4 Global Talent Acquisition Trends to Watch

June 17, 2021 Mervyn Dinnen

two people on virtual call

The COVID-19 pandemic forced most organizations to change the way they attract, hire, develop, and retain their people, whilst at the same time adapting to a different, more flexible ways of working.

As more employees are vaccinated and we begin to emerge from various global lockdowns, businesses need to incorporate new approaches to recruiting. 

There are two areas that immediately concern HR and talent acquisition (TA) professionals. 

Firstly, how will you attract and hire the people you need? 

And secondly, how will you to retain the people you already have?

Before the pandemic, companies in several sectors were reporting skills shortages, whilst the World Economic Forum had forecast that around 50% of our people will need re-skilling by 2025. We see regular reports of a global talent shortage leading many workplace analysts and business leaders to anticipate a post-COVID talent exodus from organizations, further exacerbating concerns over how we can retain and hire the skills businesses need moving forward.

Here are some of the trends TA and HR professionals need to embrace moving forward:

1. Retention

The big question facing most organizations will be how to retain the talent they have. Predictions of a post-pandemic exodus may make for good news stories, but the reality will probably be more nuanced. Employees who have been working productively through the pandemic and in a more flexible way that suits them may well be tempted to stay initially and see how their organization plans to adopt hybrid working over the next few years. 

One potential problem is that the growth of remote and hybrid working means a much broader range of talent is now available to organizations across geographical regions and even countries. Projects can be fulfilled from any location. Whilst this might give access to a much wider talent pool to recruit from, it also means companies might find their employees have a wider range of opportunities to investigate.

Businesses wanting to retain their people will certainly have to offer a more flexible way of working and a clear path to personal growth and development. Employees are aware that the skillsets they will need in the future are changing. Having the opportunity to grow, develop, and learn new skills regularly tops surveys as the number one reason people join and stay, so organizations need to map out clear development paths. 

2. Talent mobility

It follows that one of the biggest trends post-pandemic, and one that will help greatly with retention, is likely to be an increase in talent mobility within organizations. Most analysts predict increased investment in talent intelligence platforms that allow managers and leaders to have clear insight into the range of skills and competencies across the organization. My own research has shown this data is often hard to find, with managers concerned about losing their best people and employees unaware of open vacancies within the organization.

The best way to retain your people is to offer opportunities for learning, development, and growth, which can be enabled through internal mobility. For some businesses this will mean a cultural shift, with leaders open to their top performers taking on new challenges within the organization, and a technological shift that gives insight into all the capabilities and vacancies within the business.

Talent mobility has long been seen as an HR or learning issue, but moving forward it will become a TA priority, as they seek to fill open roles with the best skills available.

3. Virtual hiring

Candidates and talent acquisition teams alike have embraced new approaches such as video interviewing and assessments. And many jobseekers feel comfortable joining businesses and teams they haven’t met or visited in real life. 

However, video calls are not without their problems when compared to face-to-face interviews. They require greater focus and effort in processing non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and the pitch and tone of voices. A German study from 2014 found that a delay as short as two seconds on a video call often shapes a negative view of the people we are speaking to. Research around talent management over the last year has found managers and employees have difficulty in areas such as remote performance management, particularly when it comes to having difficult conversations. 

Conversations® is an agile performance management tool that can help.

Video interviewing is here to stay. It works for candidates and is important in broadening the candidate pool geographically. We need to find ways to improve the experience so that all candidates can present the best version of themselves whilst finding out what they need to know about the organization they are interviewing with. 

4. Candidate experience

The most crucial part of recruitment is the candidate experience. Here’s some data to back that up: 

  • Glassdoor data shows 72% of those who have a bad candidate experience will share the details online. 
  • LinkedIn found 87% of candidates with a positive interview experience will change their mind about a company or role that they had viewed negatively.

Candidates expect a seamless and intuitive journey when applying for roles. Unsurprisingly, candidate experience is one area TA teams most want to improve.

Taking a more scientific approach to improving this can help, particularly by using technology to automate key parts of the process such as interview scheduling and providing timely and informative feedback (the lack of which is the number one frustration for candidates). To attract the best talent ,TA teams should find ways to personalize the experience.

One key learning from the Talent Board’s 10 years of running a Global Candidate Experience Awards program is that it is an ongoing and evolving process rather than a specific problem to be solved. Organizations recognized in one year will not always be recognized the following year. 

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Time will tell if predictions of a talent exodus become a reality. Regardless, all of our businesses need to embrace technology to create better processes and experiences that will help attract and retain the talent we need.

About the Author

Mervyn Dinnen

Mervyn is an HR and talent analyst, researching the emerging trends that impact hiring, development, and retention. He is author of the books "Exceptional Talent" and "Digital Talent."

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