Identifying and recruiting top talent has always been difficult. Yet, Covid-19 and the Great Resignation have exacerbated this challenge.
In a recent study published in the McKinsey Quarterly, researchers found that 40% of employees in their global sample were thinking about quitting their jobs in the next 3-6 months, and not all plan to take new positions.
Businesses across sectors have open positions in key roles that make it challenging to run everyday operations, let alone execute their growth strategies. Even positions that have traditionally been highly sought after, like those on corporate strategy teams, are now tough to fill. And tried and true talent acquisition strategies like leveraging local networks and executive recruiters won't allow you to quickly fill the gaps in your organization.
You can't simply can’t afford to wait, hoping the right candidate will come along. But there is hope. New or overlooked sources of talent can fill the gaps in your team fast, helping you win the war for talent. In this article, we identify eight strategies you can implement today to fill your corporate strategy candidate pipeline.
1. Explore Online Communities and Social Networks
Social networks make it easy for like-minded individuals worldwide to find their community, share best practices, and discuss industry news. You can leverage these communities to find great prospective candidates.
But not all social media communities are equal. Great ones for corporate strategy talent include LinkedIn’s Strategy & Corporate Strategic Planning Xchange and Fishbowl’s All Things MBB. More targeted communities like Fishbowl’s Women in Consulting are also great places to find talent.
LinkedIn communities require members to apply to join with the group admin. Fishbowl requires a business email. In this way, both networks ensure that the professionals there fit the demographics you’re searching for. And once you’ve joined the conversation and found prospective candidates, they’re only a message away.
2. Consider Curated Job Boards for Strategy Professionals
Big job boards have become a go-to place to find talent, and you may get a couple of good leads from them. Their downside is that you'll need to sort through many unqualified applicants to find them.
Some industries have overcome this problem with niche job boards that focus on a targeted skillset. One example is Ivy Exec, a job board for senior-level positions.
In addition, Bain, BCG, McKinsey, and other consulting firms have their own alumni job boards. Here, firm alumni can list their resumes or jobs they are hiring for. These boards also allow recruiters to register with the firm and list jobs.
3. Reimagine Roles for the Project-Based Economy
Gartner recommends redesigning your job descriptions to enable people to perform them more effectively. This can include redefining positions as project-based rather than full-time so that they appeal to professionals whose desire for career flexibility has led them to abandon traditional, full-time positions for the gig economy.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the project-based economy has arrived and appeals to many professionals. And several critical aspects of a corporate strategy role lend themselves well to a project-based model, such as:
- Conducting market research/analysis
- Leading a business unit in developing its strategy
- Staffing high-priority, short-duration projects
- Planning and rolling out change-management initiatives
- Undertaking post-merger integration
These types of projects can be led or staffed by highly proficient corporate strategy professionals joining the team for specific time periods where their skills can add value. They can deliver on the right frameworks and set the team’s direction, while business unit staff can execute the project.
When considering the positions you’re trying to fill, ask yourself if the work can be done by someone project-based rather than full-time or if it can be done remotely.
Find ways to make the positions you’re hiring for better meet the preferences of today’s workforce. Doing this will make your job of attracting the best talent easier and increase the number of applications you receive.
4. Explore Rapidly Growing Remote Independent Workforce Platforms
Once you’ve reworked your positions to better meet the needs of professionals who desire flexibility, you can turn to booming on-demand talent platforms like Graphite to fill your open positions.
According to Staffing Industry Analysts, the US had 51.5 million contingent workers in 2020, or 35% of the country's workforce. On-demand talent acquisition platforms specialize in filling project-based positions with the relevant experts.
These platforms are growing fast as they bring together talent desiring greater career flexibility and companies who need to staff high-performing teams to tackle their priority business initiatives.
Graphite’s network of vetted experts who’ve worked in corporate strategy roles, as well as finance, technology, market research, and more, makes it an efficient source of the talent you need. Within 24 to 48 hours of engaging an Account Executive on Graphite, you’re presented with a curated list of independent experts that match your criteria.
5. Make Your Careers Website Page Work Harder
The effectiveness of search engines means the right candidates are only an internet search away, and they might be looking for you. Once you’ve reconfigured your job descriptions for greater flexibility, you can leverage that. Highlight project-oriented positions and remote work options.
Of course, you still have to include boilerplate tasks and legal disclosures, but make sure the positions’ selling points stand out. Showcase job benefits, awards your company has received for being a great place to work, and positive reviews on websites like Glassdoor. Also include your company's core values and mission statement so that promising candidates can see how these align with their ideals.
6. Consider Alternatives to the Traditional Training Grounds
While strategy consulting firms like Bain, BCG, and McKinsey have traditionally been great sources for corporate strategy candidates to build your pipeline, there are other training grounds for strategy professionals.
Boutique consulting firms and the start-up industry, where everyone is expected to own a problem, find creative and pragmatic solutions, and run with those solutions independently, are alternative sources for talent who can take on corporate strategy initiatives.
Looking past traditional sources for top corporate strategy candidates, you'll find a more diverse applicant pool. A diverse corporate strategy team comprised of people with different experiences who think differently will help your organization develop a broader range of solutions to challenging problems.
7. Run Training & Apprenticeship Programs to Fill Skill Gaps in Promising Candidates
Instead of waiting for the best talent's resume to appear in your inbox, consider hiring bright candidates with the right raw skills who show initiative and fit your company's corporate culture. If their background doesn't match perfectly with those of your typical hire, they may have skill gaps. You can fill those with training programs.
Apprenticeship programs, in particular, are a great way to train candidates with the right raw skills but who don’t quite meet the traditional requirements for your corporate strategy positions. Apprenticeships allow bright candidates to “earn and learn” while you fill your talent pipeline.
8. Leverage Employee Networks & Referral Programs
While this is a known talent channel, it often doesn't get as much attention because people are busy with their day-to-day job responsibilities. This is especially important to note, given the widely published benefits of the channel.
It takes 29 days on average to hire a referred candidate, compared to 39 days to hire a candidate through a job posting or 55 days to hire a candidate through a career site. Referred employees and referrers stay longer as well. Helping to solve the employee retention problem as well.
You can also lean into your employees’ social networks to find qualified corporate strategy talent. Enabling co-workers and employees to share posts with suggested messages on their social networks like LinkedIn can help get the attention of colleagues they have worked with in the past who would often have similar strategy experiences.
When expanding your reach to employees' networks, remind them about any referral incentives your firm offers so that they always spot new talent in the back of their minds.
Finding Creative Sources for Top Corporate Strategy Talent
Yes, the search for top corporate strategy talent is tougher than ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By focusing on the strategies listed here, like exploring online social networks, reworking roles for the project-based economy, and considering on-demand talent platforms, you can fill your current openings faster and ensure that you have a pipeline of candidates that makes future openings faster and easier to fill.