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How to overcome post-pandemic HR sourcing challenges

The pandemic shone a spotlight on the importance of companies’ HR leaders, as organisations were presented with unprecedented challenges. But even as the recovery gathers pace, new challenges are presenting themselves.

At Globality, we’ve seen first-hand the sourcing strategies and approaches from many of our customers shift over the past several months, as their needs from external HR service providers in many areas have fundamentally changed.

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What does the HR landscape look like today? What role do external providers play in it? Three common themes have emerged:

Re-evaluation of service requirements

Many services, paused during the pandemic, are being reevaluated, notably those related to travel and mobility: visa and immigration services, relocation and broader travel services such as fleet management.

Rather than simply renewing existing agreements that were defined pre-pandemic, our clients are starting afresh to rescope exactly what they feel they need, eliminating any nonessential items.

Commercially, uncertainty in demand has also meant customers are moving away from a focus on maximising the discounts on historically high-volume services, and instead paying more attention to the base pricing of these services.

Reshaping their learning and coaching ecosystem

The pandemic accelerated what was already a well-established trend in the increasing importance of digital-first training services. This process continues to reduce the need for physical co-location, expanding an already highly fragmented supplier marketplace, and customers have reacted by becoming more sophisticated in how they access it.

Customers are turning to technology to help them navigate which of the myriad providers are truly great at delivering their specific needs.

Expansion of market access

The predominant theme pre-pandemic was that of simplification: removing and reducing complexity among staffing and recruiting suppliers through consolidation, usually with the help of a managed service provider to reduce the operational burden.

However, over the past year, we have seen several clients reverse this consolidation as they seek as much direct access to the talent pool as possible.

Combine this with the trend of most businesses shifting previously full-time positions to contingent, project or contract roles leading customers to now rely on tools and solutions that can unlock this flexibility.

Forward-thinking HR leaders, actively partnering with procurement, are leveraging AI-powered sourcing technology to overcome these challenges.

Whether it is redefining the scope of the services they need, navigating the fast-evolving complex and fragmented HR services marketplace, or increasing access to talent without sacrificing candidate experience.

New technology can help them achieve their goals, leveraging natural language processing, which is capable of reading and interpreting the way a user will express needs and requirements, to identify the best HR service providers for specific requirements.

The technology also supports the user in negotiations with the suppliers, with the platform acting as the main repository for all requests for quotes and provider proposals thus building up organisational knowledge and insight over time.

This is helpful when identifying new digital-first training services, reviewing competitiveness of recruitment agencies, and sourcing supplementary enablers, like background check software, to facilitate more effective hiring processes.

This user-centric approach offers a seamless experience for HR leaders who aren’t experts in procurement, as the technology brings in collective, crowd-funded expertise.  

As businesses continue to adjust to the cliched ‘new normal’, they are realising some business practices have permanently shifted, and there may be no going back to the way things were before.

With soaring inflation and a likely recession looming, CHROs and HR directors will continue to strive to reduce operating cost, optimise headcount and increase automation to deliver tangible impact and value.

Innovative AI-driven technology is the key that will help unlock this bold new future for HR.

Arnab Banerjee is HR category lead at Globality