Finding Talent in Unexpected Places

January 22, 2020 Amber Harris

Rapidly advancing technologies, changing job roles and a shift in the talent market have forced HR leaders to expand their search for new and prospective candidates. What does this mean in practice?

finding talent

At a roundtable event held with some of our clients, one of the topics of conversation focused on the need to look outside of the traditional talent pool to attract candidates to meet the demands of the new workplace. Market commentators and researchers echo this sentiment and Deloitte highlighted this in its Global Human Capital Trends 2019 Report. We think there is nothing to suggest that this is no longer the case as we head into 2020. 

In its report, Deloitte proposed that organizations need to look at additional talent pools because of a number of factors. 
Firstly, there is a general shortage of talent because of record low unemployment rates in some countries as well as general demographic changes we are witnessing. Organizations are also faced with the scarcity of some specific skills for the newer digital roles. Couple these issues with the impact of automation on roles and the shift in flexible and more agile working patterns/contracts and, as the Deloitte report highlights, recruiting has become more difficult. It has led to a war of employer brands, stronger recruitment campaigns, a surge in the application of hiring technologies, and the recognition that organizations must now consider how best to continuously access talent. 
It means that recruiters need to relook at the talent pools in which they are ‘fishing’, such as:
  • Previously untapped talent groups such as women returners and those studying at less traditional campuses.
  • The ‘alternative workforce’ such as gig workers and contractors; rethinking how people are ‘employed’.
  • Developing the current employee base by supporting the acquisition of the new competencies needed in a transforming organization. 
Non-traditional Talent Pools
Organizations have long recognized the benefits of having their workforce reflect the diversity of their customer base and this has prompted businesses to look beyond their traditional pools. 
We see this in the work with our clients. For example, a UK public services company recruiting graduates for its graduate programmes regardless of subject or institution studied at, and a Norwegian accountancy firm re-thinking and re-articulating its values to attract talent who would not have considered it as an employer previously.
We have clients who have invested heavily in campaigns to attract more diverse applicants, to get a great proportion of female and BAME* candidates, and to level the playing field when it comes to assessment. 
The Alternative Workforce
The alternative workforce is growing – and organizations are seeking out the talent they need in this workforce. 
These are the people working with ‘gig’ arrangements such as contractors, contingent workers and freelancers. It means that organizations have the ability to flex their workforce as needed, bring in specific skills and capabilities as required, without the on-payroll costs and restrictions. But, the integration of such a workforce brings its own challenges; that of engagement, loyalty and management. For the gig worker, such contracts bring greater flexibility and variety in work.  
Our clients tell us how this previously untapped talent pool is changing how they map out and plan for the future.
Current Employees
45% of respondents in the Deloitte report reported that their employees lack information about the availability of roles within their organization for career progression. It is little wonder that 56% of the survey respondents said it is easier for their employees to find a new role outside of the company than within. This may be building up problems for the future, as talent and knowledge leaves the business and it is harder to replace them. 
We believe that organizations must look internally at their current talent. They need to understand the skills and competencies they have now, and what is needed to take the organization forward. New competencies will inevitably be needed in the new digital world; our validated digital competency framework shows this. 
The challenge to organization is how to best support current employees to develop and grow into new roles. One of our clients has met this challenge head on. It has assessed its current talent, shared plans for future job roles, supported its people to develop new competencies and skills and to move into new roles. It learned that much of the talent needed to take the business forward, unexpectedly was already within the business. 
If you recognize the need to look beyond your traditional talent pool or develop your current employee competency and capability range and want to have an initial exploratory conversation with us, then get in touch. 
*Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (used to refer to members of non-white communities in the UK).
Do you want to know more about how assessments encourage diversity? Take a look at our white paper - click here.

About the Author

Amber Harris

Amber Harris is an Account Manager with over 20 years recruitment experience within the UK, such as Talent Acquisition for Volume and Management roles, Attraction, Selection and Early Careers. As an Account Manager with Assessment Solutions by Aon, formerly cut-e, Amber has worked alongside occupational psychologists to manage the delivery of volume recruitment campaigns for companies that include easyJet, M&S and Ocado. Due to her recruitment experience, she is able to put herself into her clients‘ shoes when solving clients problems and looking at commercials. Amber’s account work to date has spanned a range of private sector organizations including aviation, retail and telecommunications.

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