Why you should be recruiting and retaining untapped talent

Why you should be recruiting and retaining untapped talent

Finding qualified talent presents challenges that we are all aware of.  It's easy to get lost in the never-ending sea of resumes when you're trying to find suitable candidates from a pool of applicants. It's important to understand that talent comes from various sources, including active job seekers, individuals returning to the workforce after a prolonged absence, the newly unemployed, and the underemployed. 

Employers often fail to recognize the capabilities of their current employees and believe they need to look for new talent rather than unlock the unrealized potential of their existing team members. Remember that your employees are your greatest asset, and you should do everything possible to support them in realizing their full potential. But how can you attract and retain this untapped talent? Revamping your recruitment strategies and investing in your current employees can unlock a wealth of opportunities that might have gone unnoticed. 

What is untapped talent?

Untapped talent, also known as the hidden workforce, is a term used to describe the labor force and economic resources already available but not fully utilized by employers. More specifically, it refers to individuals who have the skills and abilities to be successful in the workforce but are unemployed, are underemployed, or have been out of the workforce for an extended period. These individuals frequently have qualifications and transferable skills that they can apply to a wide range of roles in various industries.

Sources of untapped talent

Talent is a valuable asset for any organization, and it can come from various sources. Untapped talent exists in all demographics, industries, and fields, including information  technology, health care, and finance. Most people with untapped talent come from backgrounds that have fostered creativity and innovation and provided them with easily transferable experiences. Your business can tap into various sources to find hidden talents and untapped potential.

Underrepresented groups

Businesses frequently overlook members of underrepresented or marginalized groups when recruiting and hiring. Many of these people encounter employment obstacles such as bias, inaccessible workplaces, and rigid policies. By recognizing the value that underrepresented or marginalized groups can bring, you can tap into the large talent pool that they represent. Underrepresented groups include: 

  • Women
  • Minorities
  • People with disabilities
  • Parents returning to the workforce 
  • Older workers, including those who are unretired 

Nontraditional groups

The members of nontraditional groups are individuals who acquired their knowledge and expertise in unconventional ways. These talented people might not have had access to traditional education or may have chosen alternative career paths, such as an apprenticeship, self-directed learning, military service, or vocational training. Members of nontraditional groups include:

  • Veterans and those serving in the reserves
  • Military spouses
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals
  • People with a nontraditional education
  • Foreign nationals with legal authorization to work in the United States

Internal Candidates 

Internal candidates are employees who already work for your company. As current employees, they might have an easier time adjusting to a new position because they already have a solid understanding of the company's culture and values. These candidates may also be motivated by the prospect of rising to new challenges and seizing new chances for development.

The benefits of recruiting and retaining untapped talent

Recruitment and retention of untapped talent have several advantages. The most immediate benefit is that it expands your talent pool of qualified candidates with diverse skills and experiences. Other benefits include:

  • Increased diversity and inclusion:  Untapped talent brings diverse perspectives and backgrounds, which fosters fresh ideas and approaches to problem-solving and often leads to more effective solutions. A diverse workforce also encourages creativity and innovation.
  • Improved company image and reputation:  Recruiting and retaining untapped talent can demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. This allows you to attract more customers, clients, and partners who share these values; differentiate your business from its competitors; and build a loyal customer base.
  • Reduced turnover:  Ensuring that individuals feel appreciated for their contributions can increase employee engagement, improve job satisfaction, and lower your staff turnover rate. Untapped talent is more likely to stay with your company if they feel valued and respected.
  • Reduced costs:  Reduced turnover means lower recruitment costs. You also save money on education and development programs, as these qualified candidates typically require less technical training.
  • Increased productivity: Workplaces that value diversity and inclusion are more productive than those that don't. Employees in diverse workplaces are more likely to feel valued and respected, which can lead to increased motivation and engagement.

"By drawing from a larger pool of candidates, you can attract and keep talented individuals who might otherwise go unnoticed. You can improve your company's bottom line and meet your recruitment needs by utilizing untapped talent." 

Strategies for recruiting and retaining untapped talent

Businesses that want to stay competitive must recruit and retain untapped talent. There are several tactics you can employ to attract and keep untapped talent. You can improve your chances of attracting and retaining underutilized talent by utilizing the following strategies to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Revisit your hiring practices

Employers frequently use traditional hiring procedures, including job postings and applicant tracking systems, that may exclude some candidates. Making your job postings more inclusive, using a variety of channels for recruiting, and being more flexible with your hiring criteria can help you to find untapped talent. 

Create a welcoming workplace culture

All employees should feel valued and respected, regardless of their origin or identity. Enhancing your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; planning social gatherings; establishing employee resource groups; and promoting interpersonal connections among staff members can foster a more inclusive environment and a sense of belonging.

Offer training and development opportunities

You can support candidates and employees from untapped talent pools by providing opportunities for advancement, exposing them to new challenges, and offering varied training and development initiatives and programs.

Recognize and reward employee contributions 

Employees, especially those from underrepresented groups, want to be appreciated and rewarded for their contributions at work. By highlighting and rewarding their achievements through a year-end bonus or a recognition program for top performers, you can increase employee morale and job satisfaction while also having a positive effect on the organization's overall productivity and success.

Other strategies include:

  • Fostering partnerships with community organizations, professional associations, and educational institutions to expand your talent pool and reach a wider range of candidates
  • Offering flexible work arrangements, such as part-time  or overnight hours and in-office, remote, or hybrid work models 
  • Revising your compensation and benefits packages and incorporating other perks, such as sign-on bonuses or tuition reimbursement 

Tap into the untapped talent

By drawing from a larger pool of candidates, you can attract and keep talented individuals who might otherwise go unnoticed. You can improve your company's bottom line and meet your recruitment needs by utilizing untapped talent. It also promotes a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which has advantages such as more effective problem-solving, enhanced creativity, and an increased understanding of different viewpoints. Your company can be more innovative, competitive, and successful by taking steps to recruit and retain untapped talent.

Related reading: recruiting a diverse workforce

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