The undeniable rise of Talent Operations

Rohit Srivastav
May 22, 2022
3 min read

A quick search on LinkedIn for Talent Operations or Recruitment Operations throws back 72,000+ open positions for which companies are actively hiring globally.

Talent Ops has existed for a long time under some guise or the other. However, the undercurrent is a wave now, and it's time we collectively define the roles and responsibilities that make the Talent Ops or Recruitment Ops function in an organization.

In the simplest terms, Talent operation empowers the entire talent org with the use of innovative and modern, tech or non-tech enabled tools, solutions, and processes to track recruiting metrics, identify areas of improvement, forecast future talent needs, and ensures the talent org to function more effectively and efficiently.

The key responsibilities of the Talent Acquisition Operations

Talent Ops has started to formalize very recently. Hence the understanding of the function is vastly different in organizations across the board. However, some fundamentals remain consistent and imperative to the function. Here are the fundamental pillars of Talent Ops as a function:

Stakeholder management‍

Talent ops sit within the talent team but cuts horizontally. It interfaces with every team in the company. A large chunk of the day-to-day in the life of a talent ops professional goes into working with multiple teams to set the recruitment stack up, get the legal contracts with vendors going, project talent needs with multiple teams and leaders, and schedule interviews for every new candidate.

The function is crucial to keep the lights on for the entire talent team. From ensuring a flawless candidate experience on one hand and building data transparency for the entire company and the leadership, the role is challenging and vivid at the same time.

Setting up the scalable processes‍

The need for talent ops surfaces only after a certain scale. The talent function was getting by, using ad-hoc setups and hacked-together collaborative tools. Everything from sourcing, engaging, scheduling interviews, and rolling out offers needs to be optimized for efficiency and scale. That's mostly the first challenge any talent ops person needs to tackle. Once they set the processes right, they need to document it as well for further training of the recruitment org at large, and also iterating and improving on the processes laid down.

Custodian of the recruitment tech stack‍

HRtech has blown up in the past few years. The recruitment stack is growing rapidly and someone needs to be the central command for the stack. The recruitment stack comprises the sourcing tools, a recruitment automation platform for outbound recruitment of passive candidates, the ATS, and the HRMS. Beyond candidate onboarding, the tools for employee engagement and performance management come in as well. However, in larger organizations, the HR Ops team takes care of tools and stages beyond the candidate onboarding.

The recruitment ops function has to also be responsible for finding the next best tool to add to the tech stack with the end goal of increasing the recruiter yield.

The single source of recruitment metrics

The talent ops team knows all the data that flows in and out of the recruitment stack. Hence, they become the single source of truth for all metrics needed to track, measure, and predict the talent pipeline.

The talent ops team is trusted to empower leaders and teams by providing high-quality and timely reporting, analyses, and actionable insights on the talent acquisition funnel.

The talent ops team is expected to design, develop and automate self-service dashboards to ensure our business leadership has easy access to the right information when monitoring organizational health and making talent decisions.

When to invest in Talent Ops?

It’s not a question of if you’ll need talent ops, but when. As your company matures — as it grows in size and you expand faster in headcount — the need for someone to focus on keeping the engine running by owning the recruitment stack sanity and stakeholder management.

Based on the size and maturity of the talent org in your company, the talent ops function can exist in one of the following forms:

  1. Talent Ops as a concept: At the earliest stages, when the hiring is primarily done by the founders with a small TA team of 1 or 2 folks, you wouldn't need to hire someone dedicated to talent ops, but you need to find patterns in the way the talent team operates and formalize processes and repeatable frameworks for efficient operations. You can work with manually updating spreadsheets for reporting or start with the readymade dashboards of the tools in your hiring stack.
  2. Talent Operation specialist as a full-time hire: The next stage is a full-time hire for talent ops. The role can be divided equally between stakeholder management, and talent stack ownership. It can also tilt towards either side, depending on the culture and requirement of the talent org. This is the stage where the company starts growing with predictable talent requirements and forecasts.
  3. Talent Ops as a team: This is the optimum setup for the SMBs and Mid-market strata of companies. The talent ops team at this stage comprises specialists in recruitment tech stack, analytics, and stakeholder management.
  4. Talent Ops as a function: A full-blown talent ops function sits right in either public listed companies, or companies with a comparable headcount. The talent ops function still sits under the HR or People org, however, is a team of specialists and experts in operations, data science, and program management.

What does it take to be a Talent Operations specialist?

The talent ops role is still very broad. With one end tilting towards people and stakeholder management and the other end lopsided on the data and metrics skill.

The requirements hence swing from one extreme to another, depending on the unique need of the company. A quick analysis of the job listings shows that in most data-heavy talent ops roles, the requirement is of someone with an experience with SQL, and other analytics tools, data visualization tools such as Tableau, and Google Data Studio, and data pipeline tools like Airflow.

However, the balance is tilting. With continued innovation in recruitment tools, even non-tech folks can get the insights that were exclusive for the tech-savvy recruiters. Consider Kula - with our recruitment automation platform, you get all the vital stats for your automated outbound email drips for passive candidates, with a full view of the talent funnel. It ensures predictability and transparency through ready-made dashboards and easy-access reports.

Let us keep the conversation going. Ping us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Rohit Srivastav
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