Article (October-2016)


What's the new normal?

Sheena S. Minhas

Designation : -   VP & Head HR

Organization : -  ABB Global Industries & Services, Bangalore


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Several years ago, before the economic downturn, companies were growing fast and hiring at warp speed. The goal at many organizations was to keep up the momentum, and there was pressure on hiring teams to deliver volume, then came the era of hiring freezes. It has been eight years since McKinsey coined the phrase 'the new normal', referring to the fundamental changes in the business landscape following the recession of 2008. What is 'the new normal' for companies to source, develop, and engage employees?

1. Quality of Hire with Right Fitment
Shift from regular filling the role, to enhancing the capability in the team has resulted in putting the selection and assessment practices using cognitive, analytics skills to guarantee the perfect fit. While the urgency to fill roles has made 'time to fill' increase slightly, quality of hire continues to be the most important aspect.Improving the quality of hire also means considering the manner in which the future potential of an employee is usable in the future, given that our mental processing capability continues to evolve over time.
"People are not your most important asset. The right people are."Jim Collins, author of 'Good to Great' and 'Built to Last'.

2. Engineering People Analytics 
Meaningful HR analytics speed the data-to-action cycle, reducing the traditional time lag to realize business benefits and help to 'Identify, Intervene, and Intercept'. Using predictive analytics and data based decision approach creates huge business impact instead of mere gut feel.

Choosing where to cast the recruiting net to using data to analyze competitor talent pools to find candidates with the right skills and potential to join the organization. Besides these tools like workforce planning tools, people productivity & skill utilization maturing there is better proposition toapproach the right candidates, including passive candidates as team gets enough time to prepare.

3. New Role of Strategic Talent Manager 
Emerging of Talent Partner concept, which is integrated talent approach combining talent acquisition and talent management in one portfolio, making these partners as the Go To person for all talent needs.HR now has becomes true strategic partner who understands business and its expectations. The aspect of undermining right talentis it internal or external in sheer isolation is now removed as these talent partners get equipped with digital tools to leverage the search and assess aspects. 

Be it using predictive tools for personality, cognitive and technical assessments. HR seek better ways to get their arms around data and develop true insights about  employees (current or future) expectation which increases the credibility for selection and helps in finding the best fitment either internally or externally. 

4. Internal Talent Mobility 
Focus on right sizing, productivity & lean management, impacts developing talent internally and enhancing retention of key talent &internal mobility. Internal talent is a crucial constituent in filling business needs and mobilizing along with positively impacting across organizational Silos. As a best practice companies emphasize to have published the positions internally for two weeks before going for external hires, the internal candidate closures is targeted as 25% of hirings and tracked as a business metric.

Leveraging internal talent pools - not just focus on filling the pipeline and seldom tap into it, rather HR's role is to act as change agents to facilitate cross-organizational moves. Sourcing internally has its benefits, with shorter time to productivity, lower staffing costs. This provides employees career development   opportunities internally, resulting into higher retention rates and better financial performance. True value creation lies in the selection and advancement processes for our people.

5. Employer Branding & Candidate Experience 
Employee referral is one of the most important aspect of recruiting; candidates listen to their own peer networks regarding the decisions to join a company. No marketing gimmick can take away the power of known friend experience, employees are company's own brand ambassadors who can vouch as to how is it work here and help bringing their known friends to join them. The referral program brings the best quality hires, most engaged and high retention focus. 

With brand ambassadors inside their engagement starts within, along with cross functional partnerships with marketing & communication teams. Brand campaigns where real experience is shared by own employees creating them as internal brand ambassadors, which other employee can relate with easily and is far more impactful focused on Work with purpose. Communication is never enough, it's important connecting social media channels "Yammer", SharePoint, besides inside TV, company news channels  where both stories and business news  update large diverse employee base indifferent locations connected at all times.

Finally, besides the selection process focuses on giving candidate experience, be it travel to venue, planned interviews in time, facility tour  with focus on company experience  followed by feedbacks makes the candidate want to join the company at all times for sheer professionalism and personal touch.