With the headcount freeze finally thawed and unemployment levels returning to their pre-recession levels in most industries and geographies, the strategic business need for a best-in-class talent function has never been more critical. After all, according to a SHRM survey, 73% of US organizations are currently hiring full time employees.
The bad news behind this seemingly rosy figure, however, is that this same survey finds that the majority of those employers (58%) were “hiring direct replacements of jobs lost or eliminated” since the start of the recession in 2008. Only 30% of companies, by contrast, were hiring for completely new positions necessitated by business growth or organizational demand.
These statistics underscore the paradox of talent management today. Focusing already limited bandwidth and resources primarily on backfilling (and rebuilding) organizations instead of focusing on the kind of new hires who drive both business results and innovation only underscores the importance of talent planning and workforce strategy.
Most recruiting and talent acquisition functions need only to look in a mirror to fully comprehend how profound these changes in operational and strategic focus really are. The aphorism of “first hired, first fired” rings particularly true for recruiters, a disproportionate percentage of whom themselves victims of recession-related restructuring.
These same talent acquisition practitioners, of course, now find themselves as among the most in-demand of all non-technical or healthcare related professional specialties, with companies increasingly looking to realign and redefine their recruiting resources. This presents an ideal opportunity for the profession to retrench and rethink both immediate and long-term strategies for success.
One overlooked key – but inarguably, a core competency – for this success lies in partnerships. After all, the partners companies have are more critical than ever. So too is demonstrating recruiting ROI and bottom line results. With changes in the job market and the balance of power shifting back towards employees instead of employers, building a business case for recruiting success depends on striking a happy medium behind the seemingly competing concepts of revenue growth and cost control.
The only real way that companies, however, will be able to achieve this balance in a sustainable and scaleable way without burning out their current workers or eroding most of their margins recruiting new ones (or paying a premium for consultants and contractors) is through leveraging a partnership approach to recruiting. For these employers, building relationships and meaningful partnerships starts with strategically selecting, and aligning with, the right vendors.
Choosing the right recruitment technology partners and HR services providers creates an outlet for turning on – or shutting off – talent acquisition initiatives in a way that’s minimally disruptive and cost efficient. By utilizing the external expertise and specialty skill sets of a third-party organization rather than a third-party individual worker, employers can build partnerships with vendors to manage the ‘front end’ of the talent acquisition process, what we call talent generation, which allows the limited resources of most recruiting organizations to focus on things like selection, on-boarding, succession planning and retention. This streamlined approach moves recruitment from an administrative to a strategic function and means that recruiting – and HR – can really focus on supporting growth rather than essentially managing turnover.
Deepening these existing vendor relationships – or filling in the gaps by building new ones - creates a seamless, fully scalable hiring model that ultimately integrates that infrastructure with deep expertise in systems and services which preempts the need for continually refining talent strategy and resources along with the labor market.
Creating an external center of excellence for the talent generation component of the hiring process means employers can build on the bench strength, hands-on experience, engagement and expertise of that vendor so that talent leaders can really focus on the skill that matters most: being a true business partner.
The rumors of the death of corporate recruiting are greatly exaggerated. On the contrary, corporate recruiters must have the internal experience and expertise to look beyond process and tactics and effectively evolve – and grow – along with the business.
This skill to juggle shifting variables and recruiting priorities by putting the onus of sourcing, matching and engaging candidates on an external partner frees recruiters up to focus on other areas like workforce management and planning by creating a funnel where the right candidate, the right level and the right time are driven not by the opening of a requisition, but by recruiters themselves.