Navigating talent acquisition during uncertain times

Navigating talent acquisition during uncertain times

With a potential global recession looming on the horizon, you may be taking steps to fortify your balance sheets. This often involves the tough decision of implementing hiring freezes or worse. 

While these preventive measures are justified during uncertain times, a recession is also when every function at the company is expected to rise to the occasion and solve the toughest problems your business is currently facing. This ultimately requires having the most highly skilled professionals on the team. 

So what are business leaders to do when faced with the issue of cutting workforce costs when strategic work must still be completed? We’ll show you how to navigate this pressing issue in this article. 

Start with a Workforce Analysis

A great place to start when addressing talent challenges during uncertain times is with a workforce analysis. Business leaders from each department should get together with their teams to discuss current and future needs. 

The outcomes from those conversations should then be used to identify subject matter expertise and capacity gaps, potential talent overlaps, and existing capabilities that will enable the business to make the right call on how to best allocate resources. This could lead to the use of creative hiring strategies that support the business's short-term and long-term goals. 

Reframe Your Approach to Work 

The world of work is changing. And most work today is happening at the project level. One IBM talent executive said, "Soon we will no longer have job descriptions… We will have only project roles."

This growing phenomenon of a project-based economy was first analyzed by the Project Management Institute and reported in an article by Harvard Business Review. It documented how organizations are increasingly recognizing the strategic value of adopting this approach to capture future value today at a much faster pace. 

By embracing a project-based approach to work, business leaders are better able to drive business transformations faster, expedite the development of new products, and more. 

Source: Harvard Business Review, “The Project Economy Has Arrived”

Projects are well-defined and well-staffed, with a select team of appropriate talent working to achieve specific goals in pre-determined timelines. This goal-oriented approach ensures peak productivity — everyone knows the mission at all times.

Adopting a project-based mindset changes how companies think and, more importantly, how they operate. This insight could be used to shift the approach to onboarding talent, where you can pinpoint the precise capabilities required for any given project and hire accordingly on a short-term or long-term basis, which brings us to our next point. 

Consider an Agile and Flexible Workforce Strategy 

Conducting a workforce analysis and reframing your approach on how work gets done helps set the foundation for how to best navigate talent acquisition challenges amid turbulent times, but adding workforce flexibility with on-demand talent can help you take it further. 

Think about it.

Strategic work like digital transformation and market research still needs to be done regardless of whether the business has made hiring freezes or layoffs — even more so when faced with market uncertainty. 

Onboarding independent experts on an ad hoc basis in these situations enables you to proactively plug gaps and get work done more cost-effectively since you only pay for what you need. And because it's flexible, it allows you to scale your teams as business and client needs fluctuate. 

This is where adopting a project-based approach to work and leveraging the independent workforce becomes a strategic growth lever to complete mission-critical jobs. But where can you find the independent talent to lead these high-profile projects?

A great place companies can find specialized talent in corporate finance, market research, and finance and accounting backgrounds, for example, is on on-demand talent acquisition platforms like Graphite. Through these solutions, you can find and onboard talent within 13.5 days on average — much faster than if you would use traditional talent acquisition strategies like using a staffing firm or recruiting agency. 

Manage Uncertainty with Caution

We're entering an uncertain economic period, with a potential recession in a historically tight labor market. As a business leader, you need to walk a fine line between reducing capital and  operational expenditures where possible (whether from layoffs or other measures) while ensuring the business can successfully bounce back from whatever the near future holds in store. 

By taking the time to analyze your workforce, reframe your approach to work, and leverage independent talent where possible, you are better able to set the business up for success. Want to explore how to future-proof your workforce by considering independent talent? Connect with one of our account executives today to learn more. 

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