Talent Ecosystem: Why you need one

Building a “Talent Ecosystem” is a top priority for many HR-leaders. But what does it actually mean?

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In their latest report “The Future Of People Management Priorities”, Boston Consulting Group analyzed the most urgent people management topics of today.

Of course, there were some all-time favorites in there – leadership behavior, employee engagement, and HR strategy made it to the top – but one priority stood out. “Talent Ecosystem Management”. It was ranked as even more important than Digital or AI – some of the mega-trends in recruiting.

BCG ranks “Talent Ecosystem Management” as 21st priority in the future.

So today, let’s dive into what a Talent Ecosystem is, and how you can build one yourself.

That’s how BCG defines the Talent Ecosystem:

Talent Ecosystem Management. Maintenance of a comprehensive talent system that allows the organization to access and leverage a wide variety of talent pools to meet its needs.

Boston Consulting Group

Sounds fluffy, doesn’t it?

So let’s take one step back.

Talent Sustainability

In their whitepaper “Creating a Dynamic and Sustainable Talent Ecosystem“, the Center for Creative Leadership puts the “Talent Ecosystem” in the context of “Talent Sustainability”. Yawn, another buzzword.

Talent sustainability is an organization’s ability to continuously attract, develop and retain people with the capabilities and the commitment needed for current and future organizational success.

Center for Creative Leadership

Let’s throw in this infographic from i4cp – and then we’re almost there.

What is a Talent Ecosystem? Graphic by i4cp.com

Getting to the point: What is a Talent Ecosystem?

Having a Talent Ecosystem means that you have a wide array of different channels to tap into when you need to fill talent gaps. You don’t have to only rely on one or two channels (say, your in-house recruiters) – but you have a clear process and channel structure in place that allows you to sustainably source and place the right people in the right positions.

How do I build my Talent Ecosystem?

In recruitment marketing terms, this means that we need to establish a healthy channel mix. There’s no one size fits all solution – we need to spread out to different channels and combine them all in our ecosystem.

I’m sure that’s already happening for you or your clients. Talents get referred through clients or partners, or employee referrals.

So for you, it all starts by writing out the different channels that attract talent:

  • External recruitment
  • External talent exchange
  • Internal talent marketplaces
  • Agile teams
  • Freelancers
  • Crowdsourcing / employee referral
  • Partnerships
  • AI
  • Intern & Traineeships
  • Overlooked Talent Pools

The aspect to remember is that it’s all about the mix. Don’t focus too much on one channel, because all the parts of your ecosystem need to be connected. My tip: assign someone as your “ecosystem shepherd” and start closely monitoring the numbers for each channel. That’s a great first step to leveraging and building your talent ecosystem!

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