Even with an economic growth of only half a percent the war for talent has already broken out again. Corporate recruiters and search and recruitment agencies are putting in extra hours to find top talent, sometimes even enticing them to leave their current positions. Organizations need talent not only to accommodate their growth, but even more so to make their strategy and organization relevant and up-to-date again. We’re not only looking for capacity, but for young, highly skilled professionals with drive, who can inspire our organizations again with the values of today and tomorrow. In an aging and dejuvenating labour market, this talent is scarce and the slightest rise in demand immediately puts a strain on the market. The question is whether the war for talent is won by offering higher salaries and better employment conditions. Certain bonus-driven sectors want us to believe that this is inevitable in order to retain the top management.
But recently Harvard Business Review published several articles on talent management and concluded that talents are more attached to worthy and shared goals, well-oiled organizations and a strong leadership. So you have your work cut out for you if you want to become the Employer of Choice. To optimally reach and retain talent, an organization’s values must be well-defined and communicated consistently. There are obvious instruments for this, such as reputation management, labour market communication and management style. Accordingly, we invest heavily in social media and ensure that our managers are skilled in authentic and emphatic leadership. But talents feel exactly whether this is genuine and truly part of the corporate culture. So it’s important to utilize everything that may contribute to the promotion and perception of an inspiring organizational culture. An organization has countless touchpoints with its staff where it can make a difference. Support services undoubtedly are important in this and can be raised to an attractive level with relative ease. In all their aspects, work arrangements and the workplace offer perfect opportunities to show what’s really important, and how we strive to excel together. Because of this, it is tempting to overshoot the mark and turn the support environment into a creative and technological highlight. But that’s money down the drain and in the end it will work against you.
An organization’s look & feel must reflect who you are and what you stand for. In this context, I’m always reminded of a big staffing organization, which in the nineties didn’t get top marks in state-of-the-art workplaces or work facilitation, nor did it offer the highest remuneration, but it still was the most sought-after employer by far, with the fastest growth and highest profits. Its strategy? A powerful message from a passionate leader, incredibly strong communication of shared goals and the development of company pride. Is that easy to do? No, it requires a distinct vision with definite choices, which must be communicated endlessly. Be assured, an employee will be happy with that old office chair if it contributes to the greater good. Of course you may decide against this approach, but then there’s only one thing you can do: raise wages.