When talking about talent experience, we also have to talk about people’s expectations and requirements. Because these have increased among (potential) employees in recent years. Especially in a market where they can choose the company to which they offer their skills and time. On the corporate side, expectations of (future) employees are also high – in terms of their professional skills, but even more so in terms of a mindset characterized by openness and a willingness to learn. Don’t overthink, innovate! – this applies to almost all areas of the company, including and especially HR. A good talent experience is the result of strategic considerations, understanding of human nature, data analysis, intuition, and a sense for trends and changes.
How can companies approach the talent experience both mentally and practically? – Today, we’re giving you five things to think about.
1. Discerning customers are discerning employees.
In our everyday lives, we are all customers of various companies and are increasingly used to being lured by products and services that are tailored exactly to our needs. The trend is moving toward “My” – whether it’s a cell phone contract or a cereal. Perhaps (probably) we want to feel special. Most definitely, we want to be seen as individuals. This applies to our role as customers as well as to our role as employees in a company. In this context, a good Talent Experience means looking at the individual employee, recognizing their needs, but also their potential, and responding with appropriate offers. And this shouldn’t end after the first contact but continue until the employee leaves the company and perhaps beyond. These offers can be simple things like choosing the right communication channel. For example, young people, in particular, prefer messenger services that they also use privately, even in a professional context. But also the internal recruitment of a person for an exciting project at the right time, namely when this person is looking for a new professional challenge, can be part of a good Talent Experience.
2. Left and Right is the new Up!
For a long time, climbing the career ladder in a company was considered the ultimate goal. Today, more and more people appreciate flat hierarchies and an open environment in which “up” is only one of many possible directions. Being connected to others is much more important than standing above them, being at eye level with one another, being well networked and working toward a common goal, and developing individually as part of a vibrant community. These are the key factors for “employee retention”, i.e. the retention of talent in the organization. A US study concluded that employees who advance horizontally or professionally within the first three years in the company, i.e. who (temporarily) take on a new responsible task in another department or manage a new project, are 62% more likely to stay in the company. With a “vertical career move,” such as a promotion to a management level, the percentage is only slightly higher (70%). Without the opportunity to try out other areas of responsibility outside of the routine, the probability of talent retention drops to below 50%.
3. Skills build the foundation for a good talent experience.
A good employee experience is based on organizations having a comprehensive picture of what candidates and employees are capable of. Concrete challenges require concrete skills to solve them. Whereby “concrete” does not necessarily refer to purely technical skills. Creativity and solution orientation are also concrete skills that HR staff can focus on in recruiting. In the future, the focus must be much more on searching for specific skills instead of filling even more positions of the same type. In practical terms, this leads to the question: Do I really need another online marketing manager or do I need SEO skills? And do I really need to look for these skills outside the organization, or might someone from the existing marketing team (or from another team) want to develop in this direction? – To find answers to these questions quickly, companies need a well-maintained and, most importantly, organically and continuously evolving skills map. With the help of this, they can always relate the personal development of a person in the company to the development of the organization as a whole by examining:
- Where do you stand (= employee XY) and where do we stand as a company?
- Where are you headed – and where are we headed as a company?
- What do you need – and what can we offer you?
- What do we need – and how can you support us?
4. Internal talent data is just as valuable as external talent data.
In the past, companies focused too much on new applicants, partly because managers aren’t necessarily crazy about temporarily “lending” their employees to other projects or departments. In addition, many companies found it easier to hire from the outside than to reorganize internally, partly because data on external candidates was easier to obtain than data on internal talent. Today, things are different. There are digital talent marketplaces where employees can make their skills visible, communicate what they are interested in, and where they want to develop. Neither HR professionals looking for the right skillsets nor employees looking for new challenges need to look outside the organization. Good data-driven tools match existing skills and interests in the workforce with the right opportunities within the organization, enabling internal mobility.
5. A good candidate experience is the starting point for a good talent experience.
It lies in the hands of companies to strategically build a talent pool from which they can repeatedly recruit, both internally and externally. The fact that the place of residence and the place of work no longer have to match expands the pool of new candidates immensely, but also requires recruiters and HR staff to become creative and to design the application and onboarding process in a way that is close to people, even at a distance. The actual size of a company’s talent pool ultimately depends to a large extent on the quality of the candidate experience, i.e. the experience that applicants have with the organization. Strategically, it makes sense for companies to stay in touch with candidates who are not the perfect match at the time of the first application. This can change over time, sometimes even faster than expected. Candidate relationship management, which is based on customer relationship management, ensures that a connection between applicants and the company is maintained. Here, too, the skills of the candidates are the decisive benchmark. For example, potential future employees can be invited to relevant company events or automatically informed about new positions.