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A View From The Edge

February 15

In my business development role at TMP I am fortunate to speak to different employers everyday about what's happening in their worlds. During my 12 year tenure, these conversations have certainly varied based upon ever-changing factors: the economy, the state of their businesses, sector growth, talent shortages and surpluses, recruitment solutions du jour, globalization, etc. In many respects though, common themes remain that must be addressed. Fundamental challenges that employers faced before the most recent recession and the proliferation of purported "silver bullet" media options (read: social media), challenges that predate the Internet even < insert gasp >, still and will always exist to varying degrees. There is something that is changing though and it is very heartening and validating. As many employers are evaluating their recruitment and retention challenges, more than ever before are looking inward first for the remedy.

Fundamental challenges sometimes require fundamental solutions. They may not be the sexiest solutions or what everyone in our networking groups are talking (sorry, I meant micro-blogging) about, or even what most recruitment marketing firms are proposing, but their impact is far reaching and their value is lasting. What "fundamentals" am I referring to? They include the honest and compelling articulation of your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The constant engagement and re-engagement of your employees. The nurturing of a relationship with the right candidate that is facilitated by your immersive and user focused career website. The leveraging of your existing assets before expending resources externally.

At TMP we talk about icebergs a lot. What can I say, we're great at what we do but we may be a tad boring at cocktail parties. I bet that many of you know that the vast majority of an iceberg, about 90%, is submerged and you can only see about 10% of it above the surface. You could say that the visible 10% is supported, reinforced and bolstered by the 90%. Now think about your company. Are your recruitment and retention activities fully supported, reinforced and bolstered by your internal culture, value proposition and employees? If you can't answer Yes today, and many employers can't for valid reasons, it's something to be discussed and certainly prioritized. Going back to the iceberg analogy, what would the visible 10% be without the 90% supporting, reinforcing and bolstering it? It would be without foundation.

What further clouds the view is the genuine excitement around many of the cool, powerful new tools and tactics that employers have at their disposal. For full disclosure, many conversations that I am having with employers today are about these cool tools. But we're going deeper. We have to. If you know TMP at all, we definitely feel very comfortable in the forefront of the digital landscape. But with that digital focus comes the knowledge and the responsibility to guide our customers back to the beginning, their foundational elements that must bear the heavy lifting required to achieve their objectives. The discussion then becomes how can we strike the right balance — optimizing the foundational elements and augmenting the foundation as appropriate with these new tools and technologies.

Regardless of market conditions, a thoughtful, balanced approach will always be needed to recruit and retain top talent. Employers who solely rely on optimizing their foundational elements to recruit and retain the right talent will consistently outperform those employers who are applying the bulk of their focus to the "visible 10%." In both scenarios, however, without the right balance being struck, not all objectives will be met. Determining the right balance and plan of action is critical. I look forward to my next conversation on that very topic. Please feel free to reach out to me to discuss icebergs or the right balance. I can be found in the following places:

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