What are the most important developments to have impacted business strategy in the last 10 years? The influence of the Internet on business models? The rise of new and fiercely competitive emerging markets? The end of job-for-life careers?

These and more, but there’s one which is only now getting the attention it deserves as business leaders realise it will fundamentally change the way they run their organisations.

For decades, HR and recruitment has traditionally not had a seat at the boardroom table, too often remaining a back-office function whose resourcing and role in the company usually came as an afterthought.

Times are changing, and fast. For talent leaders in organisations of all sizes across the world, there’s an opportunity there to be grasped.

The increasing availability of reliable data and robust analytics has enabled recruiters to speak the same language of numbers as their counterparts in finance, IT, sales and marketing. If your business hasn’t cottoned on to this yet, let me share three reasons why it should.

Strategic talent planning – no surprises

Recruiters are now able to plot the probability of a particular strategic decision succeeding based on the availability of talent in the market to staff it. Thanks to social media, it’s now possible to identify the right candidate for the right job at the right time from among the global professional population.

A business looking to make a decision on which market to expand into can now discover in seconds whether the right skills exist in that market, and in numbers where the chances of recruiting the right talent support market entry.

The power of talent branding beyond recruitment

arielSecondly the value of a strong talent brand is immense and, by borrowing the best practices of great marketers, you can have impact beyond talent.

Just as social media gives employers new insights to find the right talent, it also hands professionals the ability to find new insights about potential employers. As such, companies are realising that great candidates they don’t yet know, already know them.

In this era of increasing transparency, consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on more than the quality of a company’s products and services, and are now also interested in the company behind the product, e.g. the mission and vision, culture and values, the way the company sources products, how it gives back to the community. These qualities are now a key part of the company’s overall brand equity, bringing the CMO into the talent branding fold, while also putting the recruiter at the centre of building a company’s brand.

Competitive talent advantage

Lastly, the ability to plot the probability or hiring success can become a competitive advantage in its own right. Whether recruiting for software engineers in Silicon Valley, or drilling engineers in Azerbaijan, companies often find themselves competing to win the same finite talent.

This is expensive and time consuming. Access to data about the world’s workforce enables companies to identify pools of talent with the right skills which no one is competing for, simply because they’re not in the ‘right’ geography. As talent flows more easily across borders – particularly in markets such as Europe – there’s an opportunity for recruiters to focus their efforts on talent pools they can win more easily, creating a potential competitive advantage.

There has never been a better time to focus on talent. And it’s not just about plugging short-term skills needs. The CEOs that prioritise their talent function are also equipping their organisation with the right information to make better strategic decisions, giving them a strong competitive advantage for the future; those that don’t, will miss out.

Author: Ariel Eckstein is the Managing Director for LinkedIn in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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