CWS 3.0: June 26, 2013

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Technology’s Effect on Talent Acquisition and Management

More and more I am hearing of new companies pitching solutions designed to attract, engage and retain talent using technology as part of the draw. This trend is growing quickly, with their solutions being delivered to organizations at a very low cost. They target human resources organizations and focus on the soft skills associated with talent acquisition and retention. Most of these companies have not yet considered how they fit into the staffing industry as a whole.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the contract staffing workforce (the word contingent wasn’t yet used to any great extent) was managed by human resources and engaged when a hiring manager found a candidate and needed to know how to onboard and pay the worker. As the spend increased, procurement began to participate by creating preferred supplier lists and negotiating master service agreements that promised consistent pricing strategies across the company. Then VMS and MSP management strategies gained momentum and the role of managing the contingent workforce became someone’s responsibility and an important sourcing category with high spend resulting in high visibility.

So here we are in this social revolution, where flexibility is king and attracting and retaining talent is a challenge. Some companies have emerged that can get talent acquired, work delivered, and workers paid without much human intervention in the back-office process. All this requires the hiring manager, the one with the skill set need, to rethink how the work product is delivered in their company. The traditional way of augmenting staff may need to be reconsidered, as it may not be the most efficient or cost effective if you can achieve the same result with parceling out portions of the work and reassembling them to one body of work at the end.

While these new companies are rethinking how we distribute work, more and more companies are focused on how we utilize the expertise we have and provide alternate work channels to keep workers engaged, learning and excited about their contributions. These newer channels for acquiring talent as well as the tools to attract and retain talent are forcing us to rethink what our goals are when hiring someone for a position, role, or to deliver a body of work. It will be HR’s responsibility to consider the different alternatives and the nature of the task when engaging workers. In the long run, the evolution of how we work will change the face of the staffing industry and contingent workforce management. We already have pure virtual work communities and companies that have dropped corporate offices in favor of virtual work arrangements. The utilization of social media in the workplace may very well lead to virtual work as the norm, with commercial buildings in many of our cities becoming multi-purpose, perhaps providing a work site service where the worker pays for an office by the hour rather than the employer paying for the space. The new tools are addressing company branding as well as personal branding and matching up companies and workers through big data attributes. For example, it’s a brilliant concept to mine social data to group candidates with similar “likes” and match them with companies with like-minded workers. As these methods take hold and gain traction, it makes sense that more traditional staffing firms would consider departing from the old paradigm and looking at mining their candidate databases in more social ways to fill job requirements. If the buyer also opens up to using the social tools then the vendor management systems and managed service providers will need to develop strategies to manage these new channels and perhaps change the way they manage their own success within a program. 

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