In a complex market where organisations are facing increasing pressure for continuous adaption amid fierce competition, the need for HR teams to assess their approach when it comes to the concept of ‘talent ecosystems’ is becoming more important than ever before. Unlike traditional approaches where roles were typically a nine-to-five sat on one desk, this new type of system focuses on the interconnection of attracting, employing, developing and retaining talent. Centred on a borderless field of work, where employees can jump between roles, locations and categories which they or their employer chooses requires a new way of thinking and hiring.

In the case of HR, this means taking a more holistic approach in order to get the best skills on board and compete in a competitive marketplace. But what are the challenges in incorporating new talent management strategies and how can firms continue to stay agile?

Currently the UK has a buoyant gig economy consisting of five million workers which equates to 15.6% of the total full and part-time workforce, and this trend of flexible working and contracting looks set to continue. We are already seeing how different generations have different motivations, for example millennials and gen-y are said to be motivated by factors such as flexibility, personal satisfaction, and recognition and, at the same time, they also seek autonomy, versatile careers and a balanced work life. But while many companies today are ramping up their offerings for candidates and existing staff, and striving to become more people-centric to manage these expectations, they also need the new skills on board to help drive this change and stay agile.

However, with APSCo’s latest jobs data report revealing demand for contractors has decreased by 5% while permanent placements have risen by 9%, it seems the trend towards contingent workers might not be the full story. To have a successful talent ecosystem it’s key HR recruit to help meet a company’s objectives and, an increase in perm placements might be due to factors such as the uncertain horizon which is impacting recruiting until businesses gain clarity. Part of HR’s hiring strategy is also about sourcing candidates to train and develop within a company where they can join a team and bring a permanent backbone to the business. But ultimately, it’s about a balance. Between all different types of talent, whether this is freelance or permanent or crowdsourced and partnership talent where workers are recruited from online communities or join their work through partnerships.

According to a study this year by the Linux Foundation and Dice, open source talent is a top priority for 83% of hiring managers, rising from 76% in 2017. Against this backdrop, it seems businesses are becoming attuned to the myriad of skills they could be missing out on, and the labour market is calling out for HR to invest in an open sourced talent approach, and think beyond the old recruiting initiatives. It’s now crucial we recognise that competition for high-demand talent is driven by more than office ping pong tables, high commission schemes and new workplace technology. It’s about understanding the needs of candidates and employees and the type of workplace that will foster productivity and success.

For HR this means going beyond conventional workplace relationships and cultivating new talent strategies across the board. The talent ecosystem approach focuses on sustainability by giving workers a sense of purpose and an environment they want to work in and, in the long run, this can not only be cost-effective and offer companies a unique edge, but also optimise efficiency. In an era of uncertainty, HR leaders who can embrace and incorporate this concept, and respond to progressive demand are the ones who will truly come out on top in the war for talent.

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