The Future of HR lies in helping the organization adapt to three futures happening simultaneously: the future of enterprise, the future of the workforce, and the future of work itself. To do that, HR should shift itself in four key ways—cultivating a digital mind-set, adopting a customer-centric focus, viewing operations through a new lens, and fostering productivity and engagement through the use of technology enablers. Making these shifts can help position HR to lead the organization into the future—which includes meeting what may be the most critical future need of all: attracting talent.
The question of whether shifting to the Future of HR would help attract talent was posed by participants in our recent Dbriefs webinar (viewable on demand). We certainly think it can and, in fact, shifting to the Future of HR can lead the way in changing the whole conversation about the workforce, which is so necessary for enterprises to thrive in the future. While for years we have talked about the workforce in terms of “attract, develop, retain,” now it’s a matter of “access, curate, engage.”
Why do these words matter? It’s not just semantics. We now have a labor model that requires bringing together a range of workers—some traditional employees, some contingent workers. So it’s not just about attracting people to join the organization, developing them, and retaining them forever. In fact it’s about accessing talent from all different places, curating experiences to help increase their knowledge and keep pace with ever-changing skill sets, and engaging them no matter where they come from, orchestrating their experiences in a way that drives teaming and productivity and enables continuous learning.
Recruiters in the future of Talent Acquisition (TA—maybe that “A” should now also stand for Access), aren’t going to be able to meet organizational needs by thinking only about the job at hand today. TA’s real value—and this is supported by our High-Impact Talent Acquisition research1—is helping to build out the workforce of the future. While satisfying the most pressing workforce needs and delivering what the business is asking for is still mission No. 1, at the same time TA should start thinking about focusing on those capabilities that are going to be needed in the future of work. This includes shifting hiring managers’ mind-sets as well and bringing them along in understanding the need for this longer-term perspective.
Jobs are changing and careers are lengthening—neither is going away, but they are changing, so we need to hire different capabilities to accommodate these changes and consider how candidates are going reinvent themselves as they continue through their career. At the same time, we need to consider cultural fit and candidate potential. We can’t just hire for today; we have to think about sustainability for tomorrow and enriching the candidate pool, realizing, as high-performing TA functions do, that some of the best candidates can emerge from unlikely places.2
Our research shows that high-performing TA teams evaluate candidates for things like work ethic and viewpoints along with work experience and competencies to find those with the best fit. Nine out of 10 high-performing TA functions surveyed said that they use workplace values as a basis for hiring, as compared with only 35% of low-performing TA functions.3
How can technology enablers help?
We know that the world of Talent Acquisition technology is complex, with many vendors looking to disrupt the way recruiters do their job and automating parts of the process. But there’s not a single do-it-all solution (and there may never be). We continue to see large organizations with 15 or 20 different TA technologies in their tech stack. In many ways, this willingness to embrace technology tools speaks well of TA. The highest performing TA functions are 2x more likely to innovate—and test new processes, tools, capabilities and training—than the lowest performing TA functions.4 But having so many tools available adds complexity, and if we don’t focus on keeping it simple, people may never use all the tools available and thus never reap their advantages.
We’ve discussed how a unified engagement platform (UEP) can enable organizations to look beyond individual solution providers and bring together various solutions from multiple providers into one, holistic and consistent experience for workers. We see tremendous possibility for a UEP to do the same for TA specifically to manage and simplify these disparate systems. Doing so would enable TA to really focus on those higher-value human activities, such as evaluating candidates for current openings and cultivating relationships with potential candidates with an eye toward meeting the organization’s future needs.
Securing TA’s future in the Future of HR
For the most part, if TA keeps doing the things it’s always done—open a job, fill a job, next— that’s not a process that results in long-term value or impact to the organization. Instead TA should balance meeting immediate needs—identifying candidates who fit the culture and can get the job done, focused on those who embody the values, behaviors, skills, and interest for success in the future of work. That’s a winning combination in terms of meeting the enterprise’s workforce needs for today and tomorrow while keeping TA at the forefront of the Future of HR.
1 The Talent Acquisition Maturity Model, BersinTM, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Robin Erickson, PhD, and Denise Moulton, 2018.