While there are increasingly encouraging signs in the global fight against COVID-19, it's difficult to know exactly what's next. For talent acquisition professionals, success has always been measured as a function of balance — people, process and technology — but today, that balance is harder than ever to achieve.
Strategic talent acquisition in the post-pandemic world means taking a people-first approach. By putting people first, processes and technology become part of the solution. This leaves vital decision-making and other strategic considerations to the people at the center of your organization, and this approach makes all the difference during times of challenge and uncertainty.
Taking a strategic approach to workforce planning
A recent Korn Ferry talent acquisition survey shows that organizations are struggling for answers when it comes to adjusting their hiring plan. Out of 620 respondents, 70% are planning for short-term hiring only — and nearly 30% lack a post-pandemic hiring plan altogether.
Why? The top reason given was that there's simply no clear picture of what business will look like going forward. And with 75% of respondents rating their own strategic talent acquisition strategies as basic — with limited data, technology and business goal integration — the need for a new approach couldn't be more urgent.
Strategic talent acquisition is all about getting closer to the business itself. Planning effectively in times of constant change takes more than a purely reactive approach. You have to connect with the wider organization, understand core business goals and talent objectives, and anticipate future needs that will impact the course of events down the road.
Truly strategic organizations don't treat talent acquisition like a transactional process — instead, they provide hiring managers with insights about the talent market in real time. Many organizations are also utilizing state-of-the-art workforce planning tools with predictive analytics to anticipate supply and demand, which significantly reduces forecast error rates.
Innovate hiring by putting people first
When your starting point focuses on people, you can create better experiences for everyone involved in the hiring process — candidates, hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals alike.
Ask a few key questions to determine whether your hiring process is aligned with a people-first approach:
- Has every stage of the candidate journey been designed with the candidate in mind?
- Where could you make the talent acquisition process simpler?
- How can the talent acquisition process be faster and fairer? More engaging and intuitive?
Then, use the below tactics to align your strategic talent acquisition processes.
Use technology to improve your hiring strategy
Organizations are using a variety of methods and tactics to make strategic talent acquisition a more people-first process. For example, "always on" recruiting with 24/7 sourcing and selecting tools can reduce time-to-interview by up to 79%. Instead of making the process less personal, these virtual solutions are actually bringing talent and organizations together more efficiently than ever.
Another way that technology is helping organizations put people first is in the field of robotic process automation and machine learning. Just as chatbots and other virtual hiring tools can handle basic candidate interactions, other automation technology can help free up your team to identify suitable talent, stack-rank candidates based on relevant skills, book interviews, and keep potential talent hire-ready.
Also, using QR codes and SMS-based solutions allow candidates to apply for vacancies quickly and easily through mobile devices, while bots can be used to reach out to candidates about specific roles and opportunities prior to screening.
Promote fairness by removing unconscious bias
Putting people first means ensuring objectivity — and removing unconscious bias — during the candidate assessment process. Not only does this approach give candidates a fairer chance of being selected, but it also means hiring managers are more likely to secure the best talent for a particular role.
Using technology to eliminate bias enables recruiters to set demographics aside and zero in on the best talent while also aligning with the organization's strategic DE&I goals.
Scale hiring faster by staying agile and responsive
In addition to being strategic and innovative in the talent acquisition process, it's also critical to be agile in uncertain times like the present. Agility in this context can refer to two different areas — first, having an agile and responsive talent acquisition machine, and second, acquiring talent in a way that enables the business to be more agile.
While these two areas are closely aligned, they are two distinct goals that work in tandem to help you scale up when you need it. Why is this scaling capability so important? In our talent acquisition survey, the top concern among respondents who had to let people go was that they would not be able to hire back quickly enough.
Focus more on skills, not roles
Technology also plays a key role in strategic talent acquisition by comparing candidates' skills to those of peers or other companies. Equipped with this information, your team can make more highly informed decisions about whether to build out or hire the talent you need. It can even help identify and address other needs like the best possible locations for new offices, production plants and innovation hubs.
Today's organizations are under increasing pressure to upskill and reskill in response to business change. Skills like adaptability, empathy and collaboration are in high demand — and with tools like Success Profiles, your talent acquisition team can better predict what skills will help deliver on your business strategy, identify gaps in the workforce, and create a plan to secure the right talent.
The future of strategic talent acquisition
We've seen how technology has a key role to play in a people-first approach to strategic talent acquisition. The result is more informed business decisions, better experiences for candidates and recruiters, and a more secure future for your organization.
It's all about doing more with less in the face of post-pandemic uncertainty, tighter budgets and a more competitive job market. Organizations that look beyond roles and titles — and think more broadly about people and skills — will be much better positioned to attract and retain in-demand talent in the months and years to come.