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Old solutions don’t solve new problems – especially in talent acquisition. We have seen phenomenal changes and disruptions in the talent marketplace in the last two years. Employers have been forced to reevaluate how they hire and retain people, including filling skills gaps, flexible scheduling, and exploring ways to improve mental health and wellbeing. Without embracing innovative solutions that sit outside of traditional talent models, employers risk losing their entire workforce to competitor firms.
In September, I had the honour of hosting a panel of distinguished industry leaders at SIA’s CWS Summit North America. The panel, composed of Pontoon clients, focused on hiring challenges in the market, sharing lessons learned and how organisations can reduce risk by reimagining total talent strategies. The conversation included insights from clients representing four distinct industries: Consulting, Technology, Financial Services, and Automotive. These clients collectively represent over $500 billion in global revenues annually.
The engaging conversation identified many areas of opportunity, from tracking DE&I impact to new talent attraction and retention methods to redesigning processes with smarter workflows focused on internal collaboration.
Synergy as a talent strategy
Implementing a successful talent strategy starts with engaged leadership. Business leaders are responsible for understanding worker needs and business capabilities, balancing the attraction and retention ecosystem, and challenging the status quo.
Understanding each piece of the talent puzzle, whether contingent or permanent, is critical to delivering a consistent and repeatable talent strategy that is aligned with the broader HR strategy. Panellists expressed the need for internal alignment between business units is essential to have the most optimal impact.
One area of focus that was discussed was a comprehensive approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). For socially responsible companies, attracting and retaining diverse candidates must start with diverse suppliers. DE&I is not only about maintaining diverse suppliers and tracking spend to meet goals but must also become part of the overall company culture. Companies are partnering with tech suppliers to enhance the tracking of diverse talent within recruiting funnels. The future, although still in its infancy, points to the automation of capturing diversity data during the hiring process for analysis, creating actionable and repeatable solutions.
Lifelong learning to upskill and retain workers
As the conversation evolved, the topic of how to best upskill and reskill talent came into focus. How can companies adapt to digitisation and become an employer of choice in a remote working world? Our talent acquisition experts were happy to highlight customised educational opportunities to solve attrition challenges and improve worker stickiness.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for internal training programmes and mechanisms that work for one group of workers might not be suited for others. A differentiated approach that considers labour market conditions, geographical adaptation, and agility to meet business needs, is the optimal approach.
Employers are hiring for skills and roles that didn’t exist two years ago. With the adoption of digital innovation and transformation, job descriptions are being rewritten, and talent attraction methods are evolving to include lifelong learning as an essential aspect of the employer value proposition.
Internships, apprenticeships, and educational school outreach are great ways to nurture brand awareness and a culture of continuous learning. Continuing education providers like General Assembly can provide experiential learning opportunities for today’s most in-demand skills. By identifying various educational partners and working with local non-profits, employers are tapping into talent early and late in their careers and empowering workers to upskill and reskill for upward mobility within the organisation.
A total talent strategy
Talent management is a team effort. Aligning permanent and contingent talent programmes requires sharing information and best practices, seamlessly blending two models into a single customised solution. Panellists quickly shared lessons learned during the pandemic and how their companies know that a siloed approach will not work. Partners like Pontoon break down these silos between worker classification, leveraging market intelligence and analytics to drive intelligent decision-making.
With an expanded total talent model, organisations can manage the employee journey from onboarding to retirement, remaining agile and flexible to scale up or down in any economic situation.
Leveraging experienced talent partners to support programme evolution and boost access to alternative sourcing channels adds the option for developing a holistic and sustainable plan forward.
Evolving your talent strategy
At Pontoon, we lead our clients on a journey to enhance what’s working and reimagine the next evolution of their talent ecosystem. Industries are evolving as technology redefines how and where work gets done. Organisations must embrace change, assess emerging technologies and enable new ways of working to remain successful now and in the future.