Defining TA’s Future: Partnerships, Paradigms, and Possibilities

Posted by Denise Moulton and Tim Davis on January 31, 2019.

Bersin’s most recent High-Impact Talent Acquisition study1 found that high-performing talent acquisition (TA) functions are building the workforce of the future through deep integration with the business, a strong focus on relationships, experimenting with technology, and reinforcing the organization’s people culture. However, many TA functions continue to operate in isolation, often lacking a connection to or an influence on business strategy.

Many TA operating models currently don’t empower the function to thrive in a future that’s moving toward accessing—versus acquiring—talent. Moreover, the emergence of enduring human capabilities2—in addition to skills, internal talent marketplaces, augmented technologies, and leveraging the alternative workforce—has driven an exponential spike in the hiring of TA professionals (see Figure 1).3 TA continues to grow in importance, and change is overdue.

Organizations need a modern blueprint to redefine the purpose and function of TA and its operating model. TA leaders should reframe their focus and demonstrate strong correlations between key activities and business outcomes, all within the construct of deploying a highly networked and strategic function that contributes to employee lifetime value.4

Figure 1. Hiring Trend for Talent Acquisition Professionals*

*Analysis of records data on job postings.

Source: Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2020.

The Future Starts Now
Future-focused TA functions should understand and embrace disruption. While TA’s primary purpose has been to attract top talent, the impact of the workforce’s changing composition, artificial intelligence, and evolving organizational contexts have prompted the function to recode tried-and-true practices that have fueled the TA engine for decades. A new class of TA professionals will embed a “venture talent” mindset to deliver solutions that enable workforce development and retention.

The TA function has no choice but to transform—and quickly. But how can TA be a catalyst for change if it’s programmed to hire for a singular role versus empowered to position the right talent capabilities to meet business needs in the flow of work? The war for talent isn’t a thing of the past; it wages onward, and TA needs a healthy operating model to enable teams to be in front of change while sustaining value and impact.

Our upcoming Talent Acquisition Operating Model research will dig into all this and seek to address the following:

  • How TA professionals can advance their partner role and become a proactive talent strategist to the business
  • The benefits of agile talent acquisition in managing volume recruiting and talent forecasting to mitigate “just in time” and reactive recruiting practices
  • How invigorating key internal and external relationships allows the TA function to tackle talent needs in real time and deliver talent that sticks
  • Why optimized technology and augmenting work are essential for TA professionals

Capturing TA’s True Value
A less traditional, highly augmented, and networked approach to TA will enable improved business outcomes and the organization’s continued ability to supply top talent. However, TA’s influence doesn’t stop there: TA professionals can create opportunities and become an agent for talent. A refined approach to how the function operates and governs itself will create space for workers (both on- and off-balance sheet) to gain experiences, develop capabilities, and thrive. Our new research series will explore many facets of the future of TA and its operating model. We hope you enjoy the journey!

Denise Moulton is a vice president and talent acquisition research leader at BersinTM, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Tim Davis is a senior research analyst at BersinTM, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

1Six Key Insights to Put Talent Acquisition at the Center of Business Strategy and Execution, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2018 / Robin Erickson and Denise Moulton.
2Capabilities and Skills: The New Currency for Talent, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2019 / Julie Hiipakka, David Mallon, Denise Moulton, and Kathi Enderes.
3Deloitte Human Capital Data Lake, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2020.
4“What Is Employee Lifetime Value, and How Can Measuring ELTV Improve Your Organization?” Hire by Google, August 1, 2019,

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