3 talent trends employers need to know.

Finding good talent keeps the lights on at any organisation. When the economy is on an upswing or your industry is thriving, luring in the best talent suddenly becomes a lot more difficult — and even more important. In times of abundance, candidates have a lot of options. Companies must be even more competitive in their methods for signing the best employees. If you're not on trend with the latest in talent attraction strategy, you're apt to be left behind.

More than ever before, talent trends must be integrated into the overall strategy of your company. Many of the most successful companies in tech and retail have figured out that HR shouldn't be siloed and that they must differentiate themselves. Have you? Here are three talent acquisition trends to watch this year.

1. talent attraction strategy is not a stand-alone activity 

People in the C-suite offices across the globe are figuring out that talent acquisition should be seamlessly integrated into the overall business strategy. In fact, 78 percent of leaders now report that "the goal of their talent strategy is to have a measurable impact on business performance." Where HR was once responsible for administrative minutia and operated in a silo largely detached from directors, now talent strategy is being developed and executed with consideration of overall company goals. You can and should be including conversations about what value you need added to your organisation when you're hiring. It's not just about getting talent for cheap anymore.

Many companies are creating centres of excellence where the best minds in the company come together to handle talent acquisition and management. HR departments need to develop strategic relationships with managers to align priorities and strategies. The best talent acquisition strategies do more than combine the forces of HR and the C-suite: They have well-defined goals with specific KPIs that benefit the entire company.

2. employers make sure they stand out

Setting your company apart from the competition isn't just important to your customers. In fact, employee engagement and satisfaction has become so vital that some organisations are dedicating entire staff positions to handling the employee experience. The bottom line is that if your company hasn't addressed the way it keeps employees happy, it is working behind the curve.

Corporations like Airbnb are prioritising making employees feel like they belong. Johnson&Johnson is going one step further and nurturing every applicant like they're already a part of the family. When someone applies to the company, they can log on to a platform day or night and see where their paperwork is in the process (similar to a package delivery).

Companies choosing to focus on a differential advantage aren't just responding to an instinct. The numbers don't lie. According to a study by Glassdoor, 60 percent of talent say that the company perks factor into whether or not they accept an offer. Eighty percent of surveyed employees also say they would rather take additional benefits over a pay raise. What are you doing to differentiate your company in the talent acquisition phase? If applicants don't feel appreciated from the start, you can bet they're comparing you to other companies who are prioritising the applicant experience.

3. focus on human empathy gives you the edge

AI may be taking over in a lot of departments, but talent acquisition isn't one of them. In fact, as automation grows in use for HR professionals, the need for recruiters to be emotionally savvy is also skyrocketing. While technology can add to the candidate experience, nothing can replace human empathy. More than ever, C-suite execs are worried that they're losing the best talent because their hiring process is divorced from "the people side" of their business. Creating more human interactions and showcasing emotional intelligence is definitely on trend as a result.

What is emotional intelligence? The ability to responsibly understand, control, and express emotions. As Forbes explains, much of what is currently wrong in recruiting is that staff are spread too thin and end up hiring based on a skill set rather than using an element of human intuition and a holistic impression of the candidate. Moving forward, "enhancing the recruiter's human-connected skills or emotional intelligence abilities" is essential to setting yourself apart from the competition. All companies will have access to the same recruiting software and AI technology. The only way to remain competitive will be to step up the parts of recruiting that only a qualified, empathetic person can provide.

Acquiring good talent will never go out of style. More than ever, as automation skyrockets and the race for new technology is breakneck, paying attention to trends is crucial. Millennial candidates want work-life balance, and they value unique benefits (often over a pay increase). With a focus on emotional intelligence, benefits that set you apart and an integrated talent strategy, you're on course to attract the top talent in 2018 and beyond.

For more competitive insights into how to successfully cultivate your employer brand, download the full Randstad Employer Brand Research 2018 here.

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