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Korn Ferry’s talent trends for 2019

December 14, 2018

Several factors — including an incredibly tight labor market and the massive influx of data — are affecting the way HR professionals and talent acquisition leaders do their jobs, according to executive search firm Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY). The company identified 10 key emerging trends in the HR and talent space in its Emerging Global Talent Trends for 2019 report. The list is based on input from talent acquisition, development and compensation experts worldwide.

The trends, in no particular order, include:

(Don’t) Mind the Gap!: The stigma of taking time off between jobs is fading. Tactics to reach professionals who have been out of the workforce include targeted proactive sourcing, talent communities, workshops, customized landing pages and microsites, alumni networks for those who have left the company and may consider returning, and “buddy” systems for effective onboarding.

Making artificial intelligence more “intelligent”: Left unchecked, artificial intelligence could undermine recent efforts to boost diversity. In the beginning of the recruiting process, care should be taken when drafting job descriptions to ensure that they are gender-, race- and age-neutral. And even when résumés are anonymized, AI can still often embed gender biases. AI needs to be trained to look more for the skills needed for a specific role, such as the ability to program specific computer codes, instead of focusing on subjective modifiers (e.g., “collaborative” or “tough task master”) that may have gender bias.

Personalized pay: Go ahead, we’re listening: In order to understand the differences in what might incentivize one group, such as millennials, from another group, such as baby boomers, organizations are beginning to listen to employees. They are able to tailor rewards packages, offering different mixes of pay, flex time, paid time off, international assignments, student loan repayment, etc. This turns the pay and rewards discussion from a company communicating with the entire employee population to a one-to-one discussion with employees.

Rethinking the annual performance review: Even if the employee does not have a long tenure, ongoing feedback will help them learn, stay engaged and create an employer value proposition to help attract future employees.

Digging deeper into the diversity and inclusion pipeline: Organizations are more readily seeing that there has to be an increased focus across all levels of an organization to create an ongoing pipeline of diverse talent, including women, people of color, disabled persons and LGBTQ employees. To measure their progress, many organizations have begun using applicant tracking systems to find out what percentage of minority applicants were hired. In addition, organizations are having an added focus on the retention of a diverse employee base. Many are using a “D&I diagnostic” that helps get to the root problem of why employees are leaving and what can be done to reverse the trend.

How are we doing? Technology is allowing for real-time feedback from candidates about their experiences during the recruiting cycle. With the data, they can amend recruiting practices, including specific job requirements and interactions with candidates, to successfully hire the best people.

That’s really a title?: New roles and titles are emerging across many industries to meet the changing strategies of organizations. From an executive perspective, many industries, including healthcare, finance and retail, are creating chief experience officer roles. Another emerging C-suite title is chief transformation officer, who is usually tasked with change management initiatives, often during times of mergers and acquisitions. Other titles becoming more prevalent include chief happiness officer, chief people officer, data wrangler, legal ninja and customer relations advocate.

Talent analytics becoming just as important as business analytics: Increasingly, analytics that look at the talent landscape in specific markets, including competition for and availability of qualified talent in one city or region, as well as compensation norms, are coming into play in tandem with business analytics to create the most effective, sustainable approach.

Talking talent holistically, from hire to retire: There is a trend toward a more foundational, data-centric approach that creates actionable insights from an organizational, team and individual perspective. This foundation is informed by data from talent acquisition, assessment, development, organizational structure and compensation functions. This enables a calibrated approach to talent that is tightly linked to business outcomes.

Balancing act: Managing short-term hiring needs with long-term business goals: Many organizations are outsourcing their hiring efforts to providers that often have two teams working on their behalf: a day-to-day operations team and an account management team that analyzes ongoing business and technology trends to plan for the future.


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