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HR: Secrets to Finding and Keeping Talent

Recruiting and retaining top talent has always been a human resources departments’ biggest goal and challenge. So what is the secret to attracting and sustaining employees? Thinking outside the box, of course.

Alion Science and Technology launched Alion University, which provides employees with distance-learning education on a wide array of topics, including finance, engineering, management and government contracting.

“For many years, people went to a training company, took a five-day course, and then took a test … you aren’t going to get Generation X or Y to sit in a classroom for five days taking a course,”  Kathy Madaleno, Alion’s senior vice president and HR director, told ExecutiveBiz in a recent feature on HR secrets revealed.

Jerry Calhoun, Vangent’s senior vice president of HR, also believes in the power of technology to find potential employees. He said he began taking advantage of the increasing role of social media in recruitment more than a year ago.

“Search firms are expensive … job boards are expensive … we are not yet at the stage where we can simply replace them with LinkedIn, but that networking is large,” Calhoun told ExecutiveBiz.

Sometimes, finding recruits takes more than new technology. Solution: a strong external-employee referral program.

“A lot of the people we’re going after are not on job boards actively looking,” said Charlie Virtue, Agilex’s HR lead. “If I interview you and, at the end of the interview, you’re not right for the position, I may very well ask if you know anybody who might fit. If that results in a hire, we give a reward for helping to find that person.”

Agilex is also a strong proponent of college recruiting. The company recently developed ties with North Carolina State University, and is also looking to work with Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech, and the University of Maryland.

Echoing the importance on reaching out to the previously untapped source of college students, CSC North American Public Sector President Jim Sheaffer told ExecutiveBiz how the CSC created a college-recruiting program. Within the past two years alone, CSC was able to bring in roughly 575 new college recruits to the company’ North American Public Sector. The HR team has additionally also overseen 260 summer internships among sophomores and juniors.

To read the entire “HR Secrets Revealed,” click here.

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