Why the big focus on Talent Communities? I guess it depends on who you ask. I hear a lot about it from Recruiters or Companies that think if they build it –they will come. Who are “they”? All those passive candidates that have been alluding them — or that utopian pipeline they are sure exists. You know the one — full of completely vetted candidates that fit whatever role you might have, whenever it might open, and available to make a change exactly at the time THEY need them.
I have said it before, but I will say it again – I still call that a Talent Pool. Don’t get me wrong – that is a really nice Talent Pool. Maybe you have granted access to the Company’s Recruiters, or even some Hiring Managers or testimonials from people in key roles that you recruit for that can talk about ‘A Day In The Life’. I don’t think we can call something a “Community” though, just because that is what we want it to be.
As I have written before, I struggle with the idea of anybody “owning” or “managing” a talent community. How can a company build one that is real and sustainable — and more than just a talent pool with a means to connect with potential candidates when it is convenient for them? One that is focused on continually attracting, discovering, developing, and keeping the attention of (and investment from) that talent pool — because that is where the ‘community’ comes in to play. If the only WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) is that you MIGHT get a job with that company when THEY are ready to consider you — is that really enough to make or sustain a community? Not likely for most companies.
What are some successful talent communities — and what do they have in common? In my first post on Examining Talent Communities, I looked at SourceCon — but another good example I believe are Youth Sports Clubs.
So why look at Youth Sports Clubs and not Professional? While I think you can look at either, Youth Sports Clubs are organizations focused as much, if not more, on Talent Development as Talent Management — and YOU, the talent, pay to play, so to speak. I am a Swim Mom, so swimming will be my example — but as many of you know, the same holds true for Soccer, Volleyball, Softball, etc. Both my girls joined a swim club at an early age and have spent countless hours WORKING, not just playing, really hard to hone their swimming techniques and times — time they could have spent doing a lot of other things. All those hours at practices and swim meets, for a few glorious minutes in the pool — and not always for the ‘win’, maybe just to beat your best time — or to qualify for another race. But in being a part of this community, they have just also happen to become part of a talent pool accessed by other swim clubs, schools, colleges, even employers looking for swim instructors, coaches, and lifeguards.
What drives these kids though? What is in it for them? Glory of a win/qualifying time/personal best, trophies, championships, varsity letters, scholarships, jobs — none of this is promised or guaranteed — yet they all stay engaged, motivated, striving, learning, growing, developing, sharing, investing, and/or competing. What can companies learn from organizations like Youth Sports Clubs or my previous example of SourceCon — neither of which were created to fill jobs necessarily, but are great talent pools as well as communities? What do these talent communities, and other examples I will explore in future posts, have in common?
- Attractor – Talent Communities have a strong sense of who they are, what they do, and what they want. This attractor gives the group meaning and draws new members to the group.
- Belonging – Talent Communities not only ‘validate’ that sense of who you are, but also provide a means to share, learn, network, and practice to ultimately achieve what you want
- Challenge – Talent Communities provide individual challenges and growth that are aligned with the Attractor
- Mantra – Talent Communities create core principles, goals, rituals, rules/guidelines and systems/process that organize the group into a recognizable and self-regulating community
- Champions – Talent Communities are led by champions that actively promote and nurture the mantra of the group
Definitely something to think about when trying to build, manage, or lead a talent community of your own. I think it is interesting to note that in either of these examples cited thus far, Youth Sports Clubs or SourceCon, the owners or leaders of these communities are not the only ones able to have access to this talent pool — and frankly I think that is a key point that we will explore deeper in a future post on how companies can build similar sustainable communities. I will also continue to examine other examples of talent communities — and look deeper at mantras, key components, as well as thoughts on how to structure a talent community.
And yes – I am featuring proud swim mom pics of my oldest — as well as the short clip below of my up-and-comer, kicking some serious booty and striving to follow in big sister’s footsteps. Yes, she really passed all those kids