Talent as a Value Creator

There are many ways to navigate the growing complexities of your organization’s talent function. Here are 10 sustainable tips to help you get there, according to a new report by Randstad Sourceright. Let’s examine the findings with Randstad’s chief people office Cindy Keaveney. It’s a Hunt Scanlon exclusive!

February 5, 2019 – With business leaders increasingly concerned about the global economy, the organizations they run are focusing more on talent as a key to value creation, according to the 2019 Talent Trends report just released by Randstad Sourceright.

“When we first surveyed C-suite and human capital leaders in the inaugural Talent Trends research in 2016, a slight majority (57 percent) said their talent strategy goal was to make a measurable impact on business performance,” said Cindy Keaveney, chief people officer of Randstad. “Fast-forward to our 2019 research: 83 percent of talent leaders now feel their mission is to create that business impact. Talent in today’s highly competitive environment is clearly recognized as a business differentiator, and the winners will emerge with the right resources at the right time in an increasingly complex, digital business world.”

This evolving sentiment reveals that Ms. Keaveney’s peers in human capital leadership roles are in a strong position to drive their organizations forward. “They understand the tremendous competitive pressure that business leaders face,” she said. “One way to put them at ease is to build a workforce shaped by insights and enabled by technology.”

The report said that adopting a truly holistic talent model can be beneficial. “Create an approach to learning and development that continually upskills your workforce and inspires curiosity,” said Ms. Keaveney. “Nurture lasting relationships with all types of talent, including permanent and contingent job seekers. Add them to your talent communities, so you have access to resources on demand. Empower your people with a suite of innovative tools that doesn’t take away their jobs but helps them create greater value for the organization. Help increase workforce diversity that will ultimately improve revenue and profits. In other words, don’t stick to the status quo.”

The report also said to consider using data to discover insights on how your talent strategy is performing. Armed with that intelligence, create a plan to future-proof your workforce, Randstad said. Use technology to accelerate the sourcing, engagement and onboarding of the talent that can lead your organization to change and transformation.

According to the Randstad Talent Trends research report, which surveyed more than 800 human capital and C-suite leaders in 17 countries, some leaders see opportunities to make relevant changes and have already launched initiatives.

“There are many ways to navigate growing complexities while transforming your organization’s talent function,” said Ms. Keaveney. “We believe the 10 HR and workforce trends highlighted in this year’s research will provide the most meaningful insights and sustainable tips to help you get there.”

1. Companies hire for the work, not the job. Is your organization ready to embrace a holistic talent acquisition approach?

Randstad said that a total talent model, the complete integration of the management of permanent hires and the contingent workforce by HR and procurement in a single, unified talent acquisition approach, allows companies to deploy just the right resources to any business. A holistic talent acquisition strategy not only considers human capital but also robotics and automation, to ensure business leaders have the exact resources they need.

The Randstad report showed that most C-suite and human capital leaders are either investing or planning to invest in a total talent acquisition model. Among those who already have a total talent model in place, 98 percent said they are either extremely or very satisfied. Nearly half (48 percent) said this model has helped their organization improve its employer brand — most likely because of the model’s talent-centric philosophy. Nearly as many (42 percent) said that an integrated talent approach has brought strategic planning into the HR function and that they are building for the future.

Among organizations that have yet to implement a holistic talent strategy, only four percent said they are unfamiliar with the concept. Three-quarters (76 percent) said they plan to implement it in their organization in the next 12 months, affirming its broad appeal.


Cindy Keaveney is a leading business and human capital executive with more than 30 years of experience transforming organizations by building high-performing teams to produce profitable growth, develop industry-leading products and create corporate strategies in complex, changing environments. Leading Randstad’s global HR team, she ensures the company has the best strategies in place to deliver a stand-out talent experience for every employee, everywhere.


“A total talent model, that incorporates full-time, part-time and contract workers, gives hiring managers and business leaders access to a greater selection of talent as the skills gap continues to widen,” Ms. Keaveney said.

2. Access to niche skills will determine the winners of the 2020s

Finding qualified talent to fill jobs that haven’t been invented yet might seem like an impossible challenge, but as a human capital leader, it is one of the skills necessary to propel your company forward. Workforce planning, in fact, is viewed as an important service that talent leaders deliver to the business, according to Randstad’s research. More than two-thirds (80 percent) said their talent acquisition strategy is more about total value creation for the company than achieving cost savings. And nearly half (57 percent) said they are investing more in talent pipelines and succession planning.

“As businesses look to hire for the jobs of the future, agility will be key,” said Ms. Keaveney. “Businesses need to evolve their hiring paradigms, including developing partnerships with various universities to create a pipeline of available talent, even developing custom curriculums for their specific business needs. Employers can also prepare for the future by providing their workers with learning and development opportunities.”

3. Employers end the talent scarcity crisis with talent communities

Talent communities have been around for years, but recently their numbers have risen as employers face a mounting talent scarcity crisis, and as businesses and their clients expect workforces to scale quickly to demand. Many talent leaders realize they can overcome long-term scarcity challenges by pre-qualifying skilled talent and nurturing silver medalists within these communities.

When Randstad asked C-suite and human capital leaders what market forces in 2019 will have as much (if not more) influence on their businesses, talent scarcity was among the top replies. Seventy-six percent cited this as a chronic concern. To remedy talent scarcity, 73 percent said they are creating specific talent communities and content plans to engage and nurture the future talent pipeline. This is markedly higher than the year before at 62 percent. A majority said they see technology as an enabler for talent communities, with 54 percent wanting to completely or mostly automate management of these pools.

“Talent communities are an effective way to gain a competitive recruiting advantage and strengthen employer brand,” Ms. Keaveney said. “Building talent communities offers a powerful means of reaching out to a wide range of talent, including diverse groups. Our research shows that one in three graduates and students who accepted a job had joined a talent community.”

4. HR tech and analytics enable workforce diversity and inclusion

Without question, a diverse workforce can drive better results. While many companies strive to ensure they have a diversity and inclusion policy in place — and the 2019 Talent Trends research finds that 76 percent currently do — it doesn’t preclude the presence of unconscious bias in their recruitment processes and company culture. For example, according to Forbes, one Yale University study found that male and female scientists who received training on how to be objective were still more likely to hire and pay men more than women.

Related: Recruiters Up Their Game in Diversity

It’s a problem that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Randstad’s report found that 45 percent of organizations said they conduct diversity training to minimize unconscious bias. More than one-third (37 percent) said they are using AI, big data and machine learning to reduce bias. About one-third (34 percent) said they also use the same methods to help source and attract diverse candidates.

“While organizations have made progress in advancing diversity and inclusion, they can go even further by harnessing the power of new technology that addresses the challenge of unconscious bias, being transparent during each stage of the hiring process and connecting with community organizations to recruit a diverse pool of talent,” Ms. Keaveney said.

5. Short-term relationships with talent will hold employers back

Organizations used to have short-lived relationships with job applicants, but in a competitive talent market, they cannot afford to view candidates as disposable. The report said that job seekers want a sense of trust and a continuing relationship with these employers. To achieve this, employers and recruiters will need to maintain an ongoing dialogue with active and passive candidates to keep them engaged and informed about career opportunities now and in the future.

Candidates passed over for a job can still be an asset because their experience will be amplified through their network. Randstad research reveals that 58 percent of those who had a positive candidate experience said they would recommend the employers to others, while 39 percent would share it on social media and 35 percent would follow the company on social media. More importantly, 41 percent said they would reapply with the same company, and one in five were more likely to buy products and services from the employer.

“Employers that cultivate relationships with their alumni by maintaining regular communication are not only boosting their employer brand, but also opening the door for them to come back,” Ms. Keaveney said. “In a competitive talent market, employers must invest in their talent experience for everyone, from ‘silver medal’ candidates to former hires.”

6. Talent insights elevate the role of CHRO to be the CEO’s right-hand advisor

The HR industry is currently undertaking a significant initiative to capture critical supply-and-demand data. Seeing the value of such information, employers are ramping up investments in this area to align their goals with available resources.

Related: Here’s Why Game Changing CHRO Talent Is In Big Demand

In Randstad’s 2019 survey of human capital leaders, most (83 percent) said the goal of their talent strategy is to have a measurable impact on the business. Over the past three years, in fact, respondents have increasingly viewed talent as critical to business execution, with just 57 percent agreeing with this view in 2016. This trend is reflected in how they define their talent acquisition strategy: to create overall value for their company. Only 52 percent said they believed this was the case in 2016, but 80 percent now embrace this view.


Why the CEO / CHRO Relationship Is Essential
In partnership with CEOs, chief human resource officers (CHROs) are playing increasingly critical roles to ensure companies win the war for talent and maximize employee motivation across the globe, according to the ‘Executive Monitor’ report released by search firm Boyden.


“In our data-driven world of work, the need to balance data and analytics with human touch is becoming more important than ever before,” said Ms. Keaveney. “What really helps business leaders is having someone by their side who knows talent strategies and which skills are available in the geographies targeted for growth.”

7. HR goes on a tech buying spree to get better access to talent

Technology is transforming every aspect of the world of work, and nowhere is this more evident than in talent acquisition. In just a few short years, the way employers source, screen and hire talent has been irrevocably altered for the better.

In Randstad’s 2016, 2017 and 2018 Talent Trends surveys, just 68 percent believed technology made recruiting simpler and more efficient. In its most recent survey, 81 percent share this view. Similarly, 92 percent now believe the adoption of technology enhances the attraction, engagement and retention of talent, compared to just 79 percent in 2016.

“There are seemingly endless opportunities to invest in HR tech,” said Ms. Keaveney. “Employers who want to stay ahead of the curve should invest in technologies that will address their future needs, and train their employees to adopt these tools to optimize efficiencies, productivity and candidate satisfaction.”

8. Next-gen talent analytics create even greater expectations for HR

Analytics dashboards and AI-enabled tools have been making their way into many HR organizations over the last several years. But in 2019, most companies will make significant investments to accelerate their decisions about talent.

Related: How Predictive Analytics Promotes Better Decision Making and Efficiency

It’s no surprise that more C-suite and human capital leaders in Randstad’s 2019 Talent Trends research said they are investing in people analytics more than any other tool to enhance talent attraction and engagement. With 72 percent making these investments, it surpassed investments in training and development platforms (63 percent), workforce management tools (62 percent) and applicant tracking systems (57 percent). Notably, 83 percent said the ability to analyze internal and external employee data (talent analytics) plays a critical role in sourcing, attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Talent leaders also saw analytics dashboards and predictive workforce analytics as helpful tools when it comes to choosing the right candidates to hire. A growing majority (83 percent) said technology helps them make smarter hiring decisions, while 71 percent believed these tools reduce risks; in 2016, the percentages were 67 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

“Our research tells us that employers are investing in people analytics more than any other tool to enhance talent attraction and engagement,” said Ms. Keaveney. “Despite this investment, many organizations lack the resources to manage that data, making the role of talent leaders increasingly important now and in the coming years.”

9. Robots fill chronic job vacancies

Although technology is accelerating talent acquisition outcomes, employers are increasingly turning to automation as a way to fill vacant jobs. Randstad’s survey showed that 83 percent of talent and C-suite executives believe robotics will have as much if not more influence on their business over the next year, and 87 percent believed HR automation will have a similar impact. The figures were significantly higher than the results in 2016, when the percentages were 68 percent and 78 percent, respectively.

Related: Recruiters Now Balancing Technology and Human Touch

“The scarcity of talent is forcing many employers to turn to robotics to fill vacancies, but employers should also invest in new technologies that will support their existing workforce, which is facing more work demands than ever before,” Ms. Keaveney said.

10. The tech-savvy consumer expects the same experience from their employer

How consumers buy, share and communicate is rapidly changing the way companies engage with talent. Today, the Amazon effect is leading to on-demand tracking of job applications. This changing dynamic is reflected in Randstad’s research. Most (61 percent) working professionals said their expectations of employers are continually evolving. The reverse is also true, with 83 percent of employers saying that their expectations of workers were increasing.

“Investing in talent includes investing in technology,” Ms. Keaveney said. “Professionals have higher expectations of employers these days, including on-demand tracking of their job applications, ability to video interview, timely responses to their queries, and maximum transparency to a company’s workplace and culture. Today, consumers have the ability to share and rate just about anything and they are demanding that same level of transparency and feedback from their current or potential employers.”

Related: How to Win the War for Talent

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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