AMD: (Acquisition, Management and Development). Wouldn’t it be nice if hiring were as simple as writing out a job description and finding the perfect person fitting the role and the aspirations of the hiring manager at just a click of a button?

Aligning human capital goals with business strategy is far more complicated than check lists and the click of a button. Retaining talent for strategic advantages, while attracting and hiring additional talent that can help you reach and sustain a competitive advantage requires a strategy that spans from the acquisition phase through management and development phases. Successful recruiting requires connecting the talent brand with the company brand. Professor Hayagreeva Rao from Stanford University is faculty director and leader of the ‘Managing Talent for Strategic Advantage’ course that runs next month at Stanford and outlines the interdependences of talent acquisition and management strategy to drive success.

If you can’t afford the $11K tag to attend Stanford for a week, here are some tips on how you can drive your talent AMD strategy:

Clarify vision for success

When beginning a search for talent, clarity around the company vision, the needed technical abilities as well as the desired personality attributes to fulfill the position sets the parameters of the search Establishing these parameters requires being able to synthesize the hiring manager’s expectations as well as the challenges of the position and the company goals. The end goal (or what the new hire needs to be able to achieve for the organization) needs to be clearly established in the beginning in order to accurately define the skills and abilities needed to succeed.

Getting input from multiple influencers

Too often there’s a panic or urgency to fill a role. This leads to a crisis decision making process where the hiring manager does not receive the needed input from enough strategic influencers in the organization. These are the people who will ultimately work with the new hire and whose input is critical in understanding the needed abilities to succeed. For a CTO role, the input of the CIO, CEO, CMO, CRO can provide significant insight into the key challenges that need to be solved by the incoming CTO. This insight helps to define the parameters of the search while developing your market map to create a great talent pipeline. You want to harness the organization’s collective intelligence to make an accurate assessment.

Short term focus can become a long-term gain

From the initial contact to the technical fit to weeding out resumes to careful interviewing processes to researching references and vetting, to negotiating an offer – procuring new talent can be an incredibly long process. Developing relationships with potential talent strengthens this process as well as making future searches easier. Each conversation with a potential talent is an opportunity even if they aren’t interested or the right fit for the immediate role. Recruiters need to spend some time developing their own talent pipeline through the potential hires they encounter. Consider every conversation to be a talent acquisition opportunity even if they aren’t hired first time around. One day the candidate might want to work with your organization and your powerful conversation and knowledge will build the employer brand to get them onboard.

Has the candidate got the ‘soft skills’?

Today’s market is not only challenged to find talent that meet or exceed the required technical abilities but also “soft skills” Determining the needed soft skills requires careful scrutiny when researching the needed abilities for the role through conversations with senior leadership. Often, organizations can struggle with accurately assessing the needed interpersonal and leadership abilities. It’s at this point understanding the position from multiple lenses helps to accurately define what critical soft skills are needed to succeed in the role.

How ‘agile’ is the candidate?

Today, effective leaders must possess agility. Team problem solving and the ability to quickly execute solutions are traits possessed by an agile leader. With constant pivots, global shakeups, and technological disruption, it’s no coincidence that this skill has become essential in just about every new hire we work on. The ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities before the competition, quickly shift resources, and exploit opportunities within the organization defines agility, an invaluable skill for organizations.

What’s the cost?

Hiring a new person costs the average company 1.5 times the new hire’s salary, and it is estimated that losing an employee costs anywhere from six months to 2X their annual salary. In short, hiring smartly and for retention is critical. While we live in the age of the constant pivot and a turbulent environment that results in layoffs, there’s a distinction between eliminating a department that doesn’t need to be replaced and losing staff that must be quickly replaced. The later requires hiring for longevity and retention.

What’s your talent development or talent retention plan?

If you’re looking for talent to build your culture and brand, what’s your human capital retention strategy? Do you have one? If not, think about what your team is learning, how are they engaged, how are they contributing and creating solutions to drive your company forward?

About the author: Caroline Stokes is founder of FORWARD, a human capital solutions company focusing on executive headhunting and coaching for innovation leaders.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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