Simon Blockley, CEO of Guidant Global talks about what recruitment and retention will be like in 2021

After such an unprecedented year, it’s perhaps safe to say that many of us are looking towards 2021 with the hope that some normality will return to our personal and professional lives. However, so much has changed in the last 12 months that the make-up of our workplaces has evolved at a speed that we could never have expected.

Of course, that’s not to say that this is a negative development. On the contrary, we’ve seen progress in the adoption of flexible and remote working the likes of which we would have arguably never seen had the global pandemic not made it a necessity. The benefits this brings to businesses in terms of the remote talent pools they can tap into and the ability for greater diversity and inclusion are rife.

Many employers are now asking what the future of their talent pools will look like. Here’s our key thoughts.

Hiring beyond the usual sources

Perhaps the biggest change or trend that we’re expecting to see is a shift away from solely using traditional hiring sources. With the issue of a person’s location, ability to travel to the office or hours they’re able to be on-site for removed for many as a result of the pandemic, employers can now tap into a much wider and greater talent pool.
While this is certainly a promising move from an equality, diversity and inclusion standpoint, it will require a change in not only a business’s employer brand, but also the internal culture. In order to engage with experts outside the usual remit, a company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP) needs to be altered to reflect the interests of wider demographics. And where suppliers are being used to source or engage these individuals, it’s crucial that businesses ensure a true reflection of their EVP is making its way down the chain.

As a result of this shift in talent pools, it’s highly likely that we’ll see a vast number of employers review, adapt and evolve their EVP in the coming months to ensure they are competing for the best flexible resources.

Greater reliance on contingent workers

The use of contingent workers has been steadily increasing in recent years, largely driven by skills shortages in certain sectors and the demand from individuals themselves to be employed in this manner. However, while many employers were certainly recognising the significant value that this ‘non-employed’ workforce can deliver to their business, the global pandemic has highlighted it to a greater degree.

Never before has there been a need from so many employers to scale resources up or down as demand shifted rapidly across the globe. With many firms facing a roller coaster ride of business activity, being able to temporarily reduce staff numbers in some areas while increasing others has been hugely valuable.

Having access to resources that can be deployed at a minute’s notice, without the added overheads of employing permanent staff has helped a significant number of organisations weather the storm in the last year. And as we all continue to plan for the future, the flexibility and agility the contingent workforce offers will only continue to drive demand for these workers across businesses of all remits.

The challenges of managing workforce supply chains

While this is certainly fantastic news for the HR community, it does present an additional challenge. Managing a remote and flexible workforce that combines a mix of permanent employees with non-employed workers that range from freelancers to contractors and those operating through a third party or under a Statement of Work (SOW) contract, is complex.

Knowing who is being redeployed and engaged by each of your firm’s divisions or management teams, how they are being employed, what compliance requirements are being met and which suppliers have been adequately vetted is an administrative and logistical challenge. And for those businesses that haven’t implemented these flexible workforce tactics in the past, gaining control of the ever-expanding talent supply chain is going to be daunting. But it is crucial. In particular, ensuring people are being engaged within your company compliantly is vital. There are, however, many caveats to employing flexible workforces that an employer and its suppliers must abide by – and there are, of course, regional variations of these across the globe. Across the UK, the imminent roll out of IR35 regulations (or off-payroll) into the private sector, for example, is set to further complicate the compliant engagement of non-employed workers.

Clearly, the future workforce is flexible. Those businesses able to build the strong foundations now to effectively manage the talent supply chain and adapt it at short notice – either on their own or through partnering with an expert – will certainly be the ones with a true competitive advantage in 2021.


About the author:

Simon Blockley is CEO of Guidant Global – a leader in talent acquisition and managed workforce solutions

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.