STRATEGIC TALENT ACQUISITION
Strategic Talent Acquisition: Key Principles and Best Practices
In today’s fast-paced business environment, strategic talent acquisition is the key element in building a successful business. It helps you attract top talent with ease, fill empty positions fast, and have high productivity and engagement rates, all while retaining the best performers. Here’s everything you need to know.Get a demo
Table of contentsWhat is strategic talent acquisition?Why strategic talent acquisition is important5 steps to creating a strategic talent acquisition program4 examples of strategic talent acquisitionGet strategic about talent acquisition with people analytics
What is strategic talent acquisition?
Strategic talent acquisition is the process of identifying and acquiring talent that is in line with the company’s goals and values. It includes all steps from finding the right candidates, attracting them, hiring, and retaining them.
Strategic talent acquisition goes beyond simply filling an empty position. It includes a complex set of actions that the human resources department must consider and optimize when looking for new people.
When you’re simply looking to fill a position, you’ll have in mind the skills a person needs and nothing more. With strategic talent acquisition, you look at everything from the company’s values, its resources, its position in the market, and any specific competitive factors.
Strategic talent acquisition vs. recruitment
Many use the two terms interchangeably, thinking they’re the same thing. While they’re related, recruitment and talent acquisition are different processes.
Recruitment means filling an empty position right away. When you want to recruit someone, you’re strictly interested in the here and now: what positions are empty and what skills people will need.
Talent acquisition takes a broader look at the process. You’re creating strategies that will help you find, attract, and later retain top talent without having a specific position in mind.
Recruitment is part of strategic talent acquisition, but there are many more steps to the process that companies need to take into account.
Why strategic talent acquisition is important
Strategic talent acquisition comes with many benefits. Productivity, staying competitive, and saving costs are only some of them.
Competition is tighter than ever. Candidates think twice before accepting a job offer: they look at DEI, bonuses, and how much you value your employees’ well-being.
Strategic talent acquisition can help you stay on top by creating a plan that will allow attracting the right people with ease. Here’s how it can help you.
1. Reduce costs
Voluntary turnover, hiring, and onboarding someone new can be very costly processes. Plus, if the person you hire turns out to be a poor fit, the costs will only go up.
Strategic talent acquisition can save you a lot of costs. It can reduce voluntary turnover, which already fixes a huge part of the problem.
By creating a talent acquisition and attraction strategy before a new position opens up, you can save time and reduce the risk of a bad hire.
2. Increased productivity and profitability
Top performers are key to your company’s success. A talent acquisition program that focuses on the candidates, as well as the employees, will ensure these people stay with you for a long time.
You’ll not only hire top talent but also create programs to help them grow and develop their skills.
3. Staying ahead of the competition
The time when employees stayed in their jobs even if they were unhappy is long gone. The Great Resignation was clear proof of that.
For many small and medium-sized businesses, finding the right people is a real challenge. Sure, there’s a fairly wide talent pool out there. But getting them to gravitate towards you and convincing them you’re the best choice is not always easy.
Strategic talent acquisition aims to fix this issue. Through a series of methods that include branding, analyzing recruitment metrics, and benchmarking against the competition, you can find the people you need and convince them you are the best option.
5 steps to creating a strategic talent acquisition program
Strategic talent acquisition is great. But how exactly do you achieve it? Here are a few easy steps to creating a strategic talent acquisition program.
1. Look at your current talent acquisition strategy
To make any sort of progress, you need to know where you’re starting from. Start by auditing your current acquisition process.
Use metrics to understand what’s working and where you need to make improvements. Some useful HR metrics at this stage include:
Applications per employee
New hire failure rate
Diversity hires in customer-impact positions
Time to productivity
Percentage of HR goals that were met
You can also gather feedback from your team, especially HR. They may have insights and see opportunities that are difficult to detect just by tracking metrics.
2. Build strong employer branding
Branding is rarely the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of talent acquisition. But it can make the difference between attracting top talent with ease and struggling to find the right fit. Your employer branding—the story you tell about your company and your values—helps people see what your company stands for and what it offers.
Candidates want to know more about a company before applying for a job. By cultivating a positive employer brand, you’ll stand out among the competition. This will help you attract the right people when you do have a job opening, and secure the most in-demand talent on the market.
3. Set SMART goals
Your number one goal is to attract and retain top talent. But to measure success and see if you’re on the right path, you might need to get a bit more specific.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals are a must in any project. They help you keep track of your progress, and show you if and when you need to make improvements.
These goals will be different for each company. But in the end, you’re likely going back to HR metrics to help point you in the right direction. You can choose goals related to metrics that were less than stellar during the first audit, or something different altogether.
4. Refine the recruitment phase
Recruitment is an important part of any strategic talent acquisition program. It’s important to get this part right to ensure the rest of the employee journey goes smoothly. Start by sourcing the potential candidates before short-listing the ones that fit your position best. Run interviews to help you make the final choice.
Don’t forget about the onboarding phase. A negative onboarding experience may set new employees up for failure, it will make them less productive, and might eventually drive them to leave the company.
5. Create a learning and development program
Opportunities to grow are a must if your goal is retention. Offer tailored learning and development programs that help employees upskill and even reskill.
Try to consider that different people may have different learning styles. Offer various options whenever possible to accommodate everyone’s needs. When in doubt, ask your employees what type of learning material and growth paths they want. They should align with your company's goals, of course, but this will ensure that you’re offering the right learning opportunities in the right formats.
4 examples of strategic talent acquisition
Talent acquisition strategies will vary from company to company. They depend on your goals, your values, and more. But there are a few things that will help most businesses attract and retain top talent. Here are a few examples.
1. An outstanding employee experience
The perception employees have of the company from the moment they apply for a job until they leave—in short, the employee experience—is crucial for talent acquisition and retention.
The onboarding phase, learning and development opportunities, diversity, inclusion, and work-life balance, are only some things that make up the employee experience.
People who have a positive experience are more likely to stay with the company. But the impact goes further than that. Happy employees tend to recommend the company they work for, making it more likely for top talent to gravitate toward your organization.
A negative experience will inevitably attract some criticism—both through word of mouth, and online through platforms like Glassdoor. People might think twice before applying for a position in your company if they notice a lot of negative reviews.
2. Employee referral programs
Top talent attracts more talent. And what better way to use that than to create a referral program?
You might be surprised by how vast your employees’ network can be. Take advantage of it. It could cut your talent acquisition efforts in half.
3. Diversity and inclusion
A talent acquisition strategy that prioritizes DEI has benefits in all the stages of the process—from recruitment to retention. It improves engagement and the employee experience.
Make sure everyone feels welcome and has equal opportunities for growth, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
4. Talent pathways
Hiring someone new is a significant milestone. But what about internal mobility? Hiring internally is part of a successful retention strategy. Your employees feel valued and they know they have genuine opportunities for growth.
Create a program that will help you assess who can and wants to upskill or even reskill. These steps aren’t for everyone. Some people may not feel ready to put in the effort required to move to a different position. However, creating these programs can improve your retention and the overall employee experience.
Get strategic about talent acquisition with people analytics
Creating a strategic talent acquisition program can feel overwhelming. But with the right tools, it’s a straightforward process.
A talent acquisition strategy starts with people. Auditing your current strategy is the first step, but for that, you need reliable, accurate people data. To take this one step further, use people analytics to get a unified picture of your workforce so you know exactly how to approach your talent acquisition journey.
Armed with the people data and insights you need, you can revisit your current talent acquisition strategy to find what's working and what opportunities for growth exist. Take an end-to-end look at your recruitment pipeline to find the right candidates and improves recruiter efficiency.
Strategic talent acquisition isn't limited to searching for external talent. Opportunities for learning new skills, professional growth, and internal mobility are crucial in your strategy. They're selling points to candidates in your recruiting pipeline, and important to employee engagement and employee retention of your existing workforce.