Not Your Average Prediction Post: Talent Acquisition 2021

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Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), managed service provider (MSP) solutions, and total talent programs look a lot different today than they did one year ago. From the global pandemic to the movement for racial justice to a supercharged U.S. election year, the impacts of 2020 will have rippling long-term effects.

Talent planning is a pre-2020 luxury, with certainty in the marketplace being scarce. Most senior-level human resources (HR) and talent acquisition (TA) leaders are still helping their organizations recover from the challenges of this past year, and the uncertainty that will continue well into 2021. Internal mobility, project RPO and the ability to scale down and ramp up quickly are emerging as critical talent themes, surmised from our work with Fortune 100 employers from around the globe ranging in verticals from supply chain, logistics, healthcare, IT, oil and gas, aviation and hospitality and the tens of thousands of hires we help them make every year.

2021 Talent Acquisition Themes

  • Contingency is the overall theme for the year ahead. Project work has increased, including project RPO. Overall, companies considering enterprise RPO have switched gears and are focused instead on buying in smaller increments or retooling their existing talent programs. Flexibility is critical, and organizations with an agile hiring model will see better cost saving while the market stabilizes.

  • Recruit less, mobilize and reskill more. Instead of focusing first on recruiting new talent into the business, organizations are pausing and taking a look at their existing talent and providing new internal mobility paths through reskilling, upskilling, career mapping and investing in technology to map internal talent profiles to external job openings. Organizations are also reconnecting with who is already in their talent communities, including retirees, interns, independent contractors and previous employees. More and more employers are looking at who they already know before they look at bringing external talent in.

  • The ability to predictably ramp up and scale down based on trends from the business will be made possible by technology. Integrated talent solutions platforms, like Sevayo, that provide a wholistic view into both talent data and business performance by linking disparate systems will be paramount for stakeholders. The need for reliable data and business intelligence was compounded by the pandemic, when organizations needed smart intel on their whole workforce in real-time while working remotely. Those without these critical insights were left not knowing which TA levers to pull within their program. Pre-pandemic but most especially coming out of 2020, the investment in and adoption of TA technology is on the rise.

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in TA is more important now than ever before. Organizations are working hard to adjust DE&I from a strategy founded in ‘good faith effort’ to one with tangible efforts and measurable outcomes. Diversity suppliers, technology to accurately track and flag DE&I metrics (like Insights, the proprietary module of Sevayo) and retooling programs to eliminate systemic racism are all top themes and priorities in 2021

Even after the vaccine is issued, we will not return to all pre-pandemic business norms. We will continue to ask ourselves questions about “what next” for the remainder of 2021. Focusing on identifying the right tools and an agile approach in our current climate, combined with our learning and experiences from the past 12 months will create a solid foundation for the flexibility needed now, as well as in the future. Partnership, trust, agility… these are the descriptors we at Sevenstep use when reflecting on our client partnerships and those with whom we want to weather the volatility. 


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