Emerging Trends For Effective Talent Acquisition

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on October 04, 2012

A team of senior HR professionals debating over the sheer necessity of long-term investments in the workforce of the organization has become a typical scenario in the boardroom of a multinational corporation nowadays. They realize that finding and funding the right talent has become more important than ever before.

Across all industries, jobs are evolving and have become complex, demanding higher skill levels and hence pushing up the demand for a skilled workforce. As companies increasingly compete on the basis of talent, their success will largely depend on their abilities of recruiting, developing, deploying and retaining the right kind of talent at every level in the organization. Right from the employee at the shop floor to a Managing Director at the top floor!

Where is the Talent?

Gone are the days when one would think that hiring talent from the same town as the one in which the company is located was a smart move. Dramatic shifts in the distribution, nature and availability of talent is taking place around the world. Western democracies are suffering from a burgeoning shortage of skilled workforce while on the flip side, BRIC nations are believed to have been incubating a growing pool of people with disparate skills.

In the 1980s,Mr Narayan Murthy of Infosyswas one of the firsts who encashed upon this opportunity and developed a whole new business model of generating profits through offshoring. While it’s a common practice for Indian IT firms to hire from tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India in order to meet their talent requirements at a lower cost, now they are increasingly shifting to inexpensive hiring pools in international locations.Wipro, whose UK office has employees from around the continent, bears the cost of travel and also ties up with service apartments in order to house them. It aggressively scouts for French-speaking employees from Angola and Middle East for its base in France. For its Singapore office, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are sourcing hubs.Wipro is not alone in adopting such practices. Its rival Infosys too has employees trooping in from across borders for its BPO arm.

Organizations have adopted the concept of shaping its HR strategy according to its corporate strategy in order to make optimum use of its resources. If talent is to be viewed as a long term investment, it would be imperative for companies to track where the hub of talent would lie 5-10 years down the lane as the strategy of the company evolves. For this purpose, The Global Talent Index (GTl), a research study(by Heidrick& Struggles and the Economist Intelligence Unit) designed to identify where talent is located in the world today and where it would be located five years from now, will help provide answers based on comprehensive evidence. It would change the way talent acquisition would take place in the near future.

Crowd-sourcing as a solution to a distant search

When put in simple terms, crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing a particular job to a crowd. It is usually coupled with Internet as the medium of communication.

For eg. You are a programmer and who is unable to fix a particular bug in the code. They say a manager should master the skill of working smartly in order to be efficient. So you go to a community of programmers online and request them to help you with the code. Within minutes, a person discovers the bug and notifies you of the same. This not only provides you with an instant solution but also saves you from the agony of painstakingly reviewing the entire code by yourself! That’s the power of crowd sourcing!

There are great examples of communities that thrive on the concept of crowdsourcing. Mumbai based Wishberry.com is one such firm that is utilizing this concept in order to generate funds for various NGOs. Global giants like Accenture, Intel, HP too are not behind.

This concept is being extended to recruitment and selection in order to attract and acquire the right talent for an organization. The benefits of this approach are plenty fold – multiple solutions, lesser costs and easy access to an enriched crowd of talent. However, there are plenty of pitfalls as well. One should know when to use this concept and ensure that the same is aligned with the strategy of the organization. Clearly defined problems, strict deadlines and adherence to the promises of providing incentives is a must. Unfortunately, as of now there are no laws which would be protecting these employees in case of a conflict. Hence, the organization should ensure that a clearly defined rulebook / contract should be in place before the management decides to go ahead with such a concept.

Talent acquisition will go “Social”

With ever increasing “imbalanced’ talent markets, the need to take up to social media like Facebook and Linked-in to hire the right kind of talent is becoming evident. As mentioned earlier, HR managers have now started scouting for talent globally and hence the internet serves as a good enabler for the same.

Companies are now realizing that the way it is being perceived on the social media will have a direct impact on its ability to attract the right talent. To be a magnet for talent, it will have to be more social and disclose information like its brand personality, what kind of people they hire and showcase the goodwill garnered by them.

Employee referrals and recommendations will continue to play a major role in acquiring the right kind of talent which fits into the culture of the organization. Google Inc strongly advocates this policy.

Using Budgeting as a way to refresh the Talent acquisition process

A great hire can turn a department or business around and in order to do that you need a solid foundation of the right tools, processes and budget in place.  Budgeting for talent acquisition should be viewed as a process of cutting down upon unnecessary costs. The entire process of talent acquisition should be broken down into small steps, right from soliciting applications for a post to the on-boarding of the employee. Video interviewing and resume sourcing through the internet are some great ways of reducing costs. Process improvisation is the key here.

With the proper processes and tools in place, the talent acquisition function can save the company a lot of money in terms of reduced vacancy rates, improved quality of hire, and lower attrition.

Game your way through!

Anybody who has followed the reality show “Roadies” on MTV (where a group of bike riders embark upon a journey of a lifetime on their bikes) will be well versed with the selection criteria followed by the show producers in order to select the “right” talent which will help them garner the desired TRPs for the show.

An online gaming application is developed which models the real-time journey. The participants face the same tasks and situations and they have to strategize and solve the problems in a similar fashion, albeit in this case it is online. The final winner of this application gets a direct entry into the final phase of interviews of the process.

Companies like Marriott International and L’Oreal have taken this concept further by developing simulations where in job contenders are tested for a particular skill. Companies believe that this approach helps select the right candidates and promotes employee engagement while allowing inculcation of a fairer system of performance recognition and rewards.

Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70 per cent of global organizations will have at least one ‘gamified' application, which can range from mastering a specific skill or improving one's health.

Inclusive Talent Acquisition

Inclusive talent acquisition is another new trend that has emerged in the first half of 2012. Perhaps, the biggest trend is a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. One diversity issue facing companies is the lack of women in leadership (only 14% of top executive positions are held by women). Diversity creates debate, new ideas, and innovation. In 2012, organizations that value diversity will outperform those who do not.

Symantec Corp. has taken a conscious decision of creating a gender balanced workforce by providing additional benefits for employee referrals of qualified women candidates and hiring from women-only colleges. A lot of companies are not shying away from hiring differently-abled candidates as well.  A growing change in perspective is responsible for this trend. Companies are now realizing that good talent sometimes needs a chance or an opportunity to get surfaced. They are willing to go that ‘extra mile’ in order to get the right talent.

Behavioral  Interviews& Candidate-centric interview processes

The talent acquisition function will have to be upgraded to focus more on the process rather than its outcome itself. Moreover, a candidate centric approach needs to be adopted, where-in the candidate who has applied for the post enjoys the process of being interviewed or assessed so that he sticks to it till he makes it into the organization.

This article has been authored by Aditi Naik from Goa Institute of Management.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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