Uncovering the treasure trove of talent within organisations

When it comes to finding talent, the focus is on external candidates – but organisations could be missing out on a wealth of aptitude and capability within their own business

Mariana Moraes, senior talent consultant, Intellect: ‘Hiring with contingency in mind is always wise’

It’s no secret that there’s a major talent gap when it comes to ICT skills. As the demands for specialised skillsets grow across the board and more and more services rely on them, so does the need to find the people to fill these roles.

Intellect, which specialises in sourcing talent from life sciences and technology industries, has been helping many businesses to keep up with these demands.

According to Mariana Moraes, senior talent consultant at Intellect, many businesses are turning to flexible working strategies as a quick and effective way to keep up with changes in demand.

“These strategies offer the capacity to flex resources up or down, even in tandem, in response to an immediate requirement, which is a very big draw for businesses,” she explained.

“This approach creates a broader, more diverse pool of talent which organisations can avail of by appealing to those seeking more dynamic career opportunities, which contrasts with the normative view of the long-term committal type employment relationship sought by generations past.”

Much of this is down to the ripple effect caused by the pandemic, during which remote and hybrid working grew substantially. That has changed the employment relationship and what people want from a role.

Salary and associated benefits are still the baselines, but Moraes said how important it is to recognise that talent views career opportunities far more holistically, with quality of life playing a prominent role.

As employee mobility is high, Moraes said businesses must keep contingency planning central to their talent strategy. On the bright side, offering both remote and hybrid work has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for candidates. What was once limited to being in a particular geographical location is now accessible to anyone, which is why the approach she recommends is a proactive recruitment strategy.

“This way, should any unexpected changes or sudden resourcing challenges arise, they are prepared through prompt and timely action,” she said. “This is why hiring with contingency in mind is always wise.”

An example Moraes gives of a proactive approach is through talent pooling and succession planning activities, which she states need to be done strategically instead of reacting when someone leaves.

This can involve investments in entry-level recruitment like graduate schemes and upskilling existing talent pools by investing heavily in learning and development. It also provides horizontal movement opportunities alongside the traditional vertical career pathway.

That way, the organisation can build up candidates in waiting who are exposed to new and varied experiences that can help the business in the long term.

Traditional pitfalls

A managed talent partner can also help avoid traditional pitfalls such as bias and overlooking existing talent. By identifying a wider pool of talent across the board, you create opportunities for people and the business that may not have been considered before.

“It’s all about hiring for ability and potential over experience, along with hiring for future as well as current needs,” she said. “A talent partner knows your business but is not embedded enough into your culture to have a type in mind, and therefore will put more diverse candidates in front of you.”

The partner will work collaboratively with an organisation to uncover new opportunities for candidates that organisations can explore.

By understanding the business and culture and not being limited by traditional hiring constraints, you can find new talent with transferable skills and life experiences that can open up a trove of untapped potential.

That proactive approach also applies to employers as it makes all the difference in how well its talent pipeline flows.

A key challenge found at the root is the gender imbalance when it comes to the adoption of Stem-based subjects and courses in schools and universities. This significantly impacts science and technology career paths later followed as it effectively cuts the available workforce pool in half, said Moraes.

“While a lot of progressive work has been done to address this at the root source and metrics are on the rise, there is still work to do and a time period to elapse before a greater diversity balance is organically achieved,” she said.

“In the interim, organisations can work with a trusted talent partner and take some steps to improve in this area, perhaps revisiting the wording of job descriptions and requirements to be more inclusive and less prescriptive.

“Or offering bridging and cross-skilling opportunities for those that demonstrate an ability and interest without perhaps the formal training or prior experience in these areas.”

While many essential skill sets and qualities remain the same – such as strong communication skills and a solid understanding of computer engineering – others like AI, big data, machine learning and next-generation security are all growing in prominence. All of this will impact future recruitment demands.

Intellect leverages its expertise and experience to design job adverts that accurately reflect what’s required while appealing to a broader, more diverse talent pool.

“For example, women in the tech industry have been and remain under-represented,” said Moraes. “Many remain cautious about applying for a role unless they meet 100 per cent of the stated requirements, compared with their male counterparts who will commonly apply when only 60 per cent of the boxes have been checked.

“By expanding the focus, we can tap into an entirely new and expanded talent pool.”