The word “talent” is a non-inclusive word. i.e. It does not include everyone who checks the box on experience required for a role. Experience being equal, the word “talent” refers the select few who have unique skills and capabilities that differentiate them from everyone else. Therefore, the future of talent acquisition lies in getting sharper and smarter at attracting the select few, who have a world of choices before them.
The challenge of talent acquisition is further heightened by the increasing entrepreneurial aspirations of talent. The quest to start and grow their own ventures often takes key talent out of the job market, further narrowing the talent pool.
So what should organizations do to attract talent in the future?
The first step is to be cognizant of talent expectations, which are increasingly becoming diverse and non-linear. It is no longer just about the organization brand, role or compensation; Organization culture, empowerment, the freedom to create, flexibility to indulge in personal hobbies, the opportunity to contribute to society and the like have become important drivers of job satisfaction.
Millennials who have grown up in the information age have broad ambitions for themselves. Work is just one part of their lives, and most prefer to keep it that way. Therefore, expectations of organizations need to evolve –the focus should be, not only to get the best talent, but also, provide an environment where talent can give their best. While performance and results cannot be compromised, there needs to be greater focus on getting the best out of talent while they are with the organization. Hopefully, this talent will stay for the long term if they remain excited about the organization vision, culture and future orientation. While some organizations have always been ahead in providing diverse career experiences through HiPo programs, this will have to become second nature to attract and retain future talent. Getting key talent involved with the technological and business changes of the future – seeking their opinion and allowing them to be heard and contribute in shaping the future – are all measures organizations can take to engage more deeply with talent.
The other important aspect to consider how to reach talent. While much has been said about social media, organizations need to leverage it smartly to attract talent. The current generation of job seekers is extremely socially connected, but the adage of A-players attracting A-players has not changed.
In the same way that organizations seek out influencers to market their products and services, they can also identify key talent and encourage them to be their “hiring influencers”.
When key talent within the organization speak well about their experiences or (better still, in a world of low attention spans) says it with pictures or images - of team celebrations, that capture the spirit of the culture, the work they do, the freedom they experience and so forth - they create impact at a different level, than when a senior executive talks about the organization in a formal setting. While organizations debate about what kind of information goes out on social media and what kind of rules need to apply, we should recognise that social connections over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. are a reality and organizations must be flexible to adapt to that reality.
If we are engaging deeply with key talent, the possibility of misuse of social media can be managed through appropriate guidance rather than throwing the rule book at them, which kills all social conversation about the organization.
There are fascinating technological developments taking place with AI, bots etc. in the field of talent acquisition. While they will aid in improving speed and quality of the process, they can never replace the ‘human touch’, which I predict will continue to be the key driver in converting key talent from candidates to employees.