How to attract and retain top talent
By Ruth David, Account Executive
Companies need to adapt to appeal to and attract the brightest young talent, as shifting morals and priorities drive change in expectations and behaviors.
With retirement seen as a ‘last century’ concept, the implications of defined contribution schemes and the likely removal of the State Pension has many people thinking about work differently. Themes such as sustainability and work/life balance are likely to crop up more and more as we face an indefinite end to our working lives. Meeting the criteria expected by younger audiences will be key to attracting and maintaining a happy workforce, essential for you to remain competitive in today’s climate.
Our Britain’s Most Admired Companies study, the longest-running survey of corporate reputation in the UK, shows that the ability to attract, develop and retain top talent is a key driver of corporate reputation. Of the 12 criteria assessed, company executives and city analysts rated it at above average importance. Ivan Menezes, CEO of our 2018 winner, Diageo, recognizes this: “you need the best talent. But you also need people with character and integrity. I’d say that’s the most important foundation for this business.” (Management Today, December 2018)
In the latest study, McDonald’s, McLaren and BASF stand out as the top performers on attracting and retaining top talent. Overall performance, however, saw this measure rated as average across all 250 companies, highlighting a clear need for improvement among the majority of business leaders.
Below are some areas in which companies can develop their employment processes.
1. Purpose, Reputation & Inclusivity
It has never been easier for a potential employee to access information about your organization. Moreover, themes such as inclusivity and environmental issues are a manifestation of shifting moral beliefs which are likely to get even more important. New uptakes could be quashed if employees don’t like what they see, or if they share negative experiences with their peers on Glassdoor and other sites. Learn to listen and engage appropriately and become an active voice in the ongoing discussion.
Reassure people that your company is forward-looking by sharing policies/milestones and opinions on topics such as sustainability and inclusivity. At the 2018 Echo Summit, Sue Garrard (former EVP for Sustainable Business Development at Unilever) warned against companies developing their purpose as a means of “superficial branding”. Rather than approaching these issues from this perspective, “you have to think deeply about how [purpose] becomes embedded in your DNA […] fundamentally, if it is not driving your business decisions […] then it is not really driving the business in a constructive way”.
2. Technology, AI & Robotics
Having been exposed to technology from a young age, tech-savvy Millennials and generation Z expect you to invest in technology. With more sophisticated cyberattacks and the responsibility which lies with holding personal data, it is short-sighted not to. Slow systems and outdated hardware may be a deal breaker.
According to Paul Walsh (Chairman of Compass Group) at Echo’s Summit, the “onslaught of technology […] has got to be weighing heavily on [employees’] mind[s]”, especially younger ones. We are in the midst of a technological revolution where jobs are likely to be displaced as AI and robotics come into the fore. How prepared are we? New recruits and aspiring employees will want to know that they are equipped to ride out the storm, which requires training models to be adapted to fit the future and give individuals the longevity they deserve.
3. Remuneration & Housing
‘Generation rent’ is likely to see an increase in the number of people willing to relocate for top positions and those offering more money. Those who might once have hoped to get onto the ‘property ladder’ see it less as a milestone and more as a volatile investment. This will make it even more important for companies to remain competitive and offer sustainable work packages capable of keeping employees long-term. For instance, Deloitte, long-known for its focus on employee culture and development, have corporate landlords reserve London flats for their graduate intake. (FT,14 February 2019)
Through perception studies and analysis of your organization’s image in the news and social media, we help our clients aim for better, creating a clear and constructive picture of how prospective employees view you.