Talent Management

New Goal Posts for Talent Scouts

WFH, multiskilled roles and tidier hiring processes are the new themes of the pandemic era..

By Sanjay Hans and Naveen Malhotra

Employers and employees are refining their work-from-home processes and learning to adjust to the pandemic-era environment. Protecting productivity, employee morale, collaborative workflows and related aspects calls for strategic planning of an order that businesses aren’t used to.

Alongside, employers are also discovering that their needs are best met by talent with multiple skills. In order to ensure that employers access that talent in the most efficient way, recruiters need to step up their game, too, by standardizing their hiring processes.

Below, we identify and examine those emerging trends organizations should factor in their talent acquisition efforts.

Create long-term WFH strategies

COVID -19 has been an uncharted territory and a transformative experience for people and businesses throughout the world. The pandemic fired up the world's most massive work-from-home experiment. While initially, companies were struggling and adapting to make the switch with longer settle-in times, we are well past that phase. The transition to remote working has accelerated the universal adoption of mobility solutions and created a globally distributed mobile workforce.

In a prediction before the pandemic, Gartner stated that the demand for remote work would increase by 30% by 2030. A month into the pandemic, yet another Gartner research study highlighted that companies plan to shift to more remote work post-COVID-19 permanently. The major employers that have definitively announced their plans to work remotely long-term include Google, American Express, Uber, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.

While there remains much uncertainty around when businesses will be able to resume normal operations; clearly, HR leaders should factor remote working as a long-term business strategy and integrate it within the fabric of the workplace.

For the first couple of months of COVID-19, everybody was struggling (settling into a new way of working) adjusting to the new environment. Not everyone was geared up to the environment – many companies were setting and tuning up infrastructure issues.

Alongside, the WFH experiment had to be aligned with robust security standards, anticipating employee vulnerabilities and addressing them. The threats to cybercrime spiraled manifold and organizations were not equipped to handle it all of a sudden. Additionally, the majority of the devices used for work from home lacked security controls, which increased vulnerability to social engineering attacks.

Redefining security policies, educating the workforce, beefing up the infrastructure, adopting a multifaceted defense strategy, and refining fraud prevention and detection measures demanded increased attention. It took more time than expected to adjust to the new normal, but that hump has been overcome. The workforce now is more mobile with strengthened security infrastructure.

There is a flip side to it as well. The options to candidates are also a lot more. With remote working embraced worldwide, mobility is no longer an issue, but candidates have more employers to choose from.

Need broader skill sets

Employers are also looking for versatility as they scout for new talent. We perceive an ever-broadening set of skill requirements and in some instances, a combination of skill sets that are in shortage. For example, React.js, a relatively young, dominating, frontend JavaScript technology that provides a brilliant user and developer experience is in short supply. Combine it with Java, and the gap widens. Likewise, there is an increasing demand for professional full-stack developers.

Early this year, LinkedIn released a list of skills high in demand relative to the supply. Interestingly, blockchain tops the list of hard skills where demand exceeds supply this year. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, UX design and scientific computing are some of the other areas where talent is in short supply.

What this means is job positions not being filled and a resultant loss of revenue. According to a recent study by Korn Ferry , by 2030, the U.S. could be facing a deficit of more than six million workers. In technology alone, the U.S. could lose out on $162 billion worth of revenues annually unless it finds more high-tech workers.

Emerging trends

Those findings would lead us to believe that:

  • Skill development is unable to keep pace with technology requirements.
  • Rapid advancements in technology are happening in shorter cycles.
  • There appears a time lag between adoption and maturity of technology skillsets across various markets.
  • Not all markets can offer scale.

Sourcing and HR leaders must have a handle on the foreseeable future. Short- term solutions to fill these skill gaps would be to acquire talent with skills-in-demand at a premium. However, more long-term solutions call for competency mapping and reskilling the workforce well in time. Every organization needs to think this through for itself.

Standardize the hiring process

At several places the existing process is still unstructured. The risk in that is you may end up hiring a candidate who may score high in interviews, but does not have the requisite skill sets to perform on the job.

For recruiters to get their arms around all those changes, it is essential to build a standardized and structured hiring process. Standardization helps realize synergies. Build synergies so that they can take the advantage of scale. If you don’t standardize your processes, you will never have your synergies, and you will struggle for the scale. When done right, the advantage begets value to the business. When orchestrated badly, it lends struggle to the business.

Key takeaways:
  • WFH strategies must focus on maintaining productivity, employee morale and collaborative workflows.
  • Robust security infrastructure is needed to guard against vulnerabilities in WFH settings.
  • Skills requirements are broadening, and combinations of skill sets are in short supply.
  • Standardized hiring processes will bring synergies that enable employers to scale easily.
About the authors:

Sanjay Hans is Vice-President, Talent Acquisition, and Naveen Malhotra is Head, Talent Acquisition at Iris Software, Inc.

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