Top tips for attracting, retaining, and managing talent

Amy Smyth shares her thoughts on the impact of the global pandemic on the workforce, what 2022 holds for organisations, their leaders and people

Finding the right person for the right job is not as simple as it used to be. The Great Resignation has shone a light on the consequences of ineffective leadership and forced organisations to finally wake up to the fact that employees want to be treated as consumers. The balance has shifted: employees have the power right now and the onus is on employers to advertise themselves to the potential employees, rather than the other way around.

The pandemic and the negative effects of Brexit have impacted how we work, interact, and attract employees. The shift to flexible working is now much more palatable to employers, as they have seen that productivity isn’t necessarily compromised when employees have the freedom to make their own choices; in fact, it may actually motivate some staff members. In response, many organisations are creating individualised offerings for their staff, whether that is through benefits selection, flexible work hours, or indeed where they work from, meaning employees are now faced with a wider range of choices than ever before.

Holding on-going career discussions
In a rapidly changing world of work, it’s vital that businesses understand the career aspirations of their workforce – through regular career development conversations. Businesses are simply not doing this often enough. Nearly half of UK employees (49%) said they haven’t received any career coaching in the past five years. These conversations are vital to creating a motivated and valued workforce, but they must be based on a genuine interest in the employee, what they want to get out of work, and how this is achieved. This approach will not only help organisations retain talent but attract new talent too, especially in a remote or hybrid world. Conversations are how organisations create connections and a feeling of belonging among the team – after all, it is these human connections that make people stay in a role. 

Internal upskilling  
With ongoing skills shortages across all sectors, the best way for employers to find the talent they need is to look internally for candidates. Although employers may feel that internal candidates are lacking some hard skills, by upskilling internally businesses can offset hiring costs and restructuring activity while also ensure employability of their employees for the long term. What’s more, employers are boosting loyalty and increasing job satisfaction by giving workers a fulfilling career instead of just a job. 

Conversations are how organisations create connections and a feeling of belonging among the team

It’s not about all about the skills individuals have, employers must identify those individuals with great learnability – people who are open to continuously learning and developing their skills to meet changing market needs. A culture of internal mobility, where employees have visibility of opportunities to develop and motivation to own their careers is key, especially in a world where businesses are struggling to find the skills they need externally.

Personalise employee benefits
Employee benefits can mean more than dental care or discounted gym memberships. It’s also about making sure employees feel valued in their role and can expand their minds. Businesses that give their line managers time to focus on mentoring their teams create more synergy and better alignment between individual and business goals, attracting the best talent by demonstrating a commitment to ongoing development.

Time is another important benefit; for many, it is the most precious commodity available. Most workers report feeling burnt out and underappreciated. Giving employees time back during the week to do something that is meaningful to them is a great retention and motivation tool.

Be flexible within the hiring process
It’s particularly important for organisations to provide flexibility within the hiring process, identifying and removing any high barriers that prevent great talent from applying, such as specific degrees, experience or years in industry. These requirements may lead skilled people to quickly de-select themselves, when they may have the soft skills and learnability to develop the missing skills. 

Flexibility within the hiring process will also help widen the pool; hard skills are valuable but can be taught on the job, whereas soft skills such as creativity, resilience and adaptability are crucial to employers in the long run.

To hear more on the future of skills and talent listen to the TJ Podcast for January 2022 where Amy Smyth is a guest speaker

Amy Smyth, Head of the European Centre of Excellence for Career Management at Right Management

Training Journal

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