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4 Ways to Win the Talent War

Companies must build strong employment brands to attract and retain talent.

The talent war shows no signs of abating. Here’s a startling statistic; 13 STEM jobs were posted online for each unemployed STEM worker in 2016. That translates to 3 million more jobs than job seekers.

With this level of competition, companies have devised some successful strategies to address this issue.

Robin Erickson, vice president of Talent Acquisition Strategy for Deloitte, has been researching this topic for years and a recent study by her firm and Bersin has uncovered how successful companies are acquiring talent.

The report, High-Impact Talent Acquisition, reached some interesting conclusions about the practices of high-performing organizations:

--90% use workplace values as a basis for hiring

--75% focus on steadily improving the candidate's experience

--60% actively seek nontraditional talent sources

--60% regularly track, measure and cultivate employee brand

Using this research and talking with Erickson about overall trends in the field, it turns out there are four areas where employers can take action to achieve results.

Treat Current Employees Well

While this seems to be a common sense plan of action, Erickson said that it’s surprising how many companies don’t do this. “Companies need to focus on what policies and programs they can offer that show employees that they matter to the company, and even more important that they have a career path at the company.”

One way to demonstrate to employees that they are valued is to personalize their “talent journey.” Companies should look at the needs of the individual and ensure it’s provided. For example, many companies cross-train employees so they can move from one area to another as they advance in their career. The survey found that 76% of high performing organizations regularly evaluate the internal talent pool.

“Companies must remember how competitive the market is” says Erickson. “They might want to keep employees at a particular job, but many people aren’t willing to wait years to move up the corporate ladder. They will leave for another company.”

Another important way to show employees that this is the company to stay at is to offer flexibility. While much has been made of the need by millennials to have flexible working conditions, that’s true of other employees as well. “A lot of women who are at the mid-career stage would like work flexibility as well,” Erickson points out.

Other policies must adjust as well.  The idea of only working from a desk at the office needs to change as employees can do their jobs remotely or part-time and companies need to really focus on this, says Erickson.

At the end of the day, a happy employee is not only good for the current state of the business, in terms of strong productivity, but it is also good for the future of the business as favorable reports on working conditions find their way to social media and can attract future employees.

Create a Strong Employment Brand

Within a company the recruitment experience must be genuine, says Erickson. Promises made to employees must be kept or people will not stay and word will spread. For example, if an employee is told there will be learning and development opportunities those must be robust programs.  The study found that successful companies provide opportunities for upskilling, informal learning and professional growth opportunities.

Looking at employment packages, a company must carefully assess the work-life balance of the employee. “You will attract more talent if you have programs in place to address an employee’s needs both inside and outside the office,” explains Erickson.

There is also the trend where employees are now looking to companies to be social enterprises that fulfill a lot of needs. A report by Deloitte, Global Human Capital Trends,” found that “organization today are judged for more than their success as a business. They’re now being held responsible for their impact on society at large.”

Let Technology Work for You

Invest in data analytics to sharpen the talent acquisition function, advises Erickson.  Companies are now using artificial intelligence (IA) and predictive data. The study found high performing companies are four times more likely to embed these technologies in their process than other companies who are still using cognitive tools.

Redefine What Skills You Want in Candidates

Companies now are looking more closely at a candidate's values and their potential as much as they looked at their work ethic in the past, says Erikson. Deloitte’s research found that 90% of high-performing companies use workplace values as a basis for hiring.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is another area that companies are looking at more closely to ensure they have the right talent mix. More than two-thirds of executives rated diversity and inclusion as an important human resource issue in 2017. “Many leading organizations now see D&I as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent lifecycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand and drive performance.”

 Following these four action steps, employers can take great strides forward in attracting and retaining the talent necessary to continue growth.

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