The People Cycle Starts with Talent Acquisition

Liz Warren, EVP of HR, ESC

At ESC, our HR Consultants give advice based on the People Cycle.  It starts with the talent and acquisition, which includes recruiting, interviewing, selection, hiring and on-boarding. Then we discuss retention, which includes managing, coaching, developing, and disciplining.  The final step in the People Cycle is separation, which usually ends the process unless an unemployment or discrimination claim is made.

Here we will take a look at the talent and acquisition portion of the cycle and the trends for 2017.


Culture of Engagement

A culture of engagement is the number one trend for 2017 as it has been in previous years.  An “engaged employee”  is fully committed and enthusiastic about their work and takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests. Engaged employees are happy to come to work and passionate about the job they do.

Improved Applicant Process

In a survey by Workplace Trends, nearly 60% of job seekers said they had a bad experience going through the applicant process and 72% of them talked about it online. In the past, many organizations did not focus on how they treated applicants, especially if they were not a viable candidate for immediate hire.

One of the trends for 2017 is to develop or refine the applicant process.  Organizations are working to humanize the applicant process.   They are sending acknowledgment emails and communications to candidates throughout the hiring process so that they know where they stand.   Some companies are taking this process a step further, calling candidates that have made it to the 3rd or 4th interview, but have not been chosen.  This demonstrates that your organization cares that the candidate has taken the time to apply for the position.

Job Customization

Employers are realizing when they find a talented individual that fits their company’s core values, they want them on their team.  The old way of hiring was finding the person to fit the job or position.  The new trend is customizing the job to fit the person. More and more, jobs are being restructured to fit the person.

Blended Workforce

The blended workforce, which combines a variety of employees of different classifications is on the rise. This may include full-time, part-time, temporary workers, and contractors/freelancers.  The gig economy, where temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short term engagements, is becoming a trend.  A study by Intuit predicts that independent contractors and freelancers will be 40% of the workforce by 2020.  Millennial and Generation Z are the major influence in this movement.  Please note, you have to be cautious to determine if your “freelancers” should be W-2 employees. They must be economically viable without your contract, to qualify for this status.  It is critical that business owners correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors and they should consult an HR professional or attorney for assistance.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states the average tenure for employees is 4.6 years, and for millennials it’s just 2 years.  Adapting to this trend is critical because this turnover has a significant impact on the bottom line.  A study commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and, shows that one of the ways HR professionals are adjusting to this, is by changing their mindset over hiring boomerang employees:  employees that are going back to work for previous employers.  Be sure to check your off-boarding documents to ensure the candidate is re-hirable so that you can take advantage of this opportunity.

Entry of new technology

Online tactics and social media are becoming a major recruitment tool for employers.  As an employer, if you are not using them, you risk being left behind. The best and the brightest are online.

Leadership development

Thirty-six percent of millennials have titles that include “management” “supervisor” or “leader”.  However, only 7% of them have actually had training.  This is why it is essential to put money and time into training and development.

Generation Z

Generation Z is entering the workforce.  They like the combination of technology and face-to-face interactions. They are all about team performance.

Succession planning

Succession planning is critical because 3.6 million executives are retiring this year alone.  How are we going to replace them?  By 2020, 40% of C-suite executives will be ready for retirement.


Companies are looking at internships differently.  After college internships are being given as a “try-out”.  Many companies are now offering interns benefits. In 2007, 8.8% of companies offered 401(k) to interns, and in 2016 it was is up to 53%.  Similarly, in 2007, companies offered 7.5% of their interns health insurance, while in 2016 it was up to 46.5%.

For more articles on recruiting and retaining your best employees, be sure to check out the Best Practices section of The HR Hub.