Disruption – what a confusing and shape shifting term. Until recently you wouldn’t want to give house space to disruption. It meant nothing but bad news.You’d cross the road to avoid it. What do we tend to associate disruption with? Next week’s joyous tube strike perhaps. That’ll bring disruption all right. Plenty of it. The on-going Channel Tunnel fiasco, creating little or nothing positive.
But wait a moment there. Perhaps we’re being overly judgemental. Perhaps disruption isn’t all bad. Perhaps it’s just misunderstood.
Sir Richard Branson, who else, was in the news earlier this month encouraging organisations to take a risk and go out and hire individuals much like Branson himself – independent, maverick, stubborn and argumentative, capable of thinking and acting differently. His view, and one echoed by businesses such as AB Agri, suggested that there is merit in recruiting people who will not accept the norm, who will question, query, push and probe.
Perhaps to a greater extent than employees who have come through the downturn with their organisation and have potentially got used to keeping their heads down and actively avoiding confrontation. People who have perhaps become comfortably disengaged.
Clearly the human resources and recruitment community has to respond to the current talent squeeze – the evidence for which is hard to avoid and hard to ignore. Robert Walters, for example, suggests that the number of vacancies advertised in the UK increased by 21% in 2015’s Q2 on an annualised basis. According too to a study last week from Lumesse, 76% of global HR specialists fear their organisation’s inability to recruit talent is the biggest threat to the future of their business.
And according to Apsco, UK recruitment firms have 12% more positions on their books than was the case mid way through 2014. This is also accompanied by a not insignificant 6.6% increase in salaries paid across the finance sector. Apsco Chief Executive, Ann Swain, attributes this interestingly to a ‘greater market stability’.
Ironically, the means of addressing such stability appears to be through disruption.
And Sir Richard is not the only example of people-related disruption taking place. This month, consulting giant Accenture announced that, as from September, it will phase out annual performance appraisals for all 330,000 employees, replacing this with an on-going and more nimble feedback process. They are not alone with such a major initiative.
I also liked news this month that Lego was introducing more female minifigures based around STEM occupations. Last year saw them commence manufacturing female chemists and astronomers, whilst this month sees their ranks swollen by female engineers, mechanics and deep sea divers.
Despite understandable concerns around a possible Grexit, Brexit and an over-heating Chinese stock market, the global economic outlook – certainly the UK’s – is characterised by stability and growing security. Great for candidate audiences, starved of choice and options until recently. Less positive for ambitious recruiters.
Perhaps then the key question relates to how employer brands will respond to such challenges. How do they react to this disruptive landscape? Can hiring organisations be as disruptive, nimble and assertive as the likes of Uber and Airbnb?
And can they do this whilst remaining authentic and genuine? Can they deliver messaging – to increasingly crowded and noisy markets – that surprises, questions and provokes? And can they redefine a candidate experience which is fast, efficient and which treats the applicant like a customer.
Faced with such resourcing challenges, more of the same attraction thinking will only produce more of the same hiring levels.
We would suggest, then, that with UK GDP growth in Q2 nearly twice that of the first quarter, candidates are ready for disruptive, challenging, personalised employer brands, and not ones which appear to take the vanilla, the generic, the me-too as their starting point.
It’s time to introduce your employer brand to disruption.
Source: Neil Harrison | Employer Branding Advantage