Building a bench is about nurturing relationships over time. It's about branding. It's about being prepared in the event of an emergency. It's vital to a business, but it's often not an implemented practice.
First, you need to be aware of what the right candidate looks like, regardless of the position. That means understanding what the right culture fit looks like. Your core values are a good place to start. Work on attracting people who fit those values.
Ask current employees what benefits and perks they like about your company. Ask others on the market what draws them to a company. Find what your organization has to offer and promote it! For example, Thread has a fantastic maternity policy. Working moms love Thread because Thread loves them!
Here are five more tips to help you build your bench and be ready to fill any position with the right person!
- Look at your internal bench - Build out growth plans for promotions within your team. Recognize your employees and empower them to apply or be promoted to positions with more responsibility (and pay!) It's usually easier to backfill a more entry-level position.
- Target underrepresented groups - Maybe your industry is traditionally male-dominated. Encourage female applicants by promoting your company at women's networking events. Also, Fun Fact: 1/3 of Americans have a criminal record. If you're dismissing everyone with a history, you're severely hurting your applicant pool.
- Work on your employer brand - Start by taking a look at your website and careers page. Do they align with your values? Do they provide an accurate representation of what it's like to work for your organization? Then look at your reviews. Check Glassdoor for what your employees and former candidates have said about you. If you don't have a Glassdoor presence, you should start one. Finally, check your social media accounts and make sure they provide a good look at what you're about and what your employees' experience is like at your company.
- Stay connected - Connect with people on LinkedIn. People you could see wanting to hire in the future. Past applicants. Past employees. Be active and engaged, so you already have relationships built when you need to hire. Connections of connections are a powerful thing.
- Get involved - Join Chambers and community events. Attend job fairs. Volunteer. By getting out there and creating a presence for your organization in places where networking happens, you are able to network and passively recruit while making a name for your company within the community.