Expanding the Pipeline for Talent Development & Recruitment

Austin Baker Employment & Recruiting Tuesday, April 02, 2019


With unemployment at an all-time low and “job hopping,” a common phenomenon, recruiters are running into more and more issues finding the right talent and retaining them for years to come. Approximately three quarters (72.8%) of recruiters are struggling to find relevant candidates. Even after finding those candidates, 40% of employees surveyed said they planned on changing jobs in 2018. With those alarming statistics, it is no surprise that employers have been focusing more and more of their resources on talent management.

A unique approach that expands job pipelines outside of everyday recruitment involves a more intimate approach to the hiring process – one that involves nurturing talent.

As Elder Craig Cardon said best “We must develop the capacity to SEE people not as they are present, but as they may become.” Organizations in Memphis haven taken tremendous strides with talent development initiatives with focuses on: mentoring, direct-hiring practices, and community assistance channels.

MILE – Nurture Through Mentorship
The Memphis Institute for Leadership Education (MILE) Program is a program within the Fogelman College of Business and Economics designed to provide additional leadership education for business students. Its specific mission is to prepare FCBE students to be future leaders in the city of Memphis through leadership development programs and mentoring.
Many local corporations including International Paper, FedEx, First TN, Hilton, CBIZ, The Peabody, State Systems, Bryce, Dixon Hughes Goodman, Baptist, State Systems, MasterIT, and countless other organizations have sent mentors for many years throughout MILE’s existence. Many consider MILE to be very important with regards to internal leadership development, talent attraction, and providing pre-internship support of their talent strategies.

More than 2,000 people have been touched by MILE with former students continuously becoming the next generation of teachers. Developing a direct link from employers to students before they graduate, provides those employers an upper hand when those students graduate and begin their search for entry-level positions into their careers. The one-on-one mentoring relationships allow for individual attention to students' career aspirations, professional development, and networking needs. In turn, the mentor and their organization receive enhanced brand recognition, talent loyalty, and in some cases a direct hire. The mentor relationship developed in the MILE program builds the pipelines for mentors to garner interest, develop skills, and directly network with students ready to enter the professional field.

FedEx On-Campus Call Center – Nurture Through Pre-Employment Opportunities
In late 2017, FedEx unveiled that they will be opening a new call center directly in the University of Memphis campus. In this call center, undergraduates work about 20 hours a week at $15 an hour in the time between their classes. This call center provides employees a salary and schedule that allows them to focus on their classes, while receiving a living wage at the same time.
Rob Carter, FedEx executive vice president and chief information officer, said the venture helps fulfill the potential of the FedEx Institute of Technology.

“It was part of the dream that it would be in fact a center of innovation that would cause cool new models and cool new ways of doing things to burst onto the scene and to be a point of pride for the university and FedEx and our city,” Carter said.

“It’s clearly a win for FedEx, our opportunity to connect with this bright new generation of digital natives that understand technology to their core, ideally suited to handling some of our technical support calls,” Carter said. “It’s a wonderful win for our company because it also prepares these students to better enter the workforce and potentially enter our workforce."

This unique initiative creates a workforce pipeline for entities like FedEx or any other partner that the university has. The students will become familiar with the company, receive real job training, and comprehensively become a part of the culture. This initiative creates well-paying jobs in a professional environment for students on campus and gives them the relevant experiences to better prepare them for a career beyond the University of Memphis. Students participating in these jobs build on the first step of a relationship with the employer, as well as already understanding their culture, operations, and mission.

The Goodwill Excel Center – Nurture Through Community Assistance Programs
Finding positions that pay competitive wages often require two prerequisites, at minimum: a high school degree, and some sort of skillset or certification. In Memphis, there is an astronomical pool of candidates that have neither of those. There are 131,000 adults in Shelby County without a high school diploma and 2,000 high school drop-outs in Memphis each year.

The Excel Center’s sole mission is to fight those statistics. The Excel Center is the first free, public charter high school in Tennessee that provides adults ages 17-50 the opportunity to earn their high school diploma, complete an in-demand professional certification, and begin post-secondary education.

Obtaining a high school diploma can make the difference between getting a job and getting the job that employees want. With the additional education and training available at the Excel Center, students will be able to enter the job market more quickly, command a higher salary, and turn a job into a long-term, sustainable career.

Developing a presence within these institutions allows companies to garner the positions that are generally harder to fill and require certificates such as forklift drivers, operations managers, building safety professionals, and many more. The individuals graduating these programs found the initiative to finish school and develop themselves for better opportunities. Year after year, the number of students and graduates of these programs have increased, with 395 students to have graduated from the most recent class. As the pool of these graduates grow, employers will have more local resources to turn to in filling the harder to find positions.

Final Thoughts
With the emergence of unique talent management initiatives such as the ones mentioned above, employers are able to expand their mono-centric talent pipeline to opportunities outside of direct applicants. Talent nurturing has created avenues of unique initiatives employers can implement to make their organization stand out. Cultivating leadership and nurturing talent demonstrates to individuals that they are valued. While some may take a hand’s off approach, the best leaders take active interest in developing leaders. In this way, the emergence of new leaders from within the ranks becomes an indicator of high engagement and a culture of consistent improvement, while also enabling the organization to grow

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