(By Laurie Kahn) In recent articles, I have shared some tips to help stations do a better job at attracting, hiring, and retaining good employees. With so much competition to hire, it is really smart to have a more proactive stance so that when you have an opening, you already have an idea of who you will hire. We know that in today’s climate, a job-seeker who is talented will get snapped up quickly, so it is important to build a pipeline of prospective employees well in advance.
In radio, we are all familiar with having pipelines and understand that the more you have going in, the better your chances are of having a good amount of those who reach the bottom. We are all familiar with having target accounts who we continue to call on and work with to help them realize they need to advertise on your stations, we rarely take “no” for an answer.
Creating and working on a talent pipeline is no different. It is crucial to your future success, as our unemployment rate remains low. Many stations today are facing a staff full of Boomers, who will retire in the next 10 years. Those will all create openings which will be difficult to refill when they depart.
After you have decided what you need to hire, the next step is to research who can fill those positions. With relocation becoming more difficult and hiring from your competitors is often not an option due to non-competes, it is important to find people who have the needed skills who are not in radio. We have years of seeing this plan work, we know there are great people outside of media who would love to get their foot into the entertainment business.
Here are some tips to help you build a talent pipeline:
— Set up a worksheet to keep track of your leads. I like to use Excel, Google Sheets, or Drop Box so that others in the process are working off the same list.
— Set up columns that you can use for sorting: name, title, current employer, email, phone, and of course, a contact date.
— You can ask all of your staff to supply names of friends, peers, or acquaintances to be added to the list. You can research local businesses’ websites to research names; you can research LinkedIn by zip code and keyword; you can post on FB that you are looking to connect. Ask your Chamber of Commerce for a list of members.
— Keep the pipeline up-to-date. If you learn of someone who has changed jobs, update your list. (Hint: Send a note congratulating them to start building your relationship!)
— Make time on your calendar to spend reaching out to those you have identified. Start getting to know them. You may not be ready to hire and they may not be ready to make a move, but consider the conversation a start for the future.
— Keep those on your “potential list” in “the know” about what is going on with you and the stations. Did you win awards? Did your team earn an afternoon off? Did you invest in a new training tool? Keep them updated just as you would target accounts. Share the excitement. Send email blasts on your news.
Recruitment is looking very different than it did when most of us got into the business. The sooner you can embrace the changes, the sooner you will see things turn around. Most importantly, make managers accountable for recruitment and monitor what is being done.
Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.