Bringing agility into the HR function should be a leadership prerogative since it is the key to finding and keeping candidates. Agility helps organisations to respond swiftly to short-term changes, shifting market trends, behavioural transformation, technological interventions, and the ratio of demand and supply and empowers HR to become an important cog in the organisational mechanism.
The future of talent acquisition will be focused on organisations’ ability to how fast can they identify and attract the right talent. In a world where we are spoilt for choices, we have only 2 paths ahead of us, when it comes to agility in talent acquisition:
• Define an agile TA framework
• Be left behind or even fail miserably
The objective of ‘agility’ is to respond to short-term changes, shifting market trends, behavioural transformation, technological interventions, and the ratio of demand and supply – swiftly.
A key part of bringing agility in TA is to work out an effective strategy to define metric and success measures. A few attributes that help define this strategy and promote agility are highlighted below.
Importance of an Agile Mindset
Begin here if you want to foster a spirit of agility. If the recruitment unit, right from the head of talent acquisition to the front-end recruiters do not invest enough in cultivating an agile mindset, agility will only remain a distant wish list.
Provide a conducive environment to innovate, experiment and be pro-risk-taking. Be comfortable with an approach to ‘test and learn’ and let the recruitment team pilot multiple approaches fail many times before they execute a successful plan at a mass level.
Adopt a ‘Prospect’ Candidate Approach
Promote agility by shifting to a ‘pipeline’ model where you keep a limited qualified future prospect candidate pool for any ‘on-demand’ requirement. By adopting this process as an ongoing activity, the TA team can fast track hiring by reaching out to the right candidate when the time demands. Zappos is a great example that uses the ‘Zappos-Insiders’ program for this purpose. This is a community of prospect candidates who someday would want to work with Zappos. By becoming a part of this community one can stay in touch, learn more about the culture, know what’s happening at the company. This touch allows recruiters to get quick closure on hiring.
Build a Pull Mechanism Force
Traditionally talent-acquisition has operated in a push-like system with recruiters bursting on job portals and partner agencies for position closure. By Switching from a push to a pull force model, agility can thrive in a substantial way. Few factors that contribute are:
• Power of effective employer branding (75 Percent of job seekers research about a company’s reputation and employer brand before applying)
• Impact of a lucrative referral policy
• Building an eNPS culture to nurture internal promoters
• Hosting a ‘meet-up’ event as an industry expert
• Invite external talent for Techathon and other case study challenging competition (You don’t pick talent anymore. Talent picks you – give them enough reason to do so.)
• Care for your company’s comments on different social media platforms (Companies with a bad reputation not only struggle to attract candidates, but they also struggle to retain employees.)
• Compensation benchmarking is more relevant today than ever before (How you provide compensation talks volumes about you as an organisation)
• Leverage social media platform to build a close network community
• Look inside before you seek talent on the outside
Internal Department Rotation
Not a common practice, however, the merit of bringing a few selected employees from outside talent acquisition role can pay a rich dividend to your agility flavour. They bring a fresh perspective, think differently, know what works and what does not at a ground level. They are best equipped to understand future expectations from the role. Innovation, simplification, out of the box way to hire talent forms a key driver when it comes to agility and this rotation adoption can serve that purpose with richness. This could be adopted as a temporary arrangement for a few quarters or considered as a ‘stretch role’.
Invest in Sharpening Your Skills
The famous quote from Abraham Lincoln “If I had 5 hours to cut a tree, I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening my axe” holds true for talent acquisition too. Build a robust training architecture for the recruitment team as an ongoing cycle based on the following guidelines:
• 3 months of training before a new recruiter can take on an independent execution role
• Once a month or quarter training intervention for tenured and experienced recruiters to keep pace with the market insights, compensation trends, how to pitch your company’s USP, how to uncover candidate motivators quickly, etc.
• Bi-monthly intervention with business stakeholders for expectation alignment
• Provision to attend and participate in external talent acquisition events
• Soft skills to develop rapport building internally and use it to encourage ‘referrals’
Always keep in mind that how you teach recruiters is how they’ll always operate!
Promote agility by shifting to a ‘pipeline’ model where you keep a limited qualified future prospect candidate pool for any ‘on-demand’ requirement. By adopting this process as an ongoing activity, the TA team can fast track hiring by reaching out to the right candidate when the time demands.
Influence of Millennials and Generation Z
Bringing in millennial or Gen X workforce can significantly impact the recruitment world. Here, a prominent need for constantly being agile and innovative with your recruitment strategy cannot be ignored. If they observe your talent-acquisition process as a lengthy affair, they would look elsewhere. Bring that agile element by defining shorter recruitment cycles:
• Keeping lesser rounds of interviews (3 is good enough)
• If more than 3, it is better to keep it as a one-day event
• Be quick to give feedback (on the spot or the same day perhaps)
• Keep them engaged, involved and connected throughout the cycle
Do It the ‘Scrum’ Way
Software development teams break down the customer feature requests into smaller units of work and each unit carries an estimation of effort necessary for completion. This approach allows for continually prioritizing and maintaining a balance between available bandwidth and customer demand while ensuring no compromise on quality. What if recruiters also operate on picking up positions based on sprint estimations? Be flexible to switch priorities as per business demand. Hold daily stand- up recruitment ‘scrum’ meetings for progress alignment and quick decisions.
Bringing in millennial or Gen X workforce can significantly impact the recruitment world. Here, a prominent need for constantly being agile and innovative with your recruitment strategy cannot be ignored. If they observe your talent acquisition process as a lengthy affair, they would look elsewhere.
Agile recruiting teams prefer candidate-centric platforms at their fingertips that empower them to approach hiring in a new, swift and meaningful way. Technology also helps to forecast accurate future demands by using data collection. Bots are already playing a huge role in reducing the initial screening efforts. Companies such as Entelo, Gild, TalentBin, and esocialCV not just capture the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, and Facebook postings, but also their activity on open-source community forums- StackOverflow, GitHub, Dribbble. This brings agility and quality at the same time as candidates are evaluated by their merits and not just how well they sell themselves in an interview.
To Bring it Together
The relentless pace of technological disruption will ensure that the workplace will continue to evolve and rapidly change. Agility in talent acquisition will hold to be ‘the milestone’ between organisations that would-be leaders in recruitment versus those who feel stagnant in lengthy recruitment processes. Make the right choice, quickly!