Being at Work, is powered by SAP SuccessFactors Work-Life. The tech brings the vision to life, providing real-time insights into employees’ well-being, and making targeted recommendations to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

Making Well-Being a Priority

I also talked to Sophie Leguillette, head of global marketing at SAP SuccessFactors. She described her recent experience training for a marathon, which helped her manage the stress of her career. She was focused on personal well-being, and gave herself permission to train for the marathon even though she worried she might lag at work. Her team at SAP was completely supportive, actively encouraging her to succeed. That’s the secret sauce, people — purpose-driven cultures create better outcomes.

Delivering a Better Experience

In marketing, “experience” is a hot buzzword. A company’s success rests on how well it can build a positive customer experience. Stefan Ries, CHRO at SAP, is also bullish on experience — the employee experience.

HR leaders have a “golden opportunity to change the paradigm,” he says. He watches B2C companies and studies how they create great experiences for customers. Then he tries to use the same principles to create great experiences for employees. “It’s all about the experience,” he says. “If I can’t deliver that, I need to change how HR works as a function.”


What Small Businesses Are Saying About the Recruitment Process

 “People make the ultimate difference” Bill McDermott, CEO SAP

Even the best ideas can fail. Success is never guaranteed. It is dependent upon the talent, drive, and compatibility of human beings. Companies don’t just need bodies – they need people who have the talent and skills to meet the job requirements, and are a good fit for the team. Recruitment, therefore, is high stakes, mission-critical work.

To learn more about how crucial recruitment efforts are managed, particularly in small business, we surveyed 2,341 business professionals responsible for recruitment activities. Of those surveyed, 50% were in HR and 50% were in the lines of business. The survey included professionals in the US, the UK, and France across a range of industries, with an emphasis on retail, hospitality, and healthcare. All participants represented companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Our comprehensive report details specific findings; broadly, we learned the following:


Multiple, Unrelated Responsibilities

95.2% of those surveyed also had additional job duties including employee training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and workforce planning (not to mention line of business responsibilities).

WorkConnect Chart

97.0% performed multiple functions within recruitment – some combination of managing candidate searches, interviewing candidates, tracking applicants, and making hiring decisions. Individuals dedicated solely to recruitment does not appear to be typical in companies of fewer than 500 employees.

WorkConnect Link

In addition to other duties and activities, 58.7% of respondents hired 10 or more people in the previous 12 months, indicating there are multiple candidate searches being managed at any given time.

Number of New Hires

Time pressure to make hires

94.3% indicated that urgency to fill the role was a key factor in the level of difficulty involved in filling an open position. Even in markets where it is common to give two weeks or more notice before leaving a position, time pressure to hire still exists across the three markets. Given the rhythm of business today and employee loyalty dynamics (e.g., job hopping), there is a narrow window between approval to fill an open position and the need to have someone functioning in that position.

Growth and evolution are main triggers

84.4% indicated that a factor prompting new hires was growth and evolution including business growth, expansion, evolving job requirements, and restructured roles. The remainder indicated the trigger was more “functional” in nature (sick or maternity leave, retirement, normal turnover, seasonal workforce, increasing overtime). This indicates a strong strategic nature to hiring activities, increasing the stakes for finding candidates that are a good fit for evolving organizations.

Prompts for New Hires

Lots of manual effort

Use of online job boards or career websites is high (72.7%), as is use of software specifically to support the hiring process (61.4%).

Still, 56.7% use printed documents and 51.7% use spreadsheets to manage hiring activities. This generally means printing resumes, manually marking them up and sorting them according to level of interest, and then using XL to track applicants through the interview process.

94.7% indicated two or more people are involved in the hiring process even though this level of manual effort is not conducive to team collaboration.

Offline Tools for Hiring


Tight labor pools

It’s a candidate’s market: 96.5% of respondents say quality of available candidates is a factor that influences the difficulty of filling a job, 92.5% say availability of candidates is a factor, and 90.3% say competition for candidates is a factor.

Tight labor pools


Inefficient processes

In this environment, where there is time pressure to make hires and it’s challenging to find good candidates, 77.7% of respondents say completing the hiring process in an efficient and time-saving way is a challenge.

Across the hiring process, 78.6% say managing postings on multiple job boards is a challenge, 76.5% indicated that keeping track of applicant status and follow-ups is challenging, and 75.7% say consolidating and organizing feedback from co-workers is a challenge.

Given these dynamics it’s not surprising that people involved with recruiting want the following:

Access to more qualified candidates 92.30%
Easier to manage job posts 84.80%
More lead time for recruitment 84.10%
Easier to collaborate with peers during candidate evaluation 83.60%
More accessible database of previous job descriptions 82.70%
More automation / less paper 80.90%
Better applicant tracking software 80.50%
More budget to promote job posts 77.40%
More staff to support hiring 74.60%

Individuals tasked with recruitment – HR and hiring managers – are craving a better way. They want access to more and better candidates, they want to move away from printing documents and filing them in folders, and they want a better way to collect, aggregate, and store coworker feedback. Ultimately, they want to find ways to move and act more quickly.

People involved in recruitment are operating under some very challenging conditions. There is a tremendous opportunity to make things easier for them by enabling better business processes like hiring triggers, job descriptions, job posting, and collaboration. The hiring process is calling for tools and technology to support the end-to-end lifecycle.

This article was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and originally appeared on WorkConnect by SAP.

A New Study Reveals the Top 3 Barriers to Efficient Recruitment

Recruiting is High Stakes

Individuals charged with hiring employees face big challenges today: time pressure from hiring managers who need positions filled quickly, shrinking and highly competitive labor pools, interview processes that require collaboration among numerous people, lack of tools to facilitate the process. But it’s also a time of great opportunity: many companies are hiring due to growth or expansion and evolving job requirements, and companies know employees are their most important asset and that cultural fit is critical.

To meet the demands in today’s business environment, recruitment efforts need to be nimble, synchronized, and expansive. But a new independent study conducted by WideOpen set to release this month reveals there are key obstacles and common challenges among recruiters and hiring managers that threaten the ability to meet these demands. This global study of 2,341 recruiters and hiring managers in the US, UK, and France representing companies with fewer than 500 employees indicates the following for US respondents (n=841):

Obstacle 1: Candidate’s Market

The primary factor influencing the level of difficulty of filling an open job is related to supply and demand. There simply is a shortage of qualified, available candidates.

Candidate’s Market

Obstacle 2: Managing Job Postings

To reach as many candidates as possible, recruiters typically post their job postings to multiple online job boards. With the ongoing proliferation and fragmentation of job boards and communities, this has become a burdensome, time-consuming task.

Job Posting ChallengeObstacle 3: Candidate Management

Once candidates have been identified, the work of scheduling interviews, tracking applicants, and managing the interview process creates a different layer of obstacles among recruiters and hiring managers.

Candidate Management

A Better Way

Given the understandable and relatable challenges faced by those tasked with hiring new employees, recruiters and hiring managers have specific thoughts on how to facilitate a better set of tools and processes for a smoother process.

* Easier way to manage job posts. 94% of recruiters want greater access to more candidates. Expanding access to candidates means expanding access to various candidate pools, necessitating more job boards, more postings to manage. Already 58% of respondents currently post to four or more online job boards. It’s no surprise, then, that 87% of respondents want it to be easier to manage this flurry of activity.

* Better way to track applicants. With increasing candidates coming into the funnel, recruiters need a better way to manage that volume. Among other requirements, they need to be able to quickly filter those candidates they are interested in pursuing, whether that’s a phone interview or an in-person interview. 84% indicate selecting and categorizing suitable candidates is a challenge; 86% would like better applicant tracking software.

* Better tools to facilitate overall management. While there are myriad quality online job boards, recruiters still use a lot of manual tools to manage and track the overall process: spreadsheets, word processors, printouts, emails are all used by the majority of respondents to track and manage online job posting activity, and to collaborate with colleagues and aggregate their feedback on applicants. 84% of respondents indicate the need for more automation and less paper in the process.

As the stakes for effective recruiting increase and the activities required to manage recruitment efforts multiply, companies need to enable these efforts with automation and modern digital tools. In the age of customer experience where every business is a people business, a company’s most critical asset requires a commensurate degree of attention and support.

Stay tuned for more detailed findings, including those from the UK and France.

This post was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and was originally published on WorkConnect by SAP.

Is There Really a Skills Gap?

A prosperous future for the world’s economy rests on the foundations we lay through our education and skills system, so it comes as sorry news to hear complaints we’re facing a skills shortage, or ‘skills gap’. That’s the message coming from employers the world over: workers, or the education system, or both, simply aren’t up to scratch.

In the UK, the ‘skills gap’ is much publicized: The long-awaited Sainsbury Report on Technical Education was published in April 2016, shortly followed by the CBI skills survey, The Right Combination. Reports such as these imply that the skills problems businesses face—skills gaps, shortages and mismatches—are owed squarely to supply side factors. There are also problems with basic skills, with the survey showing almost a third of businesses had concerns about the literacy and numeracy levels of their new recruits.

But if we’re going to tackle the skills gap, we’re going to need to know where to start. Let’s start in the UK, where the ‘skills gap’ resurfaced at the top of employers’ and governments’ concerns following the decision to leave the EU.

Where is the skills gap?

It’s not uncommon these days for the media to complain of a ‘skills gap’, but like all buzzwords, it comes with some ambiguity. Stormline conducted a study to investigate the realities and the myths held by the UK public with regards to the skills gap, but found that a third of participants couldn’t correctly identify a single occupation the government listed as in-demand. A fifth responded thinking the country needed more police, lawyers and government officials, despite none of these featuring among the most in-demand professions.

In reality, the most in-demand occupations are in engineering, medicine, visual effects, and other professions that require science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. Despite this necessity, only 1 in 5 participants thought science skills were in demand.

The Association of Colleges recruit for lecturers and support staff in FE colleges up and down the UK. They write that ensuring the supply of high quality STEM professionals to teach and support future STEM talent is paramount if we are to collectively solve the skills challenge in the UK’s high tech industries. With the STEM sector expected to need an additional 160,000 engineers, scientists and technicians every year by 2020, it’s an area of critical need.

The digital industry is also among those facing the biggest skills shortage. It’s one field where the jobs market has shifted along with rapid advances in technology, which brings with it brand new skill sets and careers: UX (user experience) designers, social media analysts and online community managers – roles that barely existed 10 years ago. Digital skills sometimes come in the shape of periphery tactics, such as website monitoring, CRM management and search knowledge. The British Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 workforce survey found that when hiring, two-thirds of businesses believe this tech knowledge is key, and demand continues to grow.

We need to learn what Brexit means for the skills gap

According to the latest figures, there are 2.1 million European Union immigrants working in the UK. EU migrants provide the British economy with vital skills across such industries as construction, engineering and IT, as well as making a big contribution to the healthcare sector—11 percent of all NHS staff are not British. The games industry is one particular area where trade bodies are concerned over the effect of the UK leaving the EU.

If Britain’s withdrawal from the EU results in a reduction in the number of skilled workers from abroad, it’s likely to force the Government and businesses to invest more in training and development. It’s good news, then, that a new Skills for London taskforce, emerged in Brexit’s wake.

A report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calls for a policy focus aimed at re-engaging young unemployed people with education and the labour market, including through ‘second-chance’ training schemes. It also suggests employers can help by building on the quantity and quality of apprenticeships and improving the school-to-work transition.

And more general careers advice was also seen as important in a separate survey by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which found that young people entering the job market benefited from direct contact with employers, work experience placements and talks from professionals when it came to finding suitable pathways into industry. It’s vital employers show an awareness of common worries and anxieties that young people have in the crucial transition-into-work period, and offer workplace support by fostering confidence and a sense of self-worth.

However, don’t be too quick to decry a skills gap

A report published in OCUFA’s Journal of Academic Matters considers the skills gap is largely a myth. In one report on ‘The persistent myth of the “skills gap”’ in Canada, the author writes: “The skills gap takes the onus off employers to pay decent wages and train workers, blaming labour market failings on workers instead.”

Elsewhere, there are reports that the skills gap is less about skills shortages, rather, it’s about skills mismatch. A Survey of Adult Skills in 24 OECD countries also confirms that more of the adult workforce is over-skilled than under-skilled. Another comprehensive review of studies from the United States published in 2014 showed that many workers are in fact overqualified for their jobs. So what is going wrong?

Well, there’s a chance candidates are being overlooked. As noted in Alphr, junior applicants are far more likely to get hired if they have a degree in a specific field. “From what we’ve seen, and what the data shows us, having formal education is important to a lot of employers. It’s just a way for them to filter and differentiate.” Why? A report from Hired entitled ‘Mind the Gap’ showed that in many companies, the HR staff responsible for hiring talent aren’t trained in the technical skills for which they are recruiting. A formal degree qualification, therefore, acts as an easy signal.

SAP is a technology solutions provider, and both the company and the industry are one of the world’s largest employers. According to specialists recruiting for positions in SAP industries, finding success in job applications is down to effective communication. As Daniel Patel, SAP Delivery Director for Eursap reveals in a blog on writing an SAP CV: “If I am searching for an SAP SuccessFactors Learning Management System specialist for example, I would normally check the document for some specific keywords using the Ctrl-F search function. I would check for ‘SuccessFactors’ and ‘Learning Management System’ and see how many times each of these was mentioned.”

Keywords relating to specific industries, in this case SAP, are vital in order to lead a recruiter by the nose. Prospective employees must enable employers to determine the relevant skills they possess more easily.

It might not be about skills after all

Despite the increase in technical and skilled professions, employers have been shown to be more likely to rate “attitude to work” as more important than qualifications.

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK, told CBI: “Employers don’t just value what people know; they value what they can do. By far the most important ‘skills factor’ centers on attitudes.” In fact, the most important factor for employers when recruiting school and college leavers is their attitude to work (89 percent) followed by their aptitude for work (66 percent). These rank well ahead of formal qualifications, which recorded just 23 percent. Commitment to the industry, whether formally trained or not, might just be one solution to tackle the skills gap.

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#TChat Recap: How to Manage Through Influence

During today’s final #TChat show and before we transition to #WorkTrends next week, we discussed how to manage through influence. #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman were joined by Jim Fields, Vice President of Customer Experience Marketing at SAP, a multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations.

Organizations are becoming more matrixed and less hierarchical every day and command-and-control corporate structures are relics of the past. Dealing with flatter organizational structures, outsourcing, and virtual teams can be quite challenging and the power of influence is becoming more important. Managers need to get things done through their peers inside and outside their organizations.

This skill is called “managing through influence” and is as critical to success in today’s world as a sterling resume or a tireless work ethic. Jim unveiled many ways to think about the power of influence in the workplace, offering gems of wisdom along the way.

It was a lively #TChat podcast and Twitter conversation. Participants had a lot to share about the topic at hand, while also bidding Kevin W. Grossman good-bye from the show (not from the community). Everyone also showed their enthusiasm for the kickoff of #WorkTrends next week.

Want to learn more from today’s event? Listen to the recording and check out the highlights below:

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends Show is all new on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT). Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Show Founder and Host Meghan M. Biro as she talks about Overcoming the Symptoms of Destructive Management with Shawn Murphy, Co-founder and President of Switch & Shift, a leadership consulting firm dedicated to helping shift from the Industrial Age to the Social Age.

Join our social communities and stay up-to-date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #WorkTrends Twitter stream, in our LinkedIn group and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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#TChat Preview: How to Manage Through Influence

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about how HR leaders achieve talent brand dominance; this week we’re going to talk about how to manage through influence.

Organizations are becoming more matrixed and less hierarchical every day. Command-and-control corporate structures are relics of the past.

Dealing with flatter organizational structures, outsourcing, and virtual teams can all be quite challenging. Because of this, more and more managers need to get things done through their peers inside and outside their organizations.

However, because the world of work has gotten so complex, the very act of change has grown increasingly difficult. Today’s flatter organizations give employees and managers much more flexibility in deciding how work gets done, but they also require greater levels of collaboration than ever before.

Success is often dependent on persuading other individuals and teams to support your projects, even if they’re not direct reports. This skill is called “managing through influence” and is as critical to success in today’s world as a sterling resume or a tireless work ethic.

#TChat Event: How to Manage Through Influence


Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, February 3 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how to manage through influence with this week’s guest: Jim Fields, Vice President of Customer Experience Marketing at SAP, a multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations.

#TChat on Twitter — Wednesday, February 3 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What’s managing through influence and how does it differ from other leadership styles? #TChat (Tweet this question)

Q2 What challenges do flatter organizations face in business?#TChat (Tweet this question)

Q3: How can managing through influence create a winning situation for all participants?#TChat (Tweet this question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

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#TChat Recap: How HR Leaders Achieve Talent Brand Dominance

Last week we talked about how tech professionals can help assess and hire other tech pros, and this week we discussed how HR leaders can achieve talent brand dominance.

Employers are constantly assessing the state of their company brand. But very few understand how their talent brand impacts their reputation to job seekers and the company morale amongst existing employees.

A talent brand is what people think, feel, and share about a company as a place to work.

According to this week’s guest, less than 30 percent of the working population cares about their company’s product brand. What they are concerned with is how employers care for their people and address their needs. Most hiring authorities aren’t coming to terms with the reality that talented employees have options.

Joan Graci, CEO and President of APA Solutions, a boutique employment and human capital consulting firm, joined us to share a wide variety of knowledge on talent branding, employee brands and much more.

It was a lively #TChat podcast and Twitter conversation on a topic that’s very relevant to organizations of all sizes across industries.

Want to learn more? Listen to the recording and check out the highlights below:

Thank you to all the TalentCulture sponsors, partners and supporters!

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT). Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how to manage through influence with next week’s guest: Jim Fields, Vice President of Customer Experience Marketing at SAP, a multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations.

Join our social communities and stay up-to-date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream, in our LinkedIn group and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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Workforce 2020: Oxford Economics’ Shows The Future’s Not So Scary After All

I’ve been waiting for this study to go public in order to talk about it, and it hasn’t been easy. Workforce 2020 is a global survey on the future of the workplace — and the workforce — conducted by Oxford Economics for SAP. In the second quarter of 2014, OE surveyed more than 2,700 executives and 2,700 employees from 27 countries on a wide range of subjects, everything from talent and leadership development to technology and data.

What are we most concerned with going forward? What are our strengths, and what are our weaknesses? The SAP study confirms that among the top trends having an impact of on workforce strategy:

• Number one is the tide of millennials entering the workforce

• Number two is the globalization of labor supply

• Number three is the difficulty in recruiting workers with base level skills.

The findings are meant to help us prepare for the nature of the 2020 workforce, which will be more global, more diverse, filled with more millennials, and more reliant on tools like analytics and cloud-based technology. Nothing really new, though OE’s research shows key gaps between those distinctions and just what we’re doing to adapt to them: only a third (34%) of the 2,700 executives surveyed think they’re making progress in creating a workforce that will meet future business goals.

But what I find more interesting is a gap that’s more like a non-gap: the assumed gulf between the attitudes and values of the millennials versus the nonmillennials. As it turns out, GenY is generally not all that different in what they value in work.

The gist of our millennial misunderstanding is that we assume that, as keyed in and digitally fluent as they are, millennials don’t necessarily, well, care the way you might think. But as the OE suvey shows, that’s not entirely the case. The numbers challenge our assumptions on millennial workplace values.

When millennials and nonmillenials were asked what was important to them in work:

• 20% of both cited making a positive difference in the world.

• 68% of millennials compared to 64% of nonmillenials cited compensation as important.

•  29% of millenials and 31% of nonmillennials cited a work-life balance (and I’d argue that a two percent difference may simply be a natural correlation to one’s perspective changing with time, versus some kind of behavioral correlation to a generation who texts first, asks later).

• 32% of millennials and 30% of nonmillennials listed meeting their income goals as important.

• And meaningful work was cited as important by 14% of millennials compared 18% of nonmillennials. (Again, is that simply the nature of age talking, not instagram? When you were still wet behind the ears, did you truly understand what meaningful work might be?)

The biggest distinction — all of four percentage points — is over compensation and meaningful work. Who wants to get left out of this equation? I would hope nobody. But in terms of perspective and basic core values, these findings show there is far less of a difference that some people may have assumed. Considering that the influx of millennials coming into the workforce is the Number One concern in business today, that’s just a bit reassuring. And considering their ease with tech and data; their comfort with mobile and their savvy with social media — skills which are seeing tremendous growth in the workforce, particularly over the next three years. I think we’re in good hands. And I think this should be noted for every single generation. Innovate or simply be left behind. The time is now.

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Close The Skills Gap By Attracting The Best And Brightest Talent

Written By: Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President, Talent at SAP

The economy is improving, and changes in social norms have raised the stakes in recruitment. At the same time, there doesn’t appear to be enough people with the right complex skills entering the job market. How do you recruit the best and the brightest when there are five generations in the workforce? How do you reach them at all?According to a recent LinkedIn study, approximately 25% employed people are actively looking for their next role. However, a staggering 60% can be swayed to talk to a recruiter or their personal network about new job opportunity. And with the idea of a “job for life” long forgotten, talent is more willing to move than ever before.Recruiters are vying for the attention of a limited talent pool. But as we see from this LinkedIn survey, it’s not because people are not looking. In today’s competitive talent market, recruiters are tasked with finding talent that possess complex skills needed to guarantee future business success. And sometimes, these skills are so unique that it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

3 Ways To Find A Candidate For That Hard-to-Fill Position

With 7 billion people inhabiting our planet, how do you find that one person that can help raise your brand to superstar status? Here are three strategies for attracting the best and brightest talent our world has to offer.

1.  Target potential candidates before there’s a new job opening

Data is everywhere. So why should data scientists and analysts have all the fun? Data mining for recruiters can be as simple as a Google search, a trip to Facebook or Twitter, and a visit to key blog sites. However, if you really want to take advantage of all that data, you need tools that can help you pull it all together, analyze it, and uncover critical insights. With some of today’s recruitment analytics tools, recruiters can pinpoint strategic geographies—even specific neighborhoods, college campuses, or competitor office buildings—to attract top talent. You can even find out which social media channels your potential talent pool uses to connect with the      outside world.

But analytics doesn’t just show you where your potential candidates are, it maximizes time and ROI by telling you which candidates are worth your time and effort to develop a relationship. Predictive analytics can match ideal candidates to open (and future) positions and when the time is right to actively recruit the potential candidate.

2. Go where your future talent lives, works, socializes, and plays

Gathering place. Confessional. Neighborhood. Community. Whatever you call it, social networks have created a place where people all over the world are testing new ideas, flaunting their successes, and looking for support to learn when they fail.

Social media is where others can live vicariously through our personal experiences. In addition to recruiting activities such as job fairs and college campus visits, actively listening, watching, and engaging with future job candidates on social media platforms is a great way for recruiters to get to know them. By putting their ear close to the proverbial social-media ground, recruiters can find out who’s out there. What do they want from work? What do they value? Are they happy with their current employer and why?

In addition to performing primary and secondary research on potential candidates, social media provides an opportunity for recruiters to draw an audience for their employer brand story.

3. Treat recruiting like marketing—everyone loves a good story

The power of how you tell a story can inspire and excite. Does your employer brand story resonate with the best candidates? Good employer brand storytelling fosters a personalized connection and uses peer-to-peer experiences to show authenticity and generate trust. And the best people to tell that story are not recruiters or marketers—it’s your employees in every area of the business. They are the ones who can tell candid stories that give a realistic view of life at your company. By weaving those stories together into the employer brand, you encourage the right people to apply because they value the perspective of their potential peers and like what they hear.

You think you found the “one”? You’re not done!

Just because you found the “one” and convinced this person to work for your company, it doesn’t mean your job is done. Rather, it’s only the beginning. Hiring managers must consistently re-recruit their employees to keep them engaged and loyal.

Here’s some tips on how to get started:

1. Connect employees’ work with their individual values.

No matter the generation, all employees want to feel valued. They want to perform duties that have meaning and have an impact on the overall company. Find out what each employee values—even down to the social causes that are close to their heart.

2. Create opportunities for consistent, 360-degree feedback.

Another thing people always appreciate is feedback—and not just during annual performance reviews. This dialogue should take place weekly and provide actionable items, such as signing up for corporate learning, setting up a meeting with another colleague, or asking for the opportunity to take part in a meaningful project to gain leadership skills, make a greater impact in the company and world, or spice up daily life at work.

3. Help employees picture themselves moving through the ranks.

If employees see a future with their current employer, they are more likely to resist the temptation of a recruiter’s call. Look for internal talent when filling open positions. If your talent doesn’t have that one unique, critical skill set, see if it’s possible to help an employee develop that skill through corporate learning before you reach out to your list of potential candidates outside the company.

Above all, no recruiting strategy is complete without the right leadership—and that is especially true for re-recruiting plans. When there’s a management team that understands the value of developing a competitive workforce, you’ll have the time, money, resources,
and support to convince hiring managers that re-recruiting your employees is just as important as recruiting new ones.

Tracey(About the Author: Tracey Arnish was appointed Senior Vice President, Talent in March 2013. In this role Tracey is responsible for SAP’s End to end Talent strategy ensuring that SAP continues to live the philosophy that “Everyone is a Talent”, and that each individual is fully enabled to grow a meaningful career at SAP. Under Tracey’s leadership Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards and Talent Management and Development, are responsible for the design of leading solutions in support of a compelling career experience for each and every one of SAP’s 65,000 talents globally, and ensuring that SAP has the talent it needs now and for the future. With over 15 years of progressive Human Resources experience, Tracey has worked in both the private and public sector with organizations. Passionate about building an organization that attracts and retains the best talent, Tracey brings focus to developing a culture that enables the achievement of the strategic business plans and supports colleagues in achieving their career best with an employer of choice. A mentor and coach to others Tracey is passionate about supporting talent and helping others realize their full potential.)

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