The Evolution of Recruitment: How Recruitment Earned Its Place at the Heart of Business Strategy

February 4, 2019

The last 20 years has seen recruitment transform. As competition for talent has increased and the talent market has become increasingly complex, businesses have had to become significantly more strategic in their recruitment processes. Once transactional and need-driven, today recruitment is a central and strategic function. This article looks at recruitment’s shift from a functional, reactive exercise to a centralised practice, aligned with the organisational strategy and buy-in from the most senior members of the business.

Recruitment today is about business partnering

No longer are we fitting nuts to bolts as we seek to better better understand what motivates people and earns their loyalty. Work is about service, it’s increasingly human-centric and innovation is essential to compete. The technological revolution has removed the mundane and replaced it with the mind-blowing.

And people are motivated differently too. Food on the table is not the only aim: if bread is to be won, let it be won through exciting, interesting and progressive work. If a business in a competitive talent marketplace is to attract and retain great people, it must be aware of, and willing to alter, the flavour of its bread.

This has fundamentally altered the way we search, select and secure the people who work for our businesses, and earned recruitment a place at the heart of business strategy.

If you’re struggling to secure recruitment a place at the boardroom table, here are three areas for C-level consideration.

Transactional today gone tomorrow

With new attitudes to work emerging, a transactional approach to recruitment no longer cuts it. Candidates need to be courted and engaged in a number of ways across a variety of platforms. A single phone call, an email or tap on the shoulder just doesn’t cut it anymore. 

The talent function needs to follow the lifecycle of an individual, finding them when they’re ready to join and delivering an enjoyable interview and onboarding experience. It must work with them to ensure they remain engaged and motivated. And, should they choose to leave the business, deliver an exceptional off-boarding experience too.

Business leaders need a coordinated, proactive and long-term approach that focuses on their audience to pull them into the organisation. Throwing an advert into the marketplace and seeing what you’ll get back won’t hook you a catch worth shouting about.

Why so important? Because finding a new employee can cost up to 400% of the salary of a senior hire. Because in a competitive landscape, holding on to great people is critical to the growth of your business. And because people talk: your employer brand and reputation is at stake.

From writing the job spec to articulating your values, inducting new employees to offering exciting and variable career paths, this people-orientated approach touches multiple areas of a business. It can only be influenced by the C-suite and with cost-savings on the line and business growth on the horizon, they’d be mad not sponsor this direction.

Read: How an MSP can help support talent attraction and retention

Diversity fuels innovation

Cognitively diverse teams perform better. Diverse teams make better, faster decisions. And companies with diverse executive boards enjoy significantly higher earnings and returns on equity.

The evidence is in. Difference matters and businesses need to get on board with the idea. And it needs to start with the board. While many understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion, a change in hiring practices is only half the solution.

As Harvey Nash’s Inclusion Toolkit explores, it’s also essential to create “an environment where everyone has the opportunity to progress and succeed while remaining authentic and true to themselves”.

With C-level spokespeople from Google, Royal Mail and Santander weighing in, the toolkit is a practical guide to implementing diversity within your organisation.

Read next: How an MSP can support diversity and inclusion

Dutifully Digital

Two decades ago, the idea of working from home was alien at best, downright preposterous at worst.

But today, flexible working practices are the norm and with a dwindling talent pool, Brexit threatening a skill shortage, and IR35 causing contractors concern, employers can find ready solutions by embracing a digitally connected workplace.

Again, this is an initiative that needs C-suite sponsorship. But with so many benefits it’s a realm businesses should be sure to enter.

While it does require robust and well-considered IT practices, flexible working practices allow organisations to reach talent on different shores (and at the edge of their own). Adjustable hours speak to individual’s desires for autonomy and life-work balance. And offering variable employment terms helps attract contractors, permanent and temporary staff.

With technology underpinning your organisation, talent can connect with you wherever they are.

Is the Gig Economy & online staffing platforms trying to make to recruitment more transactional?

Due to a “surge of on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions,” as Accenture says in its 2017 Technology Vision, organisations now have the ability to respond to business demand and quickly pull in any type of resource, be it permanent, contract or freelance. “Legacy models and hierarchies are being dissolved and replaced with talent marketplaces.” I believe this only to be true for the Gig Economy, but not for the rest of the market.

Talent marketplaces are supposed enable forward-thinking and empower businesses to consider how they’ll scale, be agile, flex and find the best people at the best price. But what about the individuals? Are we commodotising them? How do they feel about this  candidate experience?

Is Recruitment at the Heart of Your Organisation?

An MSP can elevate the role and impact of your recruitment function, placing it front and centre of the board table. We explore seven core reasons for implementing the service in our article, Why Choose an MSP.

Access smarter and faster talent recruitment