The Complex World Of: Talent Acquisition – Lumesse New Rules


As a part of our ongoing research into complexity and how it impacts on organisations, we interviewed a range of HR and talent management leaders to get their views on the changing face of talent acquisition and talent management.

What emerged is that finding the right people for the business remains a challenge for many organisations and it is getting tougher where skills are in high demand and where global organisations need to attract new hires for specific geographic locations.

This is a live issue for Jenni Myles, chief HR officer for the Americas region at security solutions group G4S, who hires more than 50,000 a year in the US. She says she is constantly looking out for new ideas and ways of finding fresh talent.

As well as recruiting in volume for front-line roles, Myles is responsible for developing talent through the business. However, with a relatively flat structure it can be challenging to identify future senior managers. Recruiting at a more senior level is also a challenge.

As a result, Myles says she is starting to explore different ways of filling these senior roles and, as well as looking internally, is looking across the wider industry and other sectors.

That means compiling a talent map and then focusing on brand building, networking and relationship building with those on the list.

David Fischer of Munich Re agrees that it can be very hard to find the right people in a market where skills are in high demand. That means it is imperative that an organisation’s top talent is retained.

“It’s getting increasingly hard to hold on to them because they know their worth and their value,” he says.

The key thing is to keep and develop both the leaders of the future as well as those with specialist skills required by the business.

Stephen Cerrone is former executive vice president of HR at Sara Lee.His approach to these challenges is to focus on succession planning ahead of time, something that he calls proactive succession planning. This means looking at organizational needs for the coming three to five years and then hiring for those skills and capabilities identified as being important. This is about getting ahead of the game for when the jobs market opens up.

“Statistically you can look at all the jobs around and say X number of jobs will open up, so let’s hire 25 people in, knowing over the next three to five years we’re going to need to get them ready.

Although Cerrone says this is a business-critical approach, he also thinks it a hard one for organisations to commit to. “It’s a big challenge because you’re bumping up against budgets and cost pressures and not having a defined role, but knowing there will be one. That’s hard to manage.

This sentiment is echoed by Lumesse’ Tim O’Shea, who says that as well as a skills gap, there is a decisions gap. He thinks organisations are not equipped to make decisions quickly enough to grab talented people while they are still available. O’Shea suggests the following steps to embrace complexity in talent acquisition:


  • Recruit for capability versus current skills
  • Capability versus experience
  • Change tolerance versus culture fit


  • Nurture talent all the way down the organisation
  • Create a talent factory – does Enterprise rent cars or build leaders?  They build leaders – they recruit college grads to set up and run their own business franchises.


  • Automate transactions not decisions
  • Optimise your attraction and screening, not your searching


The Complex World Of: Talent Acquisition – Lumesse New Rules.