Talent Acquisition Strategies for 2021

Talent being selected from group

Now that 2020 is in the rearview, companies are setting their sights on the new year, and what that means and looks like in the “new normal.”  And, although the definition of the “new normal” tends to be a bit of a moving target, companies are continuing to make changes and adjustments in order to survive and even thrive against the backdrop of global uncertainty.

This is especially true among human resource professionals, who are ramping up their talent acquisition strategies for 2021, as the economy continues to recover.

So as we look ahead, we anticipate that talent acquisition strategies will continue to rely heavily on technology, while remaining focused on mitigating health and safety risks, and maintaining a large degree of flexibility for its workforce.

The War on Talent

As the economy continues to recover, the war on talent will not only resume, but could become an even more fierce battlefield.  As such, it will be necessary for companies to take a granular look at how their salaries and employment benefit packages stack up against the competition and within the marketplace in general.  More importantly, they will have to closely examine the elements that employees see as non-negotiables, and figure out the best way to incorporate those into their company culture.

According to a recent article entitled, “How to Rethink Perks and Benefits in the COVID-19 Era,” published by www.inc.com, perks and benefits, such as 401(k) plans and vacation times were critical tools that were successfully used for many years during talent wars.  However, those perks and benefits have changed dramatically today in order to reflect the equally dramatic changes that have taken place within the workforce.

The article states, “Employers are still using perks and benefits to attract and retain employees, but those perks and benefits are very different. Compounding that, the pandemic has caused 15 years of behavior change in just a few months, including how employees work and their expectations of employers. Understanding what employees – and potential employees – need and expect now is critical for small and midsize businesses to effectively use perks and benefits as a differentiator in the new COVID-19-era talent war.”

The article points to flexibility as being the secret weapon for keeping and retaining talent.  This means flexibility in terms of being able to work from home and having a more flexible schedule.

We have already seen the rise in the need for flexibility throughout most of 2020, as working parents have had to juggle their own jobs, while also serving as educators for their children.  This will continue to be a sticking point for working parents in 2021.

Talent Acquisition Strategies

So, what might your talent acquisition strategy look like?  Here are some of the top elements that you might want to include:

Review and Update Policies

Reviewing your company’s current policies and making appropriate updates to those policies is a great place to start.  You also need to make sure that your policies are in line with industry best practices and that they make sense for your organization. Do your research and call on other HR professionals to discuss new policies and practices that they have implemented.  Find out what has worked and what has not, and where they see the challenges and solutions. 

Screening Applicants

There are various online tools and web sites that can be invaluable for researching and screening applicants, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, so again, do you research, and utilize the many resources at your disposal. 

Remote Interviewing

Remote interviewing and other pandemic-friendly practices should continue to be an important aspect of your talent acquisition strategy in 2021. The use of video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, have become vital tools for remote interviews.  They can also be used for virtual onboarding of new employees, as well as for orientation and training practices.

Focus on Employee Needs and Employee Experience

This one cannot be overstated, especially given a landscape where you will be competing for top talent in your industry.  This is an area where flexibility will need to take center stage. Each employee has a unique situation and might need to be given a certain amount of personal agency in determining what that flexibility looks like, so that he or she is able to make those decisions that could impact their health and/or the health of their family members.

Health and Safety Measures

Employees need to have the confidence that appropriate health and safety measures have been put in place, and that certain guidelines will be followed within the office environment. Likewise, if employees do not feel comfortable that the health risks have been properly mitigated, you will need to have policies in place that address those concerns. You might want to consider implementing or updating your company’s overall safety policy if necessary.

Remote Work Options

Since remote work will continue to be an important factor in 2021, it is important to define some expectations around that to help the employee have a clear understanding of what that looks like.  For example, the employee will need to know what equipment, tools, resources, and support will be provided by the company.  Also, for some employees, remote work might be a permanent arrangement, while for others it is more of a hybrid of remote work and in-office work.  Discuss all of the options upfront.

Transferable Skills

An important hiring strategy for 2021 is also to look for a candidate with transferrable skills that can be utilized across various positions and roles within a company.  Some of the transferrable skills that are in high demand today include: communication, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and positive attitude.

Maintaining Your Company Culture

Your talent acquisition strategies will need to closely reflect the way that people work today, and the vast changes that have taken place in the work environment, which has in turn drastically reshaped business culture.

In fact, one of the most challenging aspects of having a partially or even largely remote workforce, is the ability for companies to be able to maintain company culture. Truly understanding a company’s culture can be especially difficult in a remote world. You can try to explain what your company culture is like while on a Zoom video call, but it is much different when you are able to bring a candidate or new hire into the office to experience that culture first-hand.

At the same time, you can leverage technology to bring team members together and keep that company culture alive, while engaging new employees and orienting them in a way that makes them feel like part of the team.  Companies that are doing this successfully are those that have quickly made changes, adjusted, and embraced a new work culture and set of policies and processes that are conducive to employee retention and attraction.

Onward and Upward

At VERSA, we are ever optimistic, and we see lots of opportunities on the horizon for 2021.  It’s really about making the necessary shifts and adjustments and partnering with our clients to assist them in achieving their talent management and talent mobility goals.

We have much to look forward to in 2021, and we will continue to provide the tools and resources, as well as valuable content that you need most.

Please remember that we are always here to answer all of your questions, so feel free to contact us anytime!

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