Until recently, organisations accepted that they could only fish from the local pond when searching for talent. Employers followed an unwritten rule that you could only hire from your geographic area as it was believed that new hires needed to come into your physical workplace where they could be seen.  In addition, many employers narrowed their focus to those who could attend the traditional 'business hours' which by default excluded certain groups such as new parents returning to the workforce.

But the good news is that the wheels of change are moving. In recent times, the nature of work has shifted significantly and ‘where’ the work gets done, 'when' is it done and by ‘whom’ is now up for debate. Recruiters and organisations historically liked employees to live within an hour commute to the office to maximise the chance of employee happiness and retention. However, due to a new era of global and remote teams, along with new work practices such as asynchronous work; leaders have the courage to cast their recruitment net much further afield. Welcome to the crazy new world of talent. 

The globe is now the pool  

Talent is an investment that enables businesses to reach their strategic objectives and secure their place in a competitive market. Recent changes on a global scale have turned the hunt for talent on its head and both employers and employees can now actively seek each other out from anywhere in the world. 

The traditional workplace is also making a rapid change with an ever-growing gig economy meaning that the ‘new’ workplace is a mix of employees, freelancers and contractors. More than ever, people are choosing to combine lifestyle with work requirements and move freely across traditional geographic boundaries.  

Today, businesses need to be more agile and forward-thinking than ever before. It is critical that leaders are able to ‘buy’ or ‘bind’ their talent to the organisation to maximise success. They need to continue to review their organisational structures and requirements to ensure that they can meet the change in scale, demand and output required by their customers and provided by their competitors. 

Pleasingly, important workplace considerations such as inclusion are less of an issue when the world is your pool. By definition, casting the recruitment net wider generally leads to greater diversity and a stronger appetite to leverage those differences through harnessing diversity in thought and experiences. 

What is the ‘open talent economy’? 

The term ‘open talent economy’ refers to a new working environment where the ‘economy’ of finding talent is transparent, collaborative and enabled by the latest technology. The very nature of global social and professional networks, the desire for blending lifestyle with work and the connectivity of markets has opened the door for leaders to look well beyond their local area when sourcing talent. 

Traditional talent pools helped leaders to know where to look for talent and importantly, where they could successfully find it. The world is the now the pool and as such it places both employees and employers in unchartered territory with exciting opportunities and unprecedented challenges.  

The change train has taken off 

Irrespective of your location, industry or service there is no immunity from change and no guarantee of security. Baby boomers are known for their desire to join an organisation for life whereas millennials acquired a somewhat unfair reputation for leveraging technology and networks to create lifestyles that include work. The irony is that as most people have now been exposed to a new way to work, and what the millennials have wanted is now welcomed by all generations. Most businesses have had to upscale technology and embrace new working frameworks. This has opened the minds of employers to consider that perhaps that niche skill or experience may be in a different city or even time zone. 

Similarly, workers have had a crash course in understanding that job security cannot be guaranteed.  This has reduced loyalty and enticed curiosity to wonder if the grass could be greener in a place far from home. For a very long time, employees have accepted that they need to move to the ‘big smoke’ to have a true chance of climbing the corporate ladder. In today’s world, employees are daring to dream that lifestyle and the requirement to work could be the perfect pair – even in a remote location.  

How open is the talent economy in your business? 

Remote work is not a fad – it is here to stay, and this has fundamentally changed the approach to sourcing and binding talent to your business. It is now time to look inwards and consider if your existing recruitment and talent framework is based on a strategy designed for the local pond or does it have the agility, creativity and technology to open the search far beyond your own backyard? 

It is imperative that organisations commence this review as a priority, as the global hunt for talent now means that competitors far afield are also able to entice your talent to their business. It is time to ensure that the overarching people strategy incorporates talent as a key investment that aligns core skills and competencies to business deliverables. It is about shifting the focus from ‘just in time’ recruitment to ‘just in case’.  

Global megatrends will continue to shape talent strategies 

The rules to sourcing talent have been re written and each organisation, industry and sector must now reflect and respond to the global megatrends that have become forces too strong to ignore. When deciding to actively participate in the global talent economy, the challenge is to determine how the megatrends such as mobility, remote work, globalisation, employee social networks, technology and education have influenced traditional approaches and cherry pick the strategy that will bring the best return on investment.  

In recent times, it seemed inconceivable that a key member of your team was on the other side of the world; however in today’s climate this is fast becoming the norm. No longer is an applicant’s home address relevant, and the focus must shift to how their unique experiences and competencies will benefit your business. 

Further information

For assistance with your workplace matters, Members of Ai Group can contact us or call our Workplace Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77 for further information. 

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Georgina Pacor

Georgina is Senior Content Writer and HR Specialist – Publications at Ai Group. She is an accomplished Human Resource professional with over 20 years of generalist and leadership experience in a broad range of industries including financial services, tourism, travel, government and agriculture. She has successfully advised and partnered with senior leaders to implement people and performance initiatives that align to business strategy. Georgina is committed to utilising her experience to create resources that educate and engage and is passionate about supporting members to optimise an inclusive workforce culture that drives performance.