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Armed Only with Influence, How Talent Acquisition Leaders Can Implement Change

We hold the philosophy that what you know is 50% of the job, and the other 50% is being able to pull people along with what you do.

If you are a talent acquisition leader and you want to implement change in your organization, whether that be making changes with your ATS, a hiring plan, changing from a high volume approach to a high touch approach within your capacity per recruiter mode, or anything important to optimizing the talent acquisition function, it can be very difficult to get buy-in from executive leadership.

How do you get buy-in from executive leadership to implement change? It’s a combination of two things:

  1. data

  2. clear, concise communication

Gathering The Right Data

Before gathering the necessary data, you need to clearly define what improvements you are trying to make. Perhaps you want to open up positions to remote or raise salaries for certain hard-to-fill roles, there's data in the market that you can pull and present to the leadership team.

Data from the market could include going on LinkedIn, Indeed, Dice, or other job boards and looking up salary ranges for the role you are trying to fill or seeing what benefits and perks other companies are offering that are also trying to fill that role.

LinkedIn Talent Insights is another great resource for data. We use data from LinkedIn Talent Insights for our own internal data models.

In addition to data from the market, you need to pull data from your applicant tracking system. Your ATS will be your main source of data. Data such as prior recruiting attempts to fill the role, time to fill, where candidates are dropping out, what went wrong, what went right, etc. For more information on how to leverage your ATS please read our blog post titled: Utilizing Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) To Optimize Your Talent Acquisition Function.

Blend in what is and isn’t working from your current recruiting process. For example, “last year when we filled this role it took X days and currently we are averaging Y days, so we should make adjustments due to current market conditions which have extended the time to fill for this role because it is now more competitive.”

Think of anything that you can pull in terms of actionable data that you can show to the leadership team for that specific improvement. Having an opinion is one thing, but being able to show data is another. It’s easy to argue and shoot down an opinion, but data is factual evidence that is hard to argue against.

How to Communicate

One general rule of thumb is to position yourself as presenting evidence instead of presenting your opinion. Saying things like, “the data is suggesting that…” or, “the data tells us to…”, etc, can resonate with decision makers.

Most decision makers at your company are probably not in talent acquisition. They might be in other departments altogether so you need to properly convey to them what you mean, and what this data means in terms of business objectives.

Your challenge is to communicate the data in terms of how recruiting outcomes impact overall business objectives. Convey to them the impact the decision has and the impact if they don’t make the improvement and things continue status quo.

Understanding Executive Outcomes

You have to understand executive outcomes prior to making your pitch. You need to know how to express why certain tactical changes, certain purchases, certain changes when it comes to remote or compensation, directly impact executive outcomes. Typically you're going to be talking about upside, but talking about downside, failure, and catastrophe, generally, is what gets people to move.

You will need to tailor your pitch according to the executive you're talking with. For example, the CEO has different objectives than the COO and CFO.

If you're connecting with a CEO, or a CFO that's controlling a budget, you have to be able to paint that picture through data about how this is going to significantly negatively impact outcomes. For example, not hiring strategic roles are going to prevent the company from maximizing the growth opportunity that’s in the market today is a statement, if backed up by data, that will resonate and instill a sense of urgency to act now.

Sometimes people are going to listen to you the fifth time you tell them they need to make a change. The reality is you have to have thick skin and be willing to bring something up consistently and you have to be willing to step on the line sometimes. It can be an uncomfortable thing to do.

But if you never come near the line you're not going to be able to push your agenda to help the company get the outcomes that they've essentially hired for you to get. Ultimately you're accountable for the talent acquisition outcome. If you're accountable for it, then you're sure as hell gonna influence it.

Know When to Hold ‘em, Know When to Fold ‘em

There are some environments where you might find yourself in a battle on a weekly basis. And when you stop battling it out, then the things you need to have happen stop happening. If you're in an environment where you have to prove and push every single week, then that's when you need to start looking for a new opportunity.

Find a company that understands the value of talent acquisition and is willing to optimize and invest heavily in it. Some companies are more optimized and invested in people functions, some are more invested in revenue functions other more in product and engineering functions.

And just general good career advice is you go to a company that is optimized for the thing that you do. If you're an engineer, then go to a company that is optimized for engineering and product, if you're in revenue, go to a company that's optimized for revenue, if you're in sales, go to a company that’s optimized for sales, etc.

Specifically for talent acquisition, it's one thing if you work at a company where you have to educate them, you use data, you pull them along to do the thing you need to do, and it's on a quarterly basis or an annualized basis, that's fine. But if you're constantly battling it out, sometimes education is not the path. Sometimes the path is just finding the people out there that see value in what you do and team up with them.

Even if you’re winning some of the battle, having to constantly battle is draining and you will likely burn out.

How SecureVision Can Help

For help with your company's hiring needs and optimizing your talent acquisition function, please contact us today.


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