An organization’s performance in front of customers and partners is powered by the people who run things in the background (aka employees). Every project must be supported and nurtured by the right team, which includes the people with the most suitable skills.
This means that talent acquisition is crucial for a company’s survival and prosperity regardless of size. From start-ups to multibillion-dollar corporations, everyone needs passionate people capable of dedicating their time and energy for the best results (aka the talent).
And this is where the HR department must step in and find the most suitable people for the project and who will integrate seamlessly into the team and the company. But this takes a lot of work (even for specialists), which is why most HR teams use specific strategies to target the right candidates.
Top 3 Talent Acquisition Strategies
The times when people would retire from their first workplace are long gone. Nowadays, HR people must get creative to convince the right people to accept their offer and work even harder to get them to stay.
The job market is incredibly fluid nowadays and with millennials taking over the workforce, it gets harder and harder to put together the best teams. Still, with the right strategy, there is hope.
1. A Strong Employer Brand
According to LinkedIn’s Employer Brand Statistics, 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agree that the employer brand has a significant impact on hiring.
This means that companies that are established on their market share (Google, Facebook, Tesla, SpaceX) don’t have any problems in finding high-end talent. People seek them out and are willing to wait for an opportunity to work for them.
So, how can you get to this level of brand recognition among talent?
The good news is that even small and medium-sized businesses can grow a strong employer brand (so it’s not just for the giants in the tech industry). The not-so-good news is that it takes time and patience.
The main traits of a strong employer brand are reflected in a company culture oriented towards communication and understanding, in the values the company supports, and in the way work-life balance is promoted. Furthermore, millennials are more attracted by a business that’s conscious about its footprint on the environment and the community than they are by high-paying offers.
In this case, the best talent acquisition strategy would be to identify the profile of the ideal employee and create the company policies accordingly. In time, your reputation as a company will grow, and people will start knocking on your door.
2. The Inclusion of Technology
The length of the hiring cycle usually determines if your company gets the best talent or not. Also, a lengthy cycle is more expensive for the employer and spoils the experience for everyone involved.
Luckily, in today’s day and age, HR departments have the possibility of using AI algorithms. As such, Artificial Intelligence can help reduce human bias in the recruiting process and shortens the process of selecting the right candidates. It can also take over repetitive, low-value tasks that take time and mental effort, for example, substituting some human-to-human communication with chatbots (in fact, chatbots are already widely used in business).
3. Diversifying the Sourcing Approach
With so many online platforms and channels, it’s hard to believe that companies only use job boards or LinkedIn to find candidates.
People with different skills hang out in different corners of the Internet, which is why you need to have a wider network of sources. Consider social media (Facebook can be a great platform), academic programs, or events that attract the people you want (conferences, presentations, hackathons). Once you identify your best candidates’ watering hole (virtual or not), you must create a presence for the company. This way you’ll gain more presence and brand will be more visible for the right people.
Is Remote Work Changing the Standard?
Well, the short answer is yes; remote work is more and more popular. It opens a world of opportunities for both employees and employers. But wait, aren’t remote workers more volatile than in-office talent?
That depends on your approach as a company. More and more people want the possibility to work from home full-time or, on occasion because it provides them with a better work-life balance. Also, millennials don’t like wasting time in an office when they could do their part from a more comfortable environment.
As such, companies must learn to compromise when it comes to the work schedule (where it is possible). This means shifting the focus to a goal-oriented approach, where employees are free to use their time as they please, as long as they deliver the wanted results in the established time frame.
This also means that HR departments need to be more people-oriented and find new ways to keep people connected with the company. The process starts with talent acquisition when it’s crucial to identify people who can truly commit to working remotely and continues with updating the management process to include remote workers and teams.
Extra Skills for Remote Workers
When it comes to remote work, HR representatives must adapt their talent acquisition strategies to a new profile, that contains a few extra skills, such as:
- The possibility to govern themselves without supervision from a manager — Some people just can’t work outside the office as they get easily distracted. So, a good remote worker must be able to focus on the task and respect deadlines.
- Easy to reach and communication-oriented — Communication is important in any project, but when there are team members who work from a remote location, it becomes crucial. So team managers must establish a regular communication schedule and make sure everyone follows it.
- Tech-savvy & results-oriented — People who work remotely don’t benefit from assistance from the IT department. As such, they must be able to tackle most small tech issues and must do so without allowing this to affect their focus.
Changes in Policies
More and more companies seem to be open about remote workers, collaborators, freelancers, and other forms of work. However, not as many are open to the idea of changing their internal policies to create a friendlier environment for everyone.
According to a report published by Upwork, around 60% of hiring managers find that companies are trying to be more lenient and inclusive when it comes to work-from-home employees and collaborators. As a result, there is a broader pool of possibilities for hiring managers, making it easier to find the right talent. Still, there is more work to be done in this direction.
For instance, most companies have policies in place to make sure the on-site employees are happy with their workplace and that their health (both physical and mental) is being taken care of (comfy chairs, desks that encourage good posture, game rooms, areas for socialization, and more).
However, when it comes to remote workers, it’s easy to brush off their work-related problems. People who work from home usually feel lonely and can even suffer from burnout because it is more difficult to disconnect from work.
As such, with remote workers on the rise, a change in policy is more than welcome in most companies, regardless of size. Plus, it helps your employer brand if possible collaborators learn you are friendly and flexible in your approach towards the new trends in the workforce.
Scouting New Sources
We already listed a diversification of sources as one of the most popular talent acquisition strategies used by today’s HR people. However, if you ask the remote workers out there, most companies don’t diversify hard enough.
Many companies still overlook sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer because they don’t consider their members as viable candidates. However, considering that Upwork has 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million registered clients and that Freelancer.com has over 21 million users, it would be a big mistake to ignore them!
Moreover, such platforms offer access to a wide range of skills from SEO specialists to virtual assistants to highly-seasoned programmers. There’s also a lack of geographical barriers since anyone can join and showcase their talent. This means that companies can find high-end talents at lower costs and without having to invest extra resources.
Of course, these are not the only online platforms where companies can find fresh talent from all over the world. Other platforms only activate on specific niches, which make it easier to find the best people for a project.
Total Talent Management
Employees who want to work remotely are not the only wrinkle in the fabric of modern talent acquisition and employment strategies. Companies may also have to deal with freelancers, contractors, temporary employees, interns, and more.
The gig-economy has completely reshaped the workforce and has created a diversified market where almost anyone can find the right fit. However, this also means that HR departments must find a way to handle remote workers, in-office employees, collaborators, and interns using the same methods.
This chaotic scenario gave birth to Total Talent Management or TTM. This is a model of talent management that integrates all talent, regardless of their status in the company. It also brings together all departments that handle talent in a company and makes sure everyone is treated using the same methods.
An organization where TTM is implemented successfully will be able to focus on the value brought forth by their collaborators and employees. As a result, people will be more open to teamwork, and values and skills will be better translated into successful projects. Furthermore, the model challenges traditional hiring techniques and allows HR departments to be more focused on looking for the right skills.
To sum up, the future looks colourful and extremely diverse, especially for HR departments. The workforce is getting more interesting by the minute and this also means a whole new set of challenges for the people in charge of monitoring progress and assigning tasks.
But this doesn’t mean things will get more difficult. The new way of working promises a better life-work relationship and more focus on actually getting things done (regardless of attire or location).
The new generation of workers does come with a series of challenges that must be integrated into the corporate culture. Challenges such as:
The Volatility of Remote Workers
Many hiring managers complain about how much millennials like to hop from one job to another. However, a closer look into this phenomenon shows that even millennials are willing to stay longer in a job where they feel appreciated.
The same goes for remote workers – if they are happy with the financial reward and they feel engaged and motivated to start and keep going with one company, they are less likely to jump to a different project without notice.
Of course, this takes us back to the points we listed above (starting with the change in policy). Businesses also need to find ways to show appreciation and care for their collaborators.
Dealing with Mental Health Issues
All work and no fun leads to a wide array of problems and remote workers seem to get the short stick of it all.
This is why companies need to create a friendly work environment, focused on learning and appreciation, where everyone can feel their contribution to the project matters. Of course, everything starts with a talent acquisition strategy where the recruiter also considers aspects such as personality, openness to communication, and more.
We can all agree that communication can be tricky even in a face-to-face discussion. So, when distance and various tools are involved, communication becomes a lot more challenging.
To clear things up, companies must implement communication protocols for various situations, ranging from meetings to video calls, chats, and emails. Everything should be clearly expressed and specified, with a clear chain of command so the remote worker knows who to ask if they have questions.
Whether it’s the gig economy or the millennials taking over, one thing we know for sure: the workforce is going through a period of change. This means that, if organizations want to stay in the game, they must adapt and loosen up by accepting talent from different sources.
The standard 9-to-5 employee may not be around for long as more people see the value of a flexible schedule, in an environment where they feel comfortable. As such, companies that are not prepared to let go of the rigid work schedule are in for a big surprise.