Have TA Professionals Forgotten That We’re Really in the People Business?

Twenty years ago, I worked in the staffing industry.

Thirteen years ago, I worked in recruitment.

Seven years ago, my career took a turn into Talent Acquisition, also known as TA.

These terms have different meanings for different industry professionals reflecting connotations around their importance, relevancy, and strategic impact. While this dissection, wordplay, and debate may be important within the industry and function, like having 50 words for snow is important to Eskimos, hiring managers and job applicants want one word — “results.”

They need all of it, the yin AND the yang!

10 current HCM trends

Results from, uh, “hiring people” are in great demand and under great scrutiny. Organizational outcomes, evolution, even viability depend on them. Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report offers 10 HCM trends:

  1. Organization of the future;
  2. Careers and learning;
  3. Talent acquisition;
  4. Employee experience;
  5. Performance management;
  6. Leadership (disrupted);
  7. Digital HR;
  8. People analytics;
  9. Diversity and inclusion; and,
  10. The augmented workforce.

Hiring plays a critical role in and is critically impacted by all of them, some more than others, and for all the partnerships are keys to organizational success.

How TA partnerships help build strong employer brands

One good example is employee experience.

The hiring team may not own that, BUT, you bet your “kanut” (fresh snow without any ice), that a bad employee experience, translated on to Glassdoor, Indeed and Facebook posts, sink hiring efforts faster than you can say “hikuliaq” (thin ice).

I’ve seen and heard debates questioning the alignment of TA and hiring people with Human Resources. They are SO different – hiring is like marketing and sales requiring a lot of people interaction and creativity whereas human resources is like, I don’t know, PARENTING!?! As if hiring people do not have compliance concerns and human resource people have never had to sell 10,000 employees on a new benefits package.

They need each other yet … are not so very different.

Consider the partnership required at Eventbrite, whose “Eventbrite for New Grads” (ENG) program was highlighted in the Human Capital Institute webcast, “Designing and Refining Talent Acquisition.” New hires have three weeks to learn about and get used to coding at Eventbrite, meeting with each engineering team then choosing the team on which they will work.

Who does that!?! Oh ya, Eventbrite does with the objective of strengthening their employer brand to attract engineering talent. Yin-yang baby!?!

Big issues that require organizational involvement

How about diversity and inclusion? Bring it on TA people! — but show up with support, less your efforts and results be frustrated by bad juju.

Careers and learning or leadership (disrupted)? These are big issues requiring involvement from the whole organization.

In a September 2017 Smashfly blog, Staples’ Vice President Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning, Lisa Pueschel talked about their efforts around creating a culture of mobility seeing that “survey after survey shows that career development is one of the top motivators for employees.” Career development is, not coincidently, at the top of Deloitte’s list.

Their efforts? Recruiting internally. She describes it as pushing recruiters to call employees about open roles in the company instead of being passive. If you recruit your internal candidates, you’ll win more battles than you lose. And in the long run, I believe internal mobility is a win-win for everyone.

She started using AI technology to facilitate it (See No 7 above: Digital HR). Internal recruitment is a blizzard of an initiative that I’m guessing was met with a cold response requiring significant yin-yang as leadership was (you guessed it) disrupted.

While increased employee movement may challenge managers, it can also reward agile leaders who recognize how developing and supporting employee growth benefits them in reputation by attracting new top talent and in influence as their internal network grows.

Is internal solicitation staffing? Recruitment? Talent Acquisition? Sacrilege? I hear Steve Browne in my head emphatically insisting, “IT’S AWESOME!

We are after all, regardless of title, in the people business — and we have been since the very start. So, let’s clear some of the snowpack and come together in new or previously unheard-of ways to address the people needs of your organization.

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Jim Fox has been in the recruitment business for long enough to have some good stories. Admittedly, that doesn’t take very long, but you get the idea. Jim led the Human Resource team, including internal recruitment, for Recruitment Process Outsourcer, The RightThing and for ADP’s Talent Acquisition Solutions suite of businesses. He believes in the importance and power of people in the workplace and welcomes robots too if they have the right skills. You can connect with Jim on Twitter @ThePeopleFox or follow him on LinkedIn.




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Jim Fox has been in the recruitment business for long enough to have some good stories. Admittedly, that doesn’t take very long, but you get the idea. Jim led the Human Resource team, including internal recruitment, for Recruitment Process Outsourcer, The RightThing and for ADP’s Talent Acquisition Solutions suite of businesses. He believes in the importance and power of people in the workplace and welcomes robots too if they have the right skills. You can connect with Jim on Twitter @ThePeopleFox or follow him on LinkedIn.

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