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Hybrid Talent Acquisition & Management

Businesses are now gearing up to employ hybrid hiring and placement processes rather than reverting to pre-pandemic modules

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The viral outbreak triggered sector-wide transformations as organizations scrambled to revamp old systems to continue operating unabated. As we near the third year of the pandemic, the digital-first remote systems that emerged as a temporary fix to tide over the lockdowns are now being integrated into innovative hybrid setups to facilitate more effective, convenient, and transparent models of working for industries worldwide. The talent acquisition and management industry is no exception. In the last two years, India witnessed companies across industries switching to virtual recruiting and onboarding processes to accommodate modern job seekers. Given the increasing vaccination rates, businesses are now gearing up to employ hybrid hiring and placement processes rather than reverting to pre-pandemic modules. The reason? Hybrid procedures enable recruiters to creatively use the benefits of both in-person and digital processes to reach out to a wider pool of candidates and recruit the best talent with lesser hassles and more accuracy. Here’s looking at how hybrid talent acquisition and management will pan out in the coming years.

Seamless transition

In the past few years, firms across industries have begun collaborating with universities, and vice versa, to organize career placement drives on college campuses. During the pandemic, businesses transitioned to virtual and AI-powered technology to streamline their selection processes, making the hiring experience more comfortable, 

accessible and smooth for corporates as well as students. 

Going forward, this trend will be complemented by a blend of virtual as well as in-person trainings and assessments. As colleges across the country look to reopen their gates next year, companies may explore designing innovative placement modules that involve both a preliminary round of virtual tests – from aptitude and psychometric tests to specialized tests – and a final round of interview. 

The on-campus round can include a series of hackathons and workshops that explore candidates’ ability to solve problems in a group. 

Building on the campus placement ecosystem by adding new dimensions to campus hiring, these combinations will provide a better perspective of the candidate’s knowledge, skills and experience in real-time, cultural fit as well as offer a more holistic opinion for the recruiter. 

A diverse pool of talent

Unlike pre-pandemic days when companies would often organize placement drives in tier-1 institutions in the same city, hybrid placements allow organizations to explore remote colleges and engage with a larger, more diverse pool of talent through a virtual or hybrid hiring model. 

For instance, Marico’s flagship campus program, ‘Over the Wall’ saw 7,000 potential candidates register vis-à-vis 1,700 in the previous year. Adaptability to virtual mediums also led to far more leadership connects with the campuses. 

With the elimination of locational constraints, companies can enrich the talent pipeline with new perspectives and insights that can only be supplied by people from diverse educational, sociocultural and geopolitical backgrounds. 

On the other hand, this also means talent gets exposure to different geographies and can work on live projects in other markets. 

Digital-first HR practices

The tech intervention in HR processes does not stop at recruitment; technology is also being used to streamline post-recruitment employee engagement and acclimatisation. 

Solutions such as chatbots and virtual assistants are being used to help new employees learn about their designated roles. 

For instance, Marico employs AMBER, the CEO’s personal digital assistant chatbot, to engage and communicate with new employees – leading to a six per cent increase in the engagement metrics across the organisation. 

Internal chat forums and platforms are also being used to enable interactions across departments and hierarchies. This round-the-clock accessibility for query resolution, guidance-seeking, and feedback strengthens communication between remote working teams and their supervisors. 

HR teams can also establish innovative systems and cultures to foster belongingness amongst new hires, especially those working remotely in today’s pandemic-impacted world. 

Leading organizations are experimenting with “buddy systems” where old members are appointed to virtually show the ropes to new joinees while helping them connect to other members of the organization. 

Digital participation in informal social events can also help new members build relations beyond transactional, work-related engagement. Such efforts can go a long way in ensuring that new employees do not feel socially isolated or demotivated due to a lack of engagement as enabled by in-office set-ups. 

What lies ahead? With 49 per cent of companies planning to hire new staff in the coming year, the hiring trend in India is going to hit an eight-year peak. It is good news for a country that is also home to the youngest and fastest-growing workforce in the world. 

However, to accommodate this increase in job applications and processes, it will be crucial for recruiters to explore and adopt hybrid modules that will assist them in both effective selection and smooth onboarding of new candidates. 

Doing this will help them make a difference in the lives of every associate, new or old.    

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 11 Jan 2022 talent acquisition management

Amit Prakash

The author is CHRO at Marico Limited.

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