Yes, hiring is in your lane: Why senior leaders need to embrace their role of Talent Maker

Talent Makers Blog

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Would a CEO allow the CFO to report earnings without reviewing the numbers or delegate the company’s biggest brand rollout in its history to the CMO or let the legal team lead a historic M&A; without their input? Then why would a CEO leave talent – one of a company’s most valuable assets – solely to HR?

Research indicates that although most senior managers understand the crucial role talent plays in the vitality of the business, they fail to act on that belief: on average, they only spend three hours per month on people issues. Unfortunately, senior leaders are failing to truly lead their company’s efforts to hire the right people for their business.

American businesses today are experiencing record-low unemployment and an increasingly challenging skills gap. By 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, resulting in a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people. The U.S. alone could potentially miss out on $1.748 trillion in revenue due to labor shortages -- roughly six percent of its entire economy. It’s imperative, therefore, that senior leaders make talent a top business priority and spend their own time and energy on hiring and talent issues.

There are examples to model – companies that often are considered the best places to work, such as American Express, HubSpot and Salesforce. What such companies have figured out – and embraced – is that to be successful, each leader and manager all throughout the organization must put talent at the core of their own job and focus.

These companies view talent with the same fervor and priority as any other business priority. Their leaders and managers make talent and hiring integral parts of major strategic decisions. Most importantly, they make sure that their own focus on talent and hiring is woven into the daily habits and work of leaders throughout the company.

So, how do business executives become talent leaders? They need to adjust their mindset to that of a Talent Maker. We believe there are three key behaviors that business leaders need to adopt in order to achieve this:

Be a Talent Leader

Great hiring happens when senior leadership aligns the talent strategy with their business strategy. Such executives don’t “outsource” hiring to the HR department; they take seriously that talent is an organization-wide responsibility – they build and lead a culture of hiring. Warby Parker’s founder and co-CEO, David Gilboa, is an excellent example of a leader who sets the tone for talent at the top. He makes a point to be involved and approves each new hire. Any senior executive has multiple ways available to them to lead by example in hiring, such as reinforcing core values, raising the bar on culture, and demonstrating the importance of attracting the very best talent.

Be a Talent Magnet

Great hiring happens when leaders play a personal and active role in helping to win great talent. I met a head of sales who started a weekly blog on sales topics and issues relevant to her business. Her posts were captivating and generated interest in her organization’s work and culture - so much so that within a few months, she attracted three gifted new hires. Or, take the chief technology officer at an organization that I know who reserves a table at a local restaurant and spends time meeting with potential prospects. Similar to the head of sales, this CTO’s networking and clear exuberance for his work helps to connect personally with the right talent for his organization.

Be a Talent Partner

Great hiring happens when leaders and hiring managers work effectively with their talent acquisition team in a mutually beneficial and healthy partnership. A great recruiter cannot fix the damage that is done by an unengaged hiring manager. I recently spoke with a recruiter conducting a very difficult talent search in the pharmaceutical industry. After an extensive search, a top-tier candidate agreed to meet for an interview, but the hiring executive did not show up for that conversation. Needless to say, the talent declined to engage further. Not only did this create a very poor candidate experience, but it further reduced the recruiting team’s confidence in their ability to source and win great talent.

Finding great people is one of a senior leader’s biggest concerns, but once leadership makes talent the top priority – once they exercise their role as Talent Maker – others in their organization will follow. Now’s the time for senior leaders to redefine their roles in talent management. Once they do, organizations will become great at hiring and experience the benefits of a healthy, well-managed, talent-driven business.

Ready to become a great Talent Maker? Sign up for the Talent Makers Workshop. You and your team will learn why it's important for leaders to be involved in hiring, how leaders can become Talent Makers and what to do to build a culture of hiring in your organization. Learn more at greenhouse.io/talentmakers.

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