Talent Management in Australasia – 10 Years of Change

Last week was the 10th anniversary of the Australasian Talent Conference. Ten years ago Trevor Vas and I decided to start this conference for the Australasian area to fill a gap in the knowledge and awareness of those charged with meeting the needs of a growing talent market.

Recruiting was just beginning to aggressively move into the corporate arena and many recruiting leaders were hungry for best practices, leading edge ideas, and future thinking.

As I reflect on this year’s conference I am amazed how quickly this has changed. Talent leaders are now far more engaged and willing to try new practices than they were even a few years ago. Most have moved from highly traditional and transactional thinking to adopt new technologies ranging from video interviewing, video job ads, passive assessment, to CRM tools.

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ATC2016 attendees mingling and making new connections at the conference.

At the outset, we struggled to attracted 20 vendors, mostly Australian-based, and a small number of talent leaders to the conference.  At this year’s conference, we had over 30 vendors with many from the U.S. and a growing number of attendees. We also had many start-up firms showcase the latest evolution of analytics and assessment technology as well as the continued evolution of tools to enhance and automate the candidate experience.

Speakers gave us sober thoughts on the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) future. I was struck by the need for Australian firms to continuously adapt to shifting economic winds, geographical isolation, and a small population base. Vastly different needs and drivers from the U.S. and Europe where both markets are far more diverse and larger. As talent leaders, we need to uncover our assumptions and frustrations and change our thinking about many aspects of our profession. We heard how Australia Post, facing disruption and potential failure, redesigned itself so completely that it is now the only solvent postal services on earth.

We heard how companies were redesigning their recruiting functions using the principles of human-centred design, which I have yet to see any U.S. firm do. Supporting this is the focus on the candidate’s experience and the Talent Board is playing a part by bringing the CandE Awards to Australia and shining a spotlight on best practices.

Innovation Lab presenters
Innovation Lab presenters. From left – David Macciocca (Video My Job), Brent Pearson (Enboarder), James Galvin (Vsource), Andrew Pitts (Polinode), Max King (Digital Academy), Michael Sacco (IBM), Alistair Schirmer (LiveHire), Adam Walker (PredictiveHire)

I really enjoyed seeing what is coming from the start-up vendors such as VideoMyJob that have developed very easy to use, iPhone/Android-based video software that anyone can use to make a job advertisement. Enboarder with a powerful, mobile-based onboarding tool. Vsource, with an automated way to develop a candidate pipeline. LiveHire designed to develop and manage a talent community. PredictiveHire that uses machine learning and analytics to profile your team, predict employee success and predict tenure of individual employees. And, Polinode that does network mapping which can be used for finding candidates and for referrals.

A concern and question is why social media has had such a slow adoption in the Australasian region, as opposed to the almost universal adoption of social media for employment branding and networking elsewhere. The only tool to gain significant penetration is LinkedIn, which is perceived as a professional network and therefore acceptable as a recruiting forum. Facebook, though, is seen as a private, personal network with little relevance to recruiting. Twitter use is minimal for recruiting purposes. I still wonder what the future of this will be in Australia. It is ubiquitous elsewhere with perhaps more than 60 percent of candidates coming from social media to career sites and other places to learn more about opportunities.

It was a fascinating conference with lots of conversation and networking. It has also been a fascinating ten years watching the changes. I have developed amazing relationships, been engaged in discussions on what technologies are significant and which are less so, and debated the value of different strategies. We’ve explored sourcing technologies, workforce planning approaches as well as social media.

I look forward to the continued evolution and growth of the market and our conference.

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