The 4 pillars of a new approach to talent strategy - Part 4: Rethink how you think of jobs | Unit4
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The 4 pillars of a new approach to talent strategy - Part 4: Rethink how you think of jobs

from  September 12, 2022 | 4 min read

In our last post on the future of talent strategy, we’ll be looking at one of the most important ways in which you can attract and engage the people your organization needs to succeed. Namely, the way that you create jobs.

For most of the past 100 years, jobs vacancies have been scoped, job descriptions have been written, and hiring has been conducted in the same way. This way isn’t particularly efficient or effective. Only about 50% of interviewed candidates to whom an offer is made ever formally convert, and the process is expensive – which means the cost of a “bad hire” is often so great that it paralyzes organizations into inaction and forces an overreliance on long tenure to offset costs.

Our 4th pillar attempts to help you address this. Let’s get right into it.

Rethink how you think of jobs

Decreasing tenure and an acknowledgement that business strategy needs to be based around ever-changing talent rosters will require leaders to completely change the way that jobs are structured.

You’ll need to design your new roles from the assumption that whoever is doing them will only be staying with you for 2-4 years – and work backwards from this point.

Focus on onboarding, time to value, and a robust initial training scheme

Ensuring faster time to value from your new hires will also be key. Jobs designed with short tenure in mind will also need to be supported by much more tightly controlled onboarding and “bedding in” processes.

Skills and learning will therefore have to become a much more prominent part of the HR function, alongside the development of talent pipelines. (And the skills people are able to learn with you will become a key part of the benefits you can offer to talent to bring them on board.)

When it comes to benefits, keep it short

In line with this, you’ll also need to reorient your benefits to make them more compatible with short terms of service. Rewards for time in role or time with the company will have to go, replaced by performance-based incentives for work on specific projects with much more clearly established targets and expectations.

Although it may feel like a lot more work in the short term, in the long term, taking this approach to building jobs within your organization can help HR position itself as a strategic partner.

The role of HR and company leaders becomes less focused on keeping the roles that currently exist filled, and more on developing a strategic forecast of what roles will be needed in the future as your constantly rotating talent roster is progressively replaced over time.

In other words, innovation will increase because it will be more of a necessity than ever.

What does this look like?

The need for job redesign – and its successful deployment in a context everyone will immediately recognize – is nowhere better exemplified than in the rise of the contractor.

In a predominantly hybrid working environment, contractors benefit from a greater range of options. But they also benefit from the faster learning curve that comes with working on a much more diverse array of projects. Positioning them much more strongly in the market – especially as companies struggle to find permanent hires.

To give you an idea of just how much contractor usage is on the up – it’s increased by about a third in the UK since the 2008 financial crash. But in the US, since 2020, it’s increased by exactly the same amount.

“How do you want to work for us?”

“The successful candidate must be willing to –“ is a phrase you will have to expunge from your vocabulary as we head into the future.

Instead, you’ll have to get used to allowing the people you hire to dictate some of the terms of their engagement with you. Since you’ll already be designing jobs around much shorter “tours of duty” with much more specific goals and objectives, why not configure them so that they can be handled on a contract or project basis?

This won’t only help you to much more carefully and accurately assess how jobs must be designed and how they’ll deliver value to the organization – it’ll help you to make use of a much larger talent pool than you would otherwise have available to you. (After all, the huge increase in contractors has to be coming from somewhere – and the somewhere it’s coming from is a growing segment of the working population looking for greater flexibility in how they market and sell their skills.)

So, how can Unit4 help you?

This blog series is now over, but your talent journey is just beginning. For a complete review of our insights into the future of talent strategy in people-centric organizations, download our white paper Rebuilding talent strategy: Your guide to finding and retaining people in a changing world here.

Technology can provide a huge advantage to leaders both in and out of HR in helping redesign your approach to talent. From helping you to audit your skills to improving your people’s learning, regularly taking the pulse of your peoples’ engagement, creating transparency and equity in pay, and providing your people with the seamless experience and connection to work they need in the world of hybrid working. We can provide you with tools that do all this in the form of our unique ERP and HCM suite of solutions. Click the links to learn more about them, or click here to book a demo.

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