I’ve been a Liverpool FC supporter since the early 1980s. As with any Football Club, there are highs and lows. Right now, we’re experiencing a significant number of highs. Top of the premier league, European and World champions, Liverpool owes a lot to Manager Jurgen Klopp. Many say his approach toward player recruitment is one of the main reasons behind his team’s success.
As any football fan knows, identifying, recruiting and nurturing the right combination of talent, on and off the pitch, is critical to the success of a club. Klopp has achieved this by empowering his players, through a style of play, to be ambassadors for the club, while using effective talent sourcing techniques, shaped by smart talent strategies, off the pitch. By combining players as “brand ambassadors” with these innovative talent scouting techniques, the club has not only won trophies, but also has increased revenue by almost €100m in 2019. It’s a lesson that is highly relevant for companies today, whatever your line of business.
In a company with hundreds, even thousands of employees, there are big pressures on recruiters to maintain business-as-usual. That’s without accounting for market disruption that places new demands on old industries—such as automotive manufacturers who are now recruiting software engineers to meet the need for tech-enabled cars. As every recruitment executive knows, it’s not just a case of hiring warm bodies—companies want the best people that have right fit with their corporate goals and culture.
Tips for 2020
In my work helping organisations to attract and engage new talent, I can recommend three ways companies can innovate to create strong talent pipelines and improve the quality of candidates:
- Actively encourage brand advocates: you know yourself how a personal recommendation from a friend can be far more powerful than an advertisement. By fostering a culture of brand champions, who spread the word on recruitment opportunities throughout their own networks and positively endorse your company, you can create valuable, authentic messaging that stimulates trust with stronger candidates. In turn, the process of building an employer’s brand, to attract and retain talent, is simplified. You may even be able to reduce—or dispense with—expensive head-hunters.
- Treat candidates like your customers: you probably use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to get closer to your customers and prospects, so why should your potential employees be any different? Think about creating and maintaining profiles of your candidates in the same way as you drive better relationships with your customers (and with the same vigilance around regulations such as GDPR). By undertaking a “reverse Alumni” programme focused on understanding potential candidates and keeping in regular contact to influence their thinking, recruiters increase the likelihood that desirable candidates will choose your company over your competitors in the war for talent.
- Befriend tomorrow’s workforce: often, talent referrals cannot be hired immediately, either because the right position is not there, or perhaps because candidates are not yet ready to make the job swap. By engaging with these potential candidates over a period of time, companies have an opportunity to create rich talent communities without having to start a new recruitment drive from scratch. Dialogue with potential employees is proactive, enabling high-quality applicants to be placed swiftly when new vacancies arise. Social media is a great way to not only influence tomorrow’s talent, but also trigger diversity as first, second or third connections engage with the content and show interest in your company.
Of course, with 80 percent of candidates not actively looking for a new job, no one is expecting you to keep track of everyone you’ve ever met who “might” be a potential employee. But by coupling employee referrals with a Candidate Relationship Management tool, companies can realise the benefits of delivering authentic, personalized experiences at scale. Relevant talent communities can be built, while relationships can be nurtured with potential candidates and, ultimately, new positions filled faster with the right talent—the cost of filling a position with a bad hire is on average $18,700.
Thinking differently by turning your own employees into talent scouts and developing a ready-made talent pipeline means recruiting becomes easier. Empowering recruiters to be proactive with the 32% of workers who are looking to change jobs can significantly increase the chances of your company winning the talent battle—just like Liverpool FC is winning. And in the words of Liverpool’s “Reds” traditional anthem, it won’t just be a case of “you’ll never walk alone” but more a case of “you’ll never recruit alone” again.
 Deloitte Football Money League 2020. https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/sports-business-group/articles/deloitte-football-money-league.html