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Captain Future: Wizard of ScienceIn this, the third post in my Future Series, I’ll build on previous thoughts around future trends and the future of work, and explore the future of recruiting.

The world of work is becoming more global

Individuals – starting with the service and white collar workers, but not stopping there – will most likely work within globally sourced teams, amongst best of breed colleagues that rarely, if ever meet in person.  Consequently, work will come to the individual instead of the individual having to relocate (that might be different in the mining or other natural resource industries). This fact will be compounded due to a shift towards people working as freelancers (instead of employees) empowered to work when and where they want.

As a result, tomorrow’s savvy recruiters will need to have a global perspective. Tomorrow’s recruiter will be adept in understanding different cultures, in building global scouting networks and in competing to find and secure talent anywhere across the globe ahead of their competitors.

As global scouts, tomorrow’s recruiters will use advanced technology to unearth and highlight the preferences, experiences and skills of the individual, therefore allowing recruiters to tailor their offer and service to best fit the needs and desires of the individual. These technologies will also be easy to use, allowing the recruiter to focus on the core competency of providing fruitful connections between individual and company. Happily, there will be no need for recruiters to become technology boffins!

These global scouting networks will most likely be loose associations of regional scouts. Companies of enough scale may choose to work exclusively with a scouting network that has a specific reach. Other networks may specialise in recruiting entire teams rather than one-off individuals within a team.

The real value offered by this scouting approach will be the unearthing of ‘hidden gems’. These gems could be individuals who have the required creativity or project management ability, but not a specific skillset. However, they may be in a position to move laterally or change career (remember we all be living much longer) and bring a wealth of other experience and expertise to an employer. Tomorrow’s companies will realise this potential by paying for specific skills training for such individuals, offsetting this investment against either future income or a longer term contract.

The in-house recruiter as the central node

The in-house recruiter will consequently become the central node within the scouting network. It will be the in-house recruiter who project manages both the fulfilment of the roles required within a specific team, as well as the communication facilities between the team members once the team has been set up. They will also  work with team leaders to manage the performance of individual team members. The design of internships and freelance programmes that allow the company to connect with and unearth talent that might not yet be on the radar of the scouts will also fall to this in-house recruiter. But – for clarity – no actual recruiting will be managed in-house. All of it will be outsourced, hinging around the in-house recruiter as the manager and point of contact of a virtual team of scouts across the globe.

Employer branding will be a fad of the past, as it’s not about being employed anymore but about the outcome of a specific project, being part of a best of breed team, about having a life based around the individual’s best balance. As teams will rarely meet in person, cultural matching – which is closely linked to employer branding – will be of decreasing importance in the hiring process. Instead the focus will be on creating task-specific teams made up of individuals with the exact abilities and knowledge required for success

Outsource all but the core

What is interesting is that outsourcing will also be a trend embraced by the individual. A remuneration model based on delivered value instead of time, and taxation on consumption rather than productivity will lead individuals to retain a recruitment ‘agent’ or consultant and pay them on the basis of created value.

Subsequently, it will be the agent who has first hand access to the individual.  It will be the agent who vets potential opportunities or projects against the individual’s pre-determined preferences. And it will also be the agent’s responsibility to ensure that the individual has all the knowledge and skills he/she needs to stay relevant. Potentially, every individual will have access to their very own ‘Jerry Maguire’ to act as an advisor on career changes, on lateral movements and marketability!

Again, technology will play a major role. Some individuals will be advised via the analysis of their digital footprint in an automated fashion. Others will access agents in a manner similar to outsourced PA’s to sift and short list opportunities.  The importance here is again, that the solution will be designed around the individual not around technological processes.

Tomorrow’s value lies in connecting information in meaningful ways

As the industrial economy model of the West will be replaced by a knowledge or wisdom economy, HR’s main function will be about ensuring that knowledge remains available to the company, that it becomes part of the collective memory. According to the motto of “always change a winning team”, the purpose of HR will be to facilitate a permanent renewal process. This means focussing on the best and brightest, and building the ideal roles for these individuals to support their strengths. Underperforming individuals will be replaced or potentially outsourced. This cycle will need stability, flexibility and agility and will become the more important as the core of companies become lighter, smarter, faster and more flexible.

The most important outtake for me on this post is the understanding that the individuals will outsource some or all of their job seeking activity and tomorrow’s recruiters will need to have a global perspective. If we take this to heart, the future for recruiting will be a bright one.

Creative Commons License photo credit: hatwoman

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