Reimagining Talent Acquisition and Mobility

The Next Practices Weekly call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders each Thursday at 11am ET / 8am PT. On this week's call, i4cp' s Managing Editor and Vice President of Research, Lorrie Lykins, and i4cp's Vice President of Executive Search, Mimi Turner, facilitated a discussion on reimagining talent acquisition and mobility. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • We led off the call with the following participant poll: Has your organization experienced a layoff in the past 90 days?
    • 32% - Yes
    • 63% - No
    • 6% - Not yet, but I'm anticipating it
  • i4cp's Talent Acquisition Board indicated four top priorities for 2023, with one being "Enhancing the organization's workforce planning capabilities." This includes an emphasis on talent mobility, which helps to engage and retain employees. It can also help mitigate the need for layoffs, by first mapping employees' skills and capabilities to internal openings to verify if some of them can stay on in a different role.
  • Is there a best practice around time-in-role required before internal mobility becomes an option? Turner noted that it can depend on the organization. For instance, startups might be inclined to allow for internal moves with very little tenure with the organization, because everything is moving so quickly and the company needs to be very agile. Other, more mature organizations, might reasonably have requirements of a year or more, but should consider carefully the why behind such rules in order to not stifle best-fit moves for top talent.
  • Many participants on the call noted that their organizations are focused on increasing talent mobility, but admit they are at various levels of maturity in this area.
  • Lykins noted the critical role of the managers: i4cp's research has found high-performance organization far more often incentivize and recognize managers who develop and move their talent in the organization. Doing this is one way to fight against the natural tendency for managers to hoard their top talent. Turner added that a key cultural aspect is shifting the mindset so that managers and leaders see employees as the organization's talent, not their talent.
  • Lykins and Turner discussed the issue of the many recent reductions in force at many large organizations. These aren't always handled in the best way, with organizations often not thinking through the process that should involve optimal communications, benefits, support, etc. This has a negative impact not only on those employees laid off, but also those who remain (e.g., survivor's guilt, questions about the organization's culture, etc.) and the public perception of the organizations culture, employee value proposition, and leadership.
  • A stronger people analytics muscle in organizations, particularly in regards to workforce planning, could have helped reduce the level of layoffs that we have seen at many companies. Not only might they have not scaled up as much or as quickly only to need to layoff many workers now, but they could better connect employees with good-match open internal roles rather than letting the talent go. Hopefully more organizations will learn this from the current period and avoid the over-hire/layoff cycle in the future.
  • Employer branding can really be hit negatively when an organization needs to do a significant reduction in force. Turner noted that when a RIF has happened, there is no way to ignore it. So it is critical that you explain and clearly communicate why it happened, so that candidates you are now interviewing understand and remain interested in your organization.
  • Turner described three key practices to optimize an organization's candidate experience:
    • Nail the job description by making sure it includes everything salient for the candidate to really understand what to expect.
    • Follow-up with candidates. Yes, it is true you often have an overwhelming number of candidates, and some of them ghost your organization during the process, but it is important to apply the golden rule and treat your candidates in the way you would want to be treated.
    • Mind the gap between TA and onboarding. Either make sure there is strong communication and alignment between these functions, or blend them together in terms of organization structure to guarantee the transition for new hires is smooth.
  • Lykins noted the shift in the past few years to reconsider the requirements for many roles, e.g., asking whether degrees are necessary for certain roles.
  • Organizations also need to make very clear, and to be honest about, the work model for each role in terms of remote, hybrid, flexibility, etc. Candidates use those aspects of a job as a filter of whether to pursue the opportunity or not.
  • Lykins noted i4cp's research that found high-performance organizations more often leverage their ERGs/BRGs as a source of leadership development and to better support internal talent mobility.

Links to resources shared on the call: