The HR department has a crucial part to play in the success of any business. This has always been true, but the impact of COVID-19 has made the role of HR more significant than ever, with employers facing the challenge of meeting their human capital requirements and keeping costs under control during a time of uncertainty and economic adversity.

In the unique post-pandemic environment all companies are now operating in, it's worth taking a fresh look at your HR function - and particularly your talent acquisition strategy - to ensure it's fit to meet your current needs.

There are various ways to update and re-examine your approach not just to succeed today, but to grow and thrive in the future. 

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optimizing your talent acquisition strategy

leverage flexible staffing

If you're not yet taking advantage of the flexible labor market, you could be missing out on valuable talent acquisition opportunities. You're also running the risk of falling behind your competitors in the race for the strongest candidates.

Research has shown the number of people working on a temporary or contract basis, and the proportion of firms leveraging this segment of the labor force, is growing.

More than three-quarters (77%) of the 850 global C-suite and talent leaders surveyed for Randstad Sourceright's 2021 Talent Trends research said they were placing a greater focus on workforce agility. Just over half (51%) had consolidated internal responsibilities for both permanent and contingent workers.

This was backed up by a Gartner report exploring the most significant post-COVID work trends, which found that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a way to reduce costs.

According to Deloitte research based on insights from global clients in various sectors, the use of contingent workforces has 'grown significantly' and is set to continue increasing in the coming years.

Flexible staffing can help you achieve benefits like:

  • Access to contingent workers when you need them most - during one-off projects or limited periods of high demand, for example
  • Opportunities to access specialist freelancers and contractors offering niche skills
  • Avoiding the time and cost commitments of permanent hiring
  • Easing the burden of a heavy workload on your permanent staff
  • Covering absences caused by illness, maternity leave, unpaid leave or sabbaticals

use HR tech to drive efficiency

There have been some exciting developments in the HR technology space in recent years, many of which proved invaluable for employers that had to make swift adjustments to their working methods as a result of the pandemic.

The widespread shift to remote working, recruitment and workforce management was made significantly easier by tools specifically designed to enable processes such as video interviewing, staff scheduling and automation of routine tasks.

We recently took the move of combining our entire HR tech stack into a single suite called Randstad Relevate, which brings together a range of solutions providing additional value for our clients. Services on offer include Relevate Talent Search, which provides access to an extensive database of vetted workers available to fill our clients' needs, and Relevate Reference, which uses automation to speed up reference checking and improve hiring decisions.

Getting on board with changes in technology demonstrates that you're moving with the times. It also shows that you're willing to embrace new methods that improve the recruitment process for candidates and the employee experience for your workforce, which is good for your employer brand.

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building an effective TA strategy

examine and refine your talent acquisition strategy

A strong talent acquisition strategy is essential if you want to increase your organization's resilience to risk and position yourself for future success. Raising your performance on this front will unlock a range of benefits for your business, including a more reliable talent pipeline and reductions in your time-to-hire and overall recruitment costs.

Various factors have come together to make this a bigger consideration than ever before for employers today, including the phenomenon known as the 'Great Resignation'. One of the ongoing consequences of the pandemic is an unusually high number of people quitting their jobs, which has been particularly noticeable among mid-career employees and in the tech and healthcare sectors, according to a detailed analysis of more than nine million staff records from some 4,000 companies worldwide.

Businesses are also having to contend with severe skills shortages, which were exacerbated in many industries by the rapid digitalization triggered by the pandemic.

To overcome these obstacles, you should be prepared to regularly revisit and refine your talent acquisition strategy. This is crucial if you want to take a long-term view and ensure your recruitment activities are focused on driving positive results for the business, now and in the future. This is where talent acquisition differs from basic recruitment, which focuses on day-to-day efforts to fill specific roles.

Your activities to build an effective talent acquisition strategy should include:

  • Engaging with senior leadership to refine your understanding of where the company wants to be in 12 months, two years and five yearsResearching the most significant trends in your industry right now, how conditions are expected to change in the near future, and what this means for you from a talent perspective
  • Revisiting your employee value proposition and ensuring it gives a full, accurate picture of workforce experiences, benefits, opportunities and relationships
  • Strengthening your employer brand through a combination of internal and market-focused research and learning

focus on wellness and engagement

The pandemic led many workers and employers all over the world to place a greater emphasis on health and wellness - from both a physical and mental perspective. Gartner noted that the crisis accelerated the trend of businesses playing a bigger role in employees' 'financial, physical and mental wellbeing', with common forms of support including enhanced sick leave, financial assistance and flexible hours.

Research by Gallup highlighted the complexity of these issues, with findings showing that remote workers experienced higher levels of engagement in 2020, but also faced increased stress and worry.

For many employers, one of the most important takeaways from the events of recent years is the importance of maintaining communication and connections with the workforce. This should apply at all levels, from manager/employee relationships to internal team dynamics between co-workers.

If you're able to build a positive culture that prioritizes concepts like staff wellbeing and engagement, you will see various talent acquisition and retention benefits, ranging from lower rates of absenteeism and staff turnover to a more compelling employee value proposition and employer brand.

get expert support

It's a big ask for the HR department to carry all of the responsibility for managing your company's workforce, and ensuring the organization has the talent it needs to succeed.

This is a highly complex and dynamic space where trends move and change quickly. It's not easy to keep up with the latest developments in HR and the world of work, let alone stay ahead of them, particularly when you're facing the conditions created by events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

That's why many businesses have a lot to gain from working with a dedicated HR solutions partner. The knowledge and experience of a company like Randstad can help you better understand your needs and tailor your HR strategy to suit them.

For deeper insights into the sort of guidance and support, we can provide for key elements of your HR function, take a look at our guide to developing a successful talent acquisition strategy.

about the author

sofie maervoet

vp global concepts staffing

Sofie is one of the staffing leaders in Randstad with a track record in process optimization, training and coaching. She started her career as a staffing consultant in Randstad Belgium in 2002. Later, she joined the team in Randstad Switzerland as concept manager until she joined the global concept development team in 2018.

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