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Our favourite HR topics from November 2023 to Jan 2024

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For HR professionals navigating the ever-changing landscape of talent acquisition, we're exploring key trends that can significantly improve how you attract, hire, and retain top talent.

Each month, we write a regular feature on trending HR issues which are well-researched themes backed by expert insights. The last three months have been interesting as we wrapped up 2023 and started the new year with some new trends. This article will take you through our favourite HR trends from the last three months. 

Trend 1: Recruiters embrace AI to boost hiring efficiencies

In November last year, we noticed a growing trend in the recruitment sector – the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for candidate identification. AI is empowering recruiters to explore talent in diverse and unconventional spaces, sifting through millions of applications.

Major players in the HR space, like ManpowerGroup, Adecco, and Robert Walters are leveraging generative AI to streamline operations and boost applications by tapping into a broader candidate pool. 

Strategies involve using AI for handling candidate queries, connecting with passive candidates on platforms like LinkedIn, crafting language-neutral job ads, compiling candidate shortlists, and aligning skills with job roles.

Recruiters are also focusing on tools to assist candidates. Adecco, for instance, is investing in a "CV maker" – a tool that creates professional resumes based on verbal instructions. This technology is not only transforming recruitment processes but also enhancing the candidate experience.

Trend 2: Skills-based hiring back in the spotlight 

Another buzzing highlight in our November update was skills-based hiring

Globally, organisations face challenges in filling roles, especially those demanding technical expertise.

Traditionally, having a university degree was seen as crucial for job performance. However, experts now emphasise the significance of hiring individuals already equipped with the necessary skills, minimising the need for extensive training. 

Shifting from credential-focused to skills-based hiring emerges as a vital strategy to address talent shortages, particularly in technical roles.

Skills-based hiring provides Learning and Development (L&D) teams with the chance to refine their approach, targeting specific skill gaps in employees. 

This shift towards skills-based hiring offers various benefits, including breaking down entry barriers for more candidates, fostering a better company culture through enhanced interpersonal skills, ensuring competitiveness by accessing broader talent pools, and promoting diversity in the workplace.

As organisations navigate the evolving job landscape, embracing skills-based hiring emerges as a key solution to meet the demands of the current talent shortage while fostering a more inclusive and dynamic workplace environment.

Trend 3: Coaching in the workplace

Coaching emerged as a crucial trend in our wrap-up blog published in December 2023.

Coaching can be a game-changer for HR professionals looking to bring out the best in their staff and support their growth.

Experts from HR Executive emphasise the crucial role of coaching, especially in the changing landscape of hybrid work. Unlike the past, where coaching was mainly used to fix problems, today, it's about helping and engaging workers. 

A coaching culture significantly boosts productivity, enhances customer service, and improves overall performance.

Why is coaching so crucial now and in the future? One major reason is hybrid work, which requires a new leadership style. 

In a constantly changing environment, leaders shouldn't rely on traditional command and control methods; they must listen, guide, and empower their teams to learn, innovate, and embrace failure. 

A coaching culture leads to higher performance, stronger engagement, increased productivity, and superior customer service.

For HR professionals, coaching becomes invaluable during tough conversations, enabling them to navigate these situations more effectively.

Mentees experience immediate and long-term benefits, such as improved communication and interpersonal skills, and much more.

Ultimately, a strong coaching culture contributes to building trust, enhancing performance, and fostering resilience within the organisation.

Trend 4: Using technology to improve the candidate experience

Highlighted in our December 2023 wrap-up blog, the ongoing focus for HR teams is to enhance the candidate experience.

It's widely known that Talent Acquisition (TA) teams must speed up the hiring process to attract the best talent. 

Technology comes in handy by automating tasks that usually take up a lot of time, like scheduling interviews, updating candidates on their applications, creating a central place for TA to find candidate info, and managing contracts.

A survey by Talent Board reveals that candidates get frustrated when the hiring process lasts more than two to three weeks. More than half (55%) won't wait longer than a week after their final interview for a job offer and will explore other options.

Technology can automate many time-consuming tasks, such as scheduling interviews, providing application updates, conducting reference checks, giving TA a central place to find candidate information, and handling contracts.

The candidate experience can significantly impact the entire talent journey. 

Organisations that don't embrace technology might face disadvantages, as their processes typically take longer than those using technology. For instance, during the reference checking process, HR and TA teams can leverage technology. 

Xref’s Reference Checking software automates the process, saving time, reducing admin work, and helping recruiters secure talent faster.

Trend #5 Gender pay gap back in the spotlight 

Published in our Jan 2024 trending topics blog, the conversation around closing the gender pay gap is gaining renewed focus. 

Since June 2023, the EU Pay Transparency Directive has been in effect, requiring employers to disclose salaries during recruitment and respond to pay data requests. 

Despite a 21.7 percent narrowing of Australia's gender pay gap in 2023, women still earn less than men. Global data emerging on this issue encourages ongoing discussions about initiatives to support women. 

Acting Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Joseph Mitchell, suggests strategies such as increased parental leave, pay raises in female-dominated sectors, and targeted interventions in specific businesses and industries.

In the EU, efforts to enhance pay transparency include indicating pay levels in job descriptions, avoiding questions about past pay, and providing access to pay information by gender. Prohibiting pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts is also on the agenda.

For HR and recruiting teams, proactively adopting initiatives like these before they become compliance standards is a proactive approach to narrowing the gender pay gap.

Are these topics trending in your HR circle?

Recruiters are using smart technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make hiring faster and better. 

Skills-based hiring is making a comeback, where what you know is more important than just having a fancy degree. 

Workplace coaching is also getting attention because it helps people grow and do better at their jobs. 

Technology is making the job application process smoother, from interviews to signing contracts. And, importantly, there's a push to make sure everyone gets paid fairly, no matter their gender. 

As we wrap up this journey through our favourite HR trends, remember staying ahead means embracing change. Keep exploring, keep adapting, and stay tuned for the next HR trends edition.

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