HR: It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

Most organizations are structured along the following lines: On one side you have the competitive differentiators — sales and marketing, product development, customer service. And on the other, you have compliance and cost containment — finance, legal and HR. The competitive-differentiator side tends to get the lion’s share of funding and attention — and that’s the side HR and recruiting needs to be on, said Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference Co-chair Elaine Orler.

“Talent is the only real competitive differentiator,” said Orler, who spoke during a session at the conference on future trends in talent technology. “That’s how we win.”

Too often, HR must scrape and beg for the money for implementing the tools, systems and resources to make talent acquisition faster and more effective, she said. It needs to reorient its mindset away from cost-containment to value-added, and have the confidence — and the data — to successfully present this argument to the C-suite so it can get the resources it needs.

“We need to have those straightforward conversations — that if we only have 30 days to find a candidate, we’re only going to come up with C-players,” she said. “We need to advocate for 40 days, and 20 percent more salary, for example, to fill that position with an A-player.”

Orler, who’s worked as a recruiter and technology consultant for 20 years and is now senior vice president for professional services at Talent Sonar, also discussed her predictions for what we can expect to see in talent acquisition during the next year and beyond. One trend will be “total talent management,” she said, in which organizations will need to take into account the growing number of non-employees who fill critical talent roles. HR needs to take ownership for the contractors, gig workers and temps who fill these jobs and help them develop their careers and skills, even though they’re not full-time employees, she said.

Another development will be the realization that machines are not going to take over after all — but millennials and Gen Z will, and HR needs to help companies adapt to the different way in which the younger generations prefer to interact with their employer, said Orler. “We’ve got five generations in the workforce now — that’s unprecedented,” she said. “We’ve got to address how to manage the mixed workforce, and technology will help us do that.”

Then there’s what Orler refers to as “Suite Play 2.0,” or the growing availability of “plug and play” talent applications enabled by so-called “partner ecosystems,” in which HR tech vendors share their APIs with other pre-approved vendors to make it easier for clients to install new point solutions on their platforms without going through all the implementation and integration headaches of yesteryear, said Orler. “This is going to make things easier and faster,” she said.

Finally, talent acquisition will increasingly be measured by quality, not quantity, she said.

“If I could ask you to do one thing, it would be to refuse to allow TA to be measured by time-to-fill,” Orler told the audience. “Time-to-fill only generates quantity. Measure quality instead — that’s how we can show that we’re on the value-added side of the business, not the cost-containment side.”

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