By Jessica Miller-Merrell

To me, one of the most beautiful things that we as people have the privilege of viewing is the ocean. What I love about it, besides the fact that it’s just gorgeous to look at, is that it is an incredibly powerful force made of something so simple: water. We use water all day, every day and never consider it extraordinary, but when we see an entire body of it, we suddenly understand the magnitude of what it’s capable of and gain a respect for it that we never had when we were using it to rinse dishes or shower. Its power determines when the best time to head to the beach is, can cause extreme storms along entire coasts and carry thousands of people from one side of the world to the other. It’s able to do all these things because of its daily flow that pushes it to the shore and then brings it back out. In short, when water flows, big things can happen.

Being immersed in the human resources and recruitment industry, I couldn’t help but make the connection between the flow of the ocean and the flow of our talent pools and networks.

External factors affect the flow 
In the same way that rain and wind can affect the flow of the ocean, the economy can also cause a disturbance in your talent flow that is beyond your control. A great example of this is how we have seen the tides changes in the last several years as we went through a recession and came out on the other side of it. Our strategies change based not just on the needs of our organization but on the health and wellbeing of our economy. That economy is currently wider and broader than in years past and organizations are looking at staffing not only in the United States but also are focusing on growing talent strategies in a global economy.

The flow should be steady and continuous

You’ll never sit on a beach and watch waves crash on the shore, only to find that they completely stop for a few minutes and then begin again. A flow, by definition, moves smoothly and continuously. What this looks like in your talent flow is that you are able to maintain your workforce through high and low tides, whether slow or swift. This truly is one of the most difficult things we face in maintaining a workforce because it can be difficult to anticipate what’s coming next. However, you can maintain a steady flow of employees through relationships and engagement, with long-term prospects in mind. This means that companies must focus heavily on employee retention while also engaging prospective candidates as part of a candidate pipeline. When you ignore the long term, the flow will eventually be interrupted.

A steady flow gets things accomplished 

There’s a reason people use terms like “I’m on my work flow” and “I have a gym flow going” to describe the fact that they are focused, consistent, energized and getting things done. Just as the flow of the ocean helps to carry enormous ships thousands of miles, when we are in a flow, we make things happen. It’s no coincidence at all that it takes some small movements from us as individuals to help make waves. When hiring managers are in their flow, they are essentially helping to create a talent flow. This may look like consistently engaging prospective candidates, proactively recruiting, ramping up retention efforts and many more things. It’s all the small things that seem to only make ripples around you, but when you take a step back, you see that you have some serious momentum going.

When you experience flow within your talent pool and network, good things happen. Positions are filled quickly and candidates who fit the needs are ready and waiting, work productivity isn’t disrupted and your employees are more satisfied overall.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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