An open source approach for recruiting todayâs employees canÂ deliver a competitive advantage.
By Antonis Christidis
Across the globe and across all industries, business leadersÂ are facing the challenge of competing for digital talentÂ to ensure their organizations are ready for the future ofÂ work. This is especially the case as artificial intelligenceÂ (AI), robotics, and ever-evolving forms of automationÂ shape tomorrowâs business landscape.
But in order to attract the right talent to successfullyÂ compete in the digital world, organizations must thinkÂ beyond traditional sourcing approaches. Refining previousÂ tactical recruiting initiatives will no longer do the trick.Â Instead, the labor marketplace calls for a new way to findÂ and source talent by embracing collaboration, sharing, andÂ community-building. This is a concept best described asÂ âopen source talent.â
And this approach is quickly growing in popularity.Â According to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report releasedÂ by The Linux Foundation and Dice, hiring open sourceÂ talent is a priority for 83 percent of hiring managersâanÂ increase from 76 percent in 2017.
Today, companies looking to tap into the same talentÂ pools as tech giants and dynamic startups with uniqueÂ growth opportunities face significant recruitingÂ challenges. Traditional organizations are asking howÂ they can identify and attract new digital talent whileÂ competing with prestigious giants and disruptorsâas wellÂ as with everyone else.
But competition for high-demand talent is driven by moreÂ than just technological necessity. As companies transformÂ their business models into more customer-centric,Â integrated operations, they need people with the abilityÂ to facilitate these changes and those who can help themÂ collaborate in more agile ways.
The scarcity of this kind of talentÂ is exacerbated by changingÂ demographics. WhatÂ employees expect fromÂ their employers and jobsÂ today is different fromÂ previous generations.Â Although personalityÂ traits havenâtÂ fundamentallyÂ changed, certainÂ values have.
Whereas previousÂ generations tendÂ to place a slightlyÂ higher value onÂ security and tradition,Â millennials are moreÂ motivated by personalÂ happiness, achieving lifeÂ aspirations, and recognition.Â They demand higher degrees ofÂ autonomy and flexibility, more versatileÂ career paths, a stronger emphasis on work-lifeÂ balance, and a more defined sense of purpose. TheseÂ workers are also increasingly vocal in their expectations ofÂ work arrangements that put them in control of their busyÂ personal and professional lives.
As a result, new recruiting propositions need to becomeÂ more experiential and appeal to an increasingly complexÂ and diverse talent ecosystem. But at its core, the war forÂ talent assumes that each company has exclusive ownershipÂ of top talent. It describes a zero-sum game where the winÂ of one company is the loss of another. In other words,Â an employee of one company cannot work for anotherÂ without changing employers.
Although this is still the case for many jobs, in an era ofÂ shifting focus from ownership to access and the sharingÂ economy, a more fluid mindset will give employers anÂ advantage. In markets where changing demographics andÂ skills requirements make top talent increasingly scarce,Â smart companies are looking for innovative ways to accessÂ talent.
These dynamics will gradually change perceptions aboutÂ the need to âownâ talent, and the focus of the recruitingÂ function will evolve from acquisition to curation.Â The fluid pipeline of the future will be builtÂ by organizations that embrace theÂ principles of open source talent:Â collaboration, sharing, andÂ community-building.
These principles areÂ straightforward. An openÂ source talent strategyÂ calls for building a moreÂ successful, broader,Â higher-quality talentÂ pipeline by collaboratingÂ across employers in theÂ recruiting process. ItÂ means expanding theÂ existing talent base andÂ leveraging talent ecosystemsÂ by sharing employees moreÂ effectively within and acrossÂ companies. The goal is to increaseÂ the effectiveness of the futureÂ talent base by becoming part of theÂ communities where these employeesÂ exchange ideas, learn, and develop critical skills.
Still, organizations canât expect to succeed in an openÂ source talent market without becoming an attractiveÂ environment for the talent they require. To become suchÂ an employer of choice, organizations can implement fourÂ key imperatives:
- Create an experience that allows employees to live andÂ work âin the flow.â Employees want a seamless, unifiedÂ experience across work and life enabled by constantÂ connectivity and intuitive interfaces. Companies shouldÂ be willing to actively learn and crowdsource ideas fromÂ existing employees and associatesâjust as they do whenÂ designing for customer experience. This will createÂ active engagement and encourage current and potentialÂ employees to shape the workplace together.
- Leverage knowledge and personalization. EveryÂ interaction becomes a valuable data source.Â Understanding both the surface needs of employeesÂ and the fundamental drivers of their behaviors will helpÂ companies build more personalized propositions that alignÂ with and support a greater purpose. Such personalizationÂ is crucial for attracting top talent.
- Align the employee value proposition with the interestsÂ of todayâs workforce. Itâs time to rethink the fundamentalsÂ of HR, such as the annual salary review or the annualÂ performance cycle. These processes were designed inÂ an era that has little in common with how we live andÂ work today. Yet, to a large extent, they still form theÂ basis for how people are managed. The most successfulÂ employers will challenge these norms and redefine peopleÂ management with âpeopleâ and not âmanagementâ asÂ the driver.
- Be authentic. A successful talent value propositionÂ delivers a unique sense of purpose and a differentiatedÂ career and well-being experience, all while offeringÂ competitive compensation and benefits. This needs to beÂ fully in sync with the companyâs vision, business strategy,Â and operating modelâa stark contrast to how mostÂ companies operate today.
In addition to reevaluating their value propositions,Â todayâs agile, innovative organizations are developing newÂ talent acquisition models that reflect the digital age andÂ the digital orientation of the talent they seek. Some areÂ recruiting through automated screening platforms usingÂ self-filmed video interviews uploaded by interviewees.Â After the video is evaluated by machine-learning software,Â successful candidates are referred to in-person interviews.Â Other technologies allow new recruits to sign contracts onÂ smart devices, and tailored applications enable the initialÂ onboarding process.
Thatâs a good beginning but thereâs still a long way to go.Â New, successful talent acquisition models will be built onÂ collaboration, sharing, and community-building. In an eraÂ of new possibilities, the war for talent will only be won byÂ adopting this new mindset and embracing the conceptâand the competitive advantageâ of open source talent.
Antonis Christidis is a partner in Mercerâs career business.