5 Talent Acquisition Trends to Watch For in 2016

122569106As we move into another year, the HR train pushes full speed ahead and trends that once set the tone for thought leadership make way for new ideas and innovation. When we sat down to analyze what made waves in 2015, new trends started to emerge that showcased the evolution of existing strategies. In order to get true expertise, I reached out to a few thought leaders at WilsonHCG for what’s on the horizon in talent acquisition for 2016. Here’s what they had to say.

Smarter technology

There’s a saying in business: “You’re either growing or you’re dying.” In talent acquisition this translates to: “You’re either getting smarter or becoming obsolete.” There are a number of areas in which WilsonHCG’s John Blowers, managing director of HR transformation and consulting, sees this playing out in 2016, particularly in data and analytics. As we move forward and evolve, smarter technology is necessary, he says. More employers are conducting a technology checkup. After decades of either settling on what can be afforded or going manual, talent acquisition functions are realizing that the advent of SaaS and cloud-based solutions removes historical barriers. Couple this with a continuing economic recovery and 2016 promises to be a big year for system conversions and implementations. These ideals are no different for data and analytics. Contemporary talent acquisition technology includes seamless, inexpensive and painless ways to blend data, allowing for more longitudinal analysis. In 2016, more talent acquisition functions will combine data with performance and operations data to truly hone in on that elusive KPI: quality-of-hire.

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Candidate brand management

Mark Sharland, head of WilsonCTS, tells me employment branding has risen above a trend and has become a staple of any strong talent acquisition strategy. Piggybacking off that for 2016, candidate brand management is sure to be much more prevalent. This is the year candidates will step up and own their personal brand, particularly within the contingent workforce. While we have seen an increase in the way candidates brand resumes through websites and portfolios, this is the year they will take their skills to the next level and increase marketability. The majority of the candidate market is millennials, and with gen Z moving in, there has to be innovation to stand out. Be on the lookout for candidates increasing knowledge and adding one-off classes and workshops to their resume, while being more motivated by opportunities for advancement and making an impact versus a paycheck. Gen Y and gen Z are also all about the “side hustle.” Their entrepreneurial spirit inspires them to reach beyond a traditional nine-to-five model — they are eager to freelance or start their own small businesses during off hours. Keep these traits in mind when recruiting. Remain open to these options or create an entrepreneurial work environment where their talents and drive can thrive.

Learning and development:  the next talent battlefield

The issue facing many organizations is not necessarily the lack of available talented people, but the lack of robust experiential skills to match their ever-changing business needs. This is only exacerbated by the pace of change in technology and expansion into new markets. EVP Geoff Dubiski notes there was a significant uptick in organizations installing, enhancing and making better use of their learning management systems and training staff in 2015. Organizations that invest in and deploy training and development in 2016 will outpace their competitors and the market in the attraction and retention of talent. Additionally, that talent will be more adaptable because of the company’s investment.

Convergence of corporate and employer brands

Throughout 2015, we saw the increased prominence of recognized brands putting greater emphasis on their employer brand as top talent became ever more difficult to secure. For the first time, we had leading organizations such as Mercedes-Benz and Barclays running TV advertising in Europe linked directly or indirectly to candidate attraction and engagement. As we move into 2016, Craig Sweeney, director of recruitment solutions for EMEA, predicts the focus on employer branding will accelerate and we will see greater convergence of corporate and employer brands, particularly in the consumer-facing businesses where talent and customers are often the same people. Expect to see more creative ways of engaging with talent in places that were once the preserve of corporate advertising only.

Employee experience reinvented

Employee engagement isn’t what it used to be. Cynthia Cancio, VP of employee engagement, says now it’s all about the individual employee experience, or journey. Gen Y and gen Z view their positions at organizations as a tool for further developing their skill sets. Instead of creating blanket engagement strategies, we have to get to know our people and learn what motivates each and every one of them. The workplace should feel like an extension of their personal and social lives — not a separate domain. Your employees are looking for an ongoing support system for their goals and career aspirations. While it may not be possible to create an engagement plan specific to each person, we can identify key traits that many of our employees possess and then design multiple programs that speak to different groups of employees and ultimately have a culture all employees feel a part of and can relate to. That connection to the company inspires passion and innovation.

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Prashanie Dharmadasa
Prashanie Dharmadasa is director of strategic insights for WilsonHCG.

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Sughania Calist
Sughania Calist

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