What is Talent Relationship Management?

You may have heard the buzzword talent relationship management, but what does it mean and what exactly does it look like in practice?

Talent relationship management is the HR and business practice of building and nurturing long-lasting relationships with talent and then sourcing candidates from that pool when looking to fill open roles.

Talent relationship management involves connecting with all different types of talent — from employee referrals to former candidates for previous roles at your organization. The key is building a database of every connection you’ve ever made with talent and that you make an effort to remain in touch with each and every one of those connections.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why talent relationship management is important

Before digging into the how of talent relationship management, it’s important to focus on the why. Good talent relationship management allows you to build a foundation of available, accessible talent whenever a new role opens up — ultimately improving both the quality of the talent you bring onboard and the speed with which you’re able to fill positions.

When you consistently engage and remain in touch with a database of talent connections, you’re sourcing candidates from a pool that has already been vetted. You already know who they are, what skills they have, how they’ve grown over time, and what roles they’d be a fit for. You then ensure speed because you eliminate the time it takes to source, screen, and vet new candidates you’ve never met.

Compare this to a more linear, traditional approach to sourcing talent. You open a new role and post it on a job board. You start sourcing candidates. You spend the time and effort vetting those candidates. In the end, the entire process can take months and you may end up with one or two candidates who fit the role.

Groups of talent to maintain in your database

Building a great talent database means connecting with talent within a wide range of audiences, including:

Referrals from current or former employees

Traditional employee referrals often make excellent candidates and eventual employees. That’s because your best employees (either current or former!) typically refer peers who are similar to them in terms of work ethic, willingness to learn, and more. What’s more, most people tend to trust their peers when it comes to referrals. In fact, in a recent Hireology survey, 86% of job seekers say they are more likely to apply to a job if a trusted friend vouches for the company.

However, it’s important to source referrals always, not only when you have open roles to fill. You should be constantly making connections with your employees’ network should future positions become available.

Former candidates

Former candidates are an often overlooked group of excellent talent. These are people who expressed interest in your roles in the past. You may have interviewed them or even extended an offer, but for one reason or another you ended up hiring someone else. These are important people to stay in touch with because you already know they’re interested in your organization and you’ve already vetted them to an extent — meaning they’re quality candidates who you can hire fast.

Former employees

You might think that when someone chooses to part ways with your organization that they’re gone forever. But the reality is that good employees can and will leave your organization for many reasons. Maybe they felt they didn’t have room to grow in their role. Or they wanted to gain different experiences you simply couldn’t offer. 

Regardless of why they left, former employees who performed well at your organization and left on good terms are always worth staying in touch with should a role open up that might be a good fit down the line. Again, you already know who they are and what skills they have, and as they already understand the ins and outs of your business. Additionally, the same survey mentioned above found that 67% of job seekers would be open to returning to organizations they’ve previously worked for.

Existing employees

And finally, nurture your existing talent by spending time learning what individuals want for themselves in their careers. Whether this is through surveys or 1:1 meetings, get to know the goals and aspirations of everyone on your team on a personal level. That way, when new roles open up you can look to existing team members who might be interested in that position. Much like the other groups, these are quality candidates who you can move into a new role fast. On top of that, this helps you ensure retention by giving top performers an opportunity to grow and expand.

How to engage with your talent database

Now that you have a database of all these connections, how exactly do you engage with and maintain these relationships? 

Great talent management involves regular and consistent text or email campaigns with messages that are relevant to the audience. For example, maybe for former employees, your messages contain employee announcements at your organization — such as new benefits offered, revenue milestones, or product/service offering updates. And of course it’s important to regularly communicate open roles that are available. The key is showing that your organization is growing and improving, and that there’s room for former employees to return should the right opportunity arise. 

The same concept applies to each audience in your database. For existing employees you might want to communicate learning and development opportunities alongside open roles. Or for referral connections, you might want to share testimonials from your existing team about what they love about working for you. 

Effective talent relationship management can help you make better quality hires faster, which ultimately impacts your organization’s bottom line. But building a database of talent from scratch takes time and can be tough to do without the right tools and technology at your disposal. Whether you need help organizing and managing your contacts or improving your campaigns and messaging, Hireology is here to help. Take a tour of our employee referral program product today.



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