Build a Winning Talent Strategy for the New Financial Year

Posted on 27th March 2023 | Thought Leadership

As we move towards the end of the fiscal year, having long since spent the last of the 22/23 hiring budgets, recruiters and employers are once again carving out hiring plans for April 1st and beyond.

With predictions that Britain’s inflation rate could fall to below 2% by the end of the year, according to new financial industry forecasts, there is room for cautious optimism against a backdrop of rolling uncertainty following the impact of Covid, the war in Ukraine and the economic reverberations of adjusting to Brexit. However if the 20’s are teaching us anything, it is that our next set of global challenges are only around the corner.

So how to make the best of an invariably sub-optimal hiring budget within such an unpredictable hiring landscape? 

For many of us, it may seem a daunting task given the recruitment challenges of the last three years. The Covid affect, or as some prefer to call it ‘The Great Resignation’, has caused a hiring headache for even the most adept recruiter since the mass early retirement and in some cases complete career pivots of some of our most productive talent pools first began. Replacing those lost skills will take a decade according to some and as we brace for the next inevitable global challenge that seeks to disrupt our hiring plans and derail our best efforts to bring in new talent, developing the a fit for purpose hiring strategy for the new financial year will be essential.

April Thaw?

2023 began with headlines of strikes, rising interest rates and high rates of inflation. Despite this, we saw relatively few headlines on the labour market itself, mainly because the labour market remains persistently tight – vacant jobs are plentiful but available workers are scarce. 

Despite this, the number of overall job postings on dipped significantly towards the end of last year, a clear sign of increasing caution on the part of employers in the last two quarters. Anecdotally, talking to peers across the recruitment sector in Q1, this hasn’t changed much, but whilst it’s unlikely to represent anything like the rebound we experienced in the immediate post-Covid months, all the signs are that this holding back on recruitment can’t last forever and most likely we’ll see employers donning their hiring hats again with the advent of new fiscal year recruitment budgets.

Remaining Flexible

Given the ongoing trend for market turbulence however, building a hiring plan that is agile and adaptable as conditions shift is crucial.

This means factoring in changes in available budget, changes in talent demands, changes in the talent pool's demands as job seekers adjust their expectations in the context of changing markets, and most of all creating a talent strategy that can be easily tweaked as required and that isn’t too rigid as to keep you stuck in the mud when you really need to pivot.

Systemic Thinking

The term systems thinking relates to the ability to overcome messy or complex problems by taking a systemic, rather than a systematic approach. In other words, an approach that considers all of the parts of the system and most importantly, the relationships between those parts.

The importance of interconnectedness directly relates to those decisions employers are making right now as they fine tune their 23/24 hiring strategies. For example, there’s little point in building a hiring plan that uses an overwhelmingly large percentage of the hiring budget for one department on the basis this team will have the biggest demand for talent, when there is a real risk that conditions could change meaning other departments will need to quickly access that budget. 

Listening to the needs of all parts of the business and understanding the impacts that hiring in one area will have on other department’s ability to achieve their talent ambitions, should be fundamental, no more so than in this ever more VUCA hiring landscape.

Proactive over Reactive Hiring

Gone are the days when employers could wait for top talent to land at their inbox within hours of posting an advert having learned the news of an unexpected resignation. The context behind 2023 recruiting simply doesn’t allow for this kind of reactive hiring. Proactive employers have been seeing the fruits of continual talent pooling for years and this year’s hiring plans must and has to be based on a proactive, persistent search for talent, even in the absence of any live vacancies.

If this isn’t already a predominant feature of your talent strategy then the bad news is that over the recent months of relative stillness in the jobs market, your more enterprising competitors will unquestionably have been building latent talent pools, primed and ready to tap into when the time is right. The good news is you can start to do the same for the new financial year.

Sherrington Associates can’t predict the future, but we’re pretty good at helping clients build and implement winning talent plans. For advice on how to build a recruitment strategy to achieve your organisation’s goals and ambitions over the next twelve months and beyond, talk to our team...