be a talent navigator.

January 20, 2018 Rebecca Henderson


A talent-centric approach delivers competitive advantage. 

If you’ve spent your entire career in the people business as I have, you might recall a time when your domain consisted of managing permanent employees or temporary staffers. Your talent focus then was mostly on process efficiency and timely fulfillment of requisitions for one type of talent or another. Today, look how far we’ve come.

While process and delivery are still important to HR and procurement, the talent domain has expanded broadly. Talent leaders are now managing a more complex mix of workers, seeking expand the pool from which they source and attract candidates, and developing greater expertise in regulations and technology in support of a borderless workforce. Executive leadership expects a business-leading talent strategy that maps a course for success, predicts potential roadblocks and opportunities, and delivers the workforce needed to achieve the company’s goals.

Your opportunity to stand out is here, but there are some challenges you will need to steer through. One of the most pressing is determining ways to effectively optimize a more diverse mix of worker types. From freelancers and the human cloud, to statement of work contractors, the ranks of these workers in your organization are rapidly growing. At the same time, talent scarcity continues to make it difficult to map workforce strategy to the C-suite’s business plans. And as the increasing adoption of technology and automation demand more of your attention, strong leadership in these areas has never been more important.

Today’s human capital leaders need to be talent navigators, driving business ambitions and plotting a clear course for the road ahead. How can your company complement its human workforce with the latest robotics and machine learning innovation? Can you create a more agile business through selective deployment of contingent talent in roles typically filled by traditional employees? How can you create a highly engaging approach to talent attraction and retention that results in an experiential advantage as an employer?

These are just some of the top trends your peers have identified for 2018 in our Talent Trends research, which includes findings from our survey of more than 800 C-suite and human capital leaders across 17 countries. What these leaders tell us is that they’re shifting their journey to become talent-centric employers into high gear and focusing on building the most productive workforce they can. That’s likely where you’re headed, too. But our research reveals some surprising findings, while confirming the resiliency of other market developments. For instance, did you know:

  • Most (78%) say the goal of their talent strategy is to have a measurable impact on business performance, up from 57% in 2016.
  • A majority are increasing (51%) or maintaining (31%) budgets to enhance the workplace experience, and 46% are increasing budgets to improve candidate experience.
  • An overwhelming number (81%) say they feel positive about the presence of these technologies in the workplace over the next three to five years.
  • Only 11% of employers report plans to reskill or train their existing employees to meet changing business needs this year — a worrying statistic as automation increases and the skills gap widens.

These and other survey results confirm what we have observed for some time: organizations view talent strategy as a differentiator for their business. By prioritizing access to the best candidates and efforts to boost retention, all while enhancing productivity through technological innovation, leading organizations around the world demonstrate how to outmaneuver their competitors.

How do you chart a course in the same direction? Start by knowing the market forces that have the biggest impact on your workforce. You’ll get a comprehensive view with our 2018 Talent Trends Report, which provides actionable insights and practical examples for each of the 10 biggest market developments this year. It will help you build a stronger workforce strategy and provide a map for your journey ahead. You can get your copy of the report here.

We hope you make great use of this year’s survey results and market intelligence. As C-suite expectations grow, I’m certain the business insights in our 2018 Talent Trends Report will help you better answer the critical talent questions that your executives are asking.

about the author

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson is CEO of Randstad Sourceright. Rebecca brings more than 20 years’ experience in all facets of talent acquisition solutions and technology. With deep insights and progressive perspectives, Rebecca steers Randstad Sourceright’s global development to ensure HR and talent leaders can play a strategic role in driving growth locally, across regions, and globally. Rebecca is a highly regarded leader in the talent management field and was most recently recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts in “The Global Power 100 – Women in Staffing” list.

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