In this era of management-speak, buzz words are so common as to become meaningless. Streamlining, economizing, eliminating redundancies, maximizing resources and fostering potential all sound admirable on a CV, but what (if anything) do they mean in an everyday sense for the work environment? I am as guilty as anyone since I don’t always have the answers and sometimes I want to sound like I do. I didn’t understand my own goals until I examined the buzz word I choose to describe my function: talent pipelining.
A Talent Pipeline on paper is a wondrous, magical and forward-thinking way to funnel amazing people into incredible opportunities. Seems straightforward enough until I face the inevitable question, “Yeah, but what do you do?”
A talent pipeline is a pool of qualified candidates ready to assume newly open positions either recently created or vacated through retirement or promotion. “Yeah, but what do you do?”
Good question. I work with schools and recruit teachers.
“Yeah, but what do you do?”
I had to examine what I do in regards to talent pipelining and how I am able to effectively find candidates and satisfy the needs of my clients, the talent seekers. I distilled the work. I cut out all extraneous buzzwords and looked at my primary aim.
I develop relationships.
I consider my work more like matchmaking than commerce. The backbone of any successful company is the people working to facilitate success. When workers are happy and enamored, they do a better job. When a company trusts and relies on employees, the future is in safe hands. I make this happen.
I establish relationships with companies or in my specific case, schools. I learn about the culture and mission. I talk to them and understand what they want and need from teachers. Then, I talk with teachers. I learn why they choose to teach and what motivates them [SPOILER ALERT: It isn’t money] and become mindful of a match. And voila, a talent pipeline is flowing.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, this service was performed by human resources and top-dollar corporations hired headhunters. Recruiting and acquiring talent was a business unto itself. Like everything else, technology and the digital age irrevocably changed the landscape.
We find ourselves truly in a global economy and the internet can honestly be used to educate and enhance lives instead of solely delivering videos of funny cats. The talent pool has exponentially risen from a city and surrounding area to every potential candidate in the world. Failing to dedicate the use of technology to finding the perfect match is inexcusable.
From the comfort of my office, I can meet a teacher in England, another in America and a third in Southeast Asia, all in the same day. An informal conversation reveals personality and personality clues me into genuine desires. Armed with a person I’ve met and respect, I can find a school and vacancy where values align. Of course, there are obstacles. Sometimes, circumstances don’t allow for the perfect marriage. A school may shift funding and/or require a different role from a teacher. Likewise, a teacher may become homesick, suffer a family loss or simply desire a change. I must evolve and ensure the talent pipeline does not run dry. Because of my established relationships, I take time to understand the issue and work toward a resolution. Maybe this hypothetical match was not perfect, but the next one might be.
Pressure exists, whether self-imposed or due to any external source. Teachers are the face of a school. The students love their school when they love their teachers. The reputation of a school can be measured in the satisfaction and mutual belief from teachers to push and individualize the mission statement. When problems arise, the balance needs to be restored quickly and as seamlessly as possible.
Fostering a relationship is crucial for communication. When I understand the changing needs, I can solve problems. Collecting stacks of resumes or cold-scouring LinkedIn will not give me the insight I need to continue to work with people, real people. We have access to unprecedented forms to get to know one another and I’d be remiss if I disappointed a person who only wants to improve his/her life.
Placing a teacher in a school he/she loves creates the foundation for a future. The school is pleased to have a reliable and trusted member of the team for years to come. I have performed my function and ensured the next time a vacancy exists, I am the first call to get the position filled.
Talent pipelining is about finding real people seeking employment and pushing them into a successful situation. Buzzwords aside, it is a wondrous, magical and forward-thinking way to funnel amazing people into incredible opportunities. Understanding that means I can finally answer the inevitable question, “Yeah, but what do you do?”