Article: Science and Intuition: Two sides of the same coin

Talent Acquisition

Science and Intuition: Two sides of the same coin

Talent acquisition is in constant evolution; new technologies and ways of working will continue to bring innovation to this function, while the human angle will retain its core importance in the years to come, opines E. Balaji, CEO, Ma Foi Randstad
 

Deploying technology reduces employee acquisition cost and transaction time, which has a direct implication on the cost per hire

 

The main changes in this evolution have been the important role that technology has played and how organizations have found partners to effectively execute this function

 

Talent acquisition is in constant evolution; new technologies and ways of working will continue to bring innovation to this function, while the human angle will retain its core importance in the years to come, opines E. Balaji, CEO, Ma Foi Management Consultants

You have a rich experience in the recruitment space. How have workforce planning and recruitment in Indian companies evolved over the years?

In recent years, the recruitment function has become a progressively specialized function. In some cases, it has even become a separate function from the Human Resources Department and reports directly to the business. The main changes in this evolution have been the important role that technology has played and how organizations have found partners to effectively execute this function. The availability of recruitment partners in India is varied. The recruitment industry is dominated by international players, but many fragmented players that cater to different sizes and volumes of business also exist. According to me, there will be consolidation of players in this industry driven by specific requirements from client companies.

What is the way forward for recruitment processes, techniques and tools?

We have seen a rapid evolution of tools and processes used for recruitment in the last couple of years. The first wave was the emergence of first generation job portals followed by matching software technologies. Then the industry stood witness to RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) taking over the mantle. Now the trend has shifted towards using social networking to find and connect with potential candidates. It is difficult to say much about what is coming next as new techniques and tools will keep evolving. Over time, companies will have access to new technology, new sources of information and more metrics. And although all of these will help managers in the recruitment processes, they will not substitute the importance of the human angle to recruitment, which will continue to be important. The next wave of tools, from my opinion, will be those that utilize mobile phone and leverage on reach and connecting troughs to those technologies.

Having said that, there is a still lot of diversity in Indian organizations and they function with different levels of maturity in technology running in parallel. For example, there are many recruitment processes that still work on paper resumes. PSUs are some of the largest recruiters in India but their recruitment process is still paper based. Similarly, the most technology-intensive manufacturing companies may also follow a very traditional recruitment process based on calling candidates on a given day and taking walk-in interviews for certain roles, just like their PSU peers.

How can companies make their recruitment process more effective? Can you share some best practices on how companies can identify potential savings opportunities?

Companies have identified multiple ways of saving costs and driving effectiveness in the recruitment process. One is of course the use of technology as we have discussed earlier. Deploying technology reduces the employee acquisition cost and the transaction time, which has a direct implication on the cost per hire. Secondly, companies are also looking at partnering with recruitment providers with arrangements like turnkey or linking payment to performance metrics. These new ways of working with service providers have led to some sharing of responsibility between the company and the recruiters and have made the overall process more effective. There are many measures to track effectiveness of these relationships like Hit Ratios, Offer to Joining Ratios, and Attrition of new joinees, et al. Finally, another trend that I have noticed emerging is of companies increasingly investing in employer branding to make the recruitment process more effective. If the brand has a positive recall, then the number of candidates interested in applying is higher and therefore the pool for choice is also larger, making it easier to find the right candidate.

How should organizations map their attrition models with successful succession planning and manpower forecast? Any best practices you can share?

When looking at analyzing attrition data, one level of analysis is the macro data of attrition, which is the voluntary exit. The other level, which I think is more relevant, is the ‘key talent attrition’ data. What matters is not how many people are leaving the organization but how many of those leavers are in the ‘key talent’ category. The responsibility of retaining this key talent should be with the managers who should be given incentives to keep the performance of their team members tracked based on certain measures. Apart from focusing on retaining key talent, companies should, in conjunction, look at succession planning. Companies that have traditionally invested in grooming internal talent and have a tradition of having their CEOs coming from the entry level positions have performed much better than their peers. The main reasons behind this is that they are able to send the right signals to the market, to retain people in a better way and provide internal career growth. Finally, the overall base is to actually identify which competencies are vital for succeeding in a particular organization to move up the career ladder, and to create mechanism to help people obtain those competencies and grow with the company. I feel all these processes need to be integrated for a successful talent management strategy.

E Balaji is CEO of Ma Foi Randstad, India

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Strategic HR

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