Not long ago, the talent acquisition (TA) function was seen as a secondary player in business operations. But as the way, where and how we work changes for good, it has become clear that TA teams hold the key to organisational success.
Recent research from PWC serves as a wake-up call, revealing that 26% of employees are strongly considering switching jobs within the next 12 months – a significant increase from 19% in 2022. Organisations failing to think strategically about talent acquisition risk losing their best people as a result of this mass migration.
As the curtain lifts on a new era of work, now is the time for TA leaders to claim their seat at the top table.
People: a priority on paper, but not in reality
Once a pure recruitment process, often supported by “come-and-go” agencies, talent acquisition has matured into a strategic imperative for business growth. A recent Gartner survey revealed that people-related issues have risen from the fifth to third-place priority for CEOs from 2020 to today.
However, research from the Financial Times found that MBA and Executive Leadership programmes are failing to keep up when it comes to training leaders in this critical area. Moreover, talent acquisition teams are often the first to go during tough times and cost cutbacks. Not only does this suggest a glaring skills gap in executive leadership teams but shows that – when push comes to shove – talent acquisition is still often (wrongly) undervalued.
A boom-and-bust approach to talent acquisition simply isn’t sustainable and doesn’t provide the necessary consistency to ensure a culture that encourages the best of its people. The benefits of giving talent acquisition its rightful place at the top table are clear:
1. Alignment with Senior Leadership
TA leaders must work shoulder to shoulder with other senior executives across the business to develop plans for their people that not only align with the organisation’s strategy, vision and market realities but promote a culture of continuous learning and development. This alignment with Senior Leadership allows for effective planning during hiring surges and helps to anticipate dry spells in order to drive cost efficiencies and add real value.
2. Senior Leadership as a mouthpiece
Not only do TA teams need open communication with the leadership team, but they need their support to implement practices that resonate with the organisation’s vision and strategy. When leaders actively promote these practices to the entire workforce, positive initiatives gain momentum more quickly.
3. Alignment with Hiring Managers
Unsurprisingly, strong communication between TA teams and hiring managers is vital. But it is a mutual understanding of business priorities that will help allocate resources effectively and ensure the right candidates are brought in.
4. Cross-team collaboration
In order to thrive, TA must also collaborate with other key departments. Partnering with marketing, for instance, ensures a unified employer branding message that attracts (and keeps) top talent. Engaging the finance team allows for proper tracking and allocation of talent acquisition budget. And working with business intelligence and operations teams provides access to collated data that can enhance decision-making.
Talent acquisition as a strategic business partner
In a short survey we conducted at RecFest UK 2023, talent acquisition professionals reported that the main limitation TA leaders face when claiming their seat at the top table is a company-wide limited understanding of talent acquisition.
It is evident that the role of talent acquisition is no longer confined to the traditional realms of recruitment. Today’s talent acquisition leaders are involved across every stage of the employee lifecycle, for good reason.
Equipped with an in-depth knowledge of the company’s culture, values and long-term objectives, talent acquisition teams can proactively identify and attract top-tier talent that fills crucial skills gaps and is aligned with the direction the business is heading. The organisations that fail to prioritise talent acquisition will struggle to hire the right people – and keep them.
This blog series will explore the five key pillars of future-proofed TA teams:
Keep an eye out for the next blog, focusing on the first of these pillars: curiosity.