5 Ways Federal Agencies Can Take Talent Acquisition to the Next Level

The formula for achieving success in today’s always-on, always-evolving talent landscape begins and ends with innovation. Innovation in the  (HR) space is a prerequisite for staying ahead of unexpected funding changes while still attracting and recruiting the talent your agency needs to achieve its mission goals. In many cases, this means evolving your talent acquisition and talent development models to align with your agency’s talent needs.

So how do you do this? It’s a two-fold answer:

1. Successful agencies leverage technology to drive talent innovation.
2. Link hiring data to performance data.

As I travel the country talking with federal HR leaders, it’s apparent HR has a strategic role in their agency’s mission and the role HR plays has evolved accordingly. But it’s also apparent there are still wide gaps between those HR organizations that are helping lead and deliver innovative approaches to talent needs and those that are simply along for the ride.

We’ve identified 5 steps to delivering ‘next-level’ talent. The best talent acquisition teams:

  1. Know and understand their agencies’ needs. Beyond hitting hiring targets or getting “warm bodies” in the door, true talent partners understand the mission and the skills that are required to support the mission goals and objectives. This richer perspective enables talent teams to better anticipate broader skill needs and better partner with hiring managers.
  2. Use high-quality data to guide decisions and prioritize their work. Data-driven analytics allow talent teams to better source and assess potential candidates. Sometimes knowing where high-quality candidates are coming from is almost as valuable as filling an open requisition. Strategic talent teams capture source data to support future recruitment efforts.
  3. Have the means to identify existing employees as a strategic “internal” talent resource. Internal mobility should be part of an agency’s culture. As existing employees grow their skills, having a single, easily-accessible source of information about existing employees’ skills and capabilities will help hiring managers cultivate talent and recruiters identify talent from within.
  4. Source and track talent across a range of metrics. Increasingly, the best candidates are evaluated for work ethic, values, and potential as much as their skills and past experiences. Recruiters and hiring managers alike should track candidate effectiveness and potential across a range of metrics, including more traditional metrics like education and skills, as well as prior performance history.
  5. Construct a personalized candidate journey. Rather than a “one-size-fits-all” experience, high-performing HR organizations tailor their roles to specific candidates in ways that not only engage top talent to get them in the door but also help to strengthen the employment brand and promote the agency’s culture.

When considering where your agency’s HR organization is on the journey to the ‘next level,’a key question to consider is how important is your agency’s talent agenda to the mission? Assessing your talent model against your ability to fill Mission Critical Occupations (MCOs) is a great place to start. Often, this will be the first accountability metric HR organizations will be measured against. Without an integrated platform in place to capture data and turn that information into insights about where your workforce comes from, how they are doing, and what they can do to improve, talent models will fall flat.

Taking action

By combining hiring metrics with performance metrics, your HR organization can provide hiring managers and recruiters with the information they need to make high quality workforce decisions while reducing workload and hiring spend. There is no better time than the present to take talent to next level. Our solutions support federal agencies who are looking to hire faster, reduce hiring costs, and use data-driven insights to align employee objectives with the mission of the agency. Contact us to learn more about what we are doing to take federal HR functions to the next level with our Recruitment, Performance, and Reporting / Analytics solutions.

Robert. E. Smith, PhD
Senior Manager, Client Success


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