As the global pandemic continues to linger and governments continue to try to channel resources and funds to strike a near impossible balance between risk to public health and economic concerns, at Boyd & Moore Executive Search (BMES), we are seeing this also as a bellwether for how businesses in APAC have started to reinvent their approach to their talent acquisition strategies.
Businesses too are faced with a fine balancing act.
As with Governments around the world, businesses and their leaders are faced with a multitude of challenging decisions. These are the kinds of decisions where often the correct course is defined or characterized as being the ‘least damaging’, or even sometimes risking that the ‘cure has been worse than the disease’. For companies, the equivalents of this are, for example, counterbalancing activities such as determining the right size of their businesses, the correct target operating models, and retrenching staff with forward-looking initiatives such as identifying growth markets, strategies and products, and of course, continuing to attract talent to the organization in order to drive such future growth and success.
How RPO can help increase agility and flexibility in Talent Acquisition
At BMES, we’re seeing a number of dynamic trends centered around companies reinventing talent acquisition in the context of the global pandemic: concurrently threading the needle of current needs and future requirements. The directional shifts we have seen emerging fall into three themes: a reduction in the size of in-house recruitment teams to relieve headcount and increase flexibility; a response to cost pressures; and proactively sourcing to gain a competitive talent advantage. We explore each of these concepts below.
Size reduction of in-house Talent Acquisition teams
As part of broader right-sizing activities, businesses are increasingly reducing the size of their in-house recruiting (TA) teams, whilst looking for more flexible solutions.
The pandemic is placing an increased demand on HR teams: ensuring wellbeing and engagement as well as managing the people aspects of retrenchment and other shifts in business strategy. Outsourcing recruitment processes is freeing up the HR organization to focus on these more urgent matters.
Companies are looking to drive a more efficient hiring process, embracing virtual interviewing and other technologies in order to manage pandemic related and business continuity risks. Outsourcing these activities versus building capability in house allows businesses to leverage existing external expertise.
Shifting to an outsourced recruitment model is allowing companies to access more flexible/agile approaches, such as the recruiter-on-demand strategy that facilitates ramping up and down according to demand. Essentially companies can ‘borrow’ TA resources as and when they are needed as an alternative to fixed cost resources.
Many organizations do not have the experience and expertise to themselves evolve to a more agile ‘new world of work’ recruitment model: embracing technology, shifting the mindsets of hiring managers. Solutions such as RPO can be a partner to help organizations evolve to a new, future-focussed, fit-for-purpose way of recruiting.
Cost pressures are being felt across nearly all businesses, and the cost of hiring is not immune.
An on-site RPO partner should work to finds ways to reduce an organization’s cost to hire. Data from the Aberdeen Group showed companies that used an RPO for their hiring functions reduced their overall cost-per-hire by 20 percent or more.
Where companies are continuing to hire during the pandemic, by keeping their hiring costs low, they are setting themselves up to weather the aftermath of COVID 19.
In several examples, companies gained a reduction of their fixed costs and associated budget risks such as leaves, severance packages, etc. by replacing full-time TA teams with external, flexible RPOs. At the same time, they were able to improve forecasting accuracy by having a lower variable cost portion that stems from reduced success-based hiring fees.
Forward-thinking companies are seeing the benefit in sourcing talent to gain competitive advantage
Sourcing of talent is a medium-to-long-term investment which gives organisations a competitive advantage when it comes to talent. Essentially this involved mapping, identifying, engaging and nurturing relationships with external talent. Focussing on nurturing a strong employer brand consequently increases positive awareness in the market.
Talent sourcing can also serve to help organisations solve the paradox between a saturated number of available workers due to the pandemic (which typically can manifest itself in very high volumes of applications to job ads), and the scarcity of experienced, qualified talent with relevant skills. Talent sourcing takes a proactive approach to mapping and assessing passive as well as active talent.
Ultimately, the competitive advantage comes from being well informed and positioned to move and hire, both now and also quickly post-pandemic. Essentially an enhanced state of readiness where top talent has been identified, engaged and assessed.
More flexibility and agility for future success
As with Governments, businesses are having to make many reactive decisions as uncertainty continues to be the status quo. Whilst companies across APAC are cautiously reopening their offices so too are they beginning to hire again. But business and economic fragility is driving a need, as we have seen, for talent solutions which offer increased flexibility and agility.