The e-commerce industry in India has been a game changer and is expected to touch $100 billion while creating over 1 million jobs by 2022 as per a report by PwC and NASSCOM. Fuelled by the growth in e-commerce, talent acquisition landscape has changed. Hiring methodologies have been dislodged and the whole sense around workforce planning has taken a new meaning. The competition to acquire skilled talent, especially in areas like AI, ML and Big Data Analytics has been through a lot of innovation lately and many HR start-ups have taken birth to help solve CHRO issues around highly skilled labor. Indian Staffing Federation predicts that these new age profiles will add up to 3 million new jobs by 2023.
Focusing on social hiring and automation have allowed hiring teams to bring in speed, accuracy and branding in the hiring process. However, there are nuances in hiring that still need to be managed, for example, on-demand hiring. E-commerce companies have largely scaled operations not only with highly skilled talent but a significant growth in headcount via offering jobs to the semi-skilled talent and providing them opportunities to make careers. Employers have to fill positions in a couple of weeks as compared to a turn around time of three months in other sectors.
Here are some key trends in my view that will help Talent Acquisition scale and handle the demands of uncertainty and opportunity within businesses.
Social media and digital platforms have automated the process of talent search by directly connecting the talent with the recruitment managers. In fact, lately, skills in demand may not have directly proportional to the supply of talent in the market or even within the organizations. Therefore, many firms are leveraging new platforms to improve SME interviewing and a cross section of SMEs across the world help in hiring for the company. It's an innovative way to hire without struggling to know what to ask. Also, bots not only help find a good match, but they also predict the likelihood that someone is open to a job change. Data-driven analytics and digital, cognitive tools can help assess candidates and prevent possible misjudgments caused by bias.
Latest technologies of AI and Machine Learning and other roles such as analytics, performance marketing experts, trust and safety, warehousing handlers, cataloguing professionals, and delivery staff trainers are on the rise. Most of these roles didn’t even exist a couple of years ago and are also hard to find in other industries today. Talent managers need to embrace and anticipate these trends and scout for talent accordingly. These new age skills are increasingly in demand as the popularity of e-commerce eclipses that of traditional retail.
On-demand hiring and candidate centricity
The HR function needs to have it light’s on 24X7 and create a culture that views every prospective employee as a customer. Enabling candidate experience, minimum time maximum throughput for organizations and belongingness towards the culture are key to candidate happiness during the hiring phase. Using NPS to value the experience is a very useful way to keep improving on satisfaction scores. With the above comes the complexity of hiring at scale with or without a plan. Having flexible staffing models, working on swifter TATs and generating large talent pools for semi-skilled, blue and grey collar workforce has become a steep ask. Talent Acquisition teams need to constantly work on identifying new ways to tap last mile talent.
Skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling
A recent Microsoft-IDC report states that Indian companies who have adopted AI expected their competitiveness to increase by 2.3 times by 2021. The rise of AI means that employees need to constantly up-skill and re-skill themselves to stay relevant. Companies in e-commerce space have implemented LMS platforms to make trainings and new age learning content available on tall devices thereby making learning ann anywhere anytime agenda based on work-life balance and bandwidth. This enables easing the hiring targets improving retention and overall building an organizations capability to future proof talent management programs. At OLX, we have an LMS platform(MyAcademy) with MOOC programs, new age online tech courses, and as an organization, we are invested in making AI everyone's knowledge. We have recently launched AI for everyone online learning program that opens all teams to explore AI in their space without fearing their role security.
Internal talent mobility
The millennial generation of employees are not only ambitious but are always on the lookout for something to challenge them. Some of the leading technology companies have done this successfully by encouraging lateral moves and promoting talent internally. The flexible work environment of today can allow employees across departments to fluidly step into each other’s shoes. Working with a multitude of departments can not only address the burn out rate but also augment the skills of employees. Rather than searching for talent externally, which can be time-consuming and expensive, companies can look for talent internally. A stellar example of the same is setting up OLX CashmyCar business, while OLX continues to hire talent from outside the strong foundation of the business is built by talent that moved roles. Talent mobility especially internally enables organizations to rapidly adapt to evolving environments, with the ability to deploy and move critical skills across projects, across the business and across borders when needed.
Inclusion, a mindset change in hiring
Inclusion is a significant element in cracking Diversity hiring. Ensuring that roles are gender neutral requires a huge mindset change. Organizations are increasingly investing in training on discovering the impact of biases and making hiring managers aware of unconscious biases. Also, roles that have had traditionally strong male pipeline are being tested to improve gender ratios at the pipeline stage. Bridging the gender pay gap is a significant step in the direction to solve for hiring biases regardless of gender, disability, etc.