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March 12, 2014 / Mervyn Dinnen

4 Questions About Talent and Technology

It’s nearly time for the HRTechEurope Spring Conference & Expo. I’ll be heading in to London on March 27th joining HR and Recruitment professionals, tech specialists and fellow bloggers to try and find out what’s old and what’s new, what we need and what we don’t.

It’s currently tough out there in the world of HR when it comes to talent acquisition. On a daily basis we’re fighting wars, covering skill shortages, putting a sticking plaster over long term people development and tearing our hair out over how to create the workforces our businesses need to face a future of growth and accelerating technological development.

Or so it seems. Rarely a day goes by without another report, white paper, survey or opinion piece on the huge challenges of creating the future workforce. They need to be highly skilled and motivated, locationally and contractually flexible, and ready to hit the ground running.

But this isn’t a perfect world, and people aren’t disposable goods to be chopped and changed. Instead of the constant and seemingly frenetic rush to get the best right now let’s look at some longer term issues that short term talent acquisition strategies may be covering up…

Are You Looking Everywhere?

By everywhere I mean everywhere. As I recently wrote for Monster, there’s a lot of talent right under your nose that you’re probably overlooking. Most probably…

  • Current employees who have skills and strengths that you haven’t recognised and can adapt to new challenges
  • Alumni who have moved on, had different experiences, gained knowledge and progressed
  • Candidates who have applied before and were not a good match then, and are now probably nestling in a black hole in your ATS hiding their very relevant talents
  • And remember, all the above have friends, collaborators and alumni who may be right

Is Your On-Boarding Good Enough?

We all know that if something’s going to go wrong then it will more than likely happen in the first 2/3 months so are your on-boarding and induction processes up to scratch? Is talent seeping away from the business because you’re not making the most of it when it first arrives? Think back to good people who just didn’t seem to work out with you and look at why. There may be a recurring theme.

Are You Growing From Within?

The people you’ve already invested in should be the first choice for new roles. My first job was within a medium-sized accountancy firm and we had PAs to Partner who had started as filing clerks (OK, you don’t get many of them any more) and accounting assistants who had originally joined in a clerical or admin role. The partners constantly tried to invest in developing the good, loyal people they had rather than demotivate and lose them by going outside. Do your people really feel that they have a future with you?

Have You Created the Right Environment?

To nurture talent you need a nurturing environment. One where people aren’t afraid to try and fail as part of the learning experience, and aren’t rewarded purely on achieving KPIs that preclude the opportunity to collaborate, innovate, share and provide feedback.

If the solution to filling new positions is always to go external and throw money at someone who’s performing at a competitor then this will become a self fulfilling modus operandi which will be difficult to break. And dangerous too as top achievers in a business usually benefit from a support structure and culture that enables them to do their best; there’s never a guarantee that they would achieve the same results in a different environment that offered a very different structure and culture.

There will probably be a lot of technology at HRTechEurope that can help enable this, but first it needs a mindset. A commitment to doing something fresh, an openness to new ideas and approaches.

Because to keep fighting the same mythical wars and keep moaning about shortages and expect to get different results would be insanity. Right?

(Image via SAP.info)

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