Awakening Your Potential Within

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent

This week I was delighted to be invited to speak at an event hosted by Amey. The focus was on attracting and retaining talent – a hot topic for industry right now. There were some amazing speakers there, bringing live examples of what’s happening in the world of work and more importantly want’s working. 

I was reminded of an excellent recent report by LinkedIn on the ‘2020 Global Talent Trends’ (you can read it here: 

In a nutshell, there are four trends that are going to shape the way businesses attract and retain talent. They are: 

  • Employee Experience
  • People Analytics
  • Internal Recruiting
  • Multi-generational workforce  

Employee Experience 

One of the speakers at the event was Claire Smith from Moneypenny. She explained that in 2019 the company received 4,500 CVs with NO Advertising! What an incredible achievement. The Moneypenny story is an impressive one. Set up by a brother and sister in the early 2000s from kitchen table to over £33million in sales last year. Part of their success has been their emphasis on creating a culture that is employee led and employee focused.  As they describe, it’s the little things that make the difference: 

  • From free fruit to fitness classes 
  • Half-day off on birthdays 
  • WOW cards to celebrate wins 
  • On site ‘Dog and Bone’ pub 
  • Free on site gym 
  • Free breakfasts 

And on and on it goes. Company culture is driven by the behaviours and attitudes of its leaders. It doesn’t matter what the policy reads, it’s how it comes alive that truly matters. And, in my experience it’s the small simple things to can really make a difference to the way people feel.  

People Analytics 

Here’s a fascinating US Study that looks at the impact on data and the war for attracting and retaining talent. The US National Bureau of Economic Researched pitted humans against computers for more than 300,000 hires in high-turnover jobs at 15 companies. Their findings? People picked by computers stayed far longer and performed just as well or better.  For example, Xero, the accounting software company, introduced an online screening test and found attrition declined by 20 percent. 

How much are you using data to analyse and understand the talent you have within your teams?  

I was with a software company yesterday who have introduced data reporting on its staff. They are tracking billable hours, training, holidays, sickness to understand productivity. This weekly report has been immensely helpful in looking at talent and performance outputs. It’s highlighted a difference in the perceived performance of staff v the actual productivity.   

All too often we make decisions about the potential and the performance of our staff based upon our gut instinct alone. Reliable and insightful data is a far better predictor of trends in the workplace. Have a think about what data you are using to help you with people decisions. And reach out to your HR teams to support you. 

Internal Recruitment 

A 2018 Gartner study found that the cost of employee turnover (due to lack of career opportunities) for an average-size company is £38 million per year.  (It includes the cost of hiring and loss of productivity). And more worrying another statistic in the LinkedIn Global Trends report found that 73% of managers don’t want to let good talent go. 

Creating opportunities for career progression is another great way to retain talent. How long should someone stay doing the same job? How can you help them be more motivated, engaged and continually be learning and progressing? Not all staff want to climb the higher echelons of management. And we need a strong backbone within the workforce who are steady and productive. That said, as leaders, we should be having regular development conversations with our teams. How are they getting on? Where do they see themselves going in the next 3 to 5 years? 

An MD I was recently talking to told me of an employee he had recruited a few years ago.  This employee was young, ambitious and driven. He told the MD that he wanted, at some point in his career to run his own business. The MD mentored him, kept his dream alive, encouraged him to learn and grow. He was a star performer, so much so that when the employee set up his business the MD continued to employ him as a consultant.  

What do you know of the aspirations and desires of the individuals in your teams? When did you last sit down and have a conversation about their development goals? And how can you support those individuals to continue to progress (rather than hanging onto them for dear life!)? 

Multi-Generational Workforce. 

The multi-generational workforce is an interesting perspective too. How do you truly motivate a diverse workforce with some employees born in the 1960s and others in the late 1990s (and even the early 2000s)? Each generation brings a unique and different perspective, aspiration and set of values.  

Getting this right is not easy. A client I was with this week (in his 30s) was recently asked to manage a 66 year-old. He said: “To be quite frank, I was terrified of managing someone of that experience and age.”  

Too often we believe as leaders we have to have the answers to our team’s problems. The reality is that the best leaders provide the right environment for their talent to flourish and find their own answers. They get to to know the individual needs and aspirations of their teams. They build out opportunities for individuals to learn and grow and give regular (and insightful) feedback on performance.  

My coach describes the importance of every leader having their own rock star team. In other words, bringing in people around you who are more talented than you. Individuals you can rely on, you can trust, who are talented and brilliant in the areas you are not. Age should not matter. It’s the breadth of skills and potential that you should be seeking.  

As leaders, it’s never easy. Juggling the demands of people and profits is always going to be tough. And yet, we are increasingly living in a world where employees and candidates have the upper hand. The skills shortage means we must keep hold of great people. And there are tons of ways you can look to attract and retain talent in your team(s).One of the best bits of advice? Build such a great team around you that you make your role redundant. Have fun!

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