Can Talent Mapping Help to Improve Diversity?

26 August 2021
talent mapping

Many organisations are currently trying to diversify. While the competition for talent is high, employers in the tech space are also fighting to get more females or minority candidates into their organisation as the value of having diverse mindsets and experiences in a scaling business becomes more apparent. When trying to launch a tech product or service, the greater the perspectives involved in the development, the greater your potential. With a diverse team behind your startup, you can reach a broader customer base and create a product that is truly useful with messaging that cuts through the noise and resonates with a wide array of customers.

As a startup, your business is seen as agile, innovative and able to change the world. And as a startup leader, you’re often under pressure to make a product and a workplace that changes the world for the better. New businesses are often expected to create a company culture that reflects current attitudes and is at the forefront of diversity, inclusion and equality. With the recent #metoo movement and #blacklivesmatter protests being widely publicised and spread across social media, more people than ever are actively seeking to end sexism, racism and inequality in the workplace. Employees expect employers, particularly those in new and innovative businesses, to have a strategy for diversity and inclusion, to take a stand on sexism and racism, and it’s also becoming apparent that investors are seeking startups with a clear statement on diversity and inclusion.

However, startup leaders have a challenge, especially in the current competitive talent market. In knowledge-based industries like tech, everyone is fighting for the same talent with the same skills. This is why startup leaders often rely on their networks to fill available roles. They often need to hire quickly and don’t have time to raise employer brand awareness with a larger talent pool. Therefore, they stick to what and who they know. However, this creates a diversity issue. Networks include universities, schools, workplaces and even friendship groups or professional associations; this doesn’t bring to mind a huge variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives but more similar people with similar career paths.

With diversity becoming a huge influence on employer brand perceptions in such a limited talent market, startups can no longer afford to rely on people they know to fill roles. With such a restricted talent pool, how can leaders limit themselves even more by only reaching out to the same universities or professional networks? Of course, job boards and social can help you to reach more diverse candidates, but again, they often need to know about you and your employer brand for this to work.

Instead of talent coming to you, the secret to scaling your startup is knowing where these skilled candidates are and how to reach them. To do that, and to help diversify your workforce, every startup or scaleup founder will eventually need to engage in talent mapping.

What is talent mapping?

Talent mapping is the process of searching the market to identify top talent and looking within your organisation for skills and roles that are missing. Internally, it’s about identifying areas for improvement, and externally it’s a strategic tool that will help streamline your recruitment process.

Recruiters can search for potential candidates and identify individuals with the needed skills or experience, whether based on location or competitors’ organisations. It’s about identifying a potential talent pool for when you’re ready to hire so that the right people can see your job adverts.

Talent mapping aims to close any skills gaps and ensure you have the right talent in place for your company’s current and future needs. It leads to better hiring decisions and more effective use of recruitment budgets.

However, it can also be used to diversify your business, particularly in the era of remote work. You can identify whether your organisation is diverse for a start. For example, there may be a lack of female employees, which can inform your D&I targets. Then, you can use it from an external perspective to help you identify where to find the talent to meet these targets. For example, you can identify locations where graduates with the skills you need are located or areas with more ethnic minorities that you could target with an employer brand awareness campaign.

Why should I use talent mapping for my scaleup?

Insight Led Recruitment Strategies

Talent mapping and advanced tools can add multiple layers to your recruitment strategy, making it more informed and data-driven. You can learn a lot from market research, and these learnings can be used to create intelligent and cost-effective recruitment strategies. Basing your recruitment efforts on knowledge, data and fact will always be more effective than posting a job and hoping that the right candidate sees it. If you’re serious about scaling your business, then the better informed you can be about your talent market and the people within it, the better your results will be. Access to the right data and insight will help you to advertise your jobs to relevant, better quality candidates and reduce your recruitment costs overall.

Informs Digital Attraction Campaigns

Digital attraction is a great way to diversify your talent pool. Using paid media campaigns, you can reach skilled candidates in online spaces who may not have previously heard of you and exist outside of your existing network. They may not have come through traditional education. It takes research to understand where diverse candidates live and identify the talent pool you need to target. Suppose you’re going to run a digital talent attraction campaign to try and expand your talent pool, especially in this work from anywhere era. In that case, you need to know specific locations or competitors to target. If your search area means your audience is too large, you’ll need a budget to match, or you won’t see effective results. Therefore, you need to narrow it down. Searching for where this talent is located, whether geographically or in terms of current employment, will help inform your hiring strategies and ensure you reach relevant candidates regardless of your budget.

Expand Your Idea Of The “Ideal Candidate”

Talent Mapping can help you identify candidates who may be missed by traditional recruitment or hiring from your network. There are so many ways that candidates can gain experience and knowledge today, so the idea of only hiring from your university or previous network is becoming incredibly outdated. Talent mapping can help you to widen your opinion of the ideal candidate. For example, you may see that someone working for your competitors has gained their skills through online courses or through working rather than a traditional educational background. These may be candidates you hadn’t previously considered but could help you win the race for these desired skills.

Helps you to Identify Challenges

Any good recruitment strategy identifies potential challenges and problems so that you’re prepared. Talent Mapping will also help you to understand the difficulty and challenges of finding candidates in these locations. It could be that there is a lack of skilled, diverse candidates looking for work, which means you need to create an attractive EVP and employer brand which will tempt passive candidates to leave their employer. It could be that competitors have better benefits for women, which makes them a more appealing prospect. You can identify the barriers these diverse, talented candidates may have for joining your organisation and work to fix them. Improving your diversity efforts in the future. In an increasingly competitive tech recruitment market, it doesn’t hurt to have one eye on the competition and to prepare for potential challenges ahead of time. When the fight for talent is this intense, it pays to have a competitive advantage, and for startups, this means knowing and understanding both the market and the challenges.

Whether it’s gaining a greater perspective of how your organisation needs to diversify to be an attractive prospect to candidates and support your product launch, or whether it’s identifying where talent with the necessary skills is located, talent mapping can help. Both internally and externally, it’s a very useful tool that scaling businesses can use to inform recruitment strategies to ensure success. Moreover, in an increasingly competitive tech recruitment market, it can give you an essential competitive edge.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our talent mapping capabilities and how we use them to support startups and scaleups.

We’re hosting a free virtual roundtable on September 1st for Global Talent Acquisition Day. We’ll be joined by talent acquisition experts from Shopify, Moderna, LexisNexis, and more to talk about recruitment challenges faced in the last year, including a push for diversity and inclusion, as well as strategies for talent acquisition in 2022. Don’t miss out. Register here.