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Competing for In-Demand Skills – in partnership with Cielo

The impact of the pandemic has been felt by all organisations in various ways and, as businesses start to venture out the other side, planning for the future is at the forefront of their agenda.

The BTN partnered with Cielo, the world’s leading strategic Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider, for an interactive discussion with some of the foremost talent acquisition executives across the financial services and insurance industries to discuss strategies to cope with the growing need for in-demand talent.

Sally Hunter, Executive Vice President at Cielo led the discussion alongside Rishi Bajnath, Talent Acquisition Leader for Cielo at Lloyd’s to look at how organisations within these industries have had to adapt and embrace change to maintain momentum in the market and position themselves to attract, retain and engage talent.

The conversation asked many questions and uncovered the following three key takeaways:

  1. Strategic workforce planning moves to become skills-based workforce planning

Aspirations around strategic workforce planning have changed. The pandemic forced hiring strategies towards critical workforce planning to enable organisations to deliver on business outcomes and changes in the industry at a time when forward predictions were too difficult. Now organisations are finding that they are needing to move to skills-based workforce planning to create a wider and more sustainable talent pool that will help them deliver for the future.

Focus is switching towards understanding the skills that an organisation already has and whether employees can be cross-trained to create the skills needed for the future. The starting point for talent acquisition teams should be to look at what the business is trying to achieve, what skills will be required, and how they can leverage existing talent. If the skills needed do not already exist in the business, then where might these skills be found? The opportunity is to widen the talent pool to include candidates from alternative industries.

The lack of predictability across markets, combined with a wide funnel of talent, has been met with impact hiring, whereby certain targets and strategies that were once at the top of the table are now becoming overlooked. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) programmes should continue to be focused on and not sacrificed at a time when authentic storytelling is so important. Organisations must ensure they not only establish new ways of working but ensure it forms a natural part of the business’s working environment and that all employee groups continue to be represented.

  1. The demand for digital talent is increasing

One of the outcomes of understanding where the organisation is heading and what skills need to be hired into an organisation to achieve those goals is the realisation that digital talent is in incredibly high demand. And for a reason. The evolving digital landscape for the consumer has meant that digital skills in the workplace are top of most hiring agendas right now. This combined with the swift change to tech-enabled processes and consumer experience due to the pandemic has resulted in a huge need for tech talent by all organisations. This is layered with the significant training and experience required to become eligible for the roles.

Companies within the financial services and insurance industries are trying to attract the same talent that the start-up/scale-up ‘challengers’ are also working to entice. However, these challenger organisations are perceived as having a more dynamic employer brand so competition for this talent is fierce.  

One of the key challenges that the group were facing was: How do they make their brand known to tech talent and how do they position themselves as an attractive place to work?

The move towards prioritising the digital-focused skillset over industry sector experience has opened up new pools of talent. Bringing people with technical capabilities from more ‘customer experience-driven sectors’ provides a huge opportunity.

  1. Office culture is much greater than the office building you physically reside in

Whilst there is still uncertainty around remote working, some organisations stated that they are finding that their employees want to return to an office environment but do not want to return to the five days a week commute. Creating local hubs to provide a truly individualised employee experience or curating ‘working from home’ contracts for employees with additional accessibility at flexible workspaces, is an innovative solution to remain an employer of choice.

Flexible working will undoubtedly become the norm but there are geographic challenges for global organisations. A lot of countries are struggling to adapt due to infrastructure constraints with some employees still struggling to access basic technology to really provide them with a positive working experience.

The culture of an organisation is extremely important to candidates, and it is critical that the right messaging is being promoted and that it is an honest reflection of the new shape of your business. A good starting point is to conduct an employer brand audit. This will define core messages to update or incorporate into your employer value proposition (EVP) – and check that your EVP remains authentic.

Employees are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning to their role, so how can you make your brand known across the financial services and insurance sectors and more importantly, beyond? Creating a compelling story is critical. Every business needs to look to communicate its mission, its values, and its stance on CSR/sustainability. Without this core messaging it is hard to stand up to competitors.

Competing for talent will always be high up on the agenda but with an evolving world of work, organisations and talent acquisition leaders really need to understand what skills they already have inhouse, what skills they need to obtain from the external market, who they are competing with for those in-demand skills and the culture and employer brand that will enable them to attract those skills and articulate why their business is different.

About Cielo

Cielo is the world’s leading strategic Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partner. Cielo’s dedicated recruitment teams leverage global reach, local expertise and bespoke solutions to help clients achieve outstanding outcomes through their talent practices. Our truly global presences include 2,000 employees, serving 176 clients across 103 countries in 39 languages. Our WE BECOME YOU philosophy means we immerse ourselves in your industry, brand and values- and being accountable for real business results.

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