· 2 min read · Features

Align HR with growth plans to attract talent

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As the economic recovery gathers momentum, businesses are starting to make up for lost time by implementing their most ambitious growth plans yet. Melanie Forbes, MD of Guidant Group argues that HR must align itself with growth plans to attract talent post-recession.

During the recession, the jobs market was in a state of stagnation and tight budgets meant businesses were forced to minimise the resources they dedicated to their HR departments. Now, with new positivity in the market, fims are re-investing in HR in order to attract the right talent. But times have changed; the candidate is back in the driving seat with higher demands and HR strategy needs to change accordingly. 

The post-recession candidate is demanding more flexibility and a better work-life balance, so businesses’ HR strategies need to adapt accordingly. The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 on Engaging the 21st-century workforce report revealed millennials are predicted to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, and many "don’t want a career, they want an experience". According to the research they want to be creative, run their own businesses, and expect an accelerated career. 

Many employers do not yet understand these ideals and as the most recent REC/KPMG Report on Jobs revealed, this is causing a real struggle to attract the right talent. The post-recession candidate is hard to attract and even harder to retain so HR professionals will have to look into new, smarter recruitment strategies in order to fuel the growth plans of their business. Offering flexibility is key to this. 

Contingent workforces always increase after a recession, but they are currently at unprecedented levels in the UK, with approximately 25% of the average workforce within large companies made up of contingent workers. Historically, they were just used to combat short-term resource challenges but businesses are beginning to wake up to their wider benefits. Although control, cost, visibility, consistency of process and the need to navigate resourcing programmes across multiple countries can be complicated, failure to embrace the increasingly popular working style simply isn’t an option. 

Alongside this necessary restructuring, it’s no surprise that the ability to attract the right candidates is being heavily affected by social media. One of the reasons for a shortage of candidates is that the simplicity of applying in one click means that 90% of applicants don’t even read the job description, and 85% don’t have the right skills. Obviously this can make life difficult for the HR department, so to increase the likelihood of attracting the right talent via social media, businesses need to understand where their ideal candidates are engaging online. Twitter might be the perfect place to find candidates for a media role, but it’s not necessarily the place to find engineers, for example. 

Finding a middle ground is hard but with the current shortage of talent, candidates have the upper hand, and so it’s businesses which will need to rethink and develop their HR strategies in order to fuel their growth plans. The prospect may be daunting but organisations need to remember that successful HR strategies need to be aligned with those of the business in order to secure long-term success.

Melanie Forbes is managing director of Guidant Group