Will HR find talent acquisition answers in technology?
The recent acquisition of Taleo Corp. by Oracle is further evidence of how large software companies are betting that organizations will continue to turn to technology to help find and keep good employees.
Is that the right bet? Probably, since it’s clear that skilled workers will become harder to find in the not-so-distant future.
However, there are still many hurdles that companies must overcome to get the most out of their investments in human capital management (HCM) and related technologies. Here are two examples of such obstacles:
- Cultural issues and employment branding. How can you be considered a company that values people when much of the interaction occurs online or through technology? How do you fine tune an applicant tracking system (ATS) to effectively weed out the applications that you don’t want without losing the ones that you do? Where are the humans going to be in human resources?
- The pull of social media. While you are trying to organize your internal talent database, the web is creating multiple talent communities that need attention, development, and nurturing. And whether it’s intentional or not, each of those communities is trying to cultivate relationships with your employees, potentially giving other companies access to your base of talent and skills. How will your company be heard? How will you attract skilled workers from other companies while retaining your own talent?
A recent ReadWriteWeb article by Marshall Kirkpatrick got me thinking about this last point. The article contends that the war for talent is now the war for skills, and a quote in the article notes that companies will now have to fight for key skills with their competitors. This implies that passive candidates will be the new battleground for talent.
We’re already seeing this recruiting method at Facebook, Google, and other larger companies. Many people believe that talent poaching is just a Silicon Valley practice or a high-tech thing. In reality, this practice will likely infiltrate many IT areas, as well as the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The rise of large, integrated HR systems (illustrated by the Oracle acquisition mentioned above) provides a good example of what HR will face in the future.
The technology in play, namely ATSs, HR information systems (HRIS), and Enterprise Resources Programs (ERPs) all require people to develop, maintain, and run the software. You’ll need talent that can maintain existing systems or integrate them into new systems. That means you will be competing with big software companies, your competitors, and everyone else to get the right workers into your company.
This is a simple illustration of how the skills that your company needs will change and how the competition for these specific, rising skills will continue to heat up. But at the same time, you’ll also need to find and keep employees with legacy skills.