India Inc. is undergoing exciting times of growth and is set to remain the fastest growing G20 economy. Favorable prediction of the Indian economy, supporting government initiatives and sustained focus on innovation has fueled a steady growth. While the conversations still loom around the hiring outlook amidst multiple disruptive forces, economists predict higher job growth in areas that require niche skills.
Amidst the turmoil in multiple industries and technological advancements, HR and TA teams are under significant pressure to evolve as a future-proofing unit that can attract and retain the best talent that business needs to drive organizational performance.
TA professionals now need to wear the business hat and understand the micro and macro complexities to be able to design impactful recruitment strategies that align with the organization’s vision of tomorrow. Last year, Aon Hewitt- People Matters’ ‘Decoding Hiring Trends in India’ revealed that effectiveness of TA teams will now be judged on some of the new measures like employer brand, candidate experience, and ROI on selected candidates, etc.
In the world of digitization led by the likes of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, building agile and personalized strategies to attract the talent is taking the front seat of the employers. And with the gig-economy setting a strong foothold across industries, employers are refining the mix of sourcing channels and implementing a variety of assessment tools for talent selection. The use of talent analytics has also created quite a stir in the marketplace, albeit, the reality is that most organizations fall well short of mastering capabilities to use these tools, thus effecting cost-per-hire – an ongoing priority for HR.
Here are some thoughts by Tarandeep Singh, Assessments Leader, Asia Pacific and Middle East, Aon Hewitt on how talent acquisition is transforming as a function.
Q: What are some of the major shifts that you predict for the talent acquisition function in the next 2-3 years?
A: Disruption and change has never been faster in the world. The same holds true for business and people related issues. Hiring is fundamentally changing in multiple ways. The roles we hire for are changing fast, new roles coming in and many old ones disappearing. Focus on specific skills and core abilities are sustained while the focus on behaviors and other softer aspects increases.
The increased focus on areas like employer branding, candidate engagement, the hiring experience are gaining relevance. If we look down the road, TA is becoming more like a marketing function of an organization that captures the interest of the target group, helps them experience their organization and pushes towards closure of a sale.
The talent place is becoming more and more asymmetric with skills that are fungible across industries and the average tenure of employees reduces. TA fundamentally needs to move beyond from just sourcing and hiring to focus on differentiators that will make their organization stand out and compel their target group.
Q: What do you think are the drivers of these shifts?
A: Motorola shipped 40 million phones in 2008, but even a purchase by Google couldn’t save the company and the brand, which was sold to Lenovo in 2014. In the final blow to the once might company, Lenovo announced that it would kill the Motorola brand name last year.
Similarly, despite the fact that Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, they failed to make the shift to the digital world and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Embracing digital age requires organizations to change Everything- business model, strategies, and process. This also includes how we interact with employees, suppliers, and customers. And, critically, the skills and capabilities employees need to help us keep pace and thrive in this new age – that is, they need to become digital workers.
While our population increases, the number of skilled people that are employable isn’t growing at the same pace. The employee that we seek to acquire is actually in the hot seat to choose an employer today as opposed to a time when the companies are getting to choose.
Q: What role do you see technology playing in the way the function needs to transform?
A: Technology is at the center of all business activity and interactions. Computers, smartphones, and machines are developing skills and capabilities faster than people. Digital products are no longer desirable but essential.
Technology is one of the biggest disruptors and yet holds a large part of the solution. TA needs to embrace technology to stay relevant and competitive. From candidate engagement through multiple online platforms to hiring through remote and online modes like video assessments, take from home tests, etc. - the landscape is changing.
Large MNC’s have seen a nearly 30% rise in candidates by simply adopting a take from home assessment policy as it saves the initial hassle of scheduling etc. it helps reduce TA cost as well.
Experiential hiring is gaining prominence through gamified simulations and assessments. A virtual day on the job helps build alignment and filter non-suitable candidates. This helps us reduce attrition in the future as well.
Q: What questions do you think HR and TA leaders should be asking themselves to be able to ride through this transformation?
A: In the chaos and speed of business today, talent is usually confused with people. Successful talent acquisition is determined by the ability to cope up with the new and the complex business and talent landscape. HR and TA leaders need to focus on maximum impact with minimum resources through technology- how data can help change the game for them, how can they look at a candidate as a customer and champion of the organization, are they hiring for a future-ready workforce that can deal with the fast-changing unknown environment.