July 12, 2018
Recruiting for creative, entrepreneurial talent
By: Allan Racey

Research from Accenture Operations has found that organizations increasingly are looking to hire creative, innovative talent as part of their broader move toward developing intelligent operations that harness talent, data, and intelligence to make them more agile and responsive. And in a previous blog post, we noted that to attract and benefit from such people, organizations need to redesign how they recruit, hire, deploy, and motivate them.

In this post, we delve a little deeper into the first part of that equation: recruiting and hiring. To find and bring aboard the talent who embody a creative, entrepreneurial spirit and curiosity for innovation—the top workforce requirement both today and three years from now, according to our study—organizations themselves must think and act differently. Several aspects of recruiting require special attention.

Understanding the profile of people who will be successful in these new and emerging roles creates a strong foundation for recruiting this talent. For example, passion, curiosity, tenacity, and agility may be more important than, say, software coding skills. These are probably different from the characteristics organizations have historically pursued. And although the characteristics can vary by industry, culture, geography, and targeted workforce, it is essential that the organization defines exactly what it’s looking for. These “success” profiles guide where the organization looks for candidates, how it assesses and interviews candidates and increases the likelihood of success once a new hire joins the organization.

Traditional talent pools can still be reliable sources of candidates: colleges and universities, as well as other companies. But the expanded success characteristics will likely lead organizations to rethink how they leverage these pools. For instance, many organizations now engage with university students in their freshman year for internships rather than waiting until their junior or senior year. Additionally, an organization that may have historically focused on a university’s business school, now may broaden its search to include the arts or communications colleges. Similarly, instead of continuing to recruit people from other organizations within its industry, it might look at enterprises in completely different sectors.

To find the right talent for #IntelligentOperations, several aspects of #recruiting require special attention:


Organizations also should explore expanding their talent ecosystem to include freelancers, contractors, academia, acquisitions, and other partners. As noted in our Creating the Future Workforce report, permanent employment status is no longer the rule—among countries with available data, just over one quarter of workers are employed on a permanent contract. That’s something executives in our Intelligent Operations study recognize: Six in 10 said leveraging diverse workforce models will be important to achieving their business goals, and nearly half said exploring new ways of partnering across the ecosystem is one of their top talent requirements.

In other words, as they seek new innovative talent, organizations should embrace total workforce management: acknowledging that workforces need to comprise a blend of many different types of workers from many different sources for organizations to achieve their business goals. In general, this blend must strike the right balance between agile and employed talent. While the agile workforce may provide critical skills that are in high demand—and that may be difficult to recruit and hire—talent in the agile workforce are less likely to be fully invested in the organization and have the same level of commitment to it as full-time employees. As a critical part of the organization and its culture, full-time employees are better positioned to be custodians of the organization’s tribal knowledge and represent the organization’s brand in the marketplace. Importantly, this blend will necessarily be different from organization to organization—and possibly even from workforce to workforce. For instance, it may be more critical for core, strategic functions to be mostly or fully staffed with full-time employees, while less-core functions could benefit from a higher proportion of agile workforce talent.

In addition to identifying where to find innovative talent, organizations need to refresh their talent assessments and interview approach to eliminate bias, increase diversity, and help interviewers spot that new type of individual. New tools that use artificial intelligence and other digital capabilities can help organizations attract and engage a broader talent pool, as well as rank candidates according to a refreshed set of attributes that define an individual’s success in the organization.

Organizations also should create a more modern, “consumerized,” and personalized recruiting experience that appeals to innovative talent. For instance, some organizations are “gamifying” their talent assessments to make them more engaging, or using other digital tools to streamline the interactions and make them more “customer friendly.”

At the same time, organizations need to think about how they can help recruiters themselves become more effective. Similar to how bank tellers have evolved from transaction processors to sales and service specialists with the help of analytics, recruiters can take advantage of sophisticated technologies to become talent advisors. For instance, they can use bots to execute rules-based tasks, such as sifting through potential candidates; assessing them and shortlisting the most promising; and scheduling interviews. Recruiters then can concentrate on building relationships with candidates, supporting them through the process, and selling them on their organization.

Finally, organizations need to be sure they’re putting forth an attractive brand and value proposition that appeals to innovative talent during recruiting. Whether it’s targeting employees for hire or other types of contract or project-based talent, an organization’s value proposition must emphasize the interesting work the individuals will do, the freedom they’ll have to experiment and develop new solutions, and the opportunities they’ll have to make a big impact on the business.

But getting innovative talent on board is only half the challenge. The other half is benefiting from what they bring to the table. In the final installment of this three-part series, we’ll look at some key things organizations should do to help these individuals flourish.

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