The Future Has Arrived, But are Businesses Ready?

Despite widespread agreement that companies should be responsible for training or reskilling, less than a quarter of human capital and C-suite leaders say they actually do so, according to a new Randstad Sourceright study. The global talent solutions firm offers 10 key talent trends to get your company on the right track.

March 3, 2020 – For decades futurists have looked to 2020 as a landmark year. Now that we are here, the world of work and the definition of talent are rapidly evolving, according to the 2020 Talent Trends report by Randstad Sourceright.

“Increasingly, talent is viewed as a dynamic, flexible resource in need of constant development, engagement and coaching through a highly experiential process,” said Cindy Keaveney, chief people officer of Randstad. “For human capital leaders, this nurturing is critical to enhancing a workforce that is capable of responding to business needs.”

Ensuring the continuous development and readiness of talent is a formidable task. To prepare your workforce for the always-evolving “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Ms. Keaveney said that “you’ll need to understand the latest trends in talent management, and invest in people and technology like never before. And this should all happen on an enterprise-wide scale with regular intensity.”

Do you have the vision—or the resources—to deliver the full potential of your people? For most business leaders that Randstad surveyed in its 2020 Talent Trends research, that answer was “no.”

Only 22 percent of human capital and C-suite leaders in the 17 markets surveyed said they provide training or reskilling to meet business needs, even though 91 percent said it is their company’s responsibility to do so. Nearly one-third (30 percent) intended to offer reskilling but were uncertain how. This is alarming, said Randstad, as employers don’t seem fully engaged around advancing the competencies of their talent, despite knowing how important it is.

“Preparing talent for the disruptive nature of digitalization and automation is a responsibility that should be shared by all stakeholders: employers, educators, government and talent,” said Ms. Keaveney. “This collective effort to close the skills gap and enhance the employability of every worker will result in sustainable, long-term benefits for businesses, markets and lives.”

This year’s Talent Trends research outlined the top 10 talent acquisition trends for 2020 to shed light on the talent continuum and help you understand how to advance it in your business.

1. Companies with Agile Workforces Prevail

The year 2020 will likely be memorable for its uncertainty; if ever there was a time for human capital leaders to embrace agility, it’s now. With mixed economic signals reported across the globe, companies have an opaque view of the year ahead. That means talent executives will have to be ready for any possibility – from tending to emerging business opportunities to retrenching as a result of a potential economic downturn.

“In 2020, human capital leaders will have to be more flexible to shifting global economic conditions to support the needs of the business,” said Ms. Keaveney. Being able to quickly deploy and redirect talent is critical to staying ahead. Now is not the time to remain cautiously stagnant, but rather the time to focus on agility. Companies that can quickly realign their people resources to respond to any economic shifts will stay ahead of competitors.

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.

The 2020 Talent Trends research showed that local markets are less optimistic about the business outlook this year than the rosy perspective of last year. Yet, 69 percent still anticipated growth over the next 12 months. At the same time, 56 percent planned to hire extensively in 2020, and 72 percent expected the current political climate to positively affect their talent strategy. Many talent leaders are committed to helping their businesses win, despite the softer outlook.

2. Data Defines the Labor Market

At a time when talent scarcity remains challenging for employers around the world, Randstad found that the most successful hiring organizations are those that use data to drive results. To better support hiring managers, talent acquisition leaders are gathering even more granular market data, such as availability of skills and location of talent, while normalizing job titles to find exact or close fits. This helps employers better align their needs to available resources instead of wasting time looking for talent in the wrong places.

The 2020 Talent Trends research indicated that companies are increasingly using data to enhance talent acquisition. Most human capital leaders said they recognize its value and plan to leverage analytics in the future. In fact, 81 percent said talent analytics play a critical role in sourcing, attracting, engaging and retaining talent. Most (72 percent) believed technology is helping them make smarter hiring decisions. And, more than one in five identified talent analytics as a top issue for their organization, the highest of all reported issues.

3. Workplace Culture is Reshaped by Digital Transformation

While risk remains high on the list of human capital and C-suite leaders’ concerns in the 2020 Talent Trends research, concern over digital change has softened. In 2019, 60 percent said digital transformation was moving too quickly, but that number fell to 45 percent this year, reflecting an easing of concerns now that many companies are well into their digital journey.

“This reflects how, culturally, organizations are integrating digital businesses and workflows into their operations,” said Ms. Keaveney. “By encouraging talent to think digital first, these businesses are able to shift mindsets and attitudes. At the same time, talent shows a strong interest in working for digital businesses.”

The Talent Trends survey found that 23 percent expressed a preference for businesses that are leaders in this sector. Talent leaders were actively taking steps to minimize harmful disruption. This included investing more in digital HR technology specialists, with 54 percent reporting an increase in spending for these roles. And 77 percent were acquiring more digital skill-sets to expand their reach and open up business opportunities.

4. Digital Transformation Insights Drive Talent Strategy

As a human capital leader, technology disruption commands your attention on a daily basis. The impact of digitalization on your business and workforce, the abundance of recruiting and hiring innovations, and the accumulation of data and business intelligence need constant tending to. The 2020 Talent Trends research revealed that nearly half (47 percent) of human capital and C-suite leaders were investing in predictive analytics for talent, and a majority (54 percent) were investing in digital specialists to support HR. This highlights that organizations were seeking insights and a continued shift to digitalization, with 72 percent reporting that it has helped them make smarter hiring decisions.

Related: Top 5 Secrets for Recruiting AI Talent

Those surveyed also expressed that digitalization is impacting their careers. A majority (60 percent) said they would have more job opportunities if they possessed broader digital and tech-focused skill-sets.

5. Talent Experience is the Game You’ll Need to Win

“Employers realize the experience plays a significant part in retention and productivity,” Ms. Keaveney said. “Eager to support their people, companies are eliminating wasteful activities, facilitating connections and enhancing collaboration within the organization (think cloud-based and social tools). As a result, talent is better able to manage their time and integrate workflows. It’s a holistic approach to creating a positive experience in the workplace.”

The same is true of their effort to create a better candidate experience during recruitment, According to the 2020 Talent Trends research, an overwhelming majority of talent leaders (93 percent) said that creating a positive journey is critical to attracting and retaining talent, and 80 percent had plans to improve that experience. Sixty-three percent (63 percent) planned to implement new recruitment process tools, guides and information to achieve this goal. Just as many (63 percent) said they will seek support from a recruitment process outsourcing or managed services provider to enhance the experience.

6. Bionic Recruiters Build Better Relationships with Talent

The 2020 Talent Trends research showed that companies continue to have a very positive opinion of technology’s impact on recruitment. Seventy-one percent (71 percent) said it has made the process simpler and more efficient for them. The talent acquisition technologies they reported investing in include talent analytics (64 percent), candidate relationship management (CRM) platforms (50 percent), talent assessment tools (49 percent), onboarding systems (49 percent) and recruitment marketing platforms (49 percent).

7. Hire for Today, Upskill for Tomorrow

“Developing AI, supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) and creating data lakes are abilities many companies are seeking, but what’s often overlooked are soft skills that will always be valued in today’s machine-driven world,” Ms. Keaveney said. “Employers everywhere are still searching for people who have mastered skills such as empathy, problem-solving, communication, emotional intelligence and more.”

6 Competitive Strategies for a Tight Talent Market
The old paradigms of the global economy have experienced a tectonic shift over the past few years, and perhaps the most significant of them is this point of view: Emerging economies grow at high rates and developed economies grow more slowly or are in decline. “This dictum has been turned on its head recently – nowhere more than with the U.S. economy,” said Lawrence Allen, a director at Stanton Chase International, in a newly released report.

The 2020 Talent Trends research showed that upskilling is central to the talent strategy of many employers. In fact, 48 percent said they will upskill existing employees to help address talent scarcity – the strategy most often cited by survey respondents. Thirty-eight percent (38 percent) also viewed reskilling as an important measure for deploying at-risk employees to different roles. Most expected to provide training and reskilling in AI (66 percent) and to develop soft skills (60 percent). And nearly as many planned to train existing employees in analytics skills (59 percent), technical capabilities (57 percent) and cloud computing (54 percent).

8. Internal Mobility Accelerates During a Dynamic Time

When employers encounter talent scarcity as they have in recent years, they look inward to bridge the skills gap. According to the Talent Trends research, a trend has emerged over the last five years. The percentage of companies that are increasing investments in internal mobility programs has grown from 39 percent in 2016 to 47 percent in 2020. This demonstrates a shift in resourcing strategies.

Related: 3 Ways to Find Senior Executives in a Tight Market

Why is internal mobility becoming more critical to companies everywhere? The Randstad report said that talent scarcity remains a concern for most employers, and hiring their way out of such a situation is impractical. Nearly half (47 percent) said they are increasing their spending on succession planning and talent pipeline, while more than half (55 percent) were turning to integrated talent strategies and total talent management to address the shortcoming.

9. It’s Not About the Degree, But the Skills

If the talent pool you are sourcing from lacks enough qualified candidates, what’s the solution? “Make your pool bigger,” said Ms. Keaveney. “That’s exactly what many employers are doing in today’s talent-scarce market. By eliminating education requirements and assessing candidates on skills and experience, these companies expand access to talented individuals they may not have considered previously.”

According to Business Insider, CEOs and human capital leaders are rethinking the need to hire only college graduates. Google, Apple, Siemens USA and others have dropped educational requirements in their recruitment process. In fact, at a White House meeting, Barbara Humptonare, the CEO of Siemens USA, recently said that the company previously required degrees simply to narrow their search. CEO Tim Cook has also said that half of Apple’s workers did not have a four-year degree.

10. Diversity and Inclusion at Work Become Table Stakes

“Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is a goal most organizations pursue, but the urgency to do so is rising as the skills gap persists,” Ms. Keaveney said. “Helping talent of different backgrounds – by gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, and physical and emotional ability – to feel valued and to thrive is not only an important corporate social responsibility but also a good business practice that pays dividends.”

Gender diversity is only one consideration, and companies are increasingly taking steps to attract all kinds of talent to their organization. The 2020 Talent Trends research found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of C-suite and human capital leaders said their workplace diversity and inclusion strategies were either transforming or positively contributing to their business. Most (80 percent) said they believe their diversity and inclusion strategies are critical to attracting and retaining talent, and nearly half (47 percent) said they are increasing investments in this area as a result. One-third (33 percent) were concerned that their competitors may be investing in this area more than they are.

Related: Recruiters Up Their Game in Diversity

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

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