June 25, 2018 | Written by: Paul Habgood
Categorized: Talent Acquisition
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“Agile” has long been thought of as a method of software development, in which tasks are divided into short sprints, the work is frequently reviewed and plans adapted on the fly. At IBM, we are pioneering applying agile methods to talent acquisition to drive better outcomes for the business. In fact, we consider Agile Talent Acquisition (AgileTA) the next-generation “operating model” for TA practitioners.
Minding the gap
Commuters who use the London Underground are warned by signs and announcements to “mind the gap,” the space they cross over when stepping between the train and the station platform. The platforms are often curved, so the gap varies in size. Commuters need a different approach to boarding the train at different points along the platform.
There is an analogy with the gap in TA, one caused by fluctuating volumes, unplanned projects and ever-changing requirements. TA teams must be mindful and able to flex and scale to meet the gap between the capacity and capability of the TA team and planned recruitment volume—with the added pressure of needing to move faster and faster to keep up with the increased speed of business and change.
Furthermore, I’ve observed over the years that many organizations do not excel at workforce planning, which only widens the gap.
One way to close the TA gap is by investing in the quality and quantity of TA resources. However, not many organizations are able to operate with a TA team that is staffed for the maximum capacity they will need. The long-term solution to the TA gap is using an AgileTA method.
Traditional TA vs. Agile TA
While traditional TA follows a linear process managed by a recruiter and hiring manager with decisions made at each stage of recruitment, AgileTA provides a continuous and iterative process managed by a “scrum” working in partnership with the hiring manager that continuously improves the process.
In traditional TA, if the hiring manager rejects a shortlist or slate, the linear process essentially starts over. Linear TA is not efficient when dealing with non-standard roles or roles where requirements are constantly changing.
In AgileTA, a team of practitioners recruits numerous positions at once. The team sources and screens pools of qualified candidates for multiple positions from which hiring managers can select their new hires. Using cognitive tools such as IBM Watson Recruitment, the team can prioritize the roles that are most crucial to fill first in terms of delivering business value, and score and rank candidates who fit the success profile.
In addition, AgileTA involves the hiring managers in the daily standups and sprint retrospective meetings, making them more involved in the recruiting process and able to quickly inform the team of what is working well or any course direction changes required to get the right fit.
The challenge for TA practitioners is that a lot of the technology they have relied on up to this point is designed to support a linear approach to recruiting. IBM is developing technology platforms, tools and training material to enable organizations to implement AgileTA as part of their TA capability and to close the TA agility gap.
The difference AgileTA makes
If speed is the new business competence and skills are the new business currency, AgileTA will revolutionize organizations that use it. IBM is a pioneer in AgileTA and has achieved fantastic results through our RPO partnerships:
- 50% reduction in time to hire (90 days down to 45) for niche roles
- 75% increase in passive candidates (45% of offers made to high-quality passive candidates)
- 5% increase in candidate experience Net Promoter Score
Organizations that are primed to move from traditional TA to AgileTA are grappling with recruiting challenges such as:
- A need for new, niche or high-demand skills that are difficult to find
- A need for rapid hiring without suffering quality of hire
- A need to reliably recruit high-quality talent who are critical to delivering on business strategy
If you’re ready for an agile TA approach, IBM Talent Acquisition Consulting can guide your organization through the transformation—from an assessment of your TA function to the adoption of AgileTA—required to meet these and other challenges.