Human Resources, Staffing and Talent Management
Overview of the Human Resources, Staffing and Talent Management Industry
Human resources consist of professionals, departments/units, specialist organisations and service providers that help organisations manage their workforce. The management of this workforce may include human resource planning and strategy, recruiting, onboarding, training, career development, employee engagement and benefits planning. These activities may be provided exclusively by the human resource department of an organisation, shared, or outrightly outsourced to a human resource organisation that provides one or more of them as services.
Staffing, a.k.a job placement, involves placement companies and employment agencies that help organisations match candidates with their skill needs. These services may be in the forms of selecting and placing staff, leasing employees, or outsourcing administrative functions like payroll and employee benefits administration. Staffing and employment agencies typically recruit for temporary roles. The candidates are placed on the agency’s payroll while working directly with an employer.
Activities of operators in the human resources Industry include: listing employment vacancies, crafting job descriptions, updating employment registries, and employment referrals. Additionally, it involves facilitating permanent or temporary placement services, conducting entry and exit interviews, reviewing candidates, planning compensation and benefits, and succession planning. Human resources are relevant across all industries, but the growth in staffing and employment agencies is driven by demand from service, manufacturing, construction and other labour-intensive industries.
The competitive demand for employees and the need to keep them engaged has led organisations to evolve towards talent management for human resource operations. It has changed the traditional view of seeing humans as resources similar to other inputs of an organisation. Human Resources consulting firms can provide cutting-edge solutions and hands-on expertise for rapidly changing business landscapes and conventional HR responsibilities.
According to the 2020 World Employment Confederation Economy Report, the private employment services industry worldwide reached an estimated €473 billion in 2018. It was up nearly 2% compared with 2017. The global agency work industry (including agency work revenues generated through a Managed Services Provider) represents 80% of the entire industry. Sales revenues remained unchanged from the previous year at €377 billion.
Agency work is the largest subsector of the private employment services industry. The three largest markets (USA, Japan and the UK) account for most sales revenues (54%). Around 160,000 agencies in 39 countries placed a record-high number of individuals in jobs—nearly 58 million in 2018
There is no robust data for the total number of HR employees across the globe. However, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimated about 1.4 HR professionals for every 100 employees across all industries globally. This ratio can range from 1.5 to 2.5 when considering individual industries, depending on how labour intensive or technology-driven the industry is. The number of HR employees in the US alone is between 1.5 million to 2.2 million.
Data for the size of the Human Resources industry in Africa is not available. However, the continent’s exponential increase in population means that about 12 to 15 million jobs need to be created annually to meet the demand of the expanding workforce. It is estimated that about 30 million Africans will enter the workforce every year by 2030.
According to Statista, as of 2022, approximately 13.4 million people in Ghana were employed. This represents an increase from around 13.1 million in 2021, an upward trend observed since 2010. The services sector in the country stands as a significant source of employment.
The actual figures for Human Resources and Staffing industry in Kenya are unavailable.
In Kenya, the informal sector employs approximately 77% of the total workforce— 60% are youth between 18 and 35 years old. Of this, 50% are women (the Republic of Kenya, 2017). The growth of this sector can be linked to liberalisation and privatisation policies. This led to reduced job opportunities in the formal public sector.
Data for the size of the Human Resources industry in Nigeria is not available.
South Africa’s formal sector labour market accounts for 68.3% of total employment, providing jobs for 10.2-million people, while the informal sector employs about 2.8-million people and 18.9% of total employment. In addition, 800,000 people are employed in agriculture, which accounts for 5.7% of all employment and 7.2% of all employment in private homes.
The biggest job gains, of 281 000, were recorded in community and social services, followed by manufacturing gaining 263 000 jobs and trade employing 98 000 more people. The mining sector also managed to gain 36 000 jobs in 2022.
However, job losses were recorded from private households totalling 186 000 and finance totalling 72 000, while the construction and agriculture sectors also shed jobs to the tune of 60 000 and 23 000, respectively.
Employee Wellness Programs
HR managers incorporate wellness into their work and their employees’ lives, enriching company culture and improving overall wellness. Some of the typical wellness programs initiated by HR include On-site fitness centres, smoking cessation programs, counselling/therapy, Naps, Wellness challenges, and Yoga classes. In addition, semi-formal or social gatherings like award parties or end-of-year parties are also instrumental in improving Employees’ wellness.
Remote and Hybrid Work Environments
To gain a competitive edge and maintain efficiency, companies cut down costs from building office space by allowing employees to choose where to work. In addition, advancement in technology has made remote and hybrid working arrangements a better option, resulting in flexible yet productive working conditions.
Employee Engagement Initiatives
Companies strive to improve employees’ commitment, connection, and willingness to contribute to organisational success. It is key to maintaining competitive advantage, retaining talents and ensuring loyalty. HR can improve employee engagement by displaying altruism and putting employees’ needs and concerns ahead of profits and goals.
Continuous Learning and Reskilling
Emerging technology like e-learning platforms and microlearning solutions now make on the job learning more accessible and more profitable. These learning platforms are usually flexible to accommodate individual learning patterns. Learning options can include videos, podcasts, virtual and augmented reality, and online and in-person courses. HR managers may also seek external learning partners ranging from community colleges to online course providers such as Coursera or Udacity.
The fact that culture directly impacts company performance, finances, employee retention, innovation, and customer service is evident in how employers establish and reiterate company core values, culture goals, mission and vision statements. HR Professionals lead the culture formation process by setting examples, reinforcing the type of behaviour they want to see and facilitating the flow of constructive feedback.
Workforce Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Social Justice leadership, equal participation and access to resources, inclusion, and cultural diversity are trending topics in modern Organisations. As a result, HR practices are more inclusive, flipping the table of institutionalised injustice and creating a culturally diverse work environment. Hence, everyone can contribute to decision making irrespective of their gender, socioeconomic class, and race.
According to allafrica.com, “gig” is a slang word for a job that lasts a specified period. The gig economy is a free market system where companies hire independent workers for a short term service. Emerging technologies drive it through digital apps. Gig employees include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.
Human Resources functions such as “employee payroll and compensation, talent acquisition and management, workforce analytics, performance management, and benefits administration” have been automated thanks to HR tech like Human Resources Management System (HRMS), Human Resources Information System (HRIS), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools. Examples include Oracle and SAP.
Research topics include Job Satisfaction, Cultural Diversity, Employee Engagement, Benefits and Compensation Plans, Recruiting and Retention Strategies, Succession Planning, Company Culture and Employee Relations, HR Information Systems, Employee Learning and Knowledge Management.
Others include Managing part-time, full time, and freelancing employees; Resolving interpersonal conflicts; team-building strategies; Managing Personality differences; Utilising productivity metrics; Disciplinary Measures and Methods; Psychological Support for Employees; and the Rise of Remote Work.
From the National Research Fund document:
Human Resource Development and Management
- Needs assessment for national manpower development
- Education for manpower development and skill acquisition
Companies in the HR Industry offer lots of employment opportunities to individuals with diverse skills and levels of education. These are sources of income for millions of people who have HR skills. Similarly, the industry offers services such as temporary staffing. This gives individuals such as students from poor backgrounds the opportunity to earn enough money to support their educational ambitions. Consequently, this will reduce the level of poverty in the world and, with time, eradicate poverty.
GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Human resources activities involve increasing motivation and job satisfaction and improving the quality of work-life balance for employees. In addition, roles of HR departments such as facilitating discussion and conflict resolution make employees feel they are meaningfully contributing to the organisation. As a result, they have increased morale and emotional health.
DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Human Resources and staffing industry directly contribute to the amount of gainful and meaningful employment, quality of work, and standard of living in a community or nation. In addition, this industry unlocks the performance/productivity of other Industries by ensuring job satisfaction and talent development.
Reduce inequality within and among countries.
One of the functions of an effective HR department is to mediate between employees and management and represent the interest of the workers by ensuring appropriate benefits and work conditions. As a result, HR agencies and departments are in a position to close the gap in gender or racial equality across the workforce in all industries.
Employee Burnout and Disengagement
According to the World Health Organisation, burnout is “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” HR professionals must manage exhaustion and curb disengagement among workers by resolving unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from their manager and unreasonable time pressure. HR may need to schedule small group meetings to hear directly from employers, survey their employees, and follow up and suggestions box.
Need for Workforce Reskilling
McKinsey reports that 14% of the workforce worldwide will likely be forced to change jobs in the coming years. Improved artificial intelligence, automation, and other technologies will render some traditional jobs obsolete.
A Gartner report showed that 33% of the skills listed in a typical job posting in 2017 are no longer necessary in 2021. This is why reskilling workforces is one of the most important roles of HR Professionals.
Globalisation of Work
Globalisation which has benefits, also poses some obstacles, as there is a great need to bridge the cross-cultural gap. Although a global workforce sometimes will operate from different countries with different time zones, cultural sensibilities, and government regulations, there is a great need to work above these obstacles. HR is usually tasked with organising lectures and illustrations with a primary focus on the need to embrace diversity.
Attraction and Retention of Talent
Companies are striving to attract and retain talents through incentives and increased pay. This competition may be due to crises such as the pandemic. However, HR has a role in keeping talented employers beyond monetary incentives. This includes creating a conducive culture and encouraging and facilitating learning through training.
To create a positive and productive culture in an organisation, HR management must intentionally build leadership qualities in staff. These include: assigning tasks that will stretch employees to take the initiative and learn more, modelling empathy, teamwork, and individualised consideration. In addition, rewards for self-development and taking initiatives can be made available.
Most change initiatives fail because employees who are meant to implement the change at a basic level are not carried along during planning and strategy formation. Most times, HR Professionals mediate between rebelling employees against management rather than participating in decision making. HR Professionals should be trained and skilled in change management. They should be instrumental in initiating and casting the vision of change to employees.
Applicant Tracking Systems:
HR teams/departments use digital tools to handle large amounts of recruitment and hiring processes. For example, applicant tracking systems are software or online services that HR professionals can use to receive, store, and screen/filter applications, resumes, and other relevant data. These tools include Jobvite, BambooHR, Applicant pro, and SmartRecruiters.
Employee Self-Service Applications
Employee Self-service (ESS) applications or portals are online tools where employees can access needed information in an organised manner, make transactions or communicate (take or receive feedback), and track their progress/benefits. Examples of ESS tools are Zoho People and InStaff.
Elearning for Skill Acquisition
Learning Management systems have made training more effective through immersive and Interactive classroom experiences accessible at a very cheap cost. In addition, augmented and virtual reality are being incorporated into Organisations’ onboarding programs to create a social, semi-formal learning environment (elearninglearning.com).
People and Workforce Analytics
Workforce Analytics tools are used in organisations for talent management, simplifying recruitment processes, ensuring talent retention through benefits monitoring, setting performance benchmarks, assessing performance metrics, and identifying training needs.
Virtual Work Environments and Remote Work
Video conferencing tools, collaboration platforms, and other digital tools have made virtual/ remote work possible and desirable. This type of work arrangement comes with flexibility and sometimes increased work hours due to the ability to work anywhere (monday.com)
Skills cloud tools like LinkedIn, EdCast, Workday skills cloud, and Indeed help companies identify the skills in their organisation by looking at data such as performance reviews, training, and experience of employees. They also allow employees to identify the skills required for a particular job, even if the job description keeps evolving. (Joshbersin.com)
Entry-Level HR Careers
Generally, HR roles require a bachelor’s degree in an HR relevant field. However, job seekers can get entry-level positions with diplomas, associate degrees, certificates, and internships. These roles offer the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder with more education and experience. Typical entry-level positions in HR companies and HR departments in companies include:
Payroll clerk, HR clerk, Benefits coordinator and Recruiter
Middle-level management roles in human resources often require a bachelor’s degree in HR or management related fields. However, graduate degrees and years of experience are advantageous.
Some middle-level HR roles highlighted by all business schools are:
Human Resources Manager, Employee Relations Managers, Compensation and Benefits Manager, HR Information Systems Manager, Training and Development Manager and Labour Relations Manager.
Top management roles in the HR Industry usually take years of experience after reaching a Middle-level role. For example, one of such positions is a Chief diversity officer.
The highest paying jobs in the human resources and staffing industry include compensation and benefits manager, health, safety and environment adviser/Specialist, training and development manager, employee/talent Recruiter, and Employee/labour relations specialist.
- Communication and persuasion. The job requires succinct and clear job descriptions, convincing during recruitments, convincing top talents to stay, communicating tasks and responsibilities, giving feedback, and resolving conflicts.
- Networking and Teamwork. This is relevant in building and maintaining relationships and coordinating work between two or more people or departments. It also involves extensive connections across the industry.
- Planning and organisation.
HR professionals deal with lots of paperwork, including systematically filling employee profiles and legal documents. Therefore, the abilities to multitask, plan training, and resolve conflict are essential skills HR Professionals must develop.
- Professionalism and industry awareness. It is crucial to remain professional at all times. Understand and live by organisation culture. Know which organisations are recruiting and their roles for or downsizing—emerging roles in the industry, regulatory issues, etc.
- Self Awareness and Management. A high level of emotional intelligence is relevant, especially during negotiations, provocations and times of conflict.
- Digital Skills
HR professionals must be able to change with the times. Content development is a relevant digital skill in the industry. Today, HR professionals are expected to do more than ever before: managing information in the cloud, working on the move using mobile devices and tablets or communicating with people on social networking sites.
Bachelor degrees directly related to the human resources and staffing industry include:
human resources, business management, business administration, humanities, communications, Sociology, psychology, industrial relations, law, public relations, economics, finance, and entrepreneurship.
Postgraduate degrees for specialisation in the industry are usually Human Resources Management and MBA. An MBA allows the HR Professional to know about other aspects of the organisation like finance and businesses. Other postgraduate options for HR Professionals are Organisational Psychology, Employment Law, and Organisational leadership.
A straightforward route to gain entry into the industry is to get a degree in Human resources, management, or related courses. However, entry-level roles do not require degrees. Still, they can serve as opportunities to gain experience and rise through the corporate ranks. Ultimately, passion or interest in creating satisfactory working conditions, developing people, and improving the quality of living determine the success of HR Professionals. These qualities should be the driving force for anyone who wants to venture into the human resources industry.
Digital skills such as efficient use of HRM, ERP tools, and data analysis are a must for HR Professionals in the present-day organisation. HR, management, accounting, and finance students often get opportunities for internships in entry-level HR roles like clerk and customer service. These opportunities give them a window to gain relevant experience in the industry. Many HR firms recognise such internship experience and professional certificates in Human Resource Management (HRM).
Starting a staffing/Recruitment Agency requires excellent knowledge of human resources and an understanding the industries to be served. This is possible from years of working in the HR Industry. Additionally, attaining a management level role in the HR Industry before starting one’s staffing agency ensures that one has the necessary connections with stakeholders in the industry and other industries that will need the services.
Working in the HR department of a company or a Human Resources agency is not limited to making recruitment, training or determining the payroll or benefits of Organisational employees. HR Professionals mediate between Organisations and employees and regularly resolve challenges that help them develop individualised consideration, strategic thinking, and conflict resolution skills.
Human resource personnel are sometimes seen as villains in many organisations because they are always required to enforce organisational policies. They are also responsible for managing employee requests such as benefits review and leave approvals which are not always instant. It is, therefore, crucial for HR professionals to be able to develop and manage relationships. Additionally, they must have many soft skills such as employee relations, onboarding, HRIS (human resource information systems), customer service, scheduling, Performance management, administrative support, New-hire orientation, data entry and project management.
Human resources management involves a lot of office work, meetings, managing documents, reviewing CVs, negotiations and communication skills, especially around salary. Furthermore, it involves meeting many people, undertaking performance reviews and giving feedback.
Individuals working in HR and staffing agencies are often exposed to insights on more industries when compared to individuals working in HR departments who are usually limited to insights on their current industry’s requirements. Job descriptions of roles like recruiters, labour relations, etc., are similar for both HR agencies and departments in several industries.
Whether one is performing the role of a Recruiter, employee relations, or benefits Specialist, HR Professionals’ performance and effectiveness are generally assessed through employees’ satisfaction.
Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management (CIHRM)
International Association for Human Resources Information Management
Human Resource Service Providers Association of Ghana
Association of Human Resource Practitioners of Kenya
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Nigeria, Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria (HuCaPAN), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association.
Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO)
Ellen Hagan, Audrey Achaw, Francis Eduku, Amma Benneh-Amposah, Stella Agyenim-Boateng, Hazel Berrard Amuah, Judith Ron Oppong-Tawiah, Angela Abraham
Jebet Chesyna Odhiambo, Joy Kiri, Nicholas Kiele, Evelyn Munyoki, Diana Gombe, Sylvia Omieno, Dorcas Nderitu, Pauline Kiraithe, Damaris Ndungwa
Adora Ikwuemesi: Founder of HR Nigeria, Nigerian Labour App, Opeyemi Awoyemi: Jobberman Co-founder, Foluso Phillips: Founder of Phillips Outsourcing, Bolaji Olagunju of Workforce Group, Adeshola Aliogo: founder, career advancement Boot camp.
David Ssegawa, Bongani Phakathi, Tanya Ramlagan, Jonathan Muthige, Tantaswa Fubu, Laressa Thavarin, Sibongile Bobo Mngxali, Michaela Voller, Athol Swanepoel, Celiwe Ross, Kyle Gareth Chetty.
International Labour Organization
World Employment Confederation
The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations
Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior and Coordination, National Human Resource Planning and Development
Federal Ministry of Labour And Employment.
South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), Human Resource Development Council of South Africa (HRDC)
Adecco, Randstad Holding, Manpower, Kelly Services, GI Group Recruit Global Staffing, CDI, Beijing Foreign Enterprise Human Resource Service, China International Intellectech, Synergie, Pasona, Robert Half, TPD, Creo Consulting, Pinnacle HR, All in ONE Employment Services, First Class Consulting Firm, ACCUR Recruiting Services, American Recruiting & Consulting Group, RMG Staffing, HH Staffing Services, Micheal Page, Criterion Executive Search, The HT Group, Murray Resources, Resourceful, Sage Solutions Group, Employees Only, EctoHR, Magnet Consulting, Axios HR, Betts Recruiting, R.A.R.E.Sol, DevsData LLC, DOIT Software, Infojini Consulting, The Stakeholder Management Group, Computyne, Tech2Globe Web Solutions LLP, Focus Softnet Pvt Ltd, GOODLAND INFORMATICS CO., LTD, QTS Payroll, Brickell Personnel, Kforce Inc, Seattle Corporate Search, AfricaWork
WorkProud, NNRoad, JobSphera LLC, DNA325, MySource Solutions, Inventive Byte, MBHR, Ideal Personnel Services, Job Nexus, JI Consulting Group, Talentvivo, Intellistack, Langley Consulting Services Inc, Smart Startup Hr, Llc, Majorwise, Wrycan Staffing, Hireable, Lifocus Career Services, Office Swing Brands, Connected Commons, Signature Hr Solutions, Circle Strategie, Inc.
L’aine Services, Jobs in Ghana, Karpowership, PWC, Hire Ghana, JobHouse Recruitment Agency, Global Manpower Recruitment, Rakes Recruitment Company, DAB Agency Ghana, Rectrain Recruitment Ghana, Attache Ghana, Careers in Ghana, Successors World Limited Ghana, ToppJobs Recruitment Ghana, Strategic Business Process Solutions in Ghana, Edge Professional Intelligence, Vintage HR Services, BYF Recruitment and Consultancy Services, EAD Consult Limited, Labour Power Recruitment and Staffing Solutions Ltd, XyCareers Ghana, Result Oriented Professional Services, Africa Manpower, PowerIntel Consulting, Delin HR Consult, Companion Health Care Agency Limited, Ghana HR Solutions.
Verus Consulting, Crystal Recruitment Limited, 2Max Group Limited, Corporate Staffing Services Kenya, Recours Four Kenya Consultants Limited, Flexi Personnel Ltd, Adept Systems, Summit Recruitment & Search, Lafayette Resources Limited, Career Connections Ltd, Virtual Human Resources Service Ltd, People Edge Consulting ltd, RA, Human Performance Dynamics Africa, The African Talent Company, People Foco Agency, Proximi Company Ltd, Insight Management Consultants Kenya, Fanisi HR Solutions, Reach Recruit Kenya, Q-Sourcing Limited, Learn Africa Solutions Limited, Huresco Company Ltd, Dira HR Solutions, Ideon Limited, Horizon Contact Centers Ltd, Stack Marketing Kenya, Datum Recruitment Services, Dynamic People Consulting, AMSOL Consultants. Corporate Staffing Kenya Ltd.
Resources Intermediaries Limited, Rovedana Limited, Workforce Group, Gini Talent, MyJobMag, Human Capital Partners, Avant Halogen, THOK Consultants Limited, Asksus-ng Business Support Services, Intarel resources, Jobberman Nigeria, PG Consulting, eRecruiter, Sunrose Consulting Limited, AFMrecruit, Adexen, U-Connect, Clariontech, PTK Consulting Limited, Philips Outsourcing Limited, Corporate Headhunter, Rehoboth Recruiters
Andela, Shortlist, SeamlessHR, Bento, Procivi, Dominion Consulting, African Ally, Novatia Consulting group, Susu Tech NG, Baromi Consult, Stallion Agency, 25th and Staffing, Rooms Consultants.
Rebmormax, 1st Aiim Recruiting, Kelly Group, Hire Resolve, Channel Empowered Recruitment, Dail A Student, Luthando Horizons, ONLY the BEST, Recruit Digital,
Dalitso Holdings, Kontak Recruitment, CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd, CA Financial Appointments, Aperture Recruitment, Boikago Group, EmployInsight, IT Human Resources plc, SURGO, StratAlign, AltGen, WHP Human Resource Consulting (Pty) Ltd), TalentAlign OD, Moon Consulting, Clearleaf HR Consulting, Lusona Consultants, HRA Labour Solutions, IT Human Resources plc.
Human Capital Magazine
HR Aspect Magazine
People Talk Online Magazine
Human Resources Management Journal
Social Recruiting Strategies Conference
HRPA Annual Conference and Trade Show
Digital Workplace Conference
The Compliance, Risk and Regtech Conference
Employee Experience Conference
HR Technology Conference & Expo
SHRM Talent Conference & Exposition
Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13
Up in the Air
The Pursuit of Happyness
Hiring on All Cylinders
HR Happy Hour
Recruiting Future with Matt Alder
HR Break Room
HR chat Podcast
Employer Branding Podcast
Big Fish in the Talent Pool
The HR Uprising podcast
First, Break All the Rules, subtitled What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.
Human Resource Management by Gary Dessler
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
The HR Scorecard by Brian Becker, Mark Huselid, and Dave Ulrich
Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives by KirsWayne Cascio and John Boudreau
The Talent Delusion by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Work Rules! By Laszlo Bock
A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Lucky Go Happy: Make Happiness Happen! by Paul Van Der Merwe
Your Leadership Edge by Ravinder Tulsiani