The world of talent acquisition is going through one of the greatest periods of change in the last 75 years.
Political and economic uncertainty is challenging the established world order, driving short-termism in markets and making it harder for organisations to effectively plan ahead. The post-war maxims of globalisation and entrepreneurialism are being replaced by nationalism and consolidation, America has elected an anti-establishment, protectionist President, North Korea's new leader is rattling the sabre at every available opportunity,
Britain is leaving Europe and the world is still limping its way out of the Great Recession. It is no wonder that CEOs and Boards around the world are more cautious about making longer term investments, and that is particularly true when it comes to talent. Why invest in a long term Talent Acquisition strategy when you might not see the return for months or even years – especially when you don't even know what’s going to happen for the rest of this year?
However, at the same time, there are some major developments that are forcing companies and recruitment functions to think longer term.
We know that technology will continue to revolutionise the two-way relationship between candidates and companies, with the size and scale of change gathering pace (Moore’s law). For companies, AI / Big Data / Analytics will not only allow better matching driven by deeper understanding of 'fit' and motivations, but also social and marketing recruitment platforms allow firms significantly improved ability to address those motivations. At the same time, candidates will have a significantly improved view into organisations that allows them to make much more informed decisions about where they invest their caree
We know that global labour markets are fundamentally shifting. Populations are getting older leading to multi-generational talent pools with multi-stage careers. These in turn are leading to fundamental changes in how, why and when candidates and companies interact. Technological advances also mean many traditional jobs will disappear whilst new (currently unimagined) jobs will take their place, emphasising the need for re-training and continuous learning for candidates and companies to remain competitive.
And importantly, expectations of work have fundamentally changed. Cultural fit and career development are now more important for candidates than they've ever been. At the same time, CEOs better understand the link between engaged, motivated talent and loyal customers and revenue, particularly in service oriented business where people and IP are the product.
All of these known factors firmly emphasise the importance in investing in company culture, in candidate and employee experience, in continuous people development and in branding and marketing to deliver competitive advantage back to organisations.
So how do Talent Acquisition functions balance the current commercial uncertainty with the need to think, plan and act strategically?
A robust talent acquisition strategy is critical.
An agreed strategy can clearly link recruitment actions to business outcomes, demonstrating how TA adds tangible value to the business. It can also help navigate the short term, acting as a ‘compass’, allowing recruitment functions to make fast and accurate decisions, no matter how reactive or tactical the demand. And it also helps shape recruitment operations. The size and structure of recruitment teams, processes, tools and systems, metrics etc should all be heavily influenced by the business goals outlined in your strategy. A recruitment operation built to deliver defined results, not generic tasks, will be far more effective at delivering competitive advantage.
There’s a lot at stake in the world of talent. The scale, speed and complexity of change has never been greater. The need for recruitment strategy is just as great.
Gavin Russell is the Founder of Pepper Moth, a talent change and innovation partner.
Talent demand, talent supply and talent value have changed more in the last ten years than in the previous 150. Gavin is on a mission to help leaders navigate these fundamental changes, enabling them to attract, lead and inspire their most important asset to perform. He is also the author of ’Transformation Timebomb’, a business guidebook which outlines over 150 practical and proven adaptations to thrive in the digital age.