Internal Mobility: Filling Skills Gaps with Your Existing Workforce 

With labour shortages and intensifying talent scarcity, hiring challenges are only increasing, impacting all industries. To tackle these hiring difficulties, many leaders look to external solutions like expanding their talent pool or enhancing their employer brand. However, one of the most effective and sustainable solutions is already inside your organisation. Developing existing employees through internal mobility is key to filling skills gaps now and in the future. 

Keep reading to learn more about internal mobility, why internal mobility programs are crucial for future success and how you can leverage reskilling and upskilling programs to facilitate internal mobility at your organisation.  

What is Internal Mobility? 

The goal of internal mobility is to match your existing talent to open positions through internal transfers, job rotations, secondments and promotions. An internal mobility program is a structured process that facilitates the movement of employees, both vertically to higher or lower positions as well as laterally between roles at the same level. These programs are often anchored in reskilling and upskilling initiatives focused on developing employees’ skills and capabilities to meet evolving organisational needs. 

Reskilling programs aim to provide training to help employees gain new skills that allow them to transition into different roles or business areas. For example, a finance employee can reskill to learn data analytics and move into a business intelligence role. 

Upskilling programs focus on building additional skills and competencies related to an employee’s current role or expanding their knowledge in their field. For example, a marketing manager can upskill their digital marketing capabilities in social media and digital advertising platforms to take on a more strategic role in the department.  

The Benefits of Internal Mobility 

A strategic focus on internal mobility provides both talent management and bottom-line benefits for an organisation, including: 

  • Improved employee retention and engagement: Providing clear paths for career development and advancement within the company increases employee satisfaction and loyalty. Employees feel valued and motivated when they see opportunity for upward or lateral mobility. 
  • Stronger talent pipeline: An internal mobility program creates a robust pipeline of qualified candidates for open roles from within. According to research from LinkedIn, organisations that leverage skills-first hiring expand their talent pool by nearly 10x on average compared to those simply looking for similar job titles or industry experience.  
  • Cost savings: It is typically more cost effective to fill a position internally rather than externally recruit, onboard and train new hires. Internal mobility is a strategic talent management approach. 
  • Improved performance: Internal candidates have organisational and cultural knowledge, so they are often able to transition and ramp up faster in new roles. Data from Spotted Zebra shows that internal movers reach competence 20% faster than external hires and are twice as likely to be rated as top performers in their role. 
  • Improved diversity: Internal mobility provides opportunities for improved representation and diversity in leadership by developing and advancing talent from within. 
  • Agility and flexibility: Having an internal bench of qualified candidates enables organisational agility to swiftly mobilise talent to meet emerging needs. 

The Lack of Investment in Internal Mobility Programs 

Despite the benefits, internal mobility is not being prioritised by most HR leaders. Given the challenges recruiting skilled talent, we expected to see internal mobility as HR leaders’ default strategy to tackle skills shortages. However, through our research report, The Skills Crisis Countdown, we found that nearly a third (30%) of HR leaders admitted they simply do not view reskilling and upskilling as a priority and only 37% of organisations have formal reskilling and upskilling programs in place. Even in areas of high priority like technology advancement, there appears to be a lack of focus on mobility and development. When we asked HR leaders about how they’re preparing their workforce for the implementation of new technologies, only a fifth (20%) said they’re investing in upskilling initiatives to enhance current employee technological skillsets.  

The lack of skills development is echoed by employees. A quarter of employees report their employer has not been offered opportunities to upskill or reskill. A third (34%) of workers have doubts about how their skills will keep pace with new technology and automation. With transformations on the horizon for many roles due to technological advancements, ensuring employees’ skills evolve along with their jobs is essential for organisations.  

The Key to Internal Mobility: Reskilling and Upskilling 

Ongoing reskilling and upskilling of employees is crucial to enabling effective internal mobility. As business needs evolve and new technologies emerge, employees’ skills and competencies must also progress to keep pace. Providing internal development opportunities allows employees to gain the updated capabilities required for critical roles, increasing their eligibility and readiness to transition into new positions. By making learning core to the culture, reskilling and upskilling initiatives ensure organisations can source top talent from within. 

Implementing Successful Upskilling 

For your upskilling programs, you need an accurate understanding of your employees’ current skills and future needs. Our research showed most HR leaders rely on subjective manager feedback rather than taking a data-driven approach. 

To get ahead of emerging skills gaps, perform a skills audit and compare that to how your existing roles will evolve in the coming years. Identify both the competencies your employees need to be effective in their roles as they develop into the future and any deficiencies they have now.  

Once you understand the lay of the land, you can develop continuous upskilling initiatives to grow your employees’ high-value skills over time in alignment with technological advancements. Proactively upskilling employees will keep your workforce on the cutting edge of skill set transformations. 

Implementing Successful Reskilling 

Reskilling programs also require an understanding of the existing capabilities of your workforce and the required competencies for emerging roles. This allows you to accurately match employees to opportunities they can transition into successfully. 

Rather than relying on subjective manager interviews, utilise skills-based assessments. This provides data-driven insights into employees’ technical aptitudes and behavioural strengths. You can then align these skill profiles with the requirements of your new roles. 

For example, PeopleScout partnered with a global financial services company to take a skills-based approach for a major digital transformation initiative. By identifying the best candidates for reskilling, we helped employees move from declining customer service roles into new tech-focused positions, saving the company $2 million in exit costs and reduced training dropouts dramatically. The company gained the critical future-focused skills it required while providing career growth opportunities to its valuable existing employees. 

Internal Mobility & RPO: Your Partner in Sustainable Workforce Planning 

Over half (56%) of HR leaders report resistance to change within their organisation when faced with the prospect of what they mistakenly believe can only be a huge, C-suite-led project that spans the entire talent lifecycle. However, as a leading RPO partner PeopleScout is perfectly positioned to provide the strategies and technology to embed and scale a skills-based approach. 

By leveraging an RPO provider’s expertise and resources, organisations can maximise the return on investment in internal mobility initiatives. According to Everest Group, over half of RPO engagements include some element of internal mobility. The RPO acts as a strategic talent advisor focused on improving talent mobility with strategies like: 

  • Skills gap analysis: An RPO provider can perform a skills audit to assess current capabilities versus required future skills and identify reskilling needs to inform development programs. They can also provide market intelligence to help you understand the skills available within your talent markets as well as salary requirements so you can make informed decisions.   
  • Internal candidate sourcing: Your RPO partner can source and screen internal candidates for open roles to identify top talent for mobility opportunities. 
  • Career mapping: RPO experts can map career paths, succession plans and competency requirements for critical roles to guide internal development. 
  • Development program design: An RPO provider can help design and implement reskilling, upskilling, job rotation and mentoring programs to build enterprise talent. Plus, they can administer and manage the end-to-end internal mobility program from sourcing to placement as well as provide project management. 
  • Change management: RPOs can provide guidance on change management strategies to gain buy-in and promote a culture of internal mobility. Plus, they’ll provide data, analytics and reporting on program effectiveness and opportunities to fine-tune strategies. 
  • Technology consultation and implementation: RPOs can recommend and implement skills management platforms and talent mobility platforms to enable seamless movement and track program metrics. 

Filling your organisation’s talent gaps begins with the workforce already inside it. But this untapped talent potential can only be leveraged through strategic, skills-based internal mobility programs. Your existing workforce could provide the talent solution you’ve been searching for. By partnering with an RPO on reskilling and upskilling initiatives, you gain strategic expertise to build a future-ready, skilled workforce.  

Countdown to Skills Crisis? What Our Latest Research Tells Us About Skills Gaps

By Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory Consulting

The workforce skills landscape is transforming at blinding speed. Automation, AI, sustainability initiatives, demographic shifts—global forces are conspiring to make skills gaps and talent shortages more acute by the day. Don’t think it’s moving that fast? Well, the World Economic Forum predicts that a jaw-dropping 85 million jobs could sit vacant by 2030, resulting in $8.5 trillion in lost revenue.

The very meaning of “skills” is shifting beneath our feet. Skills requirements have already changed 25% since 2015, and experts forecast 65% more change by 2030. However, companies still rely heavily on degrees and experience over skills when it comes to making hiring decisions. No wonder we’re careening towards a global skills crisis.

PeopleScout partnered with skills-based workforce management platform provider Spotted Zebra to survey over 100 senior HR and talent acquisition leaders globally, plus over 2,000 employees worldwide, to compare perspectives. Our new research report, The Skills Crisis Countdown, maps the skills landscape and diagnoses the disconnects between employers and their workforce.

Read on for some key findings from our report.

HR Leaders are Ill-Prepared for the Skills Crisis

According to a study by PwC, 40% of global CEOs believe their business will be economically unviable in 10 years unless they reinvent for the future. Our study revealed that nine out of 10 HR leaders believe that up to 50% of their workforce will require new skills to effectively perform their job in the next five years. Yet, when asked if they are currently undergoing or planning a workforce transformation initiative in the next three years, nearly half (45%) of HR leaders admit to having no plans to undertake one.

So, in other words, half of employees will soon be underprepared for the future, but most companies have no strategy in place to address the issue.

According to LinkedIn, 84% of members are in occupations that could have at least one quarter of their core skills affected by generative AI (GAI) technologies, like ChatGPT. So, how are HR leaders preparing for this digital transformation and the AI era? Shockingly, a full third (34%) say they have no preparations in place to prepare for new technologies. Those who are preparing emphasise bringing in outside talent rather than reskilling existing employees.

Industry Composition by GAI Segment
Percentage of LinkedIn Members by Industry

impact of GAI on workforce skills
(Source: LinkedIn Economic Graph Research Institute)

This is likely because they lack an understanding of the skills they have within their existing workforce. Our data revealed that 68% of organisations identify skills from manager feedback, which is highly subjective. So, it’s no surprise that 56% of employees think their skills are underutilised in their current roles, and 61% think there are other roles in their organisation where their skills could be utilised.

An unprecedented skills revolution is barrelling down the tracks, but companies are fast asleep at the switch. It’s time to wake up and get employees future-ready or risk a global skills crisis and talent scarcity for decades to come.

Digital & Tech Skills Gaps are Widening but Tech Skills are Viewed as Unimportant

Both employers and employees dangerously underestimate the importance of tech and digital skills. In our survey, both parties listed tech and digital literacy skills with low importance. With the skyrocketing demand for tech and digital talent, this does not bode well.

skills in the workplace

Mobile apps, ecommerce and digital transformation have made technology integral to every corporate strategy. However, supply isn’t keeping up with demand. McKinsey analysed 3.5 million job postings in high-tech fields and found there’s a wide divide between the demand for tech and digital skills and the qualified talent availability. The most sought-after skills have less than half as many qualified professionals per posting compared to average global figures. 

No wonder 63% of HR leaders in our survey admit they struggle to recruit the skills they need. Closing tech and digital skills gaps through recruitment alone is no longer sufficient. So, we were concerned when our research showed that 73% of the workforce haven’t been offered opportunities to reskill.

Organisations must invest in helping their employees evolve their skills via reskilling and internal mobility to cultivate digital and tech literacy across their entire workforce.

Case Study: Reskilling in Action

The Challenge:

A large global financial services company needed to undertake a major digital transformation program. The organisation needed to acquire key digital and tech skills while leveraging the existing company knowledge of employees in declining customer service roles by reskilling them.

Previous efforts by the organisation to assess employees’ suitability for reskilling were led internally and included multiple, time-consuming line manager interviews. Of even greater concern, around a quarter of those who began the reskilling program dropped out.

The Solution:

The bank worked with their long-time RPO partner, PeopleScout, and Spotted Zebra to assess customer service staff in bank branches and call centres to find ideal candidates for its tech and digital skilling program. Skills profiles were created for tech roles, which employees were assessed against to find the best fit.

The Results:

  • Redeployed 150 people, saving over $2.5M in exit costs
  • Saved over $350,000 in training and development costs
  • Reduced time investment by hiring managers
  • Reduced the reskilling cost-per-person by 70%

Employees Don’t Feel Confident in their Skills for the Future

A third (34%) of workers have doubts about how their skills will keep pace with new technology and automation. Meanwhile, just 17% of organisations are offering targeted reskilling programs for existing employees.

Where are HR Leaders Deploying Skills-Based Practices?

Skills-Based Practices
(Source: PeopleScout and Spotted Zebra)

This imbalance spells disaster. As change overwhelms existing skill sets, most workers will begin to feel unsure of their career paths or left struggling to stay relevant.

Investing in reskilling makes solid business sense. We must bridge the gap between workers anxiously facing uncertainty and leaders failing to invest in their resilience. HR leaders who empower their workforce with adaptable skill sets today will drive continued success in times of swift and sweeping change.

Finding a Talent Partner to Support Your Skills Transformation

The agility to match emerging skill requirements will soon become a competitive necessity. If you haven’t started your skills-based transformation, now is the time.

In our survey, one in two HR leaders admitted to a lack of understanding of skills-based practices. If you’re struggling to understand how to take advantage of skills-based practices in your organisation, PeopleScout is here to be your guide.

As a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner, we can help you understand the skills within your existing workforce as well as the external market supply and demand. We offer solutions across the skills agenda, from skills-based talent intelligence and market insights, building skills frameworks, and creating skills-based success profiles to redesigning recruitment processes, skills-based hiring strategies, and helping you maximise the potential of your existing workforce.  

To learn more about PeopleScout’s skills-focused talent solutions, get in touch.  

The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps

The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps

Our latest research reveals, nine in 10 HR leaders believe that up to 50% of their workforce will need new skills to perform their jobs in the next 5 years. Yet, only 7% say they are actively investing in reskilling programs, and 45% admit to having no plans to undertake a workforce transformation initiative to prepare for the changing skills landscape.

PeopleScout partnered with skills-based workforce management company Spotted Zebra to survey over 100 senior Human Resources and Talent Acquisition leaders from organisations around the global and 2,000+ employees globally to compare perspectives on workforce skills. The resulting research report, The Skills Crisis Countdown: The Clock is Ticking on Tackling Skills Gaps, provides a detailed picture of the current skills landscape and the disconnects between the perspectives of employees and businesses.

Download our free report for the latest research exploring:

  • The current state of skills in the global workforce and outlook for the future
  • How HR leader are preparing for the impending skills crisis
  • How employees expect their skills will need to adapt to new technology or automation.

Plus, you’ll get a roadmap of actionable steps to help your organisation become more skills-centric.

Talent Predictions: How Talent Acquisition Will Navigate 2024

By Simon Wright, Head of Global Talent Advisory Consulting 

We are in one of the most transformative periods in the history of work. Between technological disruptions, societal shifts and global events, the talent landscape five years from now will likely look very different than it does today. However, even in times of uncertainty, we can discern key trends that will impact the way organisations source, recruit and retain talent. 

As a leading talent solutions provider, PeopleScout has a unique vantage point to view the forces shaping the future of work. Based on our experience and industry insights, we believe there are eight core areas talent acquisition leaders should embrace in 2024 to up-level their strategic importance within the business.  

1. Talent Leaders Will Look to New Models to Ride the Economic Waves 

The power balance has now shifted back to the employer amidst a tight labour market, fewer vacancies and a cost-of-living crisis. But if you think it’s time to pause investment in your talent programs, think again.  

Talent acquisition teams shrunk during COVID-19 and then grew quickly as part of the bounce back only to shed jobs again this past year. With continued uncertainty, TA leaders must showcase the value they bring to business by minimising the impacts of economic fluctuations.  

It’s time to leave behind the boom and bust and embrace agility through a strategic approach to workforce planning and forecasting. Talent solutions like recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), including modular RPO solutions, offer responsiveness to help stabilise operational delivery amidst unpredictable economic waves.  

2. Business Transformation Will Shape the Workforce 

The specific skills and capabilities companies need are shifting rapidly, which means the jobs and roles employers need to fill are changing too. According to McKinsey research, one-third of new jobs created in the U.S. in the past 25 years were types that barely existed previously, particularly in high-demand areas like data analytics, software development and renewable energy. According to Totaljobs, despite a general slowdown in hiring, the demand for green jobs continues to go up, skyrocketing by 677% between 2019 and 2023. 

However, this business transformation is being hampered by the lack of talent and relevant skills. Economic, social and labour market changes are evolving faster than workforce training and development systems can keep pace. There simply aren’t enough workers with experience in emerging fields and new technologies.  

TA leaders must work proactively to build the reputation and influence of their employer brand with potential talent now—ahead of the hiring they need to do in the future. This means being able to recruit the best talent in the market, not just the best talent in your pipeline. Investing in candidate nurturing and employer branding strategies now will ensure organisations can hire first—and fast—when the time comes. 

3. Employees Will Continue to Reevaluate Their Relationship with Work 

TA leaders must be the eyes and ears for their organisation, tuning in to the candidate market and shaping the employer value proposition (EVP) to meet the changing needs and expectations of candidates. Today’s employees are demanding more, and the one-size-fits-all EVP approach must evolve to keep up.  

Organisations that refresh their EVP with a more human-centric approach that recognises employees as people, not just workers, will go beyond traditional offerings to provide exceptional life experiences that match employee needs. Delivering a positive emotional connection will be crucial for improving retention, overcoming the productivity vacuum and attracting quality talent in 2024.  

4. Data Will Be the Key to Overcoming Talent Scarcity  

The labour market has shrunk due to the retirement of Baby Boomers, and companies face an enormous brain drain of institutional expertise. Not only is the upcoming population smaller and not replacing the Boomers who are leaving the workforce, but they lack the some of the soft skills of the departing generation. With this double depletion at play, organisations will need to work hard to attract and train Gen Z in order to keep their workforce development on track for the future. 

Additionally, long-term illness, including lingering complications from COVID-19, has sidelined many working-age adults. The latest ONS data shows that the number of people economically inactive because of long-term sickness is now over 2.5 million in the UK alone. 

The key to reducing the impact of talent scarcity in 2024 is data. It’s time for TA leaders to treat talent intelligence as business intelligence, bringing it to the C-suite to drive decision making and inform strategy. Organisations must leverage data to understand both internal and external talent pools, maximising ROI on talent attraction and retention efforts. 

Talent Acquisition Predictions

5. Skills-Based Practices Will Take Centre Stage 

In order to keep pace with changing roles and dwindling talent pools, leading organisations are taking a proactive and holistic approach to adapting their workforces. They are investing in upskilling and reskilling programs while also leveraging RPO partners to find professionals with the most in-demand and future-proof skills. 

More organisations will look to expand candidate pools and tap into diverse skill sets through skills-based recruitment. To do this, organisations must evolve their candidate assessment practices to focus on skills rather than credentials or pedigree. We’ll see more organisations follow the likes of Google and drop their university degree requirements. This will have the added benefit of promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace.  

6. Internal Mobility Will Receive Big Investment 

More than a third (36%) of HR professionals surveyed identified employee retention as a priority in 2024. Internal mobility will become the key to retention as well as filling open roles and skills gaps. Focus will shift from building external talent pools to internal talent pools, putting methods in place to identify transferable skills that can be boosted to support business transformation.  

We saw an uptick in labour hoarding in 2023 talent trends. In 2024, organisations must invest in transforming the skills of the workers they’ve kept on board in order to ensure they’re ready for what’s on the horizon. 

In 2024, career moves won’t take a linear path but will weave across departments and disciplines, providing workers with variety and rewarding work. Organisations must train hiring managers to look at candidates, not just for their fit for a specific role, but for the value they can bring to the organisation.  

7. Long Overdue Tech Upgrades Will Happen for HR 

The Josh Bersin Company estimates the HR technology is a $250 billion market. 2024 will be the year of recruitment tech stack upgrade.  

Organisations will look to capitalise on AI-powered features to do the heavy lifting so their teams can focus on more valuable recruiting activities. TA leaders should look to technology to augment human touches throughout the candidate experience, to identify opportunities for streamlining through automation, and to help them better interrogate data for a more agile resourcing model.  

This is also an opportunity for TA leaders to demonstrate they can deliver digital transformation and deliver ROI from these investments. This has been a criticism of talent acquisition and HR in the past, and it’s time to dispel that narrative.  

8. AI Fever Will Hit an All-Time High 

And finally, it wouldn’t be a 2024 talent acquisition forecast without a mention of AI. Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) tools, like ChatGPT, were on the tip of our tongues in 2023. As organisations grapple with the ethics of AI, most will succumb to the transformative potential and begin to test and experiment with how AI can benefit their workforce and operations in 2024.  

The role of technology will keep evolving within talent acquisition, but it’s primed to have a pivotal role in streamlining recruitment tasks and improving efficiency in everything from screening to assessments to interview scheduling.  

Organizations should take a principled approach to leveraging AI and automation to augment recruiting, while ensuring human oversight and care for people remains central. Starting with a small project or two will clear the mist so you can see clearly where AI will add value to your recruitment tech stack and candidate experience. 

The Importance of the Right Talent Partner to Help You Ride the Waves 

The future of work holds exciting potential, but also some uncertainty. However, while individual trends are difficult to predict, TA leaders that embrace agility, skills practices and tech innovation will find themselves in a strong position to prove their value in driving business performance. As your talent partner, PeopleScout will be ready to support, challenge and inspire you for whatever lies ahead. 

By staying on top of key shifts like these and working with an expert talent solutions provider like PeopleScout, companies can build workforces with the skills, mindsets and diversity of experiences to thrive in the next era of business. 

3 Strategies for Solving Hospitality Recruitment Challenges with Technology

Amongst travel and hospitality recruitment challenges is a clear and persistent issue: staffing shortages. Talent leaders are struggling to fill empty roles amid low unemployment rates.

According to a 2023 survey by Deloitte, more than half of hotel executives (53%) say their properties have between 25–74% of the workforce they had in 2019. The situation at airports is even tighter with 62% of executives saying their workforce is half its prepandemic size or smaller.

On top of this, the unemployment rate sits at 3.8% in the U.S., 4.3% in the UK and 3.7% in Australia. The travel industry also saw a massive exodus of workers. In 2022, there were record quit rates during the Great Resignation, with the quit rate in leisure and hospitality jumping by a percentage point to 6.4%. So, how can talent leaders hire hospitality and travel workers when the available pool is smaller?

Luckily, the right technology solutions deployed at the right times during the recruitment process can help talent leaders source, attract and screen candidates to find the best talent more efficiently and effectively. In this article, we’ll cover three technology interventions that talent acquisition teams can put into place to tackle hospitality recruitment challenges.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 1: Our open positions receive few applicants, and many of those who do apply do not have the background or experience needed to succeed in the role.

Solution No. 1: Invest in artificial intelligence sourcing technology to fill the top of your funnel.

Amongst common hospitality recruitment challenges that we see is finding talent with a wide variety of specialised skills across diverse and distant geographies. There is no one-size-fits all approach to hiring travel and hospitality talent. Finding a chef for a luxury property in Lake Como, Italy will look very different from a search for housekeeping staff at a family resort in Orlando, Florida. Finding a flight attendant looks very different from filling a baggage handler role.

With such a tight talent market, employers must target passive talent. During the Great Rehire talent leaders focused on filling roles as quickly as possible, but now they need to focus on finding and hiring more experienced workers.

An AI-enabled candidate sourcing tool can identify passive candidates with the right experience for specific roles and can even identify which candidates would be most likely to leave their current employers. Within seconds, recruiters can build a list of these candidates and share the opportunity. PeopleScout’s talent acquisition suite, AffinixTM, includes the AI sourcing feature, Talent Finder, which can connect employers with millions of passive candidates.

Consider the following best practices for using an AI sourcing tool:

  • Before searching for candidates, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in the role.
  • Use features, like PeopleScout’s Diversity Boost, that can identify candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to help meet your DE&I goals.
  • Blend AI with the human touch. By having a recruiter reach out to a sourced candidate with a personalised message, employers can create a positive experience.
  • Make sure a human makes all final hiring decisions. AI can make the process more efficient, but hiring managers should make the final call.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 2: Candidates drop out of our process before reaching the offer stage, either by abandoning the application or ghosting the interview.

Solution No. 2: Improve the candidate experience by making the process quick and easy by embracing tools like SMS or virtual interviews.

Hospitality employers must ensure that their candidate experience sets them apart from other employers at every stage of the candidate journey. For candidates, how they’re treated during the hiring process is a preview of what their experience will be as an employee.

PeopleScout research shows that the hospitality industry has a lot of room for improvement in this area. In our analysis of the candidate experience of more than 215 different organisations, the hospitality sector came in last overall with the lowest average scores in every stage except Follow-Up (in which it was second to last). While hospitality organisations effectively showcased their diversity and inclusion efforts on their career sites, only half gave candidates the opportunity to register their interest.

Your candidate experience should be unique to your brand and help you distinguish yourself from other employers hiring for similar roles or skills. Many talent acquisition teams don’t appreciate that candidates don’t perceive the recruitment process as a funnel. They’re the main character in their own story, and they expect to be treated that way. Candidates want to engage in their job search on their own terms. So, anytime they encounter a roadblock to getting the information they want, especially if they don’t know what to expect in the next stage, they’re more likely to drop out of your process.

There are several ways to leverage  technology to make the process easier for candidates. First, start with a shortened application. According to PeopleScout research, nearly 40% of organisations asked candidates to duplicate information that was already contained in their resume or CV. Make sure your application only collects the information that is most critical for determining who moves along to the next step of the process.

From there, other technology solutions can be used to gather the additional information necessary to make a hiring decision. SMS can be used for an initial text screening, and virtual interviews, like those available in Affinix, allow candidates to answer additional questions at their own pace while feeling as though they’re driving the process.

Finally, automated communication can keep a candidate engaged in the process. The right technology platform can help by sending automated messages to candidates, via email or chatbot technology, updating them on their application status. You can even craft messages letting a candidate know if they did not get the job, so they aren’t left wondering if you ghosted them.

Consider the following best practices for using technology to improve your candidate experience:

  • Make sure your application is mobile-friendly and can be filled out in 10 minutes or less. Test your current application to see how long it takes to apply.
  • Provide candidates with the opportunity to opt-in to receive text messages or emails from your organisation to remain in compliance with local spam laws.
  • Tailor the type of virtual interview to the type of role. While video interviews may be appropriate for customer-facing roles, others may prefer the opportunity to answer questions with recorded audio.
  • Make it simple for candidates to understand where they are in your process; this can be something as simple as a progress bar.

Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 3: Our assessment process isn’t effective at identifying the candidates most likely to succeed in the role, leading to increased turnover, reduced productivity and disengaged employees.

Solution No. 3: Assess candidates for passion, purpose and mindset.

The travel and hospitality industry is all about guest experience, and hotels, airlines, restaurants and theme parks differentiate themselves with the unique experience that they provide. So, talent leaders need to find candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but also a deep understanding of the brand and how it is reflected in the service provided.

For example, in a major city, you may find three hotels on the same street, one catering to a high-end luxury experience in a historic building, another geared toward young travellers with bold art and hit music playing in the lobby, and a third designed with business travellers in mind—with a large business centre, meeting rooms and plenty of quiet spaces for someone to plug in their laptop. Many hotel brands even have this variety of styles within their own portfolios. The service provided in each hotel looks different, and a person who excels at a luxury property may not thrive in a trendy hotel.

By selecting the right assessment tool, employers can go beyond looking at just capability, behaviour and results but also determine whether candidates align with their organisation’s purpose, have passion for the work they would do and whether they have the mindset to adapt to new environments.

By building an assessment during pre-screening that accounts for passion, purpose and mindset in addition to the standard skills and experience, employers can use technology to shortlist candidates based on several different attributes at the same time. This way, employers can get a clear picture of the different strengths and weaknesses of candidates in order to make informed decisions about which candidates are best to bring forward to the interview stage.

By identifying candidates who match well with an employer’s brand of guest experience, talent leaders can reduce turnover and build a happier, more engaged team. In turn, that leads to better customer experience and a better bottom line.

Consider the following best practices for building an effective assessment for hospitality talent:

  • Identify the essential behaviours for the role to separate those who will actually be successful from those who simply present well during an interview.
  • Build assessment tools around your organisation’s vision and values so applicants have a chance to form a connection to them from the start.
  • Self-evaluation tools can also be used to help applicants consider their own strengths and whether the role will offer sufficient opportunity to use and demonstrate them.
  • Distinguish between good candidates who meet the criteria and great candidates who will take an organisation further.

Finding the Right Talent Technology for Hospitality

The travel and hospitality industry still faces an uphill climb in returning to or even exceeding their prepandemic staffing levels, but talent leaders have additional and improved tools available to help identify, attract and screen candidates. However, in a full marketplace, finding the right tools can be a challenge. Consider partnering with an RPO with expertise in technology that can help identify the most impactful ways new tools can solve your most pressing hospitality recruitment challenges.

Get more strategies for attracting and hiring hospitality, travel and tourism talent, with our Recruitment Handbook for Travel and Hospitality.

PeopleScout Launches RPO Amplifiers—Modular Talent Solutions to Help Employers Boost their Recruitment Efforts

Curated suite of modular recruitment solutions helps augment recruitment efforts, deliver fast results and drive lasting business impact

LONDON—6 September 2023—Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) leader PeopleScout is proud to announce the launch of RPO Amplifiers, a curated suite of modular recruitment solutions to help employers augment their recruiting teams when and where they need it most. Whether it’s focused support for peak hiring seasons or sourcing hard-to-fill roles, RPO Amplifiers are designed to help organisations meet immediate talent goals and drive lasting business impact.  
 
“We are committed to meeting our clients’ unique needs with customisable talent solutionsand a full-cycle RPO engagement may not always be the best fit,” said Rick Betori, President of PeopleScout. “The flexibility of RPO Amplifiers allows organisations to scale quickly and augment their existing recruitment efforts, giving them the agility needed to compete in today’s talent landscape.” 
 
PeopleScout’s suite of RPO Amplifiers includes: 

  • Talent Mapping: PeopleScout experts harness research and analytics to help employers make better workforce planning decisions with insight into talent availability, salary benchmarks and more. 
  • Talent Sourcing: This talent sourcing solution helps employers boost their internal recruitment resources, engage with passive candidates and generate a list of qualified, enthusiastic applicants. 
  • Talent Campaign: Surge Support: This project-based solution leverages the expertise of PeopleScout’s recruitment pros when and where needed, without increasing permanent recruiter headcount. Surge Support is implemented quickly and seamlessly, providing all the benefits of RPO expertise on a short-term basis. 
  • Assessment Transformation: This solution helps employers deploy assessments to make the right hires and enhance the candidate experience, leveraging cutting-edge technology and visionary design. 

RPO Amplifiers offer scalable, agile recruitment support for organisations in all industries, augmenting existing processes with focused support, backed by PeopleScout’s 30+ years of recruitment expertise. RPO Amplifiers can be added as a standalone service or combined with an existing RPO engagement—whether with PeopleScout or another provider—when extra support is needed. 

Learn more about PeopleScout’s RPO Amplifiers here

Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Expanding Your D&I Strategy to Include Neurodivergent Talent

By Tim Powell, Managing Director, APAC 

Neurodiversity in the workplace has become a much bigger part of the wider discussion about diversity and inclusion (D&I) at work over the last decade. While the neurodistinct community still experiences prejudice and misperceptions, the cultural wave of “neuroinclusion” and advocacy is driving a number of companies to change their hiring practices in order to attract cognitively diverse talent.  

Neurodiversity has taught us that diversity and inclusion are about more than age, gender, race, religion and physical ability. D&I is about ensuring different points of view and different experiences are valued. Indeed, Nancy Doyle, an organizational psychologist and neurodiversity advocate, argues we’re all differently abled in some way. We all have different experiences and perspectives that we bring to the table. 

In this article, I’ll explore what embracing neurodiversity in the workplace means for employers and offer some practical advice for creating a neuroinclusive environment.  

What is Neurodiversity? 

Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term neurodiversity in 1998 to promote “a political and civil rights movement” for the advancement of “neurological outsiders.” The term refers to the concept that everyone experiences and interacts with the world around them differently. A neurodivergent person’s brain may work in a different way than the average “neurotypical” person. They may have unique ways of learning, communicating, socialising or perceiving their surroundings. 

An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. While nuerodiversity is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s syndrome, many conditions fall under the neurodivergent umbrella, including ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and even mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, OCD and social anxiety. However, people with these conditions may also choose not to identify as neurodivergent. 

Research Report

Identifying Recruitment Pitfalls to Improve D&I Outcomes

Why Neurodiversity in the Workplace is Important 

We all understand by now that diversity at work improves business performance, and neurodiversity in the workplace is no different. While some neurodivergent traits, like difficulty with organisation or sensory issues, pose challenges in traditional work settings, neurodivergent people have unique strengths that offer myriad benefits to employers. 

Neurodiverse professionals often have special skills in pattern recognition, analysis, mathematics and more. In fact, neuroinclusion is strongly tied to innovation. Cognitively diverse teams, consisting of both neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, are more creative, make better decisions and solve problems more efficiently.  

They’re also more productive. According to Deloitte, research suggests that teams that include neurodivergent professionals can be 30% more productive than those without neurodivergent members. Through their Autism at Work program, JP Morgan Chase has found that cognitively diverse employees are 90% to 140% more productive than neurotypical employees and make fewer errors. 

A diagram of what neurodiversity brings to the workplace
Source: Genius Within

In her TED Talk, “The world needs all kinds of minds,” autism activist and prominent animal behaviourist Temple Grandin says, without autism “there’d be no more Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis would not be solved.” In our world of technological advancements and automation, the advantages of neurodiversity in the workplace have never been greater. 

Neurodivergent Candidates: An Untapped Talent Pool 

Despite these benefits, neurodivergent people are far more likely than neurotypical people to struggle with unemployment. It’s estimated that as many as 85% of college-educated autistic adults struggle with unemployment in the United States. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), just 21.7% of autistic people in the UK are employed and are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group. In Australia, 70% of new starters with disabilities do not survive the probation period and 65% of Australian businesses are unsure how to access this pool of workers. 

Neurodivergent individuals can sometimes struggle with interpreting nonverbal cues, facial expressions or tone of voice. Sometimes this means they display what may be considered inappropriate behaviour for the workplace, like excessive honesty or difficulty maintaining eye contact. This runs contrary to what many corporate cultures think make a good employee—having good communication skills, emotional intelligence and relationship building capacity. 

Most hiring processes are built for neurotypical candidates. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, interviews tend to focus on evaluating social skills and confidence. This may be relevant for some job roles but may not be a genuine need for others. This puts some neurodivergent applicants at a great disadvantage, particularly when high emotional intelligence isn’t required for success in the role.  

In the next section, I offer some practical changes you can make to your hiring program and recruitment processes to support the success of neurodivergent talent. 

“Inclusion is a social, moral and economic imperative. We all lose when human potential is squandered.”

Dr. Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder, Genius Within CIC 

How to Foster Inclusion for Neurodiversity in the Workplace 

So, how can you make your workplace more neuroinclusive and create a recruitment process that ensures neurodiverse candidates are more likely to be successful? Here are some tips: 

Make Neurodiversity Part of Wider D&I Strategy 

At the vast majority of organisations, hiring people with disabilities or cognitive differences is often a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. To achieve success, it can’t be a pet project of HR or any one person. Rather it should become a part of your larger workplace D&I initiative

Objectives 

The first step in building out a sustainable neurodiversity hiring strategy is to be clear on your objectives. It could be to support corporate social responsibility with an inclusiveness focus; to access a wider talent pool in a tight labour market; or to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness. Whatever the objectives, the whole organisation must buy into the program and have the right expectations. So, communicate your goals and objectives widely and secure strong, visible and consistent support from senior leadership.  

Audience 

Often, we see that organisations don’t think through how a person with a disability might perform their duties. When organisations define a talent persona for each job type, and target those individuals from the outset, employees are much more successful. This in an opportunity to test your assumptions about job roles and explore the impact if an employee didn’t certain skills. Your selection criteria must be justifiable and define what is essential to succeed in the role. 

Once you’re clear on the skillsets you’re looking for in each role, targeting the audience becomes easier. To help with sourcing neurodiverse candidates, you might consider seeking help from an outside partner who can help you think through the art of the possible and drive informed choices. 

Train 

Education and diversity training in advance of a neurodivergent colleague starting, or in the very early stages of onboarding is important to ensure they’re successful in their new role. Talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a neurodiverse person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that is sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity. In fact, it’s critical these conversations take place, so your teams understand in advance what they can expect with their new colleague. For example, throwing a person with autism into a group meeting and asking them to say something about themselves is likely not going to be a comfortable experience for them. If managers know this ahead of time, they can make informed decisions about how to introduce their neurodiverse new hire to the team. Moreover, when employees know that their new neurodiverse co-worker may not make eye contact, they’re less likely to take it personally.  

Rethink Your Recruitment Process 

One reason I’ve seen neurodiversity in the workplace fail is because the recruitment process is not sufficiently tailored to the needs of neurodivergent candidates. The focus must be on assessing basic competencies and characteristics as well as a candidate’s capacity and willingness to learn, rather than how well they interview or even their previous job experience (as neurodivergent candidates often have less employment history).  

I caught up with our UK-based Assessment Design team, comprised of organisational psychologists, to understand more about how they’re helping clients create more equitable assessment experiences. They shared that because the interview and assessment process can often be complex—varying by role and company—there is no “silver bullet” and each situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, especially since many neurodivergent people are undiagnosed or may choose not to reveal their diagnosis to potential employers. 

Interviews 

Interviews in particular can be a challenging prospect for neurodiverse candidates. While most organisations won’t eliminate interviews altogether, they shouldn’t be the only consideration. They should be balanced with other evaluation techniques, and, for candidates who require adjustments, you might consider weighting interviews so they count for less in the overall candidate appraisal.  

Prepare to offer reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process as neurodivergent candidates in particular will likely need to deviate from established processes. This could mean changing the location or of an interview or allowing for a screen reader during an online assessment exam. Another example of an adjustment is to put the interview question into the chat during virtual interviews to make the experience more accessible. Keep in mind that any adjustments you make for the recruitment process should be adjustments you’re prepared to offer in the workplace as well.  

At PeopleScout, we provide experienced assessors who can act as a neutral third-party in interviews which can help to reduce bias in the scoring. 

Blended Assessments 

The PeopleScout Assessment Design team recommends a blended assessment approach consisting of multiple styles of question, allowing candidates different ways to show their potential. These blended assessments have the added benefit of giving candidates a realistic preview of what the role and organisational culture is like. For example, for a large international airport, the bespoke 1XP experience we created an immersive experience in which security officer candidates had complete various tasks, including “spotting the difference” between images, to test their ability to catch potential security issues in the airport.  

Communication 

Regardless of whether candidates have requested adjustments or not, should always clearly communicate with candidates the steps of the recruitment process, what’s expected of the candidate at each stage and what’s coming up next. All candidates appreciate this, but neurodivergent candidates in particular may benefit knowing what to expect upfront. 

Adjust the Working Environment 

Beyond experiencing issues with workplace etiquette, neurodiverse employees often struggle with sensory challenges, like sensitivity to light or sound. Modern office environments with open floor plans or noisy warehouses or shop floors can prevent neurodiverse employees from being successful in their work. 

Consider offering flexible seating arrangements, quiet places for breaks or noise cancelling headphones. When feasible, remote work is a great option for some neurodivergent employees. Be prepared to adjust lighting or make adaptations to a neurodiverse employee’s workstation. Even changing a uniform to have a softer fabric can make all the difference for a neurodiverse worker. For employees with learning disabilities, assistive technologies, like screen readers, or video trainings can help them complete onboarding modules and job tasks.  

There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Just like neurotypical people, disabled and neurodiverse employees each have their own unique requirements and preferences for maximising their productivity. 

Consider Career Paths 

Taking a long-term view of the development of disabled and neurodiverse employees is key to continued success of your program. One idea is to give neurodivergent employees a “buddy” or mentor that they’re comfortable with—outside of their direct manager. Having this extra person checking in on them is invaluable in retaining neurodiverse employees beyond the first three to six months. 

It’s also important that organisations engage with their disabled and neurodiverse employees directly about what support they need and how they feel about their experience. Sometimes employers are uncomfortable asking those questions, but people with disabilities generally want to engage and are open to talking about what support they require. Of course, these conversations should happen in a way that honours the employee’s privacy and dignity.  

Conclusion 

My experience tells me that making disability and neurodiversity part of your D&I strategy isn’t easy. If it was, more organisations would be further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only to meet societal expectations, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence and scale. Neurodiversity in the workplace is a wonderful journey if you’re committed to it and plan appropriately. 

Apprenticeship Recruitment: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Talent Pipeline?

Apprenticeship recruitment has taken on more importance in early careers programs in recent years. In Australia, the number of organisations employing apprentices and trainees is at its highest level in over a decade with seven of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in Australia now accessible via an apprenticeship pathway. In the UK, there was a 22% increase in interest in apprenticeships from young people in 2022 according to UCAS.

Organisations and employees alike are waking up to the fact that many skills can be learned on the job—and that this is often more relevant training than a university degree. Whilst providing opportunities for hands-on experience and training, apprenticeships also help businesses to develop a talent pipeline that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Whether for workers just starting out or those changing careers, apprenticeships help people gain valuable skills and on-the-job experience as they move toward a career in their field. For employers, field and business apprenticeships are one of the best ways of engaging early careers talent or career changers.

In this article, we’ll explore how designing and offering apprenticeship programs can be a smart way for organisations to create their own talent pipeline, close their skills gaps, and diversify their workforce.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is paid employment that offers on-the-job training and is often accompanied by classroom-based learning. Some employers may offer their own in-house training while others offer it in association with a college, university or other training provider. An apprenticeship must last at least a year but can go as long as 5 years. Through in-depth, job- and industry-specific skills training, apprentices gain a nationally recognised qualification or certification upon completion.

Apprenticeship programs are a great choice for individuals who are early on in their careers, who are looking to upskill or who are exploring a career change. Employers are responsible for ensuring that apprentices work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and receive time off from work to complete their classroom training.

Different countries have different laws and regulations around apprenticeships including wages and working hours. There are also various funding programs and government schemes available to encourage both workers and employers to embrace apprenticeships. For example, the UK Government introduced the (controversial) apprenticeship levy in 2017 which uses business taxes to fund apprenticeship training. The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program gives eligible employers in priority list occupations (ranging from aged care and dentistry to various engineering roles) wage subsidies for offering quality apprenticeship training programs.

Manufacturing Recruiters

Types of Apprenticeships

Types of apprenticeships differ from region to region. In Australia, apprenticeships are offered for skilled trades, whilst traineeships are for other vocations in sectors like hospitality, digital media and financial services. Organisations are increasingly embracing corporate apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of diversifying their workforce and creating opportunities for social mobility.

In the UK, a common misperception is that apprenticeships are just for manual or skilled trade jobs. Whilst there are many apprenticeship programs in the skilled trades, there are also apprenticeship opportunities for all kinds of careers from actuaries to arborists. For example, our client, National Highways, offers apprenticeship opportunities for project management, business administration, legal, surveying and data analysis.

There are different levels of apprenticeship including degree apprenticeships which correspond to an equivalent education level. In Australia, apprenticeships are typically delivered through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and State or Territory Training Authorities and span levels from Certification II through to advanced diplomas. In the UK, completing a Level 2 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a GCSE, and a Level 7 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a master’s degree.

Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers

Apprenticeship recruitment can be an effective way of growing and upskilling your workforce. Here are just a few of the benefits for employers.  

Building a Talent Pipeline

Companies in a variety of industries can build their own apprenticeship programs to help talent see the rewarding career opportunities available within their sector. As apprentices gain experience, organisations establish a pipeline of prospective employees.

Early careers employees see apprenticeship programs as proof of an organisations investment in their success and are more likely to stay with an organisation after completing the program. In fact, 90% of qualified apprentices stay on with their employers upon completing their training, and 69% of organisations say that employing apprentices has improved retention. Clearly, apprenticeship recruitment is an excellent way to “grow your own talent” and reduce attrition.

Closing Skills Gaps

According to McKinsey, a whopping 87% of organisations are aware they already have a skills gap within their workforce or will experience one in the next few years. Apprenticeships offer a way to develop a new generation of workers to help your organisation succeed into the future. A structured apprenticeship is an effective way to get a leg up in recruiting and retaining sought-after talent like software developers, data analysts and engineers. Indeed, 86% of employers said that investing in apprentices helped to develop relevant skills for the organisation.

The digital skills gaps alone could cause 14 G20 countries to miss out on a staggering $11.5 trillion USD in cumulative GDP growth. In the UK, companies like Dyson are partnering with the University of Warwick to offer apprenticeship training in agile software development, data science and machine learning. Meanwhile, automotive giants Ford and Enterprise are joining forces to offer technical engineering focused apprenticeships.

Boosting Diversity & Social Mobility

A third of employers agree that apprenticeships have helped improve diversity within their business. They are particularly effective for creating career opportunities and boosting earnings for workers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

As more people struggle financially with student loans and education costs, apprenticeships have become an accessible career path for workers of all ages and backgrounds and give participants a shot at career success. They allow workers from underrepresented groups to increase their earnings potential—to work and earn money in the field while they learn. If your company cares about being a catalyst for sustained change in the community, apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this.

RPO + Apprenticeships

As a leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider, PeopleScout helps organisations to obtain the talent and skills they need to succeed into the future through early careers recruitment solutions covering interns, graduates and apprenticeship programs. Unlike apprenticeship recruitment agencies, as an RPO partner our expertise in talent acquisition strategy and workforce planning means we’re better equipped to successfully integrate apprentice programs into your overall talent attraction and training strategy. Plus, we have experts on staff that can design an assessment centre that evaluates apprentice candidates against your organisation’s values, culture and other requirements.

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maximising your impact with early careers recruitment

Internal Mobility Skills Audit

One of the earliest and most important steps in the internal mobility process is identifying which employees within your organisation should be targeted for internal roles based on skills, experience and willingness to explore new career paths. But, how can you be sure you know the full extent of the skills available within your organisation?

An internal mobility skills audit enables you to understand where employee skills lie, as well as direct your employees’ training and development plans and your overall recruitment strategy.

What is an Internal Mobility Skills Audit?

An internal mobility skills audit is the process of assessing your employees’ skills and then identifying potential internal candidates for open positions based on knowledge, experience, skill sets and flexibility. By assessing the knowledge and skills that already exist within your workforce, you can help develop the careers of existing employees while simultaneously improving your retention rates and filling open roles faster.

Common employee skills include:

  • Technology and digital skills
  • Research skills
  • Quantitative skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Soft skills like emotional intelligence
  • Project management
  • Business acumen
  • Project management
  • Teamwork

Who is Responsible for the Internal Mobility Skills Audit?

When it comes to an individual employee who is a candidate for an internal role, team leaders or managers should be responsible for conducting the audit of that employees’ skills. However, larger team analysis for multiple roles is usually done by team leaders, HR or external talent advisors.

Data Collection & Analysis

The goal of data collection and analysis in an internal mobility skills audit is three-fold: 1) to analyze which roles are open now; 2) to rate how important each role is; and 3) to inquire about the skills required to perform the role properly. Data collection and analysis activities can include:

Developing job profiles and identifying critical skills needed for each job role:

  • Review current job descriptions as a reference for the skills that are needed.
  • Consider the effect of upcoming organisational changes or future work trends (such as remote work) on the role.
  • Develop a list of competencies that most clearly and accurately describe what is necessary to do the work.

Conducting an inventory of your employees’ current skills:

  • Position descriptions
  • Job class specifications
  • Performance evaluations and employee assessments
  • Interviews/focus group meetings with supervisors, managers and employees 
  • Self-assessment surveys

As you might expect, it can quickly become difficult to manually keep track of each employee’s competencies and skill levels. Fortunately, talent technology can help you with the data collection process. For example, PeopleScout’s Affinix Internal Mobility can help you access an internal talent pool all in one place so you can quickly source, leverage, promote and reassign talent from within your organisation.

Assessing Internal Candidates

Once internal candidates for open positions have been identified, it’s time for your teams to dive deeper and examine a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). While the three terms may seem interchangeable, they are actually distinctly different dimensions of a potential internal candidates’ qualifications:

  • Knowledge focuses on the candidate’s understanding of key theoretical concepts important to the role.
  • Skills are the capabilities or hands-on experience needed for the application of theoretical knowledge important for the role.
  • Abilities are the innate traits or talents that a person brings to the role if selected as a successor.

KSAs are the core competencies used when assessing talent and can create a better picture of a potential candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. These are useful in creating your organisation’s internal promotion and talent development programs, and it’s essential to develop a KSA profile of each internal candidate to determine whether their attributes align well with a specific role. 

To begin, your internal mobility team can start building KSA profiles by asking these questions:

  • Where does your organisation see the role evolving in the next three to five years? What skill sets will be required to evolve with the role? 
  • What unique or specialised competencies are necessary to succeed in the role?
  • What qualities should the internal candidate possesses in order to thrive in the role and meet your organisation’s business objectives?

Then, when identifying individual employees as potential internal candidates, consider assessing the following traits:

  • Flexibility and willingness to change roles or work environments
  • Interest in professional development, taking on new projects outside of their duties and learning new skills
  • Good communicators who work well with multiple teams and departments

When completed, the results of a skills audit should be aggregated into a report to obtain a clear view of existing skills and knowledge within your organisation. The information you collect during the audit can then be used to support more than just your internal mobility program. It can also be applied to organisational restructuring and internal promotion, as well as help conduct effective succession planning.

Soft Skills in the Workplace: Why They Matter and How to Hire for Them

In the era of skills gaps, soft skills matter. For hiring managers, an age-old dilemma persists. Two ostensibly qualified candidates interview for the same position, but only one can be hired. This may seem like an ideal situation a hiring manager. However, it’s still a dilemma, and dilemmas demand solutions.

When choosing between two seemingly equal candidates, organisations are now prioritising “soft skills” as the key differentiator. In fact, in LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, 92% of talent acquisition professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. And, 89% said that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills.

In this article, we define and explain the importance of soft skills in the workplace and how organisations can best assess candidates for them during the hiring process.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence, and emotional intelligence quotients that enable employees to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.

Key soft skills include:

  • Attitude
  • Communication (both listening and speaking skills)
  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership qualities
  • Time management
  • Decision making
  • Conflict resolution
  • Critical thinking
  • Networking
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving

Because soft skills are unquantifiable professional attributes, it can be difficult for hiring managers and others involved in the hiring process to assess them in potential hires, making them an important but elusive set of skills to look for.

Soft Skills Are in Demand

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important as organisations look to add additional value to their business. A study conducted by Wonderlic found that 93% of hiring leaders stated that soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” element when making hiring decisions. What’s more, many employers reported that soft skills are more important than tech skills.

Soft Skills

The Wall Street Journal reports, “Competition has heated up for workers with the right mix of soft skills, which vary by industry and across the pay spectrum—from making small talk with a customer at the checkout counter to coordinating a project across several departments on a tight deadline.”

According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, employers emphasised leadership and the ability to work in a team as the most desirable attributes when recruiting recent college graduates, ahead of analytical and quantitative skills.

Burning Glass analysed millions of U.S. job postings and found that one in three skills requested in job postings is a “baseline” or soft skill. “Even in the most technical career areas (such as information technology, and healthcare, more than a quarter of all skill requirements are for baseline skills.”

Talent with the right soft skills is scarce. In fact, LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report cited soft skills training as a top priority and 59% of U.S. hiring managers believe it’s difficult to find candidates with the right soft skills.

Soft Skills And Organisational Outcomes

skills audit internal mobility

Creative and Critical Thinking

Employing a workforce of creative and critical thinkers is essential for introducing fresh ideas, services and products. In fact, creative and critical thinking skills were ranked second and third on the World Economic Forum’s top skills employees will need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.

As artificial intelligence and automation in business evolve, creative and critical thinking skills will be increasingly needed to complement the capabilities of machines.

However, creative and critical thinking skills are in short supply. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 84% of HR professionals stated they found a deficit of key soft skills including creative and critical thinking among job candidates.

Teamwork and Communication  

Teamwork and communication are weak points for many organisations, and it’s causing performance and productivity challenges. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that the majority of employees “believe that their organisation’s project performance would improve if their teams worked more collaboratively.”

What’s more, another Gallup report discovered that teamwork and good communication is a key soft skill for helping B2B organisations solve their top challenge of creating organic growth.

Successful collaboration is strongly related to good communication skills. Communication skills include actively listening to colleagues and willing engagement in conflict resolution to mitigate the effects of miscommunications as well as keeping projects and organisational initiatives on track.

Compassion in Leadership

Compassion is an important aspect of good leadership. Teams thrive when the members trust that their leader cares about them. Research shows that organisations with more compassionate leaders excel at collaboration – already identified as a key soft skill in the modern workplace.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review authored by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Louise Chester, “Of the over 1,000 leaders we surveyed, 91% said compassion is very important for leadership, and 80% would like to enhance their compassion but do not know how.”

Compassion is a pre-requisite for effective communication and other soft skills that enhance interpersonal relationships in the workplace, which are essential to maintaining workplace cohesion.  

Assessing Candidates

skills assessment

Ask Behaviour-Based Interview Questions

Interview questions that are behaviour-based can help organisations more easily identify the soft skills possessed by the candidate, especially for technical roles where questions are more hard skill-based. They can provide a look into how they respond in certain situations or to various challenges.

Instead of questions starting out with, “do you” interviewers should try starting out with, “what are your thoughts on” or, “how would you?”

Examples of behaviour-based questions to ask candidates applying for more technical positions:

  • Ask how they usually develop relationships with coworkers and supervisors
  • A problem they solved in a creative way or unique way
  • A time they had to deal with someone who was difficult
  • Ask them to describe their ideal work environment and method(s) of communication
  • Ask them to share a time they needed help or guidance on a project and how they went about asking for it
  • Ask them to share a time they had communication problems with their manager or coworkers. How did they handle the situation and their colleague’s responses?

Also, ask candidates how they think their soft skills will help them in the role they are interviewing for. Their answers can reveal how well they understand the nature of the position and its requirements.

Communication Skills

Good communication skills are a prime indicator of whether or not a candidate will make a good fit within an organisation. A huge part of communication involves listening. During an interview, observe whether or not the candidate is listening and paying attention to the interviewer. Are they interrupting the interviewer? Are their eyes glazing over?

Verbal cues are also an important part of good communication. For example, when asking a candidate about a previous career challenge, did they use “I” or “we” more often? This will give you a chance to see if the candidate is a team player and whether or not they take or gives credit where it is deserved.

Also, be sure to observe whether or not the candidate asks you any questions about the company.

Check With References

Reference checks are essential in corroborating and verifying information about a candidate’s work history and experience. A candidate’s job references can also provide a candid window into the kind of person they are at work.

A SkillSurvey study found that, when asked, job candidates’ coworkers give feedback on soft skills for reference checks, while managers focus on tasks related hard skills. So, when checking references, it may be beneficial to assess a candidate’s soft and hard skills based on their relationship to the reference.

During the reference checking process, it may be helpful to ask a candidate’s coworkers questions about the soft skills of the potential hire including:

  • Did the candidate get along with their coworkers and management?
  • Tell me what it’s like to work with the job candidate.
  • What advice can you give me to successfully manage the job candidate?
  • What else do I need to know about the job candidate that I didn’t already ask?

Employees are unlikely to vouch for someone who would make an unpleasant coworker, so ask them for a thoughtful assessment.

Conclusion

Today’s business landscape is about communication, relationships and presenting your organisation in a positive way to the public and potential employees. Soft skills allow organisations to effectively and efficiently use their hard skills, like tech and digital skills, and knowledge without being hampered by interpersonal issues, infighting and poor public and market perceptions.

Recruiting for the right blend of soft skills takes a measured and strategic approach. It also requires an investment of time, patients and gut instinct. Make sure to think carefully about how you can learn more about your candidates as humans interacting with other people.