The topic was piloted in China because, as CEO of Top Employers Institute, David Plink explains, the market was ripe for it. “While the rest of the world was economically recovering at a slower pace, China's economy still grew by 8 percent," he says "More multinational corporates are now leaving their footprints in China. Meanwhile, local companies and start-ups are also developing rapidly. The battle for talent is getting fierce, so Talent Acquisition is considered a very important topic in China.”
Talent acquisition challenges
“With the internet finance boom in China, the competition for top talents – especially those with digital skills – is intensifying,” explains Freda Cheng, chief human resources officer of AIA China, one of the best-scoring Top Employers within talent acquisition. “Although insurance has been growing rapidly and the future is promising, there’s a stereotype that insurance is only for sales people and not as attractive career choice as other financial institutions.
AIA China, as one of the top foreign players in the China market has a strong employer brand, though such a perception still largely limits our access to specific segments of the talent pool who don’t like this fact.” Despite these TA challenges, Cheng is confident they will stay ahead of the game. “We’re hoping to be employer’s first choice by delivering employees a superior experience throughout their journey with us. We continuously optimise the talent acquisition process - the starting point of an employee’s journey with us – in order to improve the overall experience.”
Dow Chemical (China) Investment Company Limited, was another of those top-scoring organisations and Wendy Ye, its workforce planning leader in Greater China, agrees talent acquisition is top of the agenda. “At Dow, talent acquisition includes employer branding, workforce planning, channel management and talent analytics,” she says. “To face the fierce talent competition in 2017, we need to continuously improve and communicate an effective employment brand, upgrade selection, assessment capabilities, and improve hiring manager effectiveness.”
Technology & Talent
There’s no doubt, talent acquisition professionals looking to stay at the top of their game have to adapt to the fast-changing environment, embracing new technologies, interpreting data and evolving strategies. In fact, according to the research we collected along with i4cp, a human capital research and data firm –68.8 percent of respondents report both using technology and having plans to continue with it when hiring for specific skills.
“Technology is the foundation for improving the efficiency of talent acquisition,” says Cheng. “Mobile and social technology enables innovative ways of sourcing talent. By deploying big data, we conduct in-depth analyses on talent status, trends and the effectiveness of the whole process.”
Ye agrees that Talent Acquisition professionals have to be among the most advanced when it comes to tech. “Dow is exploring AI technology to apply on campus recruitment first,” she says, highlighting a growing trend for piloting new technologies within campus hiring. AIA is similarly progressive in its approach to tech in TA. “AIA China upgraded the mobile-base onboarding platform in 2017, which enables new employees to have a fun, caring and easier first 90-day experience through gamified interaction.
We’re keeping a close eye on new technology trends. AI chatbots could be our next viable pursuit and can be deployed in the WeChat recruitment platform to improve interactions with candidates.” says Cheng. Perhaps it’s this approach that best sums up the new direction of talent acquisition; a ‘customer-centric’ approach, adapting and evolving with the needs of the employee and viewing both current employees and potential employees as valuable, internal customers.