Today, the challenges for companies recruiting and managing their talent management strategies are greater than at any time in recent history. Over the past two years we have been riding a wave of job insecurity, a shortage of available talent, “the big quit” and now a cost of living crisis.
From an organizational perspective, the need to attract a fresh and diverse talent pool has never been greater. Many organizations, even the most progressive ones, have been too slow to adapt their approach to recruiting to attract a wider range of candidates. Diversity of thought has proven time and time again to be the key to unlocking and driving future innovation and, therefore, profitability. This comes at a crucial time, as even the most hardened organizations are beginning to feel the effects of rising costs and an increasingly competitive post-pandemic marketplace. Those who lack the talent to innovate and grow will likely face a bleak future.
The tip of a problematic iceberg
However, this is just the tip of a problematic iceberg for most organizations. Yes, they may recognize the need to attract a more diverse talent pool, but for many they still have two daunting hurdles to overcome. First, they just don’t know how to reach those groups, and second, their brand isn’t appealing to the people they’re looking to attract.
It comes down to two contributing factors. Recruiting from a broader early-career talent pool represents for many a sea change from current recruiting practices, which have traditionally focused on college graduates and, in some cases, an even smaller group. of red brick universities. Thus, it follows that these organizations are either unknown or undesirable to potential candidates because they are not perceived to have a diverse workforce (e.g., inclusive culture). Our Gen Z research shows that 41% expect inclusiveness in recruitment practices and culture to be the most important factor when looking for their first role, with a whopping 78% citing it as important.
Assess talent in an unbiased, skill-based manner
If we distil even further, it’s fair to say that many UK organizations simply don’t know how to assess talent in an unbiased, skills-based way – due to an almost exclusive reliance on higher education qualifications. .
The talent pool is there but lacking due to entry level requirements and organizational inability to ensure, if they are successful in reaching and attracting the right candidates, that they have a chance of succeeding the recruitment process.
Organizations are missing out on some of the best and brightest from non-traditional higher education. This is not to hit higher education, but it immediately prevents a large number of talented people from entering modern corporate careers despite having the cognitive and behavioral skills necessary to thrive in these positions.
For organizations looking to evolve their talent strategy to accelerate innovation through diversity, our work with Gen Z and some of the UK’s most progressive companies identifies five winning elements.
- Reconsider the “graduate” program – At Avado, we believe that the notion of a “graduate” program as the only entry route is outdated. Although there are many advantages to graduate degrees, these programs mean that you restrict access to many other talented people who have chosen different paths or who may not have had the means to access higher education: ask yourself if you really need a graduate in your hiring strategy.
- Explore different paths to attract diverse talent – If you manage early career recruiting internally, it can be difficult to allocate resources to different communities. There are many alternatives today. Programs such as our FastFutures job readiness program provide young people from all backgrounds with the digital business skills organizations need, to launch their careers and close the skills gap for employers. Some of the UK’s most innovative companies are FastFutures employer partners, including BT, Legal & General, NHS, Shell and Tate & Lyle, all of whom can benefit from our inclusive talent acquisition engine.
- Go beyond resumes – Often resumes represent how well a candidate may sell, which means they can be less than objective. Some people are naturally better at promoting themselves than others so future stars can be weeded out. At Avado, we see things differently. Our AI-powered candidate role-matching and assessment platform uses behavioral data and real-world insights to place talent in the right roles to excel.
- Ensuring that culture is at the center of attention – Our research highlights that organizational culture is the number one factor Gen Z looks for in their first employer. Being truly inclusive and providing a culture of learning and development can be real differentiators.
- Allow people to earn while learning – Apprenticeship enables on-the-job training that incorporates real business challenges, meaning both employees (new and existing) and employers benefit from skills development, which has a measurable impact on bottom line of an organization. Employees are also able to earn a living wage as they learn.
At Avado, we specialize in partnering with organizations to help them meet these challenges.
By Amy Crawford, CEO of Avado
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