A New Career Option for Recruiters: Managing the Internal Talent Network

Recruiters have always been tasked with the responsibility of maintaining a network of contacts outside the company so that when openings become available they know who to call to get those jobs filled. But what if instead of going outside the company, recruiters turned their attention to inside the company to make the best use of the company’s own internal talent? One company is doing just that.

HERE Technologies, a global mapping and data company, is using data about its own internal talent to help staff new projects within the organization. Rather than waiting on time-consuming requisitions to hire from the outside, HERE Technologies is actively pursuing ways to mine and develop its own employees and match them with project-based opportunities that fit their skills and interests.

“We created the talent platform to provide visibility to skills, capabilities, and aspirations of the workforce,” says Greg Von der Ahe, HERE Technologies’ head of talent platform. “We are saving time with the speed of matching the right people to the right opportunities. The key for us is driving engagement as people choose work that most interests them.”

HERE Technologies knows that research indicates that most employees get stuck doing the same things over and over again, and that it is easier for those employees to find new and exciting opportunities outside of their company rather than in another department. HERE Technologies wants to shatter this turnover problem and help drive up employee engagement and retention by connecting its own employees to opportunities that meet their skill sets within the company.

Opportunities could be defined as short-term projects that would take up 10 percent of the employee’s current time on the job, or long-term projects that might require 10-100 percent of an employee’s time.

While most of the process is run through a technology platform that matches individuals to opportunities, not everyone is searching all the time. So recruiters (or “talent scouts”) can stay on top of which opportunities are available on the platform and, knowing the talent pool, can proactively recommend individuals they think would be well-suited for those opportunities before those individuals even begin a search themselves.

While some might argue that this is akin to having your own internal headhunter that is poaching your own employees from their current roles, we see two differences.

First, for now, HERE Technologies is primarily focused on opportunities that require no more than 20 percent FTE commitment, and can be integrated into the employee’s regular workday by finding creative ways to off-load an equal amount of work to another employee as a developmental opportunity. Thus, the employee does not need to leave their primary job. They are just taking on an additional responsibility, and most likely shifting an old responsibility to someone new or simply finding time for the new opportunity because it brings them more energy and excitement for their work.

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Second, if a company does not allow new opportunities for employees to use their skills, they will seek new opportunities elsewhere — which is an outcome we are trying to avoid.

This role of helping employees find new opportunities within the company that enables employees to fully use their talents is just one way recruiters in the future will change how they add value to an organization. Here is a second twist for the future of recruiting. We believe that the future “talent scout” won’t just be helping employees find new opportunities, but will be providing more whole-life coaching to individuals. The advice a recruiter might provide in the future may not be about a job with company XYZ, but about gaining specific experiences that make them a better employee (or candidate) in the future. These experiences may be working on a project outside of one’s regular job or might be taking on a leadership role in a not-for-profit organization. So, the recruiter (or talent scout) may focus more on the individual and less on the company — while still benefitting the company by helping to reduce employee restlessness and turnover.

This shift in “customer” is not all that surprising since it follows logically from the fact that many individuals are becoming more entrepreneurial, using their own personal connections and not always a recruiter to build the career they want, sometimes outside of the confines of a 9 to 5 job.

This is the perfect opportunity to look to broaden the scope of the role of the recruiter to serve not just companies, but also as a resource to help individuals understand what skills and experience they need to round out their resumes to achieve their career objectives.

Edie Goldberg, Ph.D. is the principal of E.L. Goldberg & Associates in Menlo Park, California. She has specialized in talent management and organization development for over 25 years. Her work focuses on help companies develop talent strategies to ensure the organization has the capabilities needed to achieve its goals, as well as designing HR systems to attract, engage, develop and retain top talent. She currently serves as Chairperson for HR People & Strategy (HRPS).

Kelley Steven-Waiss is chief human resources Officer at HERE. She has more than 20 years of executive management experience in human resources, change management, and corporate communications, and excels in aligning people and resources to effectively execute the business strategy. Prior CHRO roles include Extreme Networks, Integrated Device Technology (IDT), and PMC-Sierra. She has also worked in management consulting.  She earned her MA in human resources and organizational development from the University of San Francisco, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona. She serves on the Board of Directors for FormFactor, Inc.

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