How to Create Your Own Employer Branded Talent Communities
A powerful way to network for talent is to create your own employer branded talent communities. A talent community is a forum where individuals with shared skill sets and interests can gather and interact both personally and professionally with each other and with the company’s leadership, management, and HR personnel. From a recruiting perspective, a talent community is a talent pool that can meet the current and future hiring needs of the company.
Don’t create a talent community to serve solely as a passive audience for job openings and company updates. A true talent community is focused on engagement. Members extract value primarily from peer-to-peer exchanges.
To create and build a vibrant talent community that attracts the talent your organization needs, take the following steps:
- Analyze your target audience.
Who are the ideal members of your talent community? What are their drivers? Consult your persona maps, and consider other segments you want to target, such as alumni, function/skill groups, specific locations, students, and so on.
- Select a platform for hosting your talent community.
Your platform options include the following:
- Social platforms: Social platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, are very effective for hosting talent communities. You can find ways to add specific host value, such as special content or access to your employees, discounts, and so on.
- Candidate relationship management platforms: The advantages of these platforms is that they’re designed to support recruiting, they likely integrate with your applicant tracking system, and they enable advanced segmentation and targeting of talent. The disadvantage is they often don’t allow peer-to-peer sharing, so they’re really more for creating and managing dynamic talent pools than true communities.
- Establish the ground rules.
Write a description of the community, its purpose, its potential member benefits, and its ground rules (rules of engagement). Include this information in the group description when creating your group and in email invitations to join the group. Let members know what the group is about, why it was created, what’s expected of them, and what’s prohibited.
- Create a community management plan.
Most online communities require a community management plan, especially in the community’s early days, to help drive conversation, answer questions, and moderate posts. When an online community is well established, you’re more likely to see members self-moderating undesirable or abusive behavior.
Protect against spammers. Social platforms can be a haven for spammers. Have a process in place to quickly review and approve posts to ensure your members aren’t being spammed. A quick review and approval process is key, because members are likely to perceive lengthy review processes as over-regulation, which will discourage engagement. Streamline any review process so the community can share and engage freely.
- Measure recruitment success.
You can’t adjust what you can’t measure. Have a system in place to track the following metrics:
- Number of referral applicants
- Number of referral hires
- Time to fill for referral hires
- Retention of referred hires
- Cost per referral hire
- Referral hires by team/manager/location
- Referrals by employee
These metrics provide insight into the effectiveness of your talent community in generating referrals, so you can make well-informed adjustments.
- Launch your talent community.
When everything is in place, send out invitations and publicize the talent community on your career website, in company newsletters, and through other means, so you can quickly populate the community with engaging talent.
Key to the success of any talent community is two-way communication:
- You can communicate with members.
- Members can communicate with you.
- Members can communicate with each other.
Two-way communication is the real differentiator for a true talent community. Many candidate relationship management platforms and applicant tracking systems have a talent community feature, which is popular with many Fortune 500 companies. These platforms are a great way to capture passive talent, or active job seekers who aren’t a good match for any of your current openings, but they’re often used more for push messaging — strictly to send messages, such as job openings and company updates. That’s not a community.