Roughly 70% of transformation projects fail, and a variety of factors can get in the way of accelerating your talent transformation plans.
We went over these risks and compiled a list of best practices to mitigate them and ensure your talent transformation plans deliver the results you are looking for.
These best practices fall under three categories to highlight the three types of risks that they address: organizational risks, such as failing to secure buy-in from the right stakeholders, strategic risks such as missing out on key trends, and technical risks revolving around setting your team up for success with the right technology.
The list below is geared towards accelerating your talent transformation strategy, but it is not exhaustive by any means. Make sure to look into additional resources for a more comprehensive approach to talent transformation, for example, or dig deeper into specific aspects of talent transformation that you might not be aware of.
Find allies for transformation
Lack of buy-out from stakeholders that might advance or block your transformation agenda is one of your most serious risks. There is no right answer, no formula with this step, which is why it is so hard to get right. We put together a series of resources for talent acquisition leaders looking to build those relationships, find common incentives, and persuade allies to back—or at least refrain from impeding—their talent transformation plans.
Make the case for returns on investments
To make sure that your talent transformation initiative will realize positive returns on investments, your plans and projections need to be rigorous. Moving recruiting operations to digital or deepening the team’s analytical capabilities are good plans, but whether they will yield returns in a reasonable timeframe is not a guarantee.
The way to success is to ensure you have a deep understanding of where the value gains will come from. Some will be from cutting costs, others from improving efficiency on existing processes, and others yet from creating new processes and new business value that did not exist before. The following ebook, “Maximizing the Return on Your Investment”, will walk you through the steps of a methodical ROI analysis of a technology implementation, and these steps can be extrapolated to any aspect of talent transformation.
Clarify why talent transformation is needed now
Too many times, executives pushing a transformation agenda rely on general business findings and accepted common sense, and are surprised when it’s not enough to get everyone on board. It’s important to share information on the impact that talent transformation initiatives are having elsewhere, but there is even more power in tying them to your own business imperatives. Getting specific makes your story more compelling. For example, on top of highlighting the average time to hire reductions that digital recruiting creates in your industry, bring up an upcoming product launch or expansion that could be jeopardized if hiring is delayed, and how your transformation can help prevent such as delay.
In other words, don’t stop at “why we need talent transformation”. Make it about “why we need talent transformation now.”
You’ll find more pointers on properly lining up the arguments around the timing of your talent transformation in this ebook about why the biggest TA challenges need fixing today.
Bring insights to the business
High-quality talent data can unlock incredible value for recruiting teams. In recent years, we’ve seen recruiting teams start to shift to a proactive model, instead of reactively going after talent when they receive an open requisition, and starting their search from scratch every time. This shift has resulted in talent leaders being able to provide the rest of the business with a more long-term outlook on its talent supply. That type of insight has incredible value for leadership. It’s one of the biggest shifts in talent acquisition in recent years, and what makes it possible for TA to become part of strategic business discussions.
But that’s only the start; because the C-suite and the boardroom are now giving their full attention to talent issues, TA leaders can step in and drive business-wide initiatives that will have a long-lasting impact on the whole business. Who would be best placed to facilitate a shift into a more agile company structure, for example? Who could advise and train hiring managers to navigate a set of new internal mobility processes?
TA leaders need to become fluent in translating data into insights that the rest of the business can act on. It’s not enough to have more data and better reporting. Insights and strategies are needed.
Stay on top of future of work trends
According to a report by the World Economic Forums and Linkedin published in 2018, talent-related professions have been on the rise across all regions. This is consistent with CEOs being especially worried about their ability to attract and retain talent for their organizations. It’s also a natural result of the rising expectations of candidates and the skills needed for a rapidly changing talent function.
Most importantly, it indicates that the People function is changing at an accelerated pace compared to the rest of the business. Given the events of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s understandable that businesses need talent professionals who can stay on top of the rapid changes happening in the job market,who can be proactive, and who have the necessary advisory and analytical skills to help their companies adapt.
As a talent leader, you need to stay on top of these changing trends, and to feel comfortable taking risks with them. Talent transformation means taking real risks. Unlimited vacations, working from home, flexible time off, lenient sickness policies… These are perks and cultural practices that are almost standard in major business hubs, especially today. And yet, just twenty years ago, most HR leaders would have considered them extremely risky and not worth implementing. That is why it’s important to pay attention to new human resource and talent attraction practices way before they are even close to being mainstream.
Make your talent data dependable
Having access to transparent and high-quality information about recruiting processes, candidate databases, and talent team performance can make the difference between being agile and decisive, and reacting too slowly to a fast-moving market. However, there is a large divide between owning large amounts of data and realizing value from it. Many transformation plans focus on creating and collecting new data, but not on ensuring it’s clean, accessible, searchable and otherwise easy-to-use data.
Bad data has a cost, and as a talent leader, you have to account for it in your transformation plans, and take steps to ensure the technology solutions you use to power these plans will deliver dependable results. You can read more about the difference between good and bad talent data here.
Master the implications of AI on talent acquisition
True talent AI wasn’t possible before, because talent teams did not have reliable datasets to use. Machine learning algorithms, especially, can only be truly successful if they can use large amounts of clean, uniform, up-to-date data to “learn”, so to speak. Otherwise, they will simply spit out inaccurate recommendations and forecasts—we’ve written more about that here.
But good talent AI is now possible, and so recruiting teams cannot get away with not understanding how to leverage these new technologies. Any transformation plan which relies on AI on some level—and most of them are likely to—needs to be clear on how this technology works and where it will bring value. Recruiting teams cannot get away with treating talent AI as a black box anymore.
Define your technology strategy
It’s important to know what your final tool stack will look like. Technology often fuels transformation, but it cannot dictate it. The goal of the talent transformation will dictate the technology choices you make.
Our customers, for example, made the strategic choice of building their talent stack around a centralized data hub, a talent data platform, which integrates with their CRM, ATS, recruitment marketing software, and the myriad of other tools that modern talent teams need to operate. Beamery’s Talent Operating System provides many of those core capabilities, and they can integrate with other providers for the rest of them. This choice will impact how configurable their tech stack is, but also how much training their teams will need before using it, for instance. Other companies make different choices, which yield different advantages.
The main point is not which choice you make, but that you need to make a deliberate choice about what tradeoffs you are facing with the tool stack you will end up with after your talent transformation.
The list above is not comprehensive, but it is representative of the challenges that we’ve seen come up most often in failed or struggling talent transformation. Hopefully, you can use it to accelerate your talent transformation plans, no matter what they are: moving the talent function to digital, becoming a data-driven organization, or shifting your hiring model to become more agile and marketplace-based.