Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel — days full of meetings, emails, and data calls? You’re so busy putting out fires that you have no time to focus on improving your program. When that happens, your program suffers.
You need to audit your talent acquisition pipeline programs regularly, whether you manage the intern program full time or lead the employee referral program as a side project while you carry a full load of reqs.
To improve your program, you need to evaluate what’s working, validate that your stakeholders are on the same page, formulate a forward-thinking strategy, implement the strategy, and ultimately measure and communicate performance. As a program owner, you should lead this effort before budgets are due.
You might be thinking, “Really? Why in the world would I want to torture myself in this way?” Here are a four reasons.
Reflect on your program
Conducting a review of your program gives you a clearer picture of strengths and weaknesses from your perspective. You get to be your toughest critic and biggest cheerleader. Have you met your goals? If not, then why? What is stopping the program from getting better? What are you being measured against?
Take a peek at the operational stuff like the policy governing your program, the communications you send out, and the technology and tools you use. What are you spending your time doing? Is the majority of your time spent working on policy exceptions? Why? Is it because the policy is out of date and doesn’t represent the current strategy of your program. Or is it because you don’t have clear communications that describe how to use your program?
In either case, if you review the program annually, you can catch these things and correct them before they become daily fires.
Partner with stakeholders
During an annual review, you can solicit input and suggestions from your stakeholders at a point when you have time to ruminate and incorporate those ideas into the program. Through a variety of methods like surveys, focus groups and interviews, you can find out what your stakeholders think about your program. You can even invite them to planning and brainstorming sessions. This is a great way to get stakeholder thoughts prior to submitting your budget or launching a new initiative.
You earn the trust of your stakeholders and turn them into advocates when you reach out to them regularly to ask, listen and act. They start to see you as someone who appreciates their needs and adapts when possible. In an environment full of bureaucracy and people who constantly say NO, that can be a refreshing change.
Blow sh** up (#BSU)
When you look at the big picture, it’s easier to see what’s producing results and build the case to scrap the things that aren’t. Times change, and methods and tactics that worked in 2009 may not make sense in 2016. I watched Ambrosia Vertesi, and Lars Schmidt of HROS speak at the TalentConnect conference. Ambrosia introduced me to a phrase I fell in love with: blow sh** up (#BSU). (If you haven’t watched the talk, I suggest you do so now. )
It can be painful to admit that an idea or initiative that you or, even worse, an executive spearheaded that didn’t work. During a program review you can deliver the message in a constructive, forward-looking manner. Then take that initiative, blow it up and start over. Mistakes become a problem when you don’t correct them.
In an annual review, you’re creating a plan for your program’s future. The priorities become clear when you have dissected your program and understand stakeholder needs. You are no longer guessing what is important to stakeholders, as they participated in the annual review of your program. Your priorities are no longer set by the latest crisis. With a plan in place, it’s easier to stay the course for the next year despite the inevitable fires and frustrations.
Still not convinced?
The whole point of the annual review is to proactively manage the strategic direction of your program. It helps you manage up, down and across your organization so that you can relieve friction.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you conduct and annual review of your program?
Ready to get review program but aren’t sure where to start? Download our free blueprint for Evaluating Your Talent Acquisition Program.