Talent Trends for 2020

by Tom Gilman -- CEO & Managing Partner, Gilman Partners

Despite current concerns of an economic slowdown, the Labor Department’s September jobs report contained some positive surprises, including a national unemployment rate of 3.5% -- the lowest since 1969. Though the pace of hiring has slowed moderately since 2018, we continue to believe the talent shortage is here to stay and employers should plan accordingly. Many of the underlying conditions we’ve seen in the last four years continue as employers work to manage the talent shortage and focus on retention, culture fit and efficiency. Even in a downturn, we expect employers to do what they can to retain their talent, knowing it will be difficult to hire again once the market gets back on track.

Here are some of the biggest talent trends we anticipate as we move into 2020:

Hyper-personalization – Today’s job candidates are savvy enough to recognize (and ignore) a recruiting email written for a mass audience and they want to know how the opportunity will benefit them personally. We’re also seeing this trend play out in employee benefits as more employers are letting individuals customize their own benefits packages to fit their personal needs and lifestyles. HR can no longer afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach to attracting and retaining talent.

Investment in the candidate experience – The high rate of voluntary employee turnover means many workers feel confident in their ability find new opportunities. Top talent has options and many will walk away from a new opportunity if they feel their time is being wasted. Long and repetitive job applications and overly intensive interview processes are turn offs for candidates. Simplify your candidate experience and work to ensure every interaction you have with candidates is clear and meaningful.

Broader approach to hiring – The talent shortage means employers are having a harder time finding talent that matches a narrow skillset – especially when their list of “must-have” requirements is extensive. More are looking beyond experience and hiring for factors like attitude and motivation, which require more thoughtful interview techniques but can lead to greater long-term success.

Automation of hard-to-hire-for tasks – As technology becomes less expensive and more accessible, organizations are increasingly finding ways to automate processes for which they’re having a hard time finding workers. As a result, productivity increases and existing employees can focus on tasks that are more strategic and rewarding.

HR and marketing join forces – It’s not uncommon for an organization’s marketing and HR functions to work independently. But as more organizations fight harder to attract top talent, they’re realizing the need for an employer brand that clearly articulates and promotes its employee value proposition and recruiting marketing materials that tell a succinct and memorable story. Every organization has a “why” and it’s important to share it with prospective and current employees.

Learning and re-skilling move into the C-suite –The limited pool of skilled workers and ever-changing technology and job requirements mean employers must incorporate on-the-job learning and re-skilling programs to keep their workforce relevant. In the coming years, we expect to see more organizations adding new senior-level roles dedicated to workforce learning and re-skilling.

We’re in a period of some economic uncertainty, but what remains constant is the need for strong talent who can help organizations adapt to the changes and continue to prosper.

This article was published by the Cincinnati Business Courier on October 15, 2019. You can read the article here.