Published byClinch

Why isn’t talent acquisition seen as strategic?

Only 32% of TA leaders feel they act as strategic partners to their organisation and about 40% stated “the business is not ready to take a strategic approach to talent acquisition”

A recent report, Talent Acquisition at a Crossroads, has shown that while the internal recruitment function is increasingly recognised as a strategic partner, with almost 55% of companies viewing it as an integral part of the business, that is not the perception of TA teams themselves. Only 32% of TA leaders feel they act as strategic partners to their organisation and about 40% stated “the business is not ready to take a strategic approach to talent acquisition”.

While business leaders often say how critical recruiting is to their organisation’s success, their actions do not always live up to their words. Talent Acquisition teams are under huge pressure right now, navigating ongoing skill shortages, economic volatility and changing business demands, but they are being asked to do even more with even less. Recruiting budgets are already stretched and 45% of TA leaders have been told to “focus on reducing cost.” Funding for new technology is hard to obtain, leaving recruiters struggling with time-consuming and inefficient recruitment processes. 

So what are the barriers that prevent TA teams from being seen as a truly strategic partner? The report identifies six key areas:

The most common challenge facing TA teams is constantly shifting business priorities, which makes it extremely difficult to plan for the long term. In this period of economic volatility and political uncertainty, companies are often forced to frequently adapt their strategy as business conditions change. The rapid pace of changes to business needs means that TA teams are stretched keeping up with demand and simply don’t have time to adopt a more strategic approach.

Workforce planning is also a key obstacle stopping TA teams from becoming more of a strategic function, with many companies not including them in planning discussions or simply not having a workforce plan in place at all. In fact, the latest Resourcing and Talent Planning report from the CIPD shows that only 11% of UK organisations are planning more than 3 years ahead. 

This lack of workforce planning also explains why nearly 40% of TA leaders stated that their business was simply not ready to take a strategic approach to talent acquisition. Freeing up recruiters from simply responding to changing hiring needs involves an investment of resources, and many organisations may feel that they simply cannot spare the time, energy or budget in today’s risk-averse climate.

Further challenges to TA leaders having a seat at the table include internal constraints around capacity and capability. But once again, tackling these issues requires an investment of resources. Many TA teams are stuck in a vicious cycle where they are always too busy to develop the influence required internally to ask for the resources they need to free up their time to take a more strategic approach – forever running but never catching up.

There is undoubtedly a need to involve the TA function more closely within broader strategy discussions. If companies neglect workforce planning and strategic talent acquisition, how will they be able to grow and compete in today’s technology-driven and rapidly evolving competitive landscape? The report concludes that in order for an organisation to anticipate changes in the business environment and remain agile enough to adapt swiftly, they “must significantly increase their investments in strategic skills planning, workforce planning, and seamless integration of recruitment into broader HR and company operations.”

So how can TA teams become more strategic?

There are a small but growing group of companies who have succeeded in elevating Talent Acquisition to become a more strategic function. In these companies, recruiters are more human-centric, supporting internal mobility as well as external sourcing and championing employer brand, company culture and recruitment marketing to become an employer of choice.

Technology plays a major part in this shift. In order to free up resources, these companies have outsourced or automated as much of the administration involved in recruitment as possible. Modernising and streamlining their tech stack allows TA to become far more efficient and gives them the time to focus on strategic hiring and development.

How can Clinch help?

Clinch’s recruitment marketing solutions make strategic talent acquisition simple. Our software is designed to do the heavy lifting for you, easily creating high-converting career sites, automating talent pooling and giving you full-funnel analytics to help prove your success. And with seamless integration into your existing tech stack and world-class support to guide you through implementation and beyond, Clinch customers see a very short time to value.

To find out more about how Clinch works, why not take our 3-minute product tour?