Talent Circles

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Looking Back & Moving Forward: The History of Talent

The History of Talent 

Talent for human resources and organizational leaders refers to human capital.  It’s the people that make the business and drive the organization through what we call talent.  Talent can be stolen.  It is coveted and much debate is how, why, and in which way talent can be measured. 

Measuring & Defining Talent

The word "talent” is derived from the Greek word “talanton,” which means "balance, sum, weight," was an unit of weight, in gold and silver, which was used as a form of legal tender for purchase or trade during that era. Talent' entered into the Hebrew language and translated meant the word Kikar' (loaf or cake) suggests that the shape of the talent was circular like the bread of those times.  In the modern day area the process of hiring, recruiting, and retaining talent remains circular.  It is ongoing, never-ending, and has increasingly become a focus for human resource professionals who specialize in human capital as well as senior business executives who understand how valuable talent is to the success of their organization.  A 2012 study conducted by IBM titled, “Leading with Connections” found that 75% CEO’s identifying and cultivating talent as critical to the success of their organization. 

Interestingly enough that same study identified four critical traits were key for successful employees: collaborative, communicative, creative, and flexible.  These talent qualities are considered soft and thus, hard to be measured. It’s ironic given that talent was originally considered a unit of measure. 

Understanding the War for Talent

The concept of talent for human capital often referred to as talent management occurred in the 1997 with the book, The War for Talent. It first discussed the battle of recruiting, hiring, and retention when it comes to employees.  McKinsey and Company, the organization who authored the aforementioned book has continued their focus on talent in a white paper published in 2001 summing up the continued importance of talent as a unit of measurement but in a different way than the Greek’s had intended.

“In today’s competitive knowledge-based world, the caliber of a company’s
talent increasingly determines success in the marketplace. At the same time, attracting and retaining great talent is becoming more dif´Čücult, as demand for highly skilled people outstrips supply.”

So maybe the Greeks weren’t wrong after all.  Talent is a unit of measure driving the success of an organization where profit margins and quarterly earnings indicate how valuable talent truly is to an organization who embraces a company’s most intangible asset.  And while the history of talent is rooted in HR Metrics and measurement, how you measure talent is up to you. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter  @blogging4jobs 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Build an Employer & Personal Brand with the Share Economy

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Knowledge and Information is Power in the Share Economy

Back before the Internet, information was power.   Knowledge and information was hoarded and dispersed in small quantities in the early days through oral storytelling and much later Benjamin Franklin and the use of the printing press. I think back to 2006 before the Internet and social media was king.  Information and knowledge was hoarded not shared especially in HR and Recruiting.  I spent hours piece milling and researching recruiting tools and sources to hire, source, and engage on.  Forums and chat rooms like ERE and HR Talk were places I frequented asking questions, establishing relationships, and learning about the industry.  Trying to break into this industry was tough and best practices and sourcing secrets were not shared as they provided a competitive advantage certainly not on a blog, webinar, white paper, or free online resource.  All that is no more with the Share Economy

How to Leverage Talent Pipelines with Influence

With technology and accessibility of mobile, the Internet for individuals at work, life, and school the knowledge model has been flipped on its head.  The share economy now drives influence, power, and success starting with the Internet and now moving toward the world of social media.  Companies can leverage the share economy and the talent pipeline through building talent networks and growing their employer brand. 

Long Term ROI with Relationship Marketing in Recruitment Strategies

With the share economy, he or she who has the biggest network wins and provides the greatest value to your community or sphere of influence.  The Share Economy drives candidates, employee engagement, talent networks and more importantly relationships for the long term.  That’s what makes the Share Economy so important.  It’s a long-term play that helps build influence, relationships, and drive the industry or your area of expertise through information, news, and great conversation. It’s a long-term recruitment strategy play that requires focus, patience, and experience to make it happen.
What are some ways you are using the Share Economy to build relationships in HR, Recruiting, or engaging job seekers to build your employment brand?  I’d love for you to weigh in the comments.  
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hire Our Hero’s: How to Recruit and Hire Military Veterans

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Hire Our Heros

The job market is improving with holiday spending expected to increase to pre-recession levels.  The US economy is slowly recovering and many Americans are finding work.  US Military veterans have faced challenges in finding work since September 2007.  October’s national unemployment rate is 7.9 percent.  That’s dramatically less than our military veteran heros who have seen action since September 2001 to present.  Unemployment rates in October 2012 for military veterans stand at 10 percent. 

Unemployment numbers are even more startling for our veterans when we look at the numbers by the sexes.  Unemployment numbers for females who are unemployed veterans stand at 15.5 percent which is dramatically different than 9.2 percent figure for women from October 2011.  The problem for hiring and recruiting veterans isn't just a veteran thing.  It is even more challenging and startling for our female military heros.  

Our soldiers are not prepared to find work in a post-military working world just as much as employers are concerned about post-traumatic stress, higher employee health benefit costs, and time away from work that things like National Guard Duty bring.  Laws like USERRA which stands for Uniformed Services Employment andReemployment Rights Act were created to protect our military from being discriminated against in the hiring and employee process.  Except that the numbers don’t lie.  A 2012 study just released by CareerBuilder shows that only 3in 10 employers plan to hire military veterans in the next 12 months.  This number is simply not high enough. 

As someone who has worked with and interviewed and hired hundreds maybe even thousands of military veterans I can sympathize with a recent military veteran’s frustration.  Serving your country is an honor, and one that I don’t take lightly especially since I know first hand.  I was a military spouse in my first marriage.  My ex-husband faced the prospect of war every single day, and so did his friends and other soldiers who were like family.  Upon transitioning out of the military, I watched my ex-husband struggle to find work.  He was uniquely qualified, eager, and anxious to find his place in the working world. I watched him get beat down emotionally and struggle to find work, friends, and settle in.  It was something our marriage did not survive. 

How to Recruit Military Veterans

Recruiters can take advantage of this eager talent pool  that consists of thousands of soldiers exiting the military every year.  They are loyal.  They understand strategy and plan execution, structure, and responsibility because their success is a matter of life and death every single day.  They can be a hidden talent pool to fill current and future position requisitions. 

·      Develop a Relationship with the Military Base’s Transition Team.  Exiting soldiers attend classes and must complete long checklist of tasks the last 60-90 days of their service.  By developing a relationship with the local base specifically the transition team, you can develop a consistent talent pipeline of candidates to fill a variety of open positions.  I've worked with base transition teams giving them valuable feedback into the hiring and candidate evaluation process which in turn they regularly referred candidates to me.  

·      Offer Free Training or Assistance.  One of the hardest pieces of the jobs transition from military to civilian is understanding the hiring process.  In the military world, promotions happen based on time in service or how you perform in front of a board answering questions on military regulations.  The candidate hiring and interview process is foreign and many military fail to market themselves effectively due to the differences in lexicon and how their skills can be leveraged in other places.  By offering free mock interviews or resume evaluations, you are not only providing insights into the corporate world and hiring process but are able to pre-interview your candidate pool before they apply. 

·      Develop a Talent Network.  Create a community where military veterans can connect and learn more about your organization and also connect with one another.  A talent network like this serves a bigger purpose and attracts a much broader member and interest base helping you to foster relationships with this candidate population months or even years after they exit the military.  This is especially helpful if you are targeting multiple military veterans with specific qualifications or are casting a wider recruiting net than just your local military base.  By providing these resources and relationships you are helping serve a bigger purpose also building and fostering your organization’s employer brand.  It’s a win win. 

Best Practices Hiring US Military Veterans

Hiring, recruiting, and engaging military veterans is a challenge.  Job responsibilities and keywords don't often translate well into applicant tracking systems putting our veterans again at an disadvantage.  This makes hiring and developing relationships for future talent using a variety of strategies even more important.
What strategies have you had success in hiring our nation’s heros and US military veterans?  Would love to hear your insights and best practices by leaving a comment below. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs