Market shifts require TA leaders to move with them—here’s how.
By Debbie Bolla
After years of adapting to change, business leaders understand the value that organizational agility brings to the bottom line. Research from Accenture finds that agile firms are more than twice as likely as average organizations to achieve top-quartile financial performance (55% versus 25%). And constantly changing markets mean that the need for agility exists throughout the organization, including the talent acquisition (TA) function. TA decision-makers have to juggle the ever-changing landscape of mass layoffs paired with talent shortages as well as compliance and regulatory demands.
“The constant change is a lot to stay on top of and absorb,” says Natalie Scheiman, VP of Transformation for Sevenstep. “Some market shifts will require you to move with them, but for others, it can be better to hold on without creating immediate disruption.”
She points out that many factors contribute to TA’s success in navigating change. For example, hard-to-fill roles requiring a specific skillset will call for a shift in how organizations hire, whereas the impact of newer technologies, like ChatGPT, is a bit unknown and not as pressing. Organizations also have to consider just how savvy today’s candidates are, that their needs are evolving and that employers need to evolve with them.
“Beyond what’s happening with the market on a daily basis, talent is more sophisticated than ever in their career journeys,” explains Scheiman. “Individuals are more selective in who they want to work for, what they look for in a potential employer (diversity, social responsibility, benefits, etc.), and what position or compensation they’re willing to accept.”
With this in mind, what strategies can organizations leverage to remain agile in order to get ahead?
- Align internally on overall organizational values and mission statement. Organizations need to define what they stand for and then develop strong values, a mission statement, and a purpose around their mission and values. These fundamentals will give candidates a better understanding of the overall business and company culture and help build a talent ecosystem. “By having this established baseline, you’ll set yourself up with a foundation for responding to any future market pressures or changes you need to adapt to,” says Scheiman.
- Leverage consulting expertise. “It’s the classic case of an outside perspective showing you what’s right in front of you,” says Schieman. “Consulting brings someone to the table who has no historical attachment or emotions tied to your process, systems, and overall talent ecosystem and can look objectively at your hiring processes to help you identify what to improve.”If an organization is looking to build talent pools, a tech stack, or enter new markets, engaging with a partner specializing in recruitment will provide access to deep expertise across a variety of industries and verticals. Consultants can offer guidance and best practices on the latest attraction strategies and newest tech.
- Access at-the-ready capabilities. In the ebb and flow of today’s talent market, it’s advantageous to have a partner who can help scale up or down quickly.”Situations requiring rapid adjustments are very common,” explains Schieman. “For example, you may need to adjust your employer brand to target a new demographic of candidates. Or you may need to bring in a team of 10 tenured recruiters with no notice to support an unforecasted hiring demand to respond to new business. In such cases, you need a partner who is always ‘at the ready’ to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow the organization and deliver against your commitments to customers and stakeholders.” explains Scheiman.Working with a hiring partner that can remain agile with changing organizational needs is critical. The last few years have shown that it can be nearly impossible to predict hiring needs three, six, or 12 months down the line, and TA leaders shouldn’t go it alone.
- Take advantage of “downtime.” There will be ups and downs during different market shifts. Scheiman recommends if hiring needs have slowed down, use that time to look for opportunities to engage a partner to review processes and systems to help optimize the overall ecosystem and innovate approaches to talent.
Today’s talent landscape calls for agility, and those organizations that can handle the changes swiftly and effectively will be the ones that win the best candidates.