Why Your Association Should Start Looking for Talent, Now

With millions of people on the job market for the first time in years, associations that are focused on talent strategy can be well-positioned to bring on workers who might not otherwise be available.

While it’s not so clear when the COVID-19 crisis will end, the growing signs of normalcy, including potential returns to the office, could lead to a lot of talented people re-emerging on the job market.

And as a result, the push for talent acquisition is growing. Recently, the talent recruitment firm Armstrong Craven made the case that the crisis has created a “talent storm” of sorts that organizations willing to take a chance on hiring can take advantage of.

“You will see from your networks that high performers from hard-hit industries and functions are finding themselves looking for work, sometimes for the first time in years,” the firm’s Elizabeth Birrell writes. “Accustomed to being in demand or comfortable in a fulfilling role, they would never have been accessible under ordinary circumstances. Talent teams who can be decisive and invest in high performers have unprecedented access to the market.”

With the unemployment rate nearing 20 percent for perhaps the first time in many people’s lifetimes, it’s a situation where organizations that can take the risk may be rewarded with stronger on-staff talent.

On top of this, the changing work environment at many companies means that people currently in their jobs may be more likely to talk to an outside employer.

“Proactive talent teams can use this opportunity to reach out to these ‘unicorn’ candidates with niche skills or experience,” Birrell adds.

But What if You Can’t Hire Right Now?

That may be all well and good for many organizations, but others are not positioned to bring on new employees—not a time when they are laying people off or cutting pay for existing staff members.

In a recent article, Gallup suggested that now might be a time to focus on the talent team itself, to increase resources and capabilities so that when it’s time to hire again, organizations are ready to act fast.

Another strategy worth trying? “Stay interviews,” in which a talented person on the team is interviewed to see what his or her skills and future plans are. It could prevent people from leaving, authors Shannon Mullen O’Keefe and Dipak Sundaram write.

“While this may seem an odd choice for an activity when companies are considering layoffs and furloughs, stay interviews can help assess engagement and career aspirations among those in critical roles that companies intend to retain,” they explain. “It seems like now is the perfect time to interview your top stars to learn how they feel, what they want, and what they expect.”

(treety/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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