September 1, 2022

10 Ways to Keep Your Talent Strategies on Target

  • Remote or hybrid work is here to stay
  • Candidates expect a highly personalized and efficient interview experience
  • Employees need companies to do more to help them, including mental health support and upskilling and reskilling 

There’s never been a more exciting — or challenging — time to work in HR and recruiting than now.

While the pandemic completely upended how people work worldwide, it has also transformed how organizations recruit talent and manage the employee experience once they’re onboarded.

We recently explored the issues most impacting talent leaders in our 2022 Talent Survey as we move into this new world of work. One in three HR leaders said their most significant challenges were attracting diverse candidates, long hiring processes, and managing a high volume of applications amid turnover. Ninety-five percent of HR leaders told us that they struggle to recruit talent, and notably, one in five HR leaders reported that their recruiters are feeling overwhelmed. 

In a recent conversation with Eightfold AI, Tiffany Toussaint, Talent Acquisition Leader for Mortenson Construction, and Jaime Nielsen, Chief People Officer for industrial-technology company Trimble, shared their best advice for optimizing talent acquisition and talent management efforts. 

Their main focus is on creating the best possible candidate and employee experiences with a perspective built on a people-centric mindset. Read on for their top advice when it comes to talent acquisition and talent management practices. (Ed note: Quotes and comments have been edited for length and clarity.)


Creating the Best Candidate Experience

Like many other TA leaders, Toussaint is still grappling with the aftereffects of the pandemic. She says that many people were forced to reinvent themselves to align their abilities to the abrupt changes in the work world.

Additionally, the labor crunch has shifted much of the hiring-decision power from employers to candidates  

“You’ve probably felt that extreme shift where there are literally more jobs than there are people to fill them,” Toussaint said. “We’re all competing for talent across the entire nation and even across the globe. It’s not just about competing for talent within our own specific industries, it’s competing for talent, period.”

Toussaint has these five key pieces of advice for TA leaders navigating these tough times: 

5 Best Practices for an Optimal Talent Acquisition Experience

  1. Streamline the application process. “We recently moved from one applicant-tracking system to another, and we had the goal of ensuring that the application process took less than two minutes. We got it down to less than a minute. The fewer clicks the better. Make it easy.”
  2. Respect a candidate’s time. “One of the things that happens too frequently is we say we prioritize talent. Yet when we have an interview and a business meeting comes up, we bump the interview. We need to flip-flop that. That interview should be the priority.”
  3. Extend an offer right after the final interview. “Do so as quickly as you can, because, especially in this market where it’s candidate-driven, we don’t have the luxury of time.”
  4. Be clear and candid about the role. “Not everything is sunshine, rainbows, and roses. We know this. So be candid about the ups and the downs of the opportunity.”
  5. Communicate with candidates. “We’ve called candidates and said, ‘Thank you for your time.’ This is not my favorite type of conversation, ‘You didn’t get the job.’ And the number of times those individuals have said, ‘Oh, my goodness, thank you for calling me back to let me know.’ It’s something that needs to be done because what if they’re the runner-up and six months down the road, we have that role open again? We have a relationship with that individual where we can contact them and say, ‘Hey, I have an opportunity for you.’ Follow up, follow through.”

Creating the Best Employee Experience

The pressure hardly stops once that candidate has signed their offer letter. When they walk through the door — be it physical or digital — the onus is on the HR team to guide that employee’s experience.

Because the labor shortage is so painfully real, it’s even more important to keep people happy and growing in their careers. It’s much easier to upskill or reskill a person — or move them to another role based on their potential — than to hire from the outside. 

Another big factor impacting the employee experience is technological advances and automation. Nielsen noted that the World Economic Forum forecasted that machines will perform more current work tasks than people by 2025, but this “robot revolution” will also create about 58 million net-new jobs. 

HR leaders must find ways to automate manual or time-consuming tasks with AI if they want to survive, while also supporting these new internal job opportunities for employees.

Here, Nielsen shares her top five key pieces of advice on talent management:

5 Best Practices for an Optimal Employee Experience

  1. Reimagine it as a holistic experience. “According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends, employees want to work with a company. They no longer want to work for a company. They really want that partnership with the organization, and total wellbeing is more important to an employee than it ever has been. It’s about that total package, and benefits still matter, but what they really care about is their whole self. Can they bring their whole self to work?
  2. Support mental health. “The pandemic really challenged our mental health as a society as did social unrest during the pandemic in the United States, and this has forced organizations to help remove the stigma around talking about mental health with employees. Great organizations need to create a safe space to talk about and offer solutions to guide and help their employees with any type of wellness, but in particular mental health.”
  3. Prioritize DEI+B. “The focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is going to pave the way for the future companies that do this well and embed it into the fabric of their culture. They will differentiate themselves — and not through an HR program or a specific goal. It really is embedding it into the fabric of culture. That’s going to be a game changer for organizations and for the value that the HR organization brings to the company.”
  4. Level up skills-building. “It is probably our No. 1 challenge. We find employees leave because it was easier to find a role outside than it was within. You’re going to lose talent if you don’t figure out how to do it right internally.”
  5. Focus on cyber and data security. “Transparency and pay is going to come at us from a compliance perspective. Gig workers are a great example. HR is such a big part of that partnership technology. If we really are switching to 50 percent of our work being driven through AI, what an impactful voice the HR team can have in driving that change. HR organizations can play such a bigger role in keeping their proprietary information safe.”

For a deeper dive into this conversation, watch the webinar The New Talent Code: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent on-demand now.