Talent Acquisition Challenges – At one time, back in the days of print ads and paper resumes, recruitment was simply about filling open positions (by personnel, as HR was once called). Although some jobs were hard to fill, it wasn’t a widespread problem, as the war for talent hadn’t yet begun.

Today, as we know, there’s been a sea change, and a confluence of factors have created the perfect storm for both recruitment and retention. As many surveys have shown, talent acquisition and retention are now among business leaders’ biggest challenges, and include increased demand and diminishing supply, career churn, and increasingly complex sourcing.

Surveys have also shown, though, that most companies aren’t doing what’s needed to fully address this.

And what might that be ? A more strategic and proactive approach for starters, with better integration between business and HR.

This approach, a key component of strategic workforce planning (SWP), is ideally a collaborative and cross-functional process, with input from different areas of the business (in other words, teamwork), that enables companies to better understand current and future needs around talent and proactively meet these.

An effective SWP initiative begins with identification of the business strategy, key challenges, and the individuals within an organization who can help come up with solutions. This can include staff from finance, for example, to provide input on the budget planning cycle, HR for headcount planning and retention strategies, IT to handle the data, marketing for branding, etc.

Forecasting for future and current needs is the next step within the process, which can cover areas like redeployment of resources, percentage of people a company wants to develop, mentorship opportunities, etc. While this doesn’t produce immediate payback, the goal here is long-term results, including improved retention and leadership development.

As part of this initiative, companies should also identify gaps in where they are and where they want to be, and determine who’s responsible. Barriers to finding talent, for example, can reside in various departments and include things like inefficient or nonexistent data collection, inadequate systems, or a lack of skills identification.

Once these are understood, strategies can be implemented, ideally with further cross functional input and ownership, and agreement on timelines and metrics. If progress is slow, or not on track, teams must determine what’s creating roadblocks and collectively adjust as needed.

The bottom line here is that companies can’t overcome recruitment and retention challenges with a quick fix, or when they work in silos. Weathering this storm, which shows no sign of letting up soon, takes partnership, collaboration and a well designed plan.