Talent sourcing, recruitment, and retention are enduring organizational challenges. Even in tough economic times, organizations struggle with shortages of critical talent (scientists and engineers for example), the impending knowledge drain, and difficult outsourcing/offshoring decisions. Organizations are challenged to attract top talent with effective recruiting messages and then struggle to retain these valuable employees. Human resources and operations professionals in every organization confront these issues daily.
In 2007, the analyst embarked on a Collaborative Benchmarking study to identify how best-practice organizations determine their talent needs; strategize and act accordingly; retain high-performing employees; and then measure their sourcing, recruitment, and selection practices.
The following best-practice organizations were selected for study because they exhibited successful practices in recruiting, selecting, and retaining talent:
- Abbott Laboratories,
- Booz Allen Hamilton,
- Lincoln Financial Group,
- TELUS, and
After analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from these organizations, the the analyst project team identified 18 principal findings. These findings or best practices have been grouped into the following categories:
- retention, and
1. Centralize the sourcing and staffing functions to optimize results.
2. Leverage and maintain external relationships to facilitate talent sourcing.
3. Develop a focused, strategic plan for sourcing and projecting talent.
4. Leverage employee referrals as a key sourcing method.
5. Implement numerous strategies to ensure a diverse work force.
6. Foster strong partnerships between HR and the business units.
7. Instill a strong, consistent employment brand.
8. Leverage technology to streamline the transactional aspects of the recruitment process.
9. Exhibit creativity and persistence in attracting both passive and active candidates.
10. Create a strong candidate experience by building relationships with potential employees.
11. Rigorously assess the quality of people hired and promoted.
12. Ensure that core values and competencies are key drivers of the selection process.
13. Help employees define ambitious career paths.
14. Offer employees rich and meaningful growth opportunities through professional development.
15. Provide comprehensive mentoring, coaching, and on-boarding programs.
16. Encourage employees to maintain a work/life balance.
17. Systematically measure key activities and results connected to recruiting, selecting, and retaining talent.
18. Realize that there is still an opportunity to better measure and assess the quality of hire.
Overall, the key findings are not astounding or astonishingly new. Rather, they are reiterations and validations of good, solid business practices for recruiting and retaining talent in any organization, regardless of industry. In addition, study best-practice partners illustrate the age-old argument that a lower cost in HR is not always necessarily a good thing; investments in recruiting and retaining your most valuable asset, your people, are worthwhile.
The full report based on this study, Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Talent, elaborates on the best practices listed in this article, providing examples of each practice “in action” at the best-practice organizations. The report also includes an in-depth case study of each best-practice organization.
- Sponsor and Partner Organizations
- Executive Summary
- Study Methodology
- Key Findings and Lessons Learned
- Case Study: Abbot Laboratories
- Case Study: Booz Allen Hamilton
- Case Study: Lincoln Financial Group
- Case Study: Microsoft
- Case Study: TELUS
- Case Study: Textron