By: Matt Walker on February 16th, 2023
Talent Acquisition Strategy: The Secret to Increased GovCon Revenue
Talent acquisition is a crucial function of any company that works on government contracts. Your ability to fulfill the contract depends on having the right people with the right skills (and, in some cases, the right security clearance.)
Despite this, talent acquisition teams are sometimes treated as a back-office necessity rather than an important strategic partner. Your TA team might not hear about your active bids and contracts until it's time to start recruiting.
This approach is a missed opportunity. TA consultants have a lot to offer at a strategic level, and a great talent acquisition strategy can help you max out your overall revenues.
3 ways to grow revenue through talent acquisition strategy
There's no big secret to unlocking revenue through talent acquisition. You just need to involve your TA experts in your process as much as possible. Here are three areas where many GovCon employers could improve:
1. Involve talent acquisition in the bid process
When do your staffing experts get involved in the government contract bidding process? In many cases, the answer is, "they don't." This might seem to make sense—after all, you won't know your staffing needs until the contract is finalized.
But talent acquisition can help out right from the initial bid/no-bid meetings. Some of the ways TA can help include:
- More accurate bid/no-bid decisions: Your talent acquisition team can help clarify whether you can realistically staff a potential contract. If the contract is beyond your recruiting ability, you can make a quick no-bid decision. Equally, TA consultants can help you spot a bid opportunity. They have a detailed knowledge of the available candidate pool, and they might already know the perfect team for each opportunity.
- Information about the available talent: Talent acquisition consultants spend a lot of time nurturing relationships, especially with highly skilled contractors. These relationships can add weight to your contract bid, as you can offer details about the background and experience of contracted workers. Many GovCon professionals already have a working relationship with the government, which will make your bid even more attractive—especially if you need cleared professionals.
- Improved hiring outcomes: At the very least, your talent acquisition team should be present at bid meetings, if only to keep on top of your hiring plans. When they know what's coming down the pipeline, they'll have more time to line up the right people.
Your overall bidding strategy is likely to produce better results if you have a talent acquisition voice in the room. Include them as much as possible right from the beginning, and encourage them to form relationships with the business development team.
2. Use talent acquisition to promote organic growth
Most organizations encourage their PMs to seek organic growth within existing contracts. Sometimes the client may ask for help: "If I only had someone who could fix this problem."
Sometimes, your PMs need to dig deeper with questions like, "Glad to hear things are going well here. Outside of this, what is keeping you up at night? If you could instantly solve one issue, what would it be?"
But what happens after this conversation? Once you've identified these opportunities for growth, how do you take the next steps? One solution is to encourage a connection between project managers and the talent acquisition team:
- Establish formal communications between the teams: Communication is often the biggest obstacle to organic growth. Your PMs may identify opportunities but have trouble requesting extra staff. Your talent acquisition team may have great candidates, but they aren't hearing about any additional demand. Regular meetings between these teams can help keep the talent pipeline flowing.
- Make organic growth a metric for PMs: Project managers will take growth very seriously if it's one of their performance metrics. Set realistic targets for growing each active contract and arrange regular progress check-ins. Doing so will put the onus on PMs to ensure they work with talent acquisition to make the most of all potential opportunities.
- Educate talent acquisition about their responsibilities: Talent acquisition teams naturally focus on new contracts, as that's when they're under the most pressure to deliver. Talk with them and make sure they understand that the company also depends on organic revenue growth. Organic growth can actually make talent acquisition strategy easier, as your TA consultants can use this as an opportunity to bring in more people, rather than waiting until the next new contract.
Everyone in the business should be running the same play: look for growth opportunities, and staff them as quickly as possible. If everyone works together, you can substantially grow your revenue.
3. Focus talent acquisition on the most promising opportunities
Of course, the path to growth isn't always smooth. If your PMs are talking to your TA team, you may find that the loudest TAs are the ones that get the most support, even if another project should be the staffing priority.
As the senior leader, it's up to you to ensure that everyone is working towards the same strategic goals. That means having a clear system for prioritizing requests, which often looks like this:
- Unhappy clients: First priority is any contract where you're not meeting service levels. Talent acquisition will normally focus on getting the right people in for those contracts before looking at growth opportunities.
- Contract types: Each type of contract has greater opportunities for growth, so it's best to prioritize the most promising ones. Often, these will be things like T&M contracts (Time and Materials) or CPFF contracts (Costs Plus Fixed Fee), while FFP (Firm Fixed Price) agreements will have a lower priority.
- Strategic alignment: Finally, you can take a high-level view of how each contract aligns with your strategic goals. Prioritize those that are more likely to offer long-term benefits to your organization as a whole.
COOs sometimes have to act as referees in conversations about prioritization, as each PM feels that their contract is the most important one. With clear guidelines, you should be able to focus resources on the most important areas .
Need help with your talent acquisition strategy?
A great talent acquisition strategy requires great TA consultants. If you need expert help, reach out to an HR outsourcing partner that can help.
Helios HR has worked with GovCons in the greater DC area for over 20 years. Book a call today and let's talk about how we can help boost your revenue.