Site logo

Organic Self-Perpetuating Talent Acquisition


In the reactionary world of recruiting there is often little opportunity to discuss an enhanced over-arching global talent acquisition strategy and its tactical elements. Let alone become engaged in such an effort and elect to add your unique value to the final form.

My motivation behind instigating this discussion is to explore more efficient rational ways to meet current, upcoming and long-term human capital needs of web organizations on a company wide basis and to advocate at least one path towards organic talent acquisition.

At present time it’s a good bet that your company is no different from 97% of web ventures of similar size in that your are most likely 100% reactionary when it comes to the question of talent acquisition. Meaning a talent need is identified, or realized, then reacted to by the organization with new a fresh effort to meet said need.

I do not say this to be negative but rather to illustrate this point;
Organic talent acquisition does not begin organically in any organization. In as much the way a new pump must be primed by pouring in water before it will draw out water from a well; a company must be primed in a somewhat similar fashion.

It is important to note one critical fact before continuing. If the culture of your company is not broken, your are already starting farther along the path than most organizations of your size in any industry. The simple reason for this is that your organization probably already possesses the right elements crucial to any human capital effort as part of its corporate DNA. When the essential questions of mission, culture, training and career paths have been answered in full….the battle for top talent is already half won.

Assuming that your culture is not broken, what I will advocate here is leveraging of what you’re already proud of at your company for the express benefit of your recruitment efforts. And in the interest of clarity let me say this a plainly as possible;
This is not a fix for something that is broken. (Note: If your organization doesn’t understand that companies rise and fall on the quality of their people my only advice for you is to quit your job and find one the does.)

Core Concepts

If you are a retailer, the main thrust of the concept would be akin to this; You’ve built a great shop on a major street. You know that once through the door people are likely to find what they are looking for and have a positive experience. Now all we need to do is create foot traffic and the rest will take care of itself.

So what is Organic Self-Perpetuating Talent Acquisition (OSPTA)? Well, for starters (and in the interest of full disclosure) it's a term invented for the purposes of this blog. (So if you wind up “borrowing” the term please give credit where credit is due.)At 10,00 feet (for the MBA’s in the crowd) the essence of OSPTA is this: A strategy for global talent acquisition that never ceases by employing interlocking complementary methods, processes and programs to achieve a nested augmentation to existing talent acquisition capabilities. (Try saying that 3 times quickly)

At ground level (and in terms the rest of us understand) you might envision it as a jungle canopy created by the leaves of the trees, with your talent goals being the unique flora and plants growing under the canopy. The trees are already capable of creating the leaves and will continue to do so for life. The leaves of the trees interlock to create the ideal environment on the ground to foster natural growth of the flowers and plants needed by the ecosystem of the forest. The system is organic, self-perpetuating and symbiotic.

So long as there is a forest (your company) its trees (departments) will continue to grow leaves (individual programs), and create a canopy (OSPTA) that will create the ideal environment for growth of what is needed by the forest on the ground (talent) without special encouragement. The natural perpetual supply of talent (growth) will present itself ultimately as a company culture trait of continuous talent attraction and acquisition. This organic state is the ultimate goal of these efforts.


The interlocking components of the OSPTA will be tactical expressions (programs) of your strategic canopy. As mentioned earlier, each program will complement in some fashion the other programs to create our canopy. The standards for each program should be as follows:

1. Each program must be able to utilize existing competencies and/or business partners of the organization.
2. Each program must complement at least one other program in the canopy.
3. Each program must serve the talent needs of more than one vertical and/or business unit.
4. Each program must be able to survive its initial sponsors.
5. Each program must be scalable, or portable, to other company units and/or satellite operations.

These standards would act as safeguards against programs that are too narrow in scope or overweight in design. Most importantly these standards would “bake in” the needed components to encourage organic self-perpetuating program execution. Additional standards that would complement these could be developed over time as needed.

Tactical Expressions of OSPTA Strategy

If properly conceived, OSPTA should be able to support (in theory) a limitless number of programs so long as the initial standards set forth earlier are adhered to without deviation. Obviously I would not advocate a copiousness of programs at inception. However a baseline of programs will be need to implement such a strategy and to encourage a culture trait of continuous talent attraction and acquisition to take hold.

Here are some programs that could make up the initial tactics of OSPTA in your company.

• Employer brand awareness
• Hosted industry events
• Thought leadership blogging
• Open source participation
• SME speaking opportunities
• Hyper incentivized employee referral programs
• Internships
• Company and employee socialization
• Technology demonstrations
• Broadcasted all-hands meetings
• Focused unique candidate experience

….and so on

Starting your own OSPTA with 3-5 low cost programs is most likely the best way to quickly achieve lift and global buy in for more ambitious programs down the road.

Food For Thought

The suggested strategy of OSTPA and its tactics are an important step in getting ahead of the talent shortage curve. As mentioned at the outset, this strategy is not a cure for a broken culture. It is however an important step in creating and organizational mindset continuously focused on opportunities to attract top talent needed now and in the future. The outcome of these efforts must always be an active dialogue with the talent in your market. When you achieve that you will have activated

If what I advocated here is adopted in full by your organization you should see tangible results within 2-4 business cycles. A process to measure the effectiveness of each program in the canopy would also need to be developed. Doing so should be well within the operating capabilities of the program owners and sponsors.

The final thought that I wish to leave you with is in part inspired by one of the icons of the technology world. Andy Grove was well know for his musings about the value of Intel's human capital and talent acquisition efforts. One of his most famous observations was that Intel closed down each day at 6 PM. It was the decision of the people that worked there if the business would reopen the following business day.

Your company is being honored when its people decide each day to participate in your endeavor. The critical talent must be present for such a consideration to even take place. The OSPTA strategy one way to make certain that your talent well never runs dry.

Cheers, R