Change is never a bad thing if managed properly. With businesses looking beyond their traditional geographies into new territories and looking to diversify in terms of trade and scope, acquiring the right talent who are able to realise the company’s vision, adapt to the company’s working culture and bring new ideas consistent with the company’s growth direction is becoming more important than ever. 

Looking for Talent Within 

Before a company considers looking elsewhere for new talent, division and HR managers could look within the organisation to identify individuals with the highest potential to take the company to the next level. There are many advantages to building talent internally, which include greater cost efficiency, potentially building better quality talent than what is currently out there, and keeping things consistent in terms of culture. A sound talent management and talent succession programme is arguably the most important element in growing a business quickly and successfully. 

Retain with Career Advancement 

According to Peter Cappelli, the best retention device is the opportunity to advance. He also suggests keeping employee career advancement in mind from the outset; meaning that managers should think at least several steps ahead when interviewing new candidates to determine how well they will fit in with the general culture of the company, and whether they are ambitious enough to think beyond their current scope of work. Cappelli also suggests building talent through outsourced or external training such as sending employees on executive education courses, as well as encouraging purposeful work experience beyond the four walls of the office. 

Acquiring External Talent

Another option to quickly grow an organisation’s talent pool could be through acquiring or ‘buying’ talent says Cappelli. The benefits of buying talent lies mainly in the speed of the process, and the fact that employers are able to bring in almost any skillset they desire to suit the needs of the organisation. Although the urge to grow the organisation’s talent pool as quickly as possible may be overwhelming, there are some drawbacks to hiring new talent too quickly warns Cappelli. “If you are hiring many people at once, the downside is how quickly you can bring them on board. The second is that they can change the culture of the place if you don’t spend a lot of time integrating them.” Other possible disadvantages to acquiring external talent could be increased cost, pay inequities, risk of culture change and difficulty in scaling down, says Cappelli. Options such as RPO or recruitment process outsourcing, where an employer outsources or transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider, could ease the search for new recruits, while onboarding activities will allow new hires to get up to speed with the organisation’s aims and objectives quickly. 

Mergers and Acquisitions

Some less common alternatives with regards to hiring quickly and in large volumes that Cappelli suggests are liftouts, or hiring entire teams, whereby inclusion plays a very crucial role in acclimatising recruits, or through mergers. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, integration is of utmost importance to ensure that employees are able to quickly familiarise themselves with the parent company’s working culture. Joint ventures and franchises, where holding companies leverage on the brand of the franchisee or its operating system could also be an alternative route to take when hiring in bulk. The only way for an organisation to ensure that it has been successful in the recruitment process, suggests Cappelli, is to look at the performance of its employees and compare the good performers to the poorer ones, based on the company’s hiring criteria. “That is the only way,” he added. 

In the long-term, Cappelli reveals that it is unlikely for the challenge of uncertainty to ‘go away’. Pressures to control cost in talent management is also likely to be compounded by economic conditions, while the global skill shortage will be driven by a reliance on outside hiring and a lack of development in the talent management space. To answer the perennial question of how organisations can retain good talent especially in times of uncertainty, Cappelli says that the answer lies in ‘social relationships and the opportunity for advancement’.

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