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Using Technology to Take Advantage of These Workforce Trends

Liz Gelb-O'Connor, VP, Global Head of Employer Brand & Marketing, ADP

Liz Gelb-O'Connor, VP, Global Head of Employer Brand & Marketing, ADP

The talent landscape continues to evolve in an ever-tightening global labor market. With record-low national unemployment and 10,000 Baby Boomers exiting the workforce daily, today’s workforce has many options, and job seekers are becoming especially selective when considering a job change. The tide has turned to a candidate-driven talent market, and with that, the need for savvy passive recruiting techniques, since your best candidates may not be the ones looking.

So, when it comes to an attractive employer brand, it’s no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. With that, there are trends impacting the way companies recruit, hire, and train employees. Some of the trends employers should monitor to attract the best talent:

Sourcing the Right Talent, Not Just the Top Talent

Today, almost every company is in competition for the top, most highly-skilled talent available, but fighting for the best of the best is unsustainable in the long-run; there simply aren’t enough high performers to go around, especially for jobs like data scientists. Given how employees are being more selective with the jobs they accept, employers need to rethink their recruitment strategies and talent pools. Sourcing the right talent may mean modifying selection criteria and expanding the definition of what makes the right talent. For some companies, that means swimming downstream to early education programs to nurture and groom future talent.

"AI, analytics tools, and gamification are just a few things that are available to help recruiters navigate the sometimes tumultuous search for talent"

Companies who focus only on cream-of-the-crop candidates risk ending up with higher turnover and increased cost of labor in addition to gaps in talent. The best of the best don’t need to be loyal; they have unending streams of opportunity. To solve this issue, some progressive companies are looking at candidates with non-traditional backgrounds who have strong soft skills in things like: cross cultural competency, computational thinking, social intelligence, new media literacy, virtual collaboration, and a design mindset. Teaching someone the hard skills with the requisite soft skills could make an even better talent fit than hiring for hard skills alone.

Technology can help. By analyzing internal data from existing employees as well as data from the job market, benchmarking and analytics tools can dig into what types of skills people in certain positions have in order to help better define job descriptions, ultimately helping recruiters source better candidates from the start. But, look beyond job-related skills to aptitude. Technology can also help a company recognize if industry competitors are paying higher wages, building leaders faster, and engaging employees more effectively.

The Freelance Workforce: Not Just a One-Time Gig

Look inside many organizations today and you’ll notice an uptick in freelancers, reflecting a growing “gig economy.” The IRS has seen a steady decline in the number of fulltime, W-2 workers over the past 15 years, whereas the number of 1099 freelance workers has increased by around 22 percent since 2000.

As the gig economy picks up steam, employers should consider this in their talent recruitment strategies. Do their offices and business processes accommodate remote or gig workers? Do they provide simple hiring logistics (paperwork, onboarding) and make gig workers feel like part of the team? Organizations should consider how their technology can do this by providing remote work options, integrating them into existing training programs, and creating the operational processes to accommodate those temporary roles.

Teaching Hard Skills On-the-Job

With the shift in workforce demographics and attitudes, speed of technological change, and the ever-increasing cost of higher education, a bachelor’s degree may fade as a requirement for job openings. Taking high school or college graduates without all the hard skills they need, but with strong soft skills and an appetite for leaning, will be more common.

To prepare, companies should start assessing potential candidates for skills like problem solving and pattern recognition, and ask themselves – are these candidates resilient and creative? Google is already doing this. They look at fit in a different way by using gamification for assessments and testing people with video games for aptitude outside of their normal business experience. This represents an important shift in how companies can assess college graduates and early talent.

Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

In many ways, talent acquisition and recruiting is a marketing game. HR and recruiters need to think like marketers, since they sell one of the most important products a company has: careers. Investing in a strong digital and social presence like a company’s career site and its job board is an important part of “showing their story” and attracting talent. Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor are all top sites and digital stops that talent makes to learn more about companies, job openings, and read about the experiences of their peers.

Beyond an attractive career site, companies should consider the entire candidate experience. More and more career sites are offering chatbots (AI) to answer applicant questions in real-time and make them feel like they are talking to a real person. Other trending technologies include mobile apps, texting, and AI scheduling software similar to career site chatbots to set up interviews and manage hiring team calendars. Asynchronous video interviewing is another tool used to streamline the recruitment process, especially those that include AI to read into patterns and sentiment in order to recommend whether a candidate should move on the next phase in the interview process.

These trends are just a few of many factors changing the recruitment landscape. As the workforce continues to evolve so must the strategies used by HR professionals. Thankfully, technology has continued to progress as new challenges arise. AI, analytics tools, and gamification are just a few things that are available to help recruiters navigate the sometimes tumultuous search for talent. Those companies who neglect to keep up are at risk of being left behind. That said, there should be a feeling of excitement with all the new technology, and its ability to enable talent professionals to respond to the challenges, in a way never before possible.