Companies need to address outdated talent acquisition strategies and focus on training, automation, upskilling and nuturing existing talent.
For decades, employers have followed the same, standard hiring processes: “I have a demand for X role – and I must find someone to fill that gap.” But this approach no longer works.
Organisations are being disrupted from every angle – whether that’s from emerging technologies, economic and political uncertainty, or pressure from customers for new products and services. To address these changes, new skills are required.
The perfect storm
Businesses need to make their acquisition efforts more efficient, while filling ever-changing talent gaps from a smaller candidate pool that often lacks the new skills they require.
In this difficult market, the organisations that are thriving are those that are being creative in their talent acquisition efforts: focusing on retaining and reskilling existing staff, automating certain processes and taking a more data-driven approach to workforce planning.
Nurturing talent from within
Employers shouldn’t always narrow their talent pool by finding candidates that 100% fit the role, as these individuals can be timely, costly and difficult to source.
Instead, organisations should look for individuals who have learnability - the desire to continually grow and adapt their skill set, to remain employable for the long-term.
This will help to ensure their workforce is equipped with skills it needs, no matter how much their requirements change in the years to come.
For businesses, this means recalibrating their recruitment process to consider candidates who may not have all the specific skills that a job requires right now, but who do possess the willingness and capacity to learn.
Organisations should look for individuals who have learnability - the desire to continually grow and adapt their skill set.
By offering the right training and development opportunities, and by nurturing individual talent, employers can support existing staff and new recruits to cultivate the skills they need.
This not only ensures that the workforce is ambitious and engaged, but it also prepares the organisation for the future of work.
Investment in training and development
HR professionals should take a multi-channel approach to training and provide easy-to-access tools to enable employees to learn quickly on the job.
Whether that’s through short videos, webinars or classroom-based sessions, training should be adapted to the wants – and needs – of the workforce, to make learning as effective and enjoyable as possible.
Progress is being made in this area. Our research found that over half of employers are investing in learning and development tools to upskill their workers and build their talent pipeline. This is up from just 20% in 2014.
Automation supporting the business
Despite some of the negative headlines around the impact of automation on human roles, businesses should also recognise the opportunities that it can bring to their workforce, clients and suppliers.
Automation will also free up workers’ time to focus on delivering more strategic, premium services to their clients.
Automation will help businesses to reduce costs through efficiencies, taking on high volume, labour intensive and often dangerous tasks, while improving the quality of work by eliminating the chance of human error.
Crucially, automation will also free up workers’ time to focus on delivering more strategic, premium services to their clients.
What’s more, from a hiring perspective, jobseekers still value a human connection, with research showing that nearly two-thirds (61%) of UK candidates consider in-person interviews to be their preferred recruitment method.
A high-tech, high-touch approach is best, where organisations use technology to reduce administrative burden and streamline processes, without losing the personal interaction that candidates value so much.
Importance of upskilling
Companies looking to capitalise on the benefits of automation need to focus on more targeted upskilling of their existing workforce to manage this transition. One of the biggest challenges here, however, is keeping pace with these evolving skills demands.
Businesses may find it useful to supplement their workforce with a short-term boost of expert contractors. As new roles are created or redefined by automation, this transient workforce can support the organisation, taking the strain while others are in training or working side-by-side with the permanent workforce to share their knowledge and help them to upskill.
Data-driven resource planning
The shift in recruitment strategies – in line with emerging skills demands and a persistent global talent shortage – is driving the need for more intelligent short, medium and long-term workforce planning.
By using the latest technologies in big data analytics, companies can filter out the noise and focus on measuring and benchmarking what really matters.
Businesses need to shift their focus – from the roles they think they need to fill to the skills they know they need to find. By pinpointing the specific, adjacent and niche skills requirements, companies can identify where people can be upskilled or hired in and trained up to meet that demand.
By using the latest technologies in big data analytics, companies can filter out the noise and focus on measuring and benchmarking what really matters. Empirically understanding what is actionable, what drives decision making and what will have an impact on the business, enables organisations to plan resourcing more effectively.
It’s a new way of thinking about workforce planning, but one that businesses will need to adopt if they are to compete in the battle for talent.
Traditional recruitment models are no longer enough to acquire top talent. Employers need to acknowledge the inevitable changes that are happening in the world of work.
Employers need to acknowledge the inevitable changes that are happening in the world of work.
But this critical time can be viewed as a chance to evolve and reconsider acquisition strategies to focus more on the skills needed and the potential value that workers can bring to their business. Companies who make more informed, strategic decisions about acquiring, developing and retaining talent will be the ones that stay afloat with the right skills for the future of work.