Ten things that businesses should consider when it comes to talent acquisition

Strategy in order to improve business impact

Although productivity in the UK increased in the final quarter of 2017 at the fastest rate that we have seen for 6 years, it still remains well below the pre-financial crisis trend and one of the biggest problems facing the UK economy today. So how do we solve this and improve productivity growth levels in the UK and Europe?

Last year, Cielo surveyed more than 400 talent leaders from seven countries across Europe to explore how businesses’ talent acquisition strategies impact their overall productivity, and thus profitability. While it may not come as a huge surprise that the research showed companies that invest in their talent acquisition report higher productivity and higher profits, the results very clearly showed that investment in talent acquisition can increase profits by up to 20 per cent. Clearly an area that businesses looking to increase productivity and therefore profitability cannot ignore.

As a result Cielo have developed an Impact Maturity Model from their findings, which is published as part of their report European Talent Acquisition Trends: Productivity, Profitability & Personal Impact, and in it, they identified the specific characteristics of well-developed talent acquisition functions, or what they have classified as high impact, and characteristics of medium and low impact talent acquisition functions. Generally, when Cielo refer to the ‘talent acquisition function’ they mean the act of not only fulfilling recruitment needs, but also finding talent that addresses a business’ real needs.

Of those interviewed, average profit margins of organisations ranking as low impact are at 18.75 per cent in comparison to high impact organisations with average profit margins of 41.94 per cent. Additionally, only 12 per cent stated they were operating at a level that is productive as they could be, so improving talent acquisition strategies could potentially help improve 88 per cent of businesses overall.

These figures suggests significant room for improvement, so here are ten things for businesses to consider as part of their approach to talent acquisition that could help make a real impact:

1. Addressing the skills gap

The biggest challenge faced by talent leaders surveyed across the board is the skills gap. For most organisations this is something that requires long-term planning to address. 

A well-defined Employer Value Proposition (EVP) also plays an important part here – ensuring you have validated, honest and engaging reasons for candidates to want to work for your company will attract the best talent that is culturally aligned to your organisation. Today, providing insight into the organisation on the website, e.g. through video content, is crucial to obtaining buy-in from candidates.

2. Creating an attractive working environment

Addressing the skills gap should not just be about hiring new talent into the business. Organisations that wish to attract and retain workers with certain abilities need to understand each role within their organisation and the fact that a particular employee may not need to be in the office from nine to five in order to complete their objectives effectively.

The purpose should be to find the best person to for the job – whether they do it remotely, part time, or as part of a job share. 

3. Getting the basics right

A key challenge faced by the talent leaders surveyed for our report was the need to get back to basics and invest in improving core talent acquisition skills. 

Of the professionals surveyed 33 per cent were looking to improve their telephone interviewing skills - a fundamental area that any talent acquisition function should be delivering to a high standard.

Poor candidate experience regardless of the organisation’s size damages employer brand, and has the potential to damage consumer brand as well. For many businesses candidates may be customers, or future customers of the company, so delivering an exceptional candidate experience should be a real focus.

4. Make sure the face of your business is accessible

Whatever your benefits package, perks or presence in the industry, people ultimately join, and buy-in to people. With this in mind, we have worked closely with some of our clients to improve their employer brand. Again, having a clearly defined Employer Value Proposition is important here. A clear EVP showcases your organisation’s positive attributes, and allows candidates to discover useful content about your company in an engaging and innovative way.  This goes a long way toward demonstrating the culture of a business and making everyone from senior leadership to junior staff more accessible and relatable.

The more a candidate knows about an organisation the more likely they are to self-select themselves into the recruitment process. 

5. Encourage your talent acquisition leaders to network and listen

Creating clear goals is not always easy – but are invaluable in enabling talent leaders to visualise key areas that need improvement. 

External feedback is also a huge factor in goal setting. Talent acquisition teams have a great opportunity to tap into an incredible resource of knowledge and ideas by building networks and connections with their counterparts at other organisations – even competitors. 

6. Use candidates’ feedback to improve your process

Quick wins improving candidate experience can be achieved by teams giving all candidates, regardless of whether they were successful applicants, and hiring managers, the opportunity to feedback on the talent acquisition process. After all, who knows the candidate experience that your organisation offers to prospective talent better than those who have been through the process?

7. Consider technology that can help to improve the efficiency of your talent acquisition process

Scheduling interviews is a common pain point in the talent acquisition process so investigating what technology is available to help you automate different parts of the process, will save significant time and energy. 

The important questions to ask when thinking about automation are: how will this technology help your team, the hiring manager, your stakeholder and the candidate? The technology chosen needs to enhance the process for all parties and integrate easily into your talent acquisition process.

8. Be proactive not reactive

Finding candidates in a time and cost-efficient way was another challenge faced by our survey respondents. Only 31 per cent of talent leaders across all industries surveyed said that they felt their talent acquisition functions were extremely effective at innovating to meet the demands of the business by selecting new technology and tools, and only 30 per cent felt that their talent acquisition functions were generating useful insight, for example, by contrasting workforce needs with the market’s supply of talent. 

Building and maintaining talent pools made up of qualified prospective candidates so there are existing relationships to develop on when a recruitment opportunity arises is one way to help ensure that an organisaiton is prepared for the future.

9. Consider whether an RPO solution may aid you in delivering your talent acquisition needs

Only 37 per cent of those surveyed worked with a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) organisation to support with some or all of the talent acquisition function. The results showed that those that do are more inclined to have a high Impact on business outcomes, talent acquisition and the business as a whole, than exclusively in-house teams. 

Talent acquisition functions that have a mixture of in-house teams and RPOs working in partnership are 49 per cent more likely to score as high impact in our maturity model. Of the companies we surveyed, the average profit margins of organisations with talent acquisition functions that scored as low impact on our matrix was 18.75 per cent, while companies with high impact talent acquisition functions have average profit margins of 41.94 per cent. A considerable difference that it makes sense to address.

10. Maintain candidate engagement levels and relationships

Talent acquisition is only the first stage in a candidate’s journey. Once an offer is accepted and a prospective candidate becomes a pending new starter, it is important to maintain engagement as this is actually one of the most high-risk stages of the process. Across the board of senior talent leaders interviewed 30 per cent cited keeping candidates warm between selection and start date as one of their biggest weaknesses.

After putting the energy into winning new talent, employers need a clear process for passing a candidate that’s accepted a job offer to the relevant onboarding team, and a strong onboarding strategy is vital to maintaining engagement and retaining the best quality talent.

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