After months of caution, there is now a constant pressure to make changes quickly. The markets are open with a plethora of opportunities out there. We owe this shift mainly due to many job opportunities available for all experience levels and particularly for in-demand skills. However, an important hiring imperative for talent managers is the reality of huge dropout ratios. Not only that, but they are also now forced to shift the norm on how to attract, retain and engage their employees and create bespoke experiences. In short, the talent war is a reality. So how is the staffing industry gearing up to address this war?
The 4 indispensable solutions to address the talent war
Building an adaptable and agile workforce is a sign of the times. Many organizations are now shifting to a Hire Train Deploy (HTD) model that resonates with new workforce shaping techniques. In this model, training is offered by the customer or the staffing firm to prepare and skill an individual for specific project needs. A recent approach to mitigate this problem is sourcing n-1 skills and training/upskilling them to fit the relevant role. This trend is relatively common in the IT/ITeS industry. The n-1 hiring model is a more focused subset of the HTD where the customer staffs an individual for the project with an n-1 skill and offers specific programs for getting the project ready. While the former requires 3- 6 months of training, the latter is usually 1- 3 months effort. Another hallmark of this program is its focus on certifications, online course training, etc. which has gained popularity and is helping the cause.
Forward-looking organizations use data models and market signals to help visualize future workforce scenarios and talent needs for evolving businesses. They are willing to source talent at a premium too. In some cases, the premium can be a skill-based bonus, a good hike or other more intangible benefits and incentives. In other cases, there has been a drive to hire for the practice/COE (centers of excellence) – not for specific customer projects and needs. So, the interview time is fast-tracked, and the practice takes ownership to get the person placed in the project. This type of hiring is based on forecasts and not just in time.
There are various models where boutique players are collaborating with other staffing partners. It is a win-win situation for both as the talent is made available and the benefit is through a tripartite commercial model across the customer and the staffing partners. In other cases, top talent that is available for deployment is also made available across partners for a premium. In some instances, there are freelancers who are empaneled by staffing companies and are paid per placement. This works across time zones for recruitment enthusiasts who are unable to continue with a full-time job – many of them overseas as well. The talent war has opened up boundary-less collaboration.
A simple reframing of talent has become so indispensable that businesses would do well to redeploy them – rather than lose them. Also, the cost of acquisition in this model is much lower. These factors have led employers to ramp up their efforts to redeploy the existing contract staff once the project ends – while adhering to compliance with the labour laws. Since the staffing organizations work across multiple clientele, usually it is possible to redeploy talent provided there is a robust IT infrastructure - purchase order/SOW/contract tracking system to enable this. There is also a new idea taking the reins to track how good the performance of an employee is – something akin to Uber rating their passengers.
The countercurrent emerging requirement for talent calls for reasserting roles and responsibilities by elevating employees and not eliminating them. While technology is already changing the nature of work, what most organizations fail to address is the critical capability gaps. Let’s face it, sourcing new talent with new capabilities has taken a backseat for most organizations owing to economic survival while they are still in recovery mode. The approach that most organizations are taking now is to carve a specialization/niche for their employees to get noticed and rewarded. The bottom line is good talent is never wasted; however, it is no more a straightforward choice. Talent management planning is the need of the hour and the staffing industry must become more strategic, holistic, rigorous, and data-driven to address and win this talent war.