Like an increasing number of managers or HR professionals, you might be discovering the growing importance of developing a truly watertight talent pipeline, and how this can positively impact on the long-term future of your company and your workforce.

Developing a talent pipeline involves a company creating a flow (usually involving a database and extremely good relationship-building skills) of interesting, relevant and qualified candidates who could be of benefit to the future hiring needs of a firm.

It also means creating a process for attracting, identifying and developing employees and teams, as well as having an effective leadership succession plan in place.

By having a database of potential employees, you’ll always have a bank of candidates to choose from or to contact to should a vacancy arise.

A firm that has to continually start the recruitment process from scratch will find that they waste time, money and talent, often missing out on the best and most suitable candidates for the job.

Organisations often forget one important thing: That their talent pipeline should ideally encompass internal candidates and current employees, too.

This ensures that the talent pipeline supports the retention of your staff, the development of your employees and the creation of more effective managers.

According to Aberdeen Group’s Talent Acquisition Market Report, the top strategic action for HR and recruiting professionals is:

“Building and expanding a talent pipeline regardless of current hiring needs. With the growing reach of social media, recruiters are looking for ways to be more proactive in building talent communities and managing a database of talent sources.”

With this is mind, here are 5 excellent ways to make sure your talent pipeline stays healthy:

Act like a big name firm

You may not have the budget or mass-market appeal of firms like Coca-Cola or Mars, but these companies do not wait for problems to happen before acting.

Be proactive.

They advertise in good and bad times, but they also work hard to ensure that they are continually looking to find talented people who can do a job when required.

There must be a smooth transition between leadership and management roles, which is why the continual search for new and relevant talent is so important for companies.

In these firms, the role of human resource management teams is as vital for sustaining their market position as the production and marketing departments. By “thinking big” you attract candidates who think big too.

Everyone needs to be on the same page

In order for a firm to have a high quality talent pipeline, there is a need to ensure that all levels of management within the company are taking the talent pipeline seriously.

Top level managers need to be aware of the importance of recruiting in this fashion and employees need to know how they can play a role in the future of the organisation.

Employee development is crucial for any company, but the fact that it can play a big role in keeping staff morale and even retention levels high should mean that it is a real focus point.

Know what you have and where it comes from

In order to best evaluate what you have, an inventory needs to be carried out from time to time. This makes sense with your stock, but it also makes sense with respect to your employees.

A company using talent management software should be able to run quick checks on the skill-sets and base of their employees.

Using an employee assessment tool or personality profiling system can be incredibly useful in order to understand what motivates the people around you, and how you can provide the best kind of working conditions and development plan for each individual in your business.

HR teams should also be able to pinpoint where employees or potential candidates come from, what their background is, and which employees, hired from where, have been a success in their previous roles.

Be SMART

No matter which process you use, you have to be able to measure the success or failure of it. This can mean choosing a SMART approach to creating a talent pipeline that keeps your business stocked with great employees. That is one which is :

1. Specific
2. Measurable
3. Achievable
4. Realistic
5. Timed
Having these elements contained within a process or aim can make it easier to determine, if you are achieving the type of success you want, or not.

A handy approach for the talent pipeline may be to aim for having a number of applications coming in from sources such as social networking pages, employee forums or message boards and even career sites.

Even having a clear organisational chart with each key position and the required attributes and characteristics for success will help you keep your mind on your talent pipeline.

Having goals for each stage of the talent management process can help you determine what works and what doesn’t. Online talent management software can support you immensely in keeping track too.

Always Engage

With social networking and the company website, there is no excuse for not staying in touch with people. It is not enough to just create a soulless database of potential candidates.

A talent pipeline must be healthy and kept flowing, and the candidates within your talent pool must feel as though you have remained in contact with them.

You should aim to keep all of the candidates and potential employees that you have connected with (either internally or externally) excited about your business and informed about new positions, potential opportunities and company news.

Hopefully, these five ways should help your business to retain the flow of good candidates and employees through your front door and keep your HR department on their toes at the same time.

What do you think?

Should all HR professionals focus on keeping a healthy flow of suitable talent into their company?

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