2 men and 2 women sitting around a table working whilst having some food and drink

Getting creative with your workforce planning: a TALiNT Partners roundtable write up

Recently TALiNT Partners’ chief executive Ken Brotherston and I hosted a roundtable dinner for HR and talent leaders based in the Midlands at The Ivy, Birmingham. We discussed an eclectic range of topics - including football, airplane maintenance and most importantly - workforce planning and the talent challenges faced by HR, Talent management (TM) and Talent acquisition (TA) teams. The general consensus for 2023 - we’re all going to have to get creative.  

Ken kindly wrote up the evenings key takeaways and insight, so you can benefit from the immense shared HR and TA experience around the table.

Our guests were HR, TM and TA leaders representing a cracking cross section of the Midlands’ largest and most dynamic companies. Our lively discussion ranged across topics from workforce planning, managing a TA function in a downturn, DE&I, balancing attraction and retention, DE&I, early careers, how attractive the Midlands is for talent, line manager engagement, new hire attrition and onboarding and finally, some creative thinking about jobs of the future.  

TA has greater influence than ever 

One of the first great observations was this: agreement that the TA function has much more of a cross-business impact and influence than ever before. Clearly, this is a good thing but can be a double-edged sword with the additional workload it can bring. For example, technically, workforce planning isn’t really the job of TA but they can’t function without it so if no one else is doing it then it will often fall to them.  

Likewise, the impact that a good tech stack can have, not just on the TA function, but wider talent management and HR capability can’t be underestimated. But again, it’s more work which can often feel like mid-air repairs and there is never the option to ‘land the plane’ to give it a proper re-fit.  

Attraction and attrition tensions 

This led quite elegantly (if I say so myself) onto a discussion about the interface between TA and TM and the inevitable tensions between attraction and attrition. Clearly, they are both challenging in their own ways, but the latter is especially complex in the current market as employers race to develop sustainable flexible and hybrid working strategies whilst combatting significant external pay differentials often across every level of their organisation.  

Outsourcings growing impact  

Another trend specific to the TA function that we discussed was the impact of outsourcing. It was interesting that our partner for the evening, Guidant Global, were not only able to give great examples of some of the interesting and complex work they do across both permanent and contingent workforces, but also to talk about the trends they see of employers increasingly scaling back their TA functions to a core of experts and outsourcing the rest. There was a high degree of agreement that this is a trend but whether it is a long structural shift or a short-term response to the current talent scarcity and economic uncertainty remains to be seen.  

Authentic authenticity

One of the key points highlighted by our group was the importance of authenticity in describing a role – being honest about the pluses and minuses whilst demonstrating how a prospective employee can do great work. It was the same for job descriptions which need to explain why someone should want to work for you and not just what the work is (they probably already know!).  

Who’s up for a ‘Head of Attrition’??? 

Finally, and after perhaps more than one glass of red wine we ventured onto what some roles in the TA and HR function of the future might look like. Who’s up for a ‘Head of Attrition’, ‘Onboarding Director’ or perhaps even ‘Chief Authenticity Officer’? One prediction we can make for sure, is that we will be back at the Ivy again in 2023.” 

Evolving your talent approach  

If you want help getting creative with your strategic workforce plan or are wanting to capitalise on recruitment outsourcing to increase talent quality, visibility and cost savings, contact us.