Create 3-D Talent Communities

I’ve been thinking a lot about online talent communities lately, writing about them, interviewing various HR and recruiting practitioners and vendors about them, dreaming about them (yes, really), and living and breathing inside an online one in particular — the TalentCulture #TChat Community.

Most of talent community mainstream relates to recruiting new employees for a company, and now with a heavy social recruiting component (whose success emphasis varies depending on who you talk to), but they also form inside your companies with your existing employees, and their networks, both inside and out — a mass of mad-method circles within circles within circles that you only wish you understood (like a fancy Spirograph fractals).

There are of course many software solutions today that can help you slice and dice, but that’s not the point of this post. Neither is the fact that communities can be outside of the recruiting/employee primary circles and be driven more by social causes, political movements, shared professional and/or personal likes (and dislikes) and other less compelling social reasons.

One common three-dimensional element throughout all communities I’ve seen and heard and participated in is the fact that a community is only a community when those who belong collaborate, commiserate and connect with one another regularly for what can amount to infinite combination of reasons.

But the most common reality is that we usually end up with a two-dimensional recruiting model that includes a database of people where occasional, hopefully relevant company and job information is shared with them. Maybe its starts off strong, but it usually ends up abandoned with sourcing/hiring results varying wildly.

There’s just no true “community” inside.

In my sandbox analogy I wrote: Other kids may be running around and around the sandbox, but for those who are in it, for whatever time that is, it becomes an impromptu community where folks aggregate again and again. They’re not coming to the sandbox because you put it there. They’re coming because they want to play with the other kids and parents.

And recently in Chris Hoyt’s post (The Recruiter Guy) titled Communities with Intentionality, he wrote: The success of these groups and communities is not their existence, but rather how they thrive. Think of this in terms of a meeting held with your colleagues and peers.  How successful the outcome is doesn’t depend solely on having the meeting, but instead is related directly to what is accomplished in that meeting.  What is distributed, what is collected, what is shared, what is planned.

To play is to thrive and to thrive is to play, so create those 3-D talent communities.