We’re all navigating uncertain times. Economic and organisational changes are having a huge impact on the talent market. Supply chain issues, skills shortages, and rapid economic shifts are adding additional layers of challenges for the talent acquisition (TA) leaders.
With the constant flex in the market today, planning for tomorrow may seem impossible. So, how can TA leaders plan and put an effective strategy in place?
TA teams are struggling to get clear line of sight to do workforce planning for the months ahead. They worry they won’t be ready when they need to start recruiting. And if you’re not ahead of it, you’re behind it.
Recently, AMS held a roundtable with some of APAC’s leading TA professionals from a variety of sectors, including hospitality, medical technology, data and analytics, and more. The panellists discussed how businesses are responding to the challenges and opportunities in workforce planning, and how they are finding the right talent in today’s uncertain market.
Scalability is key
The need for scalability in today’s uncertain market was a major theme of the event. While the APAC region continues to see stronger growth than others, it is crucial for TA teams to be able to cope with the ebb and flow of demand in the overall global economic conditions. If you don’t know what’s around the next corner, how do you prepare for it?
Our roundtable experts emphasised the need to be proactive and to look ahead.
One of the panel speakers had previously partnered with AMS to ensure their TA teams were scalable to today’s shifting market. Working with AMS provided them with a sourcing hub in different global locations. With the APAC market growing at pace, it allowed them to look at recruiting in countries that were quieter – for example, having Singapore recruiters flexing to Australia, India and elsewhere. Wherever there was a need, a global solution provided the ability to flex and scale to fill those gaps where it was needed most.
Think global, not local
A successful business needs the right quality of talent. But with the talent and skills shortages affecting organisations world-wide, the hiring market is much more competitive. In order for businesses to move to the next level, they need to look beyond their own doorstep.
Many of the panel experts said a significant focus right now is trying to break down barriers to create a truly global organisation when hiring talent. For example, the right candidate might be based in India for a role in America. Or a role in Sydney might be perfect for someone in London. Businesses need to understand how to navigate the complexity of local markets – on a global stage – to capitalise on talent that they may otherwise overlook.
But for this solution to be successful, leadership needs to work closely with HR departments. The key will be looking at ways to put together plans so that all functions are thinking as one. With one approach, finding the right candidates, wherever they may be, becomes easier.
Another way APAC businesses are getting better visibility over workforce planning is by setting up global transfer teams. By having better dialogue around working cross-border, and understanding the complexities to do this, they are able to work together to put the right candidates in the right place.
After all, it’s easy to hire in your own local market, but when you’re an international business, you need to be more agile.
Combating the skills shortage
There was one thing all panel experts agreed on: skills shortages. Technical and professional roles in particular are a pain point across multiple industries.
One of the ways some TA teams are tackling this, is by looking at how they partner with universities and colleges. By working closely with these educational institutions, they can understand what type of new graduate talent will be coming through the pipeline and ensure the candidate numbers are there to fill the roles.
Another way to bridge the skills gap and capture Gen-Z talent, is setting up apprenticeship academies. By doing it themselves and not relying on government approval, panellists outlined how they were able to fast-track people while they were in the job, ensuring they were qualified more quickly, and had the specific skills needed for their role.
Ultimately, one of the central ways the panel speakers are staying ahead of the game is by ensuring access to, and building, a wide talent pool. Those on the panel are arming themselves with the ability to draw on candidates when they need to fill a role – and quickly. But talent pools aren’t easy to look after. Talent won’t hang around and wait for those critical jobs. Maintaining and nurturing talent pools is also a crucial part of the process.
Retain, not recruit
Many businesses are experiencing high attrition rates. One panellist said that their TA team had to replace the same role twice in a year. This kind of turnover can take a huge toll on TA resources.
What was apparent is that the go-to solution for most at the executive level of the business was to look externally for new talent. But this can be counter-productive and doesn’t always address the problem.
One speaker said that their TA teams are looking at things differently and approaching the issue by concentrating on retention. They’re trying to create a culture around internal mobility through a skills-based approach and pushing this as a new business model.
How are they delivering this? Through prioritising training and development of the individual and giving the employees more tools and skills to support their career development. This approach helps to reduce attrition rates, as well as prevent the emergence of further skills shortage.
But as the speaker noted, while this can be an effective way to mitigate skills shortages internally, it can be difficult to achieve buy-in from higher-ups in the organisation.
Another issue discussed was around how people now look at work differently. The pandemic has changed the way many people look at work. No longer is it a 9-to-5 job in the office – employees are demanding new ways of working. This is proving challenging for businesses, especially now that they are returning to the more traditional approaches to work and office life.
Employees don’t want to go back to how it was. So, TA Directors need to address this when hiring candidates. More and more of us are now working from home, so businesses are having issues navigating this tricky subject. Some businesses have begun 4-day week trials, and it will be interesting to see how successful these are to the operational needs of the business.
The future is AI
Another interesting topic among the panel experts was the emergence of AI tools, and how these will flow into HR systems. Could it help internal mobility? Will it be able to spot and predict trends? Can it provide a greater understanding (and tracking) of what skillsets the business has within its organisation?
The possibilities of AI are endless. One expert noted that an AI forecasting tool to understand what candidates are looking for would be game-changing. The right technology could mitigate the feeling from HR that they’re always playing catch-up. Currently, by the time they do, the candidate requirements have moved on.
An appetite for change
One thing that was loud and clear from the webinar session is that all our panel experts are looking at creative solutions. From thinking about new ways to scale, to being prepared for whatever is around the next corner.
But as everyone agreed, taking the business on the journey is tricky. There’s an appetite within TA to bring in alternative skills and new ways of working, but less so within the business. Their immediate agenda is still getting projects done and work finished.
Need help in building a workforce plan in today’s uncertain talent market? Speak to AMS today.