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Was recruiting the right talent at the right time in 2012 straight forward or hard? What do you think 2013 will be like? Either way, it is time to review your choices. Here’s a way to target your recruiting tactics.

(A) Select two to four methods of staffing to provide the core members of your team. Focus on these, investing the resources required for ongoing success.

(B) Experiment with one or two other channels that may hold promise.

(C) Revise your lists twice a year.

If you are not sure what talent sources to consider for list (B) or maybe even (A), start with these steps:

  • Ask everyone who joined your organization last year for help. Face-to-face, sit down in one or more small groups and discuss how people are looking for work, what helped, and what did not.
  • Find out where your competitors are advertising then, depending on your business strategy and talent recruiting sense, use the same and/or different channels.
  • Consider tips such as, “5 Ways the New War for Talent Will Change the Workplace Forever” or “Top 10 Talent Management Trends for 2013.”
  • If you need a more complete talent approach, start with this talent process pipeline white paper from Oracle.

Here are some recruiting ideas for your (A) or (B) list.

  • What fruitful options did your new hires recommend in the focus groups?
  • Do you have a training regimen or program in technical and soft skills to develop existing employees and fresh hires? You simply cannot “buy” enough rightly-skilled people anymore. You must “create” some, too. Consider partnering with the Washtenaw Community College business team.
  • Are you getting names through and/or directly posting on Linkedin? (here’s how) See their blog for more branding, recruiting, and not-profit org ideas.
  • Have you connected with Michigan Works’ Business Services in the past couple years to understand how their no-cost business partners might source and sometimes temporarily subsidize talent for you? If not, it’s time to make a call.
  • Have you looked into hiring military veterans? (Pure Michigan link) (Michigan Manufacturing Association links)
  • What role will contingent/temporary workers and outsourcing play?
  • The high school and college students who will become your workforce, do they know your industry is a great place to work or your company exists? (MMA resources link for manufacturers)
  • Did you know January is the month to ATTEND college summer intern job fairs at Eastern Michigan and the U of M? So sign up today. Michigan has multiple career centers: use this Google search to help find the fair or fairs for your org. WCC co-op students are available year round.
  • Intentionally, conversationally assign two staff to this professional networking group, two to that group, and so on until connected to five or so networks with the specific charge for your staff to solicit interest in possible employment and bring back referral names. This includes monthly follow up to ask, “Whose names did you provide last month and where are you going this month in order to connect with the kinds of professionals we need over the next year?”
  • Which professors are aiding in your search for college students, and are you doing what is needed to maintain the interest of those faculty in your program?
  • Is your organizational culture best suited to attract and retain the right people? “Entrepreneurial” cultures are likely the best to move towards. It may also be important here to assess your organizational stage and competing values. (SPARK is working on a culture improvement project so you can check back with me for more ideas.)
  • Are your jobs posted on your web site? Are they being picked up by Indeed or other job spidering site that your new hires say they found useful?

While outside the scope of this blog, give more thought to retaining the talent you have than attracting new staff. The natural way to write this is: don’t invest in bringing on great, new team members only to lose them. However, the picture is more critical than that: attracting and losing new staff negatively impacts the people who were on-board and already committed to your team. I chose the past tense verb “were” intentionally. If the newly-hired, best people are leaving so are some of your not-so-new, best staff.

Managers, board members, or investors might say, “It is too hard to find this or that skill in the Ann Arbor area.” Finding, attracting, and keeping the best team is not easy anywhere on the planet. Our region is top rated in many areas. No region is rated as the best, easy, and cheap place to consistently hire and maintain an excellent workforce.

If working at staffing is not a key and recently-revised element of your plans, then you know one of items to resolve to resolve this January.

Scott Trossen, talent leader at Ann Arbor SPARK