Business in the Front, Talent in the Back: How Talent Becomes a Strategic Business Partner | OPEN 2019

Greenhouse OPEN 2019 kicked off with a bang at the legendary Javits Center in NYC. I was reeling with excitement at the venue, number of people, and the chance to surround myself with the best while learning from the best in the Talent industry.

One of my favorite sessions was held by none other than the legendary William Tincup - President of Recruiting Daily. In his chat, The Transformation of Recruiting: How Talent Becomes a Strategic Business Partner, he asks some of our industry leaders how they’ve navigated their C-Suite to align recruiting goals with business goals.

Though the experts on today’s panel now lead successful Talent teams alongside their executives, it was only made possible with the help of deliberate action, meaningful data and teaching stakeholders the value of their role.

Here’s a bit to take away from today’s session, that will help you and your Talent team become a valuable business asset at your organization.

Don’t be afraid to take action

Almost any business pushing for modern recruiting will tell you they care about Talent. The biggest difference between organizations that are successful and those that aren’t is knowledgeable action. The panel’s stories of executives not giving their recruiting team resources or time to explain their priorities is not a unique one in the industry. But the problem is not that executives don’t care – they simply didn’t know how to enact change. Executives need to understand the why of what their Talent teams are doing to understand how it makes an impact. Our panelists Tom Gerrity, Director of Talent at Stash shared his journey to success by taking that first step and inviting himself to the table.

“If you want to be seen as that Strategic Business Partner, just dive in there. Join those meetings.” – Tom Gerrity, Director of Talent, Stash Invest

By taking the liberty of going to executive meetings, stand-ups and team all-hands, he was able to strategically position himself with other departments and get that integral buy-in from HR, Finance, or realistically any department he’s hiring for. You can’t expect a C-Suite leading another department to understand the goals of your team unless you share that vision and understand theirs in return.

Align your goals with executive’s goals

Realistically, if you don’t see eye-to-eye with your C-Suite, having a successful hiring process only gets you halfway. Every executive may have their own perceptions and processes in place, but without a balance, there will always be a push and pull between your goals and theirs. If they understand your role in advising great talent and growing the company, they’ll be on board with the impact it has on their bottom line.

“Talent and recruiting is not a call center. They’re really partners to the business… We’re not just pushing paper anymore; this is a strategic partnership.” – Tom Gerrity, Director of Talent, Stash Invest

Having the data is one thing - Using it is another

In the past, the stereotype of Talent was gut reactions and emotional decisions. Anyone working in this industry knows that data is by and large, the main proponent for any action. Whether it’s hiring a candidate or quantifying a hiring goal, this is coming from historical data and being monitored on a weekly, if not daily basis.

“So many business decisions, or all business decisions outside of HR, need to be strategic with data. If you’re making a business decision, why would you go with your feelings?” Jacqui Maguire – Director of Talent Acquisition, Greenhouse Software

For a talent team that hasn’t reached this level of development, tracking recruiting metrics can seem like a lofty goal. That’s why Jacqui Maguire, Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse, identifies three key buckets of data you should keep an eye on: Performance of your recruiting team, Expectation setting, and KPI’s.

Performance data can be monitored in any internal recruiting platform (such as an ATS), but expectation setting means looking at past pipeline data and setting expectations for the future. KPI’s are then the baseline to keep your team on track and hitting their goals. Weekly, monthly, and quarterly health check-ins are a great way to make sure your organization is doing okay. Doing routine evaluations of pipelines, hiring goal achievement, and drop-off points in your pipeline not only helps you understand, but helps share your process to those above you.

“Getting a butt in a seat is the most important thing is. But it’s not. It’s realizing what the cost of a bad hire is…It’s teaching them how a bad hire takes away from another place.” Julia Kleinsteuber-Walker – Head of Talent, 1stdibs.com

Recruiters are the new Talent teachers

Learning from our panelist Tuvia Lwowski, Head of Talent Acquisition at Lazarda, he’s seen firsthand that the long-term transition takes more than a conversation with your C-Suite.

“I have twice joined organizations that only relied on agencies. I was determined to show my company the light, and what a fully functioning recruiting organization can do. How we can map talent to a strategy instead of just filling a seat.” Tuvia Lwowski – Head of Talent Acquisition, Lazarda

By having transparent conversations with those on his talent team, the hiring managers, and interviewers, he was able to align best practices while exploring the full vision of the talent team. Nobody was unwilling to listen, but it took a defined focus of the future and your specific hiring needs to translate to their own department’s goals. At the same time, there’s always give and take with new hires to a team. Jacqui notes there’s never been time when people were against recruiting. But that really high bar needs to start on day one.

“It comes down to a lot of training to make them understand what the expectations are. Because it’s not coming from a combative place. But coming from a place of ‘I have my own system and KPIs’. Let’s use your system and combine some of the things we already use, shifting the thinking and meeting halfway.” Jacqui Maguire – Director of Talent Acquisition, Greenhouse

Through the alignment of useful data, transparent communication, deliberate action, and teachable visions, these talent leaders have been able to transform their roles into an integrable part of organizations and lobby themselves and strategic business partners.

Ben Mountain

Ben Mountain is a Quality Assurance Engineer at Greenhouse Software. Before his move to Engineering, he started as a Sales Development Representative. When he’s not beta testing new features, you can find him playing board games with coworkers.

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