Britain’s got talent – but where can you find it?

Richard Bradley offers some advice for SMEs on how to build a winning talent pipeline

For any growing small business, recruiting new people is a major decision and one that shouldn’t be rushed. Taking the time to consider the skills and attitude you need, and identifying the right person for your business, will pay dividends in the long-term.

How is your talent pipeline looking? Do you have a steady flow of skilled and engaged candidates? Or a slow trickle of talent that isn’t quite the right fit?

Keeping your talent pipeline hot isn’t just desirable, in a talent-short market it can be business critical. But if you’re struggling to keep your bench of potential candidates up to scratch, you aren’t alone.

Coping with the immediate people needs of your organisation can feel like being stuck on a treadmill. You’re so busy thinking about all the other key factors that go with running a business that you lack the resources to plan successfully for the future.

That’s why your talent pipeline has to be a key issue for the organisation as a whole. Your talent strategy should track your wider business goals, with a successful and diverse talent pipeline at the centre of the picture.

Know your talent needs

It’s no use building an all-star talent pipeline without first truly understanding the critical skills your business needs. Identify in-demand or difficult-to-fill roles for right now and the future. Use this information to develop a detailed skills map of your organisation. This will help to focus your search for potential candidates and build a more-productive talent pipeline.

Create engaging employer branding

Your website, your talent portal, your social media. Every aspect of your business is speaking to potential candidates and it’s telling them something about you. It’s essential that this material is sending the right message, so ensure that your employer branding is consistent, engaging, and clear. We live in an online world where a huge amount of information is available about your organisation at the click of a button. Make sure you’re telling the right stories in the right places.

Harness the right technology

Managing a talent pipeline, filled with a list of potential candidates isn’t an easy thing to do. You need a way to measure, track and nurture a diverse group of people. This is where the right technology can help you stay in control. There is a huge array of potential tech out there, all promising to transform the way you manage your talent pool. Carefully consider the right solution and invest in a system that offers real value to your business.

Develop internal and external talent

Your talent pipeline should be a blend of existing talent and external candidates. Internally, harness performance reviews and feedback to help you identify people with important skillsets. Externally, smart use of social media, engagement with key industry events and an ongoing relationship with talented but unsuccessful candidates can help add depth to your talent pool.

Partner with expert suppliers

If you don’t have the time and resources to invest in your talent pipeline, then it could be useful to look outside of your business for support and guidance. Developing a good relationship with the right resourcing and recruitment experts in talent communities, market intelligence and sourcing, can help you build a talent pipeline which will reimagine your approach to talent and take the pain out of the process for you.

Engage candidates with content

Keeping your talent pipeline hot isn’t just about finding the right potential candidates. It’s about keeping them engaged and invested in your business. Any SME should be actively creating unique content that tells potential candidates more about who your organisation is. This can be through blog posts, social media or any other platform that you feel will speak to them. Use targeted content as an opportunity to get creative and set yourself apart from the competition. That way, the right talent could come knocking at your door.

Richard Bradley is UK managing director of Kelly, which offers specialist outsourcing, consulting and staffing services, connecting professional and technical talent in the fields of accounting, industrial, commercial, engineering and science.