Talent Acquisition and The Cost Of Doing Nothing

By Gary Berney


To do the right thing, is the best thing to do.

To do the wrong thing is the next best thing to do.

To do nothing is the worst thing to do.

It’s a phrase that was given to me as I made my way up through the marketing ranks. Doing the right thing is self explanatory and doing the wrong thing gave you opportunities to learn and grow from your mistakes. However, by doing nothing you deny yourself the opportunity to see what works, while costing your company more in the long run. It’s something I believe is very true for talent acquisition and retention too.

To give you a sense of the cost of doing nothing, let’s look at a quick everyday example. You’re driving along and a warning light comes on in the car. Most people would take action and drive to a garage to get the issue fixed at perhaps the cost of a few hundred euro. Painful, but it had to be done.

Of course the alternative is doing nothing. Eventually the car breaks down and you have the breakdown collection costs plus additional garage charges as more damage was done. During this, the warning light continued to shine in the car. The cost of doing nothing is now thousands of euros more than the cost of doing the right thing.

So let’s look at it from a talent acquisition and retention point of view. Whether you are a Director of Global Talent, HR Manager, Recruitment Lead or TA Specialist, it is a given that you are always trying to get the best out of your recruitment. In other words you will try and do the right thing but by sometimes doing the wrong thing you will still learn what does and doesn’t work best for driving talent to your company. Trying something and failing is a crucial step on the path of success.

You could test out new or smaller job sites to see if that gives you a better chance of filling certain roles, or jump onto LinkedIn to see if their facilities help you drive new talent opportunities. It’s only through perhaps taking a few wrong turns that you know the right one.

When looking at talent acquisition and retention all the stats indicate that referrals are by far the best source of talent in terms of recruitment cost, HR time savings and long term employee retention. More often than not, however, it’s an area which gets overlooked by HR teams. You hear things like, ‘our employee referral programme needs a lot of work to make it successful but I don’t have the time’ or ‘referrals make up such a small proportion of total hires that it’s not an area we are looking at”. That’s what doing nothing sounds like.

We also hear HR professionals say things like “we’re at 30% of total hires through referrals but we spend too much time maintaining that, so we’re looking to test new ideas to lower HR time’ or “referrals only account for 4% of hires. I’ve budget and time constraints so we need to find a way to make our referral program work” These are HR professionals who know doing nothing isn’t an option. Will they get the improvements right first time? Maybe or maybe not, but you know they will succeed through their action.

Inaction on your rewards programme, your on-boarding and your internal recruitment will all have a huge effect on talent acquisition and retention and huge cost implications to the company. It’s time to look for solutions that improve outcomes without increasing workloads and there’s plenty out there. It’s simply being open to new solutions and remembering that doing nothing is always the worst thing you can do!