It's safe to say that the future of our workforce, including hiring and recruitment, will never look the same. Employers are adjusting to new workforce dynamics amid shifting business needs and struggling with outdated hiring practices.
Digital transformation in the talent acquisition space is already well underway, but now employers need to embrace technology that can streamline the process and identify the restrictions clogging up their talent pipelines.
To that end, talent cloud company iCIMS has released their 2021 Workforce Report, which examines how organizations have adapted to this new era of work and recruitment. Based on data from more than 332 million global iCIMS users, along with a survey of 500 U.S. human resource professionals, the report looks at key trends and talent strategies employers need to consider this year.
I connected with iCIMS chief people officer, Jewell Parkinson, to learn more about the peaks and valleys in hiring, and where organizations need to allocate resources, along with four compelling solutions for transforming recruitment in 2021.
1. Re-evaluate your tech stack and how you are communicating with job candidates.
Building a successful workforce starts with an efficient hiring process. Employers who are still only using phone and email to communicate with candidates are losing top talent. Implementing texting and chat options is critical so candidates can quickly receive updates and know their application status. The report found that texts sent from employers to candidates increased by 47 percent from 2019 to 2020, and texts from candidates to employers saw a 74-percent increase.
Additionally, companies should utilize AI technology to uncover quality hires more easily, regardless of location. Using AI-powered HR technology helps create an efficient recruiting process while ensuring an accurate tracking system so that no candidate goes unnoticed or is left in the dark.
2. Look first at your internal talent pool.
iCIMS research found that 72 percent of human resource professionals reported that their organizations internally redeployed up to half of their workforce in 2020. This means workers have had their role or responsibilities adjusted to meet a need, on either a temporary or permanent basis--a strategy that is expected to continue with momentum this year.
"In order to retain top talent and positively contribute to the recovering workforce, re-skilling needs to be a priority for employers," said Parkinson. "Investing in a continuously learning organization will help both deliver higher performance as well as attract, engage, and retain talent."
Case in point: tech roles. Many companies look externally when they need to fill positions that require niche tech skills. However, in-demand tech roles can take 61 days to fill. Instead of sourcing elsewhere, employers should analyze skills gaps and provide on-the-job training to re-skill their talent, and fill vital positions with their top internal talent.
3. Stop making excuses for the lack of diversity in your workforce.
Employers know that having a diverse workforce impacts ROI positively. Now, they need to implement the right technology tools to help them create and sustain a diverse company culture, with inclusive practices that go well beyond the hiring process.
More than 4 out of 5 (84 percent) HR professionals are concerned their organization's current recruiting and hiring tools aren't reaching diverse talent pools. Loosening or removing hiring restrictions for out-of-state candidates and providing on-the-job training are two immediate and actionable ways companies can make progress in this area.
4. Be resourceful when trying to fill in-demand positions.
There are positive signs of recovery. The latest U.S. jobs outlook report revealed the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in January, and iCIMS's report revealed 91 percent of employers are hiring for new roles this year. Hiring internally, expanding business collaboration tools into the talent acquisition process, and accommodating hybrid work requirements will help companies fill these positions more quickly.
"The workforce has changed. Employers need to take a new approach to talent and the way we work. A flexible work schedule (69 percent) and remote work capabilities (66 percent) are among the top flexible work arrangements that candidates expect and prioritize," said Parkinson. "Knowing what candidates are looking for and how your offerings are different than competitors will allow you to scoop up the best candidates and keep them engaged for the long haul."
Additionally, it's important that employers look to contingency hires to fill a void immediately, something companies are finding is useful when filling their pipeline. More than half (58 percent) of organizations will significantly rely on contingent hires such as freelancers, independent contractors, or gig workers.
Focusing on the value and velocity of your organization's talent is the only way to achieve a winning workforce. Talent powers transformation and innovation, leading to a better economic outcome overall.