The cliche says that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, expecting the same result.” With a widening skills gap complicated by a war for talent, many employers’ Talent Acquisition strategies are the very definition of insanity. Inside many Talent Acquisition departments, they still source and evaluate candidates as if it were the plentiful days of candidates clamoring for any job during the economic recession. This includes sourcing from the same candidate pools, looking for the same skill sets, and offering the same salaries that were reduced during the recession.

However, following the economy’s recovery, the nature of the job market has changed. So too have candidates’ abilities, desires, and approach to working. What is emerging is a picture of a more flexible, project- based and skill- driven “gig economy” driven in part by the uncertainty candidates experienced during the recession. While thought leaders have long discussed the gig economy, it is now impacting employers in a way like never before. Talent Acquisition has been severely impacted, requiring them to adopt new approaches to finding and hiring the best talent or face a difficult choice between letting the position sit open or hiring someone who doesn’t quite fit the criteria.

Talent Acquisition Evolves

The evolution of the “gig economy” has forced Talent Acquisition to rethink how they’ll fill positions within organizations. This has brought up new discussions and new ideas about how work gets done for the organization and what the talent model is to perform this work. Is your organization embracing any of these changes:

  • Engaging contingent workers. In many organizations, the work that needs to get done is primarily project based. This has caused Talent Acquisition to rethink their use of contractors and contingent workers. By hiring contingent workers, organizations are able to switch to skills- based models for hiring. This means they’re able to hire for projects that require a special set of skills and then choose whether to extend a worker’s engagement for future projects. Across the nation, the use of contingent workers and statement of work (SOW) workers is growing. Approximately 60% of employers surveyed in the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative cite that they’re currently using contingent workers. Among that group, 57% plan to use more contingent labor in the future. Additional research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the use of contingent workers will continue to grow to as much as 40% of the existing labor market. The evolution of traditional hiring models has helped organizations to remain competitive in an environment where candidates are increasingly seeking autonomy.
  • Hiring remote workers. Many employers have found that traditional hiring models are not as desirable in the “gig economy.” Because much of the work to be done doesn’t need to happen onsite, many have eased restrictions to allow for remote work opportunities. An added benefit of this model is that Talent Acquisition doesn’t need to confine its searches for talent to one geographic area. Now, Talent Acquisition can source and hire talent from across the globe. Technology allows for this model of work to be quite effective, removing barriers to collaboration and communication.
  • Developing custom Labor Pools. Many industries, such as healthcare, have begun to embrace custom labor pools. Talent Acquisition is able to pre-screen and qualify candidates, ensuring compliance is up to date prior to short listing them for an interview and potential engagement. This drastically reduces time to hire and allows for exclusivity among workers who are willing to engage in projects for limited lengths of stay. Increasingly, industries such as healthcare are developing custom labor pools to ensure they are able to fill critical positions.
  • Use of retired workers. The use of retired workers is on the rise. Retired workers often have years of experience in proprietary software, procedures, and processes which significantly contribute to the organization. By engaging this pool of former workers, organizations can gain part- time or temporary assistance without having to train new workers on existing systems, clients, and procedures.

The evolution of work today has caused many employers to revisit their Talent Acquisition strategies, adopting new methods for securing the talent they need to succeed. While each of these Talent Acquisition models poses unique challenges and risks to the organization, they have helped multiple industries to secure the talent they need to remain competitive. Is your organization considering a similar Talent Acquisition shift?