Get Where You Want to Go with a Recruiting Road Map

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer September 11, 2018
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​Need to show your company where the talent acquisition team needs to be and the strategy for how it will get there? Draw a map.

Road maps are an essential part of strategic planning, said Michael Goldberg, a talent acquisition veteran and the managing director of MMGoldberg & Associates, an HR and talent acquisition consulting firm based in Dallas. "Road map creation allows teams to visualize strategy and sets the course for managing change to existing processes and programs."

Road maps can also help teams anticipate and avoid disruptions, create accountability, and spur team members to measure and report results, he added.

"One of the biggest reasons you'd want to develop a road map is that it gives the entire recruiting function, from coordinators and sourcers to recruiters, a deeper meaning behind the goals you set for them," said Will Staney, the founder of Proactive Talent, an Austin, Texas-based consulting firm focused on talent acquisition. "It directly ties what they do day to day into the organization's vision and mission through goal alignment."

That calibration between the recruiting and business strategies goes a long way toward hiring success. "Recruiting is at a crossroads in a lot of ways," said Brian Kropp, group vice president of the HR practice at Gartner. "Part of that is because it's such a tight labor market that it's harder than ever to attract the best candidates. Figuring out what you will need to do to compete to win quality talent is critical to the organization's success."

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Assess Your Current State

Experts recommend first assessing the talent acquisition function's current situation before mapping the future. "Think about what is working, what is not working, and what needs to change," Goldberg said. "You don't want to change for the sake of change. Think about the health of the talent pool for your industry, what is working in terms of sourcing, how is your turnover, what skills does your team have and what training do they need—do your recruiters know the business so they can recruit for the business?"

Then you can envision future needs and identify what tools, people and resources you need to achieve your goals, he said.

Building Blocks Begin with a Vision

Staney explained that developing a strategic road map starts with creating a high-level vision of the recruiting function tied to the vision of the company. From there, come up with a mission statement that will achieve that vision, and present both to your team for their input. Break out strategic objectives and goals to meet those objectives.

"If your vision is to be a best-in-class recruiting organization, and the mission is to help the company revolutionize its particular industry, then you come up with the strategic objectives that will align into that vision," Staney said. "You can then break the objectives down into individual performance goals for recruiting team members, who now feel more connected and are more likely to accomplish their goals because they understand the bigger picture."

Two objectives could be to establish the company as an employer of choice among diverse talent pools and to use a data-focused approach to recruiting, Staney said. "Under those objectives, you'd have goals to implement, such as buying a best-in-class CRM [candidate relationship management] tool, sourcing 33 percent diverse candidates for every job, or doing one recruiting event targeting diverse candidates per quarter."

Common Wrong Turns

According to Kropp, the two biggest mistakes companies make when building a road map for recruiting are:

  • Trying to become a more attractive employer instead of making sure the right candidates are applying. "Companies need to reimagine their recruiting process, not to attract more candidates but to help candidates make better decisions about whether to apply," he said. Create objectives for team members to identify how the company can help candidates make better decisions about whether to apply.
  • Building systems that make it harder for hiring managers to be a part of the recruiting process. "Recruiters complain that hiring managers are not engaging with the process," Kropp said. "They have every incentive to hire people. [But] we've built a system that's too hard for managers to use. We should be designing for simplicity, not for sophistication." Instead of buying and implementing technology with "a lot of bells and whistles," create an effortless experience for managers to engage with HR during the hiring process, he said.

Staying on Track

When mapping, think quarter to quarter, not day by day, Goldberg said. "Build it slowly. Keep the end result in mind, prioritize your needs and set expectations with stakeholders."

He also recommended using an agile approach to measure progress, keeping leaders informed and being transparent about setbacks.

"Things change," Staney said. "Budgets get cut. It's OK to be flexible with the plan. That's why it's a good idea to review the road map on a quarterly basis and realign it if necessary. If you stay aligned, you will always be making sure that your talent acquisition function is focusing on the right things at the right time that will have the greatest impact on the business."

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