How I&D are dominating the 2020 global talent trends

Sam Wilson  |  January 29, 2020

Last week saw the release of Linkedin’s annual talent trends report – predicting the trends that will dominate the coming year when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. The report uses survey, behavioural and interview data to determine what employers see as the biggest influencing factors on their ability to recruit new talent and keep hold of their best people (look after the people you’ve already got and be more attractive to those you want…anyone?) It’s clear looking at the results that inclusion and diversity (I&D) have a big part to play in the (talent) wars to come as we would argue that they have a central role in all four of the top trends, which are:

  • Employee experience
  • People analytics
  • Internal recruiting
  • Multigenerational workforce

Is ‘Employee Experience’ inclusion in disguise?

According to the Linkedin report, 96% of talent professionals believe employee experience (EX) is becoming more important. In recent years, ‘candidate experience’ became a big topic as employers focussed on the way that that prospective employees interacted with them on the way to being recruited. It would appear that the focus is now finally shifting on how that relationship continues once they join your organisation.

Providing a great EX comes from listening to your people and finding out what they want from you as an employer. A quote from former Airbnb Head of EX, Mark Levy puts it nicely “EX is about doing things with and for your employees, not to them.” We’ve seen employers be wary of, what they see as, giving their people this much power in the relationship. Whereas those that get success from it realise that it’s not a case of surrendering power but giving your people a voice in the process. The rewards from that is not only the insight into what makes your people tick but the boost in retention and productivity that comes with providing your people with a workplace and environment where they are happy and feel like they belong.

For this reason, inclusion becomes central to EX as without a culture of inclusion, a positive EX is unachievable.

Could ‘People Analytics’ help in the battle against unconscious bias?

As the report states, people analytics have often been seen as solely for the ‘elite’ companies – those possessing the numbers and tools capable of producing meaningful data in a way that can guide key decisions. However, 2020 could well be the year that it becomes accessible to all.

One area that people analytics is set to become instrumental in is the recruitment process and may well help in the battle of overcoming any unconscious bias that might exist. As with so many other forms of data, people analytics paints a clear and undisputable picture. This can help to identify clear areas in which diversity is lacking (in any form) and guide action required to address this. With this data playing a central role in the recruitment process – it can help counteract unconscious bias that may well have caused these issues in the first place.

Whilst we often speak against the idea of recruiting diversity for the sake of ticking boxes – an awareness of the issues that exist can be no bad thing.

Does ‘Internal Recruiting’ help or hinder diversity?

Doing essentially what it says on the tin, Linkedin’s report suggests that 2020 will see a greater number of employers looking to their current staff to fill vacancies rather than recruiting externally. The benefits of having an internal recruitment and progression policy are considerable, especially around employee retention. People who feel that there are opportunities for future progression with their current employer are less likely to look elsewhere.

It is suggested that internal recruitment can hinder diversity as it can overlook the opportunity to bring in diverse talent into areas that need it. This can certainly be the case when opportunities are spread through word of mouth as can often lead to ‘a certain type of person’ being recruited. However, internal recruiting can be a powerful tool in boosting diversity, if done in a structured way.

We have often said that a lack of diversity in an organisation isn’t necessarily the result of an inability to recruit diverse talent but keeping hold of diverse talent. One of the biggest challenges in retaining diverse candidates is if they feel that there is no evidence of people similar to them gaining promotion and progressing through the organisation. There will also be issues if there are no role models to look up to.  

Having a clear internal recruiting policy and strategy in place, with an eye on diversity, can help address these issues. It will not only help you give your retention rates a boost but see you become a magnet for new, diverse talent.

The year we embrace the ‘Multigenerational Workforce’?

When we talk about D&I, age diversity is so often overlooked. The arguments in favour of a multigenerational workforce are considerable – as the report identifies, different age groups bring different skills and experiences that when combined create a highly-skilled, experienced group of employees.

The report also highlights the fact that those entering the workplace are in need of training and guidance whilst one of the biggest complaints of older workers is that they feel a lack of purpose. This disconnect is an easy one to fix and stands to benefit everybody.

Creating an inclusive environment where employees of all ages feel that they have a place, a purpose and genuine value will reap significant rewards. It involves challenging stereotypes, debunking common ‘understanding’ and raising awareness of strengths and value.

It’s exciting to see I&D take centre stage in a report like this. It makes us optimistic that 2020 could see significant shifts taking place and employers really taking advantage of the benefits that diverse and inclusive working cultures can bring. 

You can find the full Linkedin report here – are there any trends that you think have been missed? What are the biggest recruitment and retention challenges you think you’ll face in 2020?