Building Talent Communities — at a Distance
Learn how talent communities help differentiate & prepare your employment brand experience for the post-pandemic future of work
Human connection isn’t a modern phenomenon. Social distancing has made us pointedly aware of it. But humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in bands of 30+ people who lived in a community and survived together. In fact, modern life is kind of at odds with our biological programming.
Even before COVID-19, we were more isolated than our genes were designed for. We swapped social bonds for likes, shares and comments. Then the pandemic showed up and helped us realize that’s not enough.
What’s a civilization meant to do about it? We think the post-pandemic economy will seek to fill the void.
Innovation in the new normal
While the pandemic will lead to economic slowdown, innovation and disruptive tech that is developed in response to changed habits and behaviors won’t be far behind. No one’s going back to the “normal” we once knew; that means opportunity abound in the new normal.
Once they’ve navigated the safety side, businesses that can redesign and repackage the human experiences we knew (and loved) before COVID-19 for the digital world will corner their market and net some serious promoter scores.
The talent acquisition industry has a particular opportunity here with talent communities.
If you’re not familiar: a talent community is a curated cohort of great candidates that, for whatever reason (e.g., no open jobs, pandemic-related hiring freeze, reorganization, not ready to leave their current job), can’t join your team just yet.
You don’t want to lose them. So, the smart corporate recruiter or staffing firm pulls out the stops to build relationships with those candidates for when the time is right. But it requires your talent community platform, engagement strategy and employment brand to be in lockstep.
Data and the talent community
Too often mistaken for a database of emails and resumes, talent communities should be seen and harnessed as a valuable network of warm leads that need to be engaged, nurtured and grown.
So, how do we do that? Human connection. But how do we replace eye contact with a digital experience, the handshake, a quick coffee before work? It starts with data.
Data from past experiences, engagement metrics and ongoing user interviews can help map candidate and employee journeys to reveal opportunities for personalized interactions and highlight pitfalls so employers and staffing firms can test and iterate on how to deliver that next-gen experience.
And it’s that next-gen experience that can help differentiate your employment brand from competitors who are still sourcing, recruiting, engaging and hiring like it’s last year.
Where employment brand meets your bottom-line
The investment isn’t just to navigate the next quarter of ups, downs and inevitable change. According to LinkedIn, 39% of companies say employment brand will be a long-lasting trend to focus on in the future and 59% are investing more in theirs.
A powerful employment brand has bottom-line effects too. LinkedIn reports that great employment brand experiences lead to a 28% reduction in turnover and 50% decrease in cost per hire.
It also leads to candidates in your talent community being twice as qualified and candidates who can get hired (and get to work) up to 2x faster.
Silos must go the way of the handshake for companies to go all-hands-on-deck and deliver seamless and engaging experiences that demonstrate a company’s connection and culture (during a time when candidates might not be able to visit in person).
Keep in mind: talent communities aren’t just email lists; they’re your employment brand advocates. They can give your feedback on their candidate experience with you (so far), and they know enough about you to refer colleagues.
Data from your talent communities helps you learn who’s in your candidate pool from sources like resumes, references, interview notes, salary requirements, portfolio examples, test results, communication preferences, referral sources and other details.
What to do with that data
You can use this data to refine the content you share with your community members and how you deliver the information.
For instance, you could use that data to:
- Text some interview tips to early-career contacts noted for their nervous interviewing skills or shaky delivery of the amazing work they’ve done.
- Invite senior professionals to your company’s virtual thought leadership event so they can experience your company’s culture.
- Optimize your AI conversational bot to support your candidates and new-hires by automatically answering questions, providing updates and driving them toward the right resources and next steps.
- Set up a 10-minute coffee check-in over Zoom before work with the mid-career. candidate, who said they prefer to meet face-to-face, and share a company update.
- Send referral requests to strong referral candidates in your talent communities because they know your company better now and might know someone who makes a great fit.
It’s these kinds of data-informed interactions that can make a candidate feel like a company or a recruiter cares about their career. It can show them how well they’ll connect and fit in. Referrals let them know you value their judgment. And that quick Zoom call gives that person the eye contact and candid conversation (not to mention, the coffee) so many of us crave right now.
On a wider scale, using the omni-channel communications and automation in your talent community platform, you can set up workflows to automate check-ins sent to candidates’ preferred modes of communication (i.e., text, email, voice, chat) or provide the latest job openings that relate to their career goals at regular intervals.
Conversational bots (like Sofi) can help you engage your talent community at scale, quickly supporting their candidate journeys when people have questions or even prompting them to give feedback with surveys or polls to take in the chat window. These types of interactions not only demonstrate the kind of time and attention your talent community can expect from your employment brand, but also give you valuable feedback to help you keep growing.
But beyond all of that, automating tips, job alerts and check-ins can give you time to send that spontaneous “how’s it going?” text that lets them know you’re here, ready to listen and connect. And that’s what great employer brands are made of.