Has the search for talent really improved over the last decade?

Has the search for talent really improved over the last decade?

The facts say no and there is need for change.

One of the disciplines that seems to be seeking change is the world of recruitment/talent search. There is a desire for a more personalised approach once again and a rising weariness of job boards and the more transactional approach that recruitment has become.

It is one of the fascinating lessons of the present era – we may be experiencing a new digital age which increases the speed of communication and makes the world transparent but there is still a desire for good old fashioned personal representation and advice. Middle men are having to re-invent themselves and rightly create new skills.

It is all natural. If one is seeking to appoint a senior executive, one wants confidentiality, discretion and some real thought in the process. However the last decade has changed the traditional search and recruitment consultancy to becoming more transactional and less personal – but the pendulum is swinging back and for good reason.

It is swinging back with a difference. One of the most common discussion pieces is why hasn’t more talent broken through into leadership roles over the last decade. The natural place to look at is the talent but that is there and some exceptional talent seeking to break through. The barrier is not the talent but how business has changed. The digital age has made companies focus on greater process, and compliance coupled with the management of risk. Companies have never been better technically managed. However talent is struggling to break through.

We have written much this year about some of the key facts:

  • Executives are expected to make decisions 40% faster than 10 years ago but actions take 20% longer to implement.
  • C-Suite research last year showed that whilst 100% of business leaders believe employee engagement is a business-critical topic, 86% admit to not having a strategic plan in place. Why do you think this is? 
  • 1:4 Executives today are suffering from a form of mental illness.
  • 65% of business leaders are asking why isn’t there more leadership talent available.

It is all inter-related and the truth is the talent needs to be freed up to perform and grow. There is a need for more mentorship and coaching as well as genuine leadership development. In the 1980s all the leading hospitality companies possessed strong development programmes for talent. The development and selection of talent had strong plans but the truth is that these have not really advanced over the last 15-20 years. In fact the industry is still relying on those trained in the 80s and 90s.

In recent conversations, three large companies have stated in discussions that they impose their terms of business and processes on their talent partners. That clearly has a flaw in the logic as recruitment is not just about cost management and CVs but the real selection of talent and how to court it. The flaw is that the starting point could be noted as being arrogant rather than focusing on any strategy to find the best in the market.

It is natural given the above that there will be a swing back towards a more personalised, selective approach but with a difference. Companies want to see greater thought placed in the process – in terms of finding and selection. This is encouraging but it also needs to go further. Companies need proper plans and strategies and they need to focus on the development of talent with greater depth once again.

If processes had improved then reasons suggests that the results would be more encouraging than the above. In fact, there is an argument that processes may be more cost effective but less effective in selecting leadership talent.

Let’s leave this piece with a thought – there are discussions going on about fitting Chefs Jackets with technology that will measure the physical strain and pressures that a chef is going through – just as athletes bodies are measured. The idea is that this will highlight who needs care and support. The idea is that it will make the role of a chef more attractive as they will supported and cared about.

A focus on individuals is coming. Bottom line is that, in Hospitality, people are important.

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