Talent Channels – Who Should Your Executive Sponsor Be?
Building your talent channel – whether it be for university graduates, software developers, veterans, or women – requires many different ingredients to be successful. Thorough and descriptive candidate profiling and recruiter education and training are two key components of success; selecting and preparing an area of the business for your program to take root is another.
One of the most important factors in the success of any new talent channel is the Executive Sponsor. Executive sponsors help you sell your program outside of the talent acquisition and human resources channels and many times put a strong business case forward for your STEM women’s initiative or veteran’s recruiting program. They influence other leaders in the company and serve as an evangelist for the rest of the C-Suite. Good sponsors hold their areas of business responsibility accountable for hiring talent, and the best sponsors help you create a demand for talent across the enterprise.
Who should you recruit to be your executive sponsor?
- Someone who has a passion for the talent you are bringing into the company. Executive sponsors need to be able to convey and sell the benefits of your new program and articulate its necessity for the company well and at all levels.
- An influential leader with other executives; an individual who has the ear of the CEO. A successful group or division president whose business is meeting or exceeding its sales goals will always be listened to. It is important that all of the internal branding and success of your program be reinforced by a likeable messenger in the upper ranks of your company.
- A person who has a reputation as a clear and strong communicator. Sponsors who don’t have time to be clear, consistent advocates for your talent channel are not advocates at all. Your sponsor will need to write blog posts, speak at events, mentor team members, chair interview panels, and recruit at events in addition to heralding the internal marketing efforts of your team to gain support and credibility across the company.
- Someone who will help you attract mentor the candidates you are targeting.
A word of caution: don’t always ask the most obvious or easy choice! CEOs often have no time and sometimes can’t be seen as advocating for one hiring program over another. CHROs and SVPs of HR are obvious choices to lead these talent channel efforts, but they should be leading them anyway as supporters. Search for a high-level business leader, someone with P&L responsibilities outside of HR, to give your recruiting initiative added visibility and credibility.
Spend the time up front to find and prepare the right sponsor and you’ll reap the benefits down the road – it’s not the only aspect of building your talent channel, but it sets the tone and helps ensure success.