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How to build an effective talent pipeline

The days are gone where you could just post and pray, seek staff when someone left or count on luck to find the best employees. In today’s competitive and skill short market, you must think one step ahead, embrace talent mapping and be equipped with a pipeline of qualified individuals. Thanks to technological advancements, you can ensure that you have a pool of engaged candidates ready to collaborate with as soon as an opening occurs. Here’s how to build an effective talent pipeline for your company.

What is talent pipelining?

First and foremost, it’s important to outline what we mean by talent pipelining. Put simply, it’s a strategic method of sourcing skilled candidates and identifying promotion prospects ahead of time, so that the business is ready to fill a position as soon as the opportunity arises. It’s a proactive approach to recruitment, rather than the traditional, reactive way. This requires a shift in mindset, and involves leaders moving away from recruiting to fill a current gap to preparing for future demands. This of course isn’t a quick, short-term fix to staffing problems, but rather a long-term, comprehensive plan. To maximise the benefits, and successfully pipeline talent, you must have a thorough understanding of your company’s goals, an overview of your current workforce and awareness of any skill gaps.

Why it’s important: the benefits

By being proactive you can maximise your chances of finding the best candidate at a fraction of the costs and in less time. As the war for talent intensifies, it’s important that businesses stay one step ahead of their competitors in engaging applicants, and this is best achieved through talent pipelining. Here are the benefits.

Finding the best talent

As you’re not being rushed to find an applicant and pressured to fill a position, you can take your time in sourcing and nurturing talent. By building long-term professional relationships with passive candidates for future opportunities, you’ll be able to gain a solid understanding of their strengths, weaknesses and whether they’re a good cultural fit. When companies are forced to find a worker as quickly as possible, it’s easy to overlook red flags and it means you only have a few interviews to go off – which may not reveal the full picture.

Minimise business disruption

Talent pipelining also allows you to have an arsenal of qualified individuals ready when an opening becomes available. This is extremely important as it minimises business disruption. Leaving a position in a company unfilled for an extended period of time can cause a number of problems, such as issues with staff morale. It can also reduce productivity which essentially impacts revenue. According to the Open University Business Barometer 2019 report, to counter skills shortage issues, employers are spending more than £4.4bn a year on recruitment fees, increased salaries, and temporary staff.

Maximise profit

This point is essentially the result of the first two. An effective talent pipeline which allows you to find the best people and minimise business disruption will positively impact your bottom line. That’s because you’ll be able to source the right candidate that will offer a high return on investment. Additionally, because you’ve taken your time to find a good cultural fit, you’ll reduce the chances of high staff turnover. Your talent acquisition strategy will be more direct and efficient, cutting the costs that come with making bad hires.

The steps to building an effective talent pipeline

Build employer brand

The secret to effective talent pipelining is planning ahead. This involves thinking about your employer brand, and developing it so that it’s attractive to passive candidates. The value of a great employer brand is undisputable: according to research from Glassdoor, 11% of candidates would decline a job offer from a business with a bad reputation – even if they were unemployed.

Assess roles

It’s also crucial that you assess roles early. You need to plan where you’ll direct your effort and identify which roles will benefit the most from a talent pipeline. Which departments have a high turnover? And which vacated roles would cause the company most harm if left empty for too long?  Answering these will give you a good understanding of where you need to focus your attention.

Succession planning

Thinking of a succession plan ahead of time is also vital. This is particularly important when it comes to hard-to-fill roles. Determining which jobs could be filled from within allows you to be sure that you will find a qualified person to take over. This also helps with keeping employees engaged and retained.

Utilise technology

Attending workshops and networking with potential candidates is a fantastic way of building your talent pool, however, utilising technology is equally as effective. With the mass amount of data available to businesses, it’s important to utilise this and adapt your targeting method. Social media platforms are also another fantastic way of keeping passive candidates interested. Use sites like LinkedIn to get to know the landscape and engage with prospective employees.

Knowing how to build an effective talent pipeline will ensure that your company is always ready to face staffing problems and equipped with the most innovative methods of tackling talent acquisition. By thinking about future demands as well as addressing current needs, you can stay one step ahead of competitors and boost your chances of developing the strongest team.

To find out more about how we can help with your people strategy, get in touch today.