Post written by Thom Haslam
One of the most beloved movies of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life is a favorite of every cable station during the holidays. This heart warming story of a Guardian Angel earning its wings is also one of the greatest movies about careers in the history of Hollywood. The story revolves around George Bailey, who has dreams of doing big things in his career, with hopes of “lassoing the moon.” He reaches his goal eventually, but not in the way he dreamt it would happen. No, George never leaves his home town of Bedford Falls, but over the years he builds a company Talent Community that helps him overcome career hurdle of becoming, as his brother says at the climax of the film, “The richest man in town!”
Unfortunately, we’ve been drinking too much Egg Nog during all those reruns and the message has been missed. Instead, companies have joined the stampede to Social Recruiting by establishing a “talent community” on Facebook or LinkedIn and attracting as many followers as possible. As George demonstrates, it’s the quality of interactions he has over the course of his career that earns him all his riches. The giant Fan Page Communities are great places for people who have applied for a job to get their voices heard, but are not great for meaningful exchanges that will cultivate a talented person who is not looking for a job.
In its current form Social Recruiting is labor intensive. A company that builds a Fan Page with a promise of interaction for all comers, finds it impossible to stop the constant flow of chatter that is needed. The millions spent for this purpose is breathtaking, but the Return On Investment has been called into question – rightfully so. These activities probably shouldn’t be considered Talent Communities as they’re more appropriate for marketing products. To be successful, a Talent Community needs a more structured engagement program that cultivates people of interest and provides an Employment Message with justified expectations.
Talent Community Difference
The promise of Talent Communities to provide a more efficient employment process can be huge, with recruiting time spent, talent quality, hiring costs and “time to hire” metrics drastically altered from what we have all come to expect over the last 40 years. By maintaining a specific Community goal, a company has a real opportunity to attract workers like George Bailey who aren’t looking for a new job, but are focused on taking on greater challenges instead. The elusive “other 80%” of the workforce, that have been difficult to attract with employment advertising and referrals, can be cultivated with a Talent Community. This can be a major break through that if fully embraced can change the employment landscape forever.
The broader Talent Community’s main focus is to increase the exposure of the Employment Value Proposition or Branding on an industry wide pool of talent, while smaller Talent Neighborhoods provide for development of targeted hiring Short Lists. A company can get the most out of their Neighborhoods by segmenting them into numerous functional areas of need. In this way, a recruiting organization can tailor their message to a more targeted group, and the size of the company wide Community can be pared down to a more manageable level for interaction and engagement with the various division or team based hiring authorities.
Obviously, it makes sense to create Talent Neighborhoods for roles within a company that experience a high degree of turnover or that come open several times during the year so a “renewable recruiting” program for these jobs is created, saving time and money.
Taking lessons from a fictional character like George Bailey may not always be a good recipe for success, but the desire for career consumers to want an upwardly mobile work life at a job they love should not be left to fiction. For the past 40 years we have screened out nine out of ten workers for every req we filled, mostly with little to no explanation except, “you weren’t good enough,” and workers haven’t appreciated it. With Talent Communities we have the opportunity to eliminate decades of neglect and change the way our country’s work force view their career so that bells are heard jingling throughout the economy and talent shortages of angels in heaven are a thing of the past…