Nadine O’Regan is the General Manager at TQSolutions, regarded as the leading advisory firm in Australia for Talent & People Strategy, Recruitment, and Careers related Consulting projects. TalentVine is partnering with TQSolutions to share some of Nadine’s valuable insights for leaders in the TA and HR space.
Over the past few years, employer sentiment has shifted towards a more human-centric approach, with a higher value placed on employees and their wellbeing. Now, TA teams are faced with the challenge of high recruitment targets, both as an offset to the increasing number of resignations, and to make up for hiring freezes imposed during the pandemic. A shortage of talent in the market makes hiring the right people an even tougher task. The upside is that most businesses are doing well, and much of the difficulty finding workers can be attributed to the country being near full employment.
What should TA & HR Leaders be doing then?
Adaptability is key. This year, the market will inevitably slow down. Typically, a slowdown results in job losses, but I believe we will instead experience vacancy losses.
Vacancy loss indicates that it’s time to strengthen your foundations. The majority of TA functions are currently falling behind. Needs for talent must be the focal point of a company’s business strategy.
Here are my top suggestions for moving ahead:
Focus on retention and mobility
Do everything possible to keep the people you have. Rehiring is costly, not only in a financial sense, but in time to hire and retrain, as well as opportunity cost (every day the seat is empty is missed revenue). Think of your workers as assets that develop and increase in value. Talent intelligence and a skills taxonomy will be critical to achieving this.
Training and development
Employees want to improve themselves and learn new things – make sure they know what opportunities there are and make it easy to access. Simple solutions include scheduling a time in their daily schedule to finish online training courses or speak with a mentor.
Training allows for and encourages internal mobility by giving employees the skills they need to further their careers. Doing so keeps them interested and engaged, promoting growth and shows that your organisation cares about their development.
Offer reassurance and transparency
Make sure people know that they have a future with your business. The current market environment has many employees feeling uncertain. The last thing you want is people deciding to jump ship due to perceived job insecurity when there was no need to. Communicate clearly to your valued employees about their future prospects, and offer as much upwards mobility, reskilling, or training as possible. Humanising work and connecting with your people are critical.
Diversify your sourcing efforts
There’s no catch-call method for recruitment, and different roles will require different levels of involvement. You must prioritise where your teams focus their efforts. Think about different channels that can be used as well. The ideal approach will depend on the role. Referrals may be the best course for department-specific roles, and job boards for high-volume roles, while head-hunters or external recruiters might be perfect for finding niche and high-level positions.
Create a holistic employment brand
Define and communicate your organisation’s employer brand and highlight the unique Individual Value Proposition for critical roles. In a competitive market, employers need to distinguish themselves from others who are hiring from the same talent pool. With so many options on the table, candidates can be more discerning about who they work for. Your employer brand serves as an important point of difference and allows potential hires to clearly picture themselves in your organisation. Promoting your company’s mission, values, and a bit of personality can go a long way in attracting the right candidate.
Be curators of the talent experience
In a competitive hiring market, providing a positive candidate experience is one of the most important things you should focus on. For most applicants, it’s likely their first encounter with your organisation, so start off on a good note. Clear communication, transparency, flexibility, and engagement are just some of the ways you can help candidates down the recruitment pipeline.
Use AI and technology strategically
While it’s not a silver bullet, using technology and AI strategically can do wonders for organisational productivity. Whether it’s analytics, optimisation, management, or something else, the ways in which we can use technology to improve our workflow are constantly improving. Many HR and TA teams make the mistake of hanging on to outdated or sub-optimal tech solutions, unwilling to spend the time or money to upgrade. What many do not realise is how much time and money can be saved by investing in an effective solution, and how it makes the jobs of your team so much easier.
For example, in a recruitment context, platforms like SmartRecruiters, XREF or TalentVine can greatly optmise processes and allows employees to focus their efforts on the important part of their job, hiring great candidates.
Now is not the time to be trying to secure a bargain. With the rising cost of living and inflation – offering no increase is essentially a pay cut. No matter how much someone may enjoy working at your organisation, they still have their own needs to take care of. By providing competitive benefits and remuneration, you can entice your employees to stay on board rather than look for opportunities elsewhere. Remember that compensation consists of more than just a salary. You can also look at providing your team with retirement benefits, paid time off, and insurance benefits.
Question the requirement for every open role
Could we redesign the role, break it down into separate skills? Can someone else be reskilled or take on additional responsibilities? Could teams work differently? Are you optimising your current workforce? When talent is scarce, you must focus on how to maximise the talent that you already have, rather than just hiring more.
Invest in talent intelligence
Use data to state your case and inform decision-making. What can you do to make your team happy and maximise their potential? What are your competitors doing? Using talent intelligence effectively can help your organisation to gain an edge over the competition.
Get creative about sourcing
You’re no longer just competing with industry peers for talent. You are competing with other industries. Think about some ways that your organisation can get ahead. Is it proactive candidate outreach via LinkedIn? Maybe look at hiring for soft skills and offer training for anything else. Expand your hiring horizons and think outside the box!
Allow flexible options
Demand for jobs that offer at least some elements of remote working has soared. Offering a flexible work environment can boost output and lower overheads, while giving employees a greater sense of trust and independence over how they manage their tasks.
Flexibility doesn’t just include hybrid working either. Many workplaces also offer flexible hours. Maybe someone has a school pickup break around 3 o’clock which is made up later that afternoon? Be approachable and open to discussing the needs of each team member to find the best arrangement.
Focus on a leadership mindset in the longer term
In the more progressive talent-focused organisations, the business is accountable for talent outcomes, not HR. More leaders should be adopting this ‘always on’ talent mindset. There’s a reason people say that a company’s people are its most valuable asset. More leaders should be taking notice of hiring the right candidates.
The short version is to focus on making your company an amazing place to work. That gives you a solid platform to attract and retain top talent, and in turn improve the organisation overall. Finding top talent is tough, ensuring they want to work at your organisation can be even more so.