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Saturday 30 August 2014
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Time for us all to become business influencers

November 2013 | By Paul Maxin
Paul Maxin

Recruiting order taker or strategic talent acquisition partner? The choice is yours

Recruiting order taker or strategic talent acquisition partner for your business? What would you rather be? Now is the time to raise the profile and credibility of our profession, but only by understanding the business that we work with, its growth plans and the consumer/customer environment in which it operates. 

According to research carried out last year by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), ‘From Capability to Profitability — Realizing the value of people management’ (BCG 2012), out of 22 practices within HR that influence economic performance of companies the top six were: delivering on recruiting; onboarding of new hires and retention; managing talent; improving employer branding; performance management and rewards; and developing leadership.

The BCG analysis showed that the companies who delivered on recruiting achieved x3.5 greater revenue growth and x2.0 the profit margin of those companies that were least capable at recruiting. Onboarding of new hires and retention had the second greatest impact on those indicators with x2.5 on growth and x1.9 on profit, with employer branding having a x2.4 impact on growth and x1.8 on profit. 

The business context, whether local or global is ‘VUCA’ — a military term meaning volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In fact, VUCA is the new normal.

The world has changed far more in the last 10 years than in the previous 50. The value of capitalism is being questioned by many. Recent protests in Turkey and Brazil, two of the fastest growing and most successful economies, are the most recent of many examples. Our economies are fundamentally over geared, as is our planet. Trust in both governance and corporate institutions has collapsed. Meanwhile, technology continues to empower consumers, candidates and citizens, and the metaphorical world axis has moved East and South.

In a VUCA world, there is an inevitable impact flow between a company’s strategic priorities and business goals with emerging talent acquisition questions.

• Do we understand differences in leadership styles in different geographic regions?

• Do we have the quantity and quality of talent where we need it?

• Is our attraction strategy effective and sustainable?

• Do we need to meet aspirations of an increasingly mobile workforce?

• How do we ensure that our new hires reflect the values and of our business and our customers?

• What skills and capabilities do we need to use digital data efficiently?

• As mobile becomes the dominant channel to attract and engage with talent, what’s the impact on our infrastructure?

• As the source of a candidate becomes less linear and is impacted by a variety of channels, how do we measure digital impact to gain appropriate ROI [return on investment]? 

Once we’ve worked with our business to answer some or all of those questions, only then can we begin to shape the resourcing agenda for the current and succeeding years. Do we need to build talent or buy it? What skills, behaviours and leadership are required to deliver to company goals? What’s the size of the internal and external addressable market for talent? All this informs our talent acquisition strategy, recruiting operation and capability. Then we can build a recognisable and differentiating employment brand and channel strategy to express it.

The basics may need to be fixed first in many cases. But once they are, the opportunity to progress from order taking to strategic talent acquisition partner is there for the taking.

Paul Maxin is former global director of resourcing for Unilever

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