What are the top 5 talent trends of 2014 companies?

Companies will increasingly adopt a more strategic approach to workforce planning in 2014, as employers seek to build genuine competitive advantage through effective talent management initiatives, according to Futurestep.

Forward-thinking companies are already realising that hiring for today’s skills means workforces could become quickly outdated, and Futurestep said 2014 will see a focus on not just hiring for the job at hand, but preparing for what is needed next.

This means taking stock of the company’s current talent inventory, and increasing the emphasis on skills auditing to seek out ‘hidden talent’ within the organisation. To build the kind of dynamic workforce that holds its value even when deluged by new challenges, organisations need to develop a 21st century competency framework.

This is especially relevant in economies where the challenge of finding specialist skills is felt most acutely, and Futurestep said every business needs to ensure they have the human capital in place to drive growth.

“Unless a sizeable investment is made in training, workers’ skills will be outdated within a year or so as each industry continues to evolve rapidly,” said Jeanne MacDonald, chief sales officer for Futurestep, which recently canvassed 17 global experts about the five major recruitment and talent management trends to watch in 2014.

“Employers need to ensure they are hiring for tomorrow’s skills and future-proofing their workforce, or else face an uncertain future in a competitive economy.”

2. Mobile recruitment will finally take off. Futurestep predicted that mobile recruitment would also take off in the coming year, with larger ERP players developing their own innovative solutions and many smaller companies in the mobile recruitment space set to be bought out.

In recent years, ‘social, mobile, local’ has become something of a marketing mantra and 2013 saw the emergence of many companies serving the mobile recruitment space.

As mobile computing goes from strength to strength, Futurestep said this sector within recruitment will inevitably continue its growth, with more and more applications and functionality related to talent management becoming available on these devices.

“In many ways it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to get real momentum in the mobile space. It seems like every year for as long as I can remember has been the ‘year of mobile’,” said Neil Griffiths, global practice leader, talent communications & employer brand, Futurestep.

“Yet, for the recruitment sector, it simply hasn’t taken off in a big way. I think the tipping point is approaching though. Watch this space in 2014 for some genuinely transformative products and services launched to the market.”

3. Big data will drive real decision-making. The third big recruitment and talent management trend to watch in 2014 will be in the big data space, Futurestep said.

Much like mobile, big data has been hotly tipped as a key trend for several years, but new services are now emerging that can analyse and sort the mass of data held within the world’s biggest companies – meaning big data can start to play a grown-up role in the world of recruitment.

For 2014, Futurestep said the challenge and the opportunity will not be around collecting big data, but using it to inform strategic business decisions and demonstrate the ROI of recruitment activity.

“In the same way that marketers use loyalty data for targeted marketing, recruiters will begin to use it to find talent,” said Bill Sebra, president of Futurestep North America.

“Companies can figure out what type of data is relevant so they can gather the right information to make decisions; this will evolve the recruitment function from reactive to proactive, and ensure it is best aligned with the business strategy. There are several interesting start-ups in this space that I expect to make an impact in the coming year.”

4. Smarter sourcing will win the day. The fourth trend to watch over the coming year relates to smarter sourcing, according to Futurestep.

For a long time, the company said many businesses have simply challenged recruiting teams to ‘find me more people’, but it said 2014 will likely be the year when more organisations wake up to the possibilities offered by the many sourcing tools and tactics that are open to them – and start to develop sophisticated approaches about when and how to deploy them.

Leading companies are already doing much more than simply focusing on active candidates, and targeting top-tier passive candidates is increasingly recognised as a priority for the modern talent function – a fact which drives home the need to develop strong employer branding and build engaging talent communities.

By understanding the sourcing channels, budgets and ROI available, Futurestep said organisations can better reach the desired talent for a particular role, sector and geography.

“Companies are beginning to see the importance of investing in a multi-channel approach to sourcing and securing top candidates,” said Sue Campbell, vice president of talent solutions, Futurestep APAC.

“From the use of talent communities for educating and inspiring potential candidates, to developing a compelling employer brand and adopting mobile and campus outreach programs to attract Millennials, CHROs will look to enhance and expand their recruiting strategies in a bid to create a highly effective and targeted approach to talent acquisition.”

5. Expect more globalisation, but more localisation too. In 2014, globalisation will become increasingly important for businesses that recognise the benefits (and threats) that come from the connected world we inhabit.

Where some organisations try to roll out a ubiquitous approach to all offices around the world, Futurestep said many are seeing the benefits of tailoring processes to suit the diversity of each region they are present in.

“Businesses are thinking more globally. We are more connected than ever before so we want a global infrastructure that supports it from a recruitment point of view,” said Jonathan Brown, vice president of global solutions, Futurestep.

“Customising global solutions based on the organisation’s global structure does not always mean one holistic approach to hiring, and for some businesses a regional strategy to recruitment may be preferable, adapting procedures as particular regions mature.”