Do You Have a Talent Supply Committee at Your Company?

Tim Sackett Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Strategy

A Talent Supply what?

We have stupid committees for everything in today’s organizations. Some are legit (committees focused on belonging and inclusive culture, etc.), while some prove we’ve lost our minds (Replacement Carpet Color Committee, Vending Machine Snack Committee, Corporate Zoom Approved Backgrounds Committee).

I came across this concept of a Talent Supply Committee.

What is a Talent Supply Committee (TSC)?

A talent supply committee is a group of people within the organization that keeps a focus on the talent supply that will feed the organization currently and into the future.

Wait? Shouldn’t that be the job of Talent Acquisition? Yes! And No!

A talent supply committee isn’t about filling jobs. It’s about ensuring the organization is doing everything it can, within the goals and strategies of the company, to ensure there is a viable talent supply near and long term.

Let’s say you know to grow and thrive your business you’ll need more Electrical Engineers in the next five years. It’s currently a struggle to find those Electrical Engineers, and the data is telling you it won’t get easier in the future. Now, a great TA leader would build a plan which would include white-collar apprenticeships, scholarships for students within your market who go into a BSEE, referral programs, sourcing technology, etc.

Now, let’s say, on top of the EE need, your executives are also telling you we need to increase our female and POC engineering hiring by 100% over the next five years. Again, a great TA leader builds a strategy, like the one above. But many times, these strategies fail to produce the results we want, because while the rest of the organization knows the importance, it’s just not the biggest priority for them. They expect TA will take care of it. The problem is, this isn’t just a TA issue, this is an organizational issue!

The role of the Talent Supply Committee (TSC)

This committee would be a cross-functional group of individual contributors and leaders, which doesn’t necessarily have to be lead by someone in TA. In fact, it might work best to have TA be a part, but not lead!

The goal (stated above) is to ensure the organization’s talent supply is robust and thriving.

So, what are they really doing?

The TSC will actively participate to build, attract, and engage the talent supply of your company. Examples of what these activities look like include the following:

  • Designing, administering and selecting for a new white-collar apprenticeship program.
  • Community outreach for DEI initiatives at local schools—Girl STEM activities, Minority Mentorships, Job Shadowing programs, etc.
  • Cross-organizational programs within the community to drive scholarships to certain kids and certain programs more likely to return to your market.
  • Non-traditional (E.I., Adult) reskilling opportunities within the community.
  • Employer Brand Advocacy programs to help get more referrals, share corporate information within the community, and build better brand awareness within the market.
  • Local college outreach offering up corporate SMEs as speakers within programs most needed by the organization.

The list can go on and on, the best part is the committee itself will come up with stuff we have never even considered to be helpful in growing and expanding our talent supply. The power of the committee is when passionate employees put their minds together to try and figure out this problem, they’ll come up with great strategies, and some that will fail. All of it will help!

It all sounds like the stuff our Talent Acquisition Team should be doing!

Hilary Clinton once said, “It takes a village . . .”

Yes, your TA team could do any of this stuff or all of this stuff, but that’s not the point. First, you won’t do it all, you might try some of it. The reality is, you have fires to put out, in the form of nonstop jobs to fill. Second, it’s not about what you could do, it’s about helping the organization understand talent is an organizational issue, not one function’s issue.

The greatest organizations, and the greatest leaders, own talent, top to bottom. Great Hiring Managers don’t blame TA when they can’t fill a position, they blame themselves. What could I do right now to find this talent? What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future? Awful organizations place blame. They play the victim.

Healthy, thriving organizations, that are full of passionate people who love their work, want to know how they can do more to help the organization succeed. The Talent Supply Committee allows them the opportunity to do just that—to find purpose beyond just their job and daily duties, to become part of something larger.

But, can we be real for a minute? The vending machine committee is where all the real power is!