In order to grow and remain agile, companies need to constantly innovate. While the word ‘innovation’ usually conjures up images of bold new business strategies, the reality is that all areas of a business need to be challenged incrementally to discover a more forward-thinking approach. One area that is often overlooked is HR and talent acquisition. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 79 percent of global executives rated agile performance management as a high organizational priority. But how can companies really make their hiring and recruitment practices agile? With the new priorities of younger generations entering the workforce, and more companies moving to flexible co-working spaces, business managers need to understand the shifts taking place and think in a strategic way about how to find the right talent for each role.
What Does ‘Talent’ Truly Mean?
Cutting through the abstractions of business terminology, when we talk about talent we’re really just talking about the people. Employees are not just numbers or skills on a CV, they are people that need to be motivated and driven by a sense of purpose and belonging. Mentality and ambition can be just as important as skills, and a talent acquisition manager needs to understand what makes a person tick, and how their ambitions match with the existing culture of the company. For a job candidate it is important to feel empowered to think independently and inject their own personality into a role. As Max Wang, a young executive with years of experience managing mid-sized teams and Group Director at RFI Asia adds, “Talent means someone who can think independently, which also enables everyone around them to think further and plan a few steps ahead.”
How Do You Determine the ‘Right Fit’?
There are some general guidelines any company can employ to improve the decision making process. When it comes to determining the right fit, it’s not just about the company, it’s also about the candidate communicating what they aspire to achieve and what they care about: each party needs to be transparent, and the best outcome arises when both sides feel like they know enough about each other in order to make the next step. As David Ko, a senior executive and Managing Director and Head of Asia at RFI Asia describes, “Skills are something that can be taught, personality and style don’t change so easily.” Nigel C. Young, a recruitment executive with many years of experience, and Director of Talent Acquisition for Asia Pacific at Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company, adds, “It is important to provide an environment that is conducive to growth and collaboration – people want to enjoy what they do each day and companies that can understand and harness that tend to achieve the best results.”
Ultimately it is an intuitive process, as Joshua Wang, Manager of Insights & Analytics at RFI Asia, describes, “Talent acquisition or perhaps more accurately talent identification is really about the ability to connect the dots between the need that an organization has and the latent skills that somebody may have in order to fill that role.”
Understanding The Evolving Workforce
Beyond hiring practices, it is necessary to understand the underlying changes that are reshaping the way people approach work. For example millennial and Gen Z workers often have a very different relationship with work compared to more senior hires. While some lump the two young generations together, there are actually quite noticeable differences between the two, as Max Wang describes, “Millennials grew up in an environment that was very nurturing, and many have become young entrepreneurs who seek to create their own opportunities. However this can be a hindrance for some who have a problem of choice and are left looking for a sense of purpose. Gen Z are much more straightforward in their interests. They don’t have a problem making decisions between what they do and don’t want, and in this way possess a high level of tactical self-awareness.”
Embracing New Models For Work
Organizations are evolving as well, adopting new policies towards work-life balance and moving into more flexible spaces such as co-working offices. All of these changes are having an impact on the way companies approach hiring. Given this, what are the pros and cons of moving into a flexible office space, particularly when it comes to talent? On the one hand it can be a challenge for a certain set of employees in larger organizations, particularly more senior workers who have been set in their ways or would rather not adapt to new environments.
However there can be inherent benefits for a company, whether it’s through new networking opportunities or being surrounded by new ideas and people. David Ko explains, “Co-working spaces allow for more interaction both within and without the company, and allows a sense of community to grow, which can in turn attract better talent.” This is part of a larger shift many companies are taking note of, as Nigel Young adds, “More and more shared office space options are arising, particularly for smaller outfits who want to prioritize collaboration while minimizing their costs…[people are] waking up to the idea of less rigidity in terms of where and how good work can occur.”[
Overall, companies are taking notice of how flexible offices and working habits can have a positive impact on talent growth, and how it is part of an overall strategy of thinking critically about the environment and talent acquisition to enable greater innovation and agility.
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