July 27, 2017

Creating a Recruiting Culture that Works

By Stephanie Maas, Partner, Banking

Solving the talent shortage problem: how to create a recruiting culture that works

If your company is like most, you probably experience a constant struggle to attract and keep top talent. This is due to a variety of challenges in the hiring process, including personnel shortages, lack of data-driven functionality, and a tendency to be risk-averse when it comes to screening and hiring prospective candidates.

Although it may be comforting to know that your company isn’t alone in this struggle, it may also surprise you to learn that some firms have found a more successful approach to hiring by turning their managers and employees into talent scouts. This method, colloquially known as “recruiting culture,” makes hiring top candidates a company-wide initiative that can quickly turn talent shortages into surpluses.

What is “recruiting culture” and why does it work?

Unlike the traditional method of placing ads (including online ads) and waiting for interested candidates to respond, recruiting culture relies on an “all hands on deck” approach. This gives all employees the ability — and incentive — to recruit top talent, turning everyone from new hires to executives into brand ambassadors and 24/7 talent scouts.

This method can be even more effective than traditional recruitment tactics, since employees are usually peers with the people they recruit — in other words, there’s already at least a sense of camaraderie and common ground, if not more. This allows employees to more easily single out individuals they know they’ll work with effectively as a teammate; furthermore, because they’re equals (friends, former colleagues or classmates, sometimes even family members), they’ll be able to approach talented individuals more easily. If employees truly love working for your company, it’ll be a piece of cake to sell their friends!

An additional bonus: if your employees are constantly talking about the benefits of working for your company, it helps promote your company’s image as a desirable place for great people to work.

How to develop a recruiting culture

The first step toward developing a recruiting culture is to make employees aware of how a company’s talent shortage problem actually affects them. Begin by having your CEO or another executive address the situation, and explain that your company is establishing a program that incentivizes employees to scout and recruit their talented contacts. This will bring awareness to the problem and make each individual feel personally invested in solving it, rather than placing undue burden on a single employee or team.

During this phase, it’s important to emphasize that the role of “talent scout” is considered an integral part of each individual’s regular job duties. Employees need to understand that they should actively be pursuing top talent as they perform their daily work, including at networking events, conferences, and other functions; however, the bulk of recruiting will probably occur outside of the work day, and that’s okay, too.

As part of this program, incentivize employees to submit talented candidates each month that your recruiters can actively pursue. Additionally, encourage managers to connect with bright individuals who previously worked for the company to see if they have any interest in returning as a rehire.

Getting the HR team on board

As you can see, you don’t need the latest and greatest technology or massive budget increases to attract top talent; you do, however, need to ensure that as you develop a recruiting culture in your employees that your conventional HR team is firmly on board. In fact, human resources employees should ideally be on the front lines of fostering a recruiting culture at their company — after all, it only makes their jobs easier!

Since recruiting culture involves supplementing existing hiring models with less traditional approaches, you’ll need creative, agile, data-driven employees at the center of your human resources department; heavy investment in this area will only pay off in the long run. Once you have a recruiting culture firmly in place at your company, you may even discover that you have no need for traditional recruiting tactics — as a result, your HR operation will be as enviable as your company.