As talent acquisition becomes a pressing challenge which will inevitably impact the larger economic recovery as well as the recovery of individual businesses, pertinent questions need to be raised regarding adaptability in times of uncertainty, bringing in the right people to the company and holding on to the precious talent that we already have. To share their incredible insights with us, at the People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2022, Sik Kwang Then, Head of HR, DPDHL ITS Cyberjaya & Global Business Partner for ITS Express Solutions and Fong Tuan CHEN, Chief People Officer, Berjaya Corporation Berhad join us at an exciting CHRO Panel on understanding the role of CHROs beyond the label of recruiters moderated by Mint Kang from People Matters.
To find solutions, the primary step is to state the problem which is why the first question posed to our leaders was about the challenges that continue to remain in the talent acquisition landscape. For Sik Kwang Then, it has to do with the role of AI in the overall hiring process and how it often clashes with the conservative mindset of hiring managers who still prefer physical interactions in a remote working environment.
As he rightly points out by using the example of his organisation’s very own Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which facilitates recruitment, ‘Leaders need to accept faster and put more trust in technology when hiring in a remote working environment.’
Fong Tuan CHEN adds another dimension to this take by emphasising on how certain businesses were impacted more than others resulting in displacement of employees which need to be replaced. But this becomes a challenge as those employees earling working in these roles have already moved on. Rather than labelling this phenomenon as the ‘Great Resignation’ he terms it as the ‘Great Transition’ which brings forth fresh challenges when it comes to filling up vacant roles. Along with this is also the demand-supply conundrum which creates difficulties for candidates in the market when it comes to jobs demanding practical learning experiences such as doctors or engineers, which they have missed out on as a result of the pandemic thereby affecting their credibility in the talent market.
Wellbeing is central to the CHRO role:
As both CHEN and Then rightly emphasise, talent acquisition was always their key focus prior, during and after the pandemic. What has taken centre stage instead is wellbeing, to take care of the people already there in the company because they are the ones who have been propelling the business forward in these times of distress. Metrics play a significant role nonetheless when it comes to measuring the impact of the wellbeing solutions be it from the point of view of costs to the company, improvements made through regular health checks and how it impacts talent attraction. But rather than an attraction driver, wellbeing is a must have and the silver lining these days pointed out by CHEN is how mental health is rising to the forefront and is no longer a taboo or a stigma.
Organisations have to support their employees when they ask for help, it’s their responsibility and when it comes to the hiring process, as an employer, they must inform their candidates of the processes in place at an organisational level that will take care of them at the workplace.
Co-creating the recruitment strategy with other stakeholders:
As pointed out by Then, ‘When both sides of the business and the HR have the same mindset and sit together on the recruitment meetings between the team and other departments at the workplace, that helps us to really feel the potential talents and skills that we need for the next few years in the organisations.’ This support and working together across the organisation is fundamental in deciding on the talent pipeline that needs to be built especially from a long term perspective with the skills and capabilities mostly in demand.
An interesting point raised by CHEN is that 90% of HR processes are far from strategic because their primary focus is managing the present and the people of the organisations by ensuring that the right talent fills the right roles. Although the HR function is the steward, the facilitator and the enabler of the people process, ‘HR is everybody’s job.'
Everyone has to work together to ensure the talent’s productivity, growth and wellbeing. ‘When it comes to co-creation of recruitment plans, it also has to do with co-responsibility and co-accountability. You can’t just create the JD and leave it, you need to call on the process, co-own the outcome and be accountable for the decision made. Only then will it work. Hiring is not an HR responsibility, it is an organisational responsibility,’ he added.
Winning the war for talent:
CHEN believes that rather than writing job descriptions, we need to write people descriptions so that the right people are brought on into the company.
When it comes to training hiring managers, one has to actively recognise that the best headhunters are already there within the company. Moreover, one cannot really train someone to hire as hiring at the end of the day is fundamentally about intuition even though data is often used these days to back this intuition.
A combination between the two is a step in the right direction. Then also urges leaders to become active in the process of recruitment by enabling and sustaining the engagement of the new hires and current workforce. This engagement is, after all, key to finding purpose and meaning in the job and to retain talent.
As the CHRO role evolves, what we have learned is that talent acquisition is not their sole focus. At the heart of their role lies the responsibility of taking care of their people which ensure through increased emphasis on wellbeing as well as calling for everyone in the workplace to play their own unique role in talent retention and enabling the success of the new hires as well as those already in the workplace.