Talent has reached the boardroom agenda as a key source of competitive advantage. High on the list of priorities for Global HRDs who I speak with is the need to unlock a talent acquisition approach that responds to these growing demands.
Engaging Generation Z, an ageing workforce across most western markets, and competition from disruptive new start-ups are not only all serious issues that are causing businesses pain but also a great opportunity for HR to step up and take charge.
How Is In-House Recruitment Responding?
In the context of the above the growth and ambition for in-house recruitment functions to develop direct sourcing methodologies is no doubt on the increase. With UK unemployment at its lowest rate for 10 years and competition at times fierce there are new talent sourcing strategies currently being devised across the country.
Top talent is now more scare, companies are reinvesting back in their talent pools and developing sound succession and development plans and subsequently employees are now re-investing in their own growth and commitment in return. As such, both in-house recruitment teams and search firms have their work cut out.
A survey by KellyOCG found that 43% of organisations now have a centralised recruitment function and the push for Centres of Excellence and re-organised resourcing functions with true business partnering methodology has, according to SHL, led to recruiting functions needing to employ a further 12% of staff (2 or more employees). However, KellyOCG also reported that more than half (61%) of staff have experienced recruiting difficulty since 2013.
The Answer Lies In Strategic Partnerships
There are many reported reasons for this difficulty including skills shortages, uncompetitive salaries out of line with the market and recruitment process challenges. With this is mind, I for one want to work in partnership with in-house functions rather than compete with them.
With this in mind and based on my experiences from partnering with in-house teams in the past, here are my the four key considerations for HRDs in creating a best in class talent strategy in today’s environment:
1. Blend Agency And Internal Hiring
Having spent most of my career working alongside in-house recruitment teams for many years I have a feel of what a good blend and balance looks like. For larger organisations I would recommend that a strategy aims for two thirds internal one third external and for smaller organisation this would be inverted. It is also important to only use agencies and search firms who are able to add real value through headhunting, niche networks and speed to market
2. Play The Long Game
Talent acquisition activity has historically been too reactive to short term business results. Many organisations are currently in pain as a result of stopping a lot of important recruitment initiatives overnight during the downturn as well as minimising leadership development programs during that period. Smart boards know that the importance of talent isn’t something that is linked to the economy and that true competitive advantage comes from being consistently attracting and developing the leaders of tomorrow.
3. Prioritise Retention
Reward, culture, mission, global mobility – all of these factors are hugely important to the modern workforce and drive retention (or turnover) of top talent. The best HRDs I know are not only looking at being an employer of choice to attract talent but ensure that those onboard are well nurtured and engaged.
As a HRD you also probably need a plan for counter offering as competitors will be all over your superstars as the talent shortage bites.
4. Workforce Plan Effectively
Once you are retaining the right people you have to get the right workforce planning metrics in place. A strong HR function will constantly be partnering with the business to ask: “What are we going to need and when?” and have processes that capture this information on an ongoing basis.
All of the above can deliver considerably ROI but we have to measure the outputs so ensure your Talent Sourcing Strategy has a consistent and compelling scorecard!
The retention of new talent (particularly those that you have invested significant time and resources in securing) is critical in the competitive talent market. If you’ve not read it yet, download our ebook about how to hire and hold onto superstar talent.