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Talent Disruption: What’s Next?


Last week, I attended and presented at Futurestep’s second annual client event, themed Talent Disruption: What’s Next? with clients attending from Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Below is a round-up of the event’s main talking points.

Key talent acquisition & retention challenges

The following summarizes some of the key challenges presented by Futurestep’s clients, which align with what NelsonHall is seeing across vendor clients globally:

  • Talent shortage will only increase. Per Korn Ferry’s Global Talent Crunch study, there will be a possible talent deficit of 85.2million workers by 2030, with India being the only country to have a talent surplus
  • Having the right talent, including the right cultural fit. To achieve this, you first have to determine the best talent more quickly, including being able to demystify resumes and match candidates faster
  • Creation of talent banks, talent pipelining and talent communities are more important than ever before
  • More automation will be needed. However, there is a false expectation that all technology means better and that it will eliminate manpower, and this is not always the case as businesses always want to do more with less
  • Once you determine the candidates you want, they need to be given a standout experience.

Another challenge that featured strongly was that companies need to have an effective employer brand. Consumers and candidates have evolved. Twenty years ago, it took three impressions for candidates to decide on which employer they wanted to work for; today that number is 7-10 brand exposures. See also Employer Branding: An Essential Talent Management Strategy.

And the subject of cultural challenge was also covered, with one presentation on the world’s most admired companies citing the following challenges: the importance of culture supporting your strategy, the need to measure the impact of culture, and also to reward desired behaviors.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, however, is that leaders do not spend enough time on people-related aspects of the business, and would do well to follow the example of the most admired companies (whose leaders spend an average of 30% of their time on talent management, including talent acquisition and talent development).

So what is next for talent disruption?

NelsonHall research based on interviews conducted with end-user RPO clients in 2017 showed that candidate communication ranked highest in terms of future client importance at 96%, yet client satisfaction with candidate communication was only 82%, a big delta. Chatbots/virtual assistants were, not surprisingly, one of the most talked-about disrupters at the event. And, importantly, they are able to address the big issue of candidates not hearing back from potential employers.

Chatbots can complete up to 80% of candidate communications, e.g. understanding and evaluating candidates’ responses to job descriptions, sending job postings to candidates, scheduling interviews, answering questions, and providing updates (e.g. when a position is filled). They use NLP and machine learning to chat with candidates in their preferred language, and they also increase the speed of applicants to interview and the ratio of applicant to hire. In the case of Mya from Mya Systems, there is a 4:1 applicant to hire ratio vs. the industry average of 10:1, and it takes less than 72 hours to get candidates to the interview stage.

You can read more about talent acquisition virtual agents in a recent blog by my colleague Nikki Edwards.

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