Archive for ‘Talent Management’

September 5, 2012

Innovation Management


Some of the most innovative companies have sabbaticals as part of their employee development program, or empower employees to work on projects of their own, next to their daily tasks. Could it be that this makes happier co-workers, hence a better, more innovative company?

, former Head of Innovation at Sony Ericsson Mobile, explores in her article posted on Innovation Management,  the reasons why these benefit the way our brain works.

Can an organization be too customer oriented? What are the consequences of letting short term requirements of existing customers cannibalize the exploration of your own an agenda? How can a sense of meaning be reinstalled in disillusioned development organizations? Read Susanna’s latest blog post to find out.

Some time ago I had lunch with a friend. She and her husband had just returned from a short sabbatical. His passion is wine and wine making and when an opportunity to go and work at a winery appeared they grabbed it. When talking about the experience my friend admitted that she had done it mostly for his sake even though she had enjoyed some of it too. That led to us exchanging thoughts about our passions, our interests outside “the musts” with work and family and we were both unsure of what we would pursue. In addition, we both admitted some false comfort in using our spouses interests as an excuse to feel overly responsible for food and family instead of taking the time to find and develop a true hobby. We were both jealous of our spouses though, feeling that a part of us was dissatisfied.

Interestingly enough, I have found similar behavior at some of the companies I work with. Development departments claim to be customer driven and market orientated on one hand and on the other hand they’re frustrated about not creating enough innovation, using all available time to try to catch up an ever growing list of demands of product development and sales, aka customers, even testifying a sense of disillusion amongst co-workers. They say that they are stuck in not having enough resources, wanting to but not knowing how to act differently, knowing that the brainpower is there but is not reflected in the results.

Could it be, I wonder, that they, just as my friend and I also feel some comfort in this? After all, being a victim of circumstances is quite nice. Blame circumstances instead of taking accountability for ones behaviors and decisions. Is it not easier to put oneself into the hands of somebody else, a customer or a partner and let them decide what you should do instead of going into an uncertain and sometimes ambiguous process of exploring what it is that they as an organization or I as a person really want?

How do you know it’s the right ladder if you always have somebody else to decide which to climb?

Research shows that the amount of happiness co-workers experience at work is correlated to creativity and the capability to innovate – the happier the more creative and the better innovation. And as it turns out, one of the two factors (the other one being relationships) that heavily influences the happiness level is results: the feeling of making a difference, of creating meaning. Of going home knowing that a good day of work was done. Stephen Covey (author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) compares being successful (or rather having a career) to climbing a ladder, emphasizing the importance to climbing the right one in order to create meaningful results. So I ask: How do you know it’s the right ladder if you always have somebody else to decide which to climb? If all you do is try to satisfy existing customers and never explore your own ideas.

Short term it may be comforting to have someone else making the decisions for you, but experience tells me that you’re only prolonging the issue of figuring how to make meaning, hoping to avoid dealing with it by using the “somebody else” as a shield of false protection. The price is loosing the sense of meaning since the only thing you do is carry out someone else’s ideas, not your own. No meaning, no happiness. No happiness, no creativity nor innovation. As simple as that.

It is a big mistake to let customer requirements take over at the expense of an agenda of ones own.

You may think that I am pushing things a bit here, but I believe that we as human beings create our organizations, not squares in a Powerpoint presentation. If we are dissatisfied or have lost the sense of doing something meaningful then that will be the state of our organizations as well. I do not argue against customer orientation. But what I see is a deeply unbalanced situation. It is a big mistake to let customer requirements take over at the expense of an agenda of ones own. In many companies the development department is the heart of the innovation activities. It consists of highly skilled engineers with advanced thoughts on where to go in the future and great ideas supporting those thoughts. But if they never get to explore their own ideas at the expense of constantly doing incremental innovation for existing customers then they loose the sense of meaning.

So I say to all of you who want to increase the level of innovation: make sure to have an agenda of your own, a few development projects and activities independent of customer demands. It will add to the sense of creating meaning and allow you to feel complete ownership of an idea or a project. And let your employees and co-workers explore their talents in a way that completes managing daily life and short term issues.

As for myself, I decided to consciously set aside time this summer to pursue one of my interests, kicking it of by watching the documentary of el Bulli (“Cooking in action”). I have chopped, fried, cooked and baked, not because I had to, but only but because I wanted to. It felt great.

By Susanna Bill

About the author

Susanna is the former Head of Innovation at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. In 2009 she founded Sustenance AB and since then shares her time between advising corporate leaders in how to make innovation happen by strengthening the innovation capabilities of their organizations, and pursuing a PhD at the department of Design Sciences at Lund University, focusing on the social processes that are beneficial for the innovation capabilities of self organizing teams. Susanna is a sought after speaker and panelist and the moderator of Innovation in Mind conference.

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June 7, 2012

Keeping Millenials engaged


Loved this article, posted by a true Millenial, when you look at her own parcours. I personally believe, as already developed on this blog (see Gen Y) that this is not so much true for a specific generation, but for a specific evolution in society, values and place of work in our lives.

Keeping Millennials Engaged at Work

I’m a millennial. Some may think this is my personal dramatic interpretation of how special my generation is, but in reality this has been a major discussion the past few years. If you think Gen Y is a handful, this is just a preview of what is yet to come. The concept of a generation gap isn’t new, but this is not a gap…. it’s a huge freaking divide.

As recent graduates leave university and venture into the workforce, millennials are seen taking over, in and outside of the workplace.  According to Dan Schawbel, there are about 80 million millennials and 76 million boomers in America. Half of all millennials are already in the workforce, and millions are added every year. For some this may seem like an intimidating stat. This is reality. Gen X may not want millennials to take over, but if you want your business to continue to develop, the younger generation has a better understanding of what they want and what the next generation will want.

It’s very likely that you either already have a few Gen Y in your office or will have a bunch in the near future. Here are a few tips to consider if you want them to perform their best and keep them engaged.

 Be flexible

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, even in a tough job market, 23% of recent college graduates wouldn’t take a job where they couldn’t make or take personal phone calls. Companies are becoming more and more flexible with their employees today. Netflix, for example, doesn’t track vacation days… for anyone. If you allow your employees to dress casually, make personal phone calls, and take an occasional day off, they will perform better when they are on the job. They will feel appreciated and valued in the company.

 Let us know how we’re doing

For recent graduates it’s normal to receive feedback on almost everything you do. In school we get marks, comments, and feedback from teachers. Why does this change once we enter the workforce? Millennials have become accustomed to instant gratification or instant communication. In Time, Schwabel writes that 80% of millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers. Everyone wants to know how they’re doing and how they can improve. This will only develop your team in the long run and can take very little time!

Facebook senior exec and Millennial Molly Graham explains how important constant feedback is to help millennials and all coworkers grow. In a presentation at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas , Graham shared Facebook’s vision for aligning and engaging its Millennial workforce. You can see Molly’s presentation here.

 Transparency and an Open Door

The traditional hierarchical organization of the workplace doesn’t work anymore, especially with Gen Y. Millennials are looking for managers and leader who share almost everything with them. We like to be in the know… Schawbel explains it best: “Parents of millennials talked about everything in front of their children, from finances to sex, so millennials are comfortable with the same approach from businesses and managers.”  Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot shared with us in a previous webinar his company’s “No Door Policy” Open Door Policy. There are literally no doors in the office which allows everyone to feel like and equal part of the team.

 It’s Not Just About the Money

While most of use would like a well-paying job, giving recognition doesn’t always have to be about more money. According to a recent Forbes article, half of the millennials surveyed said money wasn’t important. Obviously money will always be a factor but giving simple public recognition can be a big motivational boost for employees everywhere.

If you foster a great culture and provide millennials with what they are used to, they will be productive and produce good results. Gen Ys in the workforce may seem young, but if you are selling or marketing a product targeted at younger people, millennials know what they want most. It may appear that we are demanding as a generation— but the only reason for all these needs is that we perform better in a comfortable and recognizable environment is necessary. As the world transforms, so the does the workplace. It’s important for organizations to be agile and ready to adapt to whatever comes next.

Alanah Throop

Alanah Throop is a student at the University of Toronto working towards a degree in Political Science and English. Alanah was previously a full time member of the Rypple Marketing team before returning to finish school last fall. Now, she is focusing on student life as well as a few part-time experiences including Rypple and a Children’s Program to help kids get the self-care skills they deserve.

June 3, 2012

How Gen Y is changing HR


How Gen Y is Changing HR [Infographic]

By 2025, the Millennial generation will make up 75% of our workforce. But their impact on the way we work — and how we think about work — is already being felt.

So what does this mean for the way we need to think about aligning, engaging, and motivating our people? This infographic explores how HR departments will need to adapt to meet the needs of Generation Y.

April 5, 2012

Conduct an informal 360°


In this short video from HBR, Scott Edinger, founder of Edinger Consulting Group, explains how to get the feedback you need to develop your leadership skills.

The questions all are excellent questions to ask your self and/or to use in formal meetings with senior managers who are in charge of mentoring you or evaluating your skills, but I personally find them hard to use in an informal context with direct reports. Good to have them in mind to drive specific development conversations with HR talent management specialists though.
March 29, 2012

Médias sociaux et vie professionnelle: état des lieux


Comment les médias sociaux bouleversent notre vie professionnelleL’usage des médias sociaux, a fortiori par le biais des mobiles, change radicalement la donne en entreprise. À tel point qu’il en devient une préoccupation grandissante des employeurs et des annonceurs. État des lieux en 10 points:

– Interdire ou contrôler leur usage comporte le risque de se priver de leurs avantages.

– Vie privée et vie professionnelle ne correspondent plus à des plages définies dans le temps. On demande aux employés de répondre à leurs e-mails en vacances. Ces derniers trouvent donc normal de consulter Facebook au bureau.

– L’e-mail disparaît progressivement devant Facebook ou Twitter qui deviennent les outils de communication et d’information primaires.

– Les plus jeunes partagent volontiers l’information, et par conséquent celle qui concerne leur employeur. La « privacy » est un concept dépassé.

– L’utilisation des médias sociaux rend la protection de l’information quasiment impossible, alors que les obligations en termes de protection de l’information se sont renforcées. Saviez-vous que 3% des notebook et 10% des clés USB appartenant aux entreprises se baladent dans la nature?

– Les solutions passeront par l’apprivoisement des nouveaux médias tant des aînés (ouverture) que des plus jeunes (limites).

– Le code de conduite doit être revisité en tenant compte des aspirations des plus jeunes à cette nouvelle forme de communication « ouverte ».

–  Le défi nécessite une approche multidisciplinaire: les départements Legal, HR et Sécurité IT doivent travailler ensemble pour accoucher de procédures adaptées.

– C’est en impliquant la génération Y elle-même qu’on trouvera les solutions.

– Il faudra du courage pour faire le choix de l’ouverture de son entreprise aux médias sociaux, car il faudra faire confiance. Une tendance pourtant inéluctable…

March 9, 2012

How can you build a positive workplace.


I am a true believer of the principles explained by Shawn Achor in this month’s HBR.

Can work wonders with simple ideas. Start by changing one daily habit…

In July 2010 Burt’s Bees, a personal-care products company, was undergoing enormous change as it began a global expansion into 19 new countries. In this kind of high-pressure situation, many leaders pester their deputies with frequent meetings or flood their in-boxes with urgent demands. In doing so, managers jack up everyone’s anxiety level, which activates the portion of the brain that processes threats—the amygdala—and steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for effective problem solving.

Burt’s Bees’s then-CEO, John Replogle, took a different tack. Each day, he’d send out an e-mail praising a team member for work related to the global rollout. He’d interrupt his own presentations on the launch to remind his managers to talk with their teams about the company’s values. He asked me to facilitate a three-hour session with employees on happiness in the midst of the expansion effort. As one member of the senior team told me a year later, Replogle’s emphasis on fostering positive leadership kept his managers engaged and cohesive as they successfully made the transition to a global company.

That outcome shouldn’t surprise us. Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. “Once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy,” they think. Or, “Once I hit my sales target, I’ll feel great.” But because success is a moving target—as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again—the happiness that results from success is fleeting.

In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive. I’ve observed this effect in my role as a researcher and lecturer in 48 countries on the connection between employee happiness and success. And I’m not alone: In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies, researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found strong evidence of directional causality between life satisfaction and successful business outcomes.

Another common misconception is that our genetics, our environment, or a combination of the two determines how happy we are. To be sure, both factors have an impact. But one’s general sense of well-being is surprisingly malleable. The habits you cultivate, the way you interact with coworkers, how you think about stress—all these can be managed to increase your happiness and your chances of success.

Develop New Habits

Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. Recent research on neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood—reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain.

Engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact, my research suggests. For instance, in December 2008, just before the worst tax season in decades, I worked with tax managers at KPMG in New York and New Jersey to see if I could help them become happier. (I am an optimistic person, clearly.) I asked them to choose one of five activities that correlate with positive change:

  • Jot down three things they were grateful for.
  • Write a positive message to someone in their social support network.
  • Meditate at their desk for two minutes.
  • Exercise for 10 minutes.
  • Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.

The participants performed their activity every day for three weeks. Several days after the training concluded, we evaluated both the participants and a control group to determine their general sense of well-being. How engaged were they? Were they depressed? On every metric, the experimental group’s scores were significantly higher than the control group’s. When we tested both groups again, four months later, the experimental group still showed significantly higher scores in optimism and life satisfaction. In fact, participants’ mean score on the life satisfaction scale—a metric widely accepted to be one of the greatest predictors of productivity and happiness at work—moved from 22.96 on a 35-point scale before the training to 27.23 four months later, a significant increase. Just one quick exercise a day kept these tax managers happier for months after the training program had ended. Happiness had become habitual.

March 7, 2012

Vélo de société ou garde d’enfants: quels sont les avantages que vous pouvez octroyer à vos employés?


La motivation de vos travailleurs passe aussi par une prise en compte de leurs besoins individuels.

Pour vous aider dans cette réflexion, vous trouverez ci-dessous la liste exhaustive des 38 avantages que vous pouvez octroyer à vos employés. Cette liste est publiée sur le site de Edenred et a été révisée par des avocats du bureau spécialisé Claeys & Engels:

http://www.edenred.be/fr/employeurs/claeys-engels

March 6, 2012

Leadership and curiosity: how curious are you?


Have you ever noticed how the best leaders also tend to be the most curious leaders? Great leaders simply aren’t satisfied with what they know. They possess an insatiable curiosity for discovery and learning – they are in constant pursuit of what they don’t know, and what lies ahead. Real leaders are not nearly as concerned with attainment (stasis) as they are with betterment (change). Since the dawn of time the world has been shaped by leaders who understand that curiosity is the gateway to the future. So my question is this –

How curious are you?

Among many other things, curiosity helps frame vision, advances learning, fuels passion, and drives innovation. Curiosity often inspires the courage to discuss the undiscussable, challenge current thinking, deviate from behaviors accepted as normal, and to do what others previously thought impossible. The best leaders understand that usual and customary are not necessarily synonymous with healthy and thriving. The real key to curiosity begins with an open mind – a recognition that those who think differently aren’t inferior, nor are they a threat. An open mind is a sign of confidence which allows leaders to recognize diversity of opinion leads to better thinking and better outcomes.

Here’s where I’m going to throw you a curve ball – while great leaders tend to spend most of their time being externally focused, I want you to turn your curiosity inward and become introspective for a few moments. It was Socrates who said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” When was the last time you did some serious self-examination on how your curiosity, or the lack thereof, is impacting your ability to function as a leader? Be curious enough to answer the following four questions about yourself:

1. Are you making a difference?

Why should anyone be led by you? Great leaders answer this question with their actions on a daily basis. If you’re not making a difference, you’re not leading. If your actions are not directly contributing to the betterment of those you lead, then you need to become curious about how to make some very real and meaningful changes.

2. Are you growing?

If you’re not growing as a person and as a leader, then it’s very likely those under your charge are following your lead. I’ve often said it’s impossible for a leader who is not growing to lead a growing organization. Nobody is too busy to learn. In fact, you don’t have the time not to learn. Leaders who don’t value learning will quickly be replaced by those who do.

3. Is your curiosity starting conversations, or your lack thereof shutting them down?

If your ego is messaging you have all the answers, and that your way is the only way, then why would anyone ever be inspired to pursue change and innovation? A leader who doesn’t encourage others to challenge their thinking isn’t a leader – they’re a dictator. Dictators suppress individual thought and new ideas, while leaders encourage it at all costs.

4. Is your curiosity attracting talent, or your lack thereof chasing it away?

A leader’s ability to seek out and embrace new ideas will serve as a magnet for attracting the best talent. The best talent desires to be a part of a culture that encourages contribution rather than stifling it. If you’re the leader who looks around the organization and asks “why can’t we attract better talent?” it’s because you value a compliant workforce more than a talented workforce. Real leaders don’t care who is right, they care about what is right – never forget this.

Bottom line – don’t settle for what is, use your curiosity to think what if? and seek out what can be. Thoughts? I’m curious…

February 21, 2012

La marque employeur mérite une promotion


Dans son récent article paru sur le blog de Recrutement Médias sociaux, Antoine Lhosmot, de Potential Park, nous invite à réfléchir sur la place des Médias sociaux et Community Managers en entreprise: au-delà du recrutement, se pose la question de savoir comment gérer les multiples communautés qui se créent, se croisent, et ce dans un respect tant du positionnement de la marque que de la réactivité que ces canaux commandent.

Alors, who’s leading? Marketing, RH, ou Comité exécutif? A chacun de se faire une opinion…

Communication multicanale : travailler sa souplesse

2012 semble bien être la véritable année du passage à l’interaction talent sur mobile – 81% des étudiants et jeunes diplômés français se disent prêts à l’utiliser pour leurs recherches de carrières* –, mais 2012 sera également l’année de la multiplication des canaux pour cette interaction. Quel défi passionnant que de devoir décliner sa marque employeur sur différents supports aux contraintes techniques variables et aux auditoires variés ! Première étape : être curieux. Comment s’établir de manière crédible sur un nouveau support si l’on n’en connait pas par cœur les dernières tendances et possibles fonctionnalités ? Encore beaucoup de personnes que je rencontre et qui pensent à ces problématiques n’ont pas encore leur propre iPhone, Androïd, iPad… S’informer, évaluer à fond même les solutions que l’on finira par ne pas prendre, échanger avec ses pairs et des experts (lors de conférences ou de non-conférences par exemple) sont devenus des éléments cruciaux afin de faire un choix réfléchi.

La présence sur les réseaux sociaux et sur mobile demande quoiqu’il arrive une réactivité accrue et vrai challenge de création de contenus. En effet, l’allergie aux copier-coller s’est très vite développée chez les étudiants et jeunes diplômés. On a alors très vite identifié le besoin de se doter de HR community managers efficaces pour assurer des échanges harmonieux. Seulement voilà, plus le temps de faire valider ses gazouillis et ses peintures murales quand 43% des jeunes diplômés attendent une réponse en 24h maximum après un post sur Facebook* !

Réactivité sur les réseaux sociaux : améliorer ses appuis

Si le community manager se doit d’être un bon communicant au fait des dernières technologies, il a surtout besoin de confiance et d’assistance. Qui pourrait prétendre être capable de répondre à la multitude des questions possiblement posées sur les thèmes recrutement et carrières ? Il parait en effet impossible de pouvoir centraliser toutes ces connaissances en une seule et même personne. Le succès du community manager se cache donc dans son rôle de catalyseur collaboratif.

De ce fait, les objectifs du responsable ou directeur de la marque employeur se font clairs pour donner les moyens nécessaires à son community manager mais aussi aux équipes des relations campus : sensibiliser les collaborateurs à la curiosité en externe que suscite l’entreprise et ses métiers, faire de chacun des employés un possible ambassadeur, impliquer des personnes d’habitude réticente à une communication sans filet. On revient une nouvelle fois ici sur la nécessité d’user de beaucoup de diplomatie dans le domaine de la marque employeur afin d’assurer le succès de ces initiatives.

Décision au sommet : passer aux étirements

En rappelant ici au passage ce qui avait été très bien dit à la RMS Conférence de Novembre : « ce qui est beau à l’intérieur, ce voit de l’extérieur », une adhésion de toutes les entités, une participation de toutes les fonctions et départements apparaissent donc déterminantes dans le déploiement d’une marque employeur crédible. Comment obtient-on alors un message assez clair et puissant pour répandre cet engouement ? En faisant venir ce message du haut ! Il apparait de plus en plus important de pouvoir accélérer les processus d’identification de son ADN et de sa personnalité d’entreprise, et de faciliter la communication interne. Les communautés commencent avec les employés ! L’ascension de ce nouveau mode de penser ne se fera pas en un jour.  Mais en alliant ambition et (encore une fois) diplomatie, les professionnels de la marque employeur ont devant eux une réalité qu’ils communiquent d’habitude pour d’autres : un superbe développement de carrière.

Une marque employeur au sommet de la pyramide. Voilà une évolution logique et encourageante pour les passionnés de ce métier que nous sommes. Mais peut-être suis-je déjà en retard ou trop « RH-centrique »… Marque et Interaction ne concernent pas que le recrutement. Les communautés ne sont pas toutes faites que de candidats potentiels. Employés, anciens employés, clients, fournisseurs, investisseurs, médias, curieux… L’émergence d’une véritable « Direction de l’Interaction avec les Communautés », représentée dans les comités exécutifs n’est définitivement plus à exclure.

 

February 11, 2012

Filling the talent gap with innovative recruitment strategies


An Accenture survey of 1,088 U.S. workers and unemployed citizens tells the story: The majority of workers surveyed (55%) report that they are under pressure to develop additional skills to succeed in their current and future jobs. But only 21% say they have acquired new skills through formal, company-provided training during the past five years; only 6% have participated in training through podcasts and other informal mechanisms.

While employees take the responsibility to develop their own skills, they’re not getting good guidance from employers about exactly which skills would be most beneficial. As a result, they tend to focus narrowly on technology skills, the Accenture survey reports. Few people have updated other in-demand skills such as problem-solving or analytics.

The Accenture study highlights that there are a number of important innovations in the recruiting and hiring fields that can make it easier to find top-performing, skilled talent on a global basis, quickly and more cheaply. Recent company expernce suggests a number of ways to take advantage of these new techniques

1. Use social media platforms to find talent yourself

Instead of relying on expensive headhunters or job postings, many organizations are moving toward identifying the ideal candidates through social media sites such as LinkedIn or Taleo Talent Exchange, and then contacting those people directly, often with customized employment offers.

When gaming company Red 5 Studios was struggling to compete with large technology companies for skilled developers, for example, it didn’t post a job opening at all. Instead, it identified a list of ideal candidates, learned what it could about each, and then created individualized employment pitches that were recorded on iPods sent to candidates in attention-grabbing Russian-doll-style nested boxes

  1. 2. Identify and filter people by looking beyond what’s listed on their résumés

Numerous studies have found that screening people by looking for key words on a résumé is not an effective way to predict performance. Such an approach can also lead companies to cast their nets too narrowly, missing potential top performers.

New startups are emerging to help companies alter that approach inexpensively, teaching them how to use competency, skills or cultural fit assessments on the front end of the screening process to supplement the initial, résumé-based screening.

Other companies, including Google, are broadening their search for skilled people by screening candidates based on the quality of their work or their personal biography—not only where they went to school or what work experiences they’ve had.

The company might, for instance, ask a series of detailed biographical questions shown to be statistically correlated with top performance at the company: Have you ever set a world record in anything? Have you ever started a club? What Internet mailing lists do you subscribe to? Google also stages work competitions (for software coding, for example), with the winner getting the open position.

Accenture envisions new Internet companies that will work much like a dating service. This would enable closer matches between job candidates and companies, through profiles that contain such information (properly protected and secured) as samples of actual work, assessment scores, answers to biographical questions, competition results, pre-recorded videos with answers to common behavioral interview questions, work motivators and interests, geographic preferences and more.

3. Forge relationships with potential employees before you need them

When 3D design software company Autodesk was having trouble finding skilled candidates, it realized that it needed to proactively build relationships with potential hires on an ongoing basis.

Explains Matthew Jeffery, head of talent acquisition, “It’s all about opening up a conversation to create a talent pipeline. This doesn’t mean just posting your jobs on Facebook; it means revealing your culture, how people are having fun, what the jobs are really like, even the silly things that go on in your office. It’s about being authentic and transparent, and engaging your own employees to be a brand ambassador in a human way, and helping build emotional connections.”

By actively engaging in conversations with candidates, Autodesk built a Facebook community of more than 150,000 members in just 12 months, creating an active and interested talent pool to draw from when the company is ready. Candidate relationship databases that work much like customer relationship marketing databases can also help a company send periodic tailored information to interested parties, creating ongoing relationships a company can tap into when opportunities arise.

4. Hire from alternative talent pools

Increasingly, companies are finding innovative, off-the-beaten-track ways to find skilled people. One way of achieving this is to target selected industries with a surplus of workers.

In the United States, for example, healthcare companies have worked to retrain displaced autoworkers. Entergy Corp., a US energy company, targets ex-military personnel to fill positions as varied as repair technicians and nuclear engineers. JetBlue Airways staffed its reservations department with mostly stay-at-home workers who can take reservations while still caring for their households.

Organizations are also increasingly targeting workers in different geographic regions, including countries where the companies are not headquartered, where there is a surplus of talent in specific skill sets.

4. Partner with schools to help develop the skills you need

An often gaping disconnect between what a student learns in school and the needs of employers contributes significantly to the global skills crisis. But today, leading companies are working with universities, community colleges and trade schools to develop a pipeline of people to recruit years before they need them.

For example, HCL Technologies, an Indian-based global technology services company, has entered into collaborative partnerships with 25 top engineering colleges in India. Managers at HCL review the curriculum and offer input to the colleges, which then tweak and revise the courses as needed to meet the company’s requirements. HCL also works as a member of the national consortium of IT companies called NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), helping to define and communicate the skills required in the industry, including the levels of supply and demand for those skills.

What are you doing to help with filling the talent gap?