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Talent Pools Defined.4

(October 20, 2005) 
"Within the next 100 days the oldest of the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) will turn 60."  That little tidbit, straight from yesterday's "Interbiznet Bugler", is one of the forces driving the need to manage relationships with potential employees. Labor, long a plentiful commodity, is becoming scarcer with each passing moment.

Just as stock markets (a relatively recent invention) allowed companies and investors to pool and 'synergize' financial resources, Talent Pools are markets. The objective is to increase the predictability of the labor supply on the employer side and the predictability of work on the employee side. One of the new twists is that employers now have to work to obtain their labor supply.

The baseline for developing a Talent Pool is a risk assessment process. The primary question is "What are your labor requirements over the next X years?" The answer can readily be broken down into profession, geography and skill levels. The right size for a talent pool is the number of relationships required to guarantee the supply to some level of certainty. As in most things, 90% certainty is cheap while 99% is very expensive.

The risks associated with developing a talent pool come in a variety of flavors. Here are a few:

  • Accuracy of the Workforce Requirements Forecast. They're hard to keep pinned down.
  • Accuracy of the Labor Market Assessment. Today's supply snapshot usually represents  a quaint point of view in hindsight. Constant course correction is required.
  • Continuous Monitoring of Sources. Labor supplies come and go. Schools open, competitors change, new technologies emerge. Staying abreast of the changes in sources of supply requires serious intelligence gathering.
  • Commitment to the Long Term Process. Talent pools do not work if they are treated like every other organizational program. Relationships, once established, must be well maintained or a negative consequence will be the outcome.
  • Proper Manners in the Relationships. It's the 21st Century. Industrial style relationships (We're the employer and you're not) must be aggressively rooted out. It's a network of peers who may wish to work together someday, not a plastics vendor on a just in time schedule..
  • Treating Potential Employees Like People, Not Databases. A form letter is a form letter and any fool can recognize it. While scripts are helpful, this approach works in direct proportion to the degree that the relationships are unique and substantial.
  • Expectations that are at odds with Investment Levels. Recruiting and Recruitment Branding are notoriously under-funded. Results are always proportional to investment.
  • Failure Profile. New approaches involve risk taking. That's why vendors (and inside political players) are so adept at calling the old thing by the new name. If Talent Pools are treated as "more of the same", the result will be damage to the brand and a much harder time down the road.

You may find our white paper, Roses in the Thornbushes,  illuminating.

Tomorrow: The Benefits

Don't forget to check out the blogs on bert.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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