ChapmanCG’s UK team was joined by a group of Global and Regional Talent Acquisition Leaders for a thought-provoking roundtable session in London. Representatives from companies including L’Oreal, Microsoft, BT, Vodafone, HSBC and Philip Morris International openly shared their challenges and success stories around the topic of “How is Talent Acquisition Evolving for the Future Workforce?”.
The engagement of hiring leaders
We discussed the numerous steps in a “happy” recruitment process. There was a firm belief that the foundation is largely built on a strong strategic partnership between hiring managers and recruiters. This tandem must work closely together to plan, source, engage, interview, and hire the talent that will take the organisation into the future. Talent acquisition professionals must be given room to build these close relationships with their business stakeholders and ‘get under the skin’ of the business.
One talent acquisition leader mentioned that, quite simply, when they are both on the same page, talent acquisition can run like a well-oiled machine, improving time to fill, quality of hire, and other significant metrics. It is important to win the confidence and respect of hiring managers and to demonstrate that the talent acquisition function brings value and expertise on everything from succession planning to the state of the current market. Recruiters can be the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ for the business in the external marketplace.
Most of the attendees however, felt that this dynamic between hiring managers and recruiter was far from being as strong as it needs to be. This disconnect leads to an obvious talent acquisition dysfunction, resulting in long vacancies that can cost the business in productivity, morale and ultimately the bottom line.
The importance of internal mobility
It’s common practice that large multinationals often employ thousands of people across geographies, industries and functions. We discussed that although it may appear obvious, it’s crucial for talent leaders to remember that the best candidate for a position may already work within the organisation. Then it’s about how to get the right mechanisms in place to ensure internal recruitment is optimised for business value. This is a big area for improvement in a number of organisations.
Culture can be a barrier to this cross pollination of talent, with a lack of appetite for sharing key talent with other functions and geographies. Overcoming these hurdles effectively requires specific tactics, mechanisms and systems. It also requires leaders to build and support a culture where people at all levels are encouraged to—and even expected to—look internally for personal growth and new challenges.
The business opportunity is clear. Not only are replacement and recruitment costs minimised when hiring from within, but even greater is the opportunity to reshape your brand and workplace culture. Many of today’s youngest workers are eager to build their careers rapidly and want to work for organisations that challenge them and find opportunities to promote them quickly.
We discussed the need to address the awareness and accountability issues by embedding diversity in day-to-day team conversations, dedicating time in weekly meetings to review diversity scorecards, providing updates on diversity hiring and shortlist outcomes, and sharing best practices in recruiting diverse talents.
Talent acquisition leaders are building their teams’ awareness about diversity and are crafting action plans to address areas of opportunities through addressing simple questions: “Which groups/traits are not well-represented in the workforce? How can the TA team contribute to achieving the company’s diversity strategy? What are the key barriers that we are facing? Who are the most effective diversity champions in our organisation, and what sets them apart?”
Building recruiters’ awareness has notoriously been a crucial starting point. However, with no real accountability, companies have at times failed to see a significant change in behaviour. Accordingly, some businesses have made the move to link talent acquisition leaders’ bonus to the broader organisational diversity outcomes and linked bonus to the diversity shortlisting goals. These actions push the talent acquisition team to become creative in how to attract diverse talent.
AI was once seen as a wow factor but is now very much regarded as the norm – we have indeed entered an era when larger businesses have moved to critically access its value. There seemed little debate that for volume and lower level recruitment, AI can make a lot of commercial sense, but certain attendees voiced a nervousness surrounding its use.
Several of our guests discussed whether AI is truly being utilised to effectively enhance the candidate experience (rather than the company’s experience) which led to agreement surrounding the need to personalise AI interactions for candidates. One Senior TA leader from the FMCG industry stressed that she feels there is little evidence that existing AI tools are being used to improve the candidate experience and mentioned fears about legal, ethical, and privacy issues, as well as the potential to be detrimental to the assessment process from a D&I perspective.
Much has been made of how AI can make hiring faster and better for businesses and this prompted stories to be shared regarding varying tools in differing stages of build. Of course, it’s not always straight-forward, pilots are required, algorithms need to be tested and utter confidence in the tool before launch is paramount. We discussed the build-stage of new tools in varying individual businesses across industry sectors.
Broadly speaking, responsible application of AI technology doesn’t need to be at the detriment of candidate experience and can even improve it, removing elements like unconscious bias However given the importance of employer branding and experience in an organisation’s ability to attract great talent it can be risky to rely more on AI. It needs to be invested in and implemented carefully, but when effectively synced with the right human touch points at the right times, it can be a great addition.
A huge thank you to all attendees for their passionate and transparent participation, we look forward to seeing how the landscape of talent acquisition continues to shape the future of business.
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