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| 2 minutes read

The talent function of the future: Rethinking the path to acquisition success

I’ve written a lot in the last six months about the strategic challenges facing talent leaders.  The ‘great resignation’ isn’t a bump in the road, it’s an ongoing trend that started prior to COVID and will continue for some time to come, fuelled by rising inflation and an ongoing quest by workers for greater flexibility. Whilst there is no silver bullet for what is a huge operational and commercial challenge for employers, there are strategies which progressive companies should be pursuing. 

Let me describe those strategies by describing my view of the optimal Talent Function of the future. Let’s think of this company as Talent Inc.

Talent Inc takes a skills-based approach to all things talent.  They have an Integrated Talent leader who sits on the HRLT and oversees their entire talent strategy including demand planning, internal talent management, L&D and talent acquisition.

Talent Inc has a Talent Intelligence function which can plan the skills that their business will require in the short, medium and long-term. They have also mapped all their existing talent and skills so they know where they have immediate gaps and where those gaps will widen in time.  With this insight they can set a learning and development strategy to plug those gaps internally – focussed on upskilling, reskilling, and retaining their great talent for as long as possible.

These efforts mean that the Talent Acquisition function focuses more than internal mobility than other organisations; they place more internal candidates, and the external hiring profile is at a lower level that their competitors.  They can focus more than others on entry-level talent and early career hiring.  When they do need to search externally for skills, their Talent Acquisition function is empowered by market insight, able to advise the business where future skills can be found and able to tailor their recruitment brand (lets call it Talent Value Proposition) specifically to those skills areas that are in demand.  And of course, Talent Inc focuses their pipelining efforts on skills and only those skills that they know are going to be in demand.

TalentInc understands that the long-term success of their business relies on not just hiring job-ready candidates but hiring the talent with the greatest potential to develop, to reskill and upskill in the future.  They assess candidates for cognitive agility, they place less emphasis on years of experience and, as such, they are radically shifting the diversity of their organisations through their external hiring efforts. 

And TalentInc has a progressive approach to external talent acquisition – the function looks after all hiring whether it’s permanent, fixed-term contracts, whether contractors or gig workers. 

This is the talent function of the future and this is how companies will win and retain the best talent.  But there are other significant benefits too; by reducing the amount of external hiring required, the TA function is much more cost effective than their competitors.  By driving up internal mobility and hiring externally at lower job levels they are reducing their overall payroll costs.  And by hiring for future potential, they are baking in these commercial benefits for the long-term. 

AMS is helping clients to achieve these ambitions, please reach out to me if you would like to discuss any of the concept I’ve shared here.

Bottom line: in this time of labor shortages, job-hopping, and increase in wage inflation, it’s business-critical to get this process right. Talent Acquisition has become one of the most important priorities in business.


rpo, candidate attraction, employer brand, future of work, leadership, reskilling, talent acquisition, flexible working, early careers and campus, upskilling, cws, talent retention