2010 Predictions – Part 1

Kudos to Kevin Wheeler for several good predictions for 2010. You can read his full article on the ERE blog site at http://www.ere.net/2010/01/07/whats-hot-for-2010

Non Traditional Employment: I agree with Kevin that more resources (aka human capital) will be engaged using means other that full time employment. “We are going to see a steady and continuing rise in temporary, part-time, contract, and consulting work. This will replace a large portion of traditional employment over this year and continue on for the foreseeable future.” I also agree with “I predict no upsurge in regular employment. There will be hiring, but primarily for critical positions and to protect intellectual property.”

Non traditional employment has been on the rise really since 1970 – the concept of the dual income household makes this a reality, and it has continued to surge for some time. The advent of contingent labor companies like Kelly and Manpower couple with corporate acceptance of outsourcing and offshoring have made this normal, acceptable, and in many cases better.

My prediction for Non Traditional Employment is slightly different. The change in employment will be an increase in project oriented work, where full time employees will not have year long goals and objectives, but 6 month objectives, or maybe less. This move towards regular shift in priorities will be used to retain younger employees (Gen Y, Millennial) and also avoid displacement of other employees as the economic fluctuates. The inability to see beyond 180 days out will continue, as financial forecasts beyond 180 days have gotten fuzzy, so organizations will simply adjust to that timeline, rather than one that is 360 days long.

This may mean that recruiters will have to get into talent management. Who better to move them internally than the person they just talked to a few months ago?

Mobility Plus: “…this trend means recruiting will have to go virtual and recruiters, as I have said many times before, will need to become skilled at video interviewing, online testing, and the other components of a complete virtual recruiting process. Hiring managers may never meet face-to-face with a candidate, and once hired, the employee may work alone in some remote place with no face-to-face contact with any other employee. Others may work in small clusters located regionally, and others may choose to work this way on a part-time basis. The key will be flexibility in everything.”

I can handle that. The increase in the use of technology will enable candidates to engage these tools, and be willing to use these tools. But I think some of that is because the younger generations either prefer to use technology, or lack the prowess to represent themselves without technology. Additionally, corporate recruiting will continue to have to do more with less, and technology (whether appropriate or not) tends to substitute for human capital.Recruiters will be forced or encouraged to use these tools not because they are necessarily better, but because its the resource that is available to them.

My prediction for Mobility? Quite honestly, I have not really thought about it. Recruiters tend to remotely communicate with managers across geographies now, even if that means between the 3rd and 4th floor of a building. Use of tools (last year was social networks, the year before was LinkedIn) are always in vogue and we just need to innovate and perform trials because that is one of the best ways to find practices that work the best for a brand.  Those new tools or processes enabling mobility is just a by product. I think that in 2010 (and really beyond) we just have more ways to interpret the appropriateness of a candidate for a position, and will have more drill bits for the drill (rather than tools in the toolbox). You may not use them all the time, but they are available.

Few Recruiters / More RPO: Kevin has a few good ideas in here. The first is the rise of firms as one stop shops. Obviously I agree as our business has been managing clients this way for over 3 years, and really one of the few companies doing that. But after doing this a while, I will state that I see LESS need for RPO. Like many ideas, RPO is one has become over processed. I think the need will be an increase to the services AROUND RPO.

The world of HR is pretty much set on who influences who internally – I can count on just a few hands the number of organizations that have a chief talent officer and a SVP of HR both reporting to a CEO, and equal to each other. In most cases, the #1 talent person is under the #1 HR person, so stuff falls downhill. If companies have not outsourced by now to RPO – why would they start? Its possible that the conversation happened a while ago, and they were waiting on the fiscal to turn, but for most, that shipped has sailed. Recently, we seen the trend moving in the opposite direction – more companies bringing in internal just to avoid management fees, and ongoing work that could be brand damaging. The exception is the organizations going through “HR transformation”. If they are, they maybe hunting to cut heads, and recruiting is a good target if its headcount heavy.

I think that the increase will be in what is outsourced. Companies may outsource other pieces beyond RPO, and simply increase its RPO so it can reinvest in something else. But I dont think that will equate in FEWER recruiters. The companies that have the RPOs will take a hard look at what their HR business leaders are doing, and see if more efficiency can be gathered, and admin or commoditized work will be moved out. The will likely start with current relationships, and likely those companies will make it work.

Companies that have larger internal groups will look to be efficient, group work together, and drive certain core competencies. Whatever they don’t want to build internal, they will partner with external – and it may or may not begin with their current relationships.

Summary on My Predictions Built on Kevin Wheeler’s:

  • Employment will become more project oriented. Assignments will be shorter, and that will increase retention and allow for rotation of younger talent. This may drive an increased need for recruiters to experts in talent management and internal mobility.
  • Mobility will continue with mixed results. New Tools will come, virtual or not, and will be used. Their effectiveness, like always, will be brand and talent pool dependent. Try new stuff, innovate, fail, and try again.
  • RPO will not increase, but companies will increase outsourcing of services before and after typical RPO activity. Don’t be shocked when your RPO comes out with its onboarding service. The use of recruiters (in the classic 20 – 35% fee sense or internal corporate recruiter) will continue to fluctuate. Those who perform that work really well will survive, and those that do not will simply suffer or skate on by as usual.

More preictions coming. Have to go through some of the others that are out there, with a conclusion on what I think 2010 will hold in summary. Here is a preview of my first one:

  • Merging of the recruiting function with other elements of HR will increase. Talent management, retention, and onboarding will become part of corporate recruiting everyday. As the corporate recruiting is squeezed for resources, as the rest of HR inevitably is, the function itself has to survive with high value activities. The outsourcing of screening and even RPO make it easy for corporate organizations to “flex out” the most time parts of full life cycle recruiting – the sourcing and the screening. With that in mind, recruiters now have more time and pressure to be consultants, and that is going to mean solving human capital problems, more than simply recruiting problems.
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