Why a Talent Exchange Means More than a Talent Takeover

Almost all companies agree it’s difficult to attract top talent. But what is the primary reason for this? Most companies believe it’s because they have a brand problem. According to the Global Recruiting Trends survey from LinkedIn, “83% of global recruiting leaders agree [employment branding] is a critical driver of their ability to hire top talent.” But at the same time, employment branding strategies take a back seat to other talent acquisition or business initiatives in the organization.

The same report found that nearly half of all organizations “do not have a proactive strategy, and only one-third say they regularly measure employer brand in a quantifiable way.” So how do companies go about making their organization attractive to candidates? How can they become the next Google or Zappos of the world? The answer lies in understanding how a talent exchange between Marketing and HR—rather than a talent takeover—can make all the difference in finding, connecting with and attracting top talent.

Today, there is a lot of conversation around whether HR should be part of Marketing or whether the Employment Branding function should sit within Marketing. This mindset emphasizes the notion of a talent takeover—where one department or group must adhere to another way of thinking. But rather than focus on which function reports where or which group should dominate the discussion, it’s important to realize that the foundation on which an employment brand is built follows the same principles as the foundation for building a consumer brand. In other words, a talent exchange is called for.

Consider the similarity of roles in creating an attractive and effective brand. Both Marketing and HR need to actively monitor competitors, create new ideas for attracting and re-attracting their key audiences, communicate internally and externally, set the overarching strategy and then execute against those objectives. The only difference is that while Marketing is focused on the customer, HR is focused on the candidate.

What success looks like together

When you embed the notion of a talent exchange into the Marketing and HR functions, both groups can come with their relative strengths to help achieve success. Often, marketers can cut through interpersonal situations to understand the emotion or motivation of specific segments, but HR can more easily make objective, fact-based decisions. Similarly, while marketing is highly driven by enterprising and impacting financial themes, HR is often motivated by the need to serve people.

Marketers may be less trusting until something is proven, but HR is frequently more optimistic and easily trusting of a situation and its outcome. Finally, marketers are often driven by the need for an environment where they can creatively express themselves, while HR excels on remaining more detached. Understanding where the exchange of talent can take place between each function is critical to successfully building a long-term employment branding strategy.

Through all of our interactions with both players from HR and Marketing over the years, we’ve found that it takes expertise from a recruitment and talent acquisition function, combined with the branding expertise of marketing, to help ensure companies can create a strong organizational culture through their employment brand. This makes them more attractive to candidates and helps them re-engage top talent to stay within the organization.

So do HR professionals need to think like marketers? And do marketers need to understand the key role that HR plays in building an employment brand? Our belief? Absolutely, yes. Only then can you achieve a true exchange of talent that will impact your business.