Superior talent is up to eight times more productive according to McKinsey. Savvy recruitment leaders know the importance of attracting top talent and take relevant action to position their organisations as an employer of choice. However, the workforce is undergoing major changes that have influenced the expectations of candidates and in turn the recruitment best practices to attract them. We are currently experiencing one of the fastest workforce transformations ever in the history of humankind. The increasing human health and lifespan has allowed multiple generations to work together, with Generation X still fully active, Millenials moving to leadership positions, and more and more Zers joining the workforce. What this means for employers is that they have to consider the different requirements of newcomers while continuing to meet the ones of older generations.
Another major trend reshaping the workforce is technology. Tech has penetrated most aspects of our personal and professional lives and has changed the way talent thinks and acts. This goes hand in hand with lifestyle changes that have taken the western world by storm, as technology has enabled people to live more flexibly. Last but not least, societal evolution has shifted candidates’ values and desired ways of working, changing their expectations from potential employers. The workforce evolution is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Here are 9 steps to follow as an employer to attract the top talent of the future.
1. Build a strong employer brand
Employer branding has become as necessary as marketing products and services, as candidates are looking to work for employers linked to their preferred brands. Contrary, if a brand has a negative reputation, it is enough for younger generations to give it a pass as an employer. Based on this, it is no surprise that 60% of employers have recently updated or are currently updating their talent acquisition and employer branding processes according to Deloitte. With Generation Z stating that they would prefer giving up their sense of smell to an essential tech item, savvy employers will keep focusing on employer branding on social media. Apart from LinkedIn, which has taken a central spot for millions of candidates as a place where they can exchange career information, other up and coming platforms like Clubhouse and Tik Tok could also be useful to attract talent.
2. Offer jobs with purpose
While the paycheck is always an important part of a job offer, newer generations are increasingly interested in work with purpose, with the “why” playing a central role in their career decisions. According to a report by BrighterMonday, 86% of millennials would consider leaving a job that does not match their values. Thus, employers have one more reason to focus on a positive mission and vision, operate with values and ethics, and be CSR champions.
3. Offer opportunities for growth
A PwC study found that career progression is a top priority for Millenials. Offering opportunities for growth, on the job learning, and training on-demand will be key in attracting top talent. The rise of technology has already enabled organisations to offer growth opportunities that would not have been possible some years back. From extended reality to artificial intelligence, technology offers many ways to gamify learning and allow your workforce to develop. Further, organisations can organise training events, talks, and workshops to provide interpersonal training too. Last but not least, we expect employers who offer flexible, clear, and fair ways for employees to earn promotions and build their career the way they want to attract top talent.
4. Offer flexibility
According to the UN, if people who live outside their country of birth constituted a country, it would currently be the fifth largest country in the world. Also, the pandemic caused a seismic shift in ways of working, with most jobs today being remote. These events have led professionals to put a bigger emphasis on work-life balance. Further, they know that the tech infrastructure required for it is now available, shaping their expectations accordingly.
Moreover, the concept of the career ladder is being replaced by career waves, where candidates expect they may take multiple breaks in their careers to care about others and themselves. According to Manpowergroup, ¾ of working millennials are currently in full-time jobs but ½ are open to non-traditional forms of employment in the future, depending on their needs. Thus, it is important to start phasing out rigid legacy systems like the 9-5 in the office and brand your organisation as a flexible employer instead. From offering homeworking, to flexible hours, to the ability to work internationally, we expect flexibility to be a key benefit to attract top talent.
5. Foster collaboration
When Microsoft surveyed 1000 millennials to find what makes them tick at work, they found that a collaborative culture was a key priority. What they meant is a culture where everyone can work together and be involved in decision making without an overly hierarchical structure. Employers who use tools like design-thinking workshops, offices created for collaboration, and technology enabling people to work together, are likely to attract and maintain high-quality professionals.
6. Build a DEI-focused workplace
Recent social justice movements have emphasised the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. To put it simply, top talent is seeking an employer where employees are evaluated based on merit regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and sexual orientation. As a response, many employers have hired Chief Diversity Officers and pursued relevant projects to ensure they operate in line with these expectations. Savvy employers will make sure they offer equal opportunities to everyone, rewarding and recognising efforts. Demonstrating that all backgrounds are represented across seniority levels, that all employees have comparable career progression opportunities, and that the workforce is paid based on performance, can enhance the employer brand and attract the best candidates.
7. Use coaches, not bosses
Gone are the days when top-down management was considered best practice. Today, we have shifted away from a parent-child relationship to a peer-to-peer type transaction between a manager and a team member, where the former plays the role of the coach and mentor to the latter. If you want the best to work with you in the future, start training your managers to adopt new ways of working and don’t be afraid to move away from legacy systems that don’t work anymore.
8. Change performance evaluation
The combination of the increasing pace of work with a desire for better communication between employees and employers has made the traditional annual performance evaluation not fit for purpose. Instead, employees are looking for constant and open communication and feedback from their manager and other stakeholders. Make sure your employer brand message incorporates information around how you are following performance management best practices to attract future leaders.
9. Introduce wellbeing
With burnout being recognised by WHO as a phenomenon of the contemporary workplace, more and more professionals focus on wellbeing. We expect employers of choice to focus on a culture of wellbeing, from offering related benefits as part of their compensation packages, to developing ways of working promoting sustainability, to adopting employee-centered values. To put it simply, if you want to attract the best, treat them the best way. The workforce is changing rapidly and savvy employers take action to position themselves accordingly. We suggest that businesses change their recruitment to meet the new needs of the workforce so that they can position themselves as future leaders. Some of the top elements to include in your employer value proposition include offering opportunities for growth, creating jobs with purpose, and providing flexibility to your workforce.