The world of Talent Acquisition (TA) is evolving at lightning speed and has been in a highly transitional growth phase over the past few years. Continued globalisation of programmes, shortage of skilled labour, shifting workforce demographics, and the continued proliferation or recruitment technology have all drastically reshaped the pressures on TA. Buzz phrases like “Employer Value Proposition”, “Candidate Experience”, “Prescriptive Analytics”, “Gamification”, and “Artificial Intelligence (AI)” have officially infiltrated TA discussions. Today’s TA leaders are not only challenged with the daunting task of being able to anticipate all these trends, but they also must be agile and resourceful enough to successfully adopt them.
There are four TA categories that were once seen as insightful new programs on the horizon and are now considered absolute necessities… and the new “starting point” for recruitment success. The bar is rising (and quickly). TA leaders that still view any of these four strategies as trendy are sadly behind the curve:
- Candidate Experience: Process compliance and productivity outcomes are no longer the only things that matter. A transcendent focus has emerged. Now, how the process is consumed and experienced by candidates is increasingly becoming chief differentiators for companies. According to a study by UK-based Virgin Media, poor candidate experience cost them £4.4M in one year. More than 130,000 candidates applied for jobs at Virgin Media that year, 18 percent of whom were existing Virgin Media customers. Due to poor candidate experience, more than 7,500 cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor. Retail companies have even more at risk with the consumer composition of their talent pools, but any/all employers have a lot to lose (financially and operationally) with poor candidate experiences. The good news is that candidate experience can be improved by paying attention to the authenticity of communication (employer brand), frequency of communication (process responsiveness), and attractiveness of communication (benefit-driven employer value proposition).
- Recruitment Analytics. TA leaders are frustrated with the limitations of outdated ATS tools that offer information, but not insight. Thorough data reporting is helpful, but only provides the “what”. True analytics platforms provide the much more valuable “why” (it’s happening) and “how” (the issue can be resolved). With large global TA programmes spanning multiple continents and accountable for several thousand hires a year, analytics can no longer be an area that still needs to catch up. It must be an established and major pillar in any organisation’s HR function. Analytics programmes are critical to making key business decisions and will help avoid unnecessary bottlenecks and inefficiency in TA that can cost employers a lot of money. A whole new wave of analytics platforms have emerged over the past few years that provide both predictive and prescriptive capabilities all wrapped up within incredibly comprehensive dashboards complete with alerts and real-time direction. TA programmes must make this important investment in their departments.
- Workforce Accommodation. Many companies are still set up primarily to address the values and needs of only the Baby Boomer and Gen X workforces. But, there are now four generations to accommodate when adding in the Millennials and also the first year of Gen Z 2017 graduates about to hit the job market. The modern day work culture needs to catch up on this enormous growth of the Millennial’s age wave, who by 2020 will occupy over half of the workforce. The generational differences at play are hard to ignore from career motives to technological dependencies and learning styles. These factors have different impacts on the employer experience. Organisations must find attraction strategies that reach the newer generation workforce on the platforms they are most comfortable with while offering an embracing proposition that promotes the right levels of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in their roles. Work/life balance is big piece of this focus. No longer just a perk, having programmes that support one’s own personal goals and mental well-being is a requirement of most candidates today. Companies are having to think very strategically about their employee value proposition (EVP) and try to find the right way to appeal to more people vs. only certain segments. This is a level of work culture engineering that the recruiting world has never faced in the past and the complexities of this multi-generational workforce are only increasing with time.
- Mobile, Social & Automated Recruitment. Recruitment has come a long way from its early days of job board postings. Now we’re using social media like LinkedIn and job aggregators to market openings and start conversations. Recruitment marketing is about relationship building, obtaining talent pools and creating an engaged pipeline. Advertising is no longer strictly a passive exercise. It is far more creative, relational, and highly accessible. Mobile recruiting has had a great impact on TA outcomes offering candidates the ease of applying for jobs and engaging with employers. This multi-generational workforce (esp. Gen Y and Z) expects employers to communicate using the same tools and technology they do. And this penetration of technology has officially permeated the whole hiring process… the research phase of a potential employer, the application stage, the scheduling stage, and ultimately the offer and onboarding stage. The use of mobile, social, and automated recruiting will not only make the process run more smoothly, it’s approach will appeal to the candidate and also relieve some level of burden from recruiting; freeing them up to work on more strategic and human-dependent areas of focus.
The trend setting in Talent Acquisition is a never-ending and fast flowing river. Smart leaders will adopt early and ride the momentum or risk being stuck downstream. The accretive value of early adoption of TA trends overtime is powerful and will give these companies a clear and competitive advantage in the marketplace. Business, as well as society, has always flourished as a result of evolution and diversification… and so will the recruitment industry.