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Designing new talent acquisition strategies

How long have your talent acquisition strategies been in place? If they date before February 2020, they’re likely to be obsolete!

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently impacted the global economy, and it’s going to take some time before individual countries can bounce back. It’s also changed the face of business, and when we do recover, things will be very different. How we trade, work, communicate, and hire will never again be what it was.

And it’s not only businesses that are affected, but the people who drive them as well. Employees who’ve been furloughed or laid off will carry deep financial and psychological scars. Even staff who continue working will be impacted emotionally by the changes to their workplace.

Every industry, without exception, has fallen under the dark shadows cast by this current global crisis!

What is a talent acquisition strategy?

It can be defined as a long-term strategy to meet future hiring needs based on organizational planning and goals. The purpose of a talent acquisition strategy is to source and identify suitable top talent across different roles, and get them into your talent pool. 

When a suitable vacancy opens, you’ve already developed a connection, making it easier to convince them to bring their skills and experience to your company.

It differs from recruitment processes, which are short-term strategies designed to fill specific roles that become available. Both recruitment and talent acquisition strategies fall under HR. Neither can be adequately planned and implemented without the direct cooperation and input of hiring managers and company executives.

How do you revise what you already have in place and adapt to face the unknown challenges that lie ahead?

Analyze, research and envision

At the moment, we’re still riding the storm, so uncertainty prevails. Despite that, businesses can compare their immediate situation with where they were at the start of this year. In all instances, it will be vastly changed, but it gives you an idea of what lies ahead and how you’re going to survive. It also allows you to measure the success of your previous talent acquisition strategy and processes. How well did they work, and what was the ROI? 

All businesses are going to have to focus on costs, efficiency, and quality to pull through. Talent acquisition strategies can either be a huge cost-saver or eat into profits. Recruitment analytics will tell you whether your talent acquisition strategies did or didn’t deliver.

Remember, it’s not the size of the talent pool that counts, but rather the quality. The same rule applies to paid resources to attract talent. The question to ask is, “how many successful hires did we make, and retain, using this resource?”

Now is an ideal time to get rid of paid resources that are outdated or aren’t value for money. Once you know how well your talent acquisition strategies were working, it’s time to get started on envisioning what you’ll need going forward.

It’s essential for recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals to get a grip on the changing landscape and plan for how it will impact their business. Make sure you research industry trends, local and national labor legislation, and changes to health and safety standards. Establish precisely how it affects your company and budget.

Also, research customer expectations and do a thorough skills audit on your existing workforce, including those who’ve been furloughed. Knowing what changes customers expect will keep you competitive. Understanding the skills level of existing staff identifies skills-gaps and the cost of upskilling and training.

Labor supply and demand

Specific skills that have been in demand will stay hard to find, but there is a window of opportunity for employers to engage with candidates with rare skills. There’s bound to be people who feel uncertain where they are, making them more willing to consider other opportunities.

There will be a shift, though, from a candidate-driven market to an employer-driven market as unemployment rises. With fewer job options to choose from, candidates will be more inclined to accept offers.

As costs bite, many employers will be inclined to offer lower salaries and cut benefits. This type of move would have caused protests and bad reviews during normal times, in a stalled economy, many workers would be grateful to get a job offer.

Is this a good move?

If it’s a temporary measure to recoup losses, then it helps businesses survive and employees to earn a living. If it becomes a strategic move to exploit the current situation, it will backfire. As the economy stabilizes and competitors regain their feet, they’ll be poaching employees, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to prevent employee resignations.

You’ll lose a fortune on hiring and training costs, so what you save in the short term becomes irrelevant. Worse still, the damage to your employer brand can be irreversible.

Remote hiring and working will definitely become more widespread, and that also opens up a whole new market for employers. Hiring freelancers or appointing permanent staff from anywhere in the world must get included in your talent acquisition program.

Understanding supply and demand is essential to designing talent acquisition strategies to meet future demands adequately.

4 things to consider before you implement a new talent acquisition plan

  1. Automation and technology

Analyzing, researching, and envisioning the people side of your business isn’t enough. You also have to consider how technology is going to reshape your industry.

Remote working is one aspect, but broad-scale automation can’t be ignored. Intelligent automation, including robotic process automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, object character recognition, chatbots, and virtual advisors, are set to become widespread. 

Although c-suite execs and management might not consider this necessary, your customers will. For example, service industries that built their reputation on a friendly face to face service might find that customers now prefer self-service kiosks and even drone deliveries to enforce social distancing.

  1. Employer branding

You have to redesign your employer branding to align with all the changes. It needs to be genuine and show that your organization is not only willing to adapt but cares about its employees and customers. 

LinkedIn research showed that companies with a strong employer brand see a 43% decrease in hiring costs because they attract talent organically. Although remote work has been growing over the past few years as technology evolved, most employers had concerns that productivity would suffer.

The pandemic has proven this fear to be totally unfounded as companies worldwide have discovered that their employees are, in fact, more productive away from the office. It’s worked so well for Twitter that they announced that employees can work from home forever if they want to. Offering employees a better work/life balance will hugely improve their employer branding.

  1. HR tech investment is essential

It will be virtually impossible to manage your workforce and to hire processes without digitizing your HR department. An applicant tracking system (ATS) has become essential to manage your talent pool and implementing your talent acquisition strategy. 

Integrating it with communication tools and ensuring that data analysis tools get optimized for your specific company is critical to hiring success.

Interviews will never be the same again as remote hiring teams engage with candidates via video. Team notes can be shared in real-time via an ATS, and all communication with candidates gets retained on the system.

  1.  Candidate experience

The candidate experience is as crucial as ever and must feature highly in your strategic talent acquisition processes. Because engagement will happen online, it’s even more important to ensure that you respond to every application and to each candidate that makes contact. You also have to use different platforms to keep in touch with candidates in your talent pool.

If you want to keep candidates interested, you have to touch base with them via social media and email. If you don’t have that regular contact, they’ll forget you, and if a suitable position comes up, they might decline. The impression left by the lack of communication shows your organization to be uncaring.  

Conclusion

From where we stand now, your talent acquisition strategies are still very much on the vision board. You first need to do a lot of research on how the global pandemic will impact your business. Once you’re clear on where you have to adapt, you can start looking at your existing workforce and then figure out where there will be skills-gaps.

You might find that you can open your workforce up to the international talent that works remotely, or you might have to upskill and retrain existing employees. Business is treading into the unknown, and you’ll have to learn and adapt as you go along.

Only two things are certain right now:

  1. We will rebound. When? Who knows?
  2. Our world will be very different, but we’ll adapt and prosper once again!

Great opportunities come from being challenged, and currently, businesses are being ferociously challenged. Compassion and innovation will guide your organization through the uncertainty and back to business success.

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