What Is Talent Acquisition And Why It Is Important?

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Talent acquisition is defined as being a more strategic approach for identifying and filling hiring needs. Also, it refers to the retention of talent based on clear role descriptions and the design of a strong employer brand to attract the right cultural fit. The idea of acquiring a valuable talent, in the long run, seems easier to embrace and modern. It gives an appealing and fashionable tone to recruitment.

Several concepts have influenced human resources management (HRM) and among them is the war of talent mindset that pointed out the ongoing competition for a qualified highly competent workforce and the talent acquisition concept gave a long-term strategic approach to attraction and retaining talent.

Is it talent acquisition or recruitment?

There is a continuous debate and again, no consensus about talent acquisition and recruitment concepts. Talent acquisition (TA) is a part of talent management (TM) and its role is to acquire and retain new competent hires. Large-size and middle-size companies have embraced the TA strategic approach and adopted and created talent software to control the TM processes.

The talent acquisition concept was originally described as a strategic way of acquiring talent and setting up a talent framework. This could solve talent attraction and retention on a long-term basis and aim to hire highly competitive talent. Both talent acquisition and recruitment are about identifying, attracting and hiring people. The difference between these two approaches lies more in their timeframes and objectives.

Contrary to talent acquisition, recruitment is seen as more like a short-term solution for immediate hiring needs. However, one might argue that strategic recruitment also derives from overall organisational strategy. It clearly overlaps with the talent acquisition approach, and this is how we find ourselves in a dilemma. Obviously, there is room for both concepts and in reality, the organisational strategy and stakeholders will differentiate between the two and decide which is the suitable way to solve the hiring needs.

Definitely, recruitment is one of the most dynamic processes of organizational life that deals with new hires. It is a real mirror of the social needs, living standards and economic changes. It can show us how to keep pace with changes and make adjustments in skills, and salary requirements.

What is a talent acquisition strategy?

Strategy is a long-term direction meant to anticipate achievements to create an advantageous position among competitors. After formulating the organisational goals and objectives, resources are assigned to achieve these strategic goals. The talent acquisition strategy is a plan of action that cascades from the mission, vision and objectives of the organisation.

So, the talent acquisition strategy is a part of talent strategy and consequently derives from human resources strategical decisions. For example, if a company states that transparency is its main value, then we should be able to recognize the transparency principle across all organisational processes, employees’ behaviours, and general requirements, including in talent acquisition course of action and short-term objectives.

Talent strategy alignment to organisational values

So, a talent acquisition strategy that is aligned with transparency value would be a plan of action that upholds and converts this value into actions. Here are some examples of actions that can demonstrate the implementation of the transparency belief:

  • Clear communication of job availability internally and externally
  • The same consistent message across all communication channels
  • Straightforward process of designing new roles involving all stakeholders
  • Explicit, fair and transparent hiring requirements
  • Direct, clear and specific feedback on selection interviews

Various talent strategies can be adopted depending on industries, company size, market positioning, financial investments etc. Variables that are to be considered are related to time, costs, size, and overall organisational objectives alignment. For instance, time is one of the most important resources to be considered when designing a talent acquisition strategy. Recruitment can be ongoing or occasional, long-term or short-term, internal or external, etc. These are strategic decisions that respond to general business objectives and have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Talent acquisition challenges and the skills-based approach

A talent strategy that organisations often adopt to remain in touch with the job market is ongoing or permanent recruitment. This type of strategy can respond to continuous learning challenges and help them stay competitive in the long run. Recruitment is a process that accurately mirrors the social changes and needs of the markets. Due to high levels of economic uncertainty and social turmoil, the skills-based approach gains more edge day by day.

The skills-based talent strategy trend

These changes revealed a lack of response when a set of certain skills in a short period of time or crisis are in demand. The skills approach trend is favoured because of recent social problems like the pandemic and disruptive techs like job automation, metaverse, blockchain and artificial intelligence. All these new inputs drive a strong need for employees’ upskilling and reskilling.

Recent research highlights an important shift towards a skills-based talent approach. It seems data revealed that two out of three employers have integrated skills in their talent management. Even if, 63% of the surveyed organisations have not established the ideal number of skills for the jobs, the support for skills-based talent is rising because 64% of respondents are already monitoring the skills trends and demand on the market.

Learning digital skills helps you earn more

Also, a survey, that includes the US showed that digital skills help businesses and us to earn more. Statistics show that the average worker with advanced digital skills in high-income countries reported earning 50% in middle-income countries. Though 75% of employers agree that a certification or training is an acceptable substitute for an academic degree, employers do prefer or require a bachelor’s degree over digital skills certifications.

According to the Eurobarometer, 82% of Europe’s small and medium enterprises say it’s very important to have workers with the right skills. Also, nearly 4 in 5 companies say in the survey it is difficult for them to find workers with the right skills.

So, the main advantage of the skill-based approach is that it makes the high-demand acquisition of talent more available and the organisational growth objectives more attainable. Keeping up with the work trends and learning new skills makes adaptation to changes easier. On both personal and professional plans, learning new in-demand skills brings more clarity to our professional journeys and the possibility of a more secure future.