Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

keith-gulliver's picture

Talent Spotting Alliances

By Keith Gulliver on June 13, 2022

Brief Overview – the notion is that for organisations to be adaptable they will need to hire 'adaptable people' from diverse backgrounds, to work with their customers and clients. The traits of adaptability sought will be the same whichever organisation you work for. Organisations waste resources chasing and competing for talent. So why not form alliances and collaborate instead?

Example - organisations could partner with, jointly develop and execute recruitment programmes with their customers and clients to identify those people.

Those individuals who are successful would have a series of short assignments with customers or clients to familiarise themselves with the workings of their business before they join the organisation to support and work with them.

The approach could be extended further in a couple of ways:

Example - organisations could work with their partners or even organisations from completely different sectors, not customers or clients, as the core traits of adaptability will be the same.

Example - an even more radical extension could see individuals choose who they would like to work for on a longer term basis after building up a portfolio of assignments with different organisations represented at the recruitment stage.

Barriers To Adaptability Being Overcome - Diversity

Related HR Processes – Talent Acquisition.

Related adaptability principles – Peer collaboration, Creativity, Diversity, Experimentation & Learning


HR process being hacked:Talent Acquisition

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keith-gulliver's picture

Many thanks to everyone who's signed-up to this hacking team!
I'm looking forward to working with you :-D
And many thanks to those who have commented, really appreciated.

stephen-remedios's picture

Given the fight for talent, this is a win-win proposition. I think both employers get access to a great employee and the employee gets to experience two organizations at the same time enabling him/her to have a more balanced view of corporate organizations!

This is likely to enable more informed decisions by employees which could easily reduce attrition because there is an element of choice after having 'experienced' the culture of the place. This is clearly a very handy hack.

keith-gulliver's picture

Thank you for signing up Perry and Bruce! :-D

nigel-cox's picture

Some interesting challenges to our models of employment (and how they are expressed in legal terms) but also a great opportunity for our institutions of learning and business networks to contribute to the innovation.

andy-lippok's picture

I like this one because it would really help to get more people into work too, thus saving the cost to the state of mass unemployment, crime, poor health, etc. The biggest tragedy at the moment as I see it is that the people who support the freedom of the market are the very same who then demand state bailouts and intervention when things go wrong, or where the failure of the market to do the right thing passes all the costs to the public sector, thus impoverishing the whole of human society as a result. We have to start thinking in terms of the greater system, and HR needs to start leading the radical thinking we need today. Minor fixes and a few more new tools will not hack it - pardon the pun!

john-mcgurk's picture

Keith. Your mini- hack of building talent identification alliances would bring economies of scope to the labour market. A few big companies already do something similar in the UK by Over-recruiting apprentices for example but yours goes much further. We could also get people job ready on a JIT model, feed in learning and other career boosting elements on a rapid fire basis to as opportunities arise. For example we know that many ICT businesses are short of coding talent so we could build networks of learning using the other kinds of hacker, academics corporate learning specialist etc as “spokes” around the hub. Great stuff. Perry as always adds great insight from our favourite sport soccer/football. In some ways you and Edna’s are complementary so an early call out there on a co-hack (if that’s the term)

perry-timms_1's picture

Hi Keith,
this is a real winner for me for a number of reasons.

1. Finding, skilling, deploying, motivating, rewarding and retaining people are all costly and inexact processes. Sharing that cost has often been something I've wondered why more organisations don't seem to do. Especially where there isn't a competitor relationship of course.

2. That same competition that brings the "market" can also become the "dog that bites itself". As elite sports proves, those with the most money to throw at resources, you win and that make more resource available. Yet you can get locked into wage-demands and ever increasing discord amongst the team of highly paid superstars, not to mention buying talent only and not growing and developing talent. Loyalty comes from supportive gestures like development.

Then there is that fact that you may not have the resource in the first place and you can't compete with those top talent individuals all hankering for the place with the super club.

Yet the football loan system is something I've considered a good thing for bringing on talent and sharing resources. It is often exploited where the gain is an experienced or promising 3rd string player from the highest league who plays for a lower league team. The player gains playing experience (if at the start of their career); fitness and match sharpness (at any stage in their career) giving the lower league team a player they couldn't afford in their wildest dreams.

3. What you describe is a smarter form of resource sharing though. I had a similar idea (so is an addition to your hack rather than a separate hack of its own). The principle is the same but also links to CSR. Example: a large managed services firm regularly takes on 300 grads per year in accountancy; marketing; HR and research. They have just entered into an arrangement where they have partnered a charity for the next 3 years to help raise funds and promote awareness in the workforce. After the partnership with the charity. the company then recruit 330 grads this year. Paying for 30 of them (where there are no vacancies to fill) to go to the charity and work for a year or longer.

The charity gains new talent at no outlay costs. The managed services has a loan system where the resources is still technically theirs but is gaining valuable work skills and insight from the charity "placement".

There is a true win/win as the CSR aspect of the support of the charity is good for reputation for the private sector organisation; there is way more than a cash donation, this is more of a resource investment plus increased awareness of the charity in the job market.

Clearly more regular rotation could exist between the partners (new Director appointments for example).

So I think you're onto something here with this "collaborative" advantage and it goes beyond initial attraction but into a long term partnership where resources are shared and skills / experience acquired in a wholesome and productive way.

Thanks for the mini-hack. Enjoyed reading it and adding to it.