Get Tweeting: Leaders rewrite the book on talent acquisition with great advice, challenges and the possibilities brought on by generative AI
Talent priorities are evolving at a greater pace than anyone expected. While many TA leaders are struggling to react to these disruptions, others have zeroed in on the loopholes and obstacles and are responding to the upheavals with the bigger picture in mind.
Ahead of the People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference on February 9, we hosted a Tweetchat to understand the challenges better with our keynote speakers, who will be joining us at the event to enlighten us about what’s at stake and the many ways in which talent leaders can tackle the ongoing challenges.
With leaders including Mervyn Dinnen, Naveen Narayanan, Ankit Aggarwal, Mohan Kumar, Saurabh Sharma, Atul Sahgal, Sumanth Nayak, Raman SR, Maya John, and Pratham Mittal, the Tweetchat turned out to be an engaging discussion with insights that could contribute towards understanding the landscape better. Read on…
Talent Priorities for 2023: Finding the ‘how’ and ‘why’
Every organisation has different talent priorities based on the industry they are catering to. But before looking at the trends and what competitors are doing, sometimes it is wise to take a step back, introspect and think about the ‘why’ before the ‘how’. Naveen Narayanan, Chief People Officer at Biocon Biologics believes that building and growing internally as we go up the hierarchy can help.
For Saurabh Sharma, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, OLX Autos, the focus is on personalisation and why TA leaders need to understand each role and its unique EVP. Without clarity on the objectives, Sharma feels that we will keep seeing candidates restraining themselves from job offers. And with the evolving skills set, he added that there is a greater demand for generalists over specialists, especially in high-growth organisations, where one needs to shape up the roles as and when they evolve.
For Maya John, Chief People Officer, VerSe Innovation, her priorities include redefining the way talent is engaged while letting in gig/part-time/job share, who have a new role to play to fill up the talent pipelines. She also emphasises on keeping an open mind to these ways in which work gets done. At Intuit, Mohan Kumar, Head of Talent Acquisition, the priorities revolve around attracting and hiring the most diverse talent through equitable and inclusive hiring practices, building and nurturing talent communities for long-term candidate relationships and continuing to build the brand.
Raman SR, Chief People Officer, Log9 Materials, whose firm is involved in the emerging EV ecosystem of India, he is looking to amplify the brand, attract and build talent from the ground up, scale people’s program, policies and processes as the organisation moves towards addressing the diverse needs of the workforce.
As for Sumanth Nayak, CHRO, Societe Generale and Atul Sahgal, Group VP Talent Acquisition, Publicis Sapient, the focus is on upskilling and reskilling employees apart from boomerang employees, referrals, career growth, wellbeing and employee experience. Elaborating on the need for wellbeing now more than ever, Mervyn Dinnen is of the opinion that supporting people to achieve their best, as you enable them to develop the skills and capabilities they need, is of utmost importance.
Bridging the gap: What’s causing a hindrance in organisation’s hiring efforts
There are differences in outlook and each leader believes that there are certain obstacles that have impacted their hiring and retention efforts in recent times. To improve them, while embracing newer technologies, is tough but with the right ideas, they believe it can be done. Putting his point across, Pratham Mittal, Founder and CEO, Masters' Union, feels that with the evolving skills set, employers are looking for candidates with specific skills and qualifications that may not be widely available. That’s why hiring for hustle that a candidate brings to the table rather than pedigree can aid in a good hiring decision. A ‘doer’ rather than a ‘reader’ can make a significant difference in the endeavour.
Adding to the perspective was Ankit Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Unstop, who is leveraging technology to help companies look beyond resumes and boundaries to reach everyone, rather than looking for top talent in select institutes. Highlighting the importance of open conversations, John was of the opinion that truly listening to what kind of expertise the candidates bring to the table and how they can leverage it is essential. And one shouldn’t forget that the ups and downs brought about by the market forces are real and exaggerated and will continue to be so.
Candidates wish to learn, grow and develop in their next role, and Dinnen feels employers need to show their support towards it. On the other end of the spectrum, Sharma feels that employer and employee will have to invest time in understanding each other’s aspirations and expectations and the ability to convey it clearly will override quick closures and painful discoveries. Driving a similar viewpoint, Sahgal reiterated that people should not be looked at as numbers in a spreadsheet. Leaders have to spend time with them to learn about their perspectives.
Raman’s way forward is to collaborate as one HR team, where HRBPs work closely and vice versa to align thinking and communication to bridge the employer and employee expectation gap. He believes that the reason behind the widening of the gap includes misalignment in shared purpose, values, transparency in communication, growth and reward expectations.Sharing his perspective on the reason for the gap, Kumar says it is the spurt of workforce expansion in India that has presented a choice of options for job seekers. While it does provide a wide-spectrum, it’s distracting and confusing for a section of talent as they decide on the appropriate choices for longer-term impact and purpose.
Tackling the challenges: The big change in talent acquisition
While everyone is looking at making changes, we asked leaders to share one big change they would like to make in the talent acquisition space to tackle the ongoing disruptions and the answers did make us wonder. Sharma believes that working with multiple scenarios for talent acquisition mirroring business scenarios, and keeping flexible solutions can help. John feels that the pace of change and market dynamics are so fluid that TA leaders need to keep a close eye on how things are evolving in the ecosystem. This can be achieved by talking to peers, unlearning and relearning to know what’s worked in the past, will not work going forward. Mittal shares that hiring for potential rather than experience can correct a lot of wrongs in the hiring process.
Speaking on the same lines was Dinnen who believes that every rejected candidate is a potential future employee and having honest, informative, personalised recruitment messaging helps. Other than that, creating a hiring culture, upskilling managers, and bringing them into the recruitment process can solve the problem of attracting talent. With newer technologies in the market, Sahgal feels that being flexible and open to adding tech solutions to make processes efficient and agile is vital today. One needs to embrace technology in all aspects of talent acquisition.
For Raman, the big change lies in conducting pre-hire assessments to evaluate the fundamentals of EVs and batteries so as to improve the recruitment sourcing funnel, and therefore quality of hire and sourcing to offer conversion ratio. In the end, Nayak feels that TA leaders need to focus on candidate engagement and bring a cohesive and genuine narrative to the table, so that the candidate’s experience and expectations come true in employee experience.
Experimenting with tech: Investing in talent acquisition space
With chatbots like Bard and ChatGPT coming into the picture, leaders are left wondering how generative AI will change the talent acquisition landscape and what are going to be the possibilities and long-term impact of these changes. As leaders experiment and embrace tech, they are still hesitant as they discover the power of it in its entirety. For Narayanan, he is on the lookout for net scraping tools for skills inventory, which can keep an organisation on its toes around hot skills/declining skills. Sharma at OLX has been leveraging tech to improve reporting and analytics that can bring talent insights and feed into the business decisions, resulting in improvement in hiring and onboarding experiences.
With ChatGPT and its competitor in the market, everyone is left wondering how it will change talent acquisition space including John. Talking about AI, she believes that it is creating opportunities across the talent acquisition journey, providing recruiters with targeted candidate searches, accurate job matching and preliminary screening, which is only a glimpse into the potential of AI. Going back to basics, Nayak feels that an effective and efficient search and match engine for sourcing the best matching profiles will be a good investment.
Sahgal, on the other hand, shares that candidates are wary of multiple skills assessment and hence, gaming-based evaluation makes assessment fun and engaging. The technologies also offer creative ways to match candidates with jobs, tap into passive candidates, evaluate motivation and bring in diversity of experience and skills. For Kumar at Intuit, investing in tech is to improve recruiting efficiencies and deliver inclusive hiring experiences, including talent ambassadorship, analytics, assessment and candidate experience. For Dinnen, it is simple - the best talent intelligence and analytics, that can help support a culture of internal mobility.
While these short answers might give you a glimpse into the thinking patterns of our keynote speakers, we urge you to join us tomorrow at People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference, where our diverse line-up of leaders will share their thoughts on pertinent topics. So, wait no more and join us at Ritz Carlton, Bengaluru. Register now!