HR’s Top Priority for 2016 – Enhancing Talent Acquisition

Uncovering the top talent within your organization

As I was studying and beginning my HR career in the mid-2000’s I got tired of the often used term “the war for talent.” As a slightly naïve and optimistic individual I didn’t want to describe anything as a war and it seemed to me that describing talent acquisition as a process that set up conflict between talent and the business was short sighted.

In any case, the economic crash that began in 2008 quickly took care of that.

But the Canadian market has seen a few years of slow and steady increases in business activity resulting in an increased demand for talent. So, while I’m not advocating a “war for talent”, I will suggest that Business Leaders as well as HR and talent acquisition professionals need to significantly up their game if they want to attract the talent necessary to achieve their goals.

If you’re not mobile, you’re not in the game.

In a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre, 28% of respondents reported using a smartphone in their job search. To further quote this survey:

“while many of today’s job seekers are enlisting their smartphones to browse jobs or communicate with potential employers, others are using their mobile devices for far more complex and challenging tasks, from writing a resume to filling out an online job application.”

When you consider demographics and the prevalence of mobile browsing in general, this stat is actually higher in certain segments. For instance, 53% of 18-to-29 year olds have used a smartphone as part of a job search.

One reason for the lower than expected result in this survey? Company career sites just aren’t enabled for mobile browsing or applications. This forces applicants to track down a computer where they can confidentially apply or (increasingly) just move on to the next opportunity.

Reject checkbox recruiting

As an employer if you’re still looking for talent with a particular degree from a certain university or demanding experience in a particular version of a software program, it’s past time to ask yourself why. When there were more job seekers than jobs it was easy to layer preferred criteria on top of firm requirements and still build a strong short-list of candidates. While that may still be the case in some sectors, the tide is turning.

More importantly, this approach discourages diversity and innovation. Solution-focused candidates often bow out, left with the impression that you favour process over results.

I’m not advocating that you eliminate requirements completely. Focus on what those requirements demonstrate. Are you looking for evidence of specific results, behaviours or motivation? Then frame it that way and look for the candidates that can demonstrate those abilities.

Business Leaders need to own talent acquisition.

This one will be uncomfortable for both HR and the Business equally. Business Leaders need to take greater responsibility for talent acquisition.

To emphasize this point further, in The Talent Company’s recent Talent Acquisition Practices Study only 5% of companies surveyed responded that the Business/Hiring Managers owned talent acquisition.

I think that most companies recognize that Hiring Managers need to make individual hiring decisions, with the support of HR, talent acquisition and peers. But Business Leaders also need to be more involved in other talent acquisition activities such as employment branding, acting as an ambassador for the organization and building proactive pipelines of talent.

In return, as a true business partner, HR and talent acquisition teams must be accountable for enterprise-wide talent acquisition strategy (formulated to align to business strategy) as well as advising, facilitating, training and coaching Business Leaders on effective talent acquisition behaviours.

 

Talent acquisition has always been a top priority for HR. But with current market trends, and the reality of lean teams, HR and talent acquisition professionals have to be strategic in their focus and where they invest their resources. The three trends that we’ve identified here are becoming increasingly critical and, in our opinion, are past due.

The Talent Company works with organizations every day to help them optimize talent acquisition. Through our consulting work, research and networking we can see that greater progress is still required so that talent acquisition practices can meet the demands of the business.

So, as we prepare for the new year, I challenge you: What are you doing as an HR or talent acquisition professional to create true business partnerships and to ensure that your organization is attracting the talent it needs to meet your goals?

 

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Kathleen Jinkerson is the Director of HR & Talent Solutions with The Talent Company, a human resources consulting firm that works closely with clients to develop, optimize and innovate their Talent practices. Kathleen possesses more than 10 years of experience in partnering with organizations to help them build their talent capacity as well as their HR and leadership teams.

For more information on The Talent Company and our customized solutions, visit http://www.thetalent.co

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