Fri, Sep 30, 2011
There’s a perfect storm brewing in Vegas, and I’m not talking about the weather. It’s supposed to be in the 90s and sunny during this week’s HR Technology and HR Evolution events. Selling that climate (and the sponsored parties, swag, expensed meals, etc.) to decision makers isn’t hard. The real forecast, however, that they should be concerned with is the intersection of talent communities and company workplace culture.
While they’re a harder sell than the sponsored parties, swag, expensed meals and bright lights, the twin fronts of culture and community are moving in like a New England winter (did I mention I’m super-psyched to be going to Vegas?!). And just like a Nor’easter, not being prepared will mean being left out in the cold.
I’ll be blogging about new HR technologies, trends and practices discussed at both conferences here at MonsterThinking.com and TalentCulture.com. I’ll also be leading a session on how talent communities and company culture overlap with my #TChat partners in crime, Kevin W. Grossman and Matt Charney (aka @monster_works).
We’ll be looking at culture and community by focusing on the real talent acquisition picture at NPR (big thanks to our special guest, the fabulous Lars Schmidt, aka @thisislars and the voice of @nprjobs!), but the lessons for leaders, HR and recruiting practitioners can be applied to any organization. Check out the case study – it’s valuable reading whether or not you can be there ‘IRL’!
I know these two topics seem mutually exclusive; talent communities are largely external, and culture largely internal (although obviously not universally). There is, however, a very close connection, one talent and organizational leaders and practitioners have to not only be aware of, but also properly prepared to proactively maintain.
The reason: now, more than ever, companies and their recruitment staffs are charged with creating an engaged workforce or else lose the talent needed to drive businesses of all sizes forward.
Talent acquisition, stripped of technology, is a world of recruiters with a rotary phone and a Rolodex, but the world of work has evolved, with social media becoming a core competency of human capital managers.
Recruiting, stripped of technology, is still often done by recruiters with spreadsheets of contacts to date. But we live in a social world now, and it’s important to factor in a social component when recruiting or retaining talent. Hence the rise of Talent Communities, and software platforms to support them.
I see these “talent communities” as virtual spaces where external applicants and internal talent or applicants are not actively looking for work, but are networking with each other, mentoring one another, teaching and sharing with one another and promoting one another for new roles. Some communities spring up organically, like #TChat – and some are sponsored by those prescient organizations who realize the value of social interaction.
Unfortunately, some talent communities quickly become stagnant, regardless of the technology used to build them or the company culture of the sponsoring workplace. It’s hard work to sustain a community, especially when the bonds between community members are weak.
This is where company and leadership culture comes in. A company’s workplace culture can help ensure the success of its business objectives. As I’ve written, culture is how employees describe where they work, understand the business, and see themselves as part of the organization. Building a strong company culture does not guarantee business success, but a strong culture attracts talent–and talent carries a company forward.
So talent communities, whether organic and spontaneous, built by a company or created via a software platform, must reflect the culture of the company sponsoring the community. One way to do this is to hire or appoint a community manager – an individual with a strong sense of company culture who is socially savvy, able to engage with virtual communities and keep them moving forward in a positive direction.
Talent Communities are also a way to make your company’s culture transparent – obvious and natural to all – and also to present a more human face through easier interactions and supportive engagement for it’s members. It’s about the quality of engagement rather than quantity in this case. Everyone must find value in order to get something out of these interactions or they are unlikely to stay engaged and become a future job applicant for your role.
I’ll be writing more this week about building viable talent communities and the impact of company culture on communities, as well as discussing the technologies to watch – the veritable people, process and technology approach. In the meantime, tell me about the Talent Communities you participate in, or the ones you wish existed. It’s really an enormous untapped and growing marketplace; let’s not miss an opportunity to innovate the Recruiting and HR industry.