By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Ladies and gentlemen, fall is in full swing. You may be wondering what crisp weather, falling leaves and college football have to do with talent acquisition and retention strategies, but if you’re anything like me, you know that fall also brings with it questions of the year that is coming to a close and the year ahead as well. It’s almost as natural as the leaves changing color.

If it’s not such a natural thing for your mind to go there this time of year, you may want to set aside time and give it some thought before the craziness of the holidays sets in and you’re up to your eyeballs in turkey and ornaments. Right now is the calm before the storm, making it the perfect time to give your talent acquisition and retention strategy some consideration.

We all know that the future success of our companies depends on our people. The talent we are bringing in and retaining will shape the company for years to come, which is why our role in the company and our strategy are so important. In fact, that’s a major theme that I’ve been seeing in my work lately. HR is and will continue to be a major factor in businesses’ overall strategies. As this happens, it will be important for your strategy to be on point as well. Start simple and build from there, beginning with these three key focuses:

Lead and develop
Recruitment is a major part of any talent strategy, but success really starts at home. Right there in your own company, you should be leading and developing employees. I don’t even need to quote one of the many statistics out there about the cost of retaining an employee vs. recruiting one because the benefits go far beyond the pocket book. When you lead and develop, you’re not only retaining your workforce but are shaping them to be the leaders your company will need down the road. Some ways you can do this is through mentorship programs, internal excellence academies, succession planning, cross training, continuing education and leadership development.

Attract and engage
Since turnover is inevitable and growth happens, you’ll want to continually be attracting and engaging potential candidates. An important thing to keep in mind here is that engaging your candidates is just as vital as attracting them. Essentially, attracting without engaging is similar to catching a fish and throwing it back. To attract and engage tomorrow’s workforce, make use of your employees as brand ambassadors, get creative with where and how you’re recruiting, make personal connections and think about a long-term pipeline rather than filling each position on an as-needed basis.

Reinvent HR
A change is happening. Can you feel the shift? HR professionals are currently faced with a challenging yet exciting choice to either embrace or reject the movement that drives how we recruit and retain our human capital. With all the changes that technology and shifting demographics are presenting, we have the option of either being part of it or being part of the problem. It may seem drastic to say that, but companies that have HR professionals and recruiters embracing it truly will have an advantage over companies that are stuck in the dark ages. Be flexible and willing to adjust your strategies, tactics and even views and you’ll be an asset.

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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