Once again talent attraction features as one of the top three challenges facing HR professionals.
It might sound like a broken record given Steve Hankin of McKinsey & Company first coined the phrase ‘war for talent’ 20 years ago, but this is a war that is still raging two decades later. In our latest HR Reflections survey, we found that 36% of organisations say attracting the best talent compared to their competitors is one of the biggest challenges facing them this year. This is a global problem that spans the UK, US and Asia Pacific and affects organisations regardless of how well they are performing financially.
Talent attraction levels the playing field: organisations across the board are struggling to get the best people on their teams, and are all secretly worrying that their competitors are doing a better job of it.
It seems strange that, at a time when technology can facilitate how organisations search for talent and talent searches for jobs and with the rise in remote and flexible working addressing some of the supply and demand barriers, attracting talent should remain such a challenge. As a survey by jobsite Indeed showed, migrants are a key source of the skilled talent everyone is looking for. The research found that migrants are undertaking job searches for relatively high-skilled jobs compared to native job seekers and that there is also more appetite amongst migrants to move to where the jobs are than native job seekers. Whereas this migrant market has been a great source of skilled workers in the past, the uncertainty over how the movement of employees across borders will change post Brexit and under the Trump presidency means that this is not a source that can be relied upon indefinitely. In fact, in our HR Reflections survey 42% of UK organisations expected it to be harder for them to attract skilled talent after Brexit has completed.
The type of talent that is being sought is not all from the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector as we are often led to believe. Another Indeed survey found the types of skills organisations are struggling to find are as much soft skills as high tech ones. So, despite horror stories of the automation of jobs pushing people out of work, people are still the number one asset for most organisations and people skills are therefore in hot demand.
There may be forces out there are working against organisations, blocking them from accessing the best talent. But there are also measures within organisations’ control that can be taken to make attraction of great talent easier – whatever great talent means to an organisation. Take the employer brand for example. 35% of organisations around the world think developing a compelling employer brand is a very important priority right now.
And the top performing organisations are placing twice as much emphasis on their employer brand compared to less well performing organisations.
What’s more, a study on LinkedIn showed that 83% of talent acquisition leaders said employer brands significantly impact their ability to hire great talent. We believe a well-crafted employer brand that is going to stand up to the talent war needs have three core attributes:
- Authenticity:Press releases and aspirations aside, what is it actually like to work at a company? An authentic employer brand must accurately represent the everyday reality of that. In our Winning Workplaces survey we discovered that 50% of people would opt to learn about a potential employer direct from the people that work there. So, if the message from the inside isn’t a positive one or it’s one that’s at odds with the external impression people have the organisation, said organisation is already on the back foot.
- Attractiveness: It sounds obvious that an employer brand must be attractive. But what that means depends on the type of talent you want to bring in — be it millennials, tech gurus, or those people-persons we spoke of earlier. A strong employer brand must reflect what is alluring to a company’s target audience. And if you aren’t sure what that might be, get your research hat on and find out.
- Distinctiveness: Every sought-after job candidate is going to expect a competitive compensation and benefits package as well as opportunities for advancement. To stand out from all the other companies fighting to secure the best digital talent, the employer brand needs to communicate what is unique about the company and what raises its head above the crowd.
Applying these three attributes is critical to developing a unique employer brand. Our research indicates that a strong employer brand drives better recruitment and strengthens employee retention. But most importantly, the employer brand is in an organisation’s control and therefore gives that organisation the upper hand when it comes to attracting the best people.
Our most recent whitepaper looks at the employer brand in depth. You can download it here.