Talent pipeline readiness during a recession

by Tim Plamondon

talent pipeline readiness

Why Building Your Talent Pipeline During an Economic Downturn is Good for Your Business.

Along with a giant cloud of unknowing, the coronavirus-induced recession has created a new work routine for industries and societies. Workers and companies found themselves adjusting to remote work and work-from-home (WFH).

Once the economy starts bouncing back and businesses reopen, companies need to be ready to begin hiring. 

According to a recent WilsonHCG study, 71 percent of surveyed business leaders expect to begin hiring in the 3rd and 4th quarters of this year. Sixty-three percent of HR and TA professionals surveyed said that their teams are getting ready to start hiring. 

Part of the hiring readiness should be a talent pipeline readiness. To that end, a candidate-centric pipeline is what Best-in-Class companies adopt, according to Aberdeen's analyst, Zach Chertok. Aberdeen's data also shows that a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner is best suited to creating a continuously populated pipeline.

Why You Should Build Your Talent Pipeline Now

Now is the time to build your talent pipeline because you don't know which jobs will need filling when the economy starts to recover. Having an established pipeline when the uncertainty fades will position you to draw and keep quality employees. 

Establishing a talent pipeline today allows you to capture top candidates for tomorrow's jobs. In the last four months, various companies laid off or furloughed a large number of their workforce to stay solvent. The unemployment numbers did improve in June, yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 17.8 million people still unemployed.

A large number of available workers, indeed, and many not currently looking for work. Some workers will return to their old jobs, and others might not be interested. As Leah Daniels, SVP of Strategy at Appcast, recently shared in an RPOA Leadership Forum webinar, "the data suggests that fewer people are looking for work because, thanks to the CARES Act, an amazing two-thirds of them have been making more on unemployment than they’d be if they were working." 

Free webinar: Recruiting Data RPO Providers Should Know 

During economic downturns, successful companies stay proactive. They see downturns as opportunities. Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, in a Harvard Business Review article, made the argument that now is an unprecedented opportunity to hire great talent. Fernández-Aráoz showed how Hewlett Packard took advantage of the late 1940s economic recession. Hewlett Packard hired unemployed engineers from the military labs that shut down. 

Building your talent pipeline now is crucial to your business thriving once the uncertainty fades. Being proactive in setting up your pipeline ensures you'll have a pipeline ready for when you need to fill jobs. 

The Best Talent Pipeline During an Economic Downturn

COVID-19 has forced business leaders to take a proactive approach. This proactive approach means building a candidate-centric pipeline. Safety concerns are a reason available candidates are reluctant to return to work. They want to see whether the job is the right place to work. A pipeline focusing on the candidate's desires first fits the candidate-centric model.

Aberdeen reported that before the pandemic, companies started to realize they needed to invest more in giving what candidates specifically want in the workplace. In these uncertain days, a candidate-centric pipeline helps companies show candidates the benefits of working for them. 

What is a Candidate-Centric Talent Pipeline

candidate-centric talent pipeline is where the company sets up a continuous centralized pipeline of candidates for future opportunities. This model first matches the company's goals, mission, vision, and culture with the applicant. Then they match job openings with available candidates. 

benefits of candidate-centric talent pipeline

The Benefits of Candidate-Centric Talent Pipelining

When your company's pipeline centers on the candidate, its cultural attributes become acute to potential employees. According to Aberdeen, this type of pipeline is what Best-in-Class companies practice. Companies that use this model are 50% more likely than others to draw and keep top talent. 

This type of pipeline allows companies to stretch their recruitment reach to the passive candidates currently unemployed. The candidate-centered pipeline targets the applicants the companies want while forming a large group of future candidates today for open positions tomorrow. Best-in-Class companies using this proactive model have successfully engaged passive applicants more than companies using the reactive model.

RPOs Play a Vital Role in Building Candidate Centric Pipelines

In his research report, Revisiting the Value of Strategic Partnerships in Recruiting, Chertok points out that working with an RPO partner to create an overall recruiting strategy increases the chances of hiring quality talent who fit the company's culture. This success is because RPOs consult and strategize with their clients to create a robust centralized employer brand. 

Recruiting in Turbulent Times: Why your EVP is more important than ever.

Companies that work with an RPO are 44% more likely to have a healthier and better-aligned employer brand than those who do not use an RPO. 

A strong employer brand underpins the talent pipeline. During this pandemic, your employer brand can let candidates know your procedures for keeping them safe. If your company offers childcare facilities, candidates with childcare concerns will see this as a benefit. This high visibility of perks will allow you to attract qualified candidates to your company's pipeline.

RPOs have the expertise to search the vast candidate pools and find top candidates that match the company's culture and values. RPOs see the existing employment landscape from a better vantage point than internal recruiting teams because of their recruitment acumen.

RPOs are like navigators of a ship. Internal HR and Talent Acquisition professionals are the helmsmen who focus on steering the company's hiring process. RPOs as navigator helps these folks focus on the key factors that build strong talent pipelines. Behind every skilled helmsperson is a masterful navigator. 

In Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Lifeline in the War for Top Talent, Chertok points out, companies that work with an RPO provider are twice as likely than those not working with one to increase their focus on internal and external factors while creating their talent pipelines. Focusing on these factors ensures a continuously populate pipeline. 

As we move into the new normal, you can count on the recruitment expertise of an RPO to help you build and maintain a talent pipeline that is ready for hiring activities. To learn more about RPOs and talent pipelines, Visit our RPO Academy to access free resources.

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