Elevating Talent Acquisition Across Asia  - The Need to Go Beyond Transactional & Reactive Recruiting Practices

Elevating Talent Acquisition Across Asia - The Need to Go Beyond Transactional & Reactive Recruiting Practices

This post is part of the Elevating Talent Acquisition Across Asia series - a collection of personal viewpoints and experience in connecting Talent Acquisition practices to organizational outcomes.

The series is meant to educate, provide insights, challenge the status-quo, and provoke thought amongst HR practitioners on delivering exceptional business results with the right Talent Acquisition strategy, practices, and capabilities.

Elevating Talent Acquisition Across Asia

Elevating Talent Acquisition is essential in Asia if organizations are to meet their business objectives.  They need the right talent, in the right role, at the right time to innovate, grow, launch a new product, or to simply compete and survive.  The first step is recognizing that they need to go beyond recruiting and implement a Talent Acquisition engine.  That is only possible if we fully understand what Talent Acquisition is and how it differs from Recruitment.  The next step is understanding the elements of Talent Acquisition and having the capability to build the engine in-house and execute it well.

Before we delve into elevating Talent Acquisition, let’s get the definitions straight.

Why is Talent Acquisition NOT Recruitment?

After nearly a decade working in Talent Acquisition in Asia, it continues to surprise me how many HR practitioners and organizations confuse Talent Acquisition with recruitment. Here’s why: Talent Acquisition at its best is a strategic approach to identifying, attracting, engaging and onboarding the right talent for the right roles at the right time; it is a strategic business function that proactively fulfills organizational outcomes through its talent strategy.

Recruitment is a subset of Talent Acquisition that unfortunately, is often the knee-jerk response to a resignation or a newly created role with a rigid set of skills and competencies to meet. While some organizations have in-house capability and rely on job boards limiting themselves to active incoming applicants, many tend to rely on contingency search firms to meet their needs.   Not only does this create dependency, they are also failing to reach passive candidates, which depending on the type of role can form more than 70% of the talent pool.

The elements of Recruitment are:

  • Strategic Sourcing;
  • Assessment & Selection;
  • Hiring; and
  • Onboarding.

The sooner we educate ourselves on the difference, the sooner we can educate our stakeholders. Organizations can then move from a reactive recruitment-centric approach to a proactive Talent Acquisition strategy to better position themselves to be agile and competitive players in the marketplace.

Defining Talent Acquisition

For a more formal definition, Bersin by Deloitte defines Talent Acquisition as a “strategic approach to identifying, attracting, and onboarding talent to efficiently and effectively meet dynamic business needs,” while recruiting is “the tactical component of attracting and identifying job candidates.”  The difference, as you can see, comes down to connecting talent to business needs, versus just fulfilling a momentary need.

Talent Acquisition takes a long term view, identifies future business needs and builds talent pools for that future. It is a component of talent management and includes other strategic elements with each having their own sub-set of elements. You can visit the mind map to examine the other elements in more detail. While there are different models out there, in my view, the key elements we need to be across include:

  • Planning & Strategy;
  • Compliance;
  • Process Excellence;
  • Employment Branding;
  • Talent Acquisition Advisory;
  • Outsourcing;
  • Tools & Technology;
  • Metrics & Analytics; and
  • Recruitment.

When done right and aligned to business strategy, Talent Acquisition leads to improved performance, growth, and competitive advantage. Based on my own in-house experience and conversations with HR practitioners, very few organizations across Asia have the true Talent Acquisition engine in place.  This includes multinationals where practices vary from country to country, and in some cases are regional and not yet aligned to global best practices. The key difficulties are threefold:

  • Lack of understanding of all the elements of Talent Acquisition;
  • Lack of capability amongst HR practitioners (Skills, Attributes, and Experience); and
  • Resistance to change by both the HR function as well as the organization.

The Need to Go Beyond Transactional & Reactive Recruiting Practices

Now is the time for HR practitioners to take the opportunity to elevate Talent Acquisition across Asia.  I have personally experienced how transactional & reactive recruiting practices don't successfully address many of the current and emerging regional challenges we face such as:

  • Talent needs being more complex;
  • Talent competition rising between foreign and Asian multinational organizations;
  • Candidate behaviors changing;
  • New hires not meeting performance expectations; and
  • Out-dated sourcing strategies.

Let’s first acknowledge that Talent Acquisition is NOT Recruitment. Then let’s explore the capability (skills, attributes, experience) required to build an in-house Talent Acquisition engine and execute it well to meet organizational needs.

In my next post, I will cover Talent Acquisition Advisory.  Transforming from a reactive and transactional function to an equal business partner that influences all elements of Talent Acquisition, requires a very different set of capabilities, so join me as I delve into these critical concepts that from my experience, I have found will support your organization’s talent evolution.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn.

About the Author

Sadaf Pitt is a Talent Acquisition advisor whose career spans two decades across North America and Asia. She has held diverse roles in a variety of sectors before she discovered her true passion: Transformative & Strategic Talent Acquisition. She is a strong advocate for boosting Talent Acquisition’s voice and value in Asia’s leading MNCs. She is also an adult Third Culture Kid (TCK) and Multi-Local. Answering the question, "Where are you from?" is a tricky one for her.  You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.





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