Sarah Skinner, CEO EMEA at the Grace Blue Partnership, explains why attracting great talent is only the start of the hiring process and the five key areas to focus on when trying to ‘land’ talent and ultimately retain them.
It’s one thing to attract great talent – but that is only the start of the hiring process, the bigger challenge is often how to ‘land’ talent and ultimately retain them? Particularly when you add the current cost-of-living crisis into the mix.
We’re regularly being asked whether companies will be able to secure great talent without automatically getting into a wage war… I believe there will be upward pressures on salaries, that is inevitable, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it should default to overinflated pay to secure the best people.
This is because successful recruitment and retention of the very best talent has never been solely about financial remuneration, and it never will be. While financial reward is key, our experience of placing leadership talent worldwide regularly demonstrates other factors are equally as important in influencing decisions about which job people will take.
We’ve been involved first-hand in many placements for many companies, and we know that whilst candidates are initially attracted to a specific role, people ultimately join cultures. They want to feel the ethos of the company is about an open, learning culture, one which encourages healthy debate and gets involved in constructive conflict. Our world is changing so quickly so this type of environment is important to enable any team to make the best decisions. A culture that encourages transparent and frequent communication, flexibility, that has a listening mindset and celebrates the lessons learned during the pandemic will find they gain the respect of their staff.
Building trust, understanding, and mutual agreement from the very first interaction is crucial. That meeting with a potential employer gives the candidate a view as to whether they have shared values, whether the business treats employees with respect, and whether ambitions are aligned. This can be demonstrated through feedback, thinking about the interview order and ensuring there is an accumulative narrative as candidates go through the process. Before any offer is made, it is important to bring together the sum of all the conversations to demonstrate the candidate has been listened to. Organisations can fall short if they fail to understand the multifaceted nature of humans and treat candidates as purely economically driven commodities.
Senior, experienced candidates care enormously, and they take time to make considered, good decisions about which organisations they join. They want to believe the organisation will put time and effort into developing them. They want to feel they are joining a team to excel and succeed, both for the organisation and for themselves, as opposed to simply ‘doing a job’. Quite simply, the arrangement between talent and employer needs to be mutually beneficial.
Meanwhile, the retention of leaders is also not just about financial remuneration, although this does need to be fair and benchmarked again the industry. It is about people feeling invested in, valued, and rewarded for their loyalty. This is a combination of financial reward, additional holiday period, training, and learning opportunities. It is about an organisation demonstrating commitment to the individual by offering them a career ladder and giving them benefits which recognise the priorities an individual has in their own life.
A career is no longer a linear process. People are looking to future-proof their careers and develop a broader range of skills of transferable skills. It is not just technical skills they are looking to develop but leadership, communication, innovation, and stress management. These development opportunities rise to the top when candidates are deciding about their careers and, right now, they have never been more important.
Simply attracting great talent is half the battle, if an employer is serious about securing them, thought and strategic investment in how to land them is what makes the difference. Clever employers will prioritise the many reasons people choose roles beyond salary and, by doing so, win the talent war.
Sarah Skinner is CEO EMEA at the Grace Blue Partnership.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.