2020 shaping 2021

4 Ways 2020 Will Shape TA in 2021

Jerome Ternynck

CEO & Founder | SmartRecruiters | Obsessed with hiring success in Work

Jerome Ternynck, CEO and Founder of SmartRecruiters, shares his insights into the year ahead following a live webcast with Traitify CEO Dan Sines.

In the last year, the world has experienced an unprecedented upheaval and TA has not been immune. From the strong economy and low unemployment of 2019, we find ourselves staring down the barrel of an economic downturn and rising candidate volumes. Depending on your industry, your hiring has either skyrocketed or screeched to a halt, and remote work is the new normal.

I’m always impressed by the resilience of our industry.

This isn’t the first time TA has had to adapt quickly and I’m always impressed by the resilience of our industry. Not only has hiring continued, but TA professionals on all levels are seeing the challenges of today as an opportunity for real transformation.

Megan Buttita, Research Director of Emerging Trends opening to opportunityin Talent Acquisition at IDC captured this feeling best when she said, “Talent acquisition has been waiting [...] for time and requisitions to slow down. The time has arrived, and the opportunity is here for the TA function to rise to the challenge and become the strategic function it has always sought to be.”

After talking with Dan Sines, CEO of Traitify in our recent webinar Building a Business Case for your TA Transformation, this view is only solidified. Daniel pointed out that the disruption of 2020 has only accelerated many of the trends we want to see pushed forward in TA such as D&I, candidate experience—and the big one—remote work. “It’s clear,” said Dan. “That the TA technology stack plays a big role in mitigating and leveraging risks when you are in a remote world. We're talking about integrations, data sharing, and collaboration within the teams.”

TA is poised to rebrand from ‘Cost Center’ to ‘Difference Maker,’ and our success will depend on how we demonstrate our value now—in these uncertain times.

Overall, TA is poised to rebrand from ‘Cost Center’ to ‘Difference Maker,’ and our success will depend on how we demonstrate our value now—in these uncertain times. But first, let’s understand the ways in which 2020 is shaping our coming year.

The Legacy of 2020

The pandemic and social movements of 2020 will echo through our lives for years to come. Here is an overview of their effects on TA that will be immediately relevant as we enter 2021.

  1. Remote Work: This new environment poses challenges on multiple levels, from employee onboarding to data security. Now, more than ever, we see the need for sleek technology that facilitates collaboration and protects personal information from risky or non-compliant practices (like emailing resumes to hiring managers).

  2. Equity: Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be top checking budget, doing more with lessof mind after the brave activism of the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements. We are at a point where an organization is either actively working against oppressive systems or benefitting from them. If you aren’t showing concrete steps in this area, your employer brand is suffering.

  3. Doing More with Less: Budget optimization and hiring freezes means your team is stretched to the limit. There is no time to waste when working outside of the recruiting software, especially performing admin tasks manually that could be automated. You want to be demonstrating ultimate resource efficiency to leadership.

The Emerging Trends of 2021

Building on the ramifications of 2020, these are the areas where TA teams have the opportunity to demonstrate advanced business understanding—early action is what leadership will want to see.

  1. Automation: TA teams will prioritize automation of manual tasks so recruiters can focus on high-level strategy and quality candidate engagement. Resume screening, interview scheduling, and job postings are the main time-wasters that should be targeted for machine delegation.

  2. D&I: Companies will be asked to walk the walk when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion—that means demonstrating concrete processes and metrics that support diverse candidates. To answer this call, future-facing companies will hire Chief Diversity Officers and TA teams will adopt technologies to check unconscious bias.

  3. Candidate Experience: As candidate volumes rise, companies will have to push to maintain a quality experience. Automation of manual tasks will play a role in whether or not they are successful in this endeavor. Another piece will be reflecting on recruiting funnel drop-off and filling those holes. Whether it’s an application that isn’t mobile-friendly or long, boring assessments, there are modern solutions.

  4. Quality of Hire: The more applications you have, the harder it is to select the perfect fit for your company and role. The difference between mediocre talent and amazing talent has big implications for productivity (Motel 6 found hotel locations managed by good-fit hires did $91k better in sales and increased their ratings by 6%) and, with budget optimization top of mind, TA teams won’t be just focused on filling reqs, but filling them with the right-fit person.

Closing Thoughts

TA is now a tech-powered function, and successful leaders will be those who strategically select and leverage their systems for maximum output. A Frankenstein architecture of an inherited legacy HRIS ATS with reactively added tools—CRM, assessments, job advertising, etc—will cost you in terms of collaborations, data security, and integration costs.

The strategy for 2021 will require leaders with true empathy skills, who know how to support the varied stakeholders of the function

That being said, TA (while tech-powered) is still people-driven. The strategy for 2021 will require leaders with true empathy skills, who know how to support the varied stakeholders of the function including hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates. It takes a discerning eye, someone who knows the true value of their people, to see which tasks can be delegated to technology and where the human element is key. That is the true challenge of 2021: empowering TA to engage with stakeholders in a meaningful way.


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