Open Banking refers to banks and other financial institutions opening up data for regulated providers to access, use, and share. Ensuring security for a data-sharing project such as open banking is paramount, and banks are effectively putting in place the infrastructure for their customers’ data to be shared more securely with third parties, with customer permission. That data sharing takes place only with customer authorization is important. Open banking wasn’t designed to allow banks to sell their customers’ data more easily.  

The intention is quite the opposite — open banking was conceived to improve financial services for customers by opening up access to data that has historically been kept in-house; new companies and new products can enter the market and use this data in helpful, innovative ways. 

So what does it all mean? 

  • For financial service providers — At the top of the chain, open banking will allow financial service providers to significantly innovate their product offerings to businesses. 
  • For businesses (large and small) — Those innovations made by financial service providers will mean more effective and efficient financial tools in your business — notably payments. This will mean more automation, freeing up more time, doing away with the headaches of manual tasks, and ultimately saving you money. 
  • For customers — Open banking will mean better ways to spend, borrow, and invest. 
Why is it important/relevant?

The promotion of Open Banking holds the promise of bringing about innovation in the banking industry. Fintechs typically take up positions that traditional banks cannot fill. Ensuring a good open banking system will mean greater efficiencies leading to better services and, ultimately, better customer experiences. The banks and the fintech create a network of data sharing, which could be used to create more robust customer profiles, and information, understand spending habits, and aid in better risk modeling, which in turn will help reduce risk, particularly for institutions providing credit facilities.

In addition, open banking will necessitate new technology to bolster existing banking systems and will, in turn, provide efficiencies and profits that will exceed the investment required for these technologies. It’s a WIN-WIN situation.

What Was the situation PRIOR to the regulation?

Open banking, particularly in Nigeria, has been largely unregulated. Fintechs have low regulatory barriers to entry and face hardly any oversight compared to traditional banks (no banking licenses required). As such, the fintech industry in Nigeria has been expanding at a significantly high rate over the past five years. Numerous apps are available for consumers; some have become household names: Quickteller, Paga, Carbon, Piggyvest, etc.

However, as with any industry that sees such rapid expansion, the risks posed and faced by this industry become more apparent. When it comes to Open Banking, two prominent issues need to be addressed.

The first issue is privacy. This refers to the privacy of customers’ banking information that the banks share with third-party financial service providers. By regulations, banks are not allowed to share customers’ banking information without their consent. As such, customers making use of third-party financial services providers are required to agree to the providers’ “Terms of Service,” in which the customer will agree to the provider being granted access to certain information about the customer from the banks. Once the customer agrees to these terms, the banks can then grant the provider access to the information through the API. This part is all fine and well and is standard practice. However, once the provider gains that information, no strong regulatory framework dictates what they can and can’t do with that information.

The second issue is regarding Security: The security of the customers’ information and the security of the banking systems. Due to the lack of a strong regulatory framework for the providers and Fintechs, the requirements for the protection and security of customers’ information is vague at best. While this could be considered an existential threat to the providers, which they would have to address prior to commencing business, there are no guarantees of security, monitoring, or oversight.

Also, with regards to security, the providers and APIs being employed create extra points of vulnerability to the banking system. Of course, customers’ information is at risk, but the customer account information and access to the accounts could also be compromised. In Nigeria, the recently alleged hacking for Flutterwave is a good case in point. It is alleged that hackers got into Flutterwaves systems and were able to move NGN 2.9bn to a number of different accounts. Flutterwave is a payment system provider, not a money deposit bank, so where did the NGN 2.9bn come from? From Flutterwave’s customers’ bank accounts. It is important to note that Flutterwave has publicly denied this alleged hacking, but this highlights what is potentially at risk here.

Why is CBN putting out guidance for it?

The CBN initially put out a circular for the regulatory framework for Open Banking in Nigeria in February 2021. This framework covered some critical issues regarding Data and Service Access Governance, Guiding Principles for API specifications, Risk Management guidelines, Customer Rights, Responsibility, and Redress mechanism.

In furtherance of the released framework, the CBN in March 2023 approved the operational guidelines for Open Banking in Nigeria. While the regulatory framework addressed the overarching issues regarding open banking in Nigeria, the operational guidelines seek to tackle the more granular operational issues faced by third-party financial providers.

In conjunction with the regulatory framework, the operational guidelines should alleviate the risk and security concerns surrounding opening banking in Nigeria.

What does the guidance mean for Nigerian markets?

These guidelines mean that financial institutions and fintech companies will have stricter requirements to adhere to in order to ensure the security of customers’ information and their systems.

However, there are a few points that are important to note.

The level of monitoring and oversight that the CBN will do on fintech companies is not certain. It is expected that it will not be at the level of oversight provided to the traditional banks, but whether it will be effective enough to fully rein in the fintech industry is yet to be seen.

While the CBN guidelines for open banking are directed more toward the fintech, the traditional banks have their roles to play in ensuring a viable open banking environment in Nigeria. Banks need to update their Third-party risk management frameworks and policies to incorporate Open Banking into their risk management considerations.

H. Pierson Advisory Team


Strategic thinking has long been viewed as essential for leaders of organizations. The ability to anticipate and plan for the future, to think critically and creatively about complex problems, and make effective decisions in the face of uncertainty and change, is more necessary now than ever. These capabilities will be dramatically augmented and magnified by artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT.

With the ability to process large amounts of data, identify patterns, and make predictions, AI will provide fresh insights and perspectives that were previously unavailable to company executives. This will enable them to make more informed and accurate decisions – and to anticipate and plan for the future more effectively. But it won’t replace the human element in strategic thinking, which remains critical.

Currently, AI can analyze vast data, spot trends, make forecasts, and help leaders identify and mitigate business risks. Soon, it will also simulate different scenarios and provide leaders with various options and recommendations for which path to take. In the near future, I expect to see symbiotic relationships between executives and AI systems, in which they both work together to enhance decision-making, problem-solving, and strategy development.


ChatGPT has a plethora of use cases across the board including.

  • Solving mathematical questions
  • Producing proof of concepts
  • Writing long-form content like essays and reports

ChatGPT can be a great place to start, but it won’t solve all of your problems. 

  • It cannot think or make decisions independently. 
  • It does not distinguish or understand emotions and may respond inappropriately in certain situations. 
  • ChatGPT cannot understand the entire context of a conversation; it can only generate responses based on the input it receives at any given time. 
  • Even though ChatGPT has been trained on a large amount of data, it is still inaccurate and may occasionally respond with incorrect or illogical responses in certain situations. 

Businesses can speed up response times and enhance customer service by using ChatGPT, which can handle a high volume of interactions accurately and quickly. In fact, the more you interact, the more ChatGPT can pick up on your tone and develop into an AI assistant.

ChatGPT can increase productivity by freeing up staff time for more complex and imaginative tasks by automating routine tasks like responding to frequently asked questions and creating a transcript from your most recent presentation.

ChatGPT can handle a high volume of interactions at the same time, making it an ideal tool for small businesses to large corporations.


No. This is because:

  • Chat GPT will find it difficult to develop a thorough understanding of your environment because markets, rivals, suppliers, and a host of other factors have vastly different values and contributions to the success of your company.
  • An expert must compile, analyze, prioritize, and act on the data discovered during an internal SWOT or PESTLE analysis of your strengths and weaknesses. This is something ChatGPT cannot do.
  • ChatGPT is unable to develop a corporate, functional, or departmental strategy for your business due to a lack of situational understanding.
  • It won’t help you think strategically about how to use the information mentioned above to generate a clear path forward.

The goal is to use the tool as a support mechanism that provides leaders with basic-level strategic advisory services. It should be noted that the answers given will not be specific to the person who asked the question, but it can be useful for brainstorming ideas.

H. Pierson Advisory Team


Economic cycles are nothing modern. Business leaders have constantly had to deal with things like unstable job markets, supply chain confinements, and cost changes. Concerns about a potential period of weak economic growth is however justified. The two most important factors are how long it will last and how much damage it will cause.   

Although no one can see into a crystal ball, there are some concerning signs that should not be ignored. For Nigerian businesses in 2023 for instance, they will continue to cope with several vulnerabilities including:   

  •  A high-cost environment. 
  • Challenges with the retention of talent with the increasing demand for migrant workers in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other developed economies. This is without prejudice to the rising cost of living in the aforementioned countries. 
  • Post-election political risks 

It would be short sighted for business leaders to not prepare for some kind of economic slowdown when you consider this along with the frail global forecasts and the pandemic’s ongoing effects. 

Despite the doom and gloom, businesses can take practical actions to lessen the effects of economic slowdowns. Instead of worrying about potential future events, this is the ideal time to check that your organization has the necessary systems in place to not only weather storms but to thrive in them. How? 

Pay Attention to your Business Relationships

Customer relationships are crucial regardless of the economy’s outlook, but they can become even more crucial during hard times. Understanding how the economy impacts your customers’ businesses is crucial, but it’s also a great chance to figure out how to help them and add even more value. 

Partner relationships can also be very important. Strong partnerships can help to stabilize or even increase revenue streams because they share the burden of acquiring new business, even though this may result in slightly smaller overall revenue pie slices.   

Diversifying your customer base is essential. When the economy is struggling, it’s crucial to evaluate your customer base and determine whether your business is overly dependent on a small number of significant clients. If that’s the case, think about how you can diversify your customer base and invest in forming new connections. Be cautious when adding new customers because you will want to make sure you can still provide excellent customer service. When every business is vying for a small pool of customer dollars, this differentiation becomes particularly crucial.

Motivate your Talent

Taking care of your team should always be a priority, especially when the economy is weak, as we frequently mention here at H. Pierson. When there is talk of a recession or weak growth, employees are concerned about their own finances and layoffs are a real possibility. It’s not simple to find talented, strong candidates, as we’ve seen over the past few years. 

Consider innovative ways to reduce costs without laying off your talent. Rather than making the decision to shrink your team right away, see where else you can cut costs, like overtime or scaling back some nice-to-have, but unnecessary perks? Also, you can offer employees a day off each week in exchange for lower pay? Or can the team collectively agree to a pay cut that ensures everyone keeps their jobs? 

Increase your Firm’s Agility

In order to become more agile, your business may need to invest in itself or increase spending in some areas. In a struggling economy, this may seem counterintuitive, but you might discover that enhancing technological or organizational systems results in longer-term resource utilization. As well as allowing for the introduction of new goods and services, it may also permit the diversification of income sources. 

Any department in your organization could benefit from agility. You can change how you interact with customers and assist them in discovering new value in the goods and services you provide by using agile marketing. Agile development may entail freeing up unused resources to give your team more time and freedom to think creatively and make the best use of their collective talents. Your human resources department’s agility may take the form of job-sharing arrangements to better utilize strengths and tap into your talent pool or cross-training staff to take on new responsibilities. 

We are aware that not all organizations can implement these ideas, and that there are times when difficult choices must be made. Transparency is key in those situations. Be clear about the needs and objectives of the business and try your best to make decisions for your employees with respect and gratitude. Take into account the significance of every position within your company as well as the effects on those left behind when positions are eliminated. Show that you have a plan in place to guarantee a fair and enjoyable working environment, even if the size of the team needs to change. 

When times are tough economically, having the right strategy and the insights required for effective strategy execution, is mission-critical. Reach out at and let us guide you through a free consultation to determine how your company can best develop a plan to remain strategy-protected both now and into the future. 

H. Pierson Advisory Team


In today’s skills-based economy, people want to learn faster than ever. More than $200 billion is now spent on various forms of workplace training and the volume of content is massive. There are tens of thousands of videos, courses, articles, and tools dedicated to helping people learn. And more and more of it is designed to be “in the flow of work,” so you can learn where you are, when you have time, and when you need the help.In this mad flurry to put more and more content online (YouTube now has 23 million channels and gathers more than 5 billion views per day), we seem to have left something out. The most powerful and memorable learning actually occurs when we talk with other people.

Take a look at the research done on the Ebbinghouse Forgetting Curve, which essentially shows how quickly we forget what we learn. When you study alone, you typically remember 28% of what you learned after two days. When you repeat the material, you remember 46%.

But when you use it, answer questions about it, and interact with others, you remember 69%. The reason?  Actually conceptualizing, recalling, and using information is what creates the “memory pathways” that stick in your mind.

Why do you think we have homework assignments and work in groups in school?  Why do teachers give lectures and then ask students questions to discuss in a group?  It is a well-known fact that collaborative, cohort-based learning is the most valuable, useful, and memorable way to learn.


And we must remember that the “teacher” is always a vital part of the learning process. This person may be a subject-matter expert, a renowned researcher, a lecturer or instructor, or a course facilitator. Through the process of asking questions, providing advice, giving context, and explaining specific examples and solutions, the teacher “brings learning to life” for each individual in their own important way.

Learning Platforms: How This Has Been Lost

The learning technology market is a fast-moving, somewhat fad-driven space. Whenever a new technology is invented, L&D professionals rush to see how it could be used for learning.

As I like to remember, in the early 1980s when the first PC’s came to market, one of the sexiest ideas was to use them for training – so technologists hooked up laser disk players and developed video learning programs that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build.

Since then we have “experimented” with social interactions in many forms of learning, and I have to say most of them have been somewhat limited, unimaginative, and more or less “bolted on” to content. In other words, what we’ve been doing is building lots of self-study content which has “some collaborative features,” but mostly focused on comments by learners.

I recently participated in a large online masterclass which I authored through a series of videos. The students loved the content but the interactions were limited because we did not group people into small groups and did not use a platform that truly facilitated group learning. I’m here to help you figure out how to fix this.

(When done well the results can be amazing. Hive Learning, a provider which focuses on designed collaborative learning, has proven through A/B testing a 50% increase in retention through their environment when compared with traditional classroom training. Nomadic Learning, who I discuss below, regularly achieves over 90% completion rate regularly in their cohort-based programs.)

Since building a collaboration platform is expensive, most vendors have lashed together off the shelf tools. The market has essentially evolved as follows, and in many ways, this represents an industry-wide exploration and learning journey we’ve all gone through together.


Learning platform vendors, of course, fall into various traps. They develop a platform that facilitates a certain type of activity (ie. The LXP vendors focus on the discovery of content, not the content experience itself), and then they sell their products as horizontal solutions. We as L&D and HR professionals have to buy these platforms and more or less “stitch them together” to build a total solution.

In particular, if you want to drive change, alignment, innovation, and relationships through your programs (as we do in the Josh Bersin Academy, for example), then you have to design your programs for group activity. And one could argue that this is also true for pure technical skills: coding academies and most technical certificate programs require group projects, design sessions, and “studios” that bring people together in small groups.

I know in my own career these group learning activities have been far more memorable in the long run, but that doesn’t mean “micro-learning” is also important. Group and cohort-based learning often fall into the “macro learning” space, while self-study and reading fall into the “micro-learning space.”

How Platforms Are Changing

As you consider all these issues, let me point out how learning platforms are starting to address this problem, and I’m going to talk primarily about two I know well:  360Learning and Nomadic Learning (the company I’m partnering with for the Josh Bersin Academy). There are many others (Intrepid, NovoEd, Hive Learning), and I will try to compare them briefly at the end of the article.

In the case of 360Learning, the company was founded six years ago by a passionate and brilliant engineer (Nick Hernandez) who realized that the most important learning that takes place is driven by an expert.  Over the last decade, he has built an amazing platform that enables any expert in your company to “teach classes online” without the burden of “building complex content” or even hiring an instructional designer.

Underneath all the technology is a simple concept: a human (teacher, facilitator, expert) is at the foundation of great learning. And as 360Learning calls them, they are “learning champions.” (We are all learning champions at different times in our lives.)

In the early 2000s I wrote a lot about this idea, and we called it “SME-authored content.” (We called it “from e-learning to we-learning,” which was a cute idea.)

At that point in time products like Presedia, Breeze, Brainshark, Articulate, and other “Powerpoint to Flash” tools become hot, because they let people take their PowerPoint presentations and quickly turn them into instructional programs. Today many of these products are gone (or evolved), and we need a new system that facilitates this “expert-led” approach that is easy for experts to use.

I won’t get into great detail about how 360Learning does this, but it’s quite an amazing system and the company now has more than 500 large clients and is used by Safran Group (global aircraft engine manufacturer) where hundreds of experts teach others throughout the company.

Every single company needs a platform like this, and in my travels, I have never found a system that focuses so well on letting an expert (L&D or line leader) author content, share it, certify experts, and create an ongoing collaborative experience with employees. The company’s concept is “teaching experts to author and teach” in a highly scalable way.

I know this works because I’ve talked with some of their clients. Companies like Safran Group have almost 5% of the professionals authoring courses which are consumed by others. Imagine what this model could do to unlock expertise in your company.

Initially, the company positioned themselves as an LXP but they’re really much more. So position them into the “program management” category in my model and really are creating a new category for expert-authored, collaborative content. (LXP’s are primarily tools for content discovery and aggregation.)

When you think about the problem in this “human” way, you find new features become important. 360 Learning, for example, keeps track of all interactivity by learner and gives instructors lots of data about what content people are using, where they seem to need more help, and how “engaged” they are with the programs. This is exciting proprietary stuff, which really makes customers happy.

Nomadic Learning, the company I partner with for the Josh Bersin Academy, is even more interesting. Matt Burr and Tim Sarchet, the founders, built a business called “50 Lessons” which created video-based stories from the world’s greatest CEOs around the globe. (Similar to BigThink.) The videos were amazing (I watched many of them), but what Matt discovered is that nobody ever watched more than two videos in a row and most people stopped watching after 3-4 minutes. In other words, there was very little “depth of learning.”

The problem he discovered, which is even worse now, is that people just don’t have time to sit down and watch videos for an hour or more at a time. My research with LinkedIn shows that we waste almost a day a week on distracting emails and the biggest “challenge” people cite about their learning and career development is “I don’t have enough time.”

So Matt and Tim set out to build something new. I won’t give away the secrets, but the whole idea of Nomadic is to build a learning experience that “draws you in” and continuously gives you surprises, videos, exercises, ideas, and interactivity – in a way that makes it easy to stay engaged. Matt likes to call it “semi-synchronous,” because you can stop and restart at any time – but you do have a “time-bound” program to finish, so over a period of weeks you’re expected to stay on track.

In the case of Nomadic, the platform, content, and collaboration are integrated in a designed way. Since Nomadic is a custom content and video storytelling company, the programs feel like carefully designed integrated experiences, and you keep “wanting to come back” whenever you can. In the case of cohort-based learning, Nomadic has learned that by arranging people into small groups (20-50 people) the learning experience is personal, collaborative, and innovative. So the “programs” in the Josh Bersin Academy are designed to take place in groups, and each exercise brings people together in innovative and novel ways.

What I’ve experienced so far is that Nomadic’s platform (and 360 Learning’s platform) are much more than “learning” platforms. Just like face to face events, they bring people together, let people share their challenges and ideas, and create alignment toward strategic solutions.  And Nomadic includes its own built-in LXP, so there are hundreds of curated resources available for micro-learning at any time. One of our clients, Medidata, is using the Josh Bersin Academy to drive their entire digital transformation. And this is the type of thing that 360 learning could do also.

What To Consider: Many Platforms Abound

There are many learning platforms and content providers on the market, and they are built by smart, innovative entrepreneurs. My point in this article is not to try to cover them all, but rather help you think through the importance of “group-based learning” and make sure you focus your energies on “what is being used for macro learning” and “what is being used for micro-learning” as you build your solution.

Remember To Focus On Culture

Finally, let me mention the importance of building a learning culture. Regardless of your efforts to build great content and hire the best instructors, the culture of learning always prevails.

Do people have time to learn? Do they feel a sense of empowerment and belonging in the program? Does the experience “meet them where they are?” And is there an expert, teacher, or facilitator to make sure employees can really get what he or she needs as they push themselves to the next level?

Nothing creates a learning culture more than groups of people activated to learn together.

New ideas, conversations, and talking about solutions create memorable skills we all carry for a lifetime. As you select your tools and build your strategy, make sure the focus on human supported, group-based learning remains at the core. You’ll be glad you did.


Leadership Assessment is key at any stage of your career

Regardless of where you are in your career, leadership assessment can help you find your strengths and weaknesses as a business leader. It is important to know more about the leadership competencies because:

  • This will allow for utilizing one’s talents best
  • Understanding these skills also helps capitalize on opportunities in order not waste time or resources
  • A lack thereof could mean an inability of adaptiveness which would hurt company growth
The 4 benefits of leadership assessment:
  1. Leadership assessments can guide you in creating your career goals
  2. Leadership assessments can increase self-awareness
  3. Assessing your leadership can help you improve in all stages of your career
  4. Leadership assessments can help in improving the leadership development plan
1st Benefit: Leadership assessments can guide you in creating your career goals

Leadership assessment can give you an objective idea of your abilities as a business leader no matter what stage you are in your career. An effective leadership assessment lets you — and your organization — know in a constructive way just what kind of leadership skills you have.

Guiding your career goals
While gauging your capacity to handle different roles and responsibilities, a good leadership assessment can help you to define where you want to go as an executive and how to get there. Different leadership assessment tools offered by top international business schools can assess your performance in a variety of areas and situations.

But whether the leadership evaluation is focused on personal leadership or business management, it can tell you what your strengths are and what you need to learn to tackle new challenges. A detailed assessment can guide you on the experience and the leadership and management training required to achieve your career goals.

2nd Benefit: Leadership assessments can increase self-awareness

A high-quality leadership assessment will inform you about what kind of person you are. This is a critical factor on the journey to becoming a better leader. Self-awareness of your personal qualities and leadership skills can improve exponentially the way you lead organizations and deal with others. It can also help you build on your leadership strengths and confront your weaknesses.

Learning more about yourself can increase your leadership effectiveness in the process. You will be able to gain the support and trust of your team members if you have an honest assessment of your leadership capabilities. This in turn will boost your credibility.

You should remember, however, that leadership evaluation should not be seen as a way to provide a definitive picture of an executive’s potential capabilities. Leadership skills are continually developed and honed through experience and corporate training, rather than being innately acquired.

Good business schools offer one-on-one leadership coaching with experts who can provide a frank but sensitive appraisal of your management skills. When you are a leader it is often difficult for others to you tell you candidly how you are doing.

3rd Benefit: Leadership assessments can help you improve in all stages of your career

A lifetime of learning in top management means that you should be standing back to reassess your leadership skills at regular intervals. Leadership assessment can typically help you decide what training courses are right for you at different stages of your career. Leadership assessments are vital to ensure upgrading of leadership skills and competencies by the following people:

Functional Managers

An ambitious functional manager seeking management training courses to advance his or her career must first undergo a leadership assessment to find an appropriate leadership development program.

Mid-career Business Leaders

A mid-career business leader considering an executive development program  to boost his or her value to the company needs a leadership assessment to find a training program that perfectly fits.

Senior Executives & CEOs

A senior executive or CEO at the top of an organization, seeking ways to move the organization forward while seeking out opportunities and leading with conviction and authority, must first submit to a leadership assessment.

People Seeking Development Of Leadership Skills

People looking to develop strategic leadership skills to tackle specific challenges, such as business development strategy or sustainability through targeted business management training, must first take a leadership assessment. 

4th Benefit: Leadership assessments can help in improving the leadership development plan

Leadership assessment can play another critical role for your organization as part of a leadership development plan. It allows a company to appraise the abilities of business managers at different levels to lead teams and projects.

Leadership evaluation helps human resources departments to identify gaps in the talent pool, while establishing who is prepared to take on senior general management positions when vacancies arise. With the baby-boom generation reaching retirement age, companies need a solid succession planning process to ensure continuity of leadership.

That involves identifying the executive education needed to ensure your company has the right people with the right training in place at the right time. The process can get a healthy head start with effective leadership assessment.

As companies prepare for another year of attracting, hiring and retaining employees, there are a few developments and trends in the HR and TA industry they should keep an eye out for, says Neil Costa, CEO of HireClix.

The world of work has changed significantly since 2020. Many organizations have adjusted their business strategy and approach, which has resulted in a change to their people strategy. More importantly, employees’ values have evolved. The “great reshuffling” taught us that employees are willing to move jobs for more balance, greater flexibility and growth opportunities. Many workers are no longer willing to stay with organizations if their needs and values are not aligned.

Sourcing the right talent continues to be a huge challenge for companies in the current labor market and will continue into 2023. And with the complex business environment of low unemployment rates amidst fear of layoffs and hiring freezes, Human Resource (HR) and Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders are getting mixed signals.

As companies prepare for another year of attracting, hiring, and retaining employees, there are a few developments and trends in the HR and TA industry they should keep an eye out for, including a focus on internal mobility opportunities, a consumer-like experience from career sites to attract employees, and creating and showcasing an authentic brand.

Prioritization of Internal Mobility

Companies will focus on providing more opportunities to internal employees by being more transparent about job openings and the internal hiring process. This is necessary to improve retention and provide the career growth employees crave. Recent data from the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends ReportOpens a new window  shows that companies that excel at increasing opportunities for internal mobility have better retention, as employees who make an internal move are more likely to stay at their organization than those who stay in the same role. It is often easier for an employee to find an opportunity outside their current organization than inside. Executives will realize that internal mobility processes that are not employee-friendly significantly impact their turnover. Companies should eliminate the “hidden job market” and post all open roles for employees to view and self-nominate. Hidden job markets perpetuate diversity, equity, and inclusion issues as they send the message that you must be “in” with the right leaders to find your next opportunity.

Return of Hiring Events and Job Fairs

Due to the distance created between workers worldwide at the peak of the pandemic, we anticipate everyone will want more face time when it comes to making one of the biggest decisions in life: getting a new job. We believe that both employers and candidates will want the in-person time to get to know and understand each other’s values. Employers will be able to screen employees for productivity ability, something that is crucial as they continue to offer flexibility and remote work accommodations. Job seekers will want to meet with their future employers in person as the demographics are shifting to a younger workforce that values a company’s mission, culture, and authenticity more than its predecessors. 

Revamp of Career Sites

The current employment market is dynamic, and creating an engaging candidate experience will be critical as job seekers expect more from big brands. The Fortune 500 job sites will need an extremely fresh user experience and operate more like retail consumer sites such as Netflix and Amazon, and we expect about 50% of these companies to do so. This means light and easy interfaces with smooth interactions. Finding a job used to be more of a transaction, but since changing jobs is a top life event outside of growing a family and buying a home, candidates will expect more from employers. Applicant rates are declining because of dismal candidate experiences and the tighter labor market, so organizations that move with speed and creativity will establish a competitive advantage when hiring.

Increased Employer Branding Budget 

Over the past two years, we learned that candidates are more selective about where and whom they work with—culture and values matter. Most employers invest little in employer branding but focus their dollars on directly driving applicants to jobs. With the evolving nature of the workforce and the challenging labor market, it will be critical for companies to create positive brand impressions across all media and marketing channels so job seekers associate a positive experience with the brand and take action to apply for a job. We will also see some organizations refresh their employer brands to address the new world of work and showcase how employers are adjusting to the needs of employees – offering in-person, remote, and hybrid opportunities. Candidates will be attracted to those companies that can be more thoughtful and make a connection using smarter strategies to get their brand in front of them earlier in their job search by authentically representing them through consumer advertising channels.

Hiring Freight Train

The looming recession will continue hiring needs in the healthcare, transportation, and retail industries. As older generations retire from the workforce and expect to travel more, dine out more, and need more healthcare services, the natural dip in the population of the younger generations will have plenty of opportunities in those industries to find great jobs. The main street storefronts and the logistics behind getting products to their destinations will generate countless jobs, even in a tight economy. Hiring opportunities remain strong within what I call the “Main Street Workforce,” as several sectors have only just recovered from the pandemic, leaving more flexibility to keep recruiting and avoid mass layoffs. It is also much easier to switch jobs within sectors on the main street because many skills are transferable. For those who may have left their job due to family obligations, COVID-19, etc., it’s easier to return to the workforce via the main street.  

As companies plan, budget, and prepare for 2023, these are some potential key trends to consider in their recruiting and talent acquisition efforts. Take the time to invest in your company’s career site, refresh your creatives and build brand assets to attract the right talent. Take advantage of renewed opportunities to connect with professionals and prospective employees at in-person hiring events. Highlight alternative career paths like internal mobility and the main street workforce. Overall, continue to pivot and adapt to the changing wants and needs of the workforce – or risk losing out on attracting some of the top talents in your industry.


14 Talent Acquisition Skills Needed For Success In TA

What is one important skill needed to become successful at talent acquisition? To help you with Talent Acquisition Skills, we asked CEOs and CHROs this question for their best insights. From “Ability to Sell and Influence” to “Emotional Intelligence”, there are several recommendations that may help you with Talent Acquisition Skills in the future.

Here are fourteen insights for Talent Acquisition Skills:

  • Negotiation
  • Multitasking is Key
  • Ability to Sell and Influence
  • Reading Between the Lines
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Get Your People Skills Up!
  • Look Forward and Behind.
  • Good Cost Management Skills
  • Organization With Scheduled Follow-ups
  • You Have to Be Able to See Beyond the Resume
  • One Skill to Become Successful at Talent Acquisition
  • Paying Close Attention to Detail
  • Aspiring Ta Pros Should Put On their Listening Ears
  • Industry Domain Expertise

Staffing is the toughest sales job on the planet because you have to illustrate to both parties that it’s the right choice. If you sell a product, service or even an idea, half the work is already done. A car doesn’t have an opinion. It doesn’t say, “thanks for the offer, but the dealership countered and I’m going to stay where I am.”People are tricky. Hiring managers and candidates each come with wish list of requirements that may not be realistic. Sifting the vital from the ideal, aligning needs, and earning the proverbial handshake all require the art and science of negotiation.

Multitasking Is Key

Multitasking is key for talent acquisition when you have dozens of people to interview to fill multiple roles. The key is to work quickly, but not too fast. How can you screen multiple people in a shorter amount of time? Take time to prepare your interview questions in advance and think about what red or green flags you’re looking for as folks answer them. Letting candidates self select into or out of the process will save you time further down the line.

Ability To Sell And Influence

If there is one skill that is important for talent acquisition, it is the ability to sell and influence the outcome. In order to be successful in talent acquisition, you need to be able to effectively sell the company, the role to potential candidates, and influence the outcome. This requires being able to articulate the company’s mission and values, as well as being knowledgeable about the role and the team. It also requires being able to pitch the company in a way that is attractive to top talent. This is not an easy task, but it is essential for success in talent acquisition.

Reading Between The Lines

Being able to read people or “read between the lines” when performing interviews is an invaluable skill for a recruiter. Sometimes it’s not what the applicant said but the way that they said it that either qualifies or disqualifies them.Being able to read someone through a voice or video call is an important skill, as it’s how many interviews are conducted now. Being able to discern if someone is telling the truth or withholding information is critical when talking about key skills required for the position. You don’t want to have your name on a candidate endorsed to a shortlist if they lied about their qualifications.Learning to read between the lines or becoming better at reading people will help you catch and hire the best talent while simultaneously culling those who aren’t qualified.

Emotional Intelligence

The most important skill to be successful at Talent Acquisition (and many other areas in HR and business) is emotional intelligence. As an executive coach and former talent acquisition director, I know firsthand the importance of emotional intelligence in being able to successfully attract, screen, recruit and onboard talent. Emotional intelligence is defined as a set of skills that collectively establish how well we understand our own and other’s emotions, how well we use emotions to cope with stress, solve problems, make decisions and interact with others. A high level of emotional intelligence supports talent acquisition professionals to navigate both internally and externally. Emotional intelligence is a skill and thus, can be built over time with the right support. As a strategic talent advisor, I recommend all TA functions I work with to invest in the development of emotional intelligence for all team members.

Get Your People Skills Up!

Someone who is planning to take on a talent acquisition role needs to know not only how to work with people, but how to work with many people at once. Internally, talent acquisition specialists often are required to work with multiple managers in departments outside of their own. Externally those working in talent acquisition need to be able to vet and onboard those applying to positions at their company with accuracy. This vetting and onboarding process requires people skills too like interviewing candidates and salary negotiation. When it comes to a career in talent acquisition there is no such thing as being too much of a people person.

Look Forward And Behind.

To truly become effective at talent acquisition, it is important to remember to look forward and behind. While we are always dazzled by the latest shiny objects in Talent Acquisition, be it AI, TikTok, digital retargeting or new tech stack, sometimes it pays off to go “old-school.” Tactics that have worked effectively in the past e.g. flyers, posters, radio and mobile billboards are still especially effective for disrupting your target audience; particularly a passive candidate who is not actively searching the job boards. And while it’s great to keep your pulse on tomorrow’s trends, sometimes you can distinguish yourself AND your talent acquisition results by honoring the tried and true recruitment marketing methods of yesterday.

Good Cost Management Skills

Good cost management skills are a must for talent acquisition team members. A bad hire can cost companies thousands in training and re-hiring. Satisfying the monetary requirements of both the applicant and the company is no easy feat too. Finding the perfect balance to appease both parties takes not just numerical prowess, but patience and steadiness as well.

Organization With Scheduled Follow-Ups

Recruiting is a very fluid process with new applicants that need to be reviewed, scheduling interviews for other candidates in the pipeline, and making offers once you’ve found the right employee!When you’re managing the candidate pipelines for 15 or more jobs, you’ll see that some candidates can lag behind others and need a little nudge from time to time.My employer uses Greenhouse and many times our interview request emails and HackerRank emails end up in candidates Spam folders. I review the pipeline a few times a week and will set follow-ups on various candidates if they are lagging behind.Organization is key to keep up with a massive recruiting workload!

You Have To Be Able To See Beyond The Resume

To acquire highly-skilled talent on a consistent basis, you have to be able to see past the resume. While candidates should have polished resumes and CVs that showcase their experience and skills, there are other important things to look for. For example, if your company has a well-established culture, someone who will likely not contribute to that “vibe” may not last long. And with retention rates still dropping and onboarding becoming more and more costly, it’s more important than ever to make the right decisions.

One Skill To Become Successful At Talent Acquisition

I think one important skill needed to become successful at talent acquisition is communication. You need to be a successful communicator in order to communicate to your applicants what a great company you are recruiting for and the benefits that are offered at this company. Communication is also needed to write an effective job announcement to pursue applicants to apply for positions.

Paying Close Attention To Detail

When working with people, it is critical to recognize subtleties. This type of role necessitates someone who understands the value of accuracy and thoroughness. The ability to identify errors and potential weaknesses, as well as manage them until a satisfactory result is achieved, is critical to being efficient and professional. Candidates with high attention to detail are thorough and demonstrate the ability to focus on both minor and major details while completing a task.

Aspiring Ta Pros Should Put On Their Listening Ears

If you’re looking to get into talent acquisition it’s time to practice listening. While it may seem obvious, this skill is one TAs must perfect. This career requires sitting through multiple interviews each day. By the time you’ve hit your fifth candidate, all answers may sound the same. Truly listening allows a TA to pick out answers that best align with the open job and follow up with questions to dive deeper. Doing so makes it significantly easier to find the right fit for the role.

Industry Domain Expertise

The best recruiters understand the industry they practice in. They know the competitive landscape, who are the top players, the differentiators amongst them, and often the culture, pay and leadership within the companies. This helps on a number of levels, especially when it comes to candidate negotiation. If you know who they are likely to be interviewing with you can turn a mind quickly with the right insights and show your confidence behind the company/client you are representing.




Talent acquisition is a foundational element of your organization’s success, and drives everything from company culture to profitability. The people you hire have a significant impact on the product or service you offer, the satisfaction of your customers, the reputation of your brand, and the atmosphere of your work environment.

Implementing an effective talent acquisition process to secure top talent is an investment that has the potential to improve every aspect of the way you do business.

What is talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition is a strategic approach to finding, identifying, and selecting qualified candidates for open positions. It’s usually the responsibility of human resources professionals and technically includes each step of the hiring process, including sourcing, interviewing, and even onboarding.

However, the most effective TA strategies have a big-picture perspective and include less obvious steps of the process, such as building a desirable employer brand, improving the candidate experience, and prioritizing relationship management in an effort to attract and retain high-quality candidates.

Recruitment vs. talent acquisition

Recruitment and talent acquisition may seem like interchangeable terms, but there’s some nuance that differentiates the two.

The recruiting process involves the tasks associated with hiring for open positions. Writing job descriptions, publishing job postings to job boards and identifying potential candidates are all examples of recruitment-related activities.

Talent acquisition involves implementing a strategy for long-term human resources planning and is designed to attract and secure the best talent with specific skill sets or experience and the ability to grow into bigger and better roles within the organization in the future.

Recruitment falls under the umbrella of TA, however, talent acquisition is an ongoing process of networking, outreach, and relationship-building versus hiring for a specific position.

The talent acquisition process

Creating an effective TA process requires more than crafting thoughtful interview questions. Get started by considering the following aspects of the Pragmatic Recruiting Framework:

  • Product: Understand your company, culture, and what a “good” candidate means to you.
  • Audience: Understand what motivates the right candidates and how your company can meet their needs.
  • Messaging: Craft an employer brand that positions your product as a compelling proposition for job seekers who are part of your intended audience.
  • Programs: Create go-to-market programs that place your opportunities in front of the right audience.
  • Readiness: Ensure your organization’s ability to execute on your selection process.

Once you develop a talent acquisition strategy, you need to build talent pipelines, create positive employer branding, and focus on talent relationship management.

An applicant tracking system can be a valuable tool to manage the logistical aspects of talent acquisition.

Benefits of talent acquisition

The primary benefit of creating and implementing this strategy is obvious: It optimizes the hiring process in a way that increases your odds of hiring top talent.

However, there are many advantages of having well-defined parameters for what you’re seeking in new employees. Creating a streamlined workflow that results in the best new hires available helps build the business you want.

Reduce time to hire, increase retention rates, improve talent management, and fortify company culture with an intentional staffing plan that prioritizes the core values of your organization.


Use Leadership Assessments to Build Better Leaders

“You should measure things you care about. If you’re not measuring, you don’t care and you don’t know.”

– Steve Howard

We can all agree on the importance of leadership in a company. We can also agree that important things should be measured. Consequently, we could argue that everyone should use some form of leadership assessment to select, identify, and develop leaders. Below are just four situations when leadership assessments can help you build better leaders.

1. Hiring a New Manager/Leader

Whether you are filling a management position internally, or sourcing from outside the company, assessments can add a unique and objective perspective to your hiring process. There are a variety of types of leadership assessments that can increase the value of your management hiring process. For instance, you can measure leadership style, leadership personality, leadership character, and leader performance. The best way to ensure that you select the most valid assessment(s) is to enlist the help of experts. However, you can also follow a similar process to:

  • Assess your company’s future direction and where it is today
  • Define the requirements for the new leader (hint: this is about more than the job description)
  • Select the leadership assessment(s) that provides the most relevant data to support your hiring decision
2. Identifying Hi-Potentials

Similar to hiring a leader, identifying your Hi-Potentials should always start first with developing a clear understanding of your company’s current and future leadership needs. Second, create formal success profiles for each leadership position or family of positions. Next, once your success profiles have been established:

  • Choose assessments that best measure the criteria identified in the success profiles
  • Assess and establish a baseline of your current talent
  • Use the data from your baseline assessment to help allocate resources, and decide both who should be developed and what competencies need investment
  • Measure ongoing growth with periodic assessments like a 360-degree feedback tool

Figure 1 – GroupView Report from Leadership Skills Profile

3. Planning for Succession

A succession planning process requires you to create a structured approach for measuring your current baseline, predict your future leadership needs, and plan for how you will meet those needs. Therefore, leadership assessments can be a critical tool to help:

  • Establish a baseline for your current management team and use that data to shape future requirements  
  • Measure leadership strengths and development opportunities for those next in line to identify gaps, help determine readiness, and create formal development plans to prepare them
  • Identify Hi-Potentials in order to create a deeper roster of leadership readiness for the future
4. Developing Leadership

Leadership development is at the core of everything that we do to build better leaders.

Assessments offer a simple, yet effective, leadership development tool that helps your leaders:

  • Demonstrate a greater degree of self-awareness
  • Validate leadership strengths and opportunities for development using a variety of perspectives
  • Prioritize development opportunities with the best chance of success
  • Understand how strengths and development opportunities impact performance
  • Develop a formal Individual Development Plan (IDP) to set goals to enhance leadership effectiveness

In short, while you can certainly develop leaders without using assessments, it is near impossible to gauge their effectiveness without some form of assessment.

 SIGMA Assessment Systems


There’s a lot of discussion going on these days about board service and why there aren’t more women on boards. Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss that and look at some strategies that might help you if you aspire to board service.

A seat at the corporate board table is an aspiration for many leaders and for good reason.  Board service bundles together a host of rewarding experiences: The opportunity to be an “insider” and view, first hand, how another company works at its highest levels and the privilege to work beside and soak up the wisdom of the brightest, successful and most articulate professionals who will ever cross your path.

But there’s more. It is prestigious to serve on a corporate board, particularly when the firm is publicly-held and directors are elected by shareholders, rather than appointed by the CEO as in the case of private corporate boards. Another feature of boards of directors in large public companies is that the board tends to have more “de facto” power. Many shareholders grant proxies to the directors to vote their shares at general meetings and accept all recommendations of the board rather than try to get involved in management, since each shareholder’s power, as well as interest and information is so small.

How Boards Work

The board consists of individuals that are elected as representatives of the stockholders to establish corporate management related policies and to make decisions on major company issues. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit companies have a board of directors as well.

In general, the board makes decisions on shareholders’ behalf and has a legal duty to act solely on their behalf. The board looks out for the financial well-being of the company. Such issues that fall under a board’s purview include the hiring and firing of executives, stock dividend policies, and executive compensation. In addition to those duties, a board of directors is responsible for helping a corporation set broad goals, support executives in their duties, while also ensuring the company has adequate resources at its disposal and that those resources are managed well.


My Board Experience

Over the course of my 30-year business career, I’ve been blessed with a host of “highs.” In looking back, the pinnacle experience has been (and still is) the opportunity to serve as an independent director of a NYSE, micro-cap company, Luby’s/Fuddruckers Inc. (LUB).  

Here are ten reasons why I relish my corporate board seat:

  • What I learn in a year of board meetings is equivalent to “renewing” my M.B.A.
  • I get to contribute to corporate strategy at its highest level of complexity.
  • I’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow board members, and our shareholders, to win a hard-fought proxy fight with a hedge fund.
  • I’ve come to appreciate each of our business units’ unique corporate cultures.
  • I‘m blessed to work alongside principled and accomplished fellow directors from whom I’m always learning.
  • I’ve come to be comfortable with “productive conflict” even when I’m the sole voice on an issue.
  • I’ve become a better listener and to be open-minded to differing perspectives.
  • I’ve learned that my job as a board director is to coach and mentor the executive team. At the end of the day, they run the company.
  • I’ve come to truly prize the individualized passion, wisdom and wit of my fellow board directors; and to deeply appreciate how our skills sets and idiosyncrasies unite us and keep us strong.

Fact is, serving on a corporate board has made me a better business person and matured me as a human being. I want the same for you!

Truths To Think About

For too many decades, America’s corporate boards have been filled by a chosen few.

I’m passionate about helping level the playing field and make board seats obtainable to a wider, more diverse range of talent. As I see it, the future success of our corporations and our country’s free enterprise system, depend on it.

Here’s the reality: Corporate board seats are scarce and competition is fierce.

But you don’t have to sit passively just wishing and hoping. There are actions you can take. In fact, the “right” initiatives can immeasurably increase your odds of landing a seat.

But here’s the tricky part: Joining a corporate board is by invitation only. (Sometimes board recruiters build the candidate list. But many times, the board works independently.) While the landscape is changing, direct solicitation is still considered taboo, so your actions should be carefully choreographed so that the board finds you and determines that you are just the right person for the seat. You’ll want to rely on your sponsors and supporters to do the initial canvassing for you.

Your Time Is Now

In my opinion there is no better time than today to start working on earning a board seat. For one thing, most all of the information that you’ll need is online. Instead of hoping you serendipitously hear about a recently vacated board seat, that information will be readily available on the internet. You might  even be able to glean what they are looking for in a replacement and who else on the board you may know or be a degree or two separated from.

The most important thing is to determine if you are board ready. If you are, then let’s learn together how to earn that seat that you think would be the best fit for you. 

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