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Challenges and strategy to attract talent

Thursday, September 07, 2017

By Lakshmi Murthy – Chief People Officer – ITM Group of Institutions

In the last two decades, recruitment function has transformed from the age of only referral hiring to print media sourcing to now technology based sourcing. This pace of development is primarily due to globalisation of workplace caused by changes in policies at regional, national and international levels. Organisations and countries have evolved programmes to attract students, temporary workers and immigrants. Global talent has never been so mobile as we experience today.
According to a 2015 Jobvite survey, in today’s economy 86% of recruiters expect fierce competition for talent. At the same time, 58% of recruiters say that their biggest challenge in hiring quality talent is the lack of skilled or qualified workers whereas at the same time, there is a huge unemployment rate of skilled as well as unskilled workforce prevalent at all levels. This is a huge gap which creates a nightmare of kinds for the recruiter to find the right talent at the right time at the right price point.

The differentiator is in discovering new ways to attract and interact with passive talent as the ones who are available are applying everywhere!!. According to Linkedin report of 2015, the passive talent forms 55% of the talent available, of which 87% of which are willing to change and about 52% would change for better compensation and only 31% for work life balance. (Linkedin Talent report )

Sl No Source    Percentage
1 Online   64% 
2 Social Media 57%
3 Word of mouth    40%
4 Company Websites    40%    
5 Professional Group    27%
6 Search Engines    26%    
7 Online  Advertising    21%

In view of the above trend, HR needs to build its strategy around Digital sourcing and Brand management on social media. The talent acquisition team today cannot just post a job profile and expect footfall.

The biggest challenge in attracting talent is building employer brand in both existing and new markets as the context and tool of hiring keeps changing.

It is also a question of having the bandwidth and time to meet with enough people when we’re trying to move fast. According to Chatterbite “2017 will move fast. In 2015, almost a quarter of applicants (23%) were placed in work within 1–10 days, although the peak period lengths remain 11–30 days (33%) and 31–60 days (35%). Yet even then, 49% of recruiters reported experiencing heightened pressure to hire the right candidate faster.”

In the rat race to get hired, most of the candidates do not spend time and effort to be fully prepared for the interview, which involves right from grooming to research about the organisation, one’s own function or expertise. This creates tremendous rejection rates and pressure on the recruiters.

The jobs which were relevant till date are becoming redundant, hence there is a scarcity of talent in the market for example finding a “python expert” is like finding a needle in hay stack. Mechanisation and Artificial intelligence will eliminate or redefine the job markets but people and governments are not yet prepared according to Art Bilger, a venture capitalist and board member of Wharton School of Business. He predicts that there will be 47% of job loss in the developed countries alone
The competencies that people are looking for are changing in the VUCA world. The requirements are more fluid and flexible, these are not well- defined and structured as we would expect traditionally.  “I look for people who are competitive by nature, who have a high tolerance for ambiguity, who are great at networking, and who have a good head for numbers- Drew Boyd in a post on Linkedin.”

Red Bull have recently launched their brilliant Wingfinder tool to help them recruit and they have gone for similar qualities; drive, creativity, the ability to make connections and “thinking” – smart, analytical problem solving. These attributes work well in a fast-paced world and can be demonstrated in a range of contexts and personal styles. (Lucy Adamd, Founder HR Disrupted)

HackerTrail, a Singapore-based curated marketplace for IT talent.“Think of HackerTrail as a recruitment agency without any recruiters,” says TusharTetuja, CEO, in a recent interview with Digital News Asia, adding that HackerTrail uses data and clever technology to source and pre-qualify candidates, and then connects them with the right opportunity. Similar organisation in India is Belong which uses database crawling as a technique to match candidate to the job. These developments in technology based sourcing would make a sourcing function redundant. Although good interviewers will be high in demand.

Jaideep Chavan- VP Talent and Head Talent Acquisition, has talked about gamification of employee referral programme at Capgemini, which is in the range of 26% to 40% of the total requirement.

With increasing focus on Corporate Governance and Social responsibility, organisations are innovating initiatives for ensuring diversity hiring example Persons with Disability, Women, People with under privileged sections of the society.   

Rehiring of talent, second career is the new trend. Organisations are developing databases of ex-employees and woo them back actively, especially in areas where there is scarcity of talent, a known hand is always better

Organisations would like to hire candidates for long term and alignment with organisational culture not for just meeting numbers. According to a survey 45% weightage is given to the quality of hires and 24% to the time taken.  Even in a high resource intensive industry, mechanism like campus hiring, job-fairs, walk-in etc. be put in place to build talent pipeline. Else over a period of time, organisation face talent scarcity for providing internal growth.

SME sector has to compete with large organisations in attracting talent and challenges are on branding, budgets. They can provide culture, flexibility, breadth of experience, growth, proximity to management, as money is no longer the only motivator.The company’s success in the market, innovation, team unity, work environment and work-life balance are some of the variables that prospective employees take into account before making a decision.

In smaller organisation, the CEO or the owner is the human resources manager and gives that personal touch to all the employee matters.

In a start up organisation, the owner should look at putting processes and documents in place irrespective of the departments being there. Focus on creating uniform teams, provide challenging assignments, ensure personal goals are fulfilled, make each one feel valued and then ensure there is some fun at workplace
Work locations in remote places makes it impossible to attract talent and retain them.

Talent no longer is looking for life time employment. People look for “experiences while they are there and then move on”. Today it is a plug and play world and hence the focus towards remote working, freelance jobs, and global opportunities.

HR needs to have hands into these varied sources and forums to build relationships and seek talent.

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