Holistic talent: Bringing build and buy strategies together
Understand what a holistic talent approach is and how to create your own.
Hear firsthand how to tackle entrenched mindsets around talent and change your hiring culture.
Get a sense of what a good talent strategy looks like – and uncover how it balances ‘build’ and ‘buy’ elements as well as the need to scale quickly and be flexible.
Focussing on, what feels like, unprecedented shifts in the labor market, UNLEASH shares the latest updates on ‘what’s happening in talent supply and demand’ and ‘how to get on top of it.’
In conjunction with Shilpa Shah, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at GE Healthcare, and Oana Iordachescu, Head of Technology & Analytics TA, EU at Wayfair, Kate Graham, Head of Content Labs and Insights, UNLEASH leads a webinar session aiming to uncover what a multi-threaded talent strategy looks like, emphasizing ‘build’ over ‘buy’ elements, such as upskilling, reskilling, increased use of internal mobility, skills academies and a focus on early careers. There’s also a look at what’s driving these changes and who is responsible for their management.
Watch on-demand to:
- Get past the buzzwords in talent strategy and understand which solutions are right for your own organization’s talent ecosystem.
- Hear why businesses need to be honest with themselves about what their employee and candidate offering really is.
- Understand the ROI of the ‘build’ elements of the talent strategy — including how it can impact retention and business goals.
Are HR and TA functions increasing their use of the ‘build’ approach to talent?
During the live webinar session, we polled attendees on whether they were implementing more ‘build’ elements — using mechanisms such as upskilling, internal skills academies and charting of progression pathways, rather than buying — into their talent and skills strategy.
With circa 40% of respondents saying they were increasing their use of build elements, it’s important that HR understands what this might look like, how to get the mindset to build (successfully) internally, and not just utilize buying, and how to scale it quickly, as well as understanding what the benefits can be.
Strategic workforce planning is difficult – but it’s a must
It’s undeniable that, for certain industries, the right talent is hard to come by right now. This means as Shah laid out, that organizations must get a better grip of what options they have to solve talent issues. She explained that the first step to understanding what talent solution route to take for any given organization is to get a holistic view of all the stakeholders, connected parts, and functions involved in the talent ecosystem.
This, Shah added, means understanding that recruiters, learning and development practitioners, outplacement and transition experts, as well as candidates and hiring managers, will all have central roles to play in helping HR to get its head around what it is the business needs from the talent strategy.
And, Shah added, that whilst this might seemingly make everything a little bit more complex — something only exacerbated by the disruptions of the last two years and understanding that businesses now operate in a more candidate-driven market — it will help them understand the answers to questions about what talent they need for any given workforce issue.
For example: is it that the business needs long-term employment, or is it a consulting or contract role? Could that role or problem be solved with an internal move? Could it be a project? These, Shah said, are the questions that HR can answer by understanding that it isn’t just traditional methods or sources of talent that are on offer.
I think you’ve got to have a balance. You’ve got to buy some skills, build some skills, and you’ve got to borrow some.
Shilpa Shah, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at GE Healthcare
Talent needs will differ based on time, region, and organizational function
Although today’s labor market is difficult to hire in, HR and TA will know that future needs cannot be forgotten. Undeniably, this will impact any build or buy choices. With one billion jobs worldwide set to be transformed by technological changes, meaning the skills needed to do them will also change, Shah explained that without considering build elements of talent sourcing — everything from upskilling to retraining — it is unlikely that HR will be able to fill all of its skills needs just by buying. Especially because competition in external talent pools is increasing. Of course, considering how these skills are then retained is also a crucial agenda point.
Iordachescu agreed that whilst thinking of future needs is important, organizations shouldn’t forget that different channels and regions within their enterprises are also likely to need different skills and face different challenges. For instance, levels of qualification and access to a certain in-demand skillset in Spain might differ from the US. For HR, it means using different talent sourcing tactics in different areas.
One of these tactics, Iordachescu noted, could be around convincing employees to become boomerangers i.e. to return to the organization they left, perhaps during the pandemic, to pursue other careers or opportunities. As part of this, a thorough assessment of what career growth opportunities, performance assessments, and development opportunities should be undertaken so companies can understand what it is that makes individuals want to leave or stay; to join, or go elsewhere. In this way, developing the ‘build’ elements of the talent strategy help it to become a more effective buyer, too.
This will also help organizations practice transparency and honesty which is crucial — especially with candidates and incumbent employees increasingly considering what an employer offers to them as well as a salary — in a competitive talent landscape.
Is talent strategy just HR’s job?
There’s a lot to consider for HR. They’ve got to somehow make coherent: changes to what the individual wants from their employer, how this might impact what company culture and an employee value proposition (EVP) should look like (and want to be in the future) as well as what a multi-part talent strategy might look like in response to all of this, balancing build and buy elements. In fact, as discussed by participants in the webinar, it might look like HR could end up responsible for, well, almost every facet of organizational life.
Of course, this would be wrong. Rather, as Shah explained, everyone has responsibility for that culture, EVP, and hireability, from organizational leaders to potential hires as everyone is potentially responsible for the culture — the one that exists presently as well as the culture the company aspires to have — that underpins any talent strategy.
However, there are some things that HR does shoulder a lot of responsibility for:
- Communicating the strategic importance of TA: HR has to showcase to the business leadership that the talent function underpins any success, both now and in the future.
- Understanding flexibility and its role in talent strategy success: With the pandemic disrupting employment norms, HR should consider how new models of employment and differentiated working environments can make an employer desirable or open up access to new talent pools.
- Business strategy enablement: Talent strategy is almost pointless if it isn’t trying to solve the business strategy. This should underpin all build, buy, borrow, bot, or automation decisions within the talent strategy.
- The role of technology: Technology can enable talent strategy and help it make better decisions. It can also help with reporting (crucial when making future talent strategy decisions), pipeline-building, and linking the consumer and employer brand. Ideally, tech stack elements can link together to give a helicopter view of talent strategy options and where gaps, needs, and opportunities are.
- Scaling build strategies: With buying skills currently difficult for many organizations, the pressure will be on the ‘build’ element of talent strategies to be scaled quickly. Whilst there are many who doubt this can work, there are clear examples of internal mobility, skills development, and career pathways programs delivering for individuals and organizations at speed and at enterprise level.
Watch On Demand
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