Talent Acquisition Maturity Matrix – Evolution, 2022

The evolution of the TA Maturity Matrix from it’s conception in 2019 until today explored the following questions…

  • How has the world of TA changed since the first iteration of this Maturity Model was created?
  • What impact does that have upon ways of working and priorities?
  • Will these changes be sustained over time or will TA see a return to their previous ways of working?

If we had a crystal ball, we perhaps could answer these questions!
We can certainly highlight the changes the industry has experienced in the past 24 months.
And help members to consider whether their own function and organisations will see
fundamental shift in the maturity of their strategy and ways of working when we are in a
more consistent period of economic growth.
This resource continues to be useful as an audit tool, discussion document for teams, or
prompt for questions to ask when you’re considering a new role or responsibility.
We’ll continue to evolve and build on this intelligence in partnership with our RL members.

What’s changes in Talent Acquisition since COVID?

It’s no surprise to Talent Acquisition Leaders that the impact from Brexit and Covid have fundamentally changed the face of hiring in the UK and beyond. They feel it. They see it. And they certainly read about it in the Media.

During the Pandemic they saw an initial dramatic impact with 75% of critical roles being put on hold, swathes of people being Furlough’s and whole industries being imploded.

Yet an even bigger Tsunami of challenge was just around the corner. Once commerce began to kick back into gear the shift into scaling up in particular for professional roles has been significant.

The OECD suggests “Reconstructing a better and more resilient labour market is an essential investment in the future and in future generations.” With this responsibility primarily sitting in the hands of TA Leaders, their ability to pivot and respond has never been more critical.

McKinsey Reports:

“The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation, with up to 25 percent more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations. Before the pandemic, net job losses were concentrated in middle-wage occupations in manufacturing and some office work, reflecting automation, and low- and high-wage jobs continued to grow. demand will occur in high-wage jobs. Going forward, more than half of displaced low-wage workers may need to shift to occupations in higher wage brackets and requiring different skills to remain employed.”

Significant Headcount Shortages within Talent Acquisition

The need to shift the way Talent Acquisition fulfils the increasing requirement for skilled candidates has created immense pressure for TA Teams, and with 41,000 vacancies in our sector right now, building the right team, infrastructure, processes and technology has been no mean feat.

We continue to see an industry in crisis with more vacancies being advertised in TA than Nursing and Software Developers combined! With rising salary expectations further perpetuating the expectation by Recruiters, this challenge isn’t simply going to disappear.

This downward pressure on leaders to increase the productivity of their team, often with considerably depleted resources is creating significant challenges, not least with levels of stress and anxiety experienced by the team and leaders themselves.

The Great Resignation

With nearly 4.3 million workers quitting their job in August 2021 the impact for TA from the Great Resignation isn’t one to be sniffed at.

Workers are not satisfied with their current jobs. Many are searching for better opportunities that promise a slew of benefits to upgrade their lifestyle.

According to HR Digest “The Covid-19 crisis showed that workers who do not want to comply with long hours at work feel the signs of job burnout. The pandemic brought conditions that were not favourable for workers, especially working parents, want to change their terms of employment”.

Their reasons are profound and real. This isn’t something to be ignored and the fundamental approach organisations now need to take with their hiring process, in order to secure talent into these roles – takes time, effort and budget. With a typical 30/40 day (time to hire) the effort to nurture each candidate into Day One needs considerable resource.

So where to start!

Re-inventing the Recruitment Strategy

Deloitte reported “Most organisations’ first priority has been crisis response and emphasising health, safety, essential services, and the virtualisation of work and education. Now, as organisations begin to emerge from this response phase, leaders are focusing on the next set of workforce challenges as they plan for the recovery.”

Whether freezing, stabilising or ramping up hiring, employers must re-evaluate their recruiting strategy and position themselves competitively in a recovering job market.

Whether freezing, stabilising or ramping up hiring, TA Leaders will have re-evaluated their recruiting strategy and position themselves competitively in a recovering job market.

Responding to the challenges from Remote Working

According to Josh Bersin in his recent report: “Remote recruiting has increased the talent pool…for companies that can get it right. With many organizations currently working in a hybrid or remote model, the talent pool just got a whole lot bigger, and a lot less dependent on location. It’s easy to assume that this means hiring will be easier. But anyone currently working in talent acquisition can attest this isn’t the case. A wider talent pool also means more companies competing for top candidates around the world, with geography no longer a qualifier at many sought-after employers. This competition means we need to be strategic about our virtual recruitment practices, from the moment we write a job posting through interviews and onboarding.”

For many organisations who are still adjusting their working patterns and level of flexibility, they are likely to suffer churn as job seekers determine whether the opportunity matches the reality of the job. Talent Acquisition teams need to tread a careful line when it comes to describing workplace culture and environment during the interview process, when it may change.

Remote Hiring

As recruiting goes virtual, new online touchpoints with prospective employees provide new opportunities for communicating their employer brand. Unfortunately, they also provide new pitfalls for organizations that aren’t quite getting it right.

Of course, a brand is either enhanced or damaged by every interaction between the candidate and TA. With more than 70% of organisations shifting to online hiring processes without face-to-face interview, competition for candidates is huge and the need to analyse and test existing processes and the end-to-end candidate experience is critical. Yet this forensic evaluation takes time, effort and resource.

Internal Mobility really matters now

Internal mobility is up 20 percent since the onset of COVID-19, according to LinkedIn data.

Internal head-hunters and systems for understanding and tracking employee skills, capabilities, and performance can help with this process. Learning and Development teams have a role to play here. The extent a TA team are able to collaborate with their L&D and HR colleagues has never been more critical. With recruiting budgets reportedly declining (50% of Linkedin respondents) and many L&D budgets showing no uplift, the challenge is obvious. Linkedin reports “Some experts believe that employers will build their workforce through internal mobility programs tied to reskilling initiatives or engage contingent talent instead of hiring externally. Others predict that companies will continue to move from static jobs toward project-based, cross-functional work dictated by changing business needs”.

David Green, executive consultant of Director at Insight222, that “skills are the new currency” in the workplace, and companies like IBM, Novartis and Unilever are building cultures where skills are of central importance.

TA leading on D&I

D&I has been a hot topic for TA and for many teams, an area of considerable education for hiring managers and businesses alike. Unsurprisingly, Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) will be a continuing focus area for recruiters, especially because more candidates will make job choices based on their assessment of a company’s visible DE&I commitment.

According to Linkedin Data “Nearly half (47 percent) of talent professionals reported that hiring managers are not held accountable for interviewing a diverse slate of candidates. Some experts believe that more recruiters will work to remove arbitrary entry barriers like educational requirements from job qualifications, advocate more for a diverse pipeline of candidates and hold hiring managers accountable for moving those candidates through the hiring process”.

Building TA leader behaviours and skills

Changes have seen a fundamental expansion in the pressures applied to TA teams and the associated skills required to deliver a service to their businesses.

According to SocialTalent “We saw recruiters massively increase their appetite for learning as soon as COVID-19 hit last March, more than doubling their normal learning consumption in the following months,” “Hot topics included talent advisory training, virtual interviewing, being productive while working remotely, virtual onboarding and internal mobility. Learning how to be better talent advisors is always a popular topic for recruiters, but many more sought it out for the first time as their hiring managers frantically reached out to them with a massive demand for information about the evolving labour market.”

Acceleration of the use of Technology and Science

Using AI, psychometrics testing and other digital behavioural or competency-based solutions, has increasingly become an approach adopted by sophisticated TA teams to improve the speed and accuracy of their decision making.

Whilst there has been some adoption, this need has accelerated – it’s becoming increasingly critical that organisations can move with the times. TA leaders are required to be the experts in this area AND sell the benefits to their leadership teams if they’re ever going to stay ahead of the curve.

The reality is that technology often evolves faster than the industry itself. Expectations are high, and old habits that rely on time-consuming manual processes and gut feel aren’t up to speed.

Pimp up your Candidate Experience and EVP

This pandemic has changed the expectations of the candidates whereby work-life balance, health, and wellbeing have equal importance to typical requirements for great benefits, great salary and opportunities for growth.

The future of recruitment is changing radically and should if it’s ever to keep up with the changing expectations from job seekers. What hasn’t changed is the need to provide a great candidate experience.

Meanwhile, candidates are also feeling the pinch of uncertainty. Hiring teams and recruiters must ensure all conversations with candidates maintain a consistent employer value proposition (EVP) and a clear understanding of the role, salary and company culture.

Building processes which tread the fine line between speed and engagement is essential. The need to personalise the experience, offering a higher number of touchpoints throughout the offer to onboarding stage if there is to be any surety of a successful hire, needs tact, negotiation and relationship building. No amount of automation can bridge that gap so an already stretched team have to step in.

In Summary

The breadth of expertise required to lead TA teams through this ever-changing economic environment are considerable. Balancing the needs and wants of the business balanced with the many hiring challenges has never been so challenging. Never more than now is there significant evidence that the role of a TA Leader requires deep expertise, tact, and capability. Look out for our #goodfind campaign to show how we want the world to recognise the talents which lie within our industry sector.

Click here to view the TA Maturity Matrix in a higher resolution.