Last twelve months have forced industries to press the hard reset button. Numbers from last year’s Q4 & Annual earnings though suggest the worst is behind us. As a V-shaped recovery is in offing, companies are preparing to slingshot back into profits and contention. In such circumstances, it is quintessential for Senior Management to have clarity in implementation of firm’s strategy and for Human Resources to safeguard its pool of quality talent. Companies should improvise quickly lest they squander this once in a lifetime opportunity to gain leadership. Let us look at some key steps firms can incorporate to side step the Talent Scarcity challenge:
Employee Engagement: Employees are eager to contribute to their firm’s growth. A lackluster employee engagement can easily demotivate even the most loyal among them. Today’s employees expect active engagement and inclusivity from their employers. As Gig Economy approaches realization, employers have to provide an ambitious workforce that is keen to learn, reasons to stay back. Offering tailored development programmes can boost employee satisfaction. In rapidly evolving times, a firm’s adaptability & speed of process improvements will impress even the staunchest of critics. A sense of belonging ensures employees go that extra mile to deliver great results. Diverse profiles bring fresh perspective to problem resolution. Diversity within teams should be encouraged and practiced beyond the Senior Management. Thus, efficient employee engagement has the potential to improve employee performance.
Employee Retention & Referrals: Talent retention is an art and industry leaders are masters at it. They have an enticing onboarding process leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, regularly incentivize employee performances and promote healthy competition among in-house teams. When one normalizes such experiences, it is easier to not only retain talent but also get them to refer your organization within their network. Furthermore, internal referees tend to pre-screen their referrals prior to presenting them to HR. Thus optimizing the process of recruitment.
Social Media: In a recent press conference, a leading football player embarrassed a multinational beverage company when he snubbed the drink and instead endorsed ‘water’. Later, this act was touted as a cause for a $4 Billion dip in the company’s stocks. Within a day, an Indian adhesive company came up with a witty advertisement to this fiasco and earned brownie points. In times of Social Media, it is important for organizations to protect themselves against cheeky attacks while projecting the right image of their firm. Having a strong brand and an active social media presence goes long way in building confidence within one’s workforce - the first customers. Management should task Marketing, PR and HR departments to work together. An efficient use of social media tools can help impress and recruit the right talent.
Alternate approach: ‘Attitude cannot be taught’ is a common phrase I have heard within the recruiting world. Having uttered the phrase, they then proceed to shortlist ‘only the best’ candidates from among the indiscriminate ‘supply of talent’. Application tracking systems worldwide are a perfect example of eliminating poor matches. On the contrary, wouldn’t it optimize one’s efforts if processes were designed to attract the ‘right’ talent instead? Rather than obsessing on recruiting profiles that look great on paper, companies could rather recruit and invest in talent that boasts of long-term potential. Technically, we are turning the recruitment philosophy on its head to base talent acquisition on a ‘talent scarcity’ model. Thus optimizing roles of talent acquisition managers.
Though organization follow multitudes of recruitment processes but given the current situation, I strongly believe it is high time firms concentrate on making the recruitment process more efficient rather than a ‘free-for-all applications’ fest. The tables are turning. We are now entering a phase where talent requires pursuing and persuasion. Coming years will witness this ‘talent’ spoilt for choices. Is your Human Resources ready for this challenge?
Author is Nilesh Gaikwad - Country Manager at EDHEC Business School, France.