Retrenchments. Performance-based forced redundancies. Automation-led hiring reductions. Just some of the hiring-related terms, we’ve been reading about in the recent past. What do they mean for you? How is hiring changing around the world? What are people hiring for?

Surveys by leading recruitment firms such as Michael Page and the Manpower Group have pointed at a robust hiring outlook in India in 2017, albeit at a slower pace than before.

By all measures, Talent Acquisition (TA) in 2017 is going to be an exciting place to be in, as both, technology and geopolitical factors continue to develop and impact the role of humans in the worlds of manufacturing and service delivery.

So, from a TA standpoint, what are organisations going to be focusing on in the coming months? Here’s what I see TA leaders keeping on top of their radar

1. Right-sizing & Just-In-Time (JIT) hiring

Growth and Balance sheet pressures are going to ensure that resources are deployed optimally. Every external hiring requisition will be scrutinised – is the resource required? Can someone internally be redeployed instead? Can the requirement be met through some internal upskilling initiatives?

No longer is there the luxury of maintaining a ‘Bench’ of paid resources – hiring must be JIT and ‘Speed To Proficiency’ improved to make resources deployable quicker.

2. Managing Cost of Recruitment / Cost of Hire

Ensuring that your recruitment costs don’t reduce or destroy project viability is more important than before. Both, Direct Costs (Staff Costs, ATS Costs, etc.) and Indirect Costs (Consultancy Expenses, Advertising Costs, Travel Costs, etc.) will need to be watched carefully.

Another important sub-element in this piece will be the focus on low-cost recruitment channels like Employee Referral Programs, Campus and Social Media.

3. Filling in Niche positions

Talent will need to be sourced for roles in new and niche areas like Cloud, Analytics and Digital. While there is a demand and supply mismatch as far as quality and experienced talent in these domains is concerned, TA folks will need to tap the right resources, ensuring that compensation levels do not go into unsustainable levels, as we saw in varied quarters during the ‘Start-up’ boom of the last 5 years.

4. Strengthening the Employer Brand

This is one of the most critical but still a much less used weapon in a TA leader’s arsenal. If properly established and nurtured, it can help address a lot of the aforementioned by creating a ‘Pull’ effect. To be sure, this requires deft handling – In the age of social, both, positive and negative messages can go viral in an instant. It’s best, therefore, for TA to work in tandem with the organisation’s Marketing & Communications team.

Also Read: What’s gender got to do with talent?

While by itself, these may not sound revolutionary, the truth is that the folks running TA initiatives will need to be more innovative than ever before in their approach to solve for these. Only then, will they be working truly as Talent Acquisition Business Partners in their organisation.