Fifty years ago, executives could just throw extra workers at a problem until it was resolved, but today, things aren't so easy. Unemployment is low, and every industry seems to face skill gaps of varying sizes. Hiring more employees to fix big issues is no longer an option.
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In the 2017 Talent Trends Report from Randstad Sourceright, 81 percent of respondents felt that talent scarcity would affect their business over the next year. The way we get work done has changed, and the way we recruit talent must change with it.
When talent is so hard to find, companies are forced to explore new recruiting methods to solve the problem.
"The increased use of contingent talent across the world has driven businesses to develop and utilize total talent solutions to manage their entire workforces," says Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright. "This shift has placed a greater emphasis on technology and advanced analytics to help source, attract, engage, manage, and retain talent."
According to Randstad Sourceright's Talent Intelligence Outlook survey from Q4 of 2016, 76 percent of global human capital leaders say analytics are critical to engaging talent now, and 48 percent say they are investing in analytics to "better manage and predict talent needs in line with business growth and objectives," Henderson says. "These tools are providing HR with the ability to capture workforce data and are critical to building the business intelligence and insights needed to drive an integrated talent model."
Filling Talent Gaps Through Automation
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Meeting staffing challenges with automated solutions has become popular in nearly every industry over the past twenty years. However, automation also poses a catch-22: Because automating unskilled positions creates a need for skilled labor, automation can end up contributing to existing talent gaps.
"Automation has increased demand for flexible, mobile workers with skills and agility that machines are not even close to matching," Henderson says.
In the Talent Trends Report, 26 percent of respondents said they increased their use of automation and robotics in 2016, while 34 percent said they had to make extensive hires in the same period to keep pace with company growth.
And for some verticals, automation will simply never be the end solution.
"The HR leaders we surveyed indicated that a scarcity of skilled workers was driving employment demands in certain areas – like marketing, sales, and IT/technical – where robotics will likely never displace the advantage of human intelligence," Henderson says. "Indeed, well over one-third of respondents anticipate hiring more workers in these areas over the next year."
Filling Talent Gaps With Nontraditional Workers
In addition to automation, the trend of hiring freelancers and contract workers to plug existing skills holes is becoming increasingly common. Seventy percent of respondents to the Talent Trends Report claim that freelancers have influenced their business, and 50 percent say the freelance economy is driving growth.
"Smart companies are eliminating traditional talent silos and building human capital models through total workforce solutions that incorporate permanent employees, temporary staff, freelancers, contractors, and robotics to meet talent needs," Henderson says. "In doing so, they are better utilizing their contingent workforces by having more holistic HR strategies."
When organizations manage talent holistically, Henderson says, they can increase workforce agility and gain greater visibility into their total workforce needs. They can quickly asses what roles need to be filled, determine whether they need a full-time or contingent worker to fill the role, and find the talent they need to close the gap.
Going forward, the most successful companies will be those that explore all the existing talent options and come up with plans that integrate the best of each available. As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to cook an egg. Instead of sticking to one way to hire and develop your talent pool, learn all the ways; then apply the best solution to each individual problem.