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Fri, Oct 7, 2011

Talent Strategies

What Happened In Vegas: Looking Back at the Future of HR Technology

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I know many of us in the industry are writing about their experiences at the HREvolution and HR Technology conferences in Las Vegas. It was a much larger conference overall than I initially anticipated.

I can say one thing with certainty – I already look forward to returning next year. Everyone’s trying to distill the experience down to a word or, at most, a bullet list.  I’ll likely forgo that effort.

Frankly, I’m still absorbing all the technology and people angles. There isn’t a word, because the conference and its participants were too diverse and large in scope. I thoroughly enjoyed myself every moment but felt like there was just so much information and too many interesting people to meet.

There are countless industry friends that I wanted to spend more quality time with and simply could not find the bandwidth. But there is a phrase stuck in my head: Talent Communities. Organizations will need to use the tools of social media as a primary attractor for talent as we proceed forward.

It’s no longer a question of if –it’s do or die for growing company brands to get in and stay in the innovation game. The technology exists and it’s time for massive user adoption on a global scale. Companies that do not pivot to planning a social recruiting campaign now may lose the war for talent by not appearing innovative in their workplace culture brand, especially when attracting the younger generation workforce.

Of course I went to Vegas primed to find people amped by the notion of Talent Communities, looking for software to support them, and prepped for a presentation on the topic along with Matt Charney, Kevin W. Grossman and Lars Schmidt, the voice of @nprjobsour case study volunteer extraordinaire.

The beauty of Talent Communities was revealed to me in Vegas in more clear light. They combine appropriate social media technology – enough to support a company in its attempts to engage with passive and active candidates – with the social media overlay necessary to move interchanges among community members towards the goal – finding a match between talent, experience and corporate culture.

To the degree the notion of Talent Communities facilitates interaction with job seekers, it’s a win. To the extent technology platforms support companies trying to create Talent Communities, it’s also a win. Insofar as  Talent Communities facilitate the progression of social interactions to IRL meetings between companies and candidates, it’s a beautiful concept.

And for the most part it’s there, ready to implement today. It just takes a consistent effort, clear strategy, and patience – like anything worth doing.

Of course there’s one point of contention – not everyone could agree on what a Talent Community is.  This was so interesting from my perspective. We struggled to come up with a uniform response as a group. Here is Kevin W. Grossman’s attempt from our presentation on the subject:

“There are two things that differentiate true talent communities from talent pipelines and resume databases of old. The quality of interactions, not the quantity, makes the community. And members are members, from outside the organization and from within as current employees — not applicants — at least until they apply for a new job.”

Brilliant. Not a bullet list in sight and enough words so it all makes sense. Note the keywords: Quality of Interactions. Members. And likely – Strategic direction.

We all want to belong, and we want to have it matter. Membership and quality interactions – it’s about making connections and belonging. Talent Communities are a way for organizations to move towards the ideal state of creating low-friction, loosely coupled connections between the organization and potential candidates.

They represent a way-point on the journey of connectedness with others who are interested in our companies and brands. They incorporate social tools and just enough consumer tech feel to make them easy to use and friendly.

I’ve got to go back and review the 8 million pieces of literature I picked up there to get some new ideas and perspectives on HR Technology, but here’s one thing I’ve already learned: my colleagues and peers attending the HREvolution and HR Technology conferences represented an amazing talent community which I’m truly proud to be a part of.

About the Author

Meghan M. Biro, founder + CEO of TalentCulture, is a serial entrepreneur, leader and globally recognized career expert in talent acquisition, creative personal and corporate branding. Meghan has conducted more than 300 successful career searches for clients ranging from Fortune 500s to the most innovative software start-up companies. Meghan is also a new media strategist who enjoys accelerating collaborative business and community goals. When not recruiting, blogging, and innovating she manages a dynamic coaching practice empowering corporate leaders, mid-level managers, software technologists, and recent college graduates. Meghan is a member of the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS), The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and several entrepreneurial organizations. She serves on the Alumni Council for Greens Farms Academy, acting as a career mentor to high school and college students.

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