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Recruitment roundtable reveals top US hiring challenges and tactics

Talent acquisition leaders in the US are facing a truly unique set of challenges. Whether it’s figuring out how to get hybrid working right, hiring during acute talent shortages, or continually evaluating new technology, it can all feel a bit overwhelming.

To understand how organisations are tackling these challenges, Guidant hosted a virtual roundtable on 29 September with Ken Brotherstone from TALiNT Partners.

Entitled Total Talent: Best Practice in Direct Sourcing, Talent Pooling and Creating Workforce Visibility, this session brought together procurement, HR, and sourcing leads from industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and IT.

Here’s what our attendees told us about current talent difficulties, and their ideas for overcoming them.

Challenges: what’s causing today’s hiring problems, and what are the effects?

  • Pay and bonuses: Increased student loan debt and inflation, coupled with workers having more leverage than ever, means employers are feeling the pressure to raise wages. Some also reported candidates asking for guaranteed bonuses, or for bonus eligibility much sooner than usual.
  • ‘Passive’ headhunting: With talent so scarce across the board, even those employees who are not actively looking for work are being approached on a regular basis. This remains a significant talent risk for our attendees.
  • Progression and development: According to our discussion, interviewees are increasingly looking for the offer of ‘lattice opportunities’ - the chance to progress in a horizontal or diagonal fashion - rather than focusing on a strictly linear career path.
  • The Great Resignation: Businesses that used to brace for seasonal resignations (after bonus payouts, for example) are seeing ‘off-season’ resignations too, as their competitors entice much-needed candidates with financial incentives.
  • Culture and brand: People are leaving due to environment, team, or what they see as unfavourable return to work policies. People are also ready to leave for companies that are perceived to have a better employer brand or a higher status.
  • Low tolerance for hiring delays: There seems to have been an increase in ‘ghosting’ by candidates. Intensive onboarding or ‘pre-boarding’ processes are more likely to cause candidates to disappear after verbally accepting an offer.

Solutions: what tactics are employers using to overcome these challenges?

  • Moving beyond skills-based hiring: With fully-qualified candidates proving harder than ever to come by, employers are increasingly hiring for potential and investing in the training and development of less experienced people.
  • Focusing on retaining current employees: Employers are acutely aware that teams are close to burnout due to being short staffed, and working with underskilled colleagues who are in training. So, retention efforts have become a key focus.
  • Converting temporary workers to permanent staff: Our panel discussed the benefits (not least from a cost perspective) of being able to persuade temporary workers to stay on. To this end, they’re currently more likely to discuss company benefits and permanent roles with contingent workers.

Read more on retention and internal mobility

On 31 March 2021 Louise West, Guidant Global’s Director of Client Solutions, hosted a virtual conference in collaboration with TALiNT Partners.

Global and national leaders in HR and talent acquisition discussed the pandemic’s impact on the retention and development of the internal talent needed to deliver revised business goals and change programmes.

You can download our report of this UK-based event here.
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