Julius Caesar signed a decree promising a reward of 300 sestertii (Roman coins made of silver or bronze) to any soldier that brought another soldier to join the Roman army, which would be the equivalent of roughly one-third of a soldier’s annual pay. This is, in essence, the first employee-referral system we know of in our history.
Just another example of how progressive Julius Caesar was or had to be. Did he, like us, struggle to find the right talent for his open positions? Maybe the quest to find not only employees, but real talent dates back to ancient history.
Simply put, there are two disciplines when it comes to finding talent. Recruitment, which is the process of finding talent to fill open positions; and talent acquisition, which is the strategic process for identifying future positions and solving for talent gaps. The goal in talent acquisition is to be able to do more than merely recruit for open positions. The talent acquisition goal is when we can be proactive and strategic in attracting, retaining and developing our team.
So, how do we transition from the recruitment, on-the-spot approach to the more forward-thinking talent acquisition approach?
The first step to any successful strategy is to identify who is already on your team. This requires noting the level of experience, education, certification, etc. of all team members.
The second step is to perform a SWOT analysis on your entire firm community. A SWOT analysis is an evaluation of an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In each of these areas, we must examine these for areas based on status quo, five years from now, and ten years from now. (You choose the specific timeframes.) A word of caution―what you discover during a SWOT analysis may not be comfortable and seeing it in writing may legitimize sleepless nights. But the issue was always there, just not in writing. Now you can do something about it, and that will begin with step three.
The third step is to discover and explore the career plans of your current team members. Where do they want to be in five years? Is it possible within your business plan? If so, that’s great news! If not, don’t worry, sometimes things change and it’s better to know now than be in the dark.
The fourth step is identifying where the gaps will still be. Discovering the areas that will need to be filled and creating a timeline to begin looking for those positions.
The fifth step is succession planning. Succession planning is working with employees to create a growth plan so that they will be on track for success when it’s time to transition to the next role.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful firm. But by following the five steps of the talent acquisition process, you will definitely be working to put yourself on the right side of history.
Emily Possidento is the HR Consulting Senior Manager at MCM. She has more than 16 years of experience in hiring assistance, assessments, and organizational development. Prior to joining MCM, she worked for a Fortune 100 company, as well as a privately-held executive search firm.
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