Attracting top talent

Attracting Top Talent in a Tight Labour Market

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A rapidly retiring workforce and difficulty attracting top talent are creating increased risks to many organizations’ long-term success. To mitigate this risk, an update to the talent acquisition strategy that focuses on attracting highly skilled, technologically savvy, future leaders will be required. 

According to a recent RBC report, by the end of the 2020s, more than five million Canadians will reach retirement age. This coming retirement of highly trained, highly tenured, cornerstone employees, creates an urgent business risk requiring immediate attention.

Magnifying this risk is the difficulty in attracting top talent. There is a perception that the realities of 2020 have eased this concern. I believe that with many businesses focused on driving digital transformation and preparing for industry 4.0, the competition for the leaders of tomorrow will only increase.

A talent acquisition strategy designed to attract this highly sought after talent should include the following four components.

A website that makes a great first impression

Unless you are a large, publicly traded company with a strong brand, there is a strong chance that the candidate’s first impression of your organization will come directly from your website.

To attract great candidates your website should include at least these four things. A modern design. A strong mission statement that excites and motivates people with a cause they can get behind. A transparent and accessible senior leadership team showcased by well thought out leadership bios. Most importantly, your site should make it easy for your prospective employee to picture themselves working for you via employee testimonials that demonstrate your culture, growth opportunities, and diversity.

A focus on culture and the importance of social media

I cannot think of a single meeting, podcast, or industry webinar that I have attended lately, where I did not hear some form of the phrase culture is king. The reason culture is king is its impact on the bottom line.  

According to a 2018 article by McKinsey, organizations with cultures in the top quartile post a return to shareholders that is sixty percent higher than median companies, or two hundred percent higher than organizations in the bottom quartile.

High performing candidates will actively seek to learn about your culture in a variety of ways and are not limited to the awards that you may have won, or what you say on your website.

In the same way that we leverage social media to learn about new products, hotels, and restaurants, high performing employees are learning about your organization through sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn. Having a strategy to market to candidates via social media will be a critical tool in your arsenal.

Leveraging technology to improve the candidate and employee experience

People have come to expect technology to simplify and manage all aspects of their lives, whether that’s ordering dinner, pricing a car, or seeing who range the doorbell. Gone are the days where investing in technology can be placed low down on the priority list.  

According to a recent article from CIO.com,

Employee dissatisfaction with IT tools can have a ripple effect that can result in long-term damage and a lack of competitiveness. An improved employee experience, however, will pay off in “better talent, more effective collaboration, a better mood in your organization—the list is long,”

Your recruiting experience and the job application process will be the prospective candidate’s first indicators of how you value the employee experience.  

By investing in technology, you are showcasing to your candidate that your employees are your most valuable asset. The future employee’s experience should include a job application process that makes researching jobs and applying easy, an onboarding experience that sets expectations and drives cultural assimilation, and self-service tools that drive employee development, and contribute to their future learning.  

The benefits of technology also extend well beyond the employee experience by reducing or eliminating manual tasks, ensuring compliance, and providing the business with vital business intelligence to drive long term planning and success.

Expand your talent pool beyond your current geography 

I recently saw a poll of many HR leaders where roughly 20% of the attendees saw productivity go up since work from home started, 20% saw it go down, and the rest said there was no impact.  

Another article on Business News Daily referenced a study that found that remote workers work almost one and a half more days per month then their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year.  

With all the great technology available, it has never been easier to maintain collaboration and cohesion with a remote workforce. Through progressive work from home policies, you can easily extend your talent pools well beyond your traditional borders, allowing you to source the best candidates wherever they may live.

Final thoughts

The rapid retirement of baby boomers and the dramatic increase of millennials and Gen Z in the labour force has created an increased organizational risk that requires immediate attention. By investing in your website, the candidate experience, technology, and progressive work from home policies, you will be able to protect the business and set yourself up to become the leader of tomorrow. 

What strategies are you looking to implement to drive long term success

I would welcome the opportunity to hear your feedback and to learn from you about your talent and retention strategies.

Cory Kawa

My thoughts are my own, and do not represent my employer.

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