The Marriage Of Talent Acquisition With Talent Mobility

As the job market heats up again, companies are even more frantic to hire, reskill, and move people into new roles. And this has forced HR organizations to radically rethink what they do.

Let me suggest a major trend, one that we’ll uncover in our upcoming research on excellence in talent acquisition. Is it time to merge the functions of recruiting (talent acquisition) with the team that worries about careers, mobility, and growth?

I want to explain this in the context of an example. Yesterday I talked with the head of global talent acquisition for a large financial institution. This company has more than 230,000 employees around the world and they hire more than 50,000 new people each year. Yes, that number seems high – but this accommodates growth, turnover, and lots of business transformation.

The leader I spoke with (he will be speaking at our conference next year) sounded more like a strategic L&D executive than I would have imagined. He told me their bank is developing their own proprietary skills taxonomy, embarking on an aggressive talent marketplace journey (using one of the top vendors), and also uses a variety of systems (Avature, SHL, Taleo, others) for recruiting.

The problem he now sees, which is one I talked with United Health Group about years ago, is that most of the “open positions” are developmental opportunities for internal candidates. So why would recruiters spend time exclusively looking outward when internal people want these jobs?

His work, which includes lots of talent strategy, includes development of career pathways for these new roles. Call center agents can become branch service reps, and then move into supervisory roles, then design roles and more. He, as the head of Talent Acquisition, is leading all this effort. And since he is not buried in the learning team, he completely understands the workforce trends in the company.

My point is simply this: in this new world of a highly competitive labor market, new jobs being created at a massive rate, and companies trying to grow – doesn’t it make sense to look at “all forms of mobility” in one single place? There’s mobility “into the company” and there’s mobility “within the company” and then, as he explained, there’s mobility “back to the company” from retirees, alumni, and part-time leavers.

Let me simply say that almost every large company is now trying to boil the ocean of “skills.” Well rather than make this an academic exercise, why don’t you do this as part of your company’s strategic growth plan and focus on the skills, roles, and jobs you need to grow? Who knows this better than the head of Talent Acquisition? This person, if they’re positioned well in the company, sees the big picture of where the company is really going.

Yes, I know that recruiting itself is very complex, important, and strategic. We still need to “bring new talent into the company” to keep our organizations fresh, vibrant, and dynamic. But all the things we do in recruitment (employment brand, sourcing, behavioral assessment, demographic targeting, skills matching) are strategic to all of HR. So I’d suggest those of you who are “recruiters” are even more strategic than you realized.

While this may not be a “merger,” I do think it’s a bit of a “marriage.” As I prepare my predictions for 2022 (coming later this year), stay tuned for help in this area. It’s time to think about “all forms of employee movement” as one big strategic area, and bring together these functions in an important and essential way.

Additional Resources

Talent Marketplace Platforms Explode Into View

Talent Acquisition At A Crossroads: Certificate Program In The Josh Bersin Academy