are employers ready for everything they can potentially do?

July 14, 2017 Steven Brand

As the world of talent continues its rapid evolution, incredible opportunities abound for people functions within companies of all sizes to position themselves at the strategic center of their organizations, adding value and directing change.

The question that comes through on more than one occasion though is: are we ready to take those opportunities?

The first factor to take into consideration is how data is used. Businesses have access to more data than ever before, and this information can support a vast array of strategic functions, from talent acquisition and workforce planning, to financial performance. It also helps with employee engagement: as our 2017 Talent Trends Report uncovers, 71% of organizations say that analytics play a critical role in engaging talent. In theory, the data and tools exist to confidently accomplish a huge range of critical tasks, whether understanding the current state or accurately planning for the future state.

The issue is also brought up in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, which questions businesses’ readiness to make use of this opportunity. The study found that only 8% report having usable data. That leaves some 92% that have data, but that struggle to make it mean anything. Data has only ever been as good as the analysis we can conduct on it. Clearly, for most, there still exists a gap between what is possible and what is being done.

There is a similar question about the readiness of younger leaders. There are clear benefits to bringing such individuals through to senior positions ﹘ but how can organizations prepare them for that level of responsibility? As more millennials take on leadership roles, how can businesses retain more experienced, seasoned talent as well? We have seen already that loyalty to single employers is in decline. Any turnover has an impact on the business, but when it is leadership positions that need filling regularly, this can have an even more pronounced effect, not to mention the brand ripple it can create around the stability of the business.

A third aspect of this idea of readiness is technology, which is transforming almost every area of HR. As a reflection of the changing market and rise of new skills, social networking, cognitive tools and matching technologies continue to help recruiters access the very best talent from the very broadest sources possible. An evolution in thinking around the employee experience (made more pertinent by the agile nature of the workforce) has propagated a rise in onboarding platforms and wellness portals. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have gone mainstream; our Talent Trends research finds companies increasing their investment in automation for self-service tools, online onboarding systems, candidate CRMs and talent engagement tools.These technologies can support both the recruiting manager and the candidate in delivering a smoother, stronger and more valuable experience.

There is no question that technology has the capacity to change how businesses attract, recruit and retain. The question that remains is whether we are ready to make the most of these opportunities. Is the infrastructure in place to support these new approaches? Have resources been allocated? How robust was the process to find the right tool for your specific needs? How can you ensure that you are future-proofing the decisions you make? How does everything link together to ensure you deliver a seamless process, rather than a series of individually boxed steps?

The good news is that the future looks bright. The potential impact on productivity and experience make this a fascinating and important time to be a member of the human capital community. With this opportunity, however, comes a sense of responsibility. If there has never been a better chance for people leaders to assume their rightful place at the strategic center of their organization, they must ensure they grasp it and deliver bravely.

Our latest Talent Trends research notes that 53% of human capital leaders are increasing investment in HR digital specialists as a way to keep up, and that is crucial. Your organization, every employee and every potential candidate needs you to make the very most of the opportunities that are coming their way. It’s in your hands ﹘ and that’s probably the most important trend of them all.

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