How To Develop TA Professionals More Effectively

There is no discipline in HR under the microscope more than Talent Acquisition right now. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the “great resignation,” an uncertain return-to-work and other factors to contend with, having a team of great TA professionals can be a competitive advantage for any organization. However, as it stands, many struggle to address their current hiring needs and the needs of a talent market that is changing more quickly than their TA team can keep up with. It is because of these many conflicts that a growing number of organizations are seeking ways to improve the quality of their TA process, starting with the people involved. 

The most commonly cited challenge in developing TA professionals, according to Brandon Hall Group research, is not surprising: a lack of budget. However, this is the same challenge faced by any organization for any effort and cannot be seen as an accurate representation of the true complications that companies now face. Instead, the second most common improvement that could be made, creating better measurement, is more enlightening. 

Please Indicate Which of the Following Would Make Development of TA Professionals More Effective in Your Organization 

Only by being able to take an accurate look at your current TA team can you really begin to get an idea of where to start with development. Assessment can be difficult but should be seen as the first step in creating a more refined TA team. 

Not having a modern and professional TA team in the current era is not just putting your organization at a competitive disadvantage, it may be creating a downward trajectory for your business that could be hard to escape from. Think of it like this: even with the most well-thought-out and predictive TA strategy, if the people responsible for executing that strategy are unable to do so (or do so improperly) then the TA strategy might as well have never been created. 

In addition, your TA team makes the first impression on candidates — who are also potential customers — and can have a big effect; not on your current pipeline and your organization’s ability to get candidates in the future (who may or may not be inclined to reapply based on their experience the first time around). This same train of thought extends to social media, where candidates and potential candidates can very easily swap information about their experience and create a vicious circle that can be very hard to recover from.

To begin improving TA professionals, organizations must first determine their current status, then decide what is needed to improve their status. Key questions organizations should address include: 

  • What tools and technology are currently in place to help develop TA professionals and what must be improved? 
  • What metrics are used to assess current TA professionals and how will those metrics be monitored and acted upon as development efforts go forward? 
  • Who are the people responsible for developing TA professionals and how are they held accountable for their success? 
  • What learning and development processes that already exist at your organization can be used for developing TA professionals? 

Improve Measurement and Governance in Developing TA Professionals. 

Without knowing your TA team’s current state, it will be very difficult to determine what types of development are needed and how much. Once measurement methods are put in place, there also must be a dedicated person or group monitoring the development and ensuring that the people, processes and tools are used properly, closing the feedback loop on any edits, suggestions and changes that come up during the development processs. 

Know the Most Important TA Professional Skills and Traits. 

Through years of research, Brandon Hall Group has identified 10 key TA professional skills and traits that are vital for success. Although there is no skill or trait inherently more important than the others, there will be differences in importance at each organization. The main thing is to measure for these skills after you determine which are the most important at your company, then build a development plan accordingly. These include: 

  • Inclusiveness
  • Action-oriented 
  • Business Acumen
  • Critical Thinking 
  • Communication 
  • Learning Agility
  • Collaboration 
  • Design Thinking 
  • Ideation 
  • Organizational Skills

Make a Business Case for TA Development. 

Please Indicate the Status of Metrics Used to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Talent Acquisition Efforts in Your Organization

 Regardless of the type of changes you are trying to affect at your organization, the most common challenge will be time and resources. The way to overcome that is to make the business case that the resources spent in improving TA professionals will provide a return on investment well worth the time and budgetary concerns — no different than any other business project. By comparing the productivity, collaboration, retention, engagement or other relevant metrics of high-performing TA professionals versus others, you can tie those numbers back to bottom-line metrics such as hiring costs and profitability. Doing this will show that the budget and time allotted for developing TA projects result in an obvious win. 

Evaluate Not Just the TA Professionals But the Metrics Used to Evaluate Them. 

The talent market is changing. Not just because of supply and demand, but technology, demographics shifts, generational attitudes, global disruptions and other issues. Despite this, many organizations rely on data such as time-to-fill for determining the success of their TA team. The silver lining is that more organizations are looking at things such as retention rates for recent hires and acquisition rates of diverse talent to assess whether their efforts have been successful. Regardless of the metric used, the important thing is to ensure your organization is not just relying on “business as usual” when figuring out if what you are doing now is working.

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.