5 Ways Your Talent Acquisition Team Will Bring ROI in an Economic Downturn

Editor’s note: This post was adapted from a LinkedIn article by our Head of Talent Acquisition, Robyn Thornton.

Talent Acquisition professionals are used to market fluctuations, ebbs, and flows. In the natural pendulum of a candidate-driven market to an employer-driven one, TA teams help a company strategically prepare for the swings. These folks are always dialed into market trends and macroeconomics to provide insights to hiring managers and leaders as they build their workforce planning and headcount strategies.  

Yet, there is a perception that when recruiters aren’t filling roles, they are not adding value. So, if a company is slowing or stopping hiring, leaders tend to look first at their recruiting organization as a place to make cuts. The thinking goes: as the market rebounds, they can just hire recruiters again when things pick up. These same leaders also think it’s easy to “turn on the pipelines” and let the talent flow back in, like releasing a dam. 

But it never really works that way. We are working with humans, and they may not be ready to make job changes as soon as hiring plans resurge. Meanwhile, the pendulum swing of your business is delayed behind the rhythm of the market. 

How one short-term decision will cost you in the long run

For the company, it can take months, or even a year to start building back—especially if your employment brand took some hits. Also, hiring managers who have had to work with pared back or leaner teams will be extremely anxious to supplement their overworked folks who may have had to do the work of two or three people during this time and are burned out.  

And then there’s attrition and backfilling.  

When the market rebounds, if an organization has let go of the TA team, there will not only be financial costs, but productivity expenses, and project delays and slowdowns.

Your company’s TA and People leaders worked hard to build strong recruiting teams, to be the best brand ambassadors who are dialed into your company values, culture, and processes. 

In the hunt for experienced recruiters, you should expect they will have multiple offers to consider. Onboarding and training will take time get them to the levels of your former talent advisors like readying front-line soldiers and getting them back into fully operational shape. 

How to refocus your recruiters and sourcers—and come out stronger for it

The pivot for your talent acquisition team firing on all cylinders to hit aggressive hiring plans to a hiring pause or reduced forecast is like trying to change the front tire of a fast-moving vehicle. And what happens when the car slows down, or even stops? Think of the opportunity you have to fine-tune or even rebuild. 

Consider the following alternatives before releasing your talent acquisition team: 

  1. Reground in your employer brand. Now is the time to dig deep into your unique employment value proposition. What makes your organization a special place to work? What core beliefs and behaviors have stuck with your company and how can you articulate those values? Get some hearty work done on your careers site, your culture/life pages on social media, and socialize this work internally and externally. If you can keep your employer top of mind for folks, they will stay in your brand’s orbit. 

  2. Sharpen your team’s interviewing and hiring game. What do athletes do in the off-season? They get ready and prepared for the next; they keep up their workouts and continue to train. How about refreshing interview training for the organization?  Maybe it’s time to do a deep, intensive dive into your recruiting processes with more inclusive hiring practices. Could your referral programs and candidate engagement methods use some polish? 

  3. Support your TA team’s efforts on strategic workforce planning. Your TA team is uniquely skilled to help the business identify skills gaps. What are complimentary skills that each team or function needs? Your TA partners could work with you to do discovery and then they can work on building pipelines.

  4. Double-down on internal mobility. Recruiters continue to nurture talent after those hires are on board. Organizations prioritize employee retention, and the recruiting team is well poised to actively assist your employees with their career paths. 

  5. Redeploy recruiters in other parts of the business. Investing in these folks will pay dividends. If they return to Talent Acquisition after a temporary redeployment, they will have an even deeper understanding of the functions where they were deployed, establish more credibility with candidates given their newly acquired credentials and hands-on experience, and in turn, will build stronger talent pools. 

Leveraging your Talent Acquisition team in these capacities will give you a competitive advantage and keep the rhythm of the business on track for revenue generation. These professionals have skills and experiences that are incredibly valuable and transferable; keeping them will benefit both your business and your workforce.

How are we so sure? The SeekOut platform helps us deeply understand the talent inside and outside of your organization. With SeekOut Grow, you get a comprehensive picture of the labor market and an immediate understanding of the capabilities and experiences across your workforce. Plus, a self-service talent marketplace empowers employees to take charge of their own development with opportunities to build new skills, make new connections, and explore new career paths.

Want to learn more? Request a demo of SeekOut Grow today.

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