Revolutionising talent acquisition in the dynamic world of work


The world of work is no longer the same as it used to be before the global pandemic. There has been a dramatic shift in the employee-employer relationship, employee expectations, and much more. The changing dynamics have led to a great talent war. On the one hand there have been layoffs while on the other hand, there is a huge demand for skilled people to fill in the roles that companies have. Compensation is no longer the most lucrative part to attract the talent pool. What more is needed to do?

Organisations are quick to adapt to these changes and re-strategise their policies to attract and retain the best talent at the time of the great talent war.

So, what can be done by leaders to co-create these talent-acquisition efforts? How do they create teams that will ultimately drive their business? How do various other aspects of the employee lifecycle influence talent acquisition?

In a ‘Power Panel: Who Owns Talent Acquisition?: Exploring Role Of CHROs & CEOs’ Krishna Raghavan; Chief People Officer, Flipkart, Shalini Pillay; Office Managing Partner – Bangalore, India Leader- GCCs Board Member, KPMG India, and Venkataraman S. V., Managing Director for Bengaluru Service Centre, ANZ shared insights on CHROs need to work along with recruiters and hiring managers and take the responsibility of building a strong talent pipeline at People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2023.

A lot has been spoken about the great talent war, the crazy demand for talent, and not being enough roles and simultaneously not enough people to fill in the roles that companies have.

“On one hand we hear all these on the other, there have been signs of the recession, layoff and hiring freeze or slowdown at big tech companies,” says Shalini.

Talent war or battle?

Venkataraman S.V. Managing Director for Bengaluru Service Centre, ANZ, says that the talent war is there but we need to question whether it is a war or just a battle.

“This needs to be checked because we have been seeing a huge demand in certain pockets and experiences. Being experienced talent acquisition folks, we know there is a sweet spot in this talent demand and that sweet spot is probably certain kinds of technologies, age brackets, and experience brackets.”

According to Venkataraman, a rapid digital transformation clubbed with the emergence of new-age technology such as AI led to massive demand and a rush to hire whoever is available.

“In addition to this, baby boomers exiting the workforce in the last 2-3 years created a vacuum and left organisations no choice but to go for massive hiring,” says Venkataraman, adding that about 30 million such people left the workforce.

He further adds that this is not an all-pervasive phenomenon, and that’s why there are layoffs on one end and a massive demand for the others, but the demand is for a certain kind of skill and work profile. Venkataraman cautioned talent acquisition leaders to hire wisely.

Being multi-skilled is important

There’s always a demand for very good talent, irrespective of skill set, says Krishna Raghavan, Chief People Officer, Flipkart.

“Covid accelerated digital transformation in many industries such as Pharma that have never been digitally native. The constantly changing technology landscape and innovation pushed the demand for a multi-skilled workforce.”

Sharing an example at Flipkart, Krishna explains that they needed a diverse skill set such as conversational AI, data scientists, product management, and usability engineers to solve the problem.

“So, the more multi-skilled you are, the more value you have in the market. And there is an acute scarcity of multi-skilled workforce in the market today,” says Krishna.

To bridge the demand-supply gap, minimise the risk of miss hires, and create a future workforce, he suggests changes in our traditional formal learning methods. According to him, this needs to be changed from unidimensional to multi-dimensional.

Role of CEO and CHRO in acquiring the right talent

There has been a rapid shift in people’s expectations. “The current talent pool is looking for a very different kind of organisation compared to what we were looking for when we started. Job security, salary, and benefits have been changed to purpose, motion and sort of conscience who look after them for wellness,” says Venkataraman

“It is important for organisations to create that awareness of purpose, create a culture that new generation completely identifies us. I think it’s time that we got involved in attracting the right talent. When the CEO provides a message around the purpose and what the organisation means it appears a lot more authentic, because then the candidate prospect again, does know that it’s driven right up from the top and I think that makes a very big difference. So as a CEO, my focus is to make sure that we create the right guardrails in terms of having a nice, good purpose set of values that drive it and drive them and show that you are exemplifying them. I think that’s a very, very important aspect of being a leader of an organization today,” explains Venkataraman.

Adding on to Venkataraman’s point, Krishna says that a lot of research across the globe has shown that purpose-led organisations far out score in terms of how they attract talent as compared to others.

“From a CHRO perspective, working in tandem with the CEO to make sure that you have an employee value proposition is also important. What stands out for you is what are you offering as a value proposition.

Talent acquisition people are the first touch point for candidates exploring any company. “CEOs and CFOs can drive a lot of shifts and play a huge role in driving the transformational agenda like diversity in leadership,” says Krishna.

Managing the workforce in a hybrid era

It’s important to remember that the purpose is key but has a different meaning for different people, highlights Shalini. “For every person that you manage to attract, you are actually answering a question about what brings them to you every day and sustaining them,” according to Shalini.

At a time when talent is demanding 100% work from home, how do you get them to engage with you and connect with you remotely, asks Shalini. “It’s causing a different set of issues with leaders managing this remote workforce, but I think that’s the task before everyone here as you attract talent, how are you getting people to see that proposition?”

On bringing Employee Value Proposition (EVP), Krishnan says that is a very huge responsibility for talent acquisition leaders across the spectrum.

“The job does not end by bringing and acquiring talent into the company. Understanding the business needs, and skill-set required for the company and listening to employees as you were the first connection that they have established with the company makes you a better talent acquisition leader,” adds Krishnan.

The other thing which I want to bring out here is we hire based on skills that were determined several years ago by a very different generation. Do we really need that level of skills to do the kind of work that we have? So, I think that fit for purpose and making your job description’s purpose and the requirements fit to purpose is very crucial. I would encourage you to challenge the business,” asserts Venkataraman.

Besides, casting your net wider to get the right talent is something that cannot be ignored important. “Our usual method is to visit the campuses for hiring purposes. But we forget that there is a large bunch of people who are differently abled, women who have taken off because of family responsibilities and want to come back into the corporate world, I think casting your net wide is really crucial.”

Another important angle that must be taken care of by talent acquisition leaders is building relationships.

As the first point of contact for candidates, acquisition leaders are needed to know the organisational culture really well and what the organisation can afford. Because they are the ones who are explaining to candidates. “I think it can be a big opening moment to make an effort to understand the organization that you work for really relevant,” concludes Venkataraman.

By: Jagriti Kumari

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