HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting, Technology

Can Software Solve the Recruiting Crisis? A Q&A with Zoe Harte of UpWork

Recently, the editors at Recruiting Daily Advisor had the pleasure of sitting down with Zoe Harte, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Innovation at Upwork to discuss the findings of UpWork’s newly released report: Future Workforce HR Report 2018.


Source: sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty

Recruiting Daily Advisor (RDA): It’s not surprising to learn that finding talent has gotten harder in the last year given record low unemployment numbers. However, we often hear about all of these great software solutions for recruiting. Shouldn’t they be bridging the gap a little bit?
Harte: While recruiting software can help shorten and streamline the evaluation process, these solutions tend to be geared towards more traditional employment. As companies grapple with severe talent shortages, they’re increasingly embracing more fluid, flexible teams in order to access the skills they need to move the business forward.
Another challenge these solutions can pose for businesses is that they are designed to scan for specific keywords, which can often times lead to companies overlooking workers with relevant job experience.
RDA: Your report shows that 61% of managers predict that the majority of jobs done today will not exist in 10 years. That is a stunning finding! How much effort should organizations dedicate towards upskilling?
Harte: Today’s jobs are vastly different than they were a generation ago. The rapid pace of change in the job market is driving strong demand for newly emerging skills, skills that weren’t on employers’ radars a decade ago. HR managers are facing a workforce that is more fluid and unpredictable than ever before.
Yet as skills evolve, companies are still stuck in the 20th century when it comes to hiring and talent development. As skills become more specialized, companies need to invest in reskilling to prepare their workers for the jobs of tomorrow, while leveraging freelancers to help critical skills gaps within their organizations.
RDA: A whopping 62% of HR managers say they are embracing workplace flexibility. What would you say to the other 38%?
Harte: The job market is making it challenging to attract top talent. Highly skilled talent is harder to find and at the same time, many talented professionals may never take a traditional job because they value their independence. Businesses are thinking beyond traditional hiring approaches and are embracing more flexible teams to help support project needs and fill critical skills gaps.
As technology further enables new ways of work and freelancing continues to grow, businesses will have to restructure their workforce in favor of more agile, flexible teams. Companies refusing to embrace this trend, could find themselves swimming upstream against the new normal: flexible work.
RDA: Your study shows that more flexible talent (freelancers, contractors, etc.) are already being used, and projections show a tremendous rise (179%) of work done by such talent in the next 10 years. How should HR prepare for this? What pitfalls can arise because of the use of more on-demand talent?
Harte: Many organizations still use a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to talent management. Traditionally, HR managed full time employees, while procurement teams would oversee an organization’s contingent workforce.
As companies increasingly engage freelance talent, HR risks a lack of visibility into their total talent supply. With freelancers playing a more prevalent role in the workforce, HR needs to evolve to take a more active role in bridging HR and procurement together.
By removing the workforce silos that exist within an organization, HR is well-positioned to drive strategic talent innovation. With a holistic view of the total talent supply, HR can more effectively control costs and optimize spend, minimize risk and enhance productivity as they understand the specific skills and talent needed to support the business.
RDA: Your study shows that agile teams will become the norm (10x as many managers thought so anyway). What does that mean? How important are agile teams?
Harte: We believe that teams of the future will resemble movie crews. Specialists will come together to work on projects where their skills are needed. Once the project is over, they all move on; they might find themselves working in smaller subsets on a similar project in the future, or they might never work together again.
When HR helps bring these agile teams together, we start to see the threads between all these connections and learn which talent has complementary skills. Maybe you find a web designer who brings a graphic designer she respects. All of a sudden you’re doubling value to your team because that duo is already primed for success.
For more information on the UpWork report, Future Workforce HR Report 2018, click here. The infographic, below, offers a sneak peek into the research findings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *