Redesign the Talent Acquisition Strategy: McLean & Company

McLean & Company

The firm advises that creating a customized and adaptable talent acquisition structure that aligns with the organization’s goals will be most effective in the long run as internal and external factors continue to shift

Ongoing changes in the economy and labor market continue to cause shifts in organizations’ approaches to talent acquisition (TA) landscape. TA teams that do not adapt to these rapid shifts risk structural misalignment and increased stress and burnout as talent pools shrink and candidate behaviors change. In response to the developing situation, McLean & Company, the trusted research and advisory partner of HR leaders around the world, has released its new blueprint Redesign the Talent Acquisition Strategy. The industry resource was developed to support HR leaders in understanding, analyzing, and redesigning the TA structure to better support their organizations’ needs while adapting to the evolving hiring environment.

Talent acquisition is the function that brings value to the organization through identifying and recruiting qualified people, at the appropriate time, to successfully fill required roles. Creating a TA strategy that supports strategy delivery and focuses on the organization’s future needs allows for scalability and adaptability, reducing the need for frequent structure redesigns.

“There is no universal or best talent acquisition structure,” says LynnAnn Brewer, director of HR research and advisory services at McLean & Company“Redesigning the TA structure to be specific to the organization’s needs is not, however, a quick solution, as it requires a thorough evaluation of the underlying issues. While changing the TA structure alone won’t solve all recruitment challenges, it does create a foundation which enables the organization to address the challenge areas.”

In the new hiring landscape, TA structures have been slow to adapt. McLean & Company’s research has revealed that HR departments are spending most of their time on TA, with a 25% increase over the past year. Coupled with changing candidate behaviors, including a 49% increase in candidate ghosting and a 57% decrease in applications for job openings, ensuring a streamlined, efficient TA strategy is in place is key.

To ensure their organizations are implementing the right TA strategy for the situation at hand, HR leaders can follow McLean & Company’s four-step process to redesign a TA structure:

  1. Define the desired outcomes of the TA structure – The first step is understanding how best to engage core stakeholders, as well as gathering information about the current and future state of TA, creating a list of TA activities, and determining constraints and limitations. This is followed by the creation of design principles based on the identified strengths, challenge areas, and structural implications, including uncovering goals and metrics to track success.

  2. Determine the jobs required to meet needs – Step two supports the establishment of how TA activities will be completed and the deciding of which activities will be completed by the TA team. Next, the workload for each activity is evaluated, TA activity groups are created, and adaptability is built into the TA structure.

  3. Design the TA structure – Upon completion of step three, decision-makers in the TA redesign process will have determined the required quantity of positions for each role, updated the reporting structure, and gathered feedback to finalize the new structure. The new structure can now be developed.

  4. Communicate and implement the new TA structure – The fourth and final step guides HR leaders through creating a communication plan, which anticipates stakeholders’ reactions, supports team members through the transition, and enables planning for monitoring, reviewing, and iterating the TA structure.

McLean & Company reminds HR leaders that redesigning the TA structure is one step in creating a strategic talent acquisition function within an organization. A redesign may also be disruptive and may not result in a more effective TA function if the root cause of the challenges is not addressed, so it is critical to determine if underlying issues would be better addressed by changes to people, roles, processes, or culture, before moving on to structure.

For the full data-backed industry resource, download McLean & Company’s new blueprint, Redesign the Talent Acquisition Strategy.

For additional research and support in determining where an organization should start in resolving recruitment and retention challenges, visit or follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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