As the year 2019 inches closer by the minute and companies fine-tune their annual plans, industry trends and practices of the future are weighing heavily on many recruiters and HR professionals’ minds. What do they need to know now to succeed in the next year? What about the next five years? Ten years?
To find out the answer, we turned to a few companies who deeply understand the value of cutting-edge talent acquisition and human resources programs: winners of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards, honoring the Best Places to Work in 2019. Here’s what some of today’s most successful companies are keeping in mind as the year comes to an end, and a new one begins.
1. Invest in Employee Upskilling & Training
Anyone in the talent acquisition field knows that the demand for technical talent has skyrocketed in recent years. And as technology continues to evolve, this need will likely only increase.
“One of the biggest trends we are seeing is the changing nature of work given the innovations in technology. The World Economic Forum predicts that 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada.
As a result, “there will be a continued shortage of knowledge workers,” says Aron Ain, CEO of Kronos and author of WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work. One way to help alleviate the impact of that shortage, Ain says, is to “ensure your people have the skills and development opportunities to keep up” with an increasingly technical world.
This doesn’t mean training each employee to become a software engineer, though — the need for technical skills transcends job function.
“The shift is every role being impacted by digital, and possessing an awareness of technical and data-infused possibility will be fundamental to making an impact,” Peesker adds.
[Related: 5 Steps to Supercharge Your Talent Analytics]
2. Don’t Undervalue Soft Skills
While technical skills are becoming increasingly vital, recruiters must be careful not to make hard skills the sole consideration as they evaluate candidates, cautions Manny Maceda, Worldwide Managing Partner at Bain & Company.
“We are living and working in an era of rapidly-changing technology, new business models and digital disruption. While certainly there is a vast appetite for advanced technical skills, companies will also place a premium on candidates that have the ability to learn and build new skills,” Maceda says.
Some characteristics to look out for include “adaptability, comfort with ambiguity and the ability to be effective in rapidly-changing circumstances,” Maceda adds. “Pattern recognition, critical thinking and creativity that can help organizations chart a path forward in an uncertain environment is essential. Strong communication skills and empathy are essential to building buy-in to a vision for the future and gaining the buy-in and support of a globally diverse workforce.”
3. Support Flexibility & Mobility
In today’s tight labor market, recruiters often think they need to offer lavish perks like free gourmet meals, state-of-the-art game rooms and in-house masseuses. But one of the most attractive perks by far is also one of the more affordable ones: flexible/remote work.
“Increasingly the workforce is becoming more mobile and employees want to work how and where they do their best work. Having the correct work environments and technology that fosters collaboration and supports a mobile workforce is more important than ever,” Peesker says.
One company that’s been quick to embrace this trend is data analytics company Heap, where about 40 percent of engineers are remote. Heap CEO Matin Movassate makes it clear, though, that a distributed workforce doesn’t have to mean a distant workforce.
“We fly our remote engineers to our San Francisco HQ three times a year for ‘Eng Global,’ a chance for our distributed engineers to connect with their SF teammates, to attend Lunch & Learns hosted by our go-to-market leaders and to take part in cultural initiatives,” Movassate shares.
4. Blend Tech & a Human Touch in the Recruiting Process
Technology has already transformed the way employers recruit today, and it has limitless potential for the future.
“From the hiring perspective, companies will continue to focus on the candidate experience to ensure it matches the employee experience. Thoughtful onboarding processes with technology to facilitate change will be a critical link between the two,” Ain says.
Already, tools like recruiting chatbots and AI scheduling are making recruiters’ jobs easier. But it’s important to keep in mind that technology works best when it’s paired with human capital.
“AI in recruiting will be increasingly used to find the best-fit candidate. But don’t forget the importance and impact of managers. If they aren’t trained on hiring practices, onboarding processes and simply being a great leader, all the technology in the world can’t help your engagement desires,” Ain concludes.