Scalable Talent Strategy: How to Grow Your Workforce for the Future
The article has been co-edited by Constance Reboul, Talent Acquisition Lead at Lepaya
In today’s dynamic marketplace, CHROs need to anticipate future employee needs and overcome obstacles – like skills shortages – without losing sight of their company’s bottom line. This is especially relevant for organizations that are scaling up, expanding globally, or facing disruptive times – like many currently are. But how do you do that? The answer is by developing a scalable talent strategy. In this article, we’ll explain why talent scalability is so important and what value it brings to your organization. We’ll also give 10 expert tips on how to set it up.
- Intro: Are You Prepared for the Future of Talent?
- What is a Scalable Talent Strategy?
- Advantages of Scalable Talent Management
- 10 Tips for Scaling and Managing Talent Effectively
1. Intro: Are You Prepared for the Future of Talent?
Picture this: you’re the CHRO of a successful scaleup that is experiencing a phase of hypergrowth. Within one year, your workforce has exploded from 300 to 3000 employees. How do you surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset, are willing to take on new responsibilities, and will build the company’s future with you?
Another scenario: you’re a HR executive working for an ambitious corporation that is expanding into new markets around the world. How do you build diverse teams that are ready to support growth and innovation on a global scale? How do you create an inclusive company culture where everybody feels valued, regardless of their lifestyle, religion, or nationality?
Maybe you aren’t upscaling or expanding internationally. Maybe you just want to maintain or create a motivated, agile and future-ready workforce while facing new challenges – like digital transformation. But no matter what situation you’re in: high-performing companies need a scalable talent management strategy to find the right employees at the right time that fit their unique business needs.
2. What is a Scalable Talent Strategy?
A scalable talent strategy is an effective approach to attracting, recruiting, developing, and retaining a talent pool that can be adapted, increased, or decreased as an organization transforms. Ultimately, the goal is to build a flexible workforce that can support your business success and growth over the long-term.
Putting your people first
As a CHRO, you’re probably keeping a close eye on the future of talent management. HR practices like talent acquisition and development are evolving fast and are considered to be a top priority by HR leaders – but according to Gartner,
43% of those leaders say they do not have an explicit future of work strategy.
Here’s why developing such a strategy matters:
First of all, the world of work is changing faster than lightning. Skills that are relevant today, may be out of demand in the next year. That makes it increasingly important to understand your future talent requirements on all levels of the company – not just filling a current need. This includes anticipating shortages and planning accordingly. A scalable talent strategy allows you to do that and can be particularly valuable in industries that are rapidly evolving or undergoing a massive transformation.
Secondly, if you want to future-proof your business and stay ahead of the curve, investing in your talents is crucial. After all, your people are the real drivers of sustainable growth. In this age of AI and digitalization, many routine tasks will become superfluous, and some jobs will be redundant – that’s a fact. But for innovation to work, you need an outstanding team to bring it to fruition. And to achieve competitive advantage, you need a flexible and adaptable workforce that can easily respond to changing market conditions, new work styles, and other roles.
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3. Advantages of Scalable Talent Management
Developing such a talent strategy is all about recruiting and developing highly skilled professionals while also being flexible and dynamic enough to adjust to growth opportunities, technological advancements, changing work modes, and a new generation of candidates entering the job market.
It means building a workforce that can accommodate the evolving demands of the business without compromising quality, stability, or your company’s bottom line. Let’s have a look at the benefits of strategy-driven talent management:
- Flexibility in hiring: a scalable talent strategy makes you more flexible in your hiring practices. Say you’re experiencing a sudden surge in demand, or you need to quickly adjust the size and composition of your workforce. With a solid talent acquisition strategy you can quickly hire additional staff to meet that demand without disrupting existing operations
- Better retention rates: scalable talent strategies often involve offering clear paths for career progression through internal mobility, which can help your people feel more invested in their work and more committed to staying with the company
- Increased agility: a scalable talent strategy can make a company more agile and adaptable. By building a talent pool that can be easily scaled as needed, companies can respond quickly to changing market conditions, shifts in customer demand, or unexpected disruptions to their business
- Higher efficiency: scalable talent management helps your organization to identify and hire the most talented individuals for each role. This will optimize your workforce and minimize costs – as you no longer have to deal with the high expenses related to employee turnover or replacing bad hires
- A culture of innovation: a scalable talent strategy encourages innovation because it helps to create an environment where talented employees are empowered to bring their ideas to life. It also enables CHROs to identify people with the highest potential to lead the organization in the future, and to attract and retain the most innovative minds in the industry
- Positive company culture: if you focus on developing and retaining talent, you will immediately foster a sense of loyalty and create an upbeat energy among your employees, leading to an engaged and motivated workforce. It will also make you attractive for new candidates
4. 10 Tips for Scaling and Managing Talent Effectively
1. Build a powerful talent attraction strategy
With the global workforce shrinking and the War for Talent far from over, businesses are scrambling to find new ways to appeal to candidates and attract future talents. Successful talent attraction strategies of today include the following elements:
- Now more than ever, you must create a strong employer value proposition (EVP) for job candidates. In fact, research by LinkedIn shows that 75% of job seekers thoroughly check a company’s reputation before applying for a job. Furthermore, 30-40% of talent say the company’s reputation or brand is “very important” to them when considering a job move. That’s why you need to be honest and transparent about your work culture and internal values. You don’t want potential A-players to just like you – you want to win their hearts
- Create Candidate Personas to get a clear picture of what they are looking for and how you can use your EVP to better attract them (for example, by using specific messaging in your communication). Make sure to validate these personas as your business progresses, as you might require talents with other skills based on those developments
- Be transparent with salaries to increase your hiring success rate. Don’t be afraid to advertise other benefits like PTO, pension, remote work, and growth opportunities. Salary transparency might have been a taboo for years, but that’s all changing now – because it will lead to fairer compensation for everyone in the workplace, and eliminate the risk of hidden biases
We need to stop being so traditional in the ways we hire. Let’s start relying on technology, hire for potential, candidates’ skills and ability to learn to attract more A-Players to your organization.
Milda Skladaityte – Global Head of Brand at Lepaya
2. Set up a solid talent acquisition strategy
Attracting motivated candidates is the first step to hiring for scalability. The next step for HR is recruiting and hiring talent that matches your needs and has the right skills to scale appropriately. If you want to prepare for the future of talent acquisition, make sure to:
- Create a strategic plan outlining the recruiting budget, timeframe, critical skills, resources needed in terms of team size, intended outcome, and how you’re going to achieve your goals. Successful talent acquisition strategies only work with measurable targets and milestones, and with clear responsibilities for key stakeholders and decision makers. Regularly review and adjust the goalposts to keep an edge
- Provide a positive candidate experience during every touchpoint in the recruitment process. This includes everything from job posting and application processes to interviews and onboarding. An engaged and positive candidate is more likely to accept your offer and spread the word about your company
In my view, the secret ingredient of a successful talent recruitment process is an engaged hiring manager who takes an active part in the recruitment process. Someone with strong internal relations, a clear vision of the role, and how the new hire will be successful.
Constance Reboul, Talent Acquisition Lead at Lepaya
3. Set up Centers of Excellence
A very efficient way to optimize the process of attracting and hiring talent is by building Centers of Excellence (COE) within the team (tech hiring, commercial hiring, sourcing function, etc). These groups of people typically have specialized knowledge of the roles you’re hiring for, help to develop comprehensive recruitment strategies, and train acquisition leads on competency hiring.
4. Build strong internal relations
In a Talent Acquisition function, you need to build internal relations to clearly understand the role, the skills needed, and the composition of the teams. This way you can paint an accurate picture to your candidates. If you are able to create such a level of understanding and combine that with the right sourcing or candidate experience you will attract the right talent. In addition, build a referral program and utilize your hiring manager’s networks to reach out to candidates and attract them.
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of onboarding
Employers often underestimate it, but a successful hiring process includes a smooth onboarding. It’s the phase in the employee journey that determines someone’s future commitment, motivation, and productivity. Moreover, it creates a sense of belonging, which is crucial for the successful integration of new hires. To nail it, try the following steps:
- Create a clear onboarding schedule and structure within the first week
- Set up a buddy system: pair new hires with a seasoned employee who helps them get familiar with the organizational structure, culture, and processes during their first weeks or months on the job – sometimes even longer
- Design feedback loops for managers and talent to monitor and adapt the onboarding process
- Establish concrete performance expectations and define success to give new hires clarity and purpose
6. Set up a talent development strategy
When you aim for scalability, you have to close the gap between current and future capabilities, but you also want to know what an employee wants from their work experience. That’s why training your employees in future-proof skills is vital if you want to (out)perform, invest in growth, and make an impact.
- Understand how your talents want to develop on a personal and professional level
- Connect their growth aspiration and skill development to your overall business goals
- Give employees a growth development outlook and identify skill gaps within your organization
- Build long term motivation by creating continuous learning paths for upskilling and reskilling
7. Focus on A-player retention
Know who your A-players are, and make every effort to keep them on board. These employees are highly valuable – especially when you’re upscaling. Not only do they show excellent performance, but they also contribute to your organizational culture and have the ability to adapt to change. These are also the type of employees who have the potential to fill key leadership positions in the organization. Give them space to grow, invest in training their leadership skills, and sit down with them regularly to understand what keeps them engaged. Remember that one of the main reasons organizations have trouble scaling is because of their inability to nurture and grow future leaders.
Employee retention is becoming increasingly important as attracting new talent continues to be a challenge. We expect to see employers focusing more on boosting their internal mobility efforts by providing more talent development opportunities to upskill and reskill their current workforce in 2023.
Aref Abedi, CEO of Jobylon in Lepaya’s State of Skills Report
8. Make diversity a priority
Building a future-proof business – whether you’re facing global expansion or not – means you need to prioritize DEI. This is why:
- Diverse teams bring a variety of perspectives, insights and experiences. This leads to innovative ideas and problem-solving approaches – which is imperative when you’re aiming for sustainable growth
- A diverse team can better serve a diverse customer base. If you want your business to expand and reach new markets, you need to have employees in your team who can relate to and understand the needs of those customers, and build authentic and meaningful relationships with them
- Diversity, inclusion and equity are one of the most important values of today. It should be reflected in all aspects of your business, including your hiring practices – so make sure to leave biases at the door. By prioritizing diversity, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to creating a safe workplace that values all employees and fosters a sense of belonging – for everyone
- By embracing DEI in your talent acquisition strategy, you will tap into a larger pool of valuable talent. This way, you can address challenges such as specialization and scarcity
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9. Understand how to leverage AI and other technologies
As a people manager, you have to stay on top of the latest technological developments. You have to understand how to leverage AI and Virtual Reality for your scalable recruitment model, as these innovations pave the way to a better candidate and employee experience.
- Automated and machine-learning algorithms can improve onboarding, identify talent, and give valuable insights into people analytics like retention rates, turnover rates, salaries, and sick leave.
- Simultaneously, AI tools can free up time for the HR team to focus on a more strategic scope of work while the workforce grows
10. Set up a Talent Pipeline
Finally, set up a talent pipeline: a pool of passive candidates who would be perfect for filling in certain job openings once they arise. This approach is proactive rather than reactive, and will speed up the recruitment process as you already have a number of potential candidates to choose from.
- Set up the pipeline by identifying the types of candidates needed for hard-to-fill jobs and future business plans
- Source candidates through various channels and collect their information in your Applicant Tracking System
- Maintain candidate engagement by keeping them interested and connected to the company through offers such as internships
A sackable talent strategy may seem complicated at first. That’s why we have selected the most important information in this talent journey checklist. Download the guide for a concrete overview and actionable advice.
Lepaya is an L&D Technology and Power Skill training provider with a vision to connect people’s potential to business impact. We’re designed to offer learning content, methodology, and technology in one platform as part of your learner’s flow.
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