Global influences that will impact the industry and those who work in it.
By D. Zachary Misko
As businesses across the globe evaluate and continue to assess theirâ¨recruitment needs, HR departments are being confronted by a daunting arrayâ¨of challenges.â¨On the one hand, there is supposed to be an abundance of talent, yetâ¨attracting the best people is more difficult than ever. While this is true, an equally significant problem will be the resurgence of presently employed workers whoâ¨have been unhappy with their employers’ engagement throughout the economicâ¨downturn and are therefore looking to jump ship as soon as opportunity arises.
Aâ¨proliferation of new social networking and database technologies isâ¨transforming the way people “look” for work. More so, technology has changedâ¨the way companies and recruiters must now engage in looking and findingâ¨passive candidates. And a new generation of independent, transient andâ¨“globalized” workers in the burgeoning knowledge economy is creating newâ¨rules around hiring and engagement.
At the same time, HR is feeling unprecedented pressure “lift its game”â¨and become more aligned with the key strategic drivers of businessâ¨performance. Measurement of HR performance is shifting and becoming moreâ¨demanding, requiring practitioners to demonstrate their contribution to high-level corporate goals, not just operational outputs.â¨These forces are converging at a stage when many corporate executives whoâ¨look at HR think its job should be relatively straightforward. From a talentâ¨acquisition standpoint, they ask, “With so much talent on the market, why is it soâ¨hard to attract and retain the right people?”
These are the imperatives facing the HR profession worldwide. This is notâ¨simply a short-term cycle but part of a longer term trend that is shapingâ¨the fundamental way that people think about work and interact withâ¨employers, families and communities.â¨Events leading into 2010 have seen national economies shudder to a halt, andâ¨with that has come a sudden shift in the critical labor shortages that had plaguedâ¨developed economies for more than a decade. Now that millions ofâ¨workers across the globe have been laid off, you might think labor willâ¨be plentiful as we approach 2011’s increased opportunities. However, is itâ¨the right or best qualified people that are actively available, and, if not,â¨how do you attract the qualified, passive candidate?
Hiring managers in some large organizations are seeing the re-emergence ofâ¨labor shortages even in the early phase of economic recovery. As economicâ¨growth gathers pace, shortages in certain industries are appearing almost asâ¨acute as before the economic collapse. In some areas of healthcare, science,â¨and IT, the talent shortage never actually disappeared and remains a highlyâ¨challenging environment for recruiting.â¨The trend is marked and becoming more severe. There is a limited global poolâ¨of skilled labor, which is becoming more scarce each year.
This is not aâ¨shortage of people but a shortage of qualified people, at a time whenâ¨workplaces are demanding higher levels of skills and knowledge. Even atâ¨times of relatively high unemployment, employers face difficulty inâ¨obtaining the best talent. So, while conditions might have eased the headlineâ¨skills shortage, they really only provided a reprieve from the long-runâ¨trend of tighter labor.
This is the new reality that HR will need to address. HR people will need toâ¨keep recruiting irrespective of short-term cycles. The best-educated andâ¨skilled, technical, and professional employees will be in greater demand,â¨harder to find, and command a premium to switch or re-locate jobs.â¨Companies seeking highly skilled talent will need to consider strategiesâ¨that will enable them to circumvent this demand-supply impasse. Of all theâ¨forces that are converging on HR managers, few will be as daunting as thisâ¨demographic shift, simply because it is virtually locked in for at least theâ¨next 30 years.
The days of “help wanted” signs and newspaper job ads have passed, and a vast array of platforms and technologies are transforming theâ¨recruitment landscape. People are on the move and the use of electronic andâ¨social networking tools is affording recruiters and candidates innovativeâ¨ways of reaching their targets. Ultimately, people’s lifestyles have changed,â¨and recruiters need to evolve to keep up.â¨The ready availability of these applications has led to a leveling of theâ¨playing field; organizations with media power and large advertising budgetsâ¨are competing with no-cost or low-cost blogs or webcams to post information.â¨In this environment, the challenge is not soley about the technology but also the appeal ofâ¨sophisticated and savvy strategies that penetrate the electronic “noise” and areâ¨able to reach potential candidates, both active and passive. Technologyâ¨provides recruiters “speed to market,” but recruiting and sourcingâ¨skills are still ultimately the driving factor in success. Having the rightâ¨tools in your toolbox, can get you there faster.
This raises the issue of what the contemporary HR practitioner needs to doâ¨to adapt to this new digital environment. What follows are just some of theâ¨techniques that are, currently and increasingly likely to be deployed inâ¨the recruitment space and that must be mastered in order to tap into theâ¨increasingly sophisticated labor pool:
- Use niche websites, rather than general job boards that haveâ¨become flooded with resumes and frequently do not focus on any one industryâ¨or the passive candidate. Niche sites also provide better targeting ofâ¨candidates with industry expertise.
- Make social media a part of the recruiter¹s toolbox. Sites such asâ¨Facebook, XING, and LinkedIn, among others, are becoming a focal point andâ¨must be updated with information and communications on at least a dailyâ¨basis.
- Use company or recruiter-specific LinkedIn profiles that areâ¨regularly updated with information on the company, including upcoming jobâ¨expos and industry events.
- Author or sponsor industry-specific white papers, posted toâ¨company or industry websites, linked to advertising, blogs, and social media.
- Develop and present webcasts that showcase company attributes,â¨industry trends, products, issues, or best practices.
- Blog in places that potential candidates and industry experts areâ¨likely to visit, and use of micro blogs, such as Twitter, to reach target groups.
- Automate sourcing efforts with web tools and products that allowâ¨recruiters more time to communicate directly with candidates and theirâ¨hiring managers. A great example of this is the TalentSeekr tool introducedâ¨into the industry by Enticelabs.
- Use internal applicant tracking systems (ATS). Many companies haveâ¨access to an ideal database yet often neglect this as a sourcing tool.â¨Previously considered candidates not qualified for one position might beâ¨qualified for a current opening.
- Build a passive candidate database through online searches and useâ¨of sites such as resumeblaster.com or resumezapper.com, to name a few.
- Last, the age-old practice of “smile and dial,” or cold call and maintain a personal rapport with experts in the industry who can beâ¨added to your database or provide referrals.
A key element of the emerging HR paradigm and its convergence with socialâ¨media entails a more focused, strategic, and non-traditional approach toâ¨reaching key audiences. This might be a difficult task, given the increasingâ¨demands on the HR professional to focus on strategic versus tacticalâ¨imperatives. Often, HR generalists and even recruitment professionals simplyâ¨don’t have the time to stay abreast of all of the tools, learn technologies,â¨and the use of different systems and tools. When the effort on this educationâ¨is made, beware that if your in-house expert leaves your company, thisâ¨knowledge leaves with him or her.
By using industry expertise and thought leadership as a tool, ableâ¨recruiters cut through the clutter that permeates much of the traditionalâ¨media and engage in interactions that can uncover exceptional talent. Thisâ¨can be time consuming, but for those proficient in such techniques, itâ¨brings results and can be successful in reaching into talent pools thatâ¨typically resist traditional approaches.
HR is all about people, but it’s easy to become swamped by processesâ¨and technologies. In media reporting of corporate issues, we frequently hearâ¨of financial problems or operational problems, but not often HR problems.â¨Increasingly, HR organizations of all sizes have been shifting their focusâ¨to outsourcing the recruiting and screening function.
Recognizing the needâ¨to take a more strategic approach to their role within the organization,â¨HR leaders realize they can’t (and shouldn’t) be all things to all people. Thisâ¨doesn¹t mean throwing in the towel. Outsourcing allows you to manage andâ¨participate where needed, and better manage your flexibility to all of theâ¨organization’s needs.â¨They will also need to consider how they can best add value.
The complexityâ¨of the HR landscape means that many HR professionals are becoming boggedâ¨down in transactional tasks, at the expense of more strategic priorities.â¨Much of the work around hiring is tactical, but it is alsoâ¨increasingly complex and moving beyond the capacity of some HR managers.â¨These are the types of jobs that are ripe for outsourcing. As well, theâ¨talent acquisition process cannot be defined and engaged only when hiring isâ¨prevalent. Maintaining pipelines and candidate rapport, as well as conductingâ¨discovery interviews, are just a few examples of ongoing activities thatâ¨should be included in your strategy.
Outsourcing some of the functionality can free time and resources for HRâ¨people to start to looking at how they are meeting more important corporateâ¨goals.â¨They can then be in a position to play a more strategic and valued role,â¨availing themselves of data and metrics that provide new levels of insightâ¨into HR performance and its contribution to organizational results. Onceâ¨removed from the straightjacket of “process HR,” they are able to step intoâ¨the field of “clever HR,” through which they can use their knowledge in waysâ¨that are directly relevant to decision-makers.â¨Armed with a range of key performance measures, HR becomes the repository ofâ¨critical human capital intelligence. It is relevant and valued.
Ironically, many HR departments devote a relatively smallâ¨amount of time to the recruitment function. Even during periods of laborâ¨shortage, they are so burdened with transactional work that recruitment—arguably the most pressing task—is given too little attention.â¨It will be a matter for individual organizations to determine the scope ofâ¨any outsourcing decision, but it seems clear this is increasingly the pathâ¨being taken to liberate HR as it grapples with a multitude of issues.â¨Outsourcing frees HR professionals to address the increasingly complex andâ¨fast-altering metatrends affecting their industry and to have a laserlikeâ¨focus on higher-level imperatives. This trend is being replicated acrossâ¨the globe, as witnessed by the growing number and prevalence of providersâ¨focusing on the recruitment process.
The landscape for the HR profession is rapidly changing and throwing upâ¨questions about the way the industry adapts to meet a series of landmarkâ¨events.â¨There is nothing new in the need to change; professionals across scores ofâ¨industries have had to rethink the way they work in order to meet businessâ¨trends and new technologies.â¨Yet new ways of thinking about recruiting and sourcing labor seem to haveâ¨ushered in a sequence of reforms that have fundamentally re-ordered the wayâ¨that HR has functioned for decades.
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)â¨has provided HR the best of both worlds: a means to ensure that theirâ¨organizations find and place top talent, while at the same time freeing themâ¨to focus on strategic initiatives.â¨This means that incremental change will likely not suffice to meet theâ¨challenges ahead. HR professionals will be required to simultaneouslyâ¨confront demands across areas encompassing technology, demographics, andâ¨generational behavior.â¨Only as a result of these actions will HR leaders be able to take theirâ¨profession up the value chain and deliver a talent management strategy thatâ¨aligns with and supports the workforce solutions that modern business needsâ¨more than ever.