In today’s increasingly competitive environment, finding and keeping pivotal talent is more important than ever. But it’s also becoming more difficult. According to a recent Hay Group report, a total of 192 million employees worldwide are expected to leave their jobs in the year 2018. That’s 49 million more than the number of employees who left in the year 2012.
This talent exodus, if realized, has the potential to put immense financial pressure on organizations that are already strained by ever-changing market dynamics. In fact, according to LinkedIn, the total cost of losing just a single employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2 times their annual salary.
And yet, many companies are still falling short when it comes to practicing recruitment prevention. In a 2013 American Management Association survey, 61% of respondents felt senior management saw little urgency in addressing their company’s potential or actual turnover situation. What these senior leaders may not realize is that by partnering with HR to create strategic workforce plans, they could prevent up to 70% of their recruitment by decreasing employee turnover and putting the right people in the right roles, faster – the first time around.
Instead, many organizations are in a constant state of reactive recruitment. This type of knee-jerk talent acquisition, which simply aims to fill immediate gaps, fails to take into account the long-term needs and objectives of an organization. It therefore often results in overlooking candidates who would bring greater future value to the business or, worse, failing to fully leverage the talent that is already in place.
To succeed at recruitment prevention, HR must think more strategically and hold themselves and business leaders accountable. HR must also partner with senior leadership to ask – and answer – three important questions:
Do you fully understand the talent you currently have?
When the need to fill a certain role arises, organizations shouldn’t automatically begin the recruitment process. Instead, HR should be asking – or better yet, know – if it already has an employee who possesses the needed skill set to fill the current opening. It’s important for organizations to focus more on an employee’s long-term value than his or her short-term cost. By focusing too much on the short-term cost of an employee, organizations are missing out on the opportunity to develop current talent to meet the desired capabilities, skills and aptitudes required of its future workforce.
Do you fully understand the talent you need?
By being in a mode of reactive, short-term recruiting, HR – and correspondingly, the business overall – remains in a state of crisis management. This type of resource recruiting only meets the talent demands for the next six months to a year. HR should challenge the business to look forward and determine the skills that will be important three to five years down the road. The talent needs of today will not be the same as the talent needs of tomorrow and by implementing a broader workforce strategy, companies will find they are well positioned for long-term success.
Do you have the infrastructure in place to enable success?
Evaluating current and future talent isn’t a one-time process. As business goals and external dynamics change, workforce strategies must also evolve to ensure organizations continuously maximize the return on their investments in talent. This type of flexibility requires the right infrastructure, tools and technologies to quickly adapt to the fluctuating needs of the business and measure impact over time. By leveraging the right technology, HR can exponentially advance the efficacy of its talent management and acquisition, while freeing up time to work more closely with business leaders on strategic initiatives.
Recruitment cannot be a standalone function. And neither can HR. It is crucial that talent acquisition is fully integrated with all talent management and development functions and aligned with business objectives to have a strategic impact on the organization. Aligning recruitment with a company’s overall business strategy enables HR to develop a keen sense of where the company is headed and anticipate skills required to meet new demands. This forward-thinking provides the time and resources necessary to develop existing talent and anticipate future talent needs.
Once companies have taken the time to evaluate each of these questions, they will better understand where their company is headed and if they have the talent, strategies and support needed to get them there. Strategic workforce planning allows business leaders and HR to work together to hire the right people from the beginning. With the right people in place, not only can organizations reduce turnover costs, but they can improve performance through increased employee morale and productivity – ultimately, creating a true talent advantage for their business.