I continue to be fascinated with the concept of talent communities — but sometimes more with how people define or interpret the idea. I struggle with the idea of anybody “owning” or “managing” a community. Can a company actually lead an effort to build one that is real and sustainable — or at least something more than just a talent pool with a means to connect with potential candidates? My idea of a community is one that has a life of its own. To flourish I don’t think it can be controlled, but it can be led and influenced. I predict you will be reading a lot more from me about this subject in the coming weeks, as I have spent a good bit of time pondering this issue. Especially as I see the flurry of activity around companies “building” talent communities — and vendors creating technology and tools to help these efforts. I have started by thinking about examples of what I would consider a true talent community as I determine how to actually define it.
One of the first examples that came to my mind was SourceCon. It it is fresh in my mind since it starts next week here in Atlanta — back where it all began in 2007. It amuses me that this was my first thought – especially since it is a conference, not a community, that definitely has an owner/manager. But it really is more than “just a conference” — probably because it does bring the sourcing talent community together as a place to gather, connect, share and learn in real life, real time. And because it was “born” as a means to establish, broaden, connect, and really bring life to the community, as well as the profession. So I guess it is a good example to test the question, can an organization actually start, manage, or own a talent community?
I have posed the question in the past, why would you start one in the first place? Who’s problem are you trying to solve? I believe this is where many organizations veer from the path to success. They do it to “fill jobs”. What they need to think about is how do we generate jobs people love — and how do we find the people who will love these jobs and flourish in that environment. SourceCon was not born to fill jobs — though it is a natural place to find amazing talent. But nobody “owns” or even manages that talent as a group – but the group has a meaning, members/participants, and they (and everyone else) knows who they are, what they do/want, and what they can gain from being a part of it. That, my friends, sounds like a talent community to me. It has something in it for everyone and thus attracts people to it and keeps them engaged. Isn’t that what you want?
Yes it is! When we think of creating a talent community – internal as well as external – that will flourish and thrive, we have to think about generating jobs people love. To attract the kind of members that have the same sense of belonging, provide the same kind of challenges and growth opportunities, have champions and promoters — and the same kind of organization, even self-regulation, that you see in the community SourceCon represents. I think it will be fun to explore in the coming weeks other successful talent communities — and what companies can learn from them, assess what/where/who they are today, and how they might build one. Please feel free to comment with any examples, thoughts and/or ideas!!
In the mean time, take a gander at the video below — or check out the video on SourceCon After Dark — and tell me you don’t get a sense of what I am talking about. Better yet, join us in Atlanta for SourceCon next week and see for yourself. Follow the link/icon in the side bar to register and be sure to take advantage of the 10% discount code: SC12HAVRILLA!Share