What is VUCA and How it Impacts Talent Management?

If you have been keeping up to date with the technical, social, political and economic realities of the environment in which businesses are operating in today, you might have realised how unpredictable and complicated the world has become.
Essentially, you are witnessing VUCA, short for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, or simply put “It’s crazy out there!”
Back in the early 1990s, the acronym was used by the US military to describe challenging situations they face in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union. It was subsequently hijacked by the business world and used to present the context in which organisations were operating in.
Upon closer examination, this acronym is also most apt when applied onto the challenges recruiters face in Talent Management. Each term clearly reflects the real world situations and issues that recruiters deal with regularly.
[bctt tweet=”The Talent Management Space is experiencing VUCA, or simply put ‘It’s crazy out there!'”]


Definition: Fast moving, unpredictable, sudden change
Situation: We are seeing dramatic changes to prices of commodities, new statutory requirements and the way and the speed at which powerful countries develop and change. These factors have always impacted us but the change now is faster and much more unpredictable. Can the different recruitment functions keep up with these transformations in the market?


Definition: Unclear in direction; not exactly known
Situation: As with most other sectors of the economy, the recruitment market is constantly reshaped by the evolving workforce, continual changes to market conditions and government regulations. This makes it much harder for recruiters to determine where and how to go about their sourcing for the best talent. Questions on what is the best strategy to use and whether current benchmarks are still valid are frequently raised, but not always adequately answered.


Definition: Not easy to understand or explain
Situation: Hiring processes are becoming increasingly sophisticated as there are now many more considerations and requirements to include. At the same time, there are also more technologies available from which organisations can use to help them identify talent. These developments seem to mitigate each other but they also make the whole recruitment landscape more complex than ever.


Definition: Open to more than one interpretation or meaningAmbiguity
Situation: We can all see areas of ambiguity in the above points mentioned. As such, how can we be absolutely sure the best way forward for talent management in today’s volatile, uncertain and complex business environment? If we ask ourselves the question on whether we should be centralising, decentralising or semi-centralising all or any part of our recruitment function – how do we know the right answer for sure? Each alternative can have more than one meaning and it can be very difficult to justify the best option.
[bctt tweet=”Notice all the changes happening within the Talent Management space? You’re experiencing VUCA!”]
I hope you are getting the picture here – the recruitment industry is as unpredictable as it could be in years and nobody knows what is going to happen.
In short, it is indeed getting crazy out there!
Over the course of the next few months in the lead up to ATC2016, we will delve deeper into VUCA to help you further understand it’s relevancy within context of the Talent Management space. Leading thinkers such as Kevin Wheeler and Martin Warren will also lend their voices to the discussion as we seek to uncover the layers of complexity in today’s recruitment world.
Stay tuned!
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