10 questions to ask about your company’s workforce strategies

November 9, 2016 Michel Stokvis

As an operations leader in your organization, one thing you can count on every day is receiving data — lots and lots of data. Sometimes information is useful and helps solve a critical issue. Other times, after sorting through it, you realize it was time poorly spent. Or that it’s not clear what the numbers tell you. So when it comes to talent, how do you separate useful data from the distractions?

Historical reporting and analytical tools are becoming increasingly integrated and more useful to many organizations seeking to reveal important trends and developments in their workforce. But as powerful as they are, they provide only part of the information you need to make informed decisions. Understanding how your company’s talent strategy has really performed — how quickly you deliver headcount, the cost per hire, the length of tenure and other critical performance indicators — gives you context to move forward, but you need more than internal data to ensure your company is executing effectively. What you also need are relevant external benchmarks and forecasts.

That’s why we created the Talent Intelligence Outlook Report, a global pulse survey of human capital leaders about critical workforce developments, their outlook on talent and their organizational readiness for transformation and technology adoption. Our inaugural report for Q4 2016 reveals a wealth of eye-opening findings about how your peers around the world optimize talent in support of growth, the big issues that has them staying up at night and the solutions and innovations they are investing in to stay ahead of the competition.

What you should ask

Beyond what our report can tell you, we hope it also spurs you to reflect on some critical questions about your company’s workforce effectiveness. The data offers benchmarks on a variety of issues, so you can ask how you measure up against your peers when it comes to human capital strategy. It will give you the basis for either affirming you are a pioneer, running equal with the pack or falling behind. You may view your business as highly unique, but believe me, the challenges around talent are universal.

So what are some of the critical questions you should ask? Let’s take a look at the results closely to better understand how you can leverage the data.

  1. Can you support your company’s ambitions? A majority of our survey respondents say business has been growing at or better than expected in the past 12 months. As a result, many have been busy hiring just to keep up with demand. Many see this hiring ramp continuing in the next 12 months. If you are in the same situation, are you well-positioned to deliver the required resources in the timelines your business demands?
  2. Who is your competition for talent? The job families in high demand include marketing, sales, IT and strategic operations. It’s not just direct industry competitors seeking these skills but many others in affiliated and non-affiliated industries. Today it is more a competition for skills. Will you be able to do a better job attracting and winning critical workers – in and outside of your industry sector?
  3. Are you digitally empowered? Digitalization of HR — the movement away from analog systems to cloud-based and self-service platforms — is one of the most often cited transformative developments, according to survey respondents. In countries such as the U.S., Australia and Sweden, digitalization is seen as a driving-force innovation by most companies.
  4. What are you doing about talent scarcity? A majority of companies cite talent scarcity as a paralyzing issue. They’ve also invested in a wide array of technologies and solutions to mitigate this problem. If you aren’t already grappling with scarcity, it will surely come your way as the global economy heats up.
  5. Are you ready for an explosive gig economy? More workers than ever are joining the gig economy, and employers are taking notice and leveraging their talent. Our survey respondents say the booming gig economy will create new business and workforce opportunities. Will it for you?
  6. Can the right talent for you be any type? More companies are realizing they don’t need to adhere to traditional decision-making about which roles should be permanent and which are contingent. Many of our respondents say they believe that by depending on more flexible talent, they will be more agile.
  7. Are you considering robotics and automation? Nearly one-third of respondents say robotics and automation will have a greater influence on their business. If your workforce strategy doesn’t consider non-human talent, you might run this risk of falling behind.
  8. Do you consider talent beyond geographic boundaries? With changing demographics, some companies now take a global view to searching for the best talent for their business needs no matter where they live. More importantly, many workers no longer have to move from home with technology innovation enabling the rapid growth of remote working arrangements.
  9. Are you planning to embrace talent in a holistic way? More than two-thirds of human capital leaders surveyed want to implement an integrated talent model, which is the holistic approach to managing all talent types within an organization, including permanent, contingent, freelance, statement of work and robotics. They cite a variety of advantages from preparing for the future to driving recruiting effectiveness. Can your company benefit from such an approach?
  10. How prepared are you to embrace technology to enhance talent strategies? Overwhelmingly, companies say technology helps them win talent, but deciding which ones to invest in can be fraught with pitfalls. So how can you make a wise decision in an increasingly complex technology marketplace?

By asking the big questions, you can develop an honest assessment of your organization’s readiness to transform your talent strategy and position HR in the driver’s seat of change to meet evolving business needs and growth. Compare your answers with our report to benchmark how you are doing against peers in large and small organizations alike. We hope it gives you exceptional insights into what lies ahead and how you can evolve your strategy for what may come. 

About the Author

Michel Stokvis

Michel Stokvis is the director of Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Innovation Center. With more than 20 years in the industry, he has deep experience in RPO and MSP solutions, having served on both the client and provider side. His previous roles have spanned across numerous global markets and provided an opportunity for him to work with a variety of companies in many sectors.

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