Despite all the talk about the potential of entering a recession, all of us who work in Talent Acquisition know that the jobs market remains incredibly competitive. The US reported a 528,000 increase in permanent employment in July with unemployment at 3.5%. And in the UK, latest data shows that employment rose by 296,000 with unemployment holding steady at 3.8%, a near 50 year low. We’re still seeing turnover that is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels and evidence that suggests that the majority of those workers leaving jobs are leaving their previous industries completely. It seems very likely that inflation will drive a period of stagnation, if not a full recession, and unemployment is likely to rise in many countries but I expect companies will continue to struggle to retain their existing skilled workers and hire new external talent.
Covid has created a revolution in the ways that many of us work, the ways we conduct business and support our customers. It has made many of us reassess our lives, the work we want to do, the balance we want to achieve. And whilst some aspects of life have reverted back to pre-pandemic, things will never revert back completely. Workers today are spending 5 times as much time working from home than they were seven years ago and 38% less time commuting.
Covid has had a profound impact on the way that we work so will we now see a profound impact on HR practices?
Few would disagree with my assertion that we need a new approach to internal hiring. We need new technologies that give organizations a holistic view of their talent and skills and technologies that proactively help to match internal talent to new internal opportunities. We need to change our corporate cultures so that managers are encouraged or rewarded to develop and progress their existing talent. And we need to allow talent acquisition teams to proactively approach internal talent for roles in the same way that we would do for external talent.
We also need new strategies to better retain talent – to progress careers internally within our organisations, to recognise, develop, re-skill and up-skill. Josh Bersin advocates a systemic model for HR that focusses on reskilling, redesigning, recruiting and retaining. It’s a very insightful piece that is well worth a read.
. . . many studies now prove that almost a third of the workforce will change employers this year and more than 40% of these job-hoppers will change industry. So regardless of these layoffs, you’re seeing in over-inflated tech companies, virtually every company is struggling to hire, retain, and grow their people. Josh Bersin.
And the article linked below from Harvard Business Review promotes a ‘reimagining of retention’ – a shift in culture from promotion to progression, enabling career experiments and rewarding managers for progressing rather than hoarding talent.
These changes in culture and working practices will not be easy to achieve and will necessitate a significant shift in the focus of our HR teams and the investment that we place in our existing talent. The change is coming but, as always, some will be late to the party.